The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

Kindness, compassion, wp-15892063810227564207240281852178.jpg

Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Clear Acts of Mercy

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Live kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see the new Star Wars movie. What I love about the Star Wars series is that there is an ongoing theme of “good triumphs over evil” as the saga between the Imperial Empire and the Rebellion continues throughout with new generations of Jedi. Without being a spoiler, it was clear acts of mercy and choosing good that brought about Jedi success – both at pivotal moments in the movie, and as the story concluded. In real life, the same holds true when we choose to extend mercy and goodness, denying our initial thought of revenge or retaliation. God’s grace enters in, and something happens in the hearts of both the merciful and the one receiving grace, to change the circumstance for the better. It may not be immediate and dramatic, but such acts of love and mercy make their way into hearts, and one cannot help but be changed as the recipient of undeserved mercy. That is how Christ came to us. While we were yet sinners, He loved. In our darkness and ugliness, He brought light and life and love. May we choose to go forth in the goodness of God, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, all of the days of our lives.

 

The Lord has shown us,Clear Acts of Mercy

What it is to love;

Act justly, give grace,

Like God up above.

As we humbly walk,

And follow the Lord;

We love as He loves,

Mercy is outpoured.

For each act of grace,

And mercy we choose;

Is a way to show,

God’s blessed good news.

For He came to us,

Full of love and grace;

Teaches us mercy,

As we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Thank You that You modeled a life lived accordingly through Your Son, and equip us to do the same by Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we neglect Your still small voice within that tells us how to act justly and live mercifully in You. Teach us to listen and follow Your leading, so that we may humbly walk beside You, extending mercy, grace and goodness to all. Show us how to love those around us in this way, even when it is difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the kindness and mercy that You continually show unto us. Let our lives be an offering of the overflow of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Grow As We Go With Thanks

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live in Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You’re well-constructed upon Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. – (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)

 

We are charged to continue to grow in our faith, however, as we do, we are meant to live in Christ in such a way that our lives are a reflection of our faith, overflowing with thankfulness. As we lean into Christ, we grow as we go. In other words, we are not called to stay stagnant and remain in the same space where we began, but rather as we establish roots in Him, we are meant to move forward in obedience, living and loving as we were designed to do, giving God thanks every step of the way. The more we know God and move forward into the life that He has called us to lead, the deeper our sense of gratitude for who God is and how He loves.

 

We each have been called, Love that Grows

In faith, to move on;

Use what we’ve received,

Rise up and respond.

To live out our faith,

And love well with grace;

Continue to grow,

As we run our race.

Each step that we take,

May we choose to praise;

God for His goodness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and call us to move forward in our faith. Thank You that we grow as we go. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to be and do all that You lead us to, as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to move forward or step out in the direction to which You were drawing us. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to keep moving forward. Show us how to love those around us well, so that goodness, grace and gratitude will be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on in all that You ask of us, ever giving You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Thessalonians 1:3

Patient Endurance

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

And true patience brought on by endurance will equip you to complete the long journey and cross the finish line – mature, complete, and wanting nothing. – (James 1:4, VOICE)

 

Both running a long road race and being an educator during a year when Thanksgiving falls a week later than usual, are ways to remind us how true patience brought on by endurance equips us to complete the long journey to cross the finish line. For one, it is an actual finish line, for the other, it is arriving at the first much anticipated break of the school year, and the opportunity to at long last, catch up with family. When we seek and depend on God in the process, He supplies all that we need to complete each leg of our race. Sometimes, it is the fortitude to get from one water station to the next, or one week to the next; either way, He is present when we seek Him. May we allow true patience to work in us, as we persevere, allowing God to grow and stretch us into all that He wants us to be; mature, complete and lacking nothing.

As for mom, this is the week that out-patient therapies begin! Though there is anticipation about the details, mom is eager to get going, and as always, is ready to work tirelessly toward the goal of regaining what was lost. She continues to be upbeat and positive, ever-patient as she perseveres onward toward the prize. My sister and her family are doing a fabulous job of getting mom out and challenging her to try new things. It is a joy to hear about each new step she is taking, and I am beyond grateful for my sister, brother-in-love and nephews, as they continue to love mom well.

 

Choose perseverance, img_2019-11-19_04-16-203117290028297450777.jpg

For as we endure;

Christ will empower,

Set our feet secure.

Keep moving forward,

The direction called;

Along the journey,

His grace is installed.

As we choose press on,

Maturity grows;

We lack for nothing,

And His goodness shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to persevere for all of our days. Thank You that through the difficulties, You refine and define our character to more clearly reflect Yours. Thank You that You grant us Your strength and grace as we run our race, and that we each have our own pace to take. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to compare our journey to another, or our pace to someone else’s. Thank You that You created each of us uniquely with a plan and a purpose. Teach us to keep our eyes on You and what You are calling us to do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may grow and be encouraged as they run their own race. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow patience to work in us, as we persevere with endurance, each leg of this journey that we are called to run. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5

Grace and Redemption to Go

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24)

 

The size of our sin does not determine our outcome. No matter where we have been, we can still come to Christ and be covered by the cleansing of the cross. The grace of God is far greater than the weight of our former ways. When we come to Christ and receive all that He has to offer by inviting Him to be Lord of our lives, He enters in and washes away the shame and stains of what we once were, so that we may become who He is calling us to be. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross redeems all who choose to believe. In Him, we are set free from all that formerly enslaved us to the ways of the world, so that we may walk in the freedom of His love and grace. May we remember the enormity of God’s grace and redemption that was granted to us when we first believed, so that we too, may offer more grace than we think we ought to, to all those around us.

 

Everyone has sinned,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

broken, fallen short;

not done as we should,

unrighteous consort.

Yet Christ entered in,

by His grace He came;

to redeem sinners,

set free in His Name.

O Wonderful One,

we come seek Your face;

lead us in Your ways,

as we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though all of us have sinned and fallen short of Your glory, that You justify us freely by Your grace and redeem us through Christ, when we choose to place our trust in You. Thank You for this overwhelming gift of love that is so much more than we can even begin to fathom. Forgive us for taking Your grace for granted, or for forgetting all that You have forgiven. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be fully aware of both the magnitude of the grace and redemption that we have been granted, and Your power and strength that You offer now so that we may walk in the light of Your truth. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to understand not only their need for a Savior, but the security that is found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we operate fully aware of the grace and redemption that we have been granted, and move forward in Your power and strength to do all that You call us to do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

The Basis for Truth

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, “I find no basis for a charge against Him.” – (John 18:38)

 

Pontius Pilate was no different from much of the world at large today. He believed truth was relative to whatever the majority of people agreed to, or whatever helped to advance his own political or personal agenda. “When there is no basis for truth, there is no basis for moral right and wrong. Justice becomes whatever works or whatever helps those in power. In Jesus and His Word we have a standard for truth and for our moral behavior.” – (NIV footnotes for John 18:38)

 

Without Jesus, we become a society that slips further and further in our own moral decay. Countless examples are present in the Old Testament of kings who ceased to follow God’s way. For each of the kings that did evil in the sight of the Lord, warnings and prophesies were presented. If the warnings were not heeded, destruction surely followed. May we be a people pursuing His path of truth. Jesus is the truth and the light, and in Him there is no darkness. Let us fix our eyes on the Author and finisher of our faith, so that we may run our race with endurance.

 

There’s only one truth,Tending Our Talents

found in the Lord’s Word;

receive nothing else,

as truth to be heard.

For all must agree,

with what the Lord says;

for if it does not,

the words are not His.

Invest in learning,

the biblical facts;

be wise and weary,

of twisted attacks.

There’s only one right,

it’s following Christ;

He opened the way,

with His sacrifice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Truth, the Life and the Way. Thank You that we can come to You, and You have made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for our sins, and for demonstrating Your power as You defeated death. Thank You that You grant the very same power to dwell in each of us when we choose to trust in You. Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that we have access to the truth and can study and learn more of who You are and what You ask of us. Forgive us for not investing in Your word, or not quieting ourselves before You to allow You to speak that which You want us to hear. Teach us, instruct us, and lead us in every area of our lives. May we go forth as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of You and the truth, and may we love others as You so lavishly love us. Let those who are looking, come to know the Truth. Be exalted, Lord God, in everything we do today. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – Johm 11:41

Not a Matter of Talk

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” – (I Corinthians 4:20)  Talking about faith is good, but only if it can be backed up with action.  Speaking the “right” words without reflecting God’s redemption, holds no value.  If our words and our actions do not align, neither will hold any weight with those whom we might hope to influence.

In my own life, the people who have best modeled a life of faith, are not always just those who are regular speakers and teachers, but they may also be those who have faithfully and consistently served.  Often, it is those who serve on the sidelines and have spoken countless words of encouragement and wisdom, that have found favor as their gentle approach has given them access to even the most guarded of hearts.

Words matter, but they are not truly given weight until they are fueled by faith.  Faith is made evident by our actions.  When the two align, our life becomes a reflection of our Redeemer.  May His light shine through us, before all.

The kingdom of God,Not a Matter of Talk

is not about talk;

it is how we live,

how we walk the walk.

For by His power,

words turn to being;

our actions align,

His grace is freeing.

He fuels forgiveness,

grants mercy and grace;

empowers, equips,

helps us run our race.

We must keep moving,

with trust to pursue;

listen and follow,

what He asks, we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that more than just words matter to You.  Thank You that our actions and words are meant to align.  Thank You that without You, this is an impossible task, but with You, all things are possible.  Thank You that You fuel our faith and equip us to live the lives to which we are called.  Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust completely in You.  Thank You that You are faithful, even when our faith is fickle.  Teach us how to “Preach the gospel always, and when necessary, use words.” (St. Francis Assisi)  Let our very lives speak volumes for You, as we honor You in everything.  May many come to know You as their Savior and King as we love like You love us.  Be exalted, Lord God.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You have done great things. 

Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19