Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

Focus on the Good of Others

Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, NLT)

Try to do what is good for others, not just what is good for yourselves. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, ERV)

We should stop looking out for our own interests and instead focus on the people living and breathing around us. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, VOICE)

 

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly things change when my focus shifts from self to others. Even if my situation does not change, my perspective inevitably does. If someone around me needs encouragement and I find ways and words with which to offer encouragement, I discover that I too, am encouraged in the process. Joy and hope accompany each act of extending ourselves to others. May we fix our gaze outward rather than in, so that we may seek to do good for others, just as the Lord has done for us.

 

Do not be concerned,The Power of the Tongue

For your sense of good;

But do for others,

That which Jesus would.

For we’re being called,

To look out, not in;

Encourage, build up,

Love others like kin.

God in His goodness,

Meets us as we give;

Strengthens and equips,

New life as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to look outside of ourselves to seek to do good for others. Thank You that we need not worry about ourselves, as You are far more capable than we are, so it is best for us to focus our attention on loving You and loving people, allowing You to be who You say You are. Forgive us for not trusting You to be big enough to carry our concerns. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place the weight of our worries in Your hands, and look to You to show us how to do what is good for those around us. Help us to have open eyes and willing hearts, so that we may see opportunities to love well and act on them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we focus on loving You and the people that You place all around us. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

The Warrior Way

There are a few things that I have read recently, that have really stood out as powerful reminders. Each one pointed to who God is, and how He sees me. I did not realize that my sense of self had likely become skewed, but based on the response of my heart to each of them, I am guessing the weight of the past week had taken its toll.

“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation.” – (Psalm 149:4) The very idea that He delights in me, is both beautiful, and beyond me. Additionally, imagining Christ giving me an actual crown to cover my head with the sweet safety of His salvation, is astounding. Though I was not a child that cared about dress up and tiaras, in fact, I much preferred neighborhood football games and climbing trees, there is something growing in me that absolutely adores the image of not only being His delightful daughter, but also being adorned in some sort of fanciful family attire.

Warrior princess. I love the image. On a fellow blogging friend’s post this past week (forgive me, for I cannot recall which one), she called us warrior princesses. As one who has always felt like I had to be tough, the pairing of tough with one who is precious and vulnerable, is a bit of a mind shift, yet seriously stunning. God does see us this way. We are His daughters (and sons), in whom He delights, yet He empowers each of us with His Holy Spirit, so that we are equipped to be warriors to walk in His way. Divine duality orchestrated by our amazing Daddy God.

Finally, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men (people) of courage, be strong. Do everything in love.” – (I Corinthians 16:13-14) This verse is our charge, warrior princes and princesses. We are to be ever aware, stand firm in our faith; have courage and strength in Him. And above all, do everything in love.

We each bear a crown,crown

adorned in His Name;

worth more than fortune,

far more than all fame.

In it is glory,

our eternity;

our place and our purpose,

given dignity.

Here, strength is granted,

to His humble child;

each seen as precious,

such beauty beguiled.

Rise up warriors,

He calls us His own;

may we all go forth,

let His love be known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are master artist, able to craft us into warrior princes and princesses. You created us to be strong in You, yet see us as precious and part of Your own royal family. Thank You for loving us beyond what we can even begin to comprehend, and help us to gain new glimpses of insight each day. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to skew our perception of who You have created us to be, and help us to see ourselves through Your eyes. May we be courageous and firm in our faith, yet ever vigilant, being on guard, so we will be aware of anything that would come against us. More than that, help us to allow Your love to flavor everything that we say and do. When we speak, may it be in love. As we serve, may love be our motivation. Let Your love be what others see in each of us. May many come into a saving knowledge of You, so they too may be robed in Your righteousness and receive the crown of salvation. Be glorified through our love. Amen.

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