Unite in Purpose

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV) 

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV) 

If some have cause to celebrate, join the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE) 

I am feeling this deeply, yet again, for the third time in a few short weeks. Mourning for lives lost, senselessly, as much of the nation is rendered speechless by the injustices that have transpired. The rejoicing comes, when people rise up, united in purpose to see that justice is brought forth, and awareness is heightened beyond the blatant disregard for human lives. As a mom and a teacher, I desperately want better for my children – my own by birth, and those entrusted to me in the classroom. This call to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn, is simply a specific directive of how we can love people well. When we have empathy, through truly listening and hearing the hearts of those around us, we learn and grow and discover ways to be better; do better, for all. My role, as a woman of faith, is to ever be seeking to grow in wisdom and understanding, so that my words, thoughts and actions reflect the heart of Christ. Christ came and loved all. He is the model of how we are meant to live and love one another. He did not fear those who were not like Him, but He came close and loved well, overcoming the cultural barriers of the time with love. Love looked like the Savior speaking to a woman who was an outcast; it touched those deemed untouchable with sickness or disease; love helped and healed and spoke truth, even when it was not the popular opinion. Love stood up for righteousness and truth, and cleared the temple when those who had ill-intentions tried to enter in. Love stands up for justice and truth. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we will listen and learn, act and speak out, to bring change so that all may live without fear. 

When good comes around, 

Rejoice together; 

In midst of sorrow, 

Grieve too, do better. 

Choose seek to listen, 

To learn and to grow; 

Love well, each other, 

Let God’s love be shown. 

To live heart to heart, 

Sisters and brothers; 

Seek to choose love first, 

Honor each other. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us ways that we can love one another as we are created and called to love. Thank You that Jesus showed us what it was to rejoice with people when they are rejoicing, and to mourn with those who are mourning. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to understand first, or have neglected to recognize the reasons to rejoice or mourn with those around us. Teach us to follow Your example of love. Show us how to best love everyone around us, rejoicing when there is reason to celebrate, and mourning when there is reason to grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You know every heart and how to heal brokenness in people, communities, and our nation. Help us to follow Your lead well. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

God Who Gives

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, NIV)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

Now may God, the Source of great endurance and comfort, grace you with unity among yourselves, which flows from your relationship with Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Romans 15:5, TPT)

 

Our capacity to receive and give patience, encouragement, endurance and comfort, all come from Christ. When we lean into Him, He grants us a heart like His toward those around us, and we are better able to be united in purpose. It does not mean that we have to agree with others on every minute detail in existence, but rather, with God’s help, we can prioritize people in the way that we are designed to do. The closer we are to Christ, the more clearly, we reflect His character and His heart to the world. Grace is essential to extend comfort and encouragement to others, even in the midst of our own messes. God can use us to bring unity, comfort, patience and endurance to those around us, despite being in the middle of a pandemic. Each day we depend on Him, we discover His peace, strength and provision. As we do, there is a filling to overflowing within us, that cannot help but be shared with those around us. May we seek the Lord who gives endurance and encouragement, so that we too, may do the same for others and be united in purpose and love.

 

The Lord God above,wp-15899803702722573446821857210172.jpg

He grants unto us;

All that we will need,

To love like Jesus.

It is up to us,

To choose seek and pray;

Allow the Lord lead,

In love, each new day.

Patience and comfort,

Strength and loving grace;

To share with others,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and equipping us to love like You as we earnestly seek You. Please forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You and respond in our own humanity to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would grow in patience and encouragement, grace and unity. Show us how to love those around us best, so that each might feel encouraged and strengthened, valued and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually draw near to You in pursuit of a heart like Yours, as You are the God who gives. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Live Purposefully

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is incredible to watch and be a part of a group of people who are all walking out their purpose. Yesterday, despite the challenges of separation, new learning, and all of the trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand with remote education and running a household (many with children of our own), there was a clear demonstration of so much good, as choosing to love people was and continues to be a clear priority. Our office manager, finance wizard, vice principal, and likely a few others, orchestrated a birthday parade for our principal. Many staff members gathered in the designated parking lot a short distance from her home to coordinate, decorate and caravan together in a parade of cars through her neighborhood. Seeing the smiling faces of fellow staff members and catching up with these dear friends, filled my heart with so much good. The look of surprise and joy on our principal’s face as the parade of vehicles kept rounding through her cul-de-sac, was fantastic. Despite the struggle of being apart and not being able to do our jobs in the way we all are accustomed to doing them, there is good that is coming out of this season, none the less. Personally, I am so grateful that these are the people who are chosen to walk out a similar purpose in this season with me. Though each of us come from different places, spaces and experiences, we are united in purpose as we seek to teach kids and love our community well. God really is able to orchestrate good and beautiful things in every season, as we earnestly seek Him and walk out the life to which we have been called. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading and continue ever moving forward in love.

 

We know that the Lord, wp-15887743558471974361042245095214.jpg

Can work ALL for good;

We need to pursue,

Live the life we should.

For we are each called,

And made with intent;

With strength and purpose,

Designed, heaven-sent.

Even in hard times,

There’s much good to see;

As we seek to serve,

Live purposefully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose, as we seek to love You and love people well. Thank You that as we move forward in these things, we see the good that You bring, even in trying times. Forgive us for our frustration with timing and circumstances. Teach us to trust Your timing – for You alone know the beginning and the end, and what is best. Show us how to love those around us well in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for purpose and for the good that You can bring in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Charged to Choose

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, VOICE)

 

This charge, given by Paul to the church of Corinth in the closing of his second letter, is also for all of us today. As we determine to rejoice despite our circumstances, seek to be at peace with those around us, encourage each other, make amends where there is brokenness, and strive to be united in purpose, God, who is the source of all love and peace, will be present. Though at times it seems impossible to reach such a place of peace with particular people, God is capable of the miraculous and can make a way where there seems to be no way. It is not up to us to change hard hearts, but rather to continue to encourage, love and seek peace as we are called to do. The heart change is in His hands, our part is to love and do what we can to make things right. May we ever seek our Savior to equip us to love, encourage, seek peace, repair what is broken and choose to rejoice; always.

 

Let us choose rejoice,Charged to Choose

In each circumstance;

God goes before us,

He knows in advance.

The Source of all love,

The Bearer of peace;

He creates a way,

As grace is released.

Called to encourage,

And make all things right;

Choose lift others up,

In purpose, unite.

Brothers and sisters,

Be filled with His joy;

His presence remains,

As Love’s given voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to rejoice, restore, encourage, unite and be at peace with the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked the love to do these things with those who challenge us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the God of all, and You love each of Your created, fiercely. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, unites, restores, and brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in all things and seek You to empower us to do all that You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Gather With Gladness

Every day they met together in the temple and ate in their homes. They shared food with gladness and simplicity. – (Acts 2:46, CEB)

The believers shared a common purpose, and every day they spent much of their time together in the temple area. They also ate together in their homes. They were happy to share their food and ate with joyful hearts. – (Acts 2:46, ERV)

 

I love the value that was placed on community in the early church. There is nothing that brings people together better than sharing a meal with joy and generosity. When those around us who are united in purpose come together as family, the joy that is discovered in fellowship over a meal is multiplied. Each summer, my church creates opportunity for family connect groups. These groups meet one evening a week for a meal at a host home during the month of August, as new friendships are discovered and relationships are formed. My first connect group of the year begins this evening, and I am reminded of the early church as I prepare to go. Though I know not who will be in attendance, I anticipate joy and gladness as we gather in grace to share a meal together. May we ever seek opportunities to gather together with those around us, and meet with others to share a meal with joy – as God so often uses such circumstances to form friendships He intended to occur all along.

 

Actively look for, Welcome Boxes 1

People that we know;

To join together,

So His grace may flow.

With hearts full of joy,

May we freely share;

What we’ve been given,

So all know You care.

May our hearts be filled,

As we share a meal;

Joy overflowing,

His way is ideal.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that You call us to continue to do what the early church did – to gather together to worship and to share meals and fellowship together. Forgive us for isolating ourselves and not plugging into the community to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to go where You call and invite others to share time and fellowship and food with us. Show us how to love well the people that You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather together with gladness. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

What We Have In Christ

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

In Christ, we are given out of the abundance of who He is – His comfort, His love, His Spirit, His mercy, His kindness, His tenderness and His compassion. If we receive and appreciate all that we are given, we too, should go and do likewise. Our love for Christ is best expressed through how we love one another. If we walk united in purpose, and agree to love one another as He loves us, joy is found and our faith is sound. May we go forth today united in purpose, and love as He first loved us.

Such encouragement,Hearts of Thanks

found in Christ the Lord;

His comfort granted,

and grace He affords.

Gift of His Spirit,

kindness, mercy too;

all gifts He gives us,

as we are made new.

Let us be tender,

compassionate, kind;

love as one body,

one spirit, one mind.

For if we choose love,

as He first loved us;

the world will know,

the joy of Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the encouragement that You provide when we are united with You. Thank You that You grant us the comfort of Your love, Your tenderness and compassion, Your mercy and grace, and in You, we may go and do likewise as one body if we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not seeking to invest in the body, or for choosing to serve our own selfish ambitions, rather than love as You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be tender, kind, compassionate, merciful and full of Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are encouraged through our unity in You to go forth and do all that You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Creating Bonds in the Body

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:25-26)

 

First and foremost, we are called to be a part of the body of Christ. We were created for relationship with God and with people. His intention was not for us to hide out with a few fellow like-minded souls for His sake, but rather to invest in the bigger body of Christ. We are called to contribute the gifts that He has placed in each of us, and to love and care for one another, despite our differences. Our hearts ought to celebrate the strengths of our sisters and brothers, not become points of envy nor contention. When someone is suffering, we are invited to walk beside them and extend our strength and support, and as one is honored, we are meant to rise up and rejoice alongside them in their accomplishments. Unity in the body comes as we live life together – in sorrow and in celebration. As we are able to be real with one another, we are creating bonds in the body as Christ intended. May we go forth this day in faith, with genuine concern for the body of believers around us. Let our hearts be united in purpose as we seek to serve Him well.

 

Let not division,Creating Bonds in the Body

find way enter in;

for though we’re many,

we are all for Him.

No gift is greater,

but all are the same;

granted by Jesus,

to spread His great Name.

Build up the body,

united in Him;

grieve when there’s mourning,

rejoice when they win.

Walk with each other,

united in love;

as God intended,

our hope from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with different gifts for different roles to build Your church. Thank You that no role nor gift is greater than another in Your eyes. Thank You that You ask us to love one another the same – to suffer with the suffering and to rejoice with those who are honored. Forgive us for seeing ourselves as less than or greater than we ought to, and help us to focus all of our attention on what we can accomplish for You and in You, rather than anything that is focused on self. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may operate in the light of Your love. Lead us to love well, so that we may invest in the lives of those around us. Show us how we are to grieve with those in mourning and celebrate with those who are rejoicing. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we seek to honor You in all that we say and do. Be glorified, O God, as we live and love as Your body of believers. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Unity of the Spirit

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3)

 

Make daily, an earnest attempt, to be united in one purpose, empowered by the Holy Spirit, Who holds together and seals our state of order as we follow our Heavenly Father’s good and perfect plan for our lives. God wants us to work together with fellow believers, to be His body. Our charge is to be the church, so that lives may be touched and communities changed. Both are only possible if we are choosing to be united in purpose, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and direct us as we go. May He equip our every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit, as we pursue His bond of peace.

 

Seek the Lord daily,Unity of the Spirit

to find unity;

only by His strength,

can peace flow from me.

He grants us order,

plants community;

in hearts that seek Him,

that choose to believe.

Trust in His leading,

for His ways are good;

all things together,

as one, understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united by Your Spirit, and that You equip us to be bound together as one in You, by Your peace. Thank You that Your plans for us are good, and that they include us working together with members of a body of believers. Forgive us for seeking to do things in our own strength, or for neglecting to be united peacefully with the body of believers. Teach us to allow You to reign and rule in our hearts and lives, so that Your peace may pour out upon each relationship we invest in, and may Your love through us be evident to all. Let those who are looking, find a lasting relationship with You forever. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let his sing songs of praise. – James 5:13