Abundant Grace

The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, NIV)

But our Lord gave me a full measure of His grace. And with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. – (1 Timothy 1:14, ERV)

I was flooded with such incredible grace, like a river overflowing its banks, until I was full of faith and love for Jesus, the Anointed One! – (1 Timothy 1:14, TPT)

 

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. Daily, as we journey on this road to recovery with mom, we are acutely aware of God’s grace. His love abounds in the little things all around us every day, we simply need slow down, and watch for them. Yesterday, being a Sunday, was a day of rest for mom in her stroke rehabilitation program. It was odd to not have any therapy sessions scheduled, and the day was probably extra off, being Mother’s Day. At first, mom was quite annoyed that she was not actively working toward recovery yesterday, but when I reminded her that even God, Himself, rested on the seventh day, she agreed it might be okay if she too, had a day of rest. The day began with Mark, the boys and me all arriving together to visit with mom before the fellas had to head back home. There were many smiles and some animated banter, and before we knew it, it was time for the guys to get going. Mom and I visited and made a few phone calls together, then after another art project to add to her ceiling collection and lunch, we relaxed and watched a movie. Of course, after sitting for the length of an entire film, we both had grown restless, and were ready to head outdoors. Sun hats and sunglasses on, I quickly pushed her out of her wing, and we were riding the elevator to freedom. There was a warm wind blowing steadily as we made our way out, and we began with a lap around the building. After that, per her request, we moved east, and were both drawn in the direction of some beautifully blooming rhododendrons. We decided we ought to take a quick photo or two for posterity, and for my sister before heading back. My hat was blown off once on the return route, so we both ditched our hats and stashed them in her “magical” chair bag, as we did not want them to land in the street swept muck on the side of the road. Upon our return, I worked with mom on a few of her stretching things for PT, and she was very encouraged to use her right leg to practice pushing off from the hip. I love watching her face light up in recognition that she is indeed moving herself with that leg that she thought was done. Grace after grace. God is so good. May we ever be aware of the goodness and grace poured upon us, though we deserve it not, and give praise to Him to is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

 

Grace is the Lord’s gift, img_2019-05-13_06-14-17471261504932170441.jpg

He gives unto us;

Though it’s not deserved,

He gives in excess.

Such love in all things,

Both great and the small;

All matter to Him,

He knows and sees all.

Every moment,

Each breath that we take;

The Lord is aware,

And He won’t forsake.

He is the anchor,

Our safe hiding place;

Love overwhelming,

Extravagant grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us beyond what we can even begin to fathom. Thank You that Your grace is granted in all things, great and small. Thank You for Your goodness that makes Your love tangible in everyday little things so often. Forgive us for being blind to Your blessings. Give us eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand how deep and how wide Your grace runs for us. Teach us to trust You more, as our human hearts grow weary and fearful when we cannot see or understand the road ahead. Show us how to love those around us in great and small ways, so that they too, may recognize glimpses of the grace that You have for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our faith and give You praise for the overwhelming grace that You give us each and every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and beauty can fool you, but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised. – Proverbs 31:30

Gentle Answers Abolish Anger

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

God has placed me in a field where I have the opportunity to put this truth into practice daily. Teens tend to have short fuses, and carry frustration until it finds a foothold so large, that it can no longer be contained. The vast majority of the time, I find that if I speak calm, kind words, and give the student room to have a voice, (appropriately) whatever anger had begun to rage, begins to dissipate as quickly as it had onset. It is no different for adults. When we are already riled up about something, how someone interacts with us, matters. If we are treated with kindness and gentleness, whatever spiked our fury, somehow lessens, and rational thought returns to our heart and mind so that we are able to communicate like civilized human beings. May our every response be gentle and kind, so that we are agents of peace rather than proponents of rage.

 

O Lord, help my words,gentle-answer-mtc

Be gentle and kind;

Words that diffuse rage,

That render hate blind.

May wrath turn away,

With kindness spoken;

Let Your love pour out,

To hurt and broken.

Grant me Your answers,

With love as I speak;

So peace will be known,

And anger made weak.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us guidance in Your word that shows us how to live and love well. Thank You that gentle answers come from You, if we seek You for strength and direction when angry words or actions move in our direction. Forgive us for reacting in our own rage and making things worse, rather than responding gently to diffuse displeasure. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and breathe before we respond to someone who is enraged. Give us Your words to speak gently, so that we may turn away wrath, rather than make it grow. Show us how to love others, even in their fits of frustration, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to equip us with gentle answers to help diffuse anger that comes our way. Amen.

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

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

Be Not Blinded

But whoever hates their brother or sister is in darkness. They live in darkness. They don’t know where they are going, because the darkness has made them blind. – (1 John 2:11, ERV)

 

If we are in Christ, we cannot allow our hearts to hold hate toward anyone. To live a life in the Lord is to remain in the light of His love. There is no room for hate and love to coexist. As the Lord’s love fills us, we must let go of the ugliness we harbor towards others. When we grant darkness space to occupy our hearts and minds, the truth becomes hidden and we no longer see what is right. However, if we choose to fill our hearts and minds with the light of the love of Christ, there is no room for darkness and we begin to see others through the lens of His loving eyes. Yes, there are times when there is reason for righteous anger, but never a reason for hate. We need the Lord’s help and wisdom to keep from allowing hurt and bitterness to find a foothold, so that we give all to God, trusting that He is good and just. May we give every darkness to God, so the light of His love may shine true.

 

Oh Lord help our hearts,When My Soul Waits

Keep darkness away;

Allow no hatred,

To come near and stay.

God fill us anew,

With Your loving light;

So darkness in us,

Will quickly take flight.

Help us always choose,

Your love and Your light;

So that we love well,

In You, do what’s right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You called us out of darkness into Your loving light. Thank You that You fill us anew with the light of Your love, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by You. Forgive us for allowing darkness to dwell within us, as anger or bitterness sometimes gets the best of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give all of our anger, hurt and frustrations to You, so that they do not gain a foothold in our hearts. Keep darkness far from us, I pray. Show us how to live in the light of Your love, so that we love well, all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to shine Your light through us as we love others well. Amen.

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

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

Forward in Faith

The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. – (Job 17:9, NLT)

 

In the midst of Job’s greatest suffering, he not only defends his innocence, but cries out to God for help. Though forward was not likely the direction he felt compelled to move in the midst of his misery, he continued to trust in the Lord. His hands were clean, and he did become stronger and stronger, with all things ultimately being restored unto him. We are called to do likewise. No matter what comes our way, we are meant to keep moving forward in faith, maintaining clean hearts and hands, so as to allow the Lord to be our strength and watch to see what He does to get us through. May we place our trust in He who is deserving of all of our trust, and keep moving forward in faith.

 

By faith we are called,Bold and Unhindered

To trust in the Lord;

No matter what comes,

May Christ be adored.

For He is our strength,

When we’re in the fight;

He’s our light and hope,

On the darkest night.

Let us choose to seek,

For in Him we find;

The light of the truth,

He opens eyes blind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You to keep moving forward, You strengthen and equip us to do so in You. Thank You that You keep our hands and hearts clean when we are invested in You. Forgive us for not turning to You in the midst of our struggles, or for seeking to solve situations on our own. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You are our Source of strength, hope and help. Show us how to love others with Your strength, so that they might see You through the way that we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep moving forward in You, trusting You to be our strength. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Generous and Gracious Love

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. – (Matthew 5:47-48, NLT)

If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:47-48, MSG)

 

We who have invested our hearts and lives in Christ, are called to live differently. Anyone can be kind to those who extend kindness to them, however, it takes God’s grace to extend kindness to those who have treated us poorly, slandered our character, or devalued who we are. As children of God, that is exactly what we are called to do – to pray for those who persecute us, to be kind to those who are unkind toward us, and to extend love to those who are anything but loving to us and those around us. While we were yet enemies of God, He loved us. He gave His only Son so that we could come to know Him and have life everlasting. There is no greater example of how to love than this. May we rise up and embrace our role as children of the King, and go forth extending love and grace to all we encounter – especially those who are most in need, as their current state is a lost and loveless place.

 

Whom shall we choose love?Healed Hands Reach Out

Just those who love us?

For we have been called,

to love like Jesus.

He loved the sinners,

all who were unkind;

even the haters,

who were still yet blind.

It was by His love,

that minds could conceive;

a grace that gives life,

when we choose believe.

We too have been called,

to love like Christ did;

so all may come know,

how they might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what it is to love and live generously to all those around us – even those who are unkind or cruel. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, but You equip and empower us to love and give grace, just as we have been graciously given by You. Forgive us for being selective about whom we show kindness to, and help us to extend Your love and grace to ALL whom we encounter – regardless of how they behave toward us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will allow Your Spirit within us to speak through us, the words that You would have us say. Show us how to live generously and graciously toward all others, especially those who are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You love us. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Far Better to Finish

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. 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

No Need to Argue

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – (2 Timothy 2:23)

 

Rather than engage in trivial arguments or debates, we are called to be kind and gentle, patient and courteous, and speak the truth always. This requires us to listen before we speak, and to use wisely the words we choose allow to escape our lips. Let truth be told, but through the lens of love that draws others in so that they may want to hear what we have to say. Not engaging in arguments is just one example of how we can align our living with what we profess to be true. Respectful and honest discussion is good and beneficial, but anything that produces fuel to fight, is not the sort of conversation that we are called to carry out. May we choose our words wisely, ever speaking the truth in love in a way that others may see Christ in us, and desire to pursue that which we already have.

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments, as they produce nothing productive for Your kingdom. Thank You that You instead call us to be gentle and kind, patient and courteous, as we share the truth through mutual respect and care for one another. Forgive us for engaging in quarrels or foolish arguments, and help us to trust You more, so that we would seek to listen first, before we ever choose to open our mouths to speak. Lead us to love others with words and actions that bring light and life, just as You illuminate our darkness and grant us eternal hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to not engage in foolish arguments, but rather invest in conversations that create opportunities for the truth to be made known. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Power Made Personal

Power Made PersonalPowerful calling,

their faith was assured;

confident in Christ,

the truth they had heard.

With boldness they spoke,

no doubt in their mind;

extending their hands,

to heal lame and blind.

People were in awe,

of these faithful men;

so they’d speak of Christ,

share His life again.

Faithful disciples,

gave credit where due;

all glory to God,

His Spirit so true.

For all that they did,

and all that they said;

powered by the Lord,

Holy Spirit led.

In their faithfulness,

many lives were changed;

hearts that repented,

where truth was proclaimed.

The beautiful thing,

is we too can do;

whatever He asks,

to heal and make new.

(Responding to Acts 3)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that raised Jesus from the grave, is alive and active, living in the hearts of all who commit their lives to You. Forgive us for forgetting Whom is dwelling in us when we feel afraid, and help us to become more aware of Your powerful presence residing in us, so that we may be confident in You. Help our hearts hear Your leading, and our will align with Yours, so that we may do all that You are asking. Let us love like You, and may many come to know Your powerful presence, personally. Amen.

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

Surrendered to See

Surrendered to See‘Twas not for sin,

a man born blind;

rather to show,

God’s love is kind.

Blind eyes shall see,

as Christ reveals;

the light of God,

who comes and heals.

Jesus made mud,

with dirt and spit;

told blind to wash,

by faith, commit.

In trust he went,

and did obey;

sight was restored,

that very day.

When questioned by

the Pharisees;

healed spoke of Christ,

Jews were not pleased.

For Christ had healed,

against their law;

the truth revealed,

through him who saw.

Miracle snubbed,

and man kicked out;

foolish the proud,

thought selves devout.

Jesus did more,

than restore sight;

He showed the way,

to have new life.

(Responding to John 9)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were blind in our own sin, You came and gave Yourself so that we might receive Your sight. Thank You that You open the blind eyes of our heart, so that we may come to see You. Forgive us for turning head and heart away from our focus on You, and please redirect our gaze to forever fix on You. May our firm faith in You, lead those who are looking, into a space where they can come to see You. May many come to know You as You remove the scales from the eyes of our hearts. Amen.

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

Rejoice Always

image by violscraper

image by violscraper

Rejoice always in the Lord,

let His evidence be clear;

may He be our shield and sword,

as He fends off all our fear.

May gentleness be for all,

it shows that the Lord is near;

our God hears us as we call,

present needs unto His ear.

The powerful peace of God,

will guard our heart and our mind,

transcending our blind facade,

through prayer, answers we shall find.

Alas, dear ones, let it be,

may we train both mind and heart,

to fix on pure and lovely,

things praiseworthy from the start.

(Responding to Philippians 4:4-8)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the mighty men and women of faith who have gone before us so that we might have examples of lives lived well in You.  Thank You for the powerful praise and purpose that Paul presented to the Philippians, despite his being in prison.  Regardless of his circumstances, he chose to rejoice.  May we too, follow his example.  Forgive us for allowing fear to blind us from the truth we hold in You.  May we always present our prayers and petitions before You, being confident that You hear, and that You have our very best in mind, despite what we may see with our human hearts.  Help us to fix our eyes, mind, and heart on You and those things of You that build up the body, so that we might encourage and strengthen one another in Your love.  May many come to know Your lasting love, as we walk out our days, willing to rejoice in all things and at all times.  Thank You that You are ALWAYS good.  Amen.

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