Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

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Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Deep Roots Produce Fruit

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The more we learn to trust in the Lord and place our hope in Him, the better we are able to weather the difficult or unexpected. As we press in and grow deep roots, we become anchored with a confidence that God is who He says He is, and that His word is true. Our decision to love God and love people carries on in strength, for the roots deeply established, provide all that we need, even when our surroundings do not. May we ever invest our time, energy and passion into things that show us more of who God is and how He loves.

 

Those who trust the Lord, Deep Roots Produce Fruit

Grow roots by His grace;

Hope comes as we know,

His loving embrace.

Living waters flow,

Nourish and revive;

Flood our hearts with hope,

As love comes alive.

We need not despair,

When challenges come;

For God remains near,

Strength to overcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we trust and have confidence in You, the more we discover that our peace, joy and love are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are reliant on Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when challenges come, and teach us to trust in the hope we know in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that waters weary souls and grants hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dive deep into Your living water and allow Your love to flood our thirsty souls. Amen.

 

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

 

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:16-18

Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Our Invitation for Intervention

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

Though God already knows our mind and our thoughts, it is our invitation for His intervention that makes all the difference. When we request that our Redeemer show us that which is within us that needs to go, He makes His path plain and leads us in light of His love. There are plenty of anxious thoughts within me, as the state of my school feels chaotic. This morning, I have to attend mandatory “Active-Shooter Training” for an hour before my classes even begin. In this space, I have to walk forward in faith, and trust that I am where I am meant to be for such a time as this. If my mind and my thoughts determined my path on my own, I would have walked away a few months ago. However, that is not how I am being led. Though I know not what will become of this year, I have to trust that He will bring about His glory and use it all for good. May we ever seek the Lord and invite Him in, as He leads us in light of His love and shows us which way we are meant to go.

 

Search me and know me, Our Invitation for Intervention

O Lord above all;

I trust You’ll catch me,

Not allow me fall.

For as I seek You,

You make Your path plain;

As You lead onward,

I’ll trust in Your Name.

Remove from my heart,

All that is untrue;

Flood me with Your love,

As I follow You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invite You in, You show us our worries and how to trust in You. Forgive us for our anxious thoughts, as each one is a space where we struggle to trust You enough. Lead us in Your ways everlasting, so that we will follow the path that You set before us. Show us how to love others well, so that we walk in light of Your love and act as agents of calm in spaces of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search our hearts and thoughts and show us where change is needed and the direction that we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

 

 

You Make Me Strong

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

Lord, how I love You! For You have done such tremendous things for me. – (Psalm 18:1, TLB)

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

 

Though I am quite sad to have missed practice last night, I know that the rest my body received as a result, has made a difference. This morning as I woke, my throat no longer hurt, and I know that the sleep that was desperately needed, was granted at last. I appreciate how God uses the people whom we trust most, to be the voice of reason. Both my fiancée and best friend worked in cahoots to convince me to stay home and rest. His love surrounds me, and His strength renews me. Gratitude and love flood my heart and mind, as I think of the tremendous things He has done for me. Not only in these small things to get through each day when I am fighting sickness, but throughout my life, as He has been my strength for all of my days. The Lord is good, and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and tell Him of the love we have for Him who provides and guides throughout all of our days.

 

I love You, O Lord,

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For all You have done;

The strength that You give,

The battles You’ve won.

Your grace and Your love,

Make me strong enough;

To rise and press on,

When life seems too tough.

All love and all thanks,

I lift unto You;

As You make me strong,

By Your grace and truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and You do tremendous things for us. Lord we love You and give You all honor and praise. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You show us the way we are meant to go and empower us to do all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with our lives and praise You for the strength that You grow in us each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

In Quiet Hope

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? – (Psalm 62:5, MSG)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

 

In the quiet of Saturday morning, while much of the world still sleeps, I am reminded again, where my hope comes from. It is in the quiet waiting that gentle whispers of His love flood my heart and mind, reminding me that all that I need comes from God. He is my hope, my source and my supply, and in Him, I need not fear. The Lord brings comfort when chaos seems to reign, and grants His peace and strength when the hectic pace of the wearying week has stolen the last ounce of resolve within me. May we wait quietly before our God, and allow Him to fill us with His hope anew.

 

Let all that’s within, Quiet Hope

Wait upon the Lord;

In quiet stillness,

As hope He affords.

It is in silence,

That our God will speak;

Bring peace to chaos,

And strength where we’re weak.

May we take the time,

In silence, to seek;

The presence of God,

So we hear Him speak.

Speak to the weary,

Those in need of peace;

Our God is faithful,

As love is released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we quietly wait before You, You are faithful to meet us where we are, and fill us again with hope and peace and rest. Thank You that we can come to You in our weariness, and You will be our strength. Forgive us for attempting to run on empty, rather than slowing down and seeking You for strength. Teach us to trust You to be our Source and Supply, as You are faithful to meet us whenever we earnestly seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope and peace in a chaotic world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in the quiet spaces and hold fast to the hope that is found in You alone. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him! – Psalm 34:8

The Wonder of Unfailing Love

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 31:21a, NLT)

 

Here I sit this morning, in awe once again, at the wonder of the Lord’s unfailing love for me. He blesses in ways I do not deserve, and holds my heart in His hands. Where hope was growing dim, He has fanned a spark to flame. In spaces where worry was growing a bit weighty, God has provided beyond what I would have asked or imagined. More than that, as my heart heard my own voice speak the truth of all that He has done as I was sharing with a dear friend yesterday, joy and excitement began to rise up and flood my entire being, for all that lies ahead. The Lord has so much more. What we see now is but a glimpse of what is yet to come. Each time we take pause and look around, we become acutely aware of the wonders of His unfailing love, and find reason to give God praise. May we ever praise the Lord for the wonders of His unfailing love that He never ceases to show all who call on His Name.

 

Give praise to the Lord,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For wonders anew;

His unfailing love,

Is faithful and true.

Our God loves to show,

How deep and how wide;

Love for the seeking,

In Him, choose abide.

At times it is more,

Than my heart can hold;

The glory of God,

As His grace unfolds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love. Thank You that You bless us and keep us and lavish us with Your love, not because we deserve it, but rather because we are Yours. Forgive us for not recognizing the wonders of Your love all around us, or not seeking You in our spaces of need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You in all things and at all times, knowing that above all, Your love never fails. Show us how to love with a love like Yours, so others may see the goodness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love, and go forth and do likewise for those around us. 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

What Love Is and Is Not

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-6, CEB)

 

As various forms of media flood our minds with images of what love might look like, it is good to go back to the place where we find the truth. God is the author and creator of love, as He loved so much that He sent His Son to make the way for us to be restored back to right relationship with Him. God Himself, is love. Paul unpacks for us, one of the most well-known and utilized chapters in scripture, as he wrote to the church in Corinth to help them understand what love is meant to be. His description set the standard for how we are meant to love well, and helps us examine our own hearts as we look to give and receive love. There is a vast difference between love and lust. Love looks outward, not in. Love is a choice to be patient, kind and giving without expectation of anything in return. Additionally, Paul unpacks for us, the things that love is not. If we want to truly love others, we must let go of jealousy, arrogance, rudeness, irritation, complaints, complacency, and the desire to look out for ourselves first. Jesus made it known to us that our charge as His children is to love God and love people. When we are at a loss as to how we are meant to love, His word shows us the way. May we choose to love others as we are loved by God, and let His light be evident in our every word and deed.

 

The great love of God,Tether Our Hearts

Is patient and kind;

Not jealous or rude,

Keeps others in mind.

Love will not demand,

To have its own way;

It sets pride aside,

Will help, not delay.

No records of wrong,

Nor irritation;

Instead seeks justice,

Truth as it’s station.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us in Your Word, what is required. Thank You that we are not expected to love as You love on our own, but rather You strengthen and equip us by Your Spirit. Forgive us for allowing the world to dictate to our hearts and minds what love ought to be, and help us to view love through Your lens; always. Show us how to be patient and kind, even when it is difficult. Lead us to love others, seeking their good, rather than our own benefit. May many come to know You as their Savior and true Source of lasting love. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to love as we are loved. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Accept Each Other With Love

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

 

God calls us to walk in humility and gentleness. We are meant to have patience with one another, and accept each other, despite one another’s faults. The only way to love as He has called us to love, is if we are dependent on Him. Patience, acceptance, humility and gentleness are all modeled by Christ and given as we seek and trust in Him. All that is needed, He will supply, if we depend on God to be our Source. Often it is a matter of asking to view others through His eyes, before we are able to find patience and acceptance to love as He loves us. May we seek the Lord and His heart for all, as we pursue His plan to walk in humility and gentleness, having patience with one another, accepting each other with love.

 

Each of us are called,Faith and Hope in Action

With humility;

To choose gentleness,

As how we should be.

Then there is patience,

We’re called to extend;

Accept each other,

With love that won’t end.

Don’t seek to find fault,

But rather forgive;

Do as God has done,

Love well as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus showed us what it is to be humble and gentle. Thank You Jesus that You modeled patience with people, regardless of their faults, because of Your love. Thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for not being humble or patient, or for our lack of gentleness or acceptance of others in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view others through Your eyes, rather than our own. Flood our hearts with Your love and compassion for all whom we encounter. Show us how to love well, everyone with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in humility and gentleness, extending Your patience and acceptance of one another in love. 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

He Makes a Way

With God’s help we will do mighty things, for He will trample down our foes. – (Psalm 108:13, NLT)

Only God can make us strong. Only God can defeat our enemies! – (Psalm 108:13, ERV)

 

Sometimes, our enemies are those who oppose that which we know needs to be done. However, so often, our greatest enemy in accomplishing the very things that God has called us to do, is ourselves. Fear, doubt, time constraints, lack – every conceivable reason why we should not be able to do the very thing that He is calling us to do, rises within our hearts and minds and challenges us, telling us it is impossible. On our own, it usually is. That being said, with God’s help, we can do whatever it is that He is calling us to do. He provides the strength, courage, time and resources needed, just as they are needed, so that each next step will be met, if we only dare brave to keep moving forward. May we rise up in faith, trusting that God will provide all that we need to do whatever He is asking, and that all of the seeming impossibilities will fade as we choose to keep moving forward. God makes a way where there seems to be no way.

 

The dreams He’s planted,

the promises made;The Reason for Reverence

are for our pursuit,

as God makes a way.

Regardless of size,

and our perceived lack;

our God is greater,

and He has our back.

He goes before us,

and prepares the way;

we‘re meant to press on,

seek His will each day.

Where we are headed,

may be a slow climb;

but each day take steps,

all His will, not mine.

Lord, renew our strength,

flood us with Your grace;

take opposition,

grant us strength to race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that with Your help, we can do mighty things. Thank You that You trample our foes, and silence the voices that try to tell us that the things You call us to do are impossible. Thank You that You can make us strong to trust You to provide all that we need to do what You are asking. Forgive us for allowing anyone or anything to have a voice that speaks louder than Yours. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to that which You have spoken, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love others in a way that blesses and encourages them to run their own race with the strength and endurance that You alone provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your help to do mighty things in Your strength. Amen.

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

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