How Love Abounds

My beloved is mine and I am his… – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV) 

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE) 

Song of Songs captures the blessings beheld in love as God intended. Over the last four years, I have come to understand such love in a very tangible way, especially over the last two years, as today my Viking and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Genuine love establishes a bond that requires the dedication and devotion of both partners, so that no matter what comes, it can be faced together. For me, God provided the man that I never knew I needed. He loves fiercely, gently and with a devotion that I have never questioned. We have had to navigate some serious challenges over the last two years, between the loss of his father, my mom’s stroke, and various other familial health concerns. Additionally, we have shared great joys. Our three children have all now graduated from high school and are on their way to navigating adulthood well. One is working full-time, and the other two are preparing for their first year of college in the fall. There have been births, deaths, weddings and milestones that we have celebrated and grieved together. Even in this crazy season of COVID-19, we have found comfort, security and safety in Christ and one another. There is no one that I would rather navigate this life with, and I am so grateful that God blessed me with such love. May we all seek the Lord as our provider of love the way He intended, and give Him praise all of our days, as we discover together, how great His love truly is. 

To fully embrace, 

All that God’s love is; 

We must choose to trust, 

And know we are His. 

As we come to know, 

His kindness and grace; 

Our hearts are opened, 

To God’s loving ways. 

Such blessings are found, 

The more that we know; 

His heart is for us, 

To bless and to grow. 

O what a treasure, 

To have and to hold; 

The one He’s given, 

Such love does unfold. 

Today I give thanks, 

For the love I’ve found; 

As I’m fiercely loved, 

And goodness abounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for first loving us and for designing us to love and be loved. Thank You for the incredible blessing of a husband that loves me completely, despite all of my flaws and shortcomings. Forgive me for the times that I have failed to love as You intended. Show me how to love completely, each and every day that I draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made known through willing hearts. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as You created us to love. Amen. 

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

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16

The Gift of Grace

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. – (Romans 3:23-24, TLB)

 

God is so kind. He shows us in countless ways, just how deeply He loves us and has grace for us, despite all of our flaws. I am in awe of how God brings people together to make His heart for us tangible and visible. Right now, in this season, I am particularly attuned to my shortcomings. Though I am a bit of an introvert, I am a doer. I am a wanderlust who needs to explore and adventure; an artist who needs to create; a teacher who needs to teach, but is uncertain and nervous about the new platform, and an athlete who needs to move. Though most of these can sort of be satisfied at home, the draw of the first not being satisfied in what feels like months, is a bit wearing. Part of it is my desire to drive over the mountains to check on my mom. Normally, I would hop in the car and just go. Never mind that it is three hours each way, it matters not, as I have a vehicle that runs and a music to keep me singing all the way there and back again. However, under current circumstances, it is not really an option. Yes, I suppose I could drive to Wenatchee; but mom’s entire living community is on lockdown, so I would be unable to see her anyway. It would be worse to be that close and not see her…

All that to say that I gain glimpses of God’s grace and forgiveness through the love and kindness extended to me by my husband. He loves me through my frustrations and foolishness, as he encourages and comes alongside me in things we can do. If a spouse can love and encourage well, how much more can Jesus? So much more. Jesus took it all – our sin, frustrations, shortcomings, impatience, and the like – so that we could be redeemed and made right before God, if we choose to trust in Him. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need His grace. I try, I fail; I rise, I fall short; yet, each time He picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me to keep moving forward as He supplies all that I need to press on. May we all receive the gift of grace that God freely offers, and be covered and declared forgiven in Him.

 

We all end up short, wp-15867846099767633447882872426065.jpg

Somehow, not enough;

Too little patience,

When going gets tough.

We try and we fall,

To rise up and be;

All that we ought to,

Wrecked humanity.

Yet, there is a way,

To rise and be more;

Give room for God’s grace,

To show what’s in store.

In His forgiveness,

Mercy and His grace;

We walk out His will,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way to restore relationship with You. Thank You that Your grace covers all of our sin and shame and restores us to good standing with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not freely received what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the redemption that we have been given through Jesus. 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

In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

Come with Confidence

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – (Ephesians 3:12, NIV)

In Christ we come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this because of our faith in Christ. – (Ephesians 3:12, ERV)

Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in Him. – (Ephesians 3:12, TLB)

 

Though we fall short and are fallible, when we are rooted and established in Christ, we can approach God with freedom and confidence, knowing that He will welcome us; not because we are worthy, but because we are covered and made clean as we come with His Son. There is such comfort in knowing that we may approach our Maker, no matter how we come, and we will be heard and accepted by Him. Christ bridged the great divide between heaven and earth, and because of Him, there is no prayer too great or small to miss the ear of God. He hears and He cares, and we can be confident that He is moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what is being done. May we hold fast to our faith and trust in the freedom and confidence that we have been granted through Christ.

It has been a strange couple of days with a lack of communication between mom and myself, as my days have been filled with back-to-school meetings and planning time with my colleagues, and my evenings booked with concerts and a football game. Not at all our usual, and it put a wrench in timing for talking. What I did happily observe, however, is that my brother-in-love took mom out for a walk in the sunshine. They made it to a park nearby, and watched a helicopter take off as they traveled. I know how much she loves and needs to be outdoors, so it was a blessing to see that she was out and enjoying the weather. We are still waiting and praying for all of the details to be coordinated for her in-home therapies, and continuing to fearlessly enter His presence with these requests.

 

Unworthy alone,

Yet covered in Christ;

Granted confidence,

As He paid the price.

His goodness and grace,

Covers all our sin;

Makes the way for us,

To pray, enter in.

For God, the Father,

Does not see our flaws; 

He sees Christ in us,

Not what our heart was.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can confidently and fearlessly come before You, because of Christ. Thank You that rather than our flaws, You see the perfection of Your Son. Forgive us for forgetting the enormity of the price that was paid for us to freely enter Your presence, or for somehow discounting the fact that it has been done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our requests before You and praise You for the work You are doing, and that which You have already done. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be acutely aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently come to You, trusting You to hear our every prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

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,

dsc085178740783907006225248.jpg

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

Accept One Another

Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. – (Romans 15:7, NLT)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

We are called to accept others in the same way that Christ has accepted us – with open arms that see the good, not highlight the flaws. God does not look at us and immediately go into “fix it ” mode, but rather He sees us in love. It is through coming to understand the depth of His love and grace that we are compelled to make changes so that our lives will more clearly reflect His light through our own. The more we know Him, the greater our desire to do as He has done for us. May we ever seek to grow in our understanding of who God is and how great His love is, so that we may go forth and love others as we are loved by God.

 

We’re called to go forth, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And love as we’re loved;

Received, accepted,

By grace from above.

As we do the same,

Accept each other;

God’s given glory,

Grace to discover.

So, let us choose love,

As Christ has loved us;

All praise to the Name,

Of our Lord Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us, just as we are, even in our broken and messy spaces. Thank You that Your love is what cleanses and heals us. Thank You that You only call us to do that which You have already done, and are willing to strengthen and equip us to do as well. Forgive us for withholding love or acceptance from anyone, and teach us to trust You more, so that we extend the same acceptance to others that You give to us. Show us how to love and accept all those around us in a way that blesses them and honors You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others just as You have accepted us. 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

Grace Unearned

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved. – (Romans 11:6, NLT)

And if He chose them by grace, then it is not what they have done that made them His people. If they could be made His people by what they did, His gift of grace would not really be a gift. – (Romans 11:6, ERV)

Grace is central in God’s action here, and it has nothing to do with deeds prescribed by the law. If it did, grace would not be grace. – (Romans 11:6, VOICE)

 

God’s grace at first glance, seems to be a paradox, as how could He possibly give such undeserved goodness and love to a sinner, such as myself. That is the amazing thing about His grace, He gives to the undeserving, and loves without limits. Each time I am made aware of His goodness and grace, I recognize just how incredible His love is for me, despite all of my flaws and failures. Yes, I love Him and long to serve Him, but I am a work in progress, and am far from having “arrived“. Perhaps that is the point. As we recognize our own shortcomings and see how His goodness is complete, we are ever aware of our need for Him in our lives. May we rise up in thanksgiving for God’s goodness and grace, and give Him thanks for the gifts that we’re given, though we deserve them not.

 

We cannot earn grace, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For God freely gives;

Because He is kind,

We have life to live.

Every good thing,

That comes unto us;

Is thanks to the Lord,

And His Son, Jesus.

There’s nothing we’ll do,

And no words we’ll say;

That can earn His grace,

Or take it away.

All thanks be to God,

For kindness and love;

It is undeserved,

These gifts from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness to us. Thank You that it is not given for good works that we do to somehow earn it, but rather You give grace out of the abundance of Your love for us. Thank You that it is free and undeserved, reminding us that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we either take Your grace for granted, or try to somehow earn our way into a good space before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we say and do is motivated by our love for You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they too, will long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You freely give, and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

We Are Called Friends

If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of His Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life! – (Romans 5:10, MSG)

I mean that while we were God’s enemies, He made friends with us through His Son’s death. And the fact that we are now God’s friends makes it even more certain that He will save us through His Son’s life. – (Romans 5:10, ERV)

 

The reason I often post a few different versions of a verse, is my way of sharing the process of looking and listening to what He wants my heart to hear on any given day. Sometimes, the words jump off of the page and grab hold of my heart the moment I first read them, however, there are other times that something seems significant and is keeping me stuck on a verse, but it requires repeated reading. Though the main message of Romans 5:10 reminds us that we were saved while we were still sinners because of Christ’s sacrifice, God uses His words that I have read many times, to show me something new, or remind me of truth that my heart needs to hear. This morning, I took pause as I read the portion that says: “now that we’re our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of His resurrection life!” That is a loaded statement. It is rare that I feel that I am at my best, as I am well aware of my own flaws and shortcomings. That being said, whenever I am dialed in on the depth and breadth of the hope I have in Him forever, I recognize how much He has done both in and through me, and know that there is so much more as I choose to faithfully follow Him. May we ever identify the incredible gift that we have been given through the grace of God, and go forth in the hope that we hold in knowing He is with us, for us, and our eternity is secure in Him.

 

What is this great love,IMG_2491

That saw us in sin;

Enemies of God,

Yet still welcomed in?

While stuck at our worst,

He made way to friend;

Greatest sacrifice,

So life would not end.

It is by His death,

And rising again;

We’re forgiven friends,

Life with Christ won’t end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, Your enemies – You called us friends as You gave Your very best so that we could come to have life everlasting in You. Thank You that through Your resurrection, we are also raised to new life by Your mercy and grace, and empowered to walk in Your way, rather than our own. Forgive us for somehow discounting the depth of what You did and thinking that we do not qualify, rather than receiving the gift that You freely give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have a proper perspective as to who we are in You. Show us how to walk out our days in the wisdom that we are Your friends, so that we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You freely give, and walk forward in that which You have given us to share. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Trust in His Words

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. – (Romans 4:20-22, NLT)

He never doubted that God would do what He promised. He never stopped believing. In fact, he grew stronger in his faith and just praised God. Abraham felt sure that God was able to do what He promised. So that’s why “he was accepted as one who is right with God.” – (Romans 4:20-22, ERV)

 

Abraham’s righteousness before God was not based on his following the letter of the law, but rather by his faith in the Father. God looks at us the very same way that He looked upon Abraham. He is not looking for people who cross their “t’s” and dot their “I’s” just so, but rather He wants people who place their trust in Him and believe that He will do what He says He will do. Our faith is both challenged and grown in the wait between the promise and its fulfillment. Few of us have to hold out for seventy-some years to see God’s promises realized, but how we choose to trust in the interim matters just as much. Thankfully, we have countless examples that have gone before us to show that faith is worth the wait. Additionally, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, to encourage our hearts and remind us who He is and how He loves. May we ever trust in our Heavenly Father, as He is faithful to fulfill every promise that He provides.

 

By faith we are seen,hope-overflowing

As right before God;

Our trust in His words,

Triumph over flaws.

For righteous to Him,

Belief that He’ll do;

All He has promised,

That His word is true.

Let go of the law,

And focus on Him;

By faith we’ll do right,

As we enter in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You promise, You are faithful to fulfill. Thank You that You count all who trust in You as righteous before You. Forgive us for not believing that You will do what You have promised, and grow in us an unwavering faith that always trusts. Show us how to love others well as we walk forward in the faith that You loving give to us as we seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your words and believe Your promises will be provided. Amen.

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

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

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love. – (Romans 13:10, MSG)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

 

When we choose to walk in love, we are opting for obedience to all that God asks of us. If we love God and love people, we are fulfilling all that the law requires. Just as God perfectly loves each of us, He equips and empowers us to go and do likewise to all whom we encounter. It is up to us to choose to share what He has granted, so that those around us might come to see and know the goodness and grace that is given through the Lord’s love. The love that God gives is patient and kind, it is not jealous or boastful, proud, rude or selfish. Love delights in the truth and does not remember wrongs. Love never gives up on people, as it never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) May we each go forth and love as we are loved by God, so that in doing so, we walk in obedience to all that the Lord requires.

 

Love does not choose hurt,Purposeful Prayer

No matter what comes;

Instead it endures,

Like the rising sun.

All that is required,

Through the law of God;

Is truly fulfilled,

Despite all our flaws.

For God’s very heart,

Is clearly made known;

When we opt to love,

Just as we’ve been shown.

So let us go forth,

And love each other;

With goodness and grace,

One to another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as we are loved by You, we fulfill the requirements of all laws. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather You equip and empower us to love by Your Spirit within us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to love as we are called to do, and teach us to trust so that we might love like You. Show us how to love as we are loved, so that many might come to know the fullness of Your grace and the blessings of Your unending love. May many choose to follow You, all the days of their lives. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as we are loved by You. 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