As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

Chaos Becomes Calm

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

The perfect peace that comes from God as we depend and trust in Him, is a supernatural calm that supersedes the chaos that surrounds us. In a space where it makes no logical sense to know peace because of turmoil, yet somehow, deep within, we hold fast to the hope that we know, His peace becomes present. It does not mean that difficulties disappear, yet it is the way to know peace even when trials and troubles come our way, for God is faithful forever to all who trust in Him. May we ever choose to dedicate our hearts and minds to He who brings peace in His presence.

 

In Your perfect peace,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

O God, You shall keep;

All who place their trust,

And earnestly seek.

Dependence on You,

Leads to perfect peace;

Chaos becomes calm,

As our hearts release.

Sometimes You silence,

The storms that surround;

But more often still,

It’s internal sounds.

You speak loving truth,

Our hearts need to hear;

Make Your presence known,

For You’re ever near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust and depend on You, You are our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith when storms begin to stir. Teach us to trust You more when the battles rage – both inside and out. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace in places that are tumultuous and bring calm into chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our peace forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord will turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Trust at All Times

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. – (Romans 8:37, NLT)

But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown His love for us. – (Romans 8:37, ERV)

Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! – (Romans 8:37, TPT)

 

When trials and challenges come our way, we need not fear, for He has given us victory in all things through Christ who loves us. Yesterday, as I walked through the process of oral surgery, this held true for me in a wonderful way. I am not necessarily fearful, but rather one who dreads anything dental, as they can never keep my mouth numb throughout an entire procedure. With conscious sedation, though there were points in the process that I could feel a bit, I was comfortable enough that it was not a problem, and the entire process was over fairly quickly. Additionally, my loving husband took the day off to take me to my appointment, wait there for me during the process, and be with me to bring me home and care for me. God provided all that I needed and more. Though my challenge was fairly trivial compared to some that people endure, it demonstrates how much He cares, even in the small things. May we ever seek the Lord in every trial and challenge we face, for victory comes through Him who loves us more than we can comprehend.

 

The Lord’s ever near,

Come with me

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our help and our hope;

He grants victory,

With our fears, He’ll cope.

He provides His help,

And a hand to hold;

Takes our hand and heart,

To help us be bold.

By His loving grace,

In strength we shall rise;

Able to go forth,

Without compromise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us wherever we are, no matter what lies before us, and You are willing to be our hope, help and strength. Thank You that we never have to face anything alone. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the face of the unknown. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone already know every outcome and are greater than anything that lies before us. Show us how to walk beside others in love as they face the seemingly impossible that lies before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and strength that comes from You alone. Be glorified O God, as we learn to trust You in all things at all times. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Peace in His Power

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

“Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do.” – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

“Dear God, my Master, You created earth and sky by Your great power – by merely stretching out Your arm! There is nothing You can’t do.” – (Jeremiah 32:17, MSG)

 

When pressure is on or things take an unexpected turn, God is ever-present and nothing surprises Him. He who made the heavens and earth can help us face and overcome anything that comes our way. God walks before us, beside us and behind us in all things and at all times. There is nothing too difficult for God. As we draw nearer to Him, we become more aware of His presence and His power that are available, if only we seek Him. Today marks the start of our ten-day countdown to our wedding. Though there is much to do to prepare, I do not feel stressed nor overwhelmed, for I know that God is with us and for us, and that He will provide where we lack – be it time, energy, strength or peace. He who can silence a storm with a single phrase, can help us navigate and orchestrate all that is yet to be done. May we ever seek the Lord, who made the heavens and earth by His mighty hand, for nothing is too difficult for Him.

 

God of all power,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Strength and wisdom too;

Comes as we seek Him,

All things He can do.

Brings peace in chaos,

Strength when we are weak;

Power, provision,

He’s near as we seek.

Let us choose draw near,

To our God above;

We’re held in His hands,

Surrounded in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You who created the heavens and the earth, are approachable and ready to help in our spaces of lack. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You give peace in Your presence, and that we need not worry, for You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for allowing challenges or daunting tasks to distract us from the help and peace that You provide in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your peace and help in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the power present in and through You. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Chosen to Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This is love: that we live according to His commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love. – (2 John 1:6, CEB)

 

We are commanded to love one another. It is not a suggestion. When days seem dark and the rubber meets the road, this is the time that we must dig deep and choose to love one another, just as we are loved by God. As we opt to offer kindness, encouragement and the benefit of the doubt to others, remarkably, the same is returned our way. Even in the moments when it is not, we can rest easy in knowing that we walked our road according to His will. May we choose love as we are commanded, and extend patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and choose to persevere.

 

Commanded to love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

It’s what we have heard;

To choose live in love,

It is the Lord’s word.

Though we were unkind,

Unworthy of grace;

God chose to love us,

As we sought His face.

Thanks to His mercy,

We can do the same;

Live a life of love,

That honors His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved us with Your life. Thank You that because You love us, we can go and love one another according to Your command. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend love to those around us as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of love that fulfills what You expect of Your children. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends patience and kindness, that chooses to protect and trust, that offers hope and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love according to Your command. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

I tell myself, you can be at peace again, because the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, CEB)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

Seemingly small things seek to steal our peace and keep our hearts from finding rest if we allow the challenges before us to determine our state of being. God is good and brings blessings in the midst of our challenges, we need only open our eyes and hearts to be aware of His goodness toward us. As we recognize how He is moving on our behalf, despite difficulties we face, we can relax and rest in God. When things are most challenging, we need to remind ourselves to rest in He who grants us peace. May we ever seek the Lord to soothe our souls, for He is always good.

 

Return to your rest, Our Map and Our Guide

O chaotic soul;

For God is our peace,

The One who makes whole.

He is always good,

Grants blessings and peace;

As we turn to Him,

His rest He’ll release.

Blessings He pours out,

Through His loving grace;

So let us seek Him,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our rest comes from You. Thank You that You shower us with Your blessings because You are good. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate whether or not we find rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find rest in You no matter what we are walking through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends peace and rest to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we return to Your rest and give You thanks for Your overwhelming goodness. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Strength in All Things

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

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

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

 

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

 

In all that we face,

Strong Heart

God’s strength He’ll supply;

As we turn in trust,

On Him choose rely.

For we can endure,

All that comes our way;

When we trust in God,

Our hope for each day.

So, trust in the Lord,

On Him, choose depend;

His love never fails,

Our strength to the end.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Gratitude for Grace

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT)

But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by My power.” So I will boast about my weaknesses. Then Christ’s power can stay in me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, ERV)

But He answered me, “My grace is always more than enough for you, and My power finds its full expression through your weaknesses.” So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9, TPT)

 

As this saga continues with my leg, I have come to a place where my heart is beginning to grasp a tremendous amount of gratitude. Though I feel extraordinarily frustrated with this space of inactivity, I recognize God’s great grace in the discovery and diagnosis in my calf, for if it had gone unnoticed, it could have been fatal. I don’t know that I am necessarily celebrating my weakness, but I certainly am giving gratitude to God for sparing me from what could have been. His strength is enough to carry me through, and His grace reminds me that this is merely a short season to rise and stand strong in Him. May we ever give glory to God in all things, for He is our strength in our weakness, and His grace grants us power to persevere when we have nothing left.

 

God’s grace is enough, Be Full of Joy

Whatever we face;

He will be our strength,

His power in place.

For where we are weak,

The Lord, He is strong;

As we trust in Him,

We will not go wrong.

He’s most clearly seen,

In our weakest space;

Power made perfect,

By His lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is all that we need. Thank You that Your power is made evident in our weakness. Thank You that You meet us in our need and supply Your strength to carry us by Your grace. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith when we cannot see past our own fears. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that Your power is perfect when we are not strong, so it is okay to turn to You and be carried in our spaces of weakness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope and encouragement in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your grace to be enough, as Your power prevails when we are weak. Amen.

 

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

These Three Things

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)

So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – (1 Corinthians 13:13, NLT)

 

At the end of the day, despite the drama, disappointment, or discouragement that has been present, Love finds a way to fuel our faith and grant us new hope that better is yet to come.  God, in His kindness, demonstrates His love for us in ways that grow our faith and keep hope afloat. There are times that it is difficult to remember that our hope is not to be held in temporary things, but rather our hope resides in that which is eternal. May we ever fix our eyes on He who is love and seek the Lord to grow our faith so that hope will rise, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Love is the fuel, These Three Things

Where faith gets its fill;

And hope rises up,

When we choose, be still.

For these three treasures,

Are gifts that shall last;

Faith, hope and God’s love,

Future, now and past.

In His great kindness,

God grants us these things;

Each strengthen resolve,

To face what life brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith, hope and love last forever. Thank You that the greatest of these is love. Thank You that You lavish us with Your love, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for our lack of faith and for losing hope when things seem more than we can bear. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than any obstacle that lies before us, any burden we must bear, and any challenge we must face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends faith, hope and love to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace these treasures You grant us for good that last forever. 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