Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

Empowered to Love

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit of God does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This morning, though earlier than my summer schedule, I woke feeling rested and refreshed. Normally, the night before the first day of school is a bit restless, and I struggle to sleep through the night. Perhaps sweet sleep came as a result of long hours invested in preparing my classroom over the last several weeks, with the final push to finish yesterday. Though I do not yet have chairs (hopefully stools) in my classroom, I walked away from school yesterday afternoon, feeling ready to pour into the lives of the kids who come into my class, just as I had poured into preparing the room. Additionally, I feel supported more than I ever have before. Not only do I still have an incredible community – through colleagues, friends, family and church, but I have a husband who is willing to jump in and do the difficult work and provide whatever support I may need. God loves me well, and makes His love tangible through my community. As I am loved, so I am empowered to do the same. May this be a year where each of us are empowered to love and enjoy those whom we are given to teach, fearlessly.

 

We’ve not been given,

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My classroom and favorite painting partner. ❤

A spirit of fear;

For God, in His strength,

Loves as He stays near.

He provides power,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Discipline, passion,

All grace from above.

Lead us in power,

Fearless to love well;

May joy be present,

As doubts He’ll dispel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You empower us with strength, love and self-discipline to walk in Your way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts, as You are our Source and our Supply. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and listen carefully as You lead. Show us how to love those who seem less loveable, as we know You are especially fond of the hard and the hurting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and enjoy each one whom You bring into our care. Amen.

 

 

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

Never tire of loyalty and kindness. Hold these virtues tightly. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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 3:5-6

Assured to Approach

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plans. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

This verse is a great reminder of how God is our loving Father. Just as a parent listens and cares about what we say, the words are only given weight if they are for good and in agreement with what the parent knows is best. God, who is the ultimate Father, knows the potential outcome before we begin. His heart is for our good, and He leads and guides us in the direction that ultimately leads to His glory. That being said, we have a free will, and He will not control us like robots. He allows us to make our own decisions, yet His blessing is present when we pursue things according to His will. Our Heavenly Father knows best, and when we approach Him with a heart that is after His, He hears and leads us in the way we are meant to go. God is good and He wants good for us. May we ever approach God with confidence, trusting that He hears us as our heart is set to walk in His will.

 

We have a Father, Be strong and courageous

Who knows our heart best;

He listens to us,

And provides us rest.

Whatever we ask,

That follows His will;

He hears and He helps,

By grace He fulfills.

So, seek the Lord’s heart,

And ask all of Him;

He hears and He loves,

Granting hope within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our loving Father who knows what is best for us; always. Thank You that we can come to You and ask of You, anything that aligns with Your will and be heard. Forgive us for asking things out of selfish ambition or for not asking when our intent is motivated by love, as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more and help us to ever be motivated to do all things in love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that clearly conveys Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You confidently, trusting that You will hear our heart in all things as we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – Ephesians 3:12

Blessings to the Trusting

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)

Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord. – (Jeremiah 17:7, CEB)

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

 

Saying something and actually walking it out are two entirely different things. Conversations about trusting God come easily, but when the rubber meets the road, the trusting can become a challenge. It is far easier to trust God where we have seen His faithfulness before, yet when we face a new challenge or prepare for a new season, it can feel a bit like cliff diving. The first step is the most difficult, yet once we leap, we have little other choice, but to trust and rely on Him. What I have found to be true is that every single time that I have chosen to trust and rely on Him, He has been faithful to be present and bless me with whatever was needed to navigate the season or situation. God is good and He is near to all who call on His Name. May we ever place our confidence in our Creator and trust Him in all things at all times; for as we do, we discover His bountiful blessings of faithfulness.

 

The blessings of God, Gentleness for the Weary

Come to those who trust;

Who rely on Him,

He’s faithful and just.

May our confidence,

Come from Him alone;

By His loving grace,

His presence is shown.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s faithful to do;

All that He’s promised,

Forever it’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who trust and rely on You. Thank You that Your Word is true and that we can place our hope and confidence in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness or lack of reliance on You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your promise to be present and be our Strength is reason to forever hope in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates trust and confidence in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and rely on You in all things and at all times. 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

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Rest Enters In

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

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

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

 

It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. This time of year, it seems as if days are on fast forward, and there is barely time to breathe. Our hope and strength and rest in this space are found in God alone. When we calm down and turn to God, and in absolute stillness are silent before Him, we become acutely aware of His presence and provision, and that He is Lord of all. Though we fall short and fail, He will not. His love endures forever. All that we need, He will provide, if we trust and wait on Him, and listen to His leading. May we each make space to slow down and quietly wait on the Lord, for in Him there is hope and He is where we find true rest.

 

Be silent, my soul, wp-1522150974280316262713.jpg

In quiet, just wait;

For rest’s found in God,

Do not hesitate.

He’s always faithful,

All hope comes from Him;

When we seek, we find,

His rest enters in.

In gentle stillness,

Choose wait on the Lord;

Hope is provided,

Through rest He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and wait quietly before You, we find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You rescue us from our chaos, and that Your love never fails. Forgive us for not slowing down to seek Your face. Please show us Your nearness for all of our days. Help us to grasp the hope that is found in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace into chaos and hope where there has been none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down and quietly wait on You, because You alone are the One in whom we hope. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Be Our Strength

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

God is the One who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

He fills me with strength and protects me wherever I go. – (Psalm 18:32, TLB)

 

There are days that I wonder how I am to navigate my way, as I feel depleted before I begin, leaving me uncertain about much of what lies before me. However, what I discover each day, much like today, is that as I turn to the Lord and rely on Him, He sustains me and strengthens me, and by the end of the day, I am able to look back and see His faithfulness that carried me throughout the duration of my day, as He was as near as each breath breathed. May we ever seek the Lord who fills us with strength and clears our path, as He is faithful to meet us each time we draw near.

 

When we are weary,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And our strength is gone;

The Lord shall supply,

Help us carry on.

He prepares the path,

We are meant to take;

Protects as He leads,

As we seek His face.

The Lord is faithful,

In love, freely gives;

All that is needed,

To trust, follow Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength and clears the path we need to take. Thank You that You are faithful to answer as we ask. Forgive us for attempting to power through in our own strength, rather than trust and rely on You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the ultimate Source of strength and You show us the ways we are meant to go. Help us to love those around us in a way that strengthens and points people to the path You have prepared for them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction, and listen to Your leading. 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.

 

 

Rise and Press On

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my Source of strength. He is mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, VOICE)

 

Learning something new can be the most exhilarating and frustrating thing on the planet. I know from experience that everything worthwhile, requires hard work. Currently, I am in a space where the learning curve is a bit overwhelming, as my mind attempts to grasp all the new and I commit my body to conform to the physical demands that are unlike anything I have ever done before. Nagging aches and strains are challenging my resolve, and my mind’s capacity to recall play after play as it is called seems to be compromised. Despite my feelings of lack, weakness and brokenness, the strength He provides within me, drives me to press on. Each day is new, and He refreshes and rebuilds us in our spaces of lack and leads us forward in His strength. May we ever seek God in our areas of weakness, trusting Him to empower us to move forward forever in His goodness and grace.

 

On days that we fail, You Make Me Strong

Feel broken and weak;

Let’s trust in the One,

Provides those who seek.

For strength from within,

Is from God alone;

Forever He gives,

And makes His heart known.

Power presented,

To rise and press on;

Strengthening of heart,

Resolve is made strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we feel broken and weak, You are strong and You are our Source of strength to press forward in You. Thank You that You are our portion forever. Forgive us for our frustration with our own humanity, as we fall short and fail. Teach us to turn to You to be our Source of strength in our every weakness. Show us how to love and encourage those around us when they feel broken or weak. May many rise up and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength where we are weak and give You all praise for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Real Love

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Real love is that which comes from God. Before we even knew Him, He loved us. His love is so great that He chose to make the way for what had been fractured by our own sinfulness to be restored through the sending of His one and only Son. As we believe and receive the mercy and grace that God grants to all who seek Him, we grow in our own capacity to love as we are loved. May we ever remember the magnitude of His mercy that we have been shown, so that we might go forth and give grace as God has given to us.

 

The love of our God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Abundant in grace;

As He loved us first,

So we’d find our way.

The way to seek God,

Is open, secure;

Through His precious Son,

Our hope is made sure.

Remember the truth,

That God first loved us;

Forgiveness is ours,

When we trust Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real love comes from You, as You loved us so much that You sent Your Son so that our broken relationship with You could be restored. Forgive us for allowing anything or anyone other than You to set the standard for what love truly is meant to be. Teach us to trust You more, so that we allow Your love to surround and shape us into who You are calling us to become. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that many may come to see the truth of Your love. May hearts be stirred and lives be changed forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and go forth to love others likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

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