Orchestrated Overcoming

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 beyond my understanding how God takes the most difficult or heart-breaking of seasons, events, or circumstances, and uses them to launch us into something far greater than we would have ever thought possible. Not one hurt nor heartache is overlooked, and He leads us through to so much more than we would have envisioned for ourselves. When we choose God and listen to His leading, we find His grace, comfort and love through the trials, and discover the hardest of roads lead to the most beautiful of destinations. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of despair, yet as we cling to Christ, love lights the way through the darkness, and His hand leads and guides us to something new. His new is light, life and love. Dreams are imagined and beauty comes from the ashes we thought would never end. May we ever hold fast to hope in God, as He uses all things for our good as we trust in Him.

 

All things in our lives,

Smiling fields

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Can be used for good;

When given to God,

His love, understood.

Beauty from ashes,

His hope from despair;

God shows us the good,

As His love repairs.

What once overwhelmed,

Darkness that has passed;

Seasons of struggle,

Lead to hope that lasts.

So, let us choose trust,

Find hope in His Name;

For there’s so much more,

Love changes the game.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good, as we trust in You. Thank You that You alone, can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You for the incredible outcomes of so many spaces we thought would be the end of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts during seasons of difficulty. Teach us to trust You more, as we look to You to be our hope and help as we navigate to the new that awaits us on the other side. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends help in the now and hope for all that is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and rely on You, even when we see no possible way for good to come from what we are walking through. Amen.

 

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

 

…”to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” – Isaiah 61:3

Rejoicing Over Rest

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will rest secure. – (Psalm 16:9, NIV)

I’m happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I’m firmly formed. – (Psalm 16:9, MSG)

This is a good life – my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more? – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

As I woke with my mind leaning toward rest, with a bonus hour and a half of sleep this morning, I determined to see where I was to go with the thought. Yesterday was an extended day, with the intention of making student-led conferences possible for all families. Though a long day, it was good, and the reward that follows is a short day today, and a three-day weekend, providing plenty of opportunity for real rest. The sort of rest that refreshes my soul may not sound restful, but long runs with my best running buddy, time celebrating my best friend’s birthday, loads of family time, and time with my church family, are all blessings that await me this weekend and make my heart glad. Knowing that rest is coming provides room to remember all of the reasons that I am grateful for the good that God has granted. May we take time to find joy in the little things, the sweet blessings He bestows upon us through the people He has placed in our lives.

 

My heart will find joy,img_2018-11-09_06-09-462423785359695814316.jpg

And my body rest;

Who could ask for more,

As my life is blessed.

Blessed well with people,

To walk along side;

Who listen and love,

In whom I confide.

All thanks be to God,

From whom blessings flow;

Who grants us each rest,

The good things we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessings You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your rest that restores our joy and reminds us of what matters most. Forgive us for not seeking You when we are weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need and are the joy within us, no matter what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and provides rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for providing the rest we need when we need it most. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Peace Through Understanding

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. – (1 Peter 3:8, NRSV)

So, all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. – (1 Peter 3:8, TLB)

 

We are called to live together in peace. To do so, we must try to understand one another. Understanding does not mean that we agree with every viewpoint and perspective that another holds, but rather that we hear and respect them, and choose to love as family with humility and kindness. Love is not meant to have limits. Our call is not to just love those who view the world as we do, nor show kindness to only those who are kind to us. Rather, we are invited and equipped to love others with kindness and humility, without conditions. The remarkable result of truly seeking to understand one another, is so often a new perspective and respect for that which would have not otherwise been known is discovered. God is good, and He calls us to good things. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and strength to love one another with tender hearts and humble minds, in such manner we may come to understand one another and live together in peace.

 

We are all called forth,

Peace Through Understanding

To love and be kind;

Seek understanding,

Heart, spirit and mind.

For love in this way,

Promotes lasting peace;

Sense of belonging,

Family increased.

Trust in His goodness,

Go forth in His grace;

Love with compassion,

Build lasting safe space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live at peace with one another. Thank You that as we seek You and rely on Your grace and strength, You equip us with kindness and humility to love those around us well. Forgive us for not investing nor seeking to understand others in a way that leads to peace. Teach us to listen so others feel heard and known. Show us how to love in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to form family wherever we are planted, through kindness, humility and grace. Let Your lavish love show us the way. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Run for the Prize

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. – (1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV)

You know that in a race all the runners run, but only one runner gets the prize. So run like that. Run to win! – (1 Corinthians 9:24, ERV)

We all know that when there’s a race, all the runners bolt for the finish line, but only one will take the prize. When you run, run for the prize. – (1 Corinthians 9:24, VOICE)

 

As I considered this verse and how road races work today, there is a real analogy that can be connected. In modern running, if a runner completes the course within the designated time limit (which is usually quite generous) they will receive a finisher’s medal to commemorate the accomplishment of having run their race. The actual race winner does win a prize, but all who finish, do gain something good. Jesus made the way for us to run our own race on the path to which He calls us. For all of us who choose to call on His Name and seek to serve Him (run the race that He has set before us) we will gain our heavenly prize. I am so thankful that we need not be that fastest, the most eloquent of speakers, the holiest or whatever our image of “the most qualified” would be, but rather our prize awaits when we choose to seek and depend on He who gives us direction and strength to run. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, seeking His strength and direction, so that we will run the race set before us well.

 

To run our race well, IMG_3094

It takes choosing trust;

Seek God for the strength,

To do what we must.

He’ll show us the way,

We are meant to go;

And give us the strength,

To stay the right road.

If we keep running,

And listen to Him;

Life everlasting,

Is the prize we win.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for all who seek to run the race to which You are calling, can complete it in Your strength. Thank You that You grant us strength and direction all of our days if we choose to seek You. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to run aimlessly on our own. Show us how to trust You to lead and guide us as we go. Teach us to love those around us well, so that we would be a source of encouragement, strength and direction in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction to run our race for our forever prize in Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Press On Toward the Prize

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. – (Philippians 3:13, ERV)

No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – (Philippians 3:13, TLB)

 

This is a goal to keep in mind as we pursue a life in Christ. If we keep dwelling on the past, we prevent ourselves from moving forward. However, when we make the choice to let go of what lies behind us, and rather, look forward to that which lies ahead, all of our energy and strength is focused in a forward direction. Progress and growth occur when we set our sights ahead. In Christ, our ultimate forward focus is heaven. We can have a heavenly mindset as we fix our eyes on the Lord and choose to love as we are loved by Him. Though not one of us has “arrived” yet, we can ever press on toward the prize, and continue to live out our days with our hearts set on His ways. May we let go of the past that hinders us, and press forward in faith, trusting in the goodness and love that lies ahead in the Lord.

 

Brothers and sisters,Delivering Dreams

All seeking the Lord;

Press on toward the prize,

Heaven’s the reward.

Let go of the past,

All that weighs us down;

Place all in His hands,

It’s where we are found.

Press on toward the prize,

No matter the fight;

The work is worth it,

To do what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can let go of our past sin, mistakes and failures, and move forward toward all that lies ahead in You. Forgive us for forgetting what ultimately matters when the weight of the world bears down on our shoulders. Teach us to lean into You, so that we would let go of the past and press forward to all that You have waiting as we walk forward in faith with You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may let go of what is behind them and move forward toward all of the good that You have waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of our past fears and failures, and move forward toward all that awaits in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our 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

He Speaks in the Silence

He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. – (2 Kings 4:33, NLT)

 

Elisha modeled how we are meant to pray. So often, life is jam-packed with distractions that keep us from hearing the voice of the Lord when we come before Him.

“One of the reasons we need a quiet place to pray is because God’s answers are often quiet. We must be still in order to follow His lead.” – (Adventurous Prayer)

It is only in the hearing that we are able to begin doing that which we are called to do. If we don’t listen, how can we learn? If we don’t learn, how can we be led? May we be intentional to find a quiet space in our day where we can spend solo time in prayer, so that we may clearly hear His leading in all things.

 

As we come to pray,Anxious for Answers

Let’s find quiet space;

So we better hear,

His love and His grace.

Though in a whisper,

His answers are clear;

He makes the way known,

If we seek to hear.

Let every heart,

With longing, come seek;

He’s gentle and kind,

Gives strength to the weak.

A new life awaits,

Those who seek shall find;

Ask and He answers,

Gives new hope defined.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire time spent in communication with us, where our focus is entirely on You. Forgive us for not getting ourselves quiet before You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, so that we are still in Your presence, creating opportunity to hear what You have to speak to our hearts. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to be alone before You in silence, so that we may better hear Your heart. 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

 

 

Eternity in Our Hearts

Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. – (1 John 5:12, ERV)

 

To have the Son of God in our lives is to have eternity held in our heart. For when we welcome the Lord into our lives, He comes and helps us hold a hope for that which is yet to come. All of eternity awaits ahead of us, where there will be no more heartache or suffering nor pain. Peace and joy, light, love and praise, will be constantly present as we bask in the beauty of His presence. I am thankful that we get glimpses even now, as we live out our lives with Him. The rising sun, light reflecting on water, the laughter of a child, a tender smile, the majesty of the mountains – all around us we see the evidence of His hand, and the reason that we ought to let His love lead us in our lives. May we embrace the life that the Lord offers through the gift of His Son, so that all might have life in Him.

 

Wherever we look,IMG_2491

His handprints are clear;

The God way out there,

Is ever so near.

Whomever invites,

The Lord to come lead;

Gains life, love and hope,

And all that they need.

For He is faithful,

And true to His word;

In Him we can trust,

Have faith undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we can have life forever in You. Thank You for light and life, love and hope. Forgive us for taking the amazing grace that You have given us for granted. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would treasure all that You are, and share what we have been given with those around us. Help us to love others well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the life that we have been given through Your Son. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

 

Steps for the Seekers

The naïve are heirs to foolishness, but the clever are honored with insight. – (Proverbs 14:18, VOICE)

 

This evening will be a unique experience for me. As a teacher, I have attended my school’s 8th grade celebration/graduation numerous times over the past nineteen years, yet tonight will be the first time in that my role is both as a parent and a teacher. My boys are finishing up their final days of middle school. It is bittersweet, as I have loved having them with me each morning and afternoon on the way to and from school, and there is a certain comfort in knowing that your own children are present on the campus on which you teach. That being said, they are ready for more. Neither of them has allowed themselves to get caught up in the foolishness of which some of their peers partake, and consequently, they have gained great insight and earned good grades, preparing them for that which lies ahead. Although I will miss their daily presence, I am excited to see all that awaits them in their high school experience and beyond. May we each embrace every opportunity for growth that is placed before us, so that we would operate in a space of His wisdom, rather that from our own foolishness.

 

Those who are clever,photo (5)

Are rewarded well;

Insight is granted,

In wisdom they’ll dwell.

With feet both planted,

Secure on the ground;

Future before them,

Their path has been found.

It’s about moving,

Where you’re meant to go;

For that is how we,

Each learn and we grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and we are rewarded with wisdom and insight through our seeking. Thank You for all of the young people who have earnestly sought You, as they are preparing for next steps in their lives – so many transitioning from elementary school to middle school, middle school to high school, high school to college or work, and beyond. Thank You that whatever the transition, You are present and leading. Forgive us for forgetting how big You are, and give us the strength to trust You more with the next steps for our progeny. Show us how to continue to lead them well, and help us to love those around us in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and insight in all of our next steps. Amen.

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

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