To Rest and Recharge

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. Though I easily woke at the typical time, the more I moved around, the more I became aware of my own weariness from my lack of sleep the night prior. After doing my devotional reading, and even determining which verse stood out to me, I was struggling to stay alert as my fingers kept missing the keys they were aiming for on the keyboard. Thinking perhaps a shower would help, I set aside finishing my reflecting and writing, and went downstairs. However, after that, my head felt heavy, and all I wanted to do was lie down; so, I did. At first, I thought a short “power nap” would do, but soon discovered that my body really needed real rest. What I realized is that He was providing me time to recharge, as God did not demand that I finish writing, and that He was ready to grant me the rest needed if I would only slow down and just rest. The extra hour plus of sleep that I gained yesterday morning carried me through a full day of meetings, followed by a long union meeting in a hot high school gym to learn about and vote upon our newly proposed teaching contract. The vote was ratified and our district is pleased to have a nearly unanimous “Yes” vote on the new three-year contract. I went to sleep easily, knowing that hope in Him and the rest I’d found had carried me through a day that would have otherwise been difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to be our rest, for our hope comes from Him alone.

 

When weariness comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need to find rest;

In Christ, choose recharge,

For His grace is best.

The Source of all hope,

On God we depend;

As His love for us,

Does not know an end.

So, ever choose seek,

The Lord God above;

Our hope and our rest,

He grants us in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and love. Thank You that You see us and know us, and are ever ready to grant us the rest and hope that we need. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize our own spaces of need or for neglecting to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our grantor of hope and rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides the help and hope that is needed to lighten hearts and loads, and ultimately draw people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You, our holder of hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Called to Press On

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 3:14, CEB)

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – (Philippians 3:14, NLT)

 

Any time I near the end of something that has taken time and perseverance, I am reminded of the ultimate end goal in mind. In education, the reward for finishing each academic year is a glorious break that grants opportunity to rest, recover and become refreshed, before workshops, training, classes, meetings and classroom set-up begin again for the following year. This gift of time grants freedom to connect with family and friends, and to catch up on the things that there is no time to do during the school year. As today will mark the beginning of “lasts” (the last Thursday, we end next Wednesday), I am reminded anew to press on to what I have been called to do, for the prize is worth the price. Just as our perseverance through a school year leads to the glorious break during July, so too does a life in pursuit of God and following His ways, leads to a life in heaven for all eternity. In as much as summer is so near that I can hear it calling my name, I am blown away when I consider what heaven will be like, as it says, “For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like You, who works for those who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 64:4) and “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) I have an excellent imagination and have had the privilege of taking in some of the most breathtaking view the planet has to offer, and yet it says that those don’t even compare to what awaits… May we ever press on toward the finish according to the call that has been placed upon our lives, for the prize is well worth the work.

 

We’re called to press on, IMG_3459

To rise, finish strong;

To run well our race,

No matter how long.

For all who finish,

There shall be a prize;

Sweet glory bestowed,

As hope’s realized.

So, keep running hard,

To the finish line;

The prize is waiting,

Refreshing new life.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we press on to finish that to which we are called, there is a wonderful reward that awaits. Forgive us for allowing our weariness and frustration to get in the way of us doing the work we are called to do. Teach us to turn to You in trust, as You are our strength and refuge, no matter what obstacle comes our way. Show us how to love those around us so that we may support and encourage others as they are pressing in to finish the race to which they are called to run. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, each time we press on and run our race according to Your race plan. 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 Progress of Planted Plans

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. – (Psalm 20:4, NIV)

Let God grant what is in your heart and fulfill all your plans. – (Psalm 20:4, CEB)

May He grant the dreams of your heart and see your plans through to the end. – (Psalm 20:4, VOICE)

 

The dreams and desires that God plants in us, He will also bring forth to fruition as we are faithful to follow after Him. This does not mean that whatever we want, we will get; but rather it is God’s word that when our plans align with His, He will walk beside us and see things through to completion as long as we stay the course. God is faithful to honor the desires and dreams that He has grown within us. May we ever seek Him as we pursue the plans that are brought forth from the hopes held within our heart.

 

May God give to us,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Desires instilled;

So as we go forth,

His plans are fulfilled.

If we are in tune,

And following Him;

Our plans should align,

Start, middle and end.

Help our each desire,

Be to honor You;

As we seek Your will,

To live a life true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when our hearts are after You and our plans are Your plans, You grant us the desires of our heart and make our plans succeed. Forgive us for pursuing plans that do not align with Yours. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things to know what is from You and what is not. Show us which way we are meant to go so that our path is made plain before us. Help us to love those around us well in a way that encourages the dreams and desires that You have planted within their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and help as we follow the path which You have placed before us. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Strength in All Things

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NLT)

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV)

I can endure all things through the power of the One who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, CEB)

 

It is an interesting phenomenon to look back and recognize the strength that carried us through things that were more than we could bear on our own. So often, in the moment, we cannot see how we will get through what lies ahead, yet before we know it, we are looking back on the other side of the struggle that we thought was going to break us. His strength sustains us from one breath to the next; moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. As we trust in Him we discover that we are able to endure and overcome whatever lies before us, despite what we feel. May we turn to the Lord in faith, trusting that He will supply the strength we need to do whatever we are called to do.

 

In all that we face,

Strong Heart

God’s strength He’ll supply;

As we turn in trust,

On Him choose rely.

For we can endure,

All that comes our way;

When we trust in God,

Our hope for each day.

So, trust in the Lord,

On Him, choose depend;

His love never fails,

Our strength to the end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can do everything through You, as You supply the strength that we need to navigate all things. Forgive us for attempting to power through difficulties on our own, or for shrinking back from the struggles that seem too much to face. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to supply the strength we need to keep moving in the direction that You are calling us to move. Show us how to love well, all those around us, so that we may encourage and strengthen the resolve of those who are discouraged by their circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press forward trusting You to be our strength in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Loved By You

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT) 

And so I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you. – (John 13:34, TLB) 

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) 

 

We are called and commanded to love, just as we are loved by God. His love is often made evident through the kindness of those who surround us. Yesterday, I was the recipient of His love made tangible on several occasions. My day in the classroom begins with my most challenging class, and yesterday was no exception. By the end of the ninety minutes, I would have gladly gone home if I had been given the option. God knew, and He provided support in spaces where it was needed most. Encouraging words from colleagues who are friends that came randomly as I walked across campus, flowers delivered at lunchtime from my fiancée, a brief, yet supportive conversation with my principal, and more messages from dear ones as the day went on. God knows what fills our hearts, and He loves us the way that helps our hearts hear best. We are called to go and do likewise. May we rise up and make the choice to love one another, just as the Lord so lavishly loves each of us. 

 

New command given, img_20180213_164632_6431902058580.jpg

To love others well; 

For as we choose love, 

Doubts and fears dispel. 

The love that God shows, 

Our hearts and our minds; 

Helps us love others, 

Leads us to be kind. 

On this day of love, 

Let us choose anew; 

To love as He loves, 

For His love is true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are commanded to love each other. Thank You that You place people in our lives to make Your love tangible when we need it the most. Thank You that just as we are loved, we are called to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You do. Show us how to love with patience and kindness, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and love as we are loved by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Mortality Known is Wisdom Grown

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

 

Life is short, and not one of us knows the number of our days. What we do each day matters, and God’s wisdom is the best way to have a heart to live according to His purposes. Each day that we draw breath, we have the opportunity to love God and love people, just as He loves us. The more aware we are that not one of us is guaranteed another day, the more the present is valued as a gift, and lived out accordingly. May we treasure the gift of today and walk in His wisdom and love so that we may honor the One who gives us life and bring hope to those who need it most.

 

With a grateful heart, given-to-show-goodness.jpg

For all of our days;

May we seek wisdom,

To walk in His ways.

Show us plain Your path,

Each day we draw breath;

So we truly live,

Our lives until death.

And even in death,

We know there is peace;

For when our days end,

To You, we’re released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all who seek You can find a heart of wisdom to walk in Your ways for all of our days. Thank You that when we are willing, You use each day for Your good. Forgive us for the times that we choose to ignore Your direction, and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that all of Your plans and purposes for us are good. Show us how to love well, all whom we encounter, so that each may see a glimpse of Your goodness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for each new day, and seek You for direction as to how to walk it out. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Anna’s Answer

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

 

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

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

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

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Present With Me

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. – (Psalm 16:8, NLT)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:8, VOICE)

 

The one thing that we can count on in life, is change. No matter how much we want the world around us to stay the same, there are variables that we cannot control, and change is inevitable. Often the change that we fear the most, challenges us and grows us the most. If we remember who goes before us and is present with us, regardless of what lies ahead, we will not be shaken to the point of no return. Some of the most beautiful transformations take place in dark and uncomfortable spaces. Incredibly, what emerges at the end of the press, is a thing of beauty, strength, and new life. God does this with us too. This new school year that lies before me is full of change. We have new administrators, many new staff members, and I will be in a new teaching position. I am not necessarily fearful, but am a bit reluctant, as I know not what lies ahead in this unknown. What I have to remember is who goes before me, and why I do what I do. May we ever trust the Lord and His presence in the places and spaces that we are called to walk, knowing that He will go before us and never leave us, even in the new and unknown.

 

The Lord is with me, Present With Me

Wherever I go;

He goes before me,

This truth, I do know.

He’ll stay by my side,

No matter what comes;

I need never fear,

All battles, He’s won.

Let us choose rise up,

In faith, move ahead;

Answer all He asks,

Do all He has said.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us. Thank You that we will not be shaken because You will remain beside us. Forgive us for our fears or for the moments we move away from that which we’ve been called to do. Teach us how to trust You and Your presence more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages others to be all that You have made them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth without fear, trusting Your presence every step that we take. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Born to Stick Together

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. – (Proverbs 17:17, NLT)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed with loyal and loving friends and family, and have the privilege of watching the beautiful bond of brothers as my boys stick together in the face of adversity. This verse is demonstrated to me in a tangible way through my boys. Each time one of them is sick, the other always asks to remain nearby to help care for the other. It has been this way since they were very small. No matter how much they argue or fight, (they are brothers after all) at the end of the day, they are there for each other and love fiercely. God uses those around us who love us well to give us glimpses of how He loves. What we see through others, even those who love us best, is but a minute fraction of the greatness and vastness of His love for each one of us, individually. May we ever seek the Lord and His love, so that we can be the loyal, loving friends and family to those whom God has given unto us, just as He asks.

 

Our God has called us,Born to Stick Together

To be a true friend;

One who is loyal,

Who loves to the end.

We’re also chosen,

To be family;

To help through all things,

In chaos and peace.

May we learn to love,

As we’re called to do;

Through all things, always,

Together in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give us of family and friends. Thank You that through their loyal love and help, we gain deeper insight to who You are and how You love. Forgive us for not being as loving or loyal as we ought to be, or for not remaining present in times of trouble when we are needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You call and remain where You plant us. Show us how to love in all things and at all times, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the friends and family that You have given us, and trust You to teach and empower us to love as we are loved. 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

You Are Strength

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Whether it is strength of heart, strength of mind, or physical strength, God provides what we need when we need it most. This past weekend, I both experienced His provision of strength, and watched others dig deep and find strength they did not realize that they had. As a visual learner, I so love concepts to be made tangible before me. There is a quote about running that really can parallel to our walk of faith as well:

“When you can no longer run with your legs, run with your heart.”

It is a reminder that when we come to the end of ourselves, we begin to rely on the One who created us with purpose and equipped us to run whatever race He sets before us. When we lean into Him, we find strength we did not know we had, and accomplish far more than we ever thought possible. Whatever that next step is, He will provide the strength that is needed to get from here to there. May we trust in the Lord who is our strength, and love as we are loved.

 

O Lord, You are good,

You Are Strength

Both of these ladies discovered strength they did not realize they had. ❤

 

With love, make me strong;

All praise unto You,

Throughout my life long.

I love You, my God,

Unto You, I’ll run;

Wherever You call,

’til my days are done.

You Lord, are my strength,

O Father, I sing;

Your grace sustains me,

Through everything.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that the strength You provide is not just physical, but strength of heart and mind as well. Forgive us for not depending on You when things are difficult, or for not praising You when they are easy. Teach us to give You glory in all things and at all times. We love You, Lord and want to honor You in all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the strength that You provide us as it is needed. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6