Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Be Devoted in Love

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

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. – (Romans 12:10, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as last night, I hit a breaking point. I was frustrated with my sixth-grade students’ seeming lack of buy-in or concern about what we needed to review while I was present in the classroom, there was some sort of flying ant infestation in the backroom off of my classroom, leaving me with stragglers randomly buzzing about the room and landing wherever they chose, my scheduled run – cancelled, a stack of tests that I worked on tirelessly, yet felt as if I barely made a dent in, and then, after I had thrown in the towel and gone to bed, received a phone call from the hospital where mom is, asking if so-and-so could go in and visit mom at 8:30 pm. I nearly snapped. Mom is exhausted by 5:00 pm, and is in bed, ready to sleep, long before 8:30. Though I imagine the individual had the very best of intentions, we have requested NO VISITORS, except our immediate family and the very few friends who already know who they are (whom my sister and I know VERY well). It simply would cause a setback rather than be beneficial, as she must get her rest. I promise we will let everyone know WHEN she is ready and available for visitors. That being said, there were many wonderful things that took place yesterday to report. My art classes were terrific, I had a great time running a few errands with one of my boys, we were able to sit down together as a family for dinner, and I was on the phone with my sister and mom when mom spontaneously decided to lift her right leg in the air and then bend her knee. Megan asked her to repeat it, and she did! This means that her quad is now cooperating as well, and she is that much closer to having regained control in her right leg of the muscles required to walk again!

Our fierce protection of mom’s rest and space is out of devotion and love. She wants to be restored, and restoration comes through both hard work and rest. We are learning that we are willing to do whatever we are able to do, to give mom every opportunity to heal. Each leap of faith that we have taken, God has met us and held us up in His hands. As we continue to press forward toward moving mom home next week, the rigor of her therapies continues to increase, in order to best prepare for all that lies ahead. Once home, the therapy sessions will come to mom, rather than her to them. Her days will likely be just as rigorous; yet, the switch to the comfort and familiarity of her own home ought to provide more automatic responses and far more room to rest.

Please join us in praying for continued miracles in her healing, preparation of her home and heart for transition, and for all that is needed – body, heart, mind and soul, to thrive in her own space. May we ever depend on the Lord to help us be devoted to one another in love; honoring others above ourselves.

 

Ever devoted,

img_2019-05-24_04-42-326003441757431962292.jpg

The three of us a few years ago. ❤

A way to choose love;

Close familial bond,

Place others above.

Look past our own wants,

To what others need;

Choose give out of love,

As the Lord does lead.

For He loves us all,

Grace like no other;

Tenderly we’re loved,

Mercy discovered.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what it is to be devoted to one another in love. For You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Forgive us for the times that we worry only about ourselves, rather than those around us. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may have a proper perspective to love according to Your will. Show us how to be devoted in love, and to prefer others in a way that honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we serve and honor You by loving those around us in a way that honors them and considers their needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. – Romans 4:20

To Honor the Dream

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV)

Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV)

You shall not take revenge nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor (acquaintance, associate, companion) as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, AMP)

 

Historically, there have been many groups of people that have had reason to hold a grudge for the wrongs done against them, yet for change to occur, the right to revenge had to be released, and love had to prevail. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a phenomenal example of choosing love, despite his circumstances. Dr. King found ways to bring truth in love, and fight for change through peace. Hate was not his motivation, but rather a heart of love. As a husband, father, minister, leader and spokesperson for civil rights, he let his faith shape the way in which he lived and loved. His words, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”, still remind us of the way in which we ought to choose to live. Be it an acquaintance, an associate, or a companion, may we choose to stick with love; for it is the very way in which we are called to live.

 

The only true way, mlk

To find peace at last;

Is to stick with love,

Let go of the past.

When we choose forgive,

Our hearts are set free;

The burden of hate,

Is far too heavy.

May we stick with love,

And choose to redeem;

Value all people,

And honor the dream.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to rise up and stick with love, despite the barriers and difficulties that have stood before them. Thank You that when we choose love, You move mightily among us. Forgive us for the times that we have held grudges rather than chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stick with love, and not allow the weight of hate to destroy that which You intend for good. Show us how to love every acquaintance, associate and companion as You would have us love ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. May your peace prevail, and love win where hate has tried to reign. Be glorified O God, as we choose love again and again, knowing that You will use every decision of love to bring the dream to further fulfillment. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Commit to Learn and Grow

Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, NLT)

Give yourselves to disciplined instruction; open your ears to tested knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, MSG)

Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed. – (Proverbs 23:12, VOICE)

 

Just as this is both necessary and beneficial in our day to day life, it is essential in the ever-changing world of education. Not only are the needs of our students changing, but so too are the standards and the curriculum from year to year. Without self-discipline, I would not make it through a single day. Time in the word each morning instructs my heart and soul with reminders of how to love well, and ongoing instruction and interaction with intelligent, innovative colleagues, continues to challenge and refine my craft in the classroom. It is imperative that my ears be open to students and colleagues alike, and God’s grace carries me through the most difficult of days. May we ever be committed to receive instruction, as we listen carefully to words of knowledge that come our way.

 

Let each heart commit,The Word of God

To listen and learn;

So knowledge is heard,

And hearts may discern.

A disciplined life,

Attentive, informed;

So through wisdom’s gain,

Lives will be transformed.

Commit to listen,

Let God filter all;

Knowledge shall follow,

To this, we are called.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit ourselves to learn, and listen carefully to instruction, knowledge finds us by Your grace. Thank You that You call us to be well informed and attentive, so that we are aware of the world around us. Forgive us for isolating ourselves or choosing to stay stagnant, when You are calling us to grow. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be committed to learning and growing as we are called by You. Show us how to best develop a disciplined life according to the plan and purpose that You have for us individually. Help us to love others well, so that they too, may come to understand the depth and breadth of You great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we commit ourselves to disciplined instruction, and have our ears open to the words that come from You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28