United in Love

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no division among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV) 

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV) 

I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, MSG) 

This, this is my heart every single day, as I watch the ongoing debates on social media about the current state of our nation and our world. We are currently a nation divided. My heart breaks a little more each day, as I observe people whom I love and care for, deeply, arguing about the validity of our lockdowns, and questioning the severity of this virus. Is it reasonable to ask questions? Absolutely! Is it right to end up arguing in such a way that it becomes personal, rather than simply a discussion of information that exists? As far as I know, when people begin to bash one another for who they are, rather than civilly discuss, or agree to disagree, there is no love involved in the interaction. I do not have all of the answers, nor do I know what is best for the nation or the world, but I do know that we are called to love. Love does not name-call nor make horrible accusations of a person’s character, simply for having a different opinion. Love listens and learns and is willing to seek to understand the “why” behind each individual’s thought process. If our purpose is to love God and love people, how might we do that best, even others see things differently, or have opinions that delineate from our own, or from that which is most widely accepted? In as much as I can understand; love anyway. If our united purpose is love, then please, let us love well. Love takes the high road, turns the other cheek, and loves thy neighbor as thyself. Where can we love better? May we seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we might get along, being considerate of one another, and cultivate lives intent on loving well. 

When differing views, 

Start to cause dissent; 

One has to question, 

What is the intent? 

If love’s our purpose, 

Then let us unite; 

Choose listen and learn, 

In love, take delight. 

Each of us crafted, 

Uniquely designed; 

Created to love, 

With purpose in mind. 

Brothers and sisters, 

Let us find a way; 

To love each other, 

And mind what we say. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each created with the purpose to be united in love. Thank You that we are uniquely gifted and crafted, yet each have something significant to offer the whole. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differing views, perspectives, or opinions to get in the way of unity. Teach us how to listen and learn from one another, be okay with not always seeing eye-to-eye, and above all, how to choose to love people first. Show us how to love those around us best. Help us know when to engage in conversations that can be productive, and when to remain silent and choose to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You to lead us to be united in love with those around us. Amen.  

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ. – Colossians 2:2

Thankful for Blessings

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – (Psalm 107:8, NIV)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Whenever the verse of the day comes from the Psalms, I seldom read just the one in which the verse is found. The raw and real that reads like poetry, speak clearly to my heart. As I somehow found myself in Psalm 107, after having begun in 97, I discovered that the words written in verse eight, are repeated three more times in the same Psalm. Any time there is repetition in scripture, it is a clear indicator to pay attention and take note. I appreciate how each of the various translations unpack a slightly different aspect of the truth of God and why we ought to give Him thanks. Unfailing love, wonderful deeds for mankind, faithful love, amazing things for people, marvelous kindness, and miracles of mercy for those He loves, are the specific reasons to give thanks to the Lord, all found in one verse that is repeated three times in a single chapter. Personally, it would take little time to fill an entire page with examples of God’s faithful love and the amazing things that He does for people. I have been both the recipient and an observer, and am equally blessed in knowing the powerful love that fuels such wonderful deeds for humankind. May we ever give thanks to God, for He is faithful and loving and His willingness to extend His marvelous kindness and miracles of mercy to those He loves, never ends.

Yesterday marked the one-week countdown for Mom, before she moves into her next leg of her healing journey. There has been much prayer, preparation and discussion to reach this step of her path, so all encouragement is wonderful and welcome. As with anything new, there are concerns and hesitation; primarily due to change. The struggle comes when those on the outside begin to question decisions that were made with confident faith in Christ, and the determination and resolve begin to waver. For Mom and the immediate family, loving support and encouragement will be the most helpful as the new comes into fruition. Thank you in advance, for all who have been and continue to pray, for we anticipate amazing things in the coming weeks and months! God’s marvelous kindness and miracles of mercy have been present every step of the way so far, and we look forward with faith, to all of the blessings He has in store for Mom that are yet to come.

 

May we choose give thanks, Pleased with Good Plans

To You, Lord above;

For wonderful deeds,

You’ve done in Your love.

For kindness and grace,

We give You thanks too;

With all that we are,

We lift praise to You.

For great miracles,

That make Your heart known;

Thankfulness we bring,

For blessings You’ve shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful love that extends kindness and mercy, goodness and grace, for all of our days. Thank You that Your love for us is greater than our hearts can even begin to comprehend. Forgive us for doubting Your care, concern or nearness when times are trying. Teach us to trust that You are present and moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what You are doing. Show us how to love those around us through every season and struggle that we walk through. Let Your kindness be evident in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful love and incredible blessings, as You move in our lives and on our behalf. 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

Trust in the Battle

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

“You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you.” – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

“God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut! “- (Exodus 14:14, MSG)

 

Some days, as an educator, I have to make difficult decisions that include referrals for kids who make poor choices. Yesterday, I had a student behave in a way that I had not witnessed prior, yet it was something that could not be neglected. After reporting the issue to one in charge of discipline, I was strongly encouraged to call the young man’s parent to inform them about what had taken place. In the moment, it didn’t settle well, but I went ahead and did as I was asked. To my surprise, the parent of the student was fiercely defensive of her son, and went so far as to accuse me of “picking on her son.” I tried to let her know that it was an obligation on my part to write a referral, but there would be an opportunity for discussion so that the young man could explain what had transpired. Surprisingly, her anger would not subside, and ultimately, she hung up. For a time, I was rattled. My character had been called into question for reporting what I had witnessed. It took some time and a bit of debriefing with my husband, before I could truly settle in and trust that I had done what was right. This morning, this is exactly the reminder that I needed. When battles rise before me, I can only do my part and then have to trust what remains, in His hands. He will show me what to say and when to be silent. God is faithful, no matter what we see or hear, and He will never leave us nor forsake us. May we place our battles in His hands, and be silent until He grants us words to speak. For He is good, and His love endures forever.

 

There is no battle, trust in the battle

Too great or too small;

In His mighty hands,

He’ll help us with all.

Sometimes our fighting,

Is found in “be still”;

To wait in silence,

Let God work His will.

No matter what comes,

The Lord’s word is true;

He’ll love as we wait,

Choose trust what He’ll do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminder of Your faithfulness when we are uncertain of the battles before us. Thank You that we are to place all in Your hands, and allow You to lead us and guide us, trusting that You have our very best in mind. Forgive us for feeling that we must always fight, when sometimes, we are meant to wait, be still, and witness what You are going to do. Show us how to love those around us in the midst of the battle, granting strength and hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our difficulties in Your helping hands, and choose trust You to be Lord of all. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2

Wisdom from Heaven

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It is whole-hearted and straightforward and sincere. – (James 3:17, TLB)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

 

The pursuit of Godly wisdom is a lovely and lofty goal. The wisdom that comes from Him is pure, peaceful, gentle, full of mercy, considerate, teachable, easy to please, whole-hearted, straightforward, sincere, ready to help and do good for others, fair, honest, and does not show favoritism as it is filled with love. This is the target that my heart is forever aiming for, yet there are times that my words or deeds miss the mark. Sometimes I default to sarcasm as a coping mechanism, and my response, though not intended to harm, is not necessarily helping anyone either. Additionally, there are times when we get in such a hurry that making the time for a straightforward discussion or a pause to help someone where we know there is a clear need, seems too much to stack atop our already overscheduled day. May we ever seek the wisdom that comes from God, so that we operate in a way that is pure and full of quiet gentleness. Let us be peace-loving and courteous, allowing discussion; be merciful and extend good, as we choose to invest our whole hearts into all that we do, sincerely pursuing to walk in the wisdom of His way.

 

The wisdom of God, Wisdom from Heaven

What I long to seek;

It’s full of mercy,

And lifts when we’re weak.

Ever peace-loving,

And easy to please;

Straight-forward, sincere,

He hears and He sees.

Ready to give help,

Wisdom chooses good;

Without favorites,

Grace is understood.

Make me teachable,

Considerate, kind;

Fair, loving, honest,

With others in mind.

Let my heart be pure,

With wisdom above;

Quiet gentleness,

That blesses with love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Godly wisdom is about demonstrating Your goodness in a tangible way. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered far from wisdom to attempt to walk on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on the wisdom of Your ways to extend the things which You call us to do. Show us how to love others well so that we are pure, peace-loving, gentle, kind, merciful, sincere, fair, honest, teachable, considerate, full of mercy, ready to do good, full of love and without favorites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek to grow in Your wisdom and walk it out all of our days. 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

Willing to Share

I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. – (Psalm 9:1NLT)

All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One. I will tell others about Your amazing works. – (Psalm 9:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening was the final gathering of ladies for our six-week study on “Telling Our Stories“. We gathered as a large group, but were seated in small group tables, to provide opportunity for discussion. What I loved hearing throughout our time together, was the common thread of God’s faithfulness through difficulties, and that He was somehow now using those very experiences to lead us to care well for others in similar struggles. The very things that He was so faithful to bring us out of or lead us through, were the same spaces that our hearts were being drawn to love others well. Though we have countless reasons to praise Him with all of our hearts, we tend to gravitate toward that which resonates the most clearly for us, personally. As He provides opportunity for us to share our own stories, even in small ways, it is overwhelming to see how He uses our willingness to share. May we continue to give thanks and praise to Him who grants us all of our days, and may we share of all of the wondrous works that He has done in us and for us, so others too might see the light and life found in Him.

 

May we give our praise,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and thanks to the Lord;

with all of our hearts,

let Christ be adored.

For His great wonders,

the work of His hands;

for how He loves us,

and fulfills His plans.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

that we have to tell;

a story of grace,

how You’ve loved us well.

Grant us the courage,

the time and the space;

to share with others,

Your goodness and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well, no matter where we are or what we are going through. Thank You that You are faithful and full of love and grace. Forgive us for not giving You the praise that You deserve, or for not sharing of the wonders that You have done to make the difference in our own lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You with all of our heart, and be quick to share with others, the wonders of Your mighty works in our own lives. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be Your instruments of grace and peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and share of the mighty things that You have done. Amen.

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

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

Living a Legacy Life

Yesterday, the task to which I charged my students, was for each one to select a “legacy” word for the year. The word that they choose is to be accompanied by a symbol or image that represents that word to them, and each card with word and image will be posted on a designated wall in my classroom. Our discussions throughout the day about what a legacy is, were rich and rewarding. These 7th graders understand the value in passing something down to those who come after them. Additionally, each of them desires to achieve their highest potential, both this year, and in life. The goals and dreams held in the hearts of young people are truly inspiring.

It is good to have something to pass down to your grandchildren. But wealth hidden away by sinners will be given to those who live right. – (Proverbs 13:22)

What we pass on to the next generation and beyond, matters. If we share wisdom and insight that steers them in the right direction, and leads them on the path of righteousness, hope, light and life will lie before them. However, if we shatter dreams and shut down the hopes that kids hold in their hearts, we may be missing out on a promising leader, artist, doctor, inventor, discoverer, or the like. Our wealth is not just monetary. Our time, our heart, our concern, our love, our energy – kids need adults who care to invest in their lives. If a child knows that at least one grown up in their world is for them, they are more confident to move toward their dreams. May we share the wealth that we have, with those who will follow in our footsteps – be it our time, experience, wisdom or resources. Let us make the choice to be a champion for every child.

Living legacy,Living a Legacy Life

is a choice to make;

how to be recalled,

despite our mistakes.

Do we choose rise up,

and try, try again;

or do we choose fold,

give up and give in?

How we choose respond,

matters very much;

young ones are watching,

our words, deeds and such.

We shape their thinking,

of what’s right and wrong;

we model respect,

and how to belong.

Let’s make the right choice,

be a champion;

instead of limits,

kids see dreams begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the privilege and the responsibility of caring for the next generation. Thank You that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but rather You equip and empower us with You grace, goodness and love, to care well for all whom we are given charge. Thank You that You intentionally create each individual with gifts and talents that are waiting to be discovered. Forgive us for not seeking to find those hidden treasures in every human, and teach us to see people through Your eyes. Help us to trust You in us as we are placed positions where we are desperately in need of You. Lead us to love and care for kids well, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. Show us how to leave a legacy of faithfulness in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to honor You in all that we do, and leave a legacy of loving You and people well. Amen.

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

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

No Need to Argue

Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. – (2 Timothy 2:23)

 

Rather than engage in trivial arguments or debates, we are called to be kind and gentle, patient and courteous, and speak the truth always. This requires us to listen before we speak, and to use wisely the words we choose allow to escape our lips. Let truth be told, but through the lens of love that draws others in so that they may want to hear what we have to say. Not engaging in arguments is just one example of how we can align our living with what we profess to be true. Respectful and honest discussion is good and beneficial, but anything that produces fuel to fight, is not the sort of conversation that we are called to carry out. May we choose our words wisely, ever speaking the truth in love in a way that others may see Christ in us, and desire to pursue that which we already have.

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to steer clear of foolish and stupid arguments, as they produce nothing productive for Your kingdom. Thank You that You instead call us to be gentle and kind, patient and courteous, as we share the truth through mutual respect and care for one another. Forgive us for engaging in quarrels or foolish arguments, and help us to trust You more, so that we would seek to listen first, before we ever choose to open our mouths to speak. Lead us to love others with words and actions that bring light and life, just as You illuminate our darkness and grant us eternal hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to not engage in foolish arguments, but rather invest in conversations that create opportunities for the truth to be made known. Amen.

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

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

Reflect His Radiance

After spending time in the presence of God, there was external evidence of the internal exchange that had occurred in the heart of Moses.  “When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord.  When Aaron and the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.  But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them.” – (Exodus 34:29-31)  The time Moses had spent in the Lord’s presence had been so powerful, that his very countenance reflected the radiance of God!

How are we changed after spending time in His presence?  Can people see an outward expression of an inward change?  Our faces do not have to glow with God’s glory, to demonstrate an internal difference that people can see.  The kindness we extend to others, our ability to offer mercy and grace, even when none is deserved – these are opportunities to reflect His radiance, and draw others into the light of His love.  Often, it is without ever saying a word, but rather with how we act or react, that we most clearly demonstrate an internal difference.  Ultimately, the difference displayed in our behavior, opens opportunities for discussion.  God creates the openings, we just have to be willing and available to move as He asks.

Time with the Lord,Reflect His Radiance

leads to a vast change;

inside to out,

great holy exchange.

Intentional,

to listen and pray;

worship and read,

give honor each day.

As we choose Him,

our hearts will be changed;

difference seen,

a life rearranged.

Glory given,

to Him, who it’s due;

as His light shines,

and we are made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we spend time in Your presence, we cannot help but be changed from the inside out.  May we embrace Your grace and allow You access to all, so that Your radiance may be seen in us.  Forgive us for neglecting to make You our priority, or for not slowing down to listen as life becomes chaotic.  Help us to turn to You in all things and at all times, trusting and relying completely on You.  Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust, and that in You, the impossible is made possible.  May we go forth in Your love, allowing Your light to be seen through us.  May many come to know You as Lord and King, and may they embrace the peace that Your grace brings.  Be glorified, Lord God.  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