True Source of Strength

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, TPT)

 

The beauty and majesty found in creation are tangible reminders of the power and goodness of God. Even as a small child, I remember seeing the first star of the evening and beginning with a wish that would soon transform into a prayer to the very One who hung the stars in the sky. That same heart is still reminded of God’s grace and strength at the sight of the work of His hands. Today is a day that many of us will never forget. I still remember my drive to work as the news came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. Upon arrival, I, with so many others, turned on the TV in my classroom to watch in horror as the footage of the horrific events unfolded. The images will forever be etched in my mind. As I drove home that day, I took in the view of the mountain, and was reminded that the same God who made majestic mountains, could bring beauty from the ashes of so much destruction. Though we may never understand why such tragedies occur this side of heaven, the stories of redemption and beauty and overcoming have risen from the ashes. People who were touched by the tragedy, hold their loved ones a little tighter and do not take a single day for granted. Spouses, siblings and children of those who were lost, have gone on to accomplish great things in honor of their loved ones. May we ever look to the Lord, our Creator, to be our help, as He is the true source of strength.

 

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We must realize;

That God is the One,

Who gives strength to rise.

Rise from the ashes,

When all seemed but lost;

Rise from the rubble,

For He paid the cost.

No matter the darkness,

The Lord is the light;

His love and His grace,

Set wrong things to right.

O Lord, be our strength,

When trials come near;

Grant courage to rise,

In the face of fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created so much beauty that reminds us of Your goodness and strength. Thank You that often, as we see the work of Your hands, our gaze is lifted to You. Forgive us for not looking to You to be the light in every darkness, or for celebrating creation rather than the Creator. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our help, and praise You in all things and at all times, as You alone are our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings light and life, goodness and grace into spaces where there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize where we find help that lasts. Amen.

 

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

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

All Glory to God

For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, NIV)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

For all that exists originates in Him, comes through Him, and is moving toward Him; so give Him the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, VOICE)

 

All that is and was and ever will be is because of God. Our existence is through the loving hands of the Lord. His love grants us light and life and love. Goodness and grace lead us to understand how great God is, and compel us to give Him the glory He so justly deserves. May we look to the Lord with thankful hearts and praise Him for the countless ways that He demonstrates His love for us all.

 

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The Maker of all;

Who loves us to life,

Answers when we call.

For all that exists,

Is through His great love;

Light and life and hope,

Gifts sent from above.

All glory to Him,

As we trust His Name;

He’s faithful to do,

All that His word claims.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Maker of all. Thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Forgive us for not giving You the glory that is due, and help us to ever give our praise unto You. Show us how to love those whom You have placed on our path in a way that points their hearts heavenward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You glory for all that You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Trust Comes Through Knowing

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – (Psalm 9:10, NIV)

Those who know Your Name trust You because You have not abandoned any who seek You, Lord. – (Psalm 9:10, CEB)

May everyone who knows Your mercy keep putting their trust in You, for they can count on You for help no matter what. O Lord, You will never, no never, neglect those who come to You. – (Psalm 9:10, TPT)

 

God is forever faithful to those who seek and trust in Him. In our joy and triumph, He is present. As we struggle and suffer, He remains. The Lord is ever near and does not neglect to listen to those who seek Him. Even when we are unaware of His presence, He is with us as we call of His Name. From the dawn of each new day, to the last of the day’s light, God remains present to help all who seek and trust in Him. May we ever place our trust in He who is faithful and will remain with us forever.

 

To know the Lord’s Name, Compassion in Confrontations

Means we trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

The strength found within.

No matter what comes,

Our God will remain;

He’s with us in joy,

And comfort in pain.

Let us ever seek,

Place faith in the Lord;

Trust in His great Name,

All grace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to all who call on Your Name and place their trust in You. Thank You that there is no limit to Your loving kindness and willingness to hear our prayers. Thank You that You are near us in all things and at all times. Forgive us for not turning to You with thanksgiving for the great things that You do and for failing to seek You in our struggles. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things to You – the triumphs and trials, for You are faithful forever to listen. Show us how to love well, all those around us in a way that helps them know that they are not alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in all things, trusting completely in You. Amen.

 

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

 

To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame. – Psalm 22:5

Blessings to the Trusting

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. – (Jeremiah 17:7, ERV)

Happy are those who trust in the Lord, who rely on the Lord. – (Jeremiah 17:7, CEB)

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord their hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, TLB)

 

Saying something and actually walking it out are two entirely different things. Conversations about trusting God come easily, but when the rubber meets the road, the trusting can become a challenge. It is far easier to trust God where we have seen His faithfulness before, yet when we face a new challenge or prepare for a new season, it can feel a bit like cliff diving. The first step is the most difficult, yet once we leap, we have little other choice, but to trust and rely on Him. What I have found to be true is that every single time that I have chosen to trust and rely on Him, He has been faithful to be present and bless me with whatever was needed to navigate the season or situation. God is good and He is near to all who call on His Name. May we ever place our confidence in our Creator and trust Him in all things at all times; for as we do, we discover His bountiful blessings of faithfulness.

 

The blessings of God, Gentleness for the Weary

Come to those who trust;

Who rely on Him,

He’s faithful and just.

May our confidence,

Come from Him alone;

By His loving grace,

His presence is shown.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s faithful to do;

All that He’s promised,

Forever it’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who trust and rely on You. Thank You that Your Word is true and that we can place our hope and confidence in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness or lack of reliance on You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your promise to be present and be our Strength is reason to forever hope in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates trust and confidence in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and rely on You in all things and at all times. 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

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. 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

Wise Words Build Bridges

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, NIV)

Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV)

Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, TPT)

 

As I continue to mull over Sunday’s message, I am reminded of how much I value well-weighed words. Words of encouragement are some of the sweetest things for my soul, yet reckless words can bring my heart to ruin. Our words have the power to penetrate people’s hearts – for both healing and for destruction. We must choose wisely how we use our words, for they echo long after they leave our lips. As an adult who has experienced words utilized for both healing and for hurt, I have learned to form a filter, and give far less weight to the words of those who have not yet earned my trust. That being said, our job is to build bridges between people, not walls. Bridges are formed when safety is established, and safety comes when our words and actions align. May we ever seek the Lord to tame our tongue as He leads us on the path He has placed before us, so that we find wisdom to offer words that soothe and bring healing.

 

Words that are reckless, Wise Words Build Bridges

Pierce hearts like a sword;

Yet words of the wise,

Are healing outpoured.

We have the power,

To heal or to harm;

With the words we speak,

That fire or disarm.

May we choose to think,

Before we give voice;

So our words bring life,

And hearers rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak words of light and life and love into our hearts and souls so that we may know hope forever in You. Thank You that You call us to be wise with our words to bring healing to those around us. Forgive us for speaking without thinking or for being reckless with our words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and listen with our hearts to hear the words that You would have us speak that bring healing and health and wholeness. Show us how to love those around us well with well-chosen words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom to use our words to bring healing to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

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

The Power of Gentleness

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

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

 

People will typically meet us in tone and sentiment as we interact with one another. Even when a person is having a rough day, and kindness is far from the forefront of their mind, as kind words and gentleness are extended, the same seem to easily flow in reply. I have found, on many occasions, just how much truth these words hold. When I choose to respond to someone who is angry with gentle, softly spoken words, most often, the heat of their anger is diffused. However, when I respond from a space of my own frustration and meet their anger with my own, the intensity of the flame burns all the hotter and goes from heated to volatile. May we seek the One who always answers us gently with love, so that we may go forth and do the same.

 

May we choose answer, Gods protection

Forever with grace;

For each choice of love,

Is living God’s way.

Those who are angry,

Need answers of peace;

Gentleness given,

Grants fury’s release.

Tenderness given,

Will turn away rage;

For love overcomes,

The toughest of days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your gentleness diffuses our frustration and anger, and in You, we can do the same for others. Forgive us for the times that we have met fury with words that only fueled the fire of frustration rather than diffused. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend tender words that offer hope and help, no matter how we feel. Show us how to love others well in all situations and circumstances so that Your heart may be heard and Your love may be felt. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to extend gentleness and to speak words softly, especially when those around us are heated and in need of Your tenderness. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faithfulness Knows No End

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – (Psalm 36:5, NIV)

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your love, O Eternal One, towers high into the heavens. Even the skies are lower than Your faithfulness. – (Psalm 36:5, VOICE)

 

I am forever in awe of the faithfulness of God. After sustaining a fibular fracture that caused a DVT (blood clot) in my calf, I was pretty much guaranteed that my football season was over. The fracture has completely healed and my leg feels great again, but I have to take blood thinners for another few months, making contact sports an off-limits activity. Throughout my injury, I continued to attend practices, as my commitment to the team mattered to me, and I was determined to be present to the end of the season. Over the last week, the special teams coach came up with a way to allow me to actually get into a game. As a kicker, punting has very limited risk for contact, as the focus is on chasing down the kicked ball, not the kicker. Last evening, we had our last regular season game at our home field. We were significantly ahead after the first half, and it was not looking like there would be any opportunity to punt, as we were not handing over the ball at all. My coach asked me if I could kick off, to which I enthusiastically replied, “Yes!” Though I had not practiced kickoff since early in the season, prior to my injury, I was eager for an opportunity to participate in my first game. Twice I was called upon to kick off, and twice I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to get in the game! Our next stop is the playoffs, and likely against much tougher opponents. I know not if I will have the chance to get in a game again, but I will continue to practice and be present, giving God the glory for all that He has done. May we ever give Him praise for all of our days for His faithfulness in all things great and small.

 

So great is the love,

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I’m #15, if you were curious. 🙂

Of our God on high;

Above all we see,

So deep and so wide.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Will never run out;

He’s with us always,

His presence devout.

All glory to Him,

In Heaven on high;

For His care for us,

Each day and each night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love reaches us wherever we are and Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You meet us where we are and bless us beyond what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our times of doubt, when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Teach us to understand that Your ways are higher than our ways, and that we can trust You always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and honor for Your love and faithfulness that knows no end. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:5

Faithful Answers

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our Savior. – (Psalm 65:5a, NLT)

God, You answer our prayers and do what is right. You do amazing things to save us. – (Psalm 65:5a, ERV)

You leave us breathless when Your awesome works answer us by putting everything right. – (Psalm 65:5a, VOICE)

Yesterday morning began in a hurried panic. My boys and I were supposed to be up and out the door by 3:30am to get to the airport by 4:00am for departure for their school music tour to San Francisco. My alarm sounded first at 2:45, and I have a vague recollection of glancing at the screen and rapidly pressing the dismiss option, knowing that there would be a second alarm ten minutes later. At 2:55, as the second alarm debuted, I think I thought I hit snooze, but actually pressed dismiss again. Perhaps the combination of not returning home from football practice until close to ten and staying up until nearly midnight helping the boys finish packing, had pushed me to the point of exhaustion. After what felt like a few minutes, I woke, looked at the clock in a daze, read 4:30, and realized in a panic that we were already thirty minutes late! I ran through the house to wake the boys and hustle them out the door, scrambling to get luggage loaded as I called out a quick checklist for the boys. We rushed out the door and I had them at the airport drop off curb by 5:00am. I gave them specific instructions of where to go to check-in their bags and line up for the security check-through, informing them that I would wait in the cell phone lot, just in case, until I heard that they were checked in, through security, and on their way. Sadly, about twenty minutes later, I received a series of anxious calls from both them and their music director. The boys had missed the bag check-in deadline by two minutes and their director was not allowed to permit them to take a later flight by themselves, due to liability issues, so I had to go pick them back up. Though sleep-deprived and frazzled, my mind was in solution-mode. My first go-to was to call mom as I drove to see if she could look up later flights and if she knew anyone who might have a “buddy pass”. Within five minutes of returning home, I had a call into the principal of their school, a call back from mom with a later flight that had two seats available that she went ahead and booked, (as the airline only charged a minimal fee for the flight change), and I determined that I would go straight to the district office to sign some sort of release of liability paperwork to get my boys where they needed to be. We were in and out of the district office in fifteen minutes, and on our way to the airport where the boys were able to make their flight and then reconnect with their group, having only missed a tour of Alcatraz. All throughout, there were some serious prayers being audibly offered. My boys may or may not have thought I was a bit loony as I prayed aloud for each step we took. However, they were witness to doors opening rapidly, and ways being made, when we had been told by their music director that it was impossible. God is faithful to meet us, even in the seemingly small things. He moves mightily on our behalf and shows us His power where we have none. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for He is faithful to answer our prayers with His awesome deeds.

 

Faithful to answer,

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The Lord God, He hears;

He opens the way,

As He is so near.

When all seems but lost,

God’s presence remains;

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

He makes our path plain.

So, trust in the Lord,

In faith, call on Him;

His love makes wrongs right,

When invited in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to hear us when we call on You. Thank You for the way that You are faithful to answer, in ways that we would not have imagined. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for trying to navigate difficulties on our own rather than seeking You, our Source and Supply. Teach us to trust You more, as You do amazing things as we call on Your Name. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and give You praise for Your faithfulness 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