Bloom Where You Are Planted

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every would that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

This, this is why we are called to be in community. Though we can accomplish much through Christ on our own, we can do and be more when we are surrounded by others who walk alongside us as we navigate the journey to which we are called. Incredibly, everyone has a story to tell, and we each have encouragement to offer, based on our experiences and the person whom we have been created to be. Though the struggles and seasons of suffering stink, they often become the space where we find God has grown us the strongest. It is in such seasons that we learn perseverance and dependence on Christ, and have to let go of everything else that weighs us down if we wish to keep moving forward. One of the things that I have missed terribly throughout this trying season, is the consistent community and gathering together to worship and fellowship with friends who have become family at home. However, I know that their prayerful support has been a tremendous contribution to what has sustained us as we have navigated this new and unknown road. God has been faithful each step of the way, and we trust Him to continue as each of us prepare for the next season in mom’s journey to a full recovery.

For mom, yesterday began with some strong ongoing progress that took incredible strength and courage. What terrified mom a little over a week ago, still frightened her a bit, yet she did not hesitate to participate and do her best. Doing upper body work from a kneeling position on the floor is a scary space for mom. However, it is a position that forces her to utilize the right side of her upper body, that she desperately wants to regain. She knows that the reward is worth the risk, and willingly fended off fear to do the work required of her. Ever so slowly, mom is activating her shoulder and scapula. Each time she does the exercises to strengthen the muscles, she also is increasing the message pathways to movement. Later in the afternoon, following an errand outing for a few necessities, lunch and Dutch Bros, we returned home and mom was ready to do some walking. Normally, mom changes into her tennis shoes with an AFO (something foot orthotic that lifts her toes so they don’t drag or catch when she steps) in them, but she already had her crocs on and I suggested she give it a try. Much to her surprise, she was able to walk well in her crocs without the AFO. This is extraordinarily exciting news, as it means that she is actually lifting her right leg as she steps, and no longer just dragging it through. The more she lifts her right foot as she steps, the greater variety of terrain she will be able to take on. (She really wants to walk around her yard!) Mom’s great cloud of witnesses have been coming to see her, more and more. She recognizes the benefit of visitors, and is enjoying reconnecting with dear friends from church, Bible studies and the like. Her perseverance is an encouragement to us all. May we ever seek to surround ourselves in community, so that we may encourage one another to persevere on the path to which we have been called.

 

Seek be invested, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

In community;

To learn and to grow,

Exponentially.

For each one planted,

Has something to give;

Wisdom to offer,

Strength from lessons lived.

Hearing from others,

Those far and those near;

Lifts up and strengthens,

Helps us persevere.

Reach out and grow roots,

Invest and make room;

Choose let others in,

Where you’re planted, bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that we can both gain and offer strength to those around us as we do life together in You. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to be isolated when the road is difficult. Thank You for those whom You place in our lives to keep community strong, even when we are not nearby. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach out to those around us, regardless of our circumstances, as You bring beauty from ashes and often use our own weakness as Your greatest strength through us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they will be encouraged and built up; strengthened to persevere through all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in the communities that You call us to, and praise You for the power to persevere that comes from You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – Hebrews 12:28

 

To Find Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, VOICE)

 

God has amazing grace for all who recognize their need for Him and His forgiveness, and are willing to admit it to He who already knows. Not one of us is void of sin, and none of us are without need of forgiveness and grace. As we come to Christ and seek His goodness and grace, He forgives us from every word, thought and deed that did not reflect the light of His love. The cleansing He provides, picks us up, dusts us off, and grants us courage to press forward in faith; to go forth and love as we are loved by Him. Though we will fall short in our broken humanity, He is ever-present to forgive and fuel our faith. May we confess our sins to He who is without sin, so that we may find forgiveness and grace that grants us the strength and courage to continue to walk in His way and seek to do His will.

 

We all fall to sin, Clean Inside Out

In word, thought or deed;

Reminders of truth,

That we are in need.

In need of the Lord,

Forgiveness and grace;

Cleansing from our sin,

‘til we see His face.

For we all fall short,

Need confess our past;

Turn away from sin,

Receive love that lasts.

The Lord is faithful,

To forgive, grant grace;

As we come to Him,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and confess our sins, You forgive us and love us to life, so that we may continue to do the things to which we are called. Forgive us for staying stuck in our sin, instead of coming to You to set things right. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep short accounts before You, allowing Your love to cleanse us and flow through us to all whom surround us. Show us how to love those who You have placed in our path, so that they too, may come to know the fullness of Your forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to confess our sins and trust You to equip us with all that we need to go forth in love. Amen.

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

 

 

Take Heart and Hope in Him

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24)

 

Though these are great words of encouragement, I wanted to dig a bit deeper to find out more specifically what was being spoken. To be strong, is to allow the Lord to be my strength and to rely on Him as my Source who sustains me. The next few words, take heart, seem to translate to courage and bravery. After reading several translations of the Bible, I found that particular portion of the passage was written as: be courageous, be brave, and be of good courage, in addition to the NIVs translation that says to take heart. All you who hope in the Lord, would include all believers everywhere. If we have given our lives to Him, this word applies to us. We are meant to rely on Him to be our strength as we are brave; hoping, ever trusting in the Lord, who He is, and what He says He will do. May we be of good courage and strength as we place our hope in the Lord.

 

O Lord be my strength,Possibilities

as I trust in You;

help me to be brave,

and live a life true.

May my hope be found,

alone in You, Lord;

You lead, I’ll follow,

Christ, whom I adore.

Wherever I go,

let Your strength shine through;

as others too see,

that hope’s found in You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You give strength and courage to all who hope in You. Forgive us for not placing all of our trust in You, or for seeking to solve strife in our own strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we seek Your strength and wisdom, and learn to find courage in You. Lead us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we rise up in Your strength and courage and place all of our hope in You. 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

Courage for Change

In life, we are assured there will be change. Seasons change, people change, and circumstances change. Our certainty is found in Christ. As the Lord calls us into new seasons, it is easy for fear to creep in. Though change is inevitable, it is a space of uncertainty, and anything unknown tends to bring uneasiness. God does not call us into the new and then just expect us to give it a go on our own. He promises to be present, and provides what we need, as we need it, to successfully navigate the new. The same words God gave to Joshua and the Israelites as they were preparing to enter the new of the promised land, are still applicable to each of us today as we walk in obedience to all that God is asking of us.

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9)

 

May we rise up in His strength and courage, overcoming fear and discouragement, as we hold fast to the promise that God will remain with us wherever we go.

 

Be of good courage,Courage for Change

in seasons of change;

for God has promised,

our hope He’s made plain.

No matter what comes,

or where we need go;

Christ will be present,

this truth we can know.

Be strong without fear,

for He is our strength;

He’ll go where we go,

each height, depth and length.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength and courage to overcome fear and discouragement, and You remain with us wherever we go. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, and Your love endures forever. Forgive us for allowing fear and discouragement to dull us to Your presence, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will be ever aware of Your nearness, regardless of our circumstances. Lead us to love others with the same relentlessness that You love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up in strength and courage and go forward without fear, as we face every change that comes our way. 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

Be of Strength and Courage

Be strong and courageous. (Deuteronomy 31:6a) The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

No matter what lies before us, God goes in front of us. He provides our front line of defense, our rear guard, and surrounds us on each side. The Lord assures us that He will remain present with us, regardless of the circumstances that we are being called to walk through. If God is for us, whom shall we fear? There is nothing that He calls us to that He won’t also willingly equip and see us through. May we rise up with strength and courage, trusting that the Lord has gone before us, and will never leave us nor forsake us.

 

For we are each called,Bold in Battle

to rise up, be strong;

take courage in Christ,

our strength and our song.

He goes before us,

to prepare the way;

and remains present,

in nearness, He stays.

Be not discouraged,

Take heart in His word;

He’ll not forsake us,

His promises heard.

So take the first step,

go where the Lord asks;

as we are willing,

we’re equipped to task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and kind, and that You call us to be people of strength and courage. Thank You that You do not ask us to be strong and courageous in our own strength, but rather in Yours. Thank You that You go before us, behind us, and surround us, keeping us in the safety of Your care every step of the way. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and help us to trust You more. May we move forward in courage, as You call us to new steps of obedience. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we take obedient steps forward in Your strength and courage, trusting You as we move forward in faith. Amen.

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Strength and Courage

After Moses had died and Joshua had been given charge to lead the Israelites into the promise land, the Lord gave Joshua a God-sized pep talk.  Three times, the Lord told Joshua to “Be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:6, 7 & 9)  God also instructed him to “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from you mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:7-8)

The primary points presented, are that strength, courage and obedience come from knowing and following God and His word.  To know God’s law, we need to spend time in His word.  As we study scripture, He reveals more of Himself unto us, and empowers us to live life accordingly, by His Spirit.   Though this may not lead to success by the world’s standards, if we follow God and His ways, we are a success in His eyes.  Ultimately, His is the only opinion that lasts forever, so it is the only one that we should allow to be of concern.

Strength and courage,Strength and Courage

to these we are called;

not on our own,

by His grace installed.

Obedience,

faithful in pursuit;

ever seeking,

what the Lord would do.

We meditate,

both by day and night;

to know God’s word,

to pursue what’s right.

This is success,

to our God, not man;

in God alone,

our salvation plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength and courage to know and follow You.  Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into a lasting relationship with You, and that our fears and failures do not hinder our opportunities for the future.  Thank You that You forgive and free us from our former follies, and fuel us to move forward in our faith.  Forgive us for our fearfulness, or for not wholeheartedly pursuing You.  Teach us to trust You more, and keep discouragement far from us.  Thank You that You are with us wherever we go, and that You love us without limits.  Help us to love as You love, and may many come to know You as a result.  Be glorified as we walk in obedience unto You.  Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Dispelling Discouragement

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you.  The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:6, 8

*courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain

*strong – of great power or courage

*forsake – abandon, deny, reject or renounce

Never, not ever,

image by Tom Norvell

image by Tom Norvell

will our Father go.

What He has spoken,

is what will be so.

He says be not scared,

in fear; terrified.

His presence remains,

we won’t be denied.

He goes before us.

He makes plain our path.

He’ll stay beside us,

shield us from hell’s wrath.

Be not discouraged,

may His strength rise up.

Extend heart and hands,

and He’ll fill our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we do not need to fear, for You are our Source of strength and courage.  Thank You that no matter what we do, You never leave nor forsake Your children.  Forgive us for being fearful and not relying on Your strength, and lead us to learn how to lean completely upon You.  Teach us to rise up and extend our hearts and hands to You, trusting that You will supply all that is needed to navigate each new obstacle.  May the strength and courage that we display in You, lead many in love to know what a faithful Father You are.  Amen.

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