Prepared Like a Bride

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, NIV)

And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It was prepared like a bride dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be His people. God Himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.” – (Revelation 21:2-4, ERV)

 

God really is so good. Though I felt compelled to call this site Revelations in Writing, I have not spent much time dwelling in the book of Revelation. The content, quite honestly, makes me a bit anxious, rather than brings clarity. I don’t avoid it altogether, I just have not really dove deep into a dedicated study of that particular book. This morning, however, I was nearly moved to tears by the imagery found in the verses that appeared in my daily devotions. Being such a visual person, these verses struck a space in my heart that needed to imagine such incredible, beautiful hope.

It was a little less than a year ago, and I was the bride, dressing for my husband on our wedding day, right here at my mom’s house. Dear family and treasured friends joined us to celebrate our union before God in this gorgeous setting. As a girl who grew up caring far more about athletics and art than appearances, I have never been one to feel particularly “pretty” or “beautifully dressed”, but rather an artist who has fun with color and pattern and design. However, on my wedding day, I did feel like a bride who had been transformed for her groom – not because of my clothing or hair; it was the way I was viewed through the eyes of my groom.

Additionally, the hope that is held in these verses, offers a load far lighter than what I bore yesterday. Between the early morning’s fiasco, exhaustion, and then learning of the loss of my paternal grandmother, my heart was so heavy that it simply sat in my chest as a stone. I could not even feel because the weight was so great.

Mom struggled with word finding the first half of the day, as the lack of sleep had really taken a toll. We met her new in-home physical therapist, and were both very impressed and pleased. She will begin sessions three days per week, starting Monday. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are yet to be scheduled, but those should begin this coming week as well. She will have in-home nurse visits too, to be sure all is going as it should. So far, her care team is fantastic, and I am grateful that we have the opportunity to keep mom in her own home in Wenatchee.

All that to say, that the hope held in knowing that one day we will be with God, and He with us, where there will be no wheelchairs, monitors, bed rails, strokes, sickness, deaths, diseases, fears, frustration, tears, nor pain, is an incredible promise to hold in our hearts.

 

Imagine the bride,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

On her wedding day;

Eager and ready,

For all that awaits.

Two lives full of hope,

Placed in the Lord’s hands;

As loved ones witness,

His unfolding plan.

How much greater still,

Will it be one day;

When God comes to dwell,

Among us, to stay.

All sickness and pain,

Death, hurt and disease;

Will no longer be,

In Him, we’ll be free.

No weight nor sorrow,

Just wonder and awe;

Joy in His presence,

No more sinful flaw.

Fear not His coming,

Instead, let hope rise;

There’s beauty beyond,

Our dreams realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You take our heaviness and exchange it with hope. Thank You that the weight of this world may feel heavy for a season, but the hope of eternity is well worth the weight we bear throughout the various seasons in life. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us to carry whatever load lies before us, and You bring others alongside us to share the weight. Forgive us for thinking that we are meant to carry things alone, or that this is somehow all there is, forgetting that there is so much more beyond what is before us in the right now. Teach us to trust You with our today, tomorrow and forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the hope that goes beyond today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is held in eternity with You, and the help You supply in the “right now”. Thank You that You speak to us individually, in the way that penetrates the places in our hearts that feel heaviest and need Your light to shine the brightest. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

Lean into Love

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God. – (Hebrews 7:19, NLT)

The Law of Moses could not make anything perfect. But now a better hope has been given to us. And with that hope we can come near to God. – (Hebrews 7:19, ERV)

After all, the law could not make anyone or anything perfect. God has now introduced a new and better hope, through which we may draw near to Him. – (Hebrews 7:19, VOICE)

 

Our confident hope is found through drawing near to Jesus. No longer are we weighed down with the burden of abiding by a strict set of rules and regulations for every aspect of our lives, but rather we are called to love God and love each other, and thus by doing so, we fulfill His requirements of us. A life of drawing near to God deepens our love and understanding of what His will is for our lives. Additionally, the better we know the Lord and His heart for us, the more certain we are of our hope in all that is yet to come. May we draw near to God with hearts full of thanks, as He shows us the hope that is found forever in Him.

 

Though all imperfect,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Weighed down by our sin;

When we go to God,

We are forgiven.

Made right by His grace,

Compelled by His love;

He shows us His hope,

As He’s sought above.

Let’s turn to the Lord,

With hearts full of praise;

Lean into His love,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are no longer required to adhere to an extensive list of rules and regulations to attempt to come before You. Thank You that You made the way for us to come directly to You through the sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You that Your grace covers us and leads us to a life of love that is full of hope in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You, as You are our Source of help and hope forever. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean into You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that draws others into Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise forever for the hope we have in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

 

 

Love Lights the Way

Anyone who loves a fellow believer is living in the light and does not cause others to stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NLT)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

 

As always, it all boils down to love. If we are loving those around us according to God’s good and perfect will, we will be living in His light and will not lead others astray. True love, God’s love, points people in the right direction and helps others do good according to His will and His ways. For me, the more I am loved well, the more I am compelled to do the same. Love fuels love, and the overflow is light and life and the good that God intended all along. May we ever invest in our time with the Lord, who is love, so that we are filled and equipped to go forth and love those around us in His light.

 

Brothers and sisters;

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Let us choose to love,

For as we invest,

Good shall rise above.

If our choice is love,

For one and for all;

His light will be spread,

Answer to His call.

A love that is pure,

Will point all to good;

As we love like God,

Grace is understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and light into our darkness. Thank You that You call us to be the same to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love, as love leads to the good You intend. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love like You, allowing Your light to illuminate dark places and soften the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in Your love so that we may love others as You love us. Amen.

 

 

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

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

Accept One Another

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. – (Romans 15:7, NLT)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

We are called to accept others in the same way that Christ has accepted us – with open arms that see the good, not highlight the flaws. God does not look at us and immediately go into “fix it ” mode, but rather He sees us in love. It is through coming to understand the depth of His love and grace that we are compelled to make changes so that our lives will more clearly reflect His light through our own. The more we know Him, the greater our desire to do as He has done for us. May we ever seek to grow in our understanding of who God is and how great His love is, so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

We’re called to go forth, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And love as we’re loved;

Received, accepted,

By grace from above.

As we do the same,

Accept each other;

God’s given glory,

Grace to discover.

So, let us choose love,

As Christ has loved us;

All praise to the Name,

Of our Lord Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us, just as we are, even in our broken and messy spaces. Thank You that Your love is what cleanses and heals us. Thank You that You only call us to do that which You have already done, and are willing to strengthen and equip us to do as well. Forgive us for withholding love or acceptance from anyone, and teach us to trust You more, so that we extend the same acceptance to others that You give to us. Show us how to love and accept all those around us in a way that blesses them and honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others just as You have accepted us. 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

Compassion Leads to Action

Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” – (Mark 1:41, NLT)

 

In one verse of scripture, so much is spoken about the heart of Christ. When people were hurting, He did not just feel sorry for them, but rather He was “moved with compassion“, meaning His heart was motivated to alleviate the suffering that He saw before Him. In this passage in Mark, Jesus touched the untouchable, and healed not only the physical ailment that plagued the poor man before Him, but He helped his heart – for those with leprosy were unable to have any sort of physical contact with anyone at all. Imagine someone reaching out and touching your shoulder without fear, after years of being looked upon in horror… Compassion is the Christ-like action to which we are called. May we seek the Lord and His heart for those around us, so that we would not only feel sympathy and sorrow for those who are suffering, but that we might be compelled to alleviate the pain however He calls us to walk alongside those in the midst of their hurt.

 

When we see hurting,kindness

Those stuck in their pain;

May we be willing,

To move in His Name.

For true compassion,

More than sees and feels;

It seeks ways to help,

By grace, such love heals.

Let us choose rise up,

With hearts that see need;

In faith walk beside,

However God leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your heart for people. Thank You that compassion goes far beyond feeling sympathy for someone who is suffering. Thank You that compassion takes the sorrow felt for another’s pain and is accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. Forgive us for lacking compassion with those around us, or for not opening our eyes to the needs in those before us. Teach us to be aware and available, ever trusting You to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to help. Show us how to love in a way that makes Your heart tangible to the suffering so that they would know hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to move our hearts with compassion as we view those around us. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Provided to Share

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, NLT)

And God can give you more blessings than you need, and you will always have plenty of everything. You will have enough to give to every good work. – (2 Corinthians 9:8, ERV)

 

God’s economy is not logical by the world’s standards. When we give, we end up gaining more. Sometimes, we feel compelled to give of our time, talents or resources when it appears that we have nothing to offer. However, I find that each time I extend myself from this very space where I have to trust, God comes in and multiplies my little to more. If it is time, I somehow find I have more than I thought I had; if it is offering something of myself – He meets me in the moment and does more than I ever could. When the gift is monetary, my budget always works out – even when it logically should not. A reimbursement check here, a random refund there, a gift, an error in billing… The overwhelming ways in which He works to provide are so inspiring, that I find I am quicker to obey when He asks that I give. May we remember Who is ultimately our Provider, and trust that He is true to His word. Let generosity be our mode of operation, as Jesus modeled a life of generously giving of Himself wherever He went.

 

And God shall provide,Tether Our Hearts

For each of our needs;

At times we’ll be called,

To generous deeds.

For we all have gifts,

That we’re meant to share;

Time, talent, resource,

To show that God cares.

As we choose to give,

Obediently;

The Lord blesses us,

Most abundantly.

To see a need met,

Know God’s faithfulness;

Brings confident joy,

His love is expressed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You generously and abundantly provide all that we need, so that we may share with those around us. Thank You that You ask us to give of ourselves, not because You need us to, but because You desire to bless us with the benefit of seeing Your faithfulness for both the recipient and ourselves when we watch how mightily You move. Forgive us for the times that we have hesitated or avoided giving where You asked us to give because in our own minds we could not figure out how to make it work. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would say yes to You, whenever You ask us to give of ourselves. Help us to hear You clearly. Show us how to love those around us well, with our time, talent and resources. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others, that which You have so lovingly provided unto us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

The Only Work He Wants

Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the One He has sent.” – (John 6:29, NLT)

If you want to do God’s work, then believe in the One He sent. – (John 6:29, VOICE)

 

God does not want a laundry list of the things that we are doing for Him, He wants our heart. We must believe in Him with all that we are, for this is how are pleasing unto Him. It is by faith that we are compelled to do anything good that He is calling us to do. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him…(Hebrews 11:6) Let us pursue the Lord with our whole heart, and trust Him to do and be immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine. It is only by His grace that any good can come from us, so let us seek Him with reckless abandon.

 

It’s not God’s desire,Believe Instead of Striving

For a list of work;

Instead He wants hearts,

To love as His church.

In order to love,

We first must believe;

Trust with all we are,

So truth is received.

With all that we are,

Let us rise and seek;

Our Most Holy God,

Who through our lives, speaks.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Son. Thank You that through Him, You made the way for us to be restored back unto Yourself. Thank You that above all things, You desire relationship with us. Forgive us for getting in the mindset that we have to do enough or be enough, rather than fixing our minds and hearts on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would focus our attention on the greatness of Your grace given to us, and the love lavished upon all who trust in You. Show us how to be beacons of Your love and light to those around us, so that they too may come to believe in Who You are and all that You have done. May many enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes and hearts on You. Amen.

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

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

Forward in Faith

The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger. – (Job 17:9, NLT)

 

In the midst of Job’s greatest suffering, he not only defends his innocence, but cries out to God for help. Though forward was not likely the direction he felt compelled to move in the midst of his misery, he continued to trust in the Lord. His hands were clean, and he did become stronger and stronger, with all things ultimately being restored unto him. We are called to do likewise. No matter what comes our way, we are meant to keep moving forward in faith, maintaining clean hearts and hands, so as to allow the Lord to be our strength and watch to see what He does to get us through. May we place our trust in He who is deserving of all of our trust, and keep moving forward in faith.

 

By faith we are called,Bold and Unhindered

To trust in the Lord;

No matter what comes,

May Christ be adored.

For He is our strength,

When we’re in the fight;

He’s our light and hope,

On the darkest night.

Let us choose to seek,

For in Him we find;

The light of the truth,

He opens eyes blind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You to keep moving forward, You strengthen and equip us to do so in You. Thank You that You keep our hands and hearts clean when we are invested in You. Forgive us for not turning to You in the midst of our struggles, or for seeking to solve situations on our own. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You are our Source of strength, hope and help. Show us how to love others with Your strength, so that they might see You through the way that we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep moving forward in You, trusting You to be our strength. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

The Benefit of Belonging

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. – (Romans 8:1-2, NLT)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE)

 

When we come into relationship with Christ, we are no longer condemned for our sins. His Spirit grants us life, and frees us from the power that sin had held on our hearts before we knew Him. With Christ, it is not about trying to obey the letter of the law, but rather it is the joy in coming to know His love, grace and forgiveness. As we know Him more, we cannot help but be compelled to honor Him in word, thought and deed. It does not mean that we will be perfect, but we grow in our knowledge of where to turn for forgiveness, grace, strength and help to continue in the direction to which we are called. May we let go of the law that leads to death, and embrace the One who grants us life in Him.

 

Condemnation comes,What is in a Name

When we go alone;

Try being, doing,

Enough on our own.

For there’s no enough,

Compared to God’s grace;

That’s why it’s a gift,

We’re meant to embrace.

When we choose receive,

All that the Lord gives;

His power frees us,

So in Him, we live.

New life He breathes in,

So we are set free;

To live and to love,

For eternity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation when we belong to You. Thank You that Your Spirit in us gives us life, and has freed us from the power of sin that leads to death. Forgive us for attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than seek You and invest our hearts and minds in things of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may embrace the power that You grant us by Your Spirit within us to overcome the power of sin that leads to death. Show us how to live and love in that liberated space, so that others too, may come to know the freedom that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to lead us and guide us in the ways in which we are meant 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