Goodness and Love Flourish Forever

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV) 

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG) 

 

The love of God continues forever, and is not dependent on us. God loves us because we are His created, not because we have “done enough” or “been enough” to satisfy some sort of check list. For me, that is a tremendous reason to give thanks. As a wife, mom, teacher, friend, daughter, sister and more, I wear many hats and fill many roles. That being said, I often feel stretched and spread thin, leaving little to offer to anyone. Thankfully, God’s love for me is not portioned out based on my performance. He loves on my best days and on my worst. His faithfulness knows no end. No matter how things unfold on a particular day, God is good, and the next day is made new once again. May we give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and love that never quit, even on our most difficult days. 

 

Faithful forever,

img_2018-12-12_05-04-056211236554903867902.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The Love of God’s true; 

Endures for all times, 

Each day, it’s made new. 

Always He is good, 

Deserving of praise; 

He loves endlessly, 

Throughout all our days. 

All thanks unto Him, 

For goodness and grace; 

Present where we are, 

In blessing, give praise. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that know no end. Thank You that Your grace is not dependent on our performance. Forgive us for thinking we have to do or be enough to receive all that You have to freely offer. Teach us to embrace Your goodness and grace, as You lavish us with Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps hearts to receive the good that You intend for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your 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

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. 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

Who Are We?

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, ESV)

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, NLT)

King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that You have brought me to this place in life?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, MSG)

 

David had gone from being a faithful young shepherd boy in his father’s fields, to a good and powerful king, who was blessed and anointed by God. He had to endure many trials in between, yet recognized the faithfulness of God through it all. As he sat before God and prayed, he acknowledged in awe and wonder, how it is that God had granted him such kindness and favor. Though I am not in a seat of public power (nor would I want to be), I am the daughter of the Almighty King. When I look back, even over the last few years, I can ask the very same question that David asked: “Who am I, Lord God, and who is my family that You have brought us this far?” I am in awe at the faithfulness and goodness of God, and how He has provided and blessed and covered my boys and me. He has brought us love and laughter and life in places where such things had grown dim, and has provided all that we have needed and more. Verses like this one are a terrific reminder for us to slow down, take some time, and give thanks for the grace we’ve been given to carry us thus far. May we ever look to the Lord to be our help and hope, and give Him praise for the many blessings throughout our days.

 

O God, who are we, not-defined-by-a-day

That You would show care?

What glorious grace,

You lovingly share.

Lord God, as we seek,

In awe, we are found;

You lead us to life,

Show us to sure ground.

Always You are near,

Through our highs and lows;

Your love surrounds us,

And helps us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see each of us as Your children whom You dearly love. Thank You that though we know we do not deserve it, You give us grace and mercy, and lead us through our trials and bring us to places of blessing. Thank You that no matter where we are on our journey, You are faithful to be present as our Help and our Hope. Forgive us for not seeking You in the seasons we need You the most, or for not giving You glory where glory is due. Teach us to honor and praise You in all seasons and stages of life, as You are the One who gives us strength and hope to persevere and overcome. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others feel blessed and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remain in awe of all that You have done, and ever rely on You for what is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Just Believe

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Not Defined by a Day

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

This is a very timely reminder for me. Yesterday, I felt nothing like a masterpiece nor product of heaven’s poetry, as something I had planned, prepared, and was invested in, fell flat when I needed it to go well. It is extra frustrating when the very thing that we have invested our time, energy and heart into, is well-received in some spaces, then not in another. What I have to remember is that one day does not define who He has called me to be, nor what He has called me to do. As the daughter of the King, I need to pick up my crown, dust it off, and stand tall, trusting that each new day is an opportunity to accomplish the good works that He has prepared for me. We are the product of His hands. He anoints us to accomplish good things. God gifts each of us to carry out the call that He has placed on our lives. Yes, there will be days that are not so poetic, but God is still seated on the throne. He makes us new, and equips us to do each and every next thing. May we rise up and remember to whom we belong, and trust Christ to help us learn from the less-than-fabulous days, and to forge forward in faith for all that lies ahead.

 

We are created,not-defined-by-a-day

God’s own masterpiece;

Made to do good things,

His love shall not cease.

We’re made new in Christ,

So we can go out;

Embrace what He gives,

And follow His route.

Even on bad days,

Christ shall remain near;

He picks us back up,

And makes His love clear.

Rise up dearly loved,

Remember your name;

You’re called masterpiece,

Our great God proclaims.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your masterpiece, even when we feel like nothing of the sort. Thank You that in Christ, we are made new, and have been created to do good things. Thank You that Your poetry is etched on our lives, even when we cannot see it. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when things do not go according to our hopes or plans. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the opportunity to learn lessons from the lows, and celebrate that which You accomplish through us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps each individual we encounter feel valued and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the new creation that You have made us to be, and go forth to do the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

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

To Be Like Mom

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

 

Both my mom and her mom before her, are living examples of this verse in action. My grandmother is wise and kind, and her grace and love is apparent with all whom she shares conversation. People are drawn to her, and they seek her out for answers and affirmation. Her daughter, my own mother, has learned well from her. She too, is the sort of person who draws others in with her kindness and grace, and she speaks from a heart that seeks God’s wisdom, rather than her own. I know that not all are so blessed to either still have their mothers present on earth, or to have been given a mom whose heart was after God’s. The remarkable thing about the Lord is that He takes our places of lack, and fills them. Who are the wise and kind women that have been placed your life to help guide you and model what it is to be the sort of person to which the Lord has called? He shows us how we are to seek Him, find Him and know Him, so that we too, may be gracious and kind – responding in the way that is right. Let every word that leaves our lips be kind and full of wisdom granted by the Lord. May we answer all according to His will, and not our own.

 

Let conversations,photo

Be full of God’s grace;

So others may choose,

To seek the Lord’s face.

For when we respond,

In love and we’re kind;

People see Jesus,

True hope, theirs to find.

Just as sweet mothers,

Have loved us so well;

May we do likewise,

Let truth our hearts tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of mothers, grandmothers, and godly women that You have placed upon our paths to love and care for us well. Thank You that these gifts have modeled what it means to speak with kindness and wisdom, so that we may answer everyone in the way in which You intended. Forgive us for not slowing down to seek You before responding, or for speaking out of anger or frustration rather than out of the grace and love that You give in abundance to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead and guide our every conversation so that our words would be those that honor You. Show us how to love others as You love each of us through our conversations and words that we choose to use. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You to lead our conversations and fill our words with wisdom and kindness toward all others. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Hold My Hand

Just as many of us were blessed with mothers who took us by the hand when we were afraid as little children and walked us into the new and the unknown that was frightening, so too, will God do for us now.

 

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Though my mom is a mighty woman in whom Christ dwells, my God is far greater. He sees me as His daughter, and will not hesitate to take hold of my hand and lead me through the scary spaces that I am called to walk.

 

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3)

 

The Lord is our help and our hope, and His intent for us is not to stay stuck in fear. He calls us to look to Him, and allow Him to hold our hand and lead us in His strength into the trials where terror once reigned. God is greater than anything that we face, and His strength is mightier than any weapons formed against us. We need not be afraid, when we place our trust in Christ. May we go forth this day celebrating the strength that God has placed in His daughters; as birth mothers, adoptive mothers, spiritual mothers, and those ladies who love others well, as they have released fear, and simply chosen to love, just as the Lord has called them to do.

 

Take me by the hand,mother and child

when I am afraid;

for You are my help,

I’ll not be dismayed.

I will choose to trust,

in Your strength, not mine;

for You are the Lord,

most holy, divine.

Thank You for the ones,

whom You’ve given us;

the mothers who’ve shown,

the heart of Jesus.

Help me too, to walk,

with a heart like Yours;

so fear melts away,

and Your strength endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God who takes hold of our hand and tells us to not be afraid. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that when we trust in You, we need not fear. Thank You for the precious gift of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and wonderful women that You have blessed us with to demonstrate Your strength in action. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stay stuck in fear, and help us to extend our hearts and hands to You, as You are our help and our hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response is to reach for You. Lead us to love others well, just as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we take hold of Your hand and trust Your help to walk us through the fearful places, in Your strength. 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

To Persist in Prayer

Sometimes, it feels as if we are crying out in vain. Our prayers may feel unheard, as they seemingly go unanswered. Like the Gentile woman who was seeking healing for her daughter before Jesus, we too must humble ourselves at His feet, and persistently pray, trusting that He is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or request.

 

As the woman responded to Jesus when He implied that He was not there fore the Gentiles, her answer in faith, moved Him to action. Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. – (Matthew 15:28)

 

May humility and perseverance fuel our faithful prayers, as Christ sees and hears all that we ask in His Name.

 

When prayers feel unheard,To Persist in Prayer

we’re called to press on;

trust He is faithful,

may our hope be strong.

For He hears our cries,

each request we make;

the Lord is for us,

He moves for our sake.

He sees and He knows,

the faith that we hold;

and heals where we hurt,

to help make us bold.

Let us each go forth,

and share what He’s done;

our faithful Father,

His Spirit and Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we do not always see You moving on our behalf, You hear our prayers and are doing far more than we could even begin to imagine. Thank You that You consider us faithful, when we are persistent in prayer. Forgive us for lacking the fortitude to stay in the fight when all around us seems to fail. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will persistently pray in faith, trusting that You hear and are doing abundantly more than we can see or understand. Lead us to love others with Your relentless love, and help many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we faithfully persist in prayer, even when we cannot see any answers on the horizon. 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

Calm in the Storm

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

An Unlikely Faith

Jairus was a synagogue ruler and a man of societal standing.  He had a tender father’s heart, and an unlikely faith in Christ. Despite his elevated position in society, he went and knelt before Jesus after his daughter had died, and asked Him to come and heal her. Jesus, who recognized his faith, went with Jairus at once.

 

When Jesus entered the ruler’s house and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd, He said, “go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at Him. After the crowd had been put outside, He went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through all the region. – (Matthew 9:23-26)

 

The synagogue ruler did not come to Jesus until his daughter was dead – it was too late for anyone else to help. But Jesus simply went to the girl and raised her! In our lives, Christ can make a difference when it seems too late for anyone else to help. He can bring healing to broken relationships, release from addiction, and forgiveness and healing to emotional scars. If all looks hopeless, we must remember that Christ can do the impossible. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Where have death, brokenness, despair, or hopelessness entered in? Though we can do nothing in our own strength to restore life where such destruction lies, we serve the One who can. May we, like Jairus, set aside our pride, and kneel before Him who heals and restores all hope.

 

When all hope seems lost,Approaching the Throne of Grace

we need not despair;

for we serve a God,

Who’s present, aware.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He’s faithful and true,

with us through each task.

Where brokenness reigns,

and hope seems far gone;

healing can occur,

if Christ we lean on.

Forgiveness is found,

and scars are made whole;

impossible done,

O God, we extol.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when all hope seems lost, there is always hope in You. Thank You that the very same power that raised Jesus from the grave, can restore relationships, heal illness, bring health and wholeness, and grant new life in You. Forgive us for losing sight of just how powerful You truly are, and help us to remember that all things are possible in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may walk by faith and not by our limited sight. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to know the saving power found in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we kneel before You, trusting You to do the seemingly impossible in and around us. 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