Purposeful Design

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Is easy to see;

For all around us,

Hand-crafted beauty.

Majestic mountains,

Vast, powerful seas;

Lush, lovely forests,

And river retreats.

Intricate flowers,

And huge, mighty oaks;

Creatures great and small,

And all sort of folks.

Each one created,

Purposeful design;

When we choose to look,

We see truth aligns.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

May Good Overflow

 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. – (Luke 6:45, NLT)

Good people have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and thats why they say things that are evil. What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts.  (Luke 6:45, ERV)

A person full of goodness in his heart produces good things; a person with an evil reservoir in his heart pours out evil things. The heart overflows in the words a person speaks; your words reveal what’s within your heart. – (Luke 6:45, VOICE)

 

God is entirely good. The more we know God and trust in Him, the more we are influenced and transformed to reflect His heart and His character. If we neglect God and the truth of His word, we are susceptible to evil, as it seeps into our hearts and impacts all that we do and say. Either way, what we say and do is directly influenced by where our heart resides. May we ever seek the Lord and His love to fill us, so that what flows from us is a direct reflection of the very heart of God.

 

Wherever our heart, May Good Overflow

May choose to reside;

Directly affects,

What comes from inside.

Good comes from a heart,

Set secure on Christ;

When good’s taken in,

We choose sacrifice.

Sacrifice ego,

That causes unkind;

Preferring others,

With their good in mind.

For out of the heart,

Flows what’s held within;

May we clearly show,

Good rather than sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that comes in and transforms the hearts of all who seek You, to reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You, or have allowed the world to influence our attitudes and actions instead of depending on You. Teach us to pursue Your heart in all things, so that good may be what flows from us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that allows Your good to be poured out upon all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart in all things and allow Your good to flow from us. 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

Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Ever Seeking Peace

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. – (1 Peter 3:11, NLT)

Stop doing what is wrong, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (1 Peter 3:11, ERV)

Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. – (1 Peter 3:11, MSG)

 

We are called to walk away from doing wrong, and to turn to God and do the good for which we have been designed. At times this requires a searching for peace within ourselves, in order to love and live well. When we find the peace of God and do what we can to share His peace with those around us, God is glorified and the peace that surpasses all understanding, is made evident. May we turn away from evil and do good, ever seeking the peace that the Lord provides.

 

Retreat from evil, Filled Each Morning

Choose turn to do good;

As God intended,

Let’s walk as we should.

Ever seeking peace,

So that we in turn;

Share peace with others,

For His peace is learned.

It comes from within,

Despite circumstance;

For God is greater,

And peace is His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we turn and walk away from the things that we know we ought to avoid, we discover the good that You intended all along. Thank You that as we pursue You, Your peace is present, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that as we know Your peace, we are able to share it with those around us. Forgive us for not listening to Your leading to guide us away from that which we ought not be near, and toward the good to which You are calling. Teach us to hear Your voice and obey all that You ask, so that we do the good to which we are called, and live in Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Show us love those around us in a way that promotes Your peace through the good we choose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the that which steals our peace, and turn toward You and do good, ever running after the perfect peace that You provide. 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

 

 

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

Choosing Circles

The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, NLT)

Good people are careful about choosing their friends, but evil people always choose the wrong ones. – (Proverbs 12:26, ERV)

Lovers of God give good advice to their friends, but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray. – (Proverbs 12:26, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, our pastor spoke about the significance and power of our circles. Our relationships have the power to shape our lives emotionally, physically and spiritually. We have the freedom to choose who holds space in our circle, as each person’s circle begins and ends with themselves. Those whom we surround ourselves with ought to encourage us and hold us accountable. Who we walk with determines the person we will become. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” – (Proverbs 27:17, NIV) “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.” – (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV) We have been created for relationship. The intention is for us to sharpen one another, not to corrupt. The circle we choose can make all the difference in who we become. May we seek the Lord and His wisdom as we learn to grow our circle with grace, so that we may encourage and sharpen one another for His glory.

 

We’ve the grace to choose,

wp-15365818485874977245676892055719.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our circles ourselves;

We need the Lord’s help,

To choose people well.

Those who will build up,

When we’ve fallen down;

Will challenge with grace,

And straighten our crown.

We’re apt to attract,

Whatever we give;

Let wisdom and grace,

Define how we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the freedom to choose our own circles. Thank You that You give wisdom and grace as we ask, leading and providing the people that will encourage and challenge us the way You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected investing in our circles, or for forgetting that we have the freedom to choose. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading as to which friends sharpen us and which distract. Show us how to be the friend to those around us that encourage and challenge in love in a way that builds up and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to surround ourselves with circles that are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – Proverbs 13:20

Love Endures

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NLT)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best in others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

The longer I am a parent, the more abundantly I become aware of our Heavenly Father’s heart for us. Each attribute of love mentioned in these two verses, really resonate from a parental perspective. I delight in truth winning out in the lives of my children. I will never give up, never lose faith, will always be hopeful, and will endure through every circumstance to be present and love my children well. Loving this way is present with those nearest my heart also. God uses the tangible around us to make His heart for us known. The love we have for those closest to us, pales in comparison to that which He has for us. My heart is full to overflowing for those whom He has gifted me, therefore how much more ought my heart hold for He who has given me life and love from the start? May we ever rejoice in the truth as we always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

 

Love does not delight, Love Made Known

In things that go wrong;

But celebrates truth,

Rejoices in song.

Love always protects,

Trusts our hope secure;

Always keeps up faith,

Chooses persevere.

Love is a shelter,

Where we rest assured;

Where hope never ends,

As God’s love endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices when the truth wins out. Thank You that love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance that we will ever face. Thank You that You are with us in all things as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing our perspective of love to become tainted by human understanding, rather than relying on You, the author and creator of love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would love as You love. Show us how to protect, trust, hope and persevere in love in a way that believes the best in others and points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart to show us how to love like You. 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

Model the Good

Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God. – (3 John 1:11, NLT)

My dear friend, don’t follow what is bad; follow what is good. Whoever does what is good is from God. But whoever does evil has never known God. – (3 John 1:11, ERV)

Friends, don’t go along with evil. Model the good. The person who does good does God’s work. The person who does evil falsifies God, and doesn’t know the first thing about God. – (3 John 1:11, MSG)

 

When we choose to do good, despite what is going on around us, our actions and attitude are a witness to the truth of who God is and how He loves. Conversely, when we succumb to the ill influences that envelop us, the truth of who God is and how He loves is not seen or known at all. Our daily decisions matter. For some, we are the lens through which glimpses of God are first viewed. How do we want Him to be known? May we ever seek to follow that which is good, so that His love may be made evident through us.

 

Do not allow bad, Bloom Where We're Planted

To sway what you know;

Keep choosing the good,

Allow His love grow.

When we choose give in,

To things that are wrong;

The hope we long show,

Has faded and gone.

Rise up and choose well,

In love, model good;

It’s here hope is shown,

And grace, understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to follow You and do what is good. Forgive us for the times that we have given in to the influences around us and chosen poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your strength to choose good every time, as we want to represent You well. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the good that blesses and encourages them according to what they need most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do what is good because You are good. 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

Pay Back With Blessing

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NIV)

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with blessing. That is what God had called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Don’t do wrong to anyone to pay them back for doing wrong to you. Or don’t insult anyone to pay them back for insulting you. But ask God to bless them. Do this because you yourselves were chosen to receive a blessing. – (1 Peter 3:9, ERV)

 

We are called to respond in the opposite spirit when we are hurt by the words or actions of another. Though this contradicts the very nature within us, when we choose to bless when we want to curse, extend kindness when we’d rather kick, and offer hope where we’d rather return harm, so often the situation turns around and we are blessed by the outcome. Even when we are not, we can go forward knowing that we have walked in obedience with a clear conscience, rather than agonizing over what we should or should not have said or done. The ultimate outcome is in God’s hands, so we need not worry when blessing seems to do nothing to help. A prime place where this practice plays out in my life is in the classroom. When a student behaves poorly and I try to redirect with kindness and calm, identifying their strengths and abilities, often it is enough to get them to snap out of their funk and return to what is appropriate. We all have days where we choose poorly or are less than kind, and the very things that help us to reset and choose better are the blessings that come through the kindness of those around us. May we ever choose to extend blessings, even to those who wrong us, as God has chosen to give abundant blessings unto us.

 

Don’t repay evil, Aquiring Armor

With more of the same;

Firing back insults,

Or pointing out blame.

Instead, give blessings,

To all whom you meet;

This is our calling,

Mission to complete.

As we choose to bless,

We become blessed too;

Because we’ve obeyed,

As we’re called to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and blessings unto us. Thank You that You direct and instruct us to steer clear of retaliating for the harm that people bring our way, and that instead, You arm us with strength to bless those who insult or do wrong against us. Forgive us for the times that we have repaid wrong with wrong, or returned insults instead of extending blessings. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen for Your voice and heed Your instruction as to how we can bless when we feel wronged, and give grace instead of retaliation. Show us how to love sincerely, even those who insult us or irritate us, as each is Your treasured creation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You to bless those who bring us pain. Amen.

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

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

Good That Overcomes

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, MSG)

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, NLT)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

 

Though a seemingly simple concept, it is often difficult to carry out. Humans have a natural inclination to seek justice when we have been “wronged“. When someone intends us harm, the last thing we want to do, is extend kindness or grace. Jesus was the ultimate example of not allowing evil to overcome Him; for even as He hung on the cross He cried out for the forgiveness of those who placed Him there, rather than for their destruction. Most of us struggle to not use ugly words when we are cut off in traffic. I had a friend growing up that used to yell, “Bless you, in Jesus Name!“, each time someone cut him off or did something stupid on the highway that could have potentially caused harm while driving. When I asked him about it, he replied that it was a way to begin to train his heart to do good, even when he wanted otherwise. He intentionally chose words that were for good, rather than for harm, even if the tone did not yet match. Granted, I know that traffic violations are hardly comparable to gross acts of evil, but if we are able to do good with the small things, perhaps our hearts will be tender and receptive as God asks us to choose to overcome evil with good in the larger things later on. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom and strength, so that evil may not get the best of us and we can rise up and do the good He asks of us.

 

Flying Butterfly

Do not let evil,

Get the best of you;

For it’s overcome,

By good that we choose.

God provides the strength,

To rise and do well;

As we move in grace,

We overcome hell.

Evil cannot stand,

Where grace and love flow;

Let’s keep doing good,

So all may come know.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that evil can be defeated when we choose to do good in Your Name. Thank You that this is not something that we have to attempt to do in our own strength, but rather You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to do, so that we may overcome the darkness that would attempt to destroy us. Forgive us for thinking that we have to fight alone, or for allowing the darkness around us to overwhelm us, rather than looking to the light within. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You alone can overcome anything that would try to get the best of us. Show us how to love those around us, so that we would be light in dark places and do the good that overcomes that which attempts to destroy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we conquer evil by doing the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7