To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

img_2018-12-16_07-22-314214295878380063031.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

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

Sowing Seeds of Peace

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NIV)

Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts. – (James 3:18, CEB)

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. – (James 3:18, MSG)

 

Typically, the role of a peacemaker has served me well in the classroom. When kids are escalated, remaining calm most often leads to peace restored. However, despite the difficult work that has already been invested, there is clearly much more to be done, as there are a few students throughout my day that continue to struggle to get along with others and treat others with dignity. In the wait, I will continue to promote peace with each group of young people that enters my classroom, by modeling the very things that I ask of each of them. May we depend on the Lord to sow in peace, so that we may reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

May we ever choose, Sowing Seeds of Peace

To sow seeds of peace;

Kindness and honor,

To others increase.

The more we feel known,

The more we’re at ease;

Able to settle,

Calm down and sow peace.

Keep on investing,

Choose love others well;

With honor and grace,

May peace in us dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we sow seeds of peace, we reap a harvest of righteousness. Thank You that what we invest in extending peace does not go out void, but You use every intentional word and deed to plant seeds of peace. Forgive us for our frustration in the wait, as at times it appears our efforts are for naught. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the One who brings lasting peace and righteousness to those who seek and follow after You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sow seeds of peace and rely on You to return a harvest of righteousness. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11)

Generate Good Growth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

 

Peace is a place within ourselves where we feel at ease, despite what surrounds us. Another sort of peace is that which is discovered as people choose to prefer one another and give grace to each other, making peace possible in spaces where we gather and dwell together – be it at home, school, work, church, or out and about in the community. Encouragement and kindness do not require like-mindedness. It is entirely possible (and necessary) to bring peace into places where individuals of great diversity dwell. There need not be common faith, political views, nor upbringing to listen and care for the community around us. Each person has purpose and something to offer, and when we recognize and value one another, peace and mutual edification soon follow. May we do whatever we can to help each other grow, as we pursue peace in the places where we are planted.

 

O Lord help us be, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Instruments of peace;

Who encourage well,

Set people at ease.

For we are not called,

To argue and fight;

But to be at peace,

And walk in Your light.

Teach us, dear Jesus,

To bring about peace;

To love as You love,

And Your grace increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be at peace with one another and to encourage each other. Forgive us for the times that we have been at odds with others, or have chosen to use words that tore down, rather than built up. Teach us to turn to You to lead us and guide us in what we say and do to promote peace in all the places we have been planted. Show us how to love those around us with encouragement that generates good growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and wisdom to walk in peace and wield words of encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – Psalm 29:11

The Peace in Letting Go

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. – (Psalm 37:8, NIV)

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, NLT)

Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, TLB)

 

Anger, wrath and rage ultimately bring the most harm to the holder. They have a way of rotting us from the inside out, and lead us to decisions that go against the good that we know we ought to do. Fret and worry are much the same. Each of these responses to external things, create an internal reaction that ruins the resolve within us. This verse does not say, “Never be angry.” Rather, it is a call to not sit and dwell in that space, allowing rage to rise. There is a time for righteous anger, yet how we respond to it matters most. Our charge is not to retaliate nor vindicate, (for this is why there are laws and authorities in place) alternatively, we are to set it in God’s hands. Of course, this is more easily said than done, yet with intention, it is worthwhile. Peace takes root where the anger or worry attempted reign. May we recognize our own responses as they occur and give all anger and worry to Him who brings peace in the most tumultuous spaces.

 

Stop being angry, Set Down Our Stones

Leave wrath in the dust;

Let go of worry,

Turn to God in trust.

For vengeance is His,

So too, are good plans;

As we trust in Him,

His grace lends a hand.

A hand that gives love,

When we’re lacking peace;

Comfort in worry,

What we need’s released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to let go of anger, wrath, rage and worry. Thank You that though there is a time for righteous anger, we are not meant to sit and hold it in our hearts and hands. Thank You that as we release these things to You, You replace them with Your comfort and peace. Forgive us for holding anger or worry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place all things in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us who are holding anger or worry in such a way, that they may discover the freedom of letting go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our anger and worry to You, and allow Your comfort and peace to take their place in our hearts. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.

 

The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely 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

At Peace With People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, CEB)

If it is within your power, make peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, VOICE)

 

In two very different and distinct arenas within my world, there are amazing people who feel at odds with one another. Sadly, the thing that seems to disrupt the peace between people is not a lack of desire for the same outcome, but rather a misperception of one another’s intention of how to work toward and achieve the end goal. When we slow down and listen with the intent of seeking to understand, peace prevails and progress toward the desired outcome actually occurs. When our intention is to be at peace with the people around us, that is the very attitude that abounds. We reap what we sow and harvest what we grow. May we be sowers and growers of peace.

 

We’re called to our best, Willing to Set Free

To live life in peace;

With everyone,

As grace grants release.

So often unrest,

Is need to listen;

Where seeking to know,

Will make peace happen.

 We shall one day reap,

The peace that we sow;

And likewise harvest,

The good that we grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all peace. Thank You that as we seek Your strength and understanding, You grant us what we need to bring peace to the places in which we dwell. Forgive us for expecting peace to be present without our persistence. Teach us to trust You more so that we would depend on You to be the Provider of peace in all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be at peace with everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to supply the strength we need to be at peace with all people. Amen.

 

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

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9