Love is a Safe Shelter

(Love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God always knows what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. Part of the His design when He made me, includes a strong “mama bear” protective nature, a heart that clings closely to the hope I have in Him, and a spirit that does not understand the concept of quitting. That being said, the last eight hours seem to have stolen my ability to always protect. Though I know that ultimately, protection is in His hands, I want to do everything that I can to keep my loved ones safe at all times – physically, spiritually and emotionally. At 1:45 am, I heard a sound in the monitor that was frighteningly unfamiliar. Mom was making a sort of moaning sound that did not sound like she was sleeping. I bolted upright in bed and dashed across the hall into her room. My fear was realized as I saw her sitting on the floor, beside her bed, looking frightened and a bit dazed. Sitting beside her, I began checking for injury and looking for signs of need for emergency care. Thankfully, it appeared that she had, out of a lifelong habit of rising to use the restroom as needed, simply gone to stand up out of bed, and her legs did not support her standing for long. Before leaving acute care, we had practiced how to get up from the floor, if ever we were in such a position. Though it did not go quite as smoothly as one might hope, we managed, and all is well. Once mom was securely back in bed, with the exit side of her bed blocked better, I returned to my room and checked my phone to be sure my sister had made it home safely. In addition to her text, there was one from my boys’ dad, letting me know that they had not been treated kindly by some of their music people after their spring concert, when everyone gathered at Red Robin. I know that there is nothing that I could have possibly done to protect or prevent these things, however, the protector in me, dies a little when such things transpire. My heart hurts for my mom, as she struggles to regain movement and independence, and for my boys, who are wonderful, loving and sensitive young men, who deserve only kindness, yet are subject to the cruelty of this world. I have to remember that the love that always protects, is His, not mine. God is a far better protector that me. Though only a fool would mess with my people in front of me, I have to trust, hope and persevere, as God is greater and He always protects.

 

Love is the always,08021808042583917494678544150.jpg

That keeps things aligned;

Trust, hope, protection,

All in God’s design.

Life is a faith walk,

Where we have to choose;

To trust in the Lord,

No matter our view.

Sometimes what we see,

Seems dismal at best;

Trials and valleys,

Life’s endurance tests.

No matter what comes,

Keep trusting the One;

Who grants all we need,

‘til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You always protect; You are always trustworthy, You are and will always be our hope; and in You, we will always have all that we need to persevere. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot protect our loved ones from all the ills of this world; for it is broken and fallen and fallible. Thank You that You are not. Teach us to trust You more so that we would cling to You and depend on You in all things and at all times, not just for ourselves but for those we love as well. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, hope in You, persevere in Your strength, and protect in love, allowing Your love to lead our every step. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

 

 

Pleasing Meditation

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord. – (Psalm 104:34)

 

The focus of our meditation is on whatever captures our continued extended thought, reflection, contemplation or introspection. If we choose to meditate, to fix our hearts and minds on the things of Christ, not only is our choice pleasing to the Lord, but we find reason to rejoice. It is impossible to truly set our sights on who Christ is, and all that He has done, and not feel a sense of gratitude rise up within us. Even in the most dismal of circumstances, in Christ, there is reason to rejoice. We rejoice not for our present circumstance, but rather for our eternal hope; for the forever that is yet to come. All that is in the here and now, is but the blink of an eye when compared to eternity with Christ. May we meditate on Christ and the things of Him, so that our focus is pleasing before Christ, as rejoicing rises up within us.

 

Let that which captures,Confidence Comes Through Christ

my heart and my mind;

be focused on Christ,

Who’s loving and kind.

He’s our place of hope,

but hope is a choice;

to lay hold of truth,

and learn to rejoice.

Rejoice in the Lord,

for all that He is;

not what we’re facing,

but how we shall live.

Not just for today,

but all tomorrows;

our future glory,

wipes away sorrows.

It won’t remove pain,

or trials that come;

but still we rejoice,

through hope in the Son.

For on that great day,

when we breathe our last;

we’ll enter glory,

forget all that’s passed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on the things of You, we find reason to rejoice. Thank You that rejoicing is not circumstantial, but rather is always appropriate because of who You are, and what You have done for us. Thank You that our hope in You is far greater than anything that we face in the here and now. Forgive us for allowing our hearts and minds to fix on anything that distracts from the truth of the hope that we hold forever in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice in every season – be it in sorrow or celebration – knowing that You are our God and that we have You with us now, and will dwell in Your house forever. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a space where their meditation is pleasing unto You, as they too, rejoice in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we fix our hearts and minds on that which is pleasing to You, and in turn, rejoice in the truth of who You are. 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

To Be a Sweet Scent

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. – (2 Corinthians 2:14)

 

Thanks be to God is the easiest portion for me to unpack. Simply put, all thanks belong to Him. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him, as He alone deserves our thanks and praise.

 

The next portion, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ, made me pause a moment to ponder what that might look like in my life. Triumphal procession is a victorious forward movement, fueled, equipped and strengthened by Christ. Every time we choose to walk out our faith, even in the dark and dismal spaces, we are participating in a triumphal procession in Christ.

 

As we obediently walk out our faith, we spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Him. For those who are ready to receive all that He has to offer, we are a sweet scent indeed. To those who deny the truth, we will not smell so sweet.

 

May we rise up and give all thanks to God, as He leads us in triumphal procession, spreading everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.

 

Give thanks unto God,Being a Sweet Scent

for He leads us on;

in triumph through Him,

to rise up, carry on.

He allows us each,

to spread His sweet scent;

the knowledge of Him,

leads lost to repent.

Each step we choose take,

forward for the Lord;

the fragrance of truth,

leaves darkness no more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us in triumphal procession in You, every time we choose to trust and follow You. Thank You that You allow us to spread the sweet scent of Your salvation through the way we live out our lives. Forgive us for not proceeding forward as You call, or for being an unsavory scent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may boldly more forward in faith wherever You call. Lead us to love others in such a way, that Your truth cannot help but be recognized through us. May many come into a saving knowledge of You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and give You thanks as You lead us in triumphal procession to spread Your fragrance wherever we go. Amen.

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

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

Intended for Good

Joseph’s story is one of great faithfulness and forgiveness. Despite Joseph having been sold into slavery by his brothers, he chose to trust God, and remained faithful in each situation he found himself in. It was evident each time injustice or false accusations befell him, that Joseph did not get angry, bitter, nor hold a grudge. Each time, he opted to forgive and focus on what God was asking of him in his present circumstance, no matter how dismal it appeared. Ultimately, Joseph’s faithfulness resulted in his rise to second only to the Pharaoh, and what God had taught him through his trials,ended up preserving not only he and his extended family, but an entire nation.

 

After Joseph had reestablished relationship with his brothers and his father, his brothers became fearful once Jacob, their father died. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly. – (Genesis 50:19-21)

 

Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery, but he reassured and spoke to them with kindness. Joseph modeled the very same sort of grace and forgiveness that God affords us, though we deserve it not. May we receive what Christ freely gives, and go forth and offer the very same grace to all those who surround us.

 

Despite harm’s intent,MSH29

God used it for good;

by trusting the Lord,

his heart understood.

Though likely unknown,

the number of tests;

his faith still remained,

in He who grants rest.

For Joseph, he knew,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

through times of trials,

and seasons of rest.

His faith remained strong,

no matter what came;

for He knew that God,

would triumph and reign.

May each one of us,

have faith as he had;

no matter what comes,

trust our Holy Dad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of unwavering faithfulness presented through Joseph, despite the many trials that he endured. Thank You that it is obvious to see Your faithfulness as he was faithful. Thank You too for such a remarkable story of forgiveness and redemption. Forgive us for our unforgiveness or our lack of faithfulness when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most dire of circumstances. Lead us to love others as Joseph loved his brothers – with kindness and graciousness, no matter what has been done unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord, as they come to understand who You are, and how You love and forgive by Your glorious grace. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to love and forgive as You love and forgive each of us. 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 Matter What Comes

What began as a vengeful act of jealousy by his brothers, led to thirteen years of training and preparation for Joseph to become second in command over all of Egypt. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was purchased and made a servant, honored, falsely accused, imprisoned, honored as a model prisoner, recognized as a faithful servant of God, and finally, was given opportunity to put his faith into action, which resulted in Joseph being elevated to second in command of the whole country. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” – (Genesis 31:39-40)

 

Despite the dismal and dire circumstances, Joseph chose to rise up and represent God as a faithful servant in each situation. He worked not unto himself nor for mere man, but worked as though he were serving God Himself. Joseph was faithful with little, and faithful with much. He listened to the Lord in all things, and walked in obedience, even in through the toughest of trials. In God’s perfect timing, Joseph was brought into the position that the Lord had prepared for him. May we patiently persevere as Joseph did, trusting the Lord will use our every trial as training. Let our hearts be prepared, so that we may hear His every word, and be ever ready for His next step for our lives.

 

No matter what comes,No Matter What Comes

choose to seek the Lord;

even in trials,

His grace He’ll afford.

For the hardest times,

are often the source;

that the Lord uses,

to direct our course.

The things that we learn,

while storms around rage;

stretch us and grow us,

a coming of age.

We learn how to trust,

to cling to the Lord;

to hear and obey,

walk in one accord.

With patience hold fast,

have faith in His word;

may our lives make clear,

the truth we have heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and present, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though we may not enjoy times of trial and testing, they are seasons that You use for growing us closer to You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and perseverance when times are tough, and grant us Your strength and stamina to rise up in every circumstance, so that our faithfulness unto You is evident. Teach us to trust You more, so that our attitude will be like Joseph’s, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others, just as You choose to completely love each of us, right where we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord God, as the truth of who You are is made known. Be glorified, as we are faithful unto You in all things and at all times, by Your strength. Amen.

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

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

Darkness into Light

You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – (2 Samuel 22:29)

 

These words are part of the Song of Praise, penned by David, when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies. David had known some desperately dark times, as he had been on the run, hidden out in caves and acted insane, in order to escape with his life. All the while, he had known the Lord’s provision and protection. As the promises that had so long ago been spoken, at last came to pass, David gave God the glory. He recognized that it was the Lord alone, who had turned the dismal into dancing and the darkness into light.

 

The very same God who was with David, is alive and active in the hearts of all who believe today. We have access to all that David had and more. Jesus came to be the light of the world, and when we place our trust in Him, darkness cannot remain. Though trials and heartache still happen, we have a Help and a Healer who is present always. As we allow His light in, all of our darkness dissipates. Darkness and light cannot coexist. Where there is light, darkness no longer remains.

Darkness into Light

Where darkness resides,

and freedom is lost;

desperate our need,

to look to the cross.

For Christ is the lamp,

Who will light the way;

all darkness must flee,

when He comes to stay.

So invite Him in,

grant access to all;

no darkness shall last,

He answers each call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn our darkness into light, and that You are the lamp unto our path. Thank You that as we invite You to take Your proper place in our lives, You lead us and guide us in the light of Your love. Thank You that You are not put off by our darkness, but rather Your light brings life to places where it has been absent. Forgive us Father, for fearing exposure of our own dark places before You, and grant us courage to allow You to illuminate and dissipate all that does not belong in our lives and hearts. Lead us in the light of Your love, to love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know Your saving grace, as we walk out each day living for You. Be glorified through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Sow Where We’re Planted

When our circumstances seem dismal, or if our surroundings are a space less than what we’d hoped for, we may very well be exactly where God intended for the purpose of influencing people for His Name’s sake.

In Acts 25, despite having been imprisoned for two years, Paul found himself with an audience of the governor, a king, and some other very influential individuals.  Paul, true to form, made the most of his opportunity, and proclaimed the truth about Jesus before them.

The fall that followed my graduation from university, I took a giant leap of faithful obedience, and joined YWAM. (Youth With A Mission)  After several months of training, my cohorts and I found ourselves in the slums in Bangkok, Thailand.  The air was so thick that it felt as if we could chew it, and the scent in our surroundings was that of stagnant water and garbage, stewed in sweltering heat.  For many of us, this was our first introduction to anything outside of the United States, and there was a bit of culture shock, to say the least.  However, by the grace of God, we got it together, and began to serve the community in the slums where we were staying.  Each morning, we went out to the waterway and dug out as much garbage as we could load into our baskets, and carried it away to the pick up site.  Day in and day out, we faithfully worked, giggling at ourselves, and making the most of our time, despite the dismal circumstances.

Unbeknownst to us, just over the wall, in a palatial home, was a very high ranking government official.  This man had observed what we were doing each day, and he could not understand why we would come and do what we were doing.  He invited a couple of the guys on our team to come to his home to speak with him, and they had the opportunity to share not only our intent to love and serve the people of Thailand, but they shared the gospel as well.  The official was so impressed, that he invited our entire team into his home for appetizers, arranged for a tour bus, and funded a sightseeing adventure for our team that we would not have otherwise had.

Circumstances,Sow Where Planted

do not determine;

effectiveness,

that’s only through Him.

May we all turn,

to trust in each space;

He is working,

rely on His grace.

For He can use,

whatever we bring;

so let our hearts,

extend offering.

Always ready,

the truth to exclaim;

we never know,

who’ll embrace His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, and for the gift of life experiences to demonstrate how faith in action really works.  Thank You that You use us, Your children, to touch lives and transform communities, if we are only willing to serve where we are planted.  Forgive us for grumbling if things seem uncomfortable or less than we had hoped for, and help us to keep an eternal perspective, knowing that whatever we experience here is nothing, compared to what You have prepared for us in heaven.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to speak truth in love as You lead, so that hearts may turn to You.  May many come to know of Your glorious grace and the eternal hope that is held in You alone.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

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