The Hope In So Much More

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him. – (2 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

 

In the ebb and flow of life, it currently feels like a season of loss. Yesterday, I learned of the passing of one of my classmates from high school. We were friends on Facebook, and I was aware that she had some health challenges, but none so great that they would be life-ending. She leaves behind a husband and two children, and I am heartbroken for their loss. Additionally, I heard this past week, that the mother of a very dear lifelong friend had a massive stroke. The prognosis is grim, and my heart hurts for her kids, and her husband and best friend of more than fifty years. Two weeks ago, I attended the memorial for a wonderful lady from our church, who was about my age and lost her long battle with cancer. Her husband and four children, as well as her parents and siblings, are left with the ache of missing her. This morning, reading this verse, I am reminded anew of the hope for those who have passed or are on the verge. Each of these ladies know/knew Jesus, and I am comforted in the fact that where they are going is beautiful beyond what I can imagine – so much more than I have ever seen or heard. The same God who hung the stars, formed the majestic mountains, determined how far the sea can roll into the land, causes the sun to rise and set each day, has prepared a place far greater still. Though there is heartache and hurt for those left behind, there is great hope for those who have gone on to their eternal home. May we hold fast to the hope we know in the One who is holding us in His hands, and extend help, hope and love to those left behind in their space of great loss.

 

When I see such loss, Filled Each Morning

I find myself torn;

Between hurting hearts,

And hope in much more.

For my eye has seen,

Such beauty indeed;

Incredible views,

And heaven, exceeds.

Imagine the sights,

The angelic sound;

In the Lord’s presence,

Where all hope is found.

Embraced by Jesus,

As He ushers in;

All who have sought Him,

True glory begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessed hope that we have in You. Thank You that You have prepared a place for us that far exceeds anything that we could ever hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as our eternal hope in You outweighs all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear our end on earth, but rather look forward with anticipation to our heavenly homecoming. Show us how to love those who are in hurting in the midst of great loss. Lead us to show Your heart in tangible ways, extending comfort and support. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the homecoming of those entering Your kingdom, and comfort all who are grieving loss. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. – 1 Peter 1:3-4

Grace to Intake

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

I wake before the dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – (Psalm 119:147, VOICE)

 

I am not certain if it is the ever-changing nature of my job, an ongoing growth in my recognition of my own shortcomings, or simply an acute awareness of my need for God to navigate each day, but whichever takes the lead on a given day, the intentional act of rising early to seek the Lord and hope in His word, grants renewed strength. When my hope is in the Lord and the truth of His word, joy is sustained, no matter what surrounds me. There are days that even so, it is difficult to keep my eyes fixed on Him and the hope He holds, rather than the weight of what lies before me. God is good, and His love endures forever. He is faithful and true, and we can trust in His word. May we wake each morning and present our requests, trusting that what the Lord says, He will do.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

With purpose I wake;

Time spent with the Lord,

His grace I intake.

Grace for the new day,

No matter what comes;

Hope, strength and His love,

As my day’s begun.

Always He’s faithful,

To speak to my heart;

Reminders of love,

His goodness imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us whenever we come to You. Thank You that when we rise early, You begin our day with Your faithfulness and grace to carry us through. Forgive us for not seeking or for taking our eyes off of the truth that we hold in our eternal hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know the faithfulness that is found in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses each with grace and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise early in the morning to seek You, and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

 

 

Sweet Wisdom for the Soul

My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, NLT)

My son, eat honey; it is good. Honey straight from the honeycomb is the sweetest. In the same way, know that wisdom is good for you. Wisdom will give you something to home for that will not disappoint you. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, ERV)

Eat honey, dear child – it’s good for you – and delicacies that melt in your mouth. Likewise, knowledge and wisdom for your soul – Get that and your future’s secured, your hope is on solid rock. – (Proverbs 24:13-14, MSG)

 

Wisdom is to the soul, what honey is to the mouth. The sweet satisfaction that comes from truly knowing and understanding that there is a hope and a future when our hearts are held in Christ’s hands, will not disappoint. There is peace in His presence, and comfort in His company. He provides wisdom where it is lacking if we seek Him, and secures our soul as we pursue all that He is offering. May we seek the sweet satisfaction that comes from the wisdom that God alone provides, and celebrate the security we know when our hope is held in Him.

 

As honey’s to taste, Sweet Wisdom for the Soul

So wisdom’s to soul;

There is a sweetness,

As God’s hope unfolds.

For wisdom reveals,

A future secure;

Shows us that in Christ,

We’ve nothing to fear.

Ever seek wisdom,

It won’t disappoint;

As eternal hope,

Is wisdom’s viewpoint.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that knowing You and the future that You have for us is sweet for our soul. Thank You that You have a hope and a future for every one of us. Forgive us for not pursuing You and Your plans, as we often fear what we do not know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares hope and encouragement, so that they too, may recognize the sweetness held in Your wisdom. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom to provide our hope, as it does not disappoint. 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

 

Our Good, Good Father

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

 

Our inheritance from our Heavenly Father is the only inheritance that lasts. Though our earthly fathers may pass on good things – be it morals, life lessons, or monetary treasures – not one compares to that of the salvation and eternal hope that is held in the hands of our Heavenly Father. As so many rightly celebrate earthly fathers today, may we not forget our Heavenly Father, as it is through Him that we have light and life and hope forever. May we worship the Lord with all that we are, and give Him thanks for the men that He has placed on our path to father us well. May the fatherless know of His love, and men of faith rise up and fill in the gaps in tangible ways.

 

All thanks be to God,Compassion in Confrontations

Our Father indeed;

He sees where we are,

And meets all our need.

Hope for the hopeless,

And light for the lost;

Freedom from our sin,

For He paid the cost.

We give You thanks too,

For the men You’ve raised;

To father us well,

O Lord, we sing praise.

God, You are so good,

And I stand in awe;

Such a good father,

Perfect, without flaw.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our perfect Father, and You love us without limits. Thank You that no matter what sort of earthly father we have experienced – good, bad or anything in between – You are the only One who is perfect in all of Your ways and worthy of all of our praise. Forgive us for not seeing You as the ultimate Father, when earthly fathers fall short. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize that all are a work in progress, and You are the one whom we are to worship in all things and at all times. Help us to love and support well, the fathers that are around us. May they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You as our good, good Father. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

For a listen to a great song, Good Good Father, by Housefires, click the highlighted title. 🙂

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

No Need to Argue

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

 

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

 

Allow not our words,Tether Our Hearts

be foolish, unkind;

for arguments are,

engaged with the blind.

Rather let our words,

be gentle and kind;

as we listen well,

may lost seek to find.

Let the words we speak,

offer love and life;

peace to the hearer,

an ending to strife.

As the truth is told,

through life we’re living;

what we have professed,

removes misgivings.

May we choose be light,

as we extend love;

without arguing,

through Christ’s call above.

 

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

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

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

Joy, Patience and Faithfulness

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12)

 

True and lasting joy is not circumstantial, but rather is rooted in our eternal hope. Because we have hope in Him who holds our forever in the palm of His hand, we have reason for joy to rise, regardless of the rough road or ruin around us. Christ comes close and grants us patience and endurance in the midst of our suffering, even when we are desperate to see change. It is in such spaces, that we learn to lean into the Lord, and find our way to becoming more faithful in prayer. Why wouldn’t we want to be consistent in conversations with the King of all creation? He hand-crafted each of us, intentionally for relationship, and relationship only comes when communication continues. May we go forth this day with joy, knowing that our true hope is held in Him; with patience where afflictions are agonizing, and being ever faithful to present our prayers and petitions before our Heavenly Father.

 

Lord, grant us Your joy,Better is One Day

in Your hope alone;

there’s no greater gift,

that we’ve ever known.

Grant us Your patience,

despite pain that comes;

refined through our trials,

Your grace ’til it’s done.

Help us stay faithful,

to You, let us pray;

every answer,

found walking Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our joy and our hope, and that You grant us patience in affliction and are the reason we need be faithful in prayer. Thank You that You are faithful, regardless of our faith. Forgive us for our lack of faith when struggles and afflictions come. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up with joy, knowing where our hope is held, regardless of what lies before us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully and individually love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

I Will Go

When God shows Himself faithful, how do we respond?

 

In the story of Isaac and Rebekah, when Abraham sent his servant to the land of his father’s family to find a bride for his son, God clearly answered the faithful prayers of those who called on His Name, and made the path clear. Abraham’s servant prayed for a specific scenario upon his arrival, so that he might know whom God had chosen. When the servant stood beside the spring of water with his camels, Rebekah did just as he had prayed that God’s chosen one would do, as she offered water to both he and his camels. From there, the servant returned with she and her brother to her household, where he shared with the family his purpose for being in town, and asked to take Rebekah back to Isaac to be his bride. The mother wanted to delay, but Abraham’s servant let them know that he really must return to his master quickly. So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. – (Genesis 24:58)

 

I find Rebekah’s faith remarkable. She was barely more than a girl, yet her faith was certain, as she was willing to leave all that she knew to travel to a far away land and become the bride of a man that she did not know. Rebekah understood all that the Lord had done to orchestrate her being chosen to be the one to bring water to a stranger and his camels at just the right time, in response to one man’s faithfully prayed prayers for direction. All around us, God orchestrates encounters. We are presented opportunities to share His goodness with those who may not yet know Him. At times, He calls us to go into places unknown. When He calls us, how will we respond?

 

Journey of promise,I Will Go

into the unknown;

faithful the prayers,

of one servant sown.

Certain to answer,

the Lord, He made clear;

the one He’d chosen,

as she had drawn near.

The scene unfolded,

just as he had prayed;

and she responded,

without a delay.

May we learn to do,

as Rebekah did;

and say, “I will go,”

for that’s where God is.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of both Your faithfulness, and those who were obedient to what You asked of them. Thank You that You still speak today. Thank You that we have the benefit of Your Holy Spirit, dwelling within us to lead and guide us, every step of the way. Forgive us for our fears and hesitation to go where You call. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might be fearless in Your strength. Lead us to love and serve as Jesus modeled for us. May many come to know the eternal hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to say, “I will go.” Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Risking Reputation to Do Right

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. – (Mark 15:43)

 

Just after Jesus had breathed His last breath on the cross, Joseph, a secret follower of Christ, knew he had a decision to make. Either he himself ought to step up and do what he was able to do to give Jesus a proper burial, or Jesus’ body would be left for the Romans to deal with, as no Jew would dare do anything with His body on the Sabbath. By going before Pilate to make his request, Joseph was exposing his faith for all to see. He had clearly come to a point where his desire to do right, outweighed his fear of being found out. Today, Joseph is the only actual name of any of the Sanhedrin that I’ve ever known. His decision to honor Christ, regardless of what it would do to his reputation, made him among those who are greatly admired in the history of our faith. We are called to do likewise. Doing right before God must be our priority, rather than worrying about our reputation before mankind. He calls us to obedience, not notoriety. If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels. – (Mark 8:38) May we move forward in the light of His grace, walking in obedience to all that He is asking. Let us throw off every hindrance that causes fear of man or risk of ruining a reputation, and rise up to do right. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. – (1 John 2:5a)

 

No matter the risk,May We Love Much

nor the fear of man;

let us do what’s right,

in Christ’s strength we can.

For there is no man,

who can take away;

our eternal hope,

in Christ where we stay.

Men may choose slander,

with words they attack;

yet God is our strength,

we need not look back.

May we choose be bold,

stand firm in the truth;

righteous before God,

embraced and made new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the ultimate example of risking reputation and doing right before You. Though He was slandered and accused, He was without sin; choosing to die for each of us who placed accusations upon Him. Thank You for loving us far more than our mere minds can comprehend. Forgive us for worrying more about our reputation than about doing what is right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may choose to do right, regardless of what others think of our decisions. Lead us to love as You so generously love each of us, and may many come to know that the rewards of following You, far outweigh the risks. Be glorified, O God, as we do right, regardless of the risk to our reputations. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Work With All Your Heart

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – (Colossians 3:23-24)

 

Today marks the close of one season, and the beginning of another. This is the final day of the 2013-2014 school year. Though I have various trainings and responsibilities throughout the summer that tie to my position as an educator, my primary concern for the next two months will be to care for my growing boys, and attempt to organize and manage the household far better than I am able during the school year. The people-pleaser in me, finds this task to be a bit daunting. I want to have everything done well now, and begin the summer fun. However, I realize that everything that is worthwhile, takes work. If I press in, and remember that all I am doing is ultimately to honor the Lord, not man, then I will be far better off. He is well-pleased when we seek to serve Him, even in the mundane. He is glorified, as we love and care for our kids, and all those around us. As we commit to serve others, we are ultimately serving Him.  May we each choose to do all things unto Him, with our whole heart.

 

Whatever we do,Work With All Your Heart

let hearts seek to serve;

all unto Jesus,

our praise He deserves.

Each task we tackle,

and job we take on;

may Christ be our strength,

our hope and our song.

When our heart is right,

and we work for Him;

there’s joy in the task,

and peace from within.

Great is our reward,

when our days are done;

to forever dwell,

with the Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called to work as unto You, not man. Thank You that whether or not we receive earthly rewards, our ultimate reward is found in our eternal hope in You. Thank You that Your salvation is a gift that is given freely as we come and choose to receive it. Thank You that our choice to work as unto You, to serve and honor You, is an outpouring of our gratitude for all that You have given unto us. Forgive us for poor attitudes about work, or for hearts that seek to please people rather than You. Help us to find proper perspective as we recognize that the only reward that really matters is that which we find in You. Let us live, love, work and serve as unto You, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we go about our work, and lifted high as we live each day for You. 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