Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

With Gratitude, I Rise

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

 

With a song of gratitude in my heart, I rise. Today marks the final day of the 2017-2018 school year, and I am ready for summer! It has been a year of far more new than I had anticipated would take adjusting to, and only by His strength and unfailing love have I navigated the distance without becoming completely lost. His strength sustained me and His love surrounded me, even on the most difficult of days. As I look forward from this space of one chapter ending and another about to begin, I am reminded anew that God is my place of safety, and the One on whom I can always rely. Thirty-one days until I marry my Viking, and the coming school year holds great promise, as I will be teaching three sections of art, which is my favorite, and one block of humanities. I know that the road that lies before me will not always be smooth either, but I know Who is my refuge and Source of strength, on Whom I can depend. May we ever sing praises to the One who remains present to be our strength and our safe space, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Wake up, rise and sing, With Gratitude I Rise

For the day has come;

School’s at last ending,

The work has been done.

All praise to the One,

Our strength and our song;

Who carried us through,

All of the year long.

Safety and comfort,

Through His love given;

sing grateful praise,

This life I’m living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength, safety and unfailing love on which we can depend. Forgive us for not recognizing nor giving You praise enough for the incredible ways that You love, support, strengthen and protect us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength, safety and love in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others well, so that our very lives are songs of praise for all that You have done and continue to do in us and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You for Your faithfulness forever. 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

Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and His powerful strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, CEB)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

 

Strength is a peculiar thing. We can work hard to build it up, yet there are variables beyond our control that can take it away in an instant or over time. The strength that is sustained within us, is strength of heart that comes from the Lord. His strength is that which grants us the resolve to keep rising, even when what lies before us is heavy, and often far more than we can bear. Though physical strength is both a blessing and a gift from God, it is the strength within us, that He deposits by His Spirit, that will carry us through all of the days of our lives. May we ever seek to be strengthened by the Lord in His mighty power, so that we are equipped to do all that to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

And His great power;

We can trust in Him,

Our safe Strong Tower.

He strengthens our hearts,

Emboldens our minds;

Grants us the resolve,

Move as we’re designed.

No matter what comes,

He’s faithful to be;

Present with His strength,

To help in our need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong in You and Your mighty power, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though physical strength is a blessing and a gift, it is strength of heart that comes from You that will carry us through the trials that life provides. Forgive us for not seeking You to supply the strength we need and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and minds, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your strength and power that You provide within us as we turn in trust to You. Amen.

 

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

 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. Amen. 

 

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Light in the Dark

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are compassionate and righteous. – (Psalm 112:4, NIV)

Light will shine in the dark for a decent person. He is merciful, compassionate, and fair. – (Psalm 112:4, GW)

A light shines in the dark for those who are good, for those who are merciful, kind, and fair. – (Psalm 112:4, ERV)

 

Not one of us is good, decent or upright on our own, however, in Christ, we are covered and seen as clean. Because the Lord is merciful, compassionate and fair, we learn to be likewise as we walk with Him. His light leads us, and His grace greets us, even when we find ourselves in the darkest and lowest points we’ve ever known. May we seek the Lord and the light of His love, as He shines help and hope even on the darkest of days. Let us be merciful, compassionate and fair, just as He is unto us.

 

May mercy and grace,Live Right by His Light

For God is our hope,

As we trust His ways.

He is compassion,

Righteous and He’s fair;

And instructs our hearts,

To show the same care.

May we choose rise up,

As we’re called to be;

Allow His light in,

And extend mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in darkness, Your light shines on those who trust in You. Thank You that though we cannot be who we are called to become without You, with You, we are far more than we could ever hope to be in Your sight. Forgive us for getting in the way of what You intend to do in us and through us. Show us how to trust and depend on You more, so that we would receive what You give, and extend mercy, compassion and kindness to others. Show us how to love well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your light in, and go forth to let Your light shine through us. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

To Know and To Trust

Followers of the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is your strength and shield. – (Psalm 115:11, ERV)

All who fear and know the Eternal, put your trust in Him. He is their helper and defender. – (Psalm 115:11, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder this morning, as God’s help and strength, shield and defense can be far more than physical. For me, as an educator, this is the time of year that I need it most for my heart. For whatever reason, I am feeling it far more this year than ever before. The strength and shield needed are for my heart and mind. There are the few cherubs throughout the day that try my patience and exhaust my resolve. By the end of the day yesterday, I would have tapped out for the week, if it had been an option. That being said, it is not, and today is a new day. I must choose to trust in the Lord to be my strength and my shield, as He will be my help and my defense when troubled teens try my last nerve. My prayer will be to have eyes anew; to see each child through His view. There is always a reason for acting out, and my prayer is for His insight beyond what my eyes can merely observe. May we ever trust in the Lord and His strength, as He is our help and our defense.

 

All who know the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

Choose to trust in Him;

For He is our help,

Our shield from within.

He will be our strength,

When ours is but gone;

And grant us His hope,

To keep keeping on.

Followers of Christ,

Rise up, trust the Lord;

He’s our help and shield,

When we’re less, He’s more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can place all of our trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and our shield. Thank You that You are our helper and defender in our time of need, regardless of our circumstance. Thank You that You care about the seemingly small things too. Forgive us for thinking that we have to “gut” things out or somehow “manage” on our own. Teach us to trust in You to be our help and our defense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and help when they feel as if they have none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our help and our hope; always. 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

Humility to Honor

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor. – (James 4:10, NLT)

Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. – (James 4:10, MSG)

 

We must submit to the Lord and His will, in order to create room in our lives for Him to work in and through us. As we choose to humble ourselves before Him, the Lord meets us and honors our faithful pursuit of Him and all that He has planned for us. He grants us strength we did not have, courage we have not known, and the ability to do far more than we ever thought we could, when we place our trust in Him. When we bow our knees before the King, He lifts us to our feet and leads us on the path we’re meant to walk. May we choose to seek our Savior in humility, and watch in awe, as God does abundantly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

Let us choose bow down,Beside Still Waters

Before Christ our King;

For humility,

Is what we should bring.

For He is our God,

Ready to lift up;

All who seek His face,

Are filled by His love.

The Lord, He honors,

Those who choose bow down;

Called sons and daughters,

Each receive a crown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You in humility, You meet us and lift us up. Thank You that You provide all that we need to walk in Your will and follow Your ways. Forgive us for our foolish pride that prevents us from seeking You, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times, on our knees before You in faith. Show us how to love all those around us, so that they too might see Your goodness and grace through our words and deeds. Lead many to come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we humble ourselves before You, and trust You to do all that You have promised. Amen.

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

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

To Be Light and Life

You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. – (Matthew 5:14-16, NLT)

 

When we are in Christ, we are called to be light and life. If the light of Christ lives in us, it cannot be hidden. Rather, it is meant to shine forth in every area of our lives, so that all may see and know that it is Christ in us that brings any good forth from us. The challenging part is that we are flawed and sinful beings. We fall short, EVERY SINGLE TIME. So often we do the very things we don’t want to do, or don’t do what we know we ought to do. In our own accord, nothing we do will ever measure up. However, Christ in us, can accomplish far more than we could ever hope or imagine, when we are firmly rooted and established in Him. He takes our broken bits and somehow turns them into something beautiful that can reflect His goodness in our own story, and can be used again and again, for His glory. May we receive and embrace the grace that God gives when we trust in Him, and go forth to shine His light for all to see through how we choose to follow Him.

 

The light of the world,Enter With Thanksgiving

We are called to be;

So our deeds through Christ,

Are what people see.

May it be made clear,

That all good that’s shown;

Is because of Christ,

And His love made known.

Do not choose to hide,

The glory of grace;

But go forth and love,

So all seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are light and life and hope for all who seek You. Thank You that Your light lives in us when we choose to trust in You. Forgive us for hiding who You are in us, or for not following the leading that You call us into. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in obedience and allow Your light to shine brightly, wherever we may go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that our good deeds direct hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live as Your light in all that we say and do. 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

Impossible Made Possible

“We have a God who delights in impossibilities.” – Andrew Murray

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – (Matthew 19:26, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “This is something that people cannot do. But God can do anything.” – (Matthew 19:26, ERV)

I am so grateful that God is a God of making the impossible, possible. What is seen through human eyes, is not the full reality through God’s perspective. We only see in part, what God sees in whole. That which is our struggle, the mountain that seems impossible to navigate today, may either be made low or He could grant us His strength to overcome far more than we could imagine in the coming days. Our job is to trust and to continue moving forward in the direction to which He is calling. He does not ask us to climb the entire mountain in one swift movement, but rather one step at a time. It is remarkable to take pause and look back, for we can suddenly see clearly, just how far He has brought us beyond where we thought we could climb. May we seek the strength of our Savior, and trust in His unfailing love; for in Him, all things that seem impossible can become possible as He calls them into being.

The mountain ahead,

seems too hard to climb;

for we’ve not the strength,

for just one more time.

It’s not up to us,

but rather to God;

to what is conquered,

and what path we trod.

For impossible,

only through our eyes;

with God there’s a way,

He hears all our cries.

He makes plain our path,

and grants us the strength;

to keep climbing upward,

o’er height and great length.

Let us seek the Lord,

no matter the task;

He makes possible,

to those who choose ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what is impossible for man, is possible for You. Thank You that You delight in showing us Your loving kindness and power, as You strengthen and equip us to do the impossible through You. Forgive us for our lack of faith that causes us to shut down in the face of impossibilities. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise up in faith and recognize that though something is impossible for us in our own strength, for You, ANYTHING is possible. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may come to know and understand Your relentless and unwavering love for them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make the impossible possible, by Your grace and strength. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13