Born to Bloom

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and unsaved all around us. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TLB)

We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God – a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TPT)

 

As I sat here pondering this verse, the image that came to mind for me is that of beautiful, fragrant flowers. The gardener who tends to the plants to trim, water, fertilize and assure proper light, yields healthy plants that produce sweet scents. Contrarily, those who do not provide that which plants need, discover the scent of death and decay soon emit from the perishing perennials. People are comparable when it comes to our faith. If we invest time in our relationship with our Redeemer, we learn and grow and become more like Him. As we do, the love, grace and kindness we extend, become a sweet scent to our Savior, as well as to those who are seeking something more. However, when we neglect the need for investing time with the very One who created us, we begin to wither and rot, stuck with a stench of angst and impatience, anger and a serious lack of love. May we ever seek the nourishment of our Maker, as He provides the soil, water and light that we need to bloom and become the sweet scent of life to all those around us.

 

The sweet scent of life, born-to-bloom.jpg

Through hope and His grace;

Are what we offer,

As we seek God’s face.

A life invested,

In loving the Lord;

Is grown to produce,

Sweet scent that’s adored.

For loving kindness,

Goodness and His light;

Are grown within us,

As we choose delight.

With all that we are,

May we seek His face;

So, our lives smell sweet,

And extend His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life invested in knowing and following You grows and develops us to give off the sweet scent of hope in You. Thank You that You cultivate this within us as we choose to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting time with You, as You are the One who removes the weeds and provides the water and sunlight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You room to come in and cultivate our lives into the fragrant offering You intended. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them breathe deeply from Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You, and allow You room to grow us so that we can bloom. Amen.

 

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

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

You Lead Us to Rest

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

 

God is our provider and protector. He leads us to places of rest and refreshment and brings restoration when we are depleted. He will lead us and guide us on the right path, if we seek and trust in Him. Our modern-day meadows come as we listen to His leading about rest. At times, we are given an unexpected span of time to rest and allow Him to refresh where we are weary, yet at other times, we have to be intentional to listen to His leading and make time to slow down from our typical race-pace, and just be. It is in these wonderful windows of time and space that we are refreshed and renewed. I love that this illustration in Psalm 23 speaks of green meadows and peaceful streams of water, as so often, getting outside and simply enjoying what He has made, renews strength and recharges what has felt depleted. May we ever rely on our Redeemer, as He provides for our every need. He renews our strength and sets our feet on the right path to show that He is good.

 

O God, my Shepherd,

dsc045002000268283.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I don’t need a thing;

For You provide us,

Most everything.

You lead us to rest,

In meadows of green;

Bring places of calm,

Beside peaceful streams.

You restore our strength,

When ours is all gone;

And show us the way,

We’re meant to walk on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd. Thank You that a shepherd protects and provides for his sheep. Thank You that You lead us to rest in peaceful places and restore our strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You guide us in the way that we are meant to go so that we may bring honor to Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source for rest and strength and direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and intentionally seek You. Show us how to rest in You. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may find rest, strength and direction in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You as our Shepherd who leads, protects and provides for us. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Thirst No More

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. – (John 4:14, NLT)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life through eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

 

Just as we are wired to need water to survive, our spirit within us desperately desires something to quench our thirst. The only One who can truly satisfy what we crave is Jesus. His love and light and life bring fulfillment where we are lacking. In the spaces where we formerly lacked hope, we discover eternal life in Him. The truth of His word becomes a wellspring within us that bubbles up and flows in us and through us to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord and the hope that He holds, for in Him there is light and life and love forever.

 

We are created, No Matter What Comes

With inborn desire;

A thirst for the Lord,

It’s how we are wired.

We all have a need,

To be satisfied;

Natural pursuit,

Of God glorified.

For as we find God,

We shall thirst no more;

His heart within us,

Refreshes, restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that Your word is life that flows within us and through us, granting us secure hope in eternal life with You. Forgive us for seeking to satisfy our thirst anywhere other than in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are light and life and hope, and our thirst is only truly satisfied in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that allows Your goodness to freely flow through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we drink from the water of Your word, and hold fast to the hope we know in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Happy with Hiccups

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



Good is such a relative term. What is good to one, is miserable to another. Sometimes, our perspective matters most in determining if times are good. Right now, I am staying at a beautiful facility in the jungle in Belize as a part of a medical mission team. Many of the team members are dear friends, and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the others as well. The hiccup in this humidity is that there has been no water in the main house where I am staying for the past two days, and consequently, I have not had a shower in as many days. Despite feeling a bit slimy, times truly are good and I am happy to be here in this place, at this time, with these people. May we ever recognize the good that comes from God, and lay hold of the joy that He brings.
As the sun rises,  Happy with Hiccups

There is good to see;

We must make the choice,

In Him, find happy. 

For there will be snags,

Small stealers of joy;

But we have the choice,

His grace, to employ. 

For throughout all things,

And during all times;

God is always good,

And His love we’ll find. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible good that You surround us with every day. Thank You for the joy that is ours for the taking, if we choose joy in You. Forgive us for not recognizing the good all around us, or for allowing small things to bear too much weight in our world. Teach us to trust You more so that we would appreciate the good that You grant us, and exude the joy that is ours in You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy and appreciate the good that You have given. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

It is Well

Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, NLT)

 

It is well with my soul. These are the words that resonated in my heart and mind this morning as I walked beside my dear friend and her coworker at Chamber’s Bay. Overlooking the Puget Sound as the sun finished rising, with the water glasslike and reflecting the puffs of  pristine white clouds, I was awestruck at the wonder of the world around us. When things are good, we are reminded of the blessings that He pours upon us; when they are difficult, He shows us His faithfulness as He remains near and makes His presence known. His unfailing love is constant, so we may find joy throughout our entire journey, regardless of our circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord and draw near each new morning, so that we may know His unfailing love for all of our days.

 

May we look to You,It is Well

Maker of the earth;

Your love unfailing,

Grants us matchless worth.

For as we come know,

How You love us all;

We rise new with joy,

With strength and resolve.

And when the day’s done,

All praise we’ll extol;

Glory to You God,

It’s well with my soul.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You refresh us with Your unfailing love anew every morning, and because of You, we have joy for all of our days. Forgive us for not seeking You or for not recognizing the joy and grace that You impart in us all of our days. Teach us to slow down and take in the view, as You have given us what we need for it to be well with our soul. Show us how to love well, all those around us, especially those in the midst of trials or difficulty and needing help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the unending love that You give. Amen.

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

I have chosen to be loyal to You. I respect Your laws. – Psalm 119:30

Deep Wells from Shallow Graves

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – (John 4:13-14, NIV)

 

When we are dry and thirsty, nothing satisfies our soul but Jesus. In the places where we have died or suffered loss, the Lord’s light and life can come and bring healing and hope that can quench not only our own thirst, but that of those around us.

God takes our shallow graves and turns them into deep wells.

The things that have only just died and are barely buried, are the very things that God will take, if we are willing, and turn them into deep wells.  These are the places where He brings beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. The losses we have suffered are the very spaces where He graces us with His great strength so that others might drink deeply from the hope that is held so clearly in a place that was once buried in darkness. New light and life shine forth to illuminate the way to His deep well, birthed within us.

 

Where hope was once lost,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

Or love scorned and gone;

Lying in ruins,

How can one press on?

Barren in ashes,

Such desolate space;

Nothing left to give,

Desperate for grace.

Yet when we look up,

Our ash at His feet;

Beauty and wisdom,

By His grace, we meet.

The ugliest grave,

Often can become;

The deepest of wells,

For His chosen ones.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us beauty for ashes and hope for despair. Thank You that You are the well that waters our soul so that we are not left dry and thirsty, but rather as we drink deeply of Your word, You spring forth within us, living water that is a deep well to extend to others. Forgive us for our withdrawal when we feel dry and thirsty. Help us to ever seek You, our endless Source of living water, as You refresh and renew our strength and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to depend on You to allow You to take our shallow graves and grow deep wells of living water from where they once lay. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and grace available in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your vessels that continually pour out of the abundance of hope that we have found. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Obey the Impossible

So Moses did as he was told… – (Numbers 20:9a, NLT)

 

Despite the seemingly impossible and at times, absurd, Moses did as the Lord asked. As he did, God moved miraculously to provide for the people. In this particular passage, when Moses struck a rock with his staff, enough fresh water to satisfy all of the people and their livestock in the middle of the desert flowed forth.

There were times that Moses wrestled with obeying the things that God had asked of him, and as a result, he at times, missed out on the fullness of what the Father had for him. The same holds true for us. God does not ask us to do the seemingly impossible or apparently absurd, just to isolate and let us suffer. Rather He calls us to trust so that we might see the mighty move of His hand on our behalf, if only we will trust and allow Him to be God. When we do that which He has called us to do, His provision and purpose present themselves in phenomenal ways. However, when we do not move where we are called, we miss out on what He has prepared. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and then in faith, do as He asks so that we may know the fullness of the Father’s goodness and grace.

 

So often the times,Be Transformed 1

That we’re called to move;

Seem impossible,

Yet His strength shall prove.

In Christ, no mountain,

Shall stand in the way;

When we trust in Him,

There’s strength to obey.

In obedience,

Miracles take place;

God goes before us,

And grants us His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need and more, to walk in obedience to that which we are called. Thank You that You make the impossible, possible in You. Forgive us for our doubts and fears, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to hold fast to the promises of Your presence and provision to all who place their trust in You alone. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see the hope that is found in You alone through how we care for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and obey all that You say, even when it seems completely impossible. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

He Calms the Storms

Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:39, ERV)

He got up, shouted words into the wind, and commanded the waves. “That’s enough! Be still!” And immediately the wind died down to nothing, the waves stopped. – (Mark 4:39, VOICE)

 

Just as Jesus commanded the physical storm to be still as the disciples were attempting to cross to the shore, He will calm the storm in us as we seek to move in the direction to which we are called. It takes but a whisper from His Spirit, and all that is unsettled, suddenly becomes calm. The peace of God can come and comfort us, even when all that is around us is in turmoil or simply does not make sense. His love and comfort, though undeserved, always bring peace to a troubled heart. He who can calm the water and the wind with but a word, can settle the storm within us as well. God is good, and His faithfulness is unending, regardless of what we are experiencing in our own present circumstance. May we seek our Savior who can calm our storms within, and trust Him to bring peace in the places where the waves are overwhelming.

 

Be still my heart Lord,Sense in Storms

from all that’s within;

the wind and the waves,

that I’ve allowed in.

The trembling and fear,

where the unknown dwells;

please speak to it now,

so all shall be still.

It takes but a word,

spoken in Your love;

to settle the storm,

and trust You above.

There’s nothing on Earth,

nor anywhere else;

anyone can run,

to find peace themselves.

Please lead us Lord God,

through storms and in peace;

so we will seek You,

and our faith increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that not only can You calm the storms that surround us with but a word, but You can calm the storms within us and grant us Your peace. Thank You that there are times that the storms continue to rage on, but You whisper to our hearts and we are granted Your peace in spite of the storm. Forgive us for not seeking You, as You are the way to find rest and hope and peace where there seems to be none. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your peace, even in the eye of the storm. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we too may be Your instruments of peace when they are in the throes of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to calm the storms within us, no matter what we see. 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

 

Those Who Trust

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a river bank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that sends out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The Lord blesses those who trust in Him. His blessings come in the form of hope and confidence, even when it seems as if there is no reprieve from our circumstances. When we trust in the Lord, His word becomes deeply rooted and established within us, and provides refreshment as we are reminded of the promises that He has made, even when we are not yet seeing them come to pass. In that space of hope, we are able to do immeasurably more than we could hope or imagine to touch hearts and lives for His glory, simply through our faithful trust and devotion to the Lord, in spite of how things appear. May we choose to trust in the Lord with all that we are, knowing that He will do what He says. Let our unwavering faith, even through difficulties, demonstrate the goodness of God and produce fruit for all to see.

 

The blessings of God,Weighty Words

are granted to those;

who place all their trust,

in the Lord who knows.

Confidence and hope,

are gifts that He plants;

in those who trust Him,

in each circumstance.

Like trees with deep roots,

on a river’s edge;

no heat nor a drought,

will waiver heart’s pledge.

For the heart that trusts,

shall always bear fruit;

despite circumstance,

great faithful pursuit.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, we are blessed with hope and confidence in You. Thank You that You grow our roots deep, establishing Your truth within us, so that when trials come, we can trust in the truth that we already know. Thank You that You use our faithfulness, even in times of trial, to touch the lives of those around us for Your glory. Forgive us for hiding our hurt, or becoming fearful in the fight, as we forget how often You use our trials to touch the lives of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk in transparency in the places where You call us to allow our story to be seen. Show us how to love and care well for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.
Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8