Look Up and See

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, HCSB)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. – (Psalm 19:1, MSG)

This weekend, my love and I are camping. We did not travel far from home, yet far enough to feel as if we were somewhere else. The amazing thing about the short drive from home, is that yesterday as we were leaving, the skies were gray and it was sprinkling. When we drove across the bridge, the skies opened up and there was far more blue sky than gray. The sun was shining and I had to dig my sunglasses out of my purse. I love that the same God who created the clouds that provide water to the soil, painted the sky a brilliant blue, and His creativity is displayed uniquely each morning and evening as the sun rises and sets. Camping provides the opportunity to be outdoors more, and for me, there is nothing better than being outside and taking in the beauty of creation. May we all find time to observe all of the beauty that God’s hands have made, and take notice of the intricate details that He so lovingly included in creation.

The glory of God,

Ever evident;

Through just looking up,

Become reverent.

Beauty all around,

For us to enjoy;

Bountiful color,

That nature employs.

To You, we give thanks,

Where all praise is due;

Beauty created,

That shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your creation everywhere. Thank You that we need only look up to see Your hand tangibly at work. Forgive us for somehow making You less than You are. Teach us to trust in You, the One who holds us all in the hollow of Your hand. Lead us to notice the beauty all around us, and show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty all around us and time to get outside and enjoy it. Amen.

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

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Love Each Other

“I give to you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – (John 13:34, HCSB)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

In Finland, Valentine’s Day is Friends Day. I appreciate that, as people make the day too much about romantic love and not enough about simply loving one another well. Today, it is my hope to love everyone well. Of course my spouse is my true love, but there is much to celebrate about the love I have for my family and friends. God commands it and has shown us again and again how to love, so it ought to be a priority to work on loving well. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love each person we encounter as He loves them. 

Lord, help us love well,

Today and always;

Lead us and guide us,

Throughout all our days.

Show us the places,

That are lacking love;

Make our hearts tender,

To love as You love.

May this be a day,

That love is displayed;

Through kindness and grace,

And Your loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to love one another. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather You fill and equip us to love others as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Show us how to love as You do in all situations and circumstances. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another as You created us to do. Amen.

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

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. – Psalm 63:3

Known with Purpose

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, NIV)

He counts the stars and knows each of them by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He sets His stars in place, calling them all by their names. – (Psalm 147:4, TPT)

 

If God, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all that is, knows each star and calls it by name, how much more does He know us, His created? God is aware of even the seemingly most insignificant details; “And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” (Matthew 10:30) Love alone, drives such care and concern for who we are, and everything about us. He knows how we were knit together, and He has already called it “good”. Each one of us were born with a plan and a purpose – with gifts and talents to share with the world. Our charge is to seek Him to discover what we have been created for, and then to go forth, and do whatever it is, in love. As a teacher, especially as I wear my art teacher hat, I have the opportunity to help each student who enters my classroom discover that they are an artist. Some come in with a preconceived idea that they have zero artistic abilities, and I spend the entire semester working to help them discover that there are more mediums in art that drawing. Additionally, art is in the eye of the beholder. To one, Picasso is the most profound, whereas to another, Monet or Degas have been deemed the best. God set us all in place too, and He knows us each by name. His care goes far beyond the knowing; He loves so that we can become the very best version of ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we can live life in our strengths and purpose with love.

On the way back from a grocery trip with one of my boys, I was able to reach mom on the phone. It was great to talk to her and hear her voice, and I know that it was a bonus for both she and Lucas to speak with one another. Eager to hear about the start of school, much of the conversation was spent answering questions posed by mom. She caught us up on her day, and was pleased to let us know that she had been working hard on walking and other therapy exercises. Her determination and strength are inspiring, and part of the gift of how she was intentionally designed. We continue to pray for the details to fall into place, as mom is still in limbo, waiting for in-home therapies with actual therapists.

 

The very same God, known-with-purpose.jpg

Who hung all the stars;

Made us with a plan,

Purpose that is ours.

Designed with intent,

Wonderfully made;

Fully we are known,

As His love’s displayed.

May we each go forth,

And pursue His plan;

Love with intention,

Each day as we can.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know and love us so well. Thank You that all of creation has been designed intentionally, and is fully known by You. Forgive us for somehow forgetting just how vast the expanse of Your love and wisdom reaches. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would faithfully pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love well, so that we may walk out our days with purpose in a way that lifts up and encourages those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love and grow into all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. – Philippians 2:13

 

* A song that comes to mind as a reminder of this truth, is Stars, by Skillet. ❤

 

 

Purposeful Design

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil that they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

Perhaps this is the reason that I crave being outdoors so much. Each time I am afforded time to enjoy just being out in nature, I find myself acutely aware of God and the beauty of all that He has made. Yesterday, was a day spent almost entirely outdoors. I began my morning as I usually do, with my devotions and writing, but then went and met my running bestie for a run to kick-off the day. The opportunity to share life with one another as we run, and fill our lungs with the hint of coolness that is still found in the morning air, while running through tree-filled neighborhoods and roads. Green is beginning to give way to hints of yellow on the deciduous trees, a reminder that seasons change, but the like the tree, God remains steadfast. Shortly after returning from my run, I went and picked up my best friend to go hiking. Incredibly, we arrived within thirty-five minutes or so, and soon began our ascent up the trail. Neither of us had hiked this particular trail prior, so everything was new. The surroundings were lush and green, and the trail, nearly three miles of steep switchbacks, reminding us to be grateful for strong, healthy bodies. Upon our arrival at the top, the view made the work well worthwhile. We could see for miles. Hills and lakes, the Puget Sound, mountains and valleys – so much of God’s creation, right there, beautifully displayed before us, waiting to be enjoyed. The few photos that I took do not do the view justice, but perhaps at least give a glimpse of how gorgeous God’s creation is, when we find opportunities to get out and enjoy it. After the hike and time at each of our homes, my love and I joined she and her husband on their deck to sit outside and enjoy a fire and dinner. Summer nights are a sweet reminder of God’s goodness to us. All that to say that every single time I get outside, I cannot help but see the fingerprints of God all over the beauty that my eyes behold. May we each be acutely aware of our Almighty God, as we navigate our days through the beauty He has placed around us, to make His heart for us known.

When I checked in with mom yesterday afternoon, it sounded as if she had been having a good day, thus far. She had done her exercises and some walking laps around the house, and was quick to answer the phone when I called. It has only been a little over a week since mom arrived at Meg’s house, so they are still working to establish routine and work out all of the appointments and therapies. Mom will have her appointment with her new primary care doctor tomorrow morning, so we are praying that in-home therapies begin rapidly after that appointment. Ideally, a case manager would get to the house by Friday to determine mom’s need and establish a schedule for the various therapies.

 

The truth of the Lord, img_2019-08-20_04-20-306977957877656939817.jpg

Is easy to see;

For all around us,

Hand-crafted beauty.

Majestic mountains,

Vast, powerful seas;

Lush, lovely forests,

And river retreats.

Intricate flowers,

And huge, mighty oaks;

Creatures great and small,

And all sort of folks.

Each one created,

Purposeful design;

When we choose to look,

We see truth aligns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made invisible and difficult to grasp attributes tangible through what You have made. Thank You that we need only look around us to see evidence of who You are and how You love. Thank You that Your power and majesty are made clear through that which You have created. Forgive us for neglecting to open our eyes to truly see the work of Your hands. Teach us to recognize and appreciate the evidence that is all around us, testifying on Your behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further provides evidence of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the beauty that You have made, and the ways that Your fingerprints are all around us through all that is created. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. – psalm 96:11

 

 

The Skies Don’t Lie

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Every morning, no matter the number of times I’ve been up in the night, nor the quality of sleep I’ve obtained, the handiwork of God is brilliantly displayed across the sky to remind me that He is present and that His truth remains. Whenever I am in a space of uncertainty, so often the words that bring comfort are from the Psalms. David was a man who endured trials and triumphs, and he recorded his heart after God with passion and honesty that is genuine and timeless throughout the ages. His recognition and awe at the handiwork of God captures my heart perfectly, as I watch the sunrise in wonder and amazement each morning.

Yesterday was another full day for mom. She had occupational therapy in the morning, lunch delivered and shared with two of her dearest friends midday, and then a late afternoon appointment with her primary care physician. The trip into town again went smoothly, and we are in awe of how God found the perfect PCP for mom. Her new doctor is a perfect fit, and sets our minds and hearts at ease, the moment she enters the room. All went smoothly, and we were on our way. After we had enjoyed dinner together back home and were ready to settle in to watch a movie, I checked mom’s phone for messages. There was a message from her doctor that must have come shortly after we left her office, and it left us both a bit unsettled. Mom just finished a 30-day heart-monitor study on June 10, and to our knowledge, it had been uneventful. The message implied that perhaps there was something to discuss, so we will be in contact with the doctor today to discover what exactly was found throughout the study. This is certainly a prayer point, as there are pros and cons to there being “something” there. A pro is that it could be the “why” as to what actually caused mom’s stroke. Additionally, if we know the what, it can be treated and prevented. However, an obvious con is that we do not want mom to have issues with her heart. God is greater. He knit her together in her mother’s womb and knows the number of hairs on her head. May we ever trust in He who hung the stars in the sky and causes the sun each day to rise.

 

God’s great glory shines,0612190457254276551488597199.jpg

Each morn as I rise;

His work is displayed,

Across painted skies.

Brilliant the colors,

Show His handiwork;

Dark becomes daybreak,

World’s finest artwork.

All of creation,

Makes God’s glory clear;

Present Creator,

Who chooses be near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the heavens declare Your glory and that Your handiwork is evident as we gaze across the sky. Thank You for the daily reminders of Your presence. Forgive us for our uncertainty, fearfulness and doubts as we continue to walk along a road where we cannot see past the step we are taking right now. Keep holding us close, reminding us that we are in Your hands and that You have a plan that is already well prepared. Show us how to love those around us as they seek to navigate their own road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek and trust, appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Amen.

 

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

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Evidence of the Unseen

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God. – (Romans 1:20, NLT)

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – God’s eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So, humans are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, CEB)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

It boggles my mind to think that with all of the beauty of creation, there are still some who do not believe there is a Creator. I cannot even so much as look at a sunrise or sunset, the ocean waves, the mighty mountains, the countless stars in the sky, or the faces of my family, and question God’s goodness. God gives beauty, where humans attempt to destroy; He gives love, as humans have a propensity for hatred. Everything good comes from God. May we take pause to look all around us and discover the evidence that He who is unseen, has made visible for us to know Him.

 

All-powerful God, Filled Each Morning

Has made His heart known;

Throughout creation,

His goodness is shown.

Displayed by beauty,

For all to behold;

His power, present,

The truth being told.

Invisible things,

Become clearly shown;

The sun, moon and stars,

God’s greatness made known.

How can we question,

The God who has made;

All things for our good,

His love is conveyed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the power and beauty of all that You have created. Thank You that Your presence is clearly shown throughout creation. Forgive us for our doubts, for Your handiwork is clear evidence of Your goodness. Teach us to trust You more, as You who created all that is seen and known, can surely handle our confusion and fear in that which is not known to us. Show us how to love those around us in practical, tangible and powerful ways, so that Your heart may be clearly conveyed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have created, and trust in Your power and presence to show us Your good in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Not Meant to Shoulder Alone

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder, as school feels really heavy right now. The academic demands feel unapproachable to some, and the behaviors displayed in response, disrupt and distract, making the teaching process extremely challenging. Inadvertently, I begin to carry the weight of the worry as to how to help all kids learn and grow. Though it is critical that I care, it is not my burden to bear alone. First and foremost, I need to give the weight of the worry and stress to the Lord, and allow Him to hold the heaviness. Second, I must ask for what I need. If it is strength or clarity or perspective, God is faithful to meet us where we are. When it is a tangible need that can be met in the moment by a colleague or simply by creating a built-in break, then each avenue ought to be utilized. May we cast all our cares to the Lord, for He is able and willing to walk us through, bearing the weight we are not meant to shoulder alone.

 

When worry and stress,

wp-1540986023788172550623987343732.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Begin to weigh down;

Give all to the Lord,

In Him, help is found.

Help in our struggles,

Strength when we feel weak;

In love and in grace,

He answers who seek.

So, go to the Lord,

With stress and concern;

He’s ever for us,

Unto Him, let’s turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Thank You that we can come to You and give You our worries and cares, and You will shoulder the weight and grant us the help we need to navigate whatever we face. Forgive us for attempting to bear heavy burdens on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and peace, no matter what storm we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides help, peace and hope in the places where stress or anxiousness were weighing heavily on their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worry and stress to You, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

That Precious Baby

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

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

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

 

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

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

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

 

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

 

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

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

To Be Humble and Kind

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NLT)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

 

When we invite Christ to be Lord of our lives, we become His people; holy and righteous before Him. Our status is not something that we somehow earn, but rather it is by God’s mercy and grace that we are forgiven and made right. As we are loved, the Lord asks us to go and do likewise to others. He asks that the very nature of He who dwells within us, be displayed before those around us, so that they too, may come to know His grace. Let us go forth and love others as we are loved, showing mercy, as God is merciful, and extend kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all people.

 

For we are chosen,Diligent for All of Our Days

As people of God;

To be merciful,

Not a firing squad.

Because we are loved,

We’re meant to love too;

Be kind and humble,

In all that we do.

He wants gentleness,

And patience given;

Help all come to know,

Hope for forgiven.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we place our trust in You, You choose to make us Your holy people whom You love. Thank You that if we seek You, You clothe us with mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to extend to those around us. Forgive us for our lack of seeking, and for operating in our own strength; for on our own leads to anger, arrogance, harshness and impatience for those who cross our path. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, depending on You to provide all that we need to operate according to Your will. Show us how to extend mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience in love to those around us, just as You so generously give unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the mercy and grace that You so lovingly pour out upon all who call on Your Name. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to help us show mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all whom we meet. Amen.

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

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