Do Away With Distractions to Seek

“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, NIV)

“I want you to know, I will not drink this wine again until that day when I drink it in God’s kingdom and the wine is new.” – (Matthew 14:25, ERV)

“I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, MSG)

 

Jesus spoke these words to the disciples as they were seated and partaking in the last supper, prior to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane and then ultimately, His crucifixion. He knew that it was an evening of lasts, and let the others know, accordingly. When Jesus told them that He would be betrayed by one among them, they seemed to grasp that message in disbelief, yet did not demonstrate a reaction (in writing) to the words Jesus spoke about the timing of His death. It would only be after His death, resurrection and ascension that the significance of Jesus’ statements would really register in the minds and hearts of the disciples. From what I can observe, Jesus did not have anything to eat or drink between the last supper and the crucifixion. Based on the burden that He was choosing to bear, I imagine it was intentional, as Jesus went to the garden to seek time with God, to pray for what was yet to come. We know, according to scripture, that part of what He prayed was for the cup He was meant to carry to be taken from Him if it was possible; yet if not, let it be so. I imagine too, that there were petitions made for strength and help, as Jesus had to endure the weight of the world upon His shoulders. God is faithful, always, and it is difficult to envision the how, when we know what Jesus endured. However, after three days down, He rose again and then ultimately ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. I imagine that the rise and reward for all eternity made the suffering seem but a brief nightmare, in comparison. That being said, it was a burden that not one of us could have carried. In order to carry the weight, we would have had to be without sin. Only Jesus… All that to say, that when the pressure was overwhelming, Jesus set aside physical needs to go and spend time with the Father. Though it was late and had likely been a long day, He cared not about sleep either, as He was intentional to go and pray. Jesus is our ultimate example of what to do. If we have a need, a decision, a challenge, a burden or the like, we ought to set aside our physical desires for a time, so that we may go and pursue the Lord; for our spiritual needs supersede the physical into eternity. May we seek the Lord in all things, for He is our strength and our supply.

 

Set aside the things, The Mirror of the Heart

That get in the way;

For a time to seek,

Intent to choose pray.

The Lord is faithful,

He hears all we ask;

He’ll show us the way,

To wait or take task.

Do not grow weary,

As we ask and wait;

For God’s not early,

And He’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to seek You with our whole hearts. Thank You that You are faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that Your answers come in Your time and not ours. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see immediate answers, when sometimes the wait is part of the healing process. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be persistent in prayer, and set aside the things that distract us from fixing our eyes on You. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside distractions and seek You with our whole heart. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Sharing Shoulders

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

It is overwhelmingly obvious that God’s very best plan for us is to be invested in community. What I have discovered, is that the more I invest my heart, my time, and my willingness to be transparent, the more burdens are divided and overcome. This is true in my marriage, family, and in close friendships. The imagery of shouldering each other’s burdens is powerful, as it is a reminder to walk alongside and help bear the weight. In college, I was on our crew team. When we carried our racing shell down the hill to the dock, it was not a heavy burden if each rower stepped up and helped shoulder the weight. However, if members were missing, slacking off, or slow to get to the boathouse, the weight of the boat in our shoulders became extraordinarily taxing. It is no wonder we are called and commanded to help each other. The hope is that none become too heavily weighed down, as every heavy burden is shared. Sadly, the caveat is that the sharing of burdens is only possible if people are known. Community is key. To love people well, we need to know people and be known. May we ever invest in those whom Christ has placed in our community, so that we may love well and help shoulder one another’s burdens in accordance to God’s law of perfect love.

 

To walk side-by-side,img_2019-10-23_03-59-095236091504307344571.jpg

Or move hand-in-hand;

Helping each other,

Is what the Lord planned.

We are created,

For community;

To know and be known,

Let love be what’s seen.

Help one another,

With burdens we bear;

For weight divided,

Doable when shared.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear our burdens alone, nor are we to watch others struggle through theirs. Thank You that we have been created to be in community. Thank You that as we invest and know one another, we are equipped to help each other carry the weight of whatever comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we have attempted to shoulder our burdens alone, or have neglected to walk beside one whom You are calling us to help shoulder a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your nudging. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we would be in the sort of community that walks side-by-side and hand-in-hand. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to grant us strength to have the shoulders needed to be the spouse, parent, family member and friend that You call us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

As He Loves

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. 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

To Rest and Recharge

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

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. Though I easily woke at the typical time, the more I moved around, the more I became aware of my own weariness from my lack of sleep the night prior. After doing my devotional reading, and even determining which verse stood out to me, I was struggling to stay alert as my fingers kept missing the keys they were aiming for on the keyboard. Thinking perhaps a shower would help, I set aside finishing my reflecting and writing, and went downstairs. However, after that, my head felt heavy, and all I wanted to do was lie down; so, I did. At first, I thought a short “power nap” would do, but soon discovered that my body really needed real rest. What I realized is that He was providing me time to recharge, as God did not demand that I finish writing, and that He was ready to grant me the rest needed if I would only slow down and just rest. The extra hour plus of sleep that I gained yesterday morning carried me through a full day of meetings, followed by a long union meeting in a hot high school gym to learn about and vote upon our newly proposed teaching contract. The vote was ratified and our district is pleased to have a nearly unanimous “Yes” vote on the new three-year contract. I went to sleep easily, knowing that hope in Him and the rest I’d found had carried me through a day that would have otherwise been difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to be our rest, for our hope comes from Him alone.

 

When weariness comes,

wp-153571736527478849930734026922.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need to find rest;

In Christ, choose recharge,

For His grace is best.

The Source of all hope,

On God we depend;

As His love for us,

Does not know an end.

So, ever choose seek,

The Lord God above;

Our hope and our rest,

He grants us in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and love. Thank You that You see us and know us, and are ever ready to grant us the rest and hope that we need. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize our own spaces of need or for neglecting to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our grantor of hope and rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides the help and hope that is needed to lighten hearts and loads, and ultimately draw people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You, our holder of hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

The Favor of Forgiveness

And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. – (Matthew 6:12, NLT)

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – (Matthew 6:12, ERV)

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. – (Matthew 6:12, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, we were up fairly early, and had plenty of time to finally finish watching “The Shack”, before we needed to get ready to go to church. What stood out to me in the final hour of the movie was the powerful impact that the decision to forgive had on the life of the main character. “The Shack” beautifully illustrated how forgiveness is often not a one-and-done decision, but rather it is an ongoing journey that we make a thousand times, choosing to forgive again and again, each time the pain enters our awareness. Though not an easy path to traverse, the healing that comes is well worth the work. As the main character, Mackenzie, made the most difficult decision of his life to choose to forgive one who had brought such incredible pain to his entire family, he was granted forgiveness of his own that set him free from a weight he had carried most of his life. It was a powerful reminder that we all have a story and each one of us needs to choose to forgive. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we may be quick to forgive and love well.

 

Let us choose forgive, The Favor of Forgiveness

For it shall be done;

With equal measure,

Through the Holy One.

We are forgiven,

As we freely choose;

To give all to God,

Let His Spirit move.

For His grace and love,

Bring healing and life;

He mends broken hearts,

Brings peace where there’s strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that You forgive us as we choose forgive others. Thank You that we never have to forgive on our own, but rather You walk beside us and grant us the strength, peace and love to do the seemingly impossible. Forgive us for all of the times that we have withheld forgiving others. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to forgive as You have forgiven us. Lead us to love with Your grace and goodness that breaks down barriers and brings peace to places that need to know it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

With Gratitude, I Rise

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

 

With a song of gratitude in my heart, I rise. Today marks the final day of the 2017-2018 school year, and I am ready for summer! It has been a year of far more new than I had anticipated would take adjusting to, and only by His strength and unfailing love have I navigated the distance without becoming completely lost. His strength sustained me and His love surrounded me, even on the most difficult of days. As I look forward from this space of one chapter ending and another about to begin, I am reminded anew that God is my place of safety, and the One on whom I can always rely. Thirty-one days until I marry my Viking, and the coming school year holds great promise, as I will be teaching three sections of art, which is my favorite, and one block of humanities. I know that the road that lies before me will not always be smooth either, but I know Who is my refuge and Source of strength, on Whom I can depend. May we ever sing praises to the One who remains present to be our strength and our safe space, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Wake up, rise and sing, With Gratitude I Rise

For the day has come;

School’s at last ending,

The work has been done.

All praise to the One,

Our strength and our song;

Who carried us through,

All of the year long.

Safety and comfort,

Through His love given;

sing grateful praise,

This life I’m living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength, safety and unfailing love on which we can depend. Forgive us for not recognizing nor giving You praise enough for the incredible ways that You love, support, strengthen and protect us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength, safety and love in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others well, so that our very lives are songs of praise for all that You have done and continue to do in us and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You for Your faithfulness forever. 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

Strength in All Things

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NLT)

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV)

I can endure all things through the power of the One who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, CEB)

 

It is an interesting phenomenon to look back and recognize the strength that carried us through things that were more than we could bear on our own. So often, in the moment, we cannot see how we will get through what lies ahead, yet before we know it, we are looking back on the other side of the struggle that we thought was going to break us. His strength sustains us from one breath to the next; moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. As we trust in Him we discover that we are able to endure and overcome whatever lies before us, despite what we feel. May we turn to the Lord in faith, trusting that He will supply the strength we need to do whatever we are called to do.

 

In all that we face,

Strong Heart

God’s strength He’ll supply;

As we turn in trust,

On Him choose rely.

For we can endure,

All that comes our way;

When we trust in God,

Our hope for each day.

So, trust in the Lord,

On Him, choose depend;

His love never fails,

Our strength to the end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can do everything through You, as You supply the strength that we need to navigate all things. Forgive us for attempting to power through difficulties on our own, or for shrinking back from the struggles that seem too much to face. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to supply the strength we need to keep moving in the direction that You are calling us to move. Show us how to love well, all those around us, so that we may encourage and strengthen the resolve of those who are discouraged by their circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press forward trusting You to be our strength in all things. 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

Gratitude for Grace

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by My power.” So I will boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, ERV)

But He answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and My power finds its full expression through your weaknesses.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, TPT)

 

As this saga continues with my leg, I have come to a place where my heart is beginning to grasp a tremendous amount of gratitude. Though I feel extraordinarily frustrated with this space of inactivity, I recognize God’s great grace in the discovery and diagnosis in my calf, for if it had gone unnoticed, it could have been fatal. I don’t know that I am necessarily celebrating my weakness, but I certainly am giving gratitude to God for sparing me from what could have been. His strength is enough to carry me through, and His grace reminds me that this is merely a short season to rise and stand strong in Him. May we ever give glory to God in all things, for He is our strength in our weakness, and His grace grants us power to persevere when we have nothing left.

 

God’s grace is enough, Be Full of Joy

Whatever we face;

He will be our strength,

His power in place.

For where we are weak,

The Lord, He is strong;

As we trust in Him,

We will not go wrong.

He’s most clearly seen,

In our weakest space;

Power made perfect,

By His lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need. Thank You that Your power is made evident in our weakness. Thank You that You meet us in our need and supply Your strength to carry us by Your grace. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith when we cannot see past our own fears. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that Your power is perfect when we are not strong, so it is okay to turn to You and be carried in our spaces of weakness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope and encouragement in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your grace to be enough, as Your power prevails when we are weak. Amen.

 

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Bold Grace

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

Shame is a horribly heavy burden, especially when others have helped add weight to that which is constantly carried. Each time I have a conversation with someone who feels as if there is not a place for them to plug into a church, either because of their past or due to their current circumstances, my heart breaks a bit more. If we are truly loving God and loving people, shouldn’t we have open arms to all who choose to wander our way? Yes, there are precautions and wisdom that need be established for safety (we cannot be unwise) but we all have sinned and fallen short, so we are all equally eligible for the grace of God. His mercy and kindness are the very things that remove the burdens that we are not meant to bear. When we love people well, it often is the nudge needed for them to recognize that they are not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace. May we seek our Savior with open hearts and arms to receive His mercy and grace, so that we may in turn, go forth and extend the same to those around us.

 

Let us boldly go, Bold Grace

To the throne of grace;

Where God in mercy,

Our shame shall erase.

The weight we carry,

In love, He removes;

As His help He brings,

And faithfulness proves.

Choose ever seek God,

Go straight to His throne;

Give as He gives us,

So His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You sent Your Son to bear the weight of all of our sin and shame. Thank You that because of Your sacrifice, we can come boldly before Your throne of grace to receive mercy and help whenever we need it. Forgive us for not extending the same mercy and grace to those around us that we have been given by You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and without basing our love on what has or has not been done by those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly to Your throne of grace to receive Your mercy and extend the same to others. 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

Where True Strength Resides

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB) 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV) 

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE) 

 

When we are in Christ, He is in us as well. The very same power and strength that dwells in the Lord, is available and alive within us as we turn in trust to Him. Even when we feel completely depleted, His strength knows no end. He calls us to seek Him for the strength that we need, as He is ever ready to supply. Personally, I know how true to His word He is, as this week has been non-stop and demanding, with little time for sleep. As I sit and reflect on the blur that this week has been, I am in awe that it is now Thursday. He upheld me, strengthened me, and at times carried me through to get to today. He is good, and His faithfulness never ends. May we trust in the Lord and His strength, remembering that His mighty power lies within the hearts of all who believe. 

 

Let us not forget, strength-in-waiting

Where true strength resides; 

For it is in Christ, 

As we choose abide. 

All strength and all might, 

The power within; 

He grants unto us, 

As we seek, ask Him. 

So, lean not on self, 

But trust in the One; 

Rely on His strength, 

‘Til each day is done. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your strength, might and power to us as we seek You. Thank You that we do not need to navigate this life on our own. Forgive us for trying to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You to supply that which we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would draw strength from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw our strength from You so that we may stand firm. 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