Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The More We’re Created For

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

And let the Lord our God favor us and give us success. May He give us permanence to all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TLB)

Oh Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

Though the school year just ended, teacher brains never fully unplug nor shut off to bettering their craft. Yes, the summer is a season for us to rest, retreat and recharge, but it is also a time to prepare for the work we will begin again as the new year arrives far more quickly than one might think. This verse is one of hope and my prayer, as teachers teach not to cram facts and figures into the minds of young people, but rather with the hope of helping each child discover the “more” that they were created for.  The success and permanence in this difficult work is found in watching children blossom into adulthood with the confidence and tools to take them wherever they want to go. May the favor of the Lord rest upon us all and establish the work of our hands.

 

May the Lord’s favor, The More We Are Created For

Come rest upon us;

In all that we do,

To know His success.

In God, establish,

The work of our hands;

May we move forward,

And follow His plans.

Things done in God’s strength,

As He guides our way;

Have lasting impact,

Beyond just today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us Your favor and establish the work of our hands as we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own, rather than trusting You to lead us and guide us to make a difference in all that we do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize and know Your nearness and favor upon us and follow wherever You lead. Show us how to love those around us in a tangible way that aids in the success of all that they are drawn to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your favor and trust You to establish the work of our hands. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, we will lovingly follow the truth at all times – speaking truly, dealing truly, living truly – and so become more and more in every way like Christ who is the Head of His body, the Church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TLB)

 

There is a growing trend that has good intentions, but it is missing an essential element. “Speak your truth”, is a phrase I hear almost daily. Sadly, this phrase is lacking the cover and intention of love. So often, when people speak “their truth”, hearts are wounded and relationships fractured, as there are no intentions to express love through the words spoken. Just as a parent is called to raise up a child in the ways they are meant to go, they are directed to do so in love. We can correct, redirect and guide children with love, even when they do not like what we have to say. Truth lovingly spoken is far better received than that which is barked out or expressed in a way that points blame. Likewise, when we encourage, challenge and spur on one another to become more than we have been before, we must do so in love. When another comes alongside us and offers to help as we learn and grow to be more than we were before, it is received far better than if we are simply told that we are “not enough”, according to the eyes of the speaker. May we ever seek our Savior so that we may grow more and more like Him. Let every word we speak be spoken with intention to love.

 

Let us choose to speak, Speaking the Truth in Love

The truth in His love;

So our words spoken,

Bring life and build up.

Even when the truth,

Needs to redirect;

When done in His love,

Grace is still expressed.

May we seek the Lord,

To grow in His ways;

So truth that we speak,

Is His love displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that choosing to speak the truth in love is choosing to follow after You. Thank You that You call us to speak truth, yet to do so in love. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken what we perceived as the truth with no intention of loving the recipient. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop, think and listen before speaking so that we may say everything with the intention to love like You. Show us how to love well those around us, even those whom we are meant to guide and direct in a different direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our every thought, word and deed unto You, and ask that You would show us how to surround each in love before we follow through. Amen.

 

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

 

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

That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

May We Marvel Like the Magi

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, His mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left that territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. – (Matthew 2:9-12, MSG)

 

As I continue on my journey to dig deeper into the stories of those who first were mentioned in the Christmas story, this morning I did some searching about the Magi. What I had already learned, is that the wise men who visited bearing gifts, did not actually visit Mary, Joseph and Jesus as He lay in the manger. It was likely a year or two later. As mentioned, the wise men entered their home, not an animal shelter of sorts with Jesus in a manger. My new discovery however, is that according to what I found, the Magi were a priesthood of the Medes, known for their exceptional religious knowledge, and some proved to be experts at interpretation of dreams. This was the very same group of wise men and advisors to whom Daniel had been appointed Chief of the Magi, several generations prior. The gifts that these priestly people brought had prophetic and powerful meaning in religious realms. Gold spoke of His kingship, frankincense was a spice used in priestly duties, and myrrh was an embalming ointment anticipating His death. The wise men followed a star, knowing of the significance of Who they would find if they followed where it led. Based on the gifts that they had prepared to take, I imagine that they had already been given some dreams and insight about what had been foretold long before. It is awe-inspiring to envision what the moment must have been like for the Magi. A lifetime of studying and seeking, and then suddenly these wise men found themselves standing before the Savior of the world.  May we each have Magi-like moments this Christmas, where we recognize in awe and wonder, His powerful presence, because He chose to come and be God with us.

 

A star of wonder, May We Live Like the Magi

Led wise men afar;

Check in with a king,

Then follow the star.

The Magi arrived,

In Bethlehem town;

The way clearly shown,

As the star shined down.

With awe and wonder,

The wise men took knee;

They gave Him their gifts,

All praise unto Thee.

May we too behold,

A similar awe;

At the Gift given,

What the wise men saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly show us more and more of Who You are and all that You have done, as we seek You and ask for Your insight. Thank You for the faithfulness and obedience of the Magi, and a bit more of the story behind them. Forgive us for taking everything at face value, or for becoming numb to the depth and life that come from beholding the truth and the treasure that is found in the story of Jesus’ arrival. Teach us to seek to see it through fresh eyes, so that we never lose our awe and wonder at the glory of the Gift that You gave. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You, the ultimate Giver of all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have done for us, and the very reason we celebrate this season. Amen.

 

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

 

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

(link to Magi research)

The Heart of a Shepherd

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – (Luke 2:16-18, NIV)

 

I am continuing to revisit and ponder the story of the shepherds and the role that God called them to play when Jesus was born. Not only were they the first people to witness the miracle of His birth, but they were also the first to share the good news of His long-awaited arrival. These “lowly” shepherds understood the significance of Who was lying in the manger before them, so they went out and shared with others, the awe and wonder that they had just beheld. Rather than being repelled by these shepherds, people were amazed at what they heard. What had been foretold so long ago, had finally come to pass. I imagine it was the hope that had been missing, finally being spoken aloud. Today, it is no different. For so many, hope is absent, and the need to know about or be reminded of the arrival and the reason for the season, is critical. People who normally would be repelled by an invitation to hear, are receptive and willing to partake in candlelight services and “traditional” Christmas activities where the truth about Christmas is told. May we each have the heart of a shepherd and embrace the hope that we know, so that we too are eager to share this hope with those who need it most.

 

The shepherds who watched, The Heart of a Shepherd

Their flocks through the night;

Were by God chosen,

To see first His light.

The angel declared,

What they could go see;

As God had come down,

For you and for me.

The shepherds, they ran,

To find as they’d heard;

In awe and wonder,

They witnessed God’s word.

This amazing sight,

The glory beheld;

Led them to go out,

And of this news tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show the least of us Your glory in incredible ways, and give us the grace to share with others, the beauty of Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You came down and made Yourself approachable and tangible to ordinary people. Forgive us for thinking that we have to be anything other than ourselves to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love as You love each of us. Help us to make You accessible to many through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate in awe and wonder, the incredible gift You gave us through Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

 

 

A Moment to Mark the Season

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His Name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

For a child has been born – for us! The gift of a son – for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His Names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong Father, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. – (Isaiah 9:6, MSG)

 

My boys had their Christmas music concert last night, and the director said something that really resonated true with me. He declared that as the choir and alumni joined in the singing of Silent Night with the procession of concert choir members off of the stage and to the back of the auditorium, tonight, just as in each year prior, that moment seems to mark the start of the season in his heart. As my son, his classmates, and a number of other beautifully trained voices joined in such a hauntingly sweet a cappella version of the familiar, I understood clearly what he was saying. Being seated between those whom I love, and listening to my son sing and his twin brother play the viola beautifully with the orchestra, it all made sense. I too have a bit of a moment on the final day of school before Christmas break, when I can at long last breathe, and slow down in full awe and wonder of the real reason for the season. It is as if I am gifted a pause button as we send off our students with cheerful farewells, knowing that the things I love most about the season can be soaked in and mulled over now, rather than merely glimpsed at the usual race pace. May we each find moments to take pause and remember the real reason for this wonderful season, as the child born to us became our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and our precious Prince of Peace.

 

Let us remember, 1214171825a1647878590.jpg

This season of cheer;

Why we celebrate,

Is God who came near.

He came as a babe,

So mild and meek;

Yet overcame all,

To help when we seek.

Our great Counselor,

Father forever;

Our most Mighty God,

His peace ends, never.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us to lead us and become our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Thank You that You are so much more than we can hope or imagine, if we simply turn in trust to You. Forgive us for forgetting just how mighty You are, and how deeply Your love flows for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize the remarkable reason that we celebrate this season. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may have milestones that help set the season in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and adoration this most holy season, and let us again recognize in awe and wonder, all that You have done for us. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Sweet Wisdom for the Soul

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, NLT)

My son, eat honey; it is good. Honey straight from the honeycomb is the sweetest. In the same way, know that wisdom is good for you. Wisdom will give you something to home for that will not disappoint you. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, ERV)

Eat honey, dear child – it’s good for you – and delicacies that melt in your mouth. Likewise, knowledge and wisdom for your soul – Get that and your future’s secured, your hope is on solid rock. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, MSG)

 

Wisdom is to the soul, what honey is to the mouth. The sweet satisfaction that comes from truly knowing and understanding that there is a hope and a future when our hearts are held in Christ’s hands, will not disappoint. There is peace in His presence, and comfort in His company. He provides wisdom where it is lacking if we seek Him, and secures our soul as we pursue all that He is offering. May we seek the sweet satisfaction that comes from the wisdom that God alone provides, and celebrate the security we know when our hope is held in Him.

 

As honey’s to taste, Sweet Wisdom for the Soul

So wisdom’s to soul;

There is a sweetness,

As God’s hope unfolds.

For wisdom reveals,

A future secure;

Shows us that in Christ,

We’ve nothing to fear.

Ever seek wisdom,

It won’t disappoint;

As eternal hope,

Is wisdom’s viewpoint.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that knowing You and the future that You have for us is sweet for our soul. Thank You that You have a hope and a future for every one of us. Forgive us for not pursuing You and Your plans, as we often fear what we do not know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares hope and encouragement, so that they too, may recognize the sweetness held in Your wisdom. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom to provide our hope, as it does not disappoint. 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

 

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