This Wonderful Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. – (Ephesians 2:8, NIV)

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, ERV)

For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in Him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! – (Ephesians 2:8, TPT)

 

I am forever grateful for God’s grace. His grace grants us the faith to receive the gift that He freely offers. All we need already is, it is simply up to us to embrace His grace or reject it. Daily, I am reminded of my own need for His grace. Whether in moments of frustration or through opportunities to extend kindness, grace is a gift that brings us back to Christ, and reminds us of His goodness. Each time we extend grace, we are offering glimpses of God’s goodness to those around us. May we give thanks for the grace that saved us, and continue in faith, extending the same to those around us, so they too may understand the precious gift that God gives.

 

The grace of the Lord, stone of grace

That’s mighty to save;

Freely grants new life,

All sins He forgave.

Not because we’ve done,

Acts of good to earn;

But simply through trust,

By faith, standing firm.

His glorious gift,

Of love and of grace;

Given lavishly,

So all might embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that salvation is an amazing gift of grace that You grant us through faith. Thank You that none of us could somehow earn our way into Your grace, but rather You readily receive all who call on Your Name. Forgive us for not extending grace to others in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would be tangible examples of Your grace to the world. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer the grace that is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we glorify You for the amazing gift of Your grace that saves, and praise You with our lives as we extend grace to those around us. Amen.

 

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

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Wise with Words

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not to put them down, nor cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG)

 

First, in a season of so many unknowns, it is difficult to speak with any sort of wisdom about what lies ahead. That being said, kindness and grace must be intentional and come from Christ, or answers will not be the right response in the moment. Before I expand further on what I am learning about this through this whole ordeal, I know the update that so many are looking for ought to come first.

Yesterday, was another good day for mom. Her day was full of various therapy sessions, each one with intention and purpose to propel her to strength and independence. She was at the table in the dining area picking at breakfast when we arrived and handed her the “smuggled in” Frappuccino. From there we met with the social worker and case coordinator (whom I affectionately refer to as Thor and Llama, based on the collections in their office), as they reviewed mom’s rights and care information with mom, my sister and me. Next up was the OT extraordinaire, Stephanie (I think, so many names), who took her in to help her begin to relearn the whole showering process. Cleanliness is next to godliness, and she felt refreshed to have soaked in that warm water, rather than hospital shower wipes. Her least favorite rebuilding session so far was speech therapy. It had little to do with the who, and everything to do with the what. Due to where the stroke occurred in mom’s brain, she is experiencing some apraxia. For those non-medical folks like myself, the dictionary defines apraxia as a disorder of the nervous system, characterized by an inability to perform purposeful movements, but not accompanied by a loss of sensory functions or paralysis. To make it even simpler, based on observations, there has been a disruption in the connection between message sending and receiving for some words to actions, words to objects, and most certainly, thoughts to movements on the right side of her body. Speech is the space where she is made glaringly aware of the disconnect. It is difficult and frustrating, and an area where extra grace will be needed, for sure. Already the speech therapist will adjust the schedule to meet with her in two 30-minute sessions, rather than one longer sitting. As soon as we returned downstairs from speech, Sophie, the recreational therapist came in. Who even knew that was a thing?! Anyway, super sweet, and her job is to help mom get back to doing the recreational things she enjoys, so I made sure she was aware that the bar was extraordinarily high. Sophie was quite pleased. Next up was OT again to work on vision and upper body, then lunch, followed by PT. It was not Penny yesterday, but Kristen was equally lovely and encouraging, and PT is by far, mom’s favorite therapy session of the day. In fact, she was trying to negotiate trading speech time for more PT time. 🙂 We were able to go outside again after dinner, and enjoyed a movie together before I headed back home for the night. A few phone calls were made on speaker, which was huge for mom, as it was a start to regaining a connection to those not standing in front of us.

Anyway, back to the verse of the day. This whole situation is showing me more and more how critically important it is to seek the Lord and His grace to speak to others. We have now had two people in the last week, tell us (in front of my mom!) stories of their own family members who had strokes and died a few months later. Seriously? Not the encouragement, wisdom, nor words seasoned in the love of Christ that this girl’s heart needed to hear, nor the protector in me wanted ANYWHERE near my mom. I was gracious, but it took much self-control to not scream that I am not their therapist, I am fighting for MY MOM, and no nay-sayers allowed. I am well aware of the risks and reality of our circumstances. What we need is love and support, encouragement and most of all, covering in prayer. It is a strange place when I don’t know someone who cares deeply for mom, is super emotional, and I am an empath who refuses to emote. Too much weight. Additionally, mom doesn’t need to see others feeling sorry for her. She needs cheerleaders, encouragers, shoulders who are ready to rise up and walk beside her. It is biblical. It is right. There is an army that has risen, and for you, we are forever grateful. For those waiting in the wings, feeling uncertain of what to do; keep praying – Your prayers are fueling this fight!

 

O Lord let my words, img_2019-05-08_06-29-487932028719116438520.jpg

Be faithful and true;

Seasoned with kindness,

Reflections of You.

By Your loving grace,

May all that I say;

Encourage, build up,

Each day, Lord, I pray.

God grant me wisdom,

In each circumstance;

May Your truth be known,

Your kingdom advanced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the watcher of our words. Thank You that what is intended to harm, You use for good. Thank You that You guard our hearts, even though we may have moments of frustration of anger at what we hear, we can trust that You are greater and have us in Your hands. Forgive us for those moments when anger arises and our thoughts are less than godly toward others for the things that they say. Forgive us too, for the times that we have done the same. Not one of us is perfect and we all have fallen short and said the wrong thing at the wrong time, even with the best of intentions. Teach us how to lean on You to love and extend grace with wisdom through our words. Show us how to love like You to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak with wisdom and grace, ever extending kindness and grace to all those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – Colossians 4:2

Grow Not Weary in Doing Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So, let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

 

We are called to give as we have been given. God has shown us what it is to do good – to walk in the light of His love before all others, for as we do, they too may come to know Him. The “not giving up” part can often be the biggest challenge. It can become exhausting to extend God’s goodness and grace to those who are unkind or rude to those around them. Daily, this is a portion of my reality, as kids are seeking to discover their way. Keeping calm and seeking to understand first, can be quite arduous when that which is directed at others is intended for harm. Often, when harsh words or unkind actions are met with calm words, a change in behavior occurs. Though it does not change the trajectory of the path they are on, repeated kindness, goodness and grace, can begin to wear away and the tough exterior that acts out. Ultimately, persistent good extended, changes us, even if it does not adjust attitudes of those around us. We are called to persevere on the path He has placed before us, depending on Him to love others as we are loved by Him. May we ever persist in doing good, for at the right time, we will receive His reward, regardless of the response of those around us.

 

Let’s not grow weary,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

In choosing do good;

For we’re called to give,

God’s love, understood.

Without conditions,

May we extend grace;

Love and God’s kindness,

To all in our space.

For if we persist,

God says He’ll reward;

Faith to choose follow,

Walk in one accord.

So, do not give up,

When love seems too hard;

God will be our strength,

His grace, our reward.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to do good without giving up through the life, death and resurrection of Your Son. Though persecuted, pursued, and ultimately hung on a cross, Jesus chose to give love and grace, according, to Your perfect plan. Forgive us for not extending good when we receive unkindness, as You do not intend us to repay evil with evil. Help us to seek You for strength to respond and reach out in the opposite spirit of those intending anything other than good. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good, regardless of how we feel in the moment. Amen.

 

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

 

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

An Otherly Outlook

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE) 

 

This passage is a reminder to conduct ourselves with an “otherly outlook. What this means is that we ought to consider others, not just self. As we operate in our daily lives, we need to value others – their opinions, interests, time, state of mind, and their entire existence. It does not mean that we have to agree with all that they think or do, but rather we must value the person and treat them accordingly. Humility listens and loves and honors others first. If our focus is on loving and valuing others, our own selfish tendencies are set aside. May we seek and depend on the Lord to lead us, as we look to His example to carry this out by loving and treating others with His very best in mind. 

 

In all that I do,

Peace Through Understanding

May I set aside; 

My own selfishness, 

That’s the cause of pride. 

Instead, help me seek, 

To see others first; 

To listen and love, 

Help each know their worth. 

May my sense of self, 

And view of others; 

Be seen through Your eyes, 

All sisters, brothers. 

For You showed us how, 

Jesus led the way; 

To do all in love, 

And extend Your grace. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love with others in mind. Thank You that through Him, we too, can love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas and pride have prevented us from loving others in the way in which You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we seek Your heart and eyes to be the lens through which we see the world. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates how much they are valued. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to let go of our own pride and agenda, and live lives that are otherly. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Pursue Purpose

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. – (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason He made me His. – (Philippians 3:12, ERV)

I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. – (Philippians 3:12, TPT)

 

We are all a work in progress. The more we pursue God and the path He has prepared for us, the more we become the person that He designed and purposed us to be. It is remarkable to think about. The Creator of all, created each of us, with a plan and a purpose. Uniquely designed to love Him and love people in a way that can be exclusively exhibited through us as we walk out our days seeking to honor Him in all that we say and do. Not one of us has perfected this yet, however, we are an ongoing work in progress, and the longer we pursue Him, the more refined we become in living out love according to His for us. May we ever pursue the path that God has placed before us, and seek Him to be our strength to walk out each day well.

 

Let us choose pursue,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The path of the Lord;

Though none have arrived,

All grace He affords.

As we keep seeking,

Keep running our race;

God’s love will provide,

What we need for each day.

Keep seeking to love,

And walk in His way;

Let His love light shine,

As we extend grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us despite our flaws and failures and call us to pursue the path that You have placed before us, according to how we are each uniquely designed. Forgive us for neglecting to love as we are loved, or for ignoring the way that we know we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk out our days living and loving according to Your ways. Show us how to faithfully pursue all that You have for us, so that we may love those around us as only we can do through You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run with passion in the purpose for which You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Gentleness Makes Love Tangible

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, NIV)

Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, CEB)

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE)

Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. – (Philippians 4:5, TPT)

 

Gentleness is a vehicle for kindness that makes love tangible. God loves us fiercely, but so often makes His love known through the gentleness of those whom He places in our lives. A kind word, a gentle gesture or a small, sweet sentiment extended toward us, make us feel seen and known and loved. We are called to allow gentleness to be seen in and through us in every relationship. God equips and empowers us to extend grace and kindness to all, even the seemingly undeserving. Just as we have received His gentleness when our thoughts, words or actions warranted quite the opposite, so too, are we to allow the very same gentleness to be evident through us. May we seek the Lord and His love for all to fill our hearts so that His gentleness may be seen in our every interaction with those around us.

 

Let sweet gentleness,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be easy to see;

For kindness given,

Sets captive hearts free.

Because God is love,

We know tenderness;

A word, deed or touch,

In our brokenness.

So, let us choose too,

Be gentle and kind;

Such things soften hearts,

And soothe troubled minds.

The Lord’s ever near,

With kindness and grace;

Fill with gentleness,

So love is in place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to extend gentleness to others, but empower and equip us to love as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not been gentle with ourselves and with those around us, as each of us are loved and valued beyond measure by You. Give us Your eyes to see one another as You do, so that we are better able to allow gentleness to be our mode of operation as we interact. Show us how to love others with the same kindness and gentleness that You make so evident to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend gentleness in our words, thoughts and actions to all whom we meet. Amen.

 

 

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

 

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Favor in Forgiveness

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. – (Matthew 6:14, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. – (Matthew 6:14, ERV)

And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. – (Matthew 6:14, TPT)

 

There is so much power in forgiveness and reconciliation. Last night, I had the privilege of watching this truth play out in the life of a dear friend. Quite some time ago, she had been severed from the lives of people whom she loved. It had been a point of pain for far too long, and yesterday, she decided to reach out to one of those whom she had lost. Her faithfulness to reach out in love was met with an open heart and reciprocated, and the decision to move past the pain was rewarded with tremendous joy. Though not every act of extending an opening for restoration is met and returned, whenever we choose forgiveness, God sees and knows and blesses us with His incredible grace. May we keep short accounts and choose to forgive others; for as we do, we too will be forgiven.

 

As we choose forgive, Faith and Hope in Action

Freely extend grace;

God sees and meets us,

Right there in that space.

This act of free will,

In love, reaching out;

Is answered in love,

It’s what God’s about.

So, ever choose rise,

Look beyond the pain;

As an act of love,

Forgive in His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God who restores relationships and forgives in the same way that we choose to forgive. Forgive us for not acting in love and forgiveness to others, as we so desperately desire this from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we find the grace and love to forgive others as we are forgiven by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings restoration and healing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to extend forgiveness and grace to others, just as You so graciously do unto us. Amen.

 

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

 

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help. – Psalm 86:5

How to Love

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NLT)

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

Out of curiosity, I searched the word “love” in my Bible app to find out how frequently the word appears in scripture. Six-hundred and eighty-six results were found for a quick, one-word search in the book that God has given us as a guide to follow for living according to His will. Though I am not completely certain, I imagine that it is one of the more often occurring words found in scripture, as it was deemed the greatest command by Jesus, Himself – to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. If we love each other the same way that we are loved by God, that is an even clearer picture of how we are meant to extend grace and choose love, even when it is difficult to do. Loving deeply is a choice, rather than a feeling, and it is about the person, not the words or deeds that they do or do not display. Personally, I am eternally grateful for this, as I have been blessed with family and friends who have shown me love like this. Even at my worst, they choose to love, which in turn, challenges my heart to rise up and choose likewise, bringing forth the same for others. We are ever a work in progress and will fall short and fail to love as we are loved by God. However, He is good, and His grace covers our short-comings as we choose to walk in humility with one another. May we set our sights on loving one another deeply, just as we are loved by God, according to His command.

 

Commanded to love, Enter With Thanksgiving

As loved by the Lord;

Deeply with all grace,

His goodness outpoured.

We are called to choose,

To love others well;

For as we extend,

Lacking space dispels.

Let us offer love,

As we’ve been given;

For goodness does spread,

When love’s our mission.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us so completely and without prerequisites. Forgive us for the times that we have placed limits or conditions on love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love each other in the same way that You have loved us. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love each other as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Do Right and Build Up

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. – (Romans 15:2, NIV)

(We should not do what pleases us) but do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT)

A sweet colleague and friend whom I appreciate and admire, who also happens to be a fellow blogger, published a post yesterday that leads me to the application of the verse that my heart landed upon this morning. The gist of her post, though I am not doing it justice, was that despite the struggles, challenges and obstacles that we are facing daily, her heart, with hope, is to have no bad days. One way that we can contribute to the betterment of the days of others is to look for ways to build them up and to empower them. How can we do things that increase the faith of those around us? If we can find good in each day and extend encouragement to others, we not only grow the faith in others, but in ourselves as well. May we seek to do what is right and pleasing so that others may be built up and press on, even on the hardest days.

Help us look for good,

Ways to choose build up;

To please our neighbors,
Do Right and Build Up

In faith, fill their cup.

As we do what’s right,

And opt extend grace;

Empowered rise up,

As they find fresh faith.

Let’s not grow weary,

In choosing what’s right;

Help and love others,

Let’s fight the good fight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do what is good and pleasing for others to help them grow and be built up in faith. Thank You that as we choose to focus on others, You fill and refresh us in the process. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we have nothing to offer in our own space of weariness. Teach us to trust You more, as You fill us and build us up, providing all that we need and more. Show us how to love well the people who You have placed around us, so that we would do what is right and pleasing to build them up and help grow their faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for bringing good unto us when we are depleted, and for growing our faith in You so that we may in turn do the same for those around us. 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