Shared Strength in the Struggle

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

 

Yesterday was just one of those days. From my own children fighting on the way to school and work, to students struggling behaviorally all day long, by the time the bell rang to signify the close of the school day, I was exhausted. A few colleagues extended kind and encouraging words as I sought solutions to make preparations to alleviate the difficulties that I could control within my own classroom. Upon returning home, I was greeted by listening ears, that were supportive and solution-oriented. The boys all had work or activities to occupy their evening, so a bonus date night was bestowed upon me. Treasured time to relax and connect were exactly what my heart needed most, and the burden that had weighed so heavily upon me at the end of my school day, had now been lifted and replaced with fresh resolve. Love, help and support make a world of difference to the bearer of burdens, and doing such, is walking in obedience to Christ. May we ever extend help or a listening ear to those who are struggling, for doing so lightens the load and is an act of loving obedience, according to God’s good and perfect will.

 

May we choose to walk,10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

With eyes open wide;

Aware of struggles,

And come alongside.

Draw near to hurting,

Burdened or in need;

Help carry the weight,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

For as we draw near,

To help each other;

Burdens become light,

And grace discovered.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to carry burdens nor struggle alone. Thank You for the people whom You place in our lives that come along side us, and those whom we are meant to walk beside. Forgive us for not reaching out to those we see in the struggle, or for pretending all is well when it is not. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than any difficulty we face, and You never leave us nor forsake us. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us in a way that lightens the load they are bearing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we both reach out to give and readily receive Your mercy that is new every morning. Amen.

 

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

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

 

 

Called to Communicate

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. – (Colossians 4:2, NLT)

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. – (Colossians 4:2, CEB)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

 

Prayer is our petition and praise presented to our Provider. We are called to be in constant communication with our Creator. God designed us with relationship in mind. Like any relationship, if there is not ongoing communication of some sort, a divide of distance, time and disconnect begins to grow. Being devoted to prayer is an ongoing commitment to communicate with Christ. As we choose to be intentional to pray, we become more aware of reasons to give thanks and come to value our ability to speak to the living God whenever and however we wish. He is good and He hears our every prayer. Each word whispered in the hollows of our heart to those which we cry out aloud. May we keep on praying, ever aware of the One to whom we pray, with our hearts overflowing with praise.

 

Help us keep praying,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Guard our heart and mind;

May we ever seek,

For in You, we find.

Reason to give praise,

For Your faithfulness;

The more we know You,

More we know we’re blessed.

Blessed with Your courage,

Presence as You stay;

Wisdom to choose well,

And walk in Your way.

Faithful forever,

Unending, Your grace;

Peace ever present,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray, and to protect our prayer with praise. Thank You that there is always reason to give You praise, even on our darkest days. Forgive us for our lack of communication with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You first, being mindful that You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude that springs forth from our constant communication with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give You praise, protecting the power that we find in Your presence as we are faithful to be in an ongoing, invested relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

Pursuing What is Right

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who want to do right more than anything else. – (Matthew 5:6, ERV)

How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness. – (Matthew 5:6, TPT)

 

As we pursue God’s best for us, we find He is faithful to meet us. God’s presence assures, His love endures, and His grace is far greater than we could ask or imagine. Blessings come when we are aware of the work of God in and around us. He is good and He endows the seeking with His presence and His grace, and makes His nearness known throughout all of our days. May we ever crave to do what is right, as our Savior surrounds us with His presence and provision to pursue His path.

 

Help us to pursue, pursuing what is right

All that’s good and right;

For each who does so,

Becomes God’s delight.

Ever He’s faithful,

To all those who choose;

To seek the Lord’s best,

For grace and breakthroughs.

So, let us rise up,

With hearts full of praise;

Pursue the Lord’s best,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue righteousness, we discover the blessings that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way without seeking, or have neglected the direction that You have provided. Teach us how to come to You in trust and to follow all that You are asking. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the blessings found in Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path of righteousness that You have prepared for us to follow. Amen.

 

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

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

 

 

Blot Out Barriers to Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

Selfishness and pride are both barriers to love. To love others as we are called to love, we have to take a genuine interest in people and care about their lives. As we set aside self and allow our focus to becomeotherly, pride is dispelled and love flows freely. This is not to say that goals are not good, but rather we ought to look to discover how we are best able to help others succeed in their goals as we work toward that which we too are pursuing. May we worry less about what we can attain or achieve on our own, and instead set our sights on how we might love others well.

 

Lord, help us to keep, Blot Out Barriers to Love

Aware of others;

May our hearts know well,

Sisters and brothers.

Remove within us,

Pride and selfishness;

And teach us to love,

With true tenderness.

Show our hearts the way,

To love and invest;

To put others first,

And support them best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others in the same way that You love us. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that prevent us from investing in the lives of those around us. Teach us how to place others above ourselves in a way that encourages and values people, without losing our own sense of purpose in the process. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside the parts of ourselves that withhold or withdraw, and move forward with open hearts and arms, set to support and serve. Amen.

 

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

 

To Rest and Recharge

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

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. Though I easily woke at the typical time, the more I moved around, the more I became aware of my own weariness from my lack of sleep the night prior. After doing my devotional reading, and even determining which verse stood out to me, I was struggling to stay alert as my fingers kept missing the keys they were aiming for on the keyboard. Thinking perhaps a shower would help, I set aside finishing my reflecting and writing, and went downstairs. However, after that, my head felt heavy, and all I wanted to do was lie down; so, I did. At first, I thought a short “power nap” would do, but soon discovered that my body really needed real rest. What I realized is that He was providing me time to recharge, as God did not demand that I finish writing, and that He was ready to grant me the rest needed if I would only slow down and just rest. The extra hour plus of sleep that I gained yesterday morning carried me through a full day of meetings, followed by a long union meeting in a hot high school gym to learn about and vote upon our newly proposed teaching contract. The vote was ratified and our district is pleased to have a nearly unanimous “Yes” vote on the new three-year contract. I went to sleep easily, knowing that hope in Him and the rest I’d found had carried me through a day that would have otherwise been difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to be our rest, for our hope comes from Him alone.

 

When weariness comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need to find rest;

In Christ, choose recharge,

For His grace is best.

The Source of all hope,

On God we depend;

As His love for us,

Does not know an end.

So, ever choose seek,

The Lord God above;

Our hope and our rest,

He grants us in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and love. Thank You that You see us and know us, and are ever ready to grant us the rest and hope that we need. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize our own spaces of need or for neglecting to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our grantor of hope and rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides the help and hope that is needed to lighten hearts and loads, and ultimately draw people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You, our holder of hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

The Hand of Blessing

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, VOICE)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

Though there are disappointments and struggles (as it is a part of human existence), I am acutely aware of God’s bountiful hand of blessing in my life. Through the most trying seasons, He has gone before me and been behind me, and His hand was gently upon me. Never, even on the worst of days, did I feel as if I were on my own. Yesterday, marked one more step towards the fulfillment of this beautiful forward momentum that He has set into place in my life. My fiancé and I received the keys to our new home and were able to go and get started on a bit of yard work, despite having each worked full days, with responsibilities to attend to in the evening. We have been given the gift of time, as we have just the right amount for he and his son to move into our new home after his son’s graduation, time for my boys and me to gradually move things over as we can, and the flexibility in my rental agreement to not move in completely until the day we all depart for Wenatchee for the wedding. May we ever remember Who surrounds us and prepares the way, as He imparts blessings upon us by His love.

 

Before me You go, img_20180531_191403_1463527364648733055004.jpg

In love, make a way;

You follow behind,

Ever near You stay.

Your great hand of love,

It rests upon me;

As You grant blessings,

So abundantly.

Though trials will come,

I need never fear;

For Your love’s greater,

And Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and behind us and You place Your hand of blessing upon us. Thank You that You prepare the way ahead and protect us from the harm of what has past. Forgive us for not recognizing Your presence and Your blessings in our lives. Teach us to have open eyes and open hearts so that we would be ever aware of Your presence and Your hand in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that imparts abundant blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and thank You for Your hand of blessing in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Confident Hope

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. – (Jeremiah 17:7, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, TLB)

 

God is faithful, even when our faith waivers based on what we see. However, the more we trust in Him in spite of what we think we know, the more we begin to become aware of just how much His blessings flow. We can either be confident in Christ or confident in other things. Sadly, a third option seems to be to be confident and hopeful in nothing. When days are long and things get difficult, I have to remember where my hope truly lies. If I begin to focus on what I see, I start to lose heart, rather than recognize the bountiful blessings that I already hold. Our perspective shifts as we trust the One who holds us in His hands. May we ever trust the Lord and place our confidence in He who is worthy of all of our trust, as He blesses those who truly trust in Him.

 

Let not our eyesight, Be Full of Joy

Determine our trust;

For God is faithful,

Keeps His word to us.

All that the Lord says,

We can trust is true;

With confident hope,

Know He’ll follow through.

For God is not man,

Where hope may fall flat;

In Him we are blessed,

He’s where all good’s at.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One in whom we can trust and place all of our hope and confidence. Thank You that as we trust in You, we are blessed as we come to know Your faithfulness for ourselves. Forgive us for placing our hope or trust anywhere other than You, or for losing hope when we cannot see Your hand in our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have confident hope in Your faithfulness, knowing that You are true to Your word and will be faithful to do all that You say You will do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find hope in spaces that feel hopeless. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with confident hope, and recognize the blessings of Your faithfulness in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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