Blessed are the Merciful

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others. Mercy will be given to them. – (Matthew 5:7, ERV)

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being “care-full”, you find yourselves cared for. – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

 

As a teacher, extending mercy is a necessary part of my job. Often, the extension of a listening ear after an offense, provides opportunity to redirect with kindness and compassion, rather than a knee-jerk reaction that may feel warranted. Last semester, I had a few challenging classes. One class in particular, was especially trying most days. Each day, I chose to start fresh, and hoped for better than the day prior. I wish I could say it all ended up “roses”, but until the final day, it was a struggle that required His strength. This week has marked the beginning of a new semester and new groups of students. My new classes have a very different feel than the last, and I am encouraged as I enjoy the new. That being said, two of my most difficult students last semester, have made a point to come say hello on the way to their final class of the day each day this week. They come to my door, where I greet students as they arrive, look longingly into my classroom, and tell me that they miss my class. I am fairly certain that the blessing in hearing from these cherubs, comes as a result of them knowing that I cared, despite their struggle to behave. God is merciful to us. We have been given grace and forgiveness that we do not deserve. As we are called to do likewise, may we fix our eyes and hearts on Him. Blessings come in curious ways when we choose to extend mercy.

 

Great blessings belong, Shackles No More

To the merciful;

For we’ve been given,

God’s grace, plentiful.

Favor unfounded,

No punishment due;

May we too extend,

Mercy that makes new.

New to discover,

The right way to go;

Blessings uncovered,

As forgiveness grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of mercy that Your pour out to us, as You forgive and teach us the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy where we should. Give us Your eyes to see and Your heart to understand, so that we will be merciful as You are to us. Show us how to love those around us through mishaps and shortcomings, and teach us what mercy ought to look like in the circumstances we encounter each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to extend mercy in the same way that You so generously grant mercy to us. Amen.

 

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

Do not withhold Your mercy from me, Lord; may Your love and faithfulness always protect me. – Psalm 40:11

Trust is Greater than Fear

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. – (Proverbs 29:25, NLT)

Fear can be a trap, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, ERV)

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. – (Proverbs 29:25, MSG)

 

Fear is a funny thing; it can prevent us from becoming the very person that God intended us to be. Incredibly, when we walk forward in faith, despite our fear, God meets us and leads us to the places we are meant to go. We grow bolder in our becoming, and discover so much more than we ever knew before. As we place our trust in God, rather than allow human opinion to adjust our sails, we discover the fullness and blessing beheld in all that He has for us. The joy and blessing found on the other side of fear are well worth the walk of faith. God has good in store for us. Often, we have to “climb the mountain” to arrive at the place where we are best able to appreciate the incredible view. May we release all fear into Your hands, trusting You to keep us safe.

 

Help us to not fear, The Favor of Forgiveness

For all that fear does;

Stop our momentum,

Trap us in what was.

But, trusting in God,

Our protection plan;

As He leads and guides,

Grants us strength to stand.

So, choose to fear not,

And trust in the Lord;

Keep moving in faith,

As grace He’ll afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us past our fears. Thank You that as we bring our fears to You, You take them and grant us strength and safety to keep moving in the direction to which You have called. Forgive us for allowing fear to paralyze us and prevent us from being who You designed us to be or doing the things intended for us alone. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would face our fears with faith, as faith fuels our fight to keep forging forward. Show us how to love those around us in a way that eases fears and strengthens faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our fears in Your hands and trust You to protect us and provide for us as we seek to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – Isaiah 41:13

He Grows Us in Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

And I am sure that God who began a good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. – (Philippians 1:6, TLB) 

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE) 

 

God is not finished with us yet. When we choose to walk with Him, He refines us from the inside out. Our sin and shame are removed, and He shows us how to walk in His way as He grows His grace within us. None of us ever “arrive”, as we all are a work in progress until our final day when we at last meet Him face-to-face. May we rise up and remember that He who began the good work within us will continue to carry it out to completion. 

 

The good God began, He Grows Us in Grace

Is not finished yet; 

Each works in progress, 

Daybreak to sunset. 

It is a process, 

For our whole life long; 

He grows us in grace, 

And makes our hearts strong. 

Refined from within, 

Sin and shame removed; 

Love lavished on us, 

As goodness is proved. 

Let us choose rise up, 

In love, opt do good; 

Rely on His help, 

To do all we should. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who began a good work in us will continue until it is completed on the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You grow us in Your grace so that we may go forth and love as You love us. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to grow Your grace within us so that we are able to love as You call us to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends the same good that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest assured that You will continue to grow Your grace within us as we seek You until we one day see You face-to-face. Amen. 

 

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Sent to Succeed

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” – (Judges 6:14, NLT)

Then the Lord turned to him and said, “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?” – (Judges 6:14, CEB)

 

The story of Gideon reminds us that when God calls us to something, our success will not be based on the strength that we possess, but rather on from whom we have been sent. If God calls us to something, He will also equip us to successfully navigate whatever it is that He has asked of us. Gideon was not a warrior, yet he eventually led a significantly smaller army towards the mighty Midian army, and God provided the way for the Israelites to defeat the Midianites without ever even engaging in combat. What seems impossible in our eyes, is entirely possible to God. May we seek the Lord and His strength, and trust in Him to provide all that is needed to navigate whatever direction He is calling us to go.

 

We need not focus, Walking on His Path

On the strength we lack;

But rather rely,

On Who has our back.

For when we are called,

We’re also supplied;

With all that we need,

To end goal, arrive.

God calls the faithful,

Not mighty, nor strong;

For all He’s sending,

His help shall belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when You send us, You provide whatever we need to get where we are called to go. Forgive us for looking at where we lack within ourselves, instead of seeing the strength and provision that is found in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly go wherever You call, trusting You to provide all that we need to navigate. Show us how to love those around us in a way that instills strength and encouragement where the road has grown challenging. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to provide all that we need to go wherever You call and do whatever You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, Who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Rejoice in the Rain

Rejoice in the Lord your God! For the rain He sends demonstrates His faithfulness. Once more the autumn rains will come… – (Joel 2:23, NLT)

Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

…Shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness… – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

 

It is always a bit bittersweet when the first rains of fall arrive. We have had a long and lovely summer, and I am an outdoor enthusiast. Because the Pacific Northwest is notorious for wet and rainy weather, I cannot help but feel a tug of loss when the rain arrives, as I know that the sweet summer days have come to a close. This verse in Joel is a great reminder for me to celebrate the rain with gratitude, as it has also been a terrible fire season for much of the region. The rain has already helped clear the air of the smoke that hung heavy, and I imagine it will provide much needed aid in ending the fires that have been raging across our corner of the country. In every season there is reason to rejoice in the faithfulness of God, and autumn rains and their cleansing nature are certainly one of them. May we rise up with joy and give thanks to God, for He is faithful in every season, and the autumn rains are another reminder of how He demonstrates His faithfulness to us.

 

Rejoice in the rain, No Matter What Comes

That God sends our way;

With joy, give Him thanks,

For each brand-new day.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Comes in autumn rain;

It washes things clean,

Makes all new again.

And where there’s been drought,

He brings to an end;

As the Lord in love,

His rain He does send.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness in each new season. Thank You for the autumn rains that bring refreshing, cleansing and water that is much needed for so many. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude for Your provision. Teach us to see new seasons through Your eyes, so that we would recognize the blessing and faithfulness that You are bestowing upon us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that showers them with blessings to end the drought in their thirsty hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in Your faithful provision of the autumn rains, and recognize the refreshment and healing that they provide. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Faithful to Finish

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – (Philippians 1:6, NLT)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

There has never been a doubt in my mind that God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day that Christ Jesus appears. – (Philippians 1:6, MSG)

 

What God begins in us, He will be faithful to finish – even if it seems to be a very slow and labor intensive process. God loves us as we are, wherever we are at, but His love is too great to leave us that way. He takes the good and makes it better, and meets us in our most broken and wounded places and begins to mend and restore and bring beauty where there was once only ugly and injury. If we are willing to allow Him in, He often will take what we perceive to be our most worrisome weakness, and utilize it somehow to magnify His majesty as we rely on His strength. May we ever seek the Lord and trust Him, as He is faithful to finish all that He has begun both in us and through us.

 

God, He is faithful,IMG_3268

For what He begins;

He will continue,

Persist to the end.

Each good work started,

Will continue on;

Until it’s finished,

And old ways are gone.

So ever seek Christ,

And allow Him move;

As His will is done,

And His goodness proved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the good work You begin in us will continue until it is finished when You return. Thank You that none of us “arrive” or get it right all of the time, yet You are good and full of grace, ever loving us and drawing us nearer to You still. Forgive us for not seeking You in the places we need You most. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place in our lives to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love that works within us to finish every good work that has been started by You. 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

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

Stability in the Unsettled

For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. – (Isaiah 55:9, NLT)

 

It is really easy to look at what is, and predict what should be. Based on what is seen, all indicators seem to point in a particular direction. However, that is not necessarily the case in God’s economy. His plans are far greater than ours, and the road to arrive at His next destination for us, is nearly never the one we planned to take. There are twists and turns, bumps and obstacles, yet incredible views along the way. What we learn as we journey according to His plan, grows our faith and refines our character. Each new leg that we travel, there is a learning curve for trust in Him. The beauty in being His children is that He is for us, and we know that our final destination is glorious beyond our comprehension. As we go, we need to trust that God has us in His hands, and that His ways are higher than ours. May we move forward in confidence, trusting that the Lord is for us regardless of what we see.

 

No matter what comes,Sense in Storms

We need never fear;

God’s ways are higher,

And He remains near.

Despite what we see,

God is in control;

He knows where we’ve been,

And where we’re to go.

So trust in the Lord,

And all of His ways;

For He lifts us up,

Stays present, always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts, higher than ours. Thank You that You hold us in the palm of Your hands. Forgive us for our lack of faith when what we see is so unsettled. Teach us to trust You in spite of what lies before us, and help us hold fast to the unwavering truth of who You are, and how You love. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that we may provide stability and truth in unsettled and shaky surroundings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your ways and Your thoughts, as they are far higher than ours. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Invested in Instruction

I will fix my mind on Your instructions and my eyes on Your path. – (Proverbs 6:15, VOICE)

I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. – (Proverbs 6:15, NLT)

 

One of the best ways to better know God, is to spend time in His word. As I fix my mind on His instructions and the path He places before me, more and more of who He is become clear. His capacity to love and His concern for us individually, becomes all the more evident when we draw near to Him. Because God is so great, we never “arrive”. The capacity for learning through spending time studying His word is endless. Each time we invest our hearts and minds into seeking to better understand His will for us, the Lord will reveal something new. May we never stop fixing our minds on His instructions nor quit reflecting on His ways.

 

Each day as I rise, photo (11)

I’ll fix eyes on You;

For time in Your word,

Makes mind and heart new.

The Lord’s instructions,

Shall make our path clear;

If we choose silence,

So that we may hear.

Reflect on His heart,

His mercy and grace;

His clear commandments,

To walk in His way.

It’s not about rules,

But rather, His love;

If we love like Christ,

The Lord’s lifted up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word that we can study. Thank You that You provide instructions for us, that point us on Your path for our lives. Thank You that when we invest time in Your word and seek You for answers, You are faithful to answer and show us the way. Forgive us for not seeking nor reflecting on the truth of Your word. Help us to invest ourselves more to fixing our minds on Your instructions and our eyes on Your path. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may be pointed to the path of eternal life in You. Be glorified O God, as we study Your commands and reflect on Your ways, so that we may do what You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Trust With Every Step

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5, ERV)

 

This morning as I woke, these were the first thoughts that came to mind. Typically, my mind races with my “To Do List” for the day as I rise, rather than God’s word, so I knew that the Lord was waking me with a reminder of what I am meant to do, and how He will be my help. Today, I am called to trust Him with all that I am, and not merely rely on my own understanding. I must choose to submit to the Lord and His ways, and as I do, He will show me which way I am meant to go. Though I imagine this was intended to provide peace to my heart and mind regarding my appointment with the specialist this afternoon, it applies to all things in my life. As I wake my children and seek to best prepare them for state testing so that they are alert and confident as they go; when I arrive at school and proctor the same tests with my students; and even on my drive into the city for my appointment – in all these things, His path is far greater than my own, and I will choose to trust Him. May we place all of our trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding, but in all of our ways let us submit unto Him, and He shall make plain our paths.

 

Let’s trust in the Lord,Break Camp and Move Out

With all that we are;

Submit to His will,

Our bright Morning Star.

For He’s always good,

He makes the path plain;

If we seek His way,

And allow Him reign.

Let not what we see,

Nor what our ears hear;

Determine the truth,

Or leave us in fear.

No matter what comes,

Far greater is God;

He’ll lead and guide us,

Show which path to trod.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You with all that we are and submit to You, leaning not on our own understanding, You show us every step that we are meant to take so that our path is made plain. Forgive us for depending on our own understanding, rather than trusting You completely. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are the One who sees and knows the way we should go to have the very best possible outcome. Show us how to love others well, so that we are living examples of faith in action. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the faithfulness that is found in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You completely, and depend on You with every step that we take. 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