Far Greater

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. 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 55:8-9, ERV)

This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are My thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than yours, and My thoughts than yours. – (Isaiah 55:8-9, TLB)

 

I am so thankful that the Lord’s thoughts, plans and ways are far greater than my own. So often in my life, I have thought things ought to go in a certain direction or were on a predictable path, and have found myself frustrated or confused as to why things took a turn that led an entirely different direction. However, hindsight is a remarkable revealer of the goodness of God. In the spaces that I assumed things would unfold in certain way, I can look back and see the hand of God in every step, and recognize the blessings and benefit of His plans, as the outcome has been far greater than I would have hoped or imagined. Often, there is a season of struggle prior the beautiful outcome. It is in the time of trials that He shows us more of Himself and strengthens and equips us for the more that He has in store. Without loss, we might never fully know the fullness of His love. Without need, we’d not truly know the Lord’s plentiful provision. In all things, He is good and His way is to lead to the ultimate outcome of an eternity with Him. May we ever trust in the Lord and His ways, for His ways and thoughts hold hope that lasts forever.

 

Though plans may be good,img_2019-03-03_09-00-141537211458818783495.jpg

And thoughts just the same;

Not one can compare,

To what God has claimed.

For the Lord’s great ways,

Are higher than ours;

We reach for the moon,

He gives us the stars.

In goodness and grace,

His ways lead to more;

Things so much greater,

Than ever before.

So, trust in the Lord,

For His plans are good;

Despite what we see,

Or think that we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, far greater than our own. Thank You that so often we think things ought to go a particular direction, yet Your way always turns out far better than what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for not trusting the process when things are painful or unpredictable. Teach us to trust You, even when we cannot see how Your hand is moving on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope and trust, even when it is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the process, as Your ways are always for our very best. Amen.

 

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

 

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. – Psalm 63:3

His Plans are Good

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

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

No matter how our circumstances feel, God has good plans for each of us. Though we walk through seasons of heartache or hardship, what comes from it is ultimately good, and often leads to a place of hope and blessing that far exceeds what we could have anticipated or imagined. In my own life, dreams were dashed for a time, and could not imagine how the turn life had taken could lead to the sort of future I had hoped for. Incredibly, God provided and loved me through it and grew and prepared me for the new season I was about to enter. Today, I can look back and see His heart for me through it all. His strength and resolve were deposited in my heart in fresh new ways, and I now know His love far better than I ever had before. Though none of us know for certain what lies ahead, I have hope and trust that it is good. May we ever seek our Savior and trust in Him, as He has good plans for us that include hope and a good future.

 

Despite what we see,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Hope ever remains;

For God’s plans are good,

As we let Him reign.

Reign within our heart,

And show us the way;

To trust the future,

Your love Lord, we pray.

May all know Your hope,

That fills hearts with love;

Grants courage and trust,

As we seek You above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that in You, we have hope and a future. Forgive us for doubting Your hand in what lies ahead when things grow difficult for a season. Teach us to trust You through all things and at all times, as You are our strength and supply for our every need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer hope for the future and strength for right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the hope and future that You hold in Your hands for each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

 

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

Lean into Love

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. – (Hebrews 7:19, NLT)

The Law of Moses could not make anything perfect. But now a better hope has been given to us. And with that hope we can come near to God. – (Hebrews 7:19, ERV)

After all, the law could not make anyone or anything perfect. God has now introduced a new and better hope, through which we may draw near to Him. – (Hebrews 7:19, VOICE)

 

Our confident hope is found through drawing near to Jesus. No longer are we weighed down with the burden of abiding by a strict set of rules and regulations for every aspect of our lives, but rather we are called to love God and love each other, and thus by doing so, we fulfill His requirements of us. A life of drawing near to God deepens our love and understanding of what His will is for our lives. Additionally, the better we know the Lord and His heart for us, the more certain we are of our hope in all that is yet to come. May we draw near to God with hearts full of thanks, as He shows us the hope that is found forever in Him.

 

Though all imperfect,

dsc082415099082146050516751.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Weighed down by our sin;

When we go to God,

We are forgiven.

Made right by His grace,

Compelled by His love;

He shows us His hope,

As He’s sought above.

Let’s turn to the Lord,

With hearts full of praise;

Lean into His love,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are no longer required to adhere to an extensive list of rules and regulations to attempt to come before You. Thank You that You made the way for us to come directly to You through the sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You that Your grace covers us and leads us to a life of love that is full of hope in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You, as You are our Source of help and hope forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean into You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that draws others into Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise forever for the hope we have in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

 

 

The Intended Target in Training

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. – (1 Timothy 4:8, NLT)

Training your body helps you in some ways. But devotion to God helps you in every way. It brings you blessings in this life and in the future life too. – (1 Timothy 4:8, ERV)

Although training your body has certain payoffs, godliness benefits all things – holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming. – (1 Timothy 4:8, VOICE)

 

Just as physical training provides benefit to our body, devotion to God (spiritual training), benefits our mind and spirit. Though both types of training have value, the latter lasts forever. What we know and how we grow, impact our eternity. Training our body can help us be our best self, so that we are physically equipped to do all that the Lord asks of us. However, if we do not train our heart and mind to be in tune with Christ, how will we know and recognize His voice in our lives? May we ever pursue the path of righteousness, for it holds promise in the Lord both for now and forever more.

 

Training has purpose, The Intended Target in Training

In all that we do;

For what we practice,

Leads to what’s pursued.

If we train for good,

Seek align with God;

We’re aptly prepared,

Despite how we’re flawed.

We’ll learn how to walk,

In His righteousness;

Allow God to reign,

By His faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue Your path prepared for us, You meet us, lead us and bless us both now and for all time. Thank You that You are faithful to all who seek You. Forgive us for our inconsistency in training in our pursuit of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make time to fix our eyes, hearts and minds on You. Show us how to love those around us well, as we grow in our likeness to You through continued pursuit of Your path and purpose for our lives. Be glorified O God, as we train our hearts, minds and entire beings to become who You intended us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – Proverbs 21:21

 

 

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

To Signify the Start of Something New

Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You. – (Psalm 143:8, NLT)

Show me Your faithful love this morning, I trust in You. Show me what I should do. I put my life in Your hands! – (Psalm 143:8, ERV)

Let the dawning day bring me revelation of Your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in You. – (Psalm 143:8, TPT)

 

I have always had a special appreciation for early mornings, as I crave the quiet stillness found in the sweet solitude of the wee hours before dawn’s first light. The ability to hear my own thoughts with clarity as my other senses are not interrupted, helps get me grounded before I begin each day. As a point of curiosity, I searched the word “morning” in my Bible app and discovered that the word appeared 239 times. Nearly every time that the word “morning” appeared, it was to signify the start of something new: new help, new hope, a new oath, a new promise, a new blessing, a new charge to carry out, new revelation, new provision, new strength, new light, new mercies, new love and new joy. Daily, I see and know His unfailing love that is found each morning, as I turn in trust. God is faithful to show me what I should do as I allow Him room to lead. What I have discovered over time, is that His ways are always better than mine, and trusting Him is far wiser than relying on myself. He is faithful to grant the wisdom we seek and provides people to surround us with strength and hope and help. Each new day brings new light and love as we turn in trust to the One who holds us in His hands. May we ever seek our Savior to show us the way, as He is faithful to lead us by the light of His unfailing love.

 

Early each morning, Searched and Known

I discover new;

Your unfailing love,

As I trust in You.

You show me the way,

That I’m meant to go;

As You light my path,

In Your loving glow.

Your tender kindness,

Each morning is new;

Your grace unending,

As I trust in You.

I will keep rising,

Before break of day;

To meet You anew,

As You light my way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love is new each morning, and Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You that as we trust in You, You teach us and light our path. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to wander in the darkness on our own. Teach us to trust in You and to recognize the people that You have placed all around us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may strengthen, encourage and lift them up with the new that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen for revelation of Your tender, unfailing love this morning, and follow the lighted path that You provide. 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

Searched, Known and Loved

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV)

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. – (Psalm 139:1, TLB)

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE)

 

The very One who created us knows everything about us and loves us for who we are. Though we are broken and flawed, He loves. As we seek Him, we find Him. Once we choose to invite Him to be in charge, He will not leave us nor forsake us. There is much comfort and reverence in knowing the overwhelming, never-ending, all-encompassing depth of His love for us in spite of ourselves. May we ever give praise to the Ancient of Days, as He knows us and loves us far better than anyone else ever will.

 

God, our Creator, Searched and Known

Has searched us and knows;

What dwells in our hearts,

When we come and go.

Though dark and broken,

His love still remains;

He brings light and love,

And washes the stains.

So, ever seek God,

He knows our hearts best;

In His love and grace,

We come to know rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have searched us and know us and love us anyway. Thank You that You do not place qualifications on Your love. Forgive us for the things within us that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give You access to all. Show us how to allow Your light into the dark spaces and give grace room to move where it is needed most. Help us to love those around us the way that blesses and encourages them and helps them to feel known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for knowing us and loving us as we are, and for refining us to become more of who You are calling us to become. 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

These Three Things

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)

So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

 

At the end of the day, despite the drama, disappointment, or discouragement that has been present, Love finds a way to fuel our faith and grant us new hope that better is yet to come.  God, in His kindness, demonstrates His love for us in ways that grow our faith and keep hope afloat. There are times that it is difficult to remember that our hope is not to be held in temporary things, but rather our hope resides in that which is eternal. May we ever fix our eyes on He who is love and seek the Lord to grow our faith so that hope will rise, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Love is the fuel, These Three Things

Where faith gets its fill;

And hope rises up,

When we choose, be still.

For these three treasures,

Are gifts that shall last;

Faith, hope and God’s love,

Future, now and past.

In His great kindness,

God grants us these things;

Each strengthen resolve,

To face what life brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith, hope and love last forever. Thank You that the greatest of these is love. Thank You that You lavish us with Your love, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for our lack of faith and for losing hope when things seem more than we can bear. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than any obstacle that lies before us, any burden we must bear, and any challenge we must face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends faith, hope and love to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace these treasures You grant us for good that last forever. Amen.

 

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

The Two Greatest Commands

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, NLT)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, MSG)

 

I am routinely amazed at how overwhelmingly blessed and loved I feel, as I try to live my life according to these two commands. When we love God and love people, the rewards far outweigh the risks. God’s love is greater than any sort of love that the human heart can hold and choosing to love people is often returned far bigger and better than we could ever hope or imagine. To love others as we love ourselves, requires that we think of others before we speak or act. Will the words that I speak or the actions that I take be ones that would be a blessing to me if I were the recipient? If not, we are likely not acting in love. Though there are times when we choose love and extend kindness to others and what is returned is far from the same, if we truly choose to love as God loves us, we will extend love anyway. We are not called to stay in harm’s way nor withstand abuse, as sometimes love leads us away to safety. Regardless of the circumstances, we can choose love as we lift others up to the Lord. He is far greater than anything or anyone who comes against us, and His love covers all. May we ever seek to follow the two greatest commands that lead to a life of walking in God’s will: Let us love God and love people.

 

With all of our heart, wp-1519570589366472507998.jpg

We are called to love;

God and all people,

Our charge from above.

As we love the Lord,

And choose love others;

We find that we’re blessed,

Sisters and brothers.

In God’s family,

We find love not known;

As through each other,

His goodness is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made it simple for us to follow Your ways and walk in Your will through our own awareness and obedience to the two greatest commands: to love You with all that we are, and love people as we love ourselves. Forgive us for the times that we have not done either. Teach us to turn to You so that we may learn to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are and choose to love others as we desire to be loved. Amen.

 

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

 

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