How to Love

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, NIV)

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

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. – (1 Peter 3:8, MSG)

 

I love how God grants us tangible examples of amazing humans in our everyday experiences to show us exactly what He means in His word. Last night, as we arrived at our hotel near midnight, we discovered that there was a major snafu with our booking through Expedia, and the hotel had no record of our reservations. The next hour and a half were spent straightening out the mess with our incredible concierge, Fontaine, here at our hotel. She went above and beyond what one would expect, and with kindness and compassion, made phone calls to Expedia, found take-out menus to a restaurant that delivered late, and gifted us refreshments as we waited. Her kindness and compassion toward us diffused our frustration, and granted us the patience, in the midst of our exhaustion, to rally. Rather than anger at the end of our ordeal, all we felt was gratitude. If that was not enough to drive the point home, this morning, as I woke early to partake in my typical routine, I discovered that my laptop was a mess, as a result of my futile attempt to download the inflight entertainment app from yesterday. My loving Viking patiently offered his assistance, and he took the time to figure out how to remove all of the junk that had consequently downloaded on my laptop, due to my failed mess brought on by an unsecured network at the airport. Mark’s kindness and patience with me, calmed my frustration and helped me remember the purpose in the first place. We are in Minnesota to love, and that ought to start from the moment I wake. God is so good. May we ever seek Him to show us best how to understand each other and love each other like brothers and sisters, in kindness and humility.

 

With a mind like Christ, 09021914503103742408969719714.jpg

May we choose to see;

Each other in love,

With humility.

Be compassionate,

In kindness, choose love;

Grant grace to others,

Like the Lord above.

For each time we see,

Kindness, love and grace;

We too are inspired,

To set love in place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, kindness and compassion that You make tangible through those whom we meet. Thank You that every day we have the opportunity to be Your ambassadors to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have not shown kindness, grace or compassion. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your heart for those around us. Show us how to love those around us like sisters and brothers, in the way that You intend us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to love as we are loved. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Forward without Fear

But He said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. – (John 6:20-21, NIV)

But He said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s Me.” When He said this, they were glad to take Him into the boat. And then the boat reached the shore at the place they wanted to go. – (John 6:20-21, ERV)

Jesus (to the disciples): I am the One. Don’t be afraid. They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel; and when He stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they were ashore at their destination. – (John 6:20-21, VOICE)

 

Seriously? Why have I never caught the significance in this passage prior to this morning? Perhaps that is why this whole journey for me is called Revelations in Writing… I guess He shows me what I need to know, when I need to know it most.

Anyway, my giant aha this morning is that in the verses prior to the ones listed above, John (the Apostle), mentions that the disciples were three or four miles out from shore, in a storm. Previously, what had stood out to me, was that Jesus calmed the storm when He stepped into the boat; however, it goes far beyond the sudden stillness. Jesus miraculously moved them from three or four miles out in the middle of the tumultuous lake, to the specific spot on the shore that they had intended to go. For me, this is a tremendous reminder of God’s power to move us miraculously in His timing. Jesus was well aware of where the disciples were rowing on the lake; He knew where they were headed and where they needed to go. In the same way, Jesus knows exactly where my mom is heading next from her current acute care facility; He sees and is fully aware of the work she is doing to propel herself to the next step, and He is with her and able to move her however He sees best, according to His miraculous timing. What He does between now and her projected transition to home date is in His hands. He sees and He knows her needs. The same greeting of “Don’t be afraid”, resonates today, as He is with us, every step of the way.

Mom is gaining new strength and confidence every day, as the “awakening” of her muscles continues. She is still waiting, desperately for it to work its way down to her hand and foot, but her perseverance and commitment to the challenging work is inspiring and full of hope. May we ever rely on the same God who can meet us stranded at sea in the midst of a storm, and in an instant, move us to the safety of the shore.

 

No matter the space,quiet-hope-e1516279596955.jpg

You find yourself in;

Jesus is nearby,

He knows where and when.

The very same God,

Who calmed stormy seas;

Can take us ashore,

Bring peace within me.

God sees all our needs,

And hears ev’ry prayer;

He’s faithful always,

Present to show care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Yourself to us in new ways through Your word, when we need it most. Thank You that when You walked on water in the midst of a storm, You not only calmed the storm, but You took the disciples from the middle of a space that was far from the safety of the shore, and instantly moved them to the place that they were headed. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust beyond what our eyes can see and our hearts can understand. God, we are trusting and believing for the miraculous. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that we are ever aware of the miracles that are made new every morning that we rise and draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk by faith and not by sight, for You are a faithful and loving God forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

My Quiet Place of Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV) 

Hide me and protect me. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:114, ERV) 

You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your Word to renew me. – (Psalm 119:114, MSG) 

 

Quiet retreat, a refuge, is the very space I seek each morning as I wake to prepare for the day. It is in this silent span of the early hours, before daylight, that I invest time in His Word and find my hope renewed. Each day unfolds as it may, but every morning, I know is new, as I find rest and renewal through intentional time seeking the Lord and investing in His Word. May we remember where to find quiet retreat, and be refreshed in hope as we trust in the truth of God’s Word. 

 

May we find retreat,

dsc04505 (1)6078599567976147010..jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Place of peace in God; 

Where hope is held fast, 

And fears become calmed. 

Our refuge of rest, 

The God of all hope; 

Always, He is near, 

To thrive, not just cope. 

So, let us seek God, 

Our sweet space of rest; 

Where minds are renewed, 

And hearts are refreshed. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our place of quiet retreat and that we are renewed in Your Word. Forgive us for not seeking You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the God of all hope who is faithful forever, and You bless those who seek You with Your rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings rest, refreshment and hope to spaces where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You as our quiet retreat, and place our hope and trust in Your Word. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Discarding Doubt

I cried out, “I am slipping!” But Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy. – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

 

When fear, doubt, anxiety or worry enter in, we tend to get a bit rattled. Incredibly, it takes little time in the presence of God, to find comfort and calm where chaos was attempting to reign. As we call on the Lord, His love brings comfort, and renews our hearts and minds with hope, which changes our countenance from doubtful to confident in Him. Some situations and circumstances are longer lasting, and require our ongoing pursuit of our Provider. It is in such times that He often surrounds us with dear ones to rally around us, that remind us daily that He is near, through the tangible presence of people who love and support, just as He does. May we always remember to cry out to the Lord of unfailing love when doubts fill our minds, and be ever available to walk beside those who are in a season of distress.

 

When worry and doubt, Discarding Doubt

Rise up and draw near;

Cry out to the Lord,

Our calmer of fears.

It is by His love,

That comfort is found;

Calm and hope renewed,

And minds are made sound.

Let’s ever cry out,

To God of all grace;

For He’s our comfort,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love that supports us and comforts us when doubts fill our minds. Thank You that You renew our hope and cheer. Forgive us for wallowing in our worry rather than crying out to You for help and comfort. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You the second that fears or doubts attempt to enter in. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort and peace in the midst of trials, and offers hope when little is felt or seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You and trust in Your unfailing love, as You support, comfort and renew our hope with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

He Stills the Storms

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29, NIV)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. – (Psalm 107:29, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea. – (Psalm 107:29, VOICE)

 

Life gets harrowingly hectic, and at times, all we want is to stop and sit in silence. The amazing thing about God is that there are times when in the midst of a raging storm, He brings peace; out of nowhere, we find rest and are refreshed, despite what has been raging around us. The very same God who can command the wind and waves to be still, can calm the hurricane that is happening around us. Sometimes it is in an instant, and other times, He walks us gently through the eye of the storm to safety, and before long we can look back and see how far we’ve come by His goodness and grace. May we ever seek the Lord, for He alone is the One who can bring stillness to our every storm, and lead us safely back to shore.

 

When waves are crashing,Answers As We Ask

And life’s storms have come;

We must seek the Lord,

The safe, anchored One.

He silences storms,

With only a word;

The waves all stand still,

As His voice is heard.

Sometimes God will calm,

All that’s running wild;

And then other times,

It’s peace to His child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can still the storms to a whisper and every wave that comes can be hushed. Thank You that sometimes You bring peace to that which surrounds us, but other times You simply grant us peace in our hearts as we navigate the storms. Thank You that no matter what, You are with us and will never leave us. Forgive us for questioning Your presence when the storms rage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling ever closer in the midst of the storms. Show us how to love well, those who are in the middle of their own storms, so that they would find hope and help and safe harbor in those You have intentionally placed in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to still our storms, both inside and out. 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

Comfort Deters Doubt

When doubt fills my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. – (Psalm 94:19, NLT)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

 

There are days that adulting is difficult. The weight of the world feels as if it is bearing down on our shoulders, and worry, anxiety and doubt come pounding on the door. With Christ, we need only look to Him to find comfort and renewed hope. As we seek our Savior, His presence and His peace lighten the soul and fill our countenance with cheer, knowing that He is for us, regardless of what we face. May we bring our every concern before the Lord and allow Him to help us carry the burdens that we bear. As we do, worries wane and comfort comes close, so that we may walk forward in the hope that His love provides.

 

The weight of the world,

Comfort and Compassion through Christ

photo by Karel Hadecek

At times fills my mind;

I grow overwhelmed,

There’s no peace to find.

The Lord, He is near,

Makes His presence known;

Brings comfort and hope,

His love clearly shown.

His comfort lightens,

The weariest soul;

Brings calm in chaos,

Makes the broken whole.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when doubt, worry or anxiety try to overtake us, You come and comfort us and restore hope. Thank You that as You bring calm, You cheer our hearts so that we can hold fast to the truth. Forgive us for allowing worry, anxiety or doubt to take root, rather than seeking You in the throes of the storm. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in all things and at all times, trusting that You are more than able to renew our hope and cheer, regardless of what is near. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we may do the same as Your hands and heart to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort and renewed hope when doubts attempt to deter us from the course that You have called us. Amen.

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

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

He Climbs in the Boat

Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51)

When the disciples were rowing across the lake, having left a miraculous evening in which Jesus had fed a multitude with a mere five loaves and two fish, they somehow lost sight of their story when a storm set in. Waves were crashing around them, and then, as if an apparition, Jesus was walking beside these men on the water. To say they were frightened, would likely be an understatement. Jesus reassured them, and then, what really brought about comfort and peace to each stirred up soul, was when He climbed into the boat beside them. As He did, the wind and waves were calmed, and so too, were the hearts of those who He came near.

As storms rage around us, do we look up from our oars? If even for a moment, I imagine we’d find similar shock at just how near the Lord is to us, and how willing He is to climb in beside us and still the storm in our soul. Our charge is to look for Him in the midst of both the calm and the storm, as He stays beside us in each. His miracles are available and He moves on our behalf, more often than we realize. When we really look, we too, will be completely amazed at how the Lord is moving among us.

As storms are raging,

we strain at the oar;
crying to the Lord,
“Dear Jesus, no more.”
But do we look up,
and bother to see;
how near the Lord is,
on standby, waiting?
For He never leaves,
He’s promised to stay;
through calm and through storms,
both now and always.
He’s gentle and kind,
will come close beside;
if we only ask,
trust Him and abide.
There’s no storm too strong,
nor crisis too great;
He always shows up,
and is never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when storms rage around us, You don’t just look down on us from afar, but You come close and climb in the boat beside us, commanding the chaos within us to become calm. Even if the storm that surrounds us continues for a season, You bring stillness to our soul. Thank You that You are our comfort and our peace, and that You do amazing things when we look to You. Forgive us for focusing our attention on surviving the storm, rather than on You, the One who can still the storm with a word or Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look for You, and discover just how often You are seated beside us in the boat. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may discover Your nearness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You who draws near to us and calms the storms within us, and help us to stand amazed at the mighty ways in which You move. Amen.

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

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