Charged to Choose

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, VOICE)

 

This charge, given by Paul to the church of Corinth in the closing of his second letter, is also for all of us today. As we determine to rejoice despite our circumstances, seek to be at peace with those around us, encourage each other, make amends where there is brokenness, and strive to be united in purpose, God, who is the source of all love and peace, will be present. Though at times it seems impossible to reach such a place of peace with particular people, God is capable of the miraculous and can make a way where there seems to be no way. It is not up to us to change hard hearts, but rather to continue to encourage, love and seek peace as we are called to do. The heart change is in His hands, our part is to love and do what we can to make things right. May we ever seek our Savior to equip us to love, encourage, seek peace, repair what is broken and choose to rejoice; always.

 

Let us choose rejoice,Charged to Choose

In each circumstance;

God goes before us,

He knows in advance.

The Source of all love,

The Bearer of peace;

He creates a way,

As grace is released.

Called to encourage,

And make all things right;

Choose lift others up,

In purpose, unite.

Brothers and sisters,

Be filled with His joy;

His presence remains,

As Love’s given voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to rejoice, restore, encourage, unite and be at peace with the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked the love to do these things with those who challenge us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the God of all, and You love each of Your created, fiercely. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, unites, restores, and brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in all things and seek You to empower us to do all that You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Trust in His Hand

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – (Psalm 111:7, NIV)

Everything He does is good and fair. All His commands can be trusted. – (Psalm 111:7, ERV)

All His accomplishments are truth and justice; all His instructions are certain. – (Psalm 111:7, VOICE)

My husband, on our wedding day, happened to be holding both of our wedding bands in the hollow of his hand. As he looked closely at the two symbols of our love and commitment to one another, he noticed that mine fit easily in his. He snapped a photo of our rings in his hand, and at some point, showed me the picture he had taken. Because I am such a visual person, when I saw the image, my heart held fast; for just as my Viking held our rings in the hollow of his hand, so too does God hold us in His. In the same way that his ring surrounded and protected mine, likewise is his charge as a husband to surround and protect in love as we are held in the Lord’s hands. Throughout our entire relationship so far, the image matches how my heart has been held. May we ever rest in the Lord, as we are held in His hands, for He is faithful and just, and we can trust Him in all of our ways.

 

Loved and protected,

For all of our days;

We’re held in His hands,

Both now and always.

We can always trust,

For His ways are sure;

He holds us in love,

In Him, we’re secure.

So, ever seek God,

Who’s faithful and just;

All His ways are good,

And worthy of trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible examples of how You love us and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for forgetting how great the hands are that hold us, as You who created all that exists are capable of holding us and leading us the ways in which we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that envelops each in the goodness and faithfulness that Your love provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands. Amen.

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

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

Loving the Next Generation

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

This verse is a powerful reminder of my purpose; not only with my own children, but in my classroom each day. My role as a classroom teacher goes beyond the curriculum that I am asked to deliver. If I can meet kids where they are, and help them know that they matter, the learning that takes place is far more significant than the reading and writing that is required. I know in my own life, there were people, teachers, youth leaders, my mom, my grandmother, and various other family and friends, who greatly impacted the path on which I chose to travel. Their words often echoed in my mind as I reached crossroads, and aided me in choosing wisely, when I could have decided differently. Each of the voices that spoke to my heart had met me in a way that fit my own need, individually, and made an impact that has lasted a lifetime. We are able and called to do the same. May we love the next generation by meeting them where they are, and pointing them in the direction that they are meant to go.

 

Help us to teach kids, 1506783915220

The ways they’re to go;

Meet each in their need,

So Your path’s made known.

When we’re shown what’s right,

Through love on our way;

We’re drawn to follow,

On the right path stay.

Let us show our kids,

The right way to go;

So when they’re older,

They will always know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when children are started off in the right direction, You are faithful to continue to call them to remain close to You. Thank You that though educators are not in a role to spiritually lead students, we have the ability to meet kids where they are in a way that fits their need, and help them know that they are valued, loved, and capable of great things. Forgive us for not investing enough into pointing kids in the right direction, as each future has eternal value. Teach us to turn to You for wisdom as to how we can love best, each young person that You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we point kids in the right direction, trusting You to keep them close as they grow older. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Out of the Desert

Give thanks to Him who led His people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:16, NLT)

He led His people through the desert. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:16, ERV)

 

Being a teacher towards the end of the school year can be tough. Middle school seems to be particularly brutal once all of the state testing has concluded. Students have endured all that they feel they are capable of learning, and many begin to check out. The final six-week stretch has felt especially long this year, as certain classes had clusters of kids together that fed off of one another, making the task of teaching all the more a challenge. That being said, God sustained me with His strength and grace, and surrounded me with stellar colleagues who were in the very same fight. Daily, we were able to encourage and support each other, and today, we have reached the end. There have been students that have stayed strong throughout the duration of the year, and have brought light and laughter to our days. Even the difficult students, when on their own, have provided glimpses of good that can be recognized today as we gather for our final few hours to celebrate and send them off to high school. May we ever give God thanks for His faithfulness in the wilderness, and His love that lasts forever.

 

In the wilderness,Out of the Desert

God’s faithful to be;

Present and loving,

He stays close to me.

Through the hardest times,

Strength and love He gives;

Endurance to fight,

Proof that our God lives.

Ever He’s faithful,

He loves for all time;

No matter what comes,

Hope in Him is mine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us through the dry and difficult seasons. Thank You that even in the desert, You make Your love, faithfulness and presence known. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to walk beside us. Forgive us for losing faith in the fight when we become overwhelmed with what we see in front of us. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not lose heart, but rather press forward in faith; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens in their spaces of wilderness and lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

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

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

Focus on the Good of Others

Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, NLT)

Try to do what is good for others, not just what is good for yourselves. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, ERV)

We should stop looking out for our own interests and instead focus on the people living and breathing around us. – (1 Corinthians 10:24, VOICE)

 

I never cease to be amazed at how quickly things change when my focus shifts from self to others. Even if my situation does not change, my perspective inevitably does. If someone around me needs encouragement and I find ways and words with which to offer encouragement, I discover that I too, am encouraged in the process. Joy and hope accompany each act of extending ourselves to others. May we fix our gaze outward rather than in, so that we may seek to do good for others, just as the Lord has done for us.

 

Do not be concerned,The Power of the Tongue

For your sense of good;

But do for others,

That which Jesus would.

For we’re being called,

To look out, not in;

Encourage, build up,

Love others like kin.

God in His goodness,

Meets us as we give;

Strengthens and equips,

New life as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to look outside of ourselves to seek to do good for others. Thank You that we need not worry about ourselves, as You are far more capable than we are, so it is best for us to focus our attention on loving You and loving people, allowing You to be who You say You are. Forgive us for not trusting You to be big enough to carry our concerns. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place the weight of our worries in Your hands, and look to You to show us how to do what is good for those around us. Help us to have open eyes and willing hearts, so that we may see opportunities to love well and act on them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we focus on loving You and the people that You place all around us. Amen.

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

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

Bearing Burdens

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE)

 

The weight of worries wear us down, and keep us from being and doing all that God intends for us. Though there are things that have valid reason to cause concern, no good can come from our carrying the weight of worry. However, when we lay our burdens and concerns at the foot of the cross, Christ can carry them for us. His shoulders are far stronger than ours, and He holds the solution in His hands. Our charge is to trust Him and His care for us, and allow Him to bear the brunt of the weight. As we give the heaviness to Him, our hearts are better able to grasp the instruction and direction that He has for us, so that we might move toward resolution rather than fear or frustration. May we lay down our worries before the One who cares most, and trust Him to lead us in the direction that He is calling us to go.

 

Bring Him your worries,Worrys Worth1

And lay them all down;

Set them at the feet,

Where truth shall be found.

For the Lord alone,

Is able to bear;

The burdens we bring,

For each one, He cares.

Our hearts are each known,

By Christ, our great King;

Let’s trust in His love,

With burdens we bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and trust You with all of our worries and concerns and lay them at Your feet. Thank You that You care for us, and care about what concerns our hearts. Thank You that Your shoulders are far stronger than ours, and that You are equipped and prepared to carry whatever we bring before You; willingly and lovingly. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to bear our burdens alone, or for working ourselves into a place of panic as we attempt to carry things we are not meant to hold. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You right away, when we feel the weight of worry begin to creep in. Show us how to help bear burdens for those around us, as we love and support those in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries and cares to You, as You love us and have far more capable hands to carry the load. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

 

 

 

Listen and Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ESV)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart, don’t try to figure everything out on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, MSG)

 

After reading the regularly scheduled passages for today in my year-long plan, I was compelled to search the word “trust“. Unsure as to why, I did it anyway. The very first verse that came up in my search was the above passage in Proverbs. All too familiar, at first I recited it from memory as I glimpsed at my Bible application on my phone. As I often do, I then spent a few minutes reading a variety of versions of the same passage to see if there was some new insight or something that God was trying to highlight for me. Sure enough, when I read the Message, it all became quite clear. In the midst of a circumstance that I am desperately trying to figure out, with some serious concerns as to how exactly I am meant to navigate, His words came to life and I received what He was speaking to my heart. My job is not to figure it out. He is asking me to listen to Him, to trust Him completely, and watch for the way in which He will lead me through. His ways are far higher than my own, and I much prefer things in His loving and capable hands. Sadly, it often takes time spent simply seated before Him, just listening to what He wants to say, before we recognize the spaces where we need to trust, to seek, or to let go and let God. Thankfully, He is patient and kind, and He leads us to the place where we are meant to be so that we can hear His heart, rather than continue to flounder on our own. May we trust the Lord with all of our heart, and lean not on our own understanding. In all of our ways, may we seek Him, as He alone will make plain our path.

 

To trust in the Lord,Break Camp and Move Out

requires our heart;

with all that we are,

not just a small part.

When we choose listen,

He makes our path plain;

as we trust in Him,

we allow Him reign.

If we choose to seek,

He’s faithful indeed;

to speak to our hearts,

and meet all our needs.

Our understanding,

shall always fall short;

but God and His ways,

will always exhort.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust You with all that we are, and that we need not figure everything out on our own. Thank You that we can listen for Your voice in everything we do and everywhere we go, and You are faithful to keep us on track. Forgive us for leaning on our own understanding rather than trusting in You. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others in a way that acknowledges Your goodness and grace, and clearly points people to Your path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust in You with all that we are, and listen for Your voice to show us which way we are meant to go in all things and at all times. 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

Facing Fears

Fear is a funny thing. It sneaks in the side door of our soul, and tells us that we are not capable of the very things for which we are called. Jesus asks us to take new and courageous steps of obedience so that we might experience more of Him, yet each new step requires risk that is often accompanied by fear. However, the fear is not from God. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)

 

“Courage, after all, is not the absence of fear. It’s the will to persevere even in the face of fear.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted) The power of God living in us, is greater than anything that will ever come against us. His love propels us to continue on the path He has placed before us, and the hope that we hold in Christ forever, secures a sound mind in the storms. May we invest in the truth found in His word, as He tells us three hundred and fifty times throughout scripture, to “Fear not.”

 

Fear not, O my soul,Facing Fears

for you have been called;

to rise in courage,

go beyond your walls.

God has not given,

a spirit of fear;

but one of courage,

for He’s ever near.

His love shall lead us,

to places unseen;

His power, present,

as love intervenes.

Safety in the storm,

our hope in despair;

fear not with the Lord,

He’s always aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your Son to make the way, so that we would not be stuck in our sin and shame, forever fearful of what was yet to come. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to be restored unto You, so that we could find courage, power, and strength in You, even in the face of fear, knowing that You are present and You are greater than anything that might stand against us. Forgive us for folding in the face of fear, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand strong and trust in Your unfailing love for us, and Your power that far exceeds anything that could come against us. Lead us to love others with a love that demonstrates courage, even in the face of fear. May many come to hold their eternal hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up in courage and face the fears in front of us. Amen.

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

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

The Path of Perseverance

Though I am a teacher, I have much to learn from my students. One of my favorite observations over the past few weeks has been in that of one of my determined seventh grade Language Arts students. Her grade was a Meeting (traditional grading, a B), but she desperately wanted to demonstrate that she was indeed capable of earning an Excelling. (traditional grading, A) Every opportunity that I provided for students to do rewrites on essays, she took. Each chance to retake a test during lunchtime, she was present. After three or four rewrites on her essay, Miss Perseverance was able to earn the elusive excelling marks on her essay, and brought her entire grade up to that which she had hoped for. None of it had been easy, but she did not give up, and she continued to come back and ask questions until she accomplished all that she was determined to do. Few of my students will likely be as proud as she, when semester report cards go home next week.

 

In our walk with Christ, do we truly persevere to reach His very best, or do we settle for just getting by, or good enough? When life becomes difficult, He calls us to cling to Him, and to continue in His strength. If we cry out to Christ and hide out, we miss seeing the strength that He will provide. If we attempt to power through on our own and neglect to lean on the Lord, we lose the opportunity to witness the wonder of His presence and power in our present circumstances. Perseverance in Christ, is taking His outstretched hand, and allowing Him to lead us through whatever lies before us.

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4)

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (Thessalonians 3:5)

 

Don’t ever give up,The Path of Perseverance

lean into the Lord;

for He is our strength,

all grace He affords.

Our power when weak,

He’s steadfast and true;

perfect direction,

He will guide us through.

Let perseverance,

finish work in you;

to grow and mature,

in Christ, ever new.

Lacking for nothing,

may God guide our hearts;

in His light and love,

let us do our part.

Witness the wonder,

of all that He is;

in all times and things,

give praise to Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere, You grow us in You. Thank You that Your love is evident, no matter what we face, and Your presence is always with us; we simply need be aware. Forgive us for calling on You, but standing still, or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will take Your outstretched hand, and allow You to lead us along this path we trod. Guide our hearts to love others as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come to know the security found in relying on You for guidance and direction. Be glorified O God, as we persevere on the path to which You have called us. Amen.

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

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

The Faultless Father

One of my favorite stories that my dad likes to tell, is when I was quite young, I had a cracker that I had broken somehow, and with total trust and assurance that my dad could indeed do what I was asking, I extended the fractured pieces toward him and said, “Daddy, fix it?”

 

Though our human fathers may be capable of many great things, not one of them can fix in us, all that is fractured. However, our Heavenly Father, can. I know today is a mixed bag of emotions for many, as not all have access to their earthly fathers, nor the desire to do so. There is a Father that we all have access to, who is waiting with arms open wide. Jesus came to heal the broken, love the hurting and save all those who are feeling lost and alone. Peace is found in Him who created each of us, and knows us better than we know ourselves.

 

Dad and boys

Cautious, Super Spouse & Adventurous a few years ago…

May we each make time,

to celebrate You;

our ultimate Dad,

whom hope is held through.

Please bless all the dads,

who honor You well;

that love as You ask,

in whose hearts You dwell.

Be near to the ones,

who have lost their dad;

memories of joy,

rather than the sad.

Stay close too, to those,

whose fathers are not;

what they’re meant to be,

will You fill that spot?

Lord Jesus, today,

I’m happy to say;

You’re our perfect Dad,

on this Father’s Day.

 

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. – (Psalm 68:5)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whether we have a wonderful dad, an absent dad, or anything in between – You are our Father without fault, who loves us unconditionally. Thank You that You see and know us, yet still love, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that when we come to You and commit our lives to You, You welcome us into Your family forever. Forgive us for our failings with our fathers, and heal fractured places in each of us. May today be a reason for all to celebrate fathers – and above all, a celebration of You, our Heavenly Father. Let our hearts hold fast to the security we have in You, and may we live and love as lights to all whom encounter. May many come to know You as their Heavenly Father today. Be exalted as we celebrate You and the fathers who reflect Your heart and character today. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1