Sweet Independence

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

 

Independence Day has an entirely new meaning in my world this year. I am not speaking on a national level, but rather on a personal one. Independence, as it is defined, is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (dictionary.com)  Ironically, to be independent from the wiles of this world, we must be dependent on God. We have to know the Lord, trust His word to be true, and actually follow after Him with our whole heart, to avoid being sucked into a dependence on popular thought, regardless of how askew it has become. Personally, I am in a space where my formerly independent mom, is currently completely dependent on me (or my sister) for everything throughout her day. Aid and support are required to sustain her, as the right side of her body is still not cooperating as it used to, prior to her stroke. At times I find myself feeling like a prisoner in this space, as I am accustomed to the freedom to come and go as I choose. Not having the liberty to take off and go for a run or make a quick trip to the store as needed, is an odd sort of normal. That being said, even when I have those freedoms at home, I still depend on God. My thought life and ability to express myself is independent of anyone’s control, and any submitting that I do, is a personal choice unto the Lord.

Perhaps my point is to not take our independence for granted. Mom’s independence was taken in an unexpected instant. She had no prior health issues nor warning signs, yet a stroke happened, and here we are. God is gracious and mom is a fighter. He has given her strength and tenacity, and I believe she will work her way back to full function on her own again. However, there is much work and an undisclosed timeline in the in between. Yesterday was another good day, as mom walked the full length of her hallway by herself with the walker during physical therapy in the morning. A bit later, we went on a “field trip” into town to drive through Dutch Bros for coffee. Honestly, it is a way to get out of the house and take in a change of scenery. Upon our return, we sat on the deck and spent a few hours playing Uno and Dominos. Playing games is a great way to continue to connect pathways in her healing brain, and do not be fooled, as she is a ruthless competitor. 😊 The remainder of the day was fairly routine, as we did the usual sort of activities. Last night, she had a few wake-ups in a short span of time, but then slept until 5:30 this morning. There is absolutely nothing scheduled for today, so we shall see what the day holds. We are independent to choose, yet dependent on God for His goodness and grace as we go. May your day be free and blessed as You celebrate the gift of independence that is held in your hands.

 

Sweet independence,

Freedom to behold;

Where no one controls,

We choose what to hold.

Hold fast to the truth,

Grace rooted in love;

Trust in the Lord’s word,

All hope from above.

Only by God’s grace,

Do we truly know;

Freedom forever,

True peace to let go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that true independence and freedom come when we learn to be dependent on You. Thank You for the nourishment found in Your word. Forgive us for our frustration found in our circumstances, somehow thinking that our independence has anything to do with our location or physical condition. Teach us to trust You more, understanding that Your word truly sets us free from all that holds us captive. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may come to understand freedom in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate our independence because of our dependence on You. Amen.

 

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

 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – Galatians 5:13

To Find Forgiveness

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we own up to our sins, God shows that He is faithful and just by forgiving us of our sins and purifying us from the pollution of all the bad things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, VOICE)

 

God has amazing grace for all who recognize their need for Him and His forgiveness, and are willing to admit it to He who already knows. Not one of us is void of sin, and none of us are without need of forgiveness and grace. As we come to Christ and seek His goodness and grace, He forgives us from every word, thought and deed that did not reflect the light of His love. The cleansing He provides, picks us up, dusts us off, and grants us courage to press forward in faith; to go forth and love as we are loved by Him. Though we will fall short in our broken humanity, He is ever-present to forgive and fuel our faith. May we confess our sins to He who is without sin, so that we may find forgiveness and grace that grants us the strength and courage to continue to walk in His way and seek to do His will.

 

We all fall to sin, Clean Inside Out

In word, thought or deed;

Reminders of truth,

That we are in need.

In need of the Lord,

Forgiveness and grace;

Cleansing from our sin,

‘til we see His face.

For we all fall short,

Need confess our past;

Turn away from sin,

Receive love that lasts.

The Lord is faithful,

To forgive, grant grace;

As we come to Him,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and confess our sins, You forgive us and love us to life, so that we may continue to do the things to which we are called. Forgive us for staying stuck in our sin, instead of coming to You to set things right. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep short accounts before You, allowing Your love to cleanse us and flow through us to all whom surround us. Show us how to love those who You have placed in our path, so that they too, may come to know the fullness of Your forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to confess our sins and trust You to equip us with all that we need to go forth in love. Amen.

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

 

 

When We Pray

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

Then you will call My Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, ERV)

At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, VOICE)

 

When we pray and call upon the Lord, He listens to all that we lift before Him. There is no prayer nor praise that is too great or too small for God. The promise is that every time we call upon the Lord, He will hear our prayers. For me, this is incredibly reassuring. God is faithful, and no matter what I bring before Him, I know that I am heard and loved by Him. It does not mean that every prayer will be met with the answer that I desire, however, every answer is for my ultimate good. May we ever call on the Lord and pray to Him, for He hears and listens to our every word.

 

Call out to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

He hears all we pray;

Faithful to listen,

To all that we say.

It does matter not,

How great or how small;

He listens to us,

Each time that we call.

Blessed assurance,

Faithful to His word;

Each prayer that we pray,

By our God is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to hear and listen to our every prayer. Thank You that we can call on You in all things and at all times, and trust that You hear our every heart cry. Forgive us for not presenting our requests before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will bring ALL before You each day. Show us how to love those around us in a way demonstrates Your heart as we truly listen and hear all that is on the hearts of people placed upon our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call upon You and trust that You listen and hear our every word. Amen.

 

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

 

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Beauty in Belonging

Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. – (Psalm 100:3, NIV)

Know that the Lord is God. He made us, and we belong to Him. We are His people, the sheep He takes care of. – (Psalm 100:3, ERV)

And realize what this really means – we have the privilege of worshiping the Lord our God. For He is our Creator and we belong to Him. We are the people of His pleasure. – (Psalm 100:3, TPT)

 

There is an incredible bond between sheep and their shepherd. They know the voice of the one who protects, gathers and feeds them. And a shepherd will face fierce predators to protect his/her sheep. It makes sense that a comparison would be made that is similar, between God and His people. He knows us each by name, individually, and protects us, gathers us in, and fuels us with His love, strength and truth. The Lord will not allow us to wander too far from others, as He will keep calling us unto Himself until we hear and respond. May we take time to recognize and respond to the voice of He who calls us unto Himself, and give thanks for the beauty in belonging to Him.

 

The Lord’s my shepherd, Masterd by Our Maker No Longer Slaves to Sin

In Him, things are good;

Trusted protection,

Through love understood.

No matter what comes,

In Him I’ll abide;

Greater than all foe,

For He’s on our side.

Nothing against us,

Will win, overcome;

His love, much larger,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God. Thank You that You love us, protect and provide for us, just as a shepherd does for his/her sheep. Thank You that as we know You, we learn to hear Your voice, as You lead us the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or chosen not to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your every word, trusting that all that You say is for good. Show us how to love, provide for and protect those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the evidence of Your hand in our lives. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You lovingly lead, protect and provide for us. Amen.

 

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

 

For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care. – Psalm 95:7

 

 

Do the Good

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

 

When we walk in God’s will and choose to do the good to which we are called, foolish words find no footing, as our unwavering way is our witness to what is true. This is no accident, but rather it is by God’s design. Even the most foolish of folks will not slander good that they see consistently over time. May we rise up in the Lord’s strength and do the good for which we have been called. Let our deeds do the talking so that the foolish are silenced.

 

When we choose do good,

Peace Through Understanding

We silence each voice;

Of ignorant fools,

Who’d make unkind choice.

No word can be said,

Against loving good;

So, let us take rise,

And walk as we should.

We each have purpose,

Designed with intent;

To love and do good,

We’re each heaven sent.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

May we love and serve,

So God’s heart shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, not only to bless those around us, but to protect us as well. Thank You that when we seek You and listen to You, You show us the good that we can do wherever we go. Forgive us for neglecting to either listen or act on that which You ask. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with our every word and deed, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the good to which we are called in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

O man, He has told you what is good. What does the Lord ask of you but to do what is fair and to love kindness, and to walk without pride with your God? – Micah 6:8

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

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

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Let Gratitude Grow

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)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, CEB)

 

Because of the hope that we have found in Christ, gratitude should ever be in the forefront of our hearts and minds. As we give God praise, let us worship with awe and respect for the One who holds our lives in His hands. When we serve, may it be in surrender to our Savior. With every word and deed, may our lives express gratitude to He who gives us life and breath and hope for all that is yet to come.

 

Let’s ever give thanks, Love that Grows

For all that’s to come;

Unshakable hope,

In the Holy One.

May our hearts worship,

Let’s ever give praise;

To God, who’s faithful,

For all of our days.

Let us not lose sight,

Of Who truly reigns;

May reverence lead,

As we lift His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and the hope we have in You forever. Forgive us for not worshiping or giving Your proper reverence for who You are, as You are our reason for life and breath and being. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize Your hand in all things, and give You praise for who You are for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is pleasing and honoring to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and give You all of our worship and praise for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Weighing Words

Fools believe every word they hear, but wise people think carefully about everything. – (Proverbs 14:15, ERV)

The gullible believe anything they are told, but clever people know to question every step. – (Proverbs 14:15, VOICE)

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. – (Proverbs 14:15, NLT)

 

As an educator, I have had to teach middle schoolers to question their sources of information for years. With access to so much at their fingertips, it is imperative that they learn to identify what sort of source is credible, and that which is not. The same holds true in our own lives. What we once trusted as reliable, now has the capacity to be called into question. However, there is one Source that has not, does not, and will not change. No matter what is going on in the world around is, our anchor of truth is found in Christ. When we place our trust and hope in Him, He grants us clarity and wisdom that weighs what is going on in the world, next to the truth of His word. May we listen cautiously to what is being spoken, and carefully consider each step, based on the truth of God’s word, and the voice of His Spirit to our hearts.

 

Do not lack wisdom,Constructive Permission

Nor choose play the fool;

Instead, opt listen,

Weigh against God’s rule.

The wisest choose think,

On everything;

Questioning each step,

Seek God on all things.

Don’t believe all words,

Spoken that we hear;

Consider what’s said,

And to God, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us warning to not believe every word we hear, but rather to weigh what is spoken carefully. Thank You that we are not left to our own devices to simply figure it out, but rather You are beside us, willing to speak truth to our hearts and help us to know the truth. Forgive us for not weighing words that are spoken, or for being quick to believe whatever we hear. Teach us to trust and rely on You first, rather than whatever source of information spews stories our direction. Show us how to filter everything through Your lens. Help us to love others as You so completely and lavishly love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we weigh the words spoken into our lives, and likewise choose our own words well. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

But On Every Word

Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4)

 

These words were spoken by Jesus in the desert after His forty days of fasting in the wilderness. The devil was tempting Him to turn stones into bread, but Jesus knew the value in what God had called Him to do. The word of God gives life eternal, where as bread is only nourishment for the here and now. We are meant to balance our priorities and feed both our body and our spirit, so that we have strength for today and hope everlasting. May we make meditating on the word of God as much of a priority in our lives as the nourishing of our bodies.

 

Bread may satisfy,The Bread of Life

but just for a day;

yet the word of God,

comes in and remains.

We need to pursue,

both bread and His word;

nourish our body,

God’s wisdom incurred.

Let what our hearts hold,

be found in God’s word;

so that which we yield,

are God’s blessings heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from Your mouth. Thank You that though food nourishes our bodies, Your word gives us life everlasting. Forgive us for not keeping our priorities in order; for forgetting how critical Your word is to the nourishment of our souls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hunger and thirst for Your righteousness and seek daily, answers in Your word. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we feed our souls with the bread of life that is found in Your word alone. 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

Knowledge Requires Action

Part of Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians included a reminder that simply hearing or knowing the truth is not enough. As we grow in our understanding of the Word of God, we must also put what we learn into practice. It is not enough to simply have heard the word, and let it lie forgotten. It must take root and grow in our hearts, as we allow the Holy Spirit to point us to the places of application in our lives.

 

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9)

 

Back then, the people of Philippi did not have access to a Bible as we do. They had to rely on what they had heard and what Paul and other early disciples modeled for them. We have the benefit of both the Bible and an abundant history of faithful followers whom have demonstrated a life lived in obedience before Him. To know that the God of peace will be present with me, makes any sacrifice required, more than worth the price. His presence is far greater than anything we may need to give up out of obedience to Him. May we each be willing to put into practice all that He is showing us, and may our hearts be overwhelmed with the presence of His perfect peace.

 

Let my heart take hold,Knowledge Requires Action

of Your every word;

may truth penetrate,

where Your voice is heard.

Please open my ears,

my mind and my heart;

so all that’s received,

I’m willing to start.

Lord, grant me Your peace,

so I will press on;

no matter the storm,

our true battle’s won.

Let hope be our hold,

as eyes fix on You;

we’ll trust and obey,

as You make us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your word and Your Holy Spirit, to lead us and guide us in how we are meant to live. Thank You that so many have gone before us, modeling a life lived faithfully in You. Thank You that You do not expect us to just figure it out, but You promise to provide Your peace, that surpasses all understanding, as we press on in faith. Forgive us for neglecting to put what we know into practice, or for not allowing the truth to shape how we live. Teach us to give all of ourselves unto You, so that we may become who You have called us to be. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, loving and full of grace. Thank You that You long for us to come to a place where we surrender and choose total obedience unto You. Help us to be disciples, as You call us to be, not just fans. May many come to the place of total surrender, as we walk in loving obedience before You. Let our knowledge lead to action that inspires others too, to make a choice. Be glorified, Lord God, as we move. Amen.

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

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