Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

After spending yesterday afternoon with my boys and dear friend, who is an incredible photographer, as she captured fantastic photos of each of my blessings for their senior pictures, I find the above verse from Psalm 40 incredibly fitting this morning as I reflect. These boys are two of the most incredible gifts that I have ever received, and the works and miracles that have taken place from their premature entry into the world up to now, more than seventeen years later, account for countless wonders that have shown me God’s love, over and over again. Creative and kind, tenderhearted and wise beyond their years, to witness their lives unfold as they navigate near adulthood floods my heart with gratitude and awe. Each time I catch a glimpse of either of my children, I am reminded of the goodness of God. May we remember with gratitude, the wonderful works and miracles found in God, and the countless expressions of love that He shows us each new day that we are granted.

The boys and I were delighted to catch mom on our drive home, as she and my sister’s family were a few minutes away from dinner, so the timing seemed to work well. Mom loved hearing about her grandsons’ senior photoshoot, and we were thrilled to hear the excitement in her voice about her new-found capacity to stand at the island in the kitchen and lend a hand with dinner preparation. For each of us, we sat in a space of gratitude for the works that God is doing.

 

The wonderful works, img_2019-10-16_03-55-198198983554930588560.jpg

Of God’s mighty hands;

Too many to count,

For His love is grand.

A love that exceeds,

All depth that we feel;

Grace, strength and goodness,

His blessings reveal.

In awe and wonder,

May we give God praise;

One beyond compare,

His love, all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonders You have done for us and planned for us. Thank You that the work of Your hands on our behalf is limitless. Forgive us for even a moment of taking Your goodness and blessings for granted. Teach us to appreciate every single blessing; for You know our hearts and bless us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart for them known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless wonders and blessings You have granted in our lives, and for how perfectly, You love. Amen.

 

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Let Us Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be happy today! – (Psalm 118:24 ERV)

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, TLB)

This is very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee. – (Psalm 118:24, TPT) 

 

This particular day that the Lord has made provides tremendous reason to rejoice! After months of waiting and imagining what the day would be like, today is the day. Though I set my alarm for 5:00 am, I woke, with this verse on my heart, at about 3:40 am. I rose full of joy at the realization that this is the day on which I wed the one whom God has provided to love and be loved by well. After an incredible evening of loved ones gathering to dine and rehearse for today, my heart is overflowing with gladness and joy, as I have seen and known His faithfulness that brought us to this day. We will have our “first look” at 6:00 am, as my dear friend and photographer explained the glory of the morning’s early light for photos. After our hearts are captured and recorded, there will be much time to rest and relax prior to preparations for the ceremony this evening. God has blessed us with family that we would choose as friends and friends whom we consider family. No matter how the day unfolds, I have reason to rejoice, as I will become the wife of my tender-hearted Viking. May we each rise with a thankful heart, recognizing that each new day is a gift from God and holds countless reasons to rejoice.

 

This is a great day, wp-1532171212517484228603887301688.jpg

Which the Lord has made;

Full of glad reasons,

To praise the Lord’s Name.

Joy that’s unending,

Because of His grace;

Sweet love descending,

As we seek His face.

Let us choose rejoice,

In all He has done;

All thanks be to God,

O great, Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this day and all that it holds. Thank You for the countless reasons that we have to rejoice. Thank You for Your incredible gift of redemption and the way in which You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for not rising with gratitude each day, for each new day is a gift with reason to be glad for who You are and all that You have done. Teach us to rise with hearts full of praise, as we rejoice in Your love throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us with hearts that rejoice at the goodness You grant us with each breath that we take. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your goodness and faithfulness, both today and forevermore. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Trust Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. – (Philippians 4:6, TLB)

 

Yesterday, as I quickly grabbed the mail between errands and thumbed through it, one envelope captured my curiosity. There was something from the IRS, and I could not figure out for the life of me, why. Upon opening said envelope, my stress level and anxiety shot through the roof. Inside was a letter informing me that there had been an error in my 2016 filing, and that I owe a large sum of money. As I walked into the house, attempting to make sense of what I was reading, I was greeted by two teenage boys who were yelling at one another about who spilled rice on the floor and who had to finish cleaning it up. The noise only added to my anxiousness, and I quickly let them know that I needed them to chill out so that I could process what I was reading. Their arguing continued, and I had to get out of the chaos. I let them know that I was going to the new house to take care of some things and entered the quiet of the car by myself. Once seated, with the key in the ignition, the verse above tumbled about my brain. There was nothing eloquent about my words, but I simply let God know that I needed His help and could not afford this, especially by the date given on the letterhead, and I really don’t understand how they came up with the numbers that they did. As I neared my turn, I saw a familiar vehicle and took a second glance at the driver. It happened to be a sweet friend of mine, so I called out her name. She had just taken her youngest daughter to the park across the street from our new home, had a bit of time and wanted to come take a tour. Gladly, I invited the distraction and showed the two lovely ladies our soon-to-be dwelling. I was encouraged by her kindness and shared with her what had just happened prior to my drive over. She is a prayer warrior, and on the spot, stopped and prayed the things that my heart held but could not yet give words. As they left, I felt far less anxious and more at peace, knowing that God is in control and I have a fiancé who will walk beside me and a community that has my back in prayer. What it did is remind me how grateful I am for the people whom God has placed in my life and that He will lead me in the way in which I am meant to go in all things. May we remember to not worry about anything, and instead, choose to pray and ask God for help, giving Him thanks for the answers that He will and has already provided.

 

Do not be anxious, wp-15296764255929217887386200022319.jpg

About anything;

Instead, choose to pray,

To God, our fears bring.

He’s faithful to hear,

All that we present;

And He’ll show the way,

Answers Heaven sent.

So, trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’s faithful always,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to let go of worry and anxiety and to present our prayers and petitions before You. Thank You that You are faithful to hear us and to provide solutions. Thank You that You answer in ways that we would never dream up on our own, yet they are always what we need, when we need it most. Forgive us for allowing unknowns to dominate our thoughts and cause anxiousness, rather than bring our fears and concerns to You right away. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our every request before You, knowing that You will meet us and never leave us. Show us how to love and walk beside those around us, so that they know Your comfort and Your peace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and give You praise for Your faithfulness always. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Grace Where We Are

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

 

Despite having been captured and taken into the possession of a foreign king, Daniel and his three friends placed their trust in God. Because they were faithful to follow God’s leading, He granted them favor and wisdom above all others who had been brought into captivity by the king of Babylon. Though I have heard the story of Daniel many times, it dawned on me this morning how much trust he must have had in God to do the things he did after having been captured and removed from all that he had ever known. Daniel did not volunteer to go and serve Nebuchadnezzar, but rather the king’s army had surrounded Jerusalem and carried him off to Babylon. It was likely violent and hostile, yet somehow, Daniel had the peace of God upon him, as he earned the favor of those in whose care he was placed. For me, this is a reminder of how much God moves when we are willing to trust Him. In spite of the less than ideal circumstances, Daniel was faithful. As a result of Daniel’s obedient trust, God honored and blessed him, despite his location and position. May we ever trust the Lord and be faithful to follow Him, for He can bless us and grow us even in spaces we’d rather not remain.

 

When we choose to trust,Enter With Thanksgiving

Despite what we see;

God will do wonders,

He hears our heart’s plea.

Sometimes His help comes,

Right here where we are;

So we can rise up,

Show His grace, thus far.

When we stay faithful,

His presence is known;

For He’ll move mountains,

So His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, You meet us where we are and make Your presence known. Thank You that though You do not always remove us from situations and circumstances that we would like out of, You meet us where we are and provide what we need to thrive in spite of them. Forgive us for our frustration when we feel stuck. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask for Your help and Your hope, and the wisdom to understand if we are meant to remain in a space or season of discomfort or not. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage, strengthen and lift up those who feel stuck. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, no matter what our circumstances or surroundings, as we know You are greater. Amen.

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

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

Just Be Held

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17)

 

God really is that loving, kind and gracious to us. I am in awe of how he meets us with His love, and touches our hearts so personally. Even when we are overwhelmed by our circumstances or surroundings, the Lord is present, and moving. He delights in us, even in our despair, and only He truly knows how to bring calm to our internal storms.

 

The other day had been a quite tumultuous day for me. I was feeling completely overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, and had just received yet another blow. As I was driving to meet a friend to work out, a song came on the radio that I had not ever really heard before. I am not certain if I had not heard the song before, or if I had somehow missed the actual lyrics, but that day, God completely captured my attention with the words. Each verse seemed to hit straight to my heart, and by the time the chorus came, I knew that God was using this song to speak to me in the moment. The song is “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns. The lines of the chorus that were such a poignant reminder: “So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, you’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held, your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place, I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held, Just be held, just be held.” (Click the highlighted title if you would like to hear it too.)

 

It is easy to forget that He delights in us, and will quiet us with His love, and He rejoices over us with singing, when everything seems to be falling apart. He has a plan and a purpose for each of us, no matter how things appear. Even when things seem like they are a complete disaster, often it is a space of rebuilding, before something really remarkable is ready to begin. Our job is to trust, and to know that He is with us, and that God is mighty to save. He is more than able in all situations, we have to be willing to be obedient, and at times that includes completely letting go, and just being held…

 

At times life is hard,Just Be Held

and hope seems so far;

but God’s always near,

wherever we are.

So mighty to save,

we are His delight;

He sings over us,

through the darkest night.

His love will bring calm,

where no peace is known;

surrender to Him,

let His strength be shown.

For often our mess,

the struggle and strain;

is what He will use,

for our greatest gain.

Out of the ashes,

His beauty shall rise;

in Christ all made new,

our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You are mighty to save. Thank You that You take great delight in us, and that You quiet us with Your love and rejoice over us with singing. Thank You that You take us when we are in a space of chaos, and bring calm. Thank You that we can come to You, throw up our arms in surrender, and just be held. Forgive us for fighting when You are calling us to surrender. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know when to press on, and when to release what we are so fiercely holding into Your hands. Lead us to love others with Your kindness and grace, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we surrender the things that we are not meant to hold, and simply allow You to hold onto us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Be the Change

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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

Confidence in Christ Compels Correct Living

When Paul was on trial before Felix for his faith, he eloquently captured the heart of why we as Christians, seek to do God’s will. I have the same hope in God that these Jews have – the hope that all people, good and bad, will be raised from death. This is why I always try to do what I believe is right before God and before everyone. – (Acts 24:14-16, ERV) It is our hope, our looking forward with confidence in Christ, that we are compelled to act in alignment with what we believe. This is not something that we are able to do in our own strength, but rather through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Jesus, our example, spoke these words: The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him. – (John 8:29) May we go forth this day, seeking to do right before God, as we hold fast to the hope we have in Him.

 

Our hope is held,Confidence in Christ

in Christ alone;

Who’ll raise us up,

before His throne.

May we do right,

as He has shown;

speaking the truth,

so it is known.

Let all the lost,

make God their own;

as they too trust,

in Christ alone.

May our actions,

and words be sown;

as light and life,

so Christ is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because we have hope in You, we have reason to seek You in all things. Thank You that when we come to You, You hear us and receive us as we are. Forgive us for not keeping short accounts before You, and help us to do right before You, always. Lead us and guide us in all that we do and say, so that Your light is evident in everything. Teach us to trust You more, so that our fervent faith is contagious. Help us to love well, as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as Your light shines through us. Be glorified, O God, as we pursue the path of righteousness in You. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19