Purposeful Design

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil that they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

Perhaps this is the reason that I crave being outdoors so much. Each time I am afforded time to enjoy just being out in nature, I find myself acutely aware of God and the beauty of all that He has made. Yesterday, was a day spent almost entirely outdoors. I began my morning as I usually do, with my devotions and writing, but then went and met my running bestie for a run to kick-off the day. The opportunity to share life with one another as we run, and fill our lungs with the hint of coolness that is still found in the morning air, while running through tree-filled neighborhoods and roads. Green is beginning to give way to hints of yellow on the deciduous trees, a reminder that seasons change, but the like the tree, God remains steadfast. Shortly after returning from my run, I went and picked up my best friend to go hiking. Incredibly, we arrived within thirty-five minutes or so, and soon began our ascent up the trail. Neither of us had hiked this particular trail prior, so everything was new. The surroundings were lush and green, and the trail, nearly three miles of steep switchbacks, reminding us to be grateful for strong, healthy bodies. Upon our arrival at the top, the view made the work well worthwhile. We could see for miles. Hills and lakes, the Puget Sound, mountains and valleys – so much of God’s creation, right there, beautifully displayed before us, waiting to be enjoyed. The few photos that I took do not do the view justice, but perhaps at least give a glimpse of how gorgeous God’s creation is, when we find opportunities to get out and enjoy it. After the hike and time at each of our homes, my love and I joined she and her husband on their deck to sit outside and enjoy a fire and dinner. Summer nights are a sweet reminder of God’s goodness to us. All that to say that every single time I get outside, I cannot help but see the fingerprints of God all over the beauty that my eyes behold. May we each be acutely aware of our Almighty God, as we navigate our days through the beauty He has placed around us, to make His heart for us known.

When I checked in with mom yesterday afternoon, it sounded as if she had been having a good day, thus far. She had done her exercises and some walking laps around the house, and was quick to answer the phone when I called. It has only been a little over a week since mom arrived at Meg’s house, so they are still working to establish routine and work out all of the appointments and therapies. Mom will have her appointment with her new primary care doctor tomorrow morning, so we are praying that in-home therapies begin rapidly after that appointment. Ideally, a case manager would get to the house by Friday to determine mom’s need and establish a schedule for the various therapies.

 

The truth of the Lord, img_2019-08-20_04-20-306977957877656939817.jpg

Is easy to see;

For all around us,

Hand-crafted beauty.

Majestic mountains,

Vast, powerful seas;

Lush, lovely forests,

And river retreats.

Intricate flowers,

And huge, mighty oaks;

Creatures great and small,

And all sort of folks.

Each one created,

Purposeful design;

When we choose to look,

We see truth aligns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made invisible and difficult to grasp attributes tangible through what You have made. Thank You that we need only look around us to see evidence of who You are and how You love. Thank You that Your power and majesty are made clear through that which You have created. Forgive us for neglecting to open our eyes to truly see the work of Your hands. Teach us to recognize and appreciate the evidence that is all around us, testifying on Your behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further provides evidence of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the beauty that You have made, and the ways that Your fingerprints are all around us through all that is created. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. – psalm 96:11

 

 

Undeterred Hope in the Unseen

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

 

I am not sure if it was the fact that I was able to sleep through the night with zero wake-ups, or that I rose in time to watch the sunrise, but whatever the combination of factors, I feel a renewed sense of faith in my hope for what I cannot yet see. My faith in God’s goodness has not wavered, yet discouragement has been a struggle, as I am simply at a place of longing to be home with my family. By day, God provides all that I need to be fully present, engaged and focused with mom, yet in the quiet moments and when I try to sleep, I struggle with the absence and distance from my husband and children. Though I have not actually received definitive plans nor a specific date for mom’s move to Oregon, I have the assurance that it will transpire, and the confidence that this next step with be exactly what she needs to continue on her road to a full recovery. God is good, and He has good things in store for us all. He has the very best in mind for my mom, my sister and her family, and for me and my family as well.

Yesterday, mom and I had a leisurely morning, as nothing was scheduled until noon. Her speech appointment ended up starting a little behind schedule, but went very well. Immediately after, two friends of hers from church came for a visit. It was a wonderful time of reconnecting for all three of them, and a pleasure for me to witness. After their visit, mom was a bit worn, but determined that a Dutch Bros run was in order, not a nap. Who can argue with that logic? 😊 As usual, we soaked in the sunshine and scenery as we drove the back way into town, and stopped for a car wash on the way. Our outing brought us home in time to prepare dinner, watch a movie, and call it a day. A bonus blessing was that mom slept through the entire night! This was the first time she has done that in all of the time that I have been here, so I think that I am better rested than I have been in quite some time. Again, thank you so much to those of you praying for her sleep.

May we continue to have faith in the things hoped for, and trust, even when we cannot yet see how God will bring all to fruition.

 

Faith’s found in trusting, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

The things yet unseen;

Holding onto hope,

Through time in between.

It is confidence,

That God’s in control;

He’ll work things for good,

Make broken things whole.

He knows what we need,

Each cry of our heart;

He loves and blesses,

As grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace as You build our faith and confidence in You, even when we cannot see that which we hope for. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers or our hope grows dim, based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are perfect and You have good things in store for those who love You. Show us how to love those around us well, especially those stuck in the waiting for long awaited hopes to be realized. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with confident hope, knowing that You are moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see evidence of Your hand. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Faithfulness to the Skies

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 steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, TLB)

 

I love that every day is new, and each morning is a fresh reminder of God’s goodness and faithfulness and love. It is particularly clear from my vantage point, as the view from mom’s kitchen table is spectacular. Each day as I rise before the sun, God’s handiwork greets me as He paints the sky new every morning. No two sunrises look the same. The cloud patterns and the colors shift and change, mix and blend, reminding me that He is creative and innovative, able to take on new challenges in new ways.

Last night, mom only woke one time during the night! For those who have been following our story daily, this means that both of us slept more last night, than we like did over the previous two nights combined. (Thank you for those of you who have been praying!) Furthermore, yesterday was full of things to be celebrated! During physical therapy in the morning, mom walked nearly half the length of her hallway with her walker, unassisted! Once she grew a bit fatigued, she rested for a moment or two, and then the physical therapist, Nick, had me assist/spot mom with her walking. It was exhilarating to participate directly with her, and gain the nod of approval to at last work with mom on our own on walking. Because we now have clearance to practice walking, we gave it another go in the evening as we were winding down. Mom is overjoyed and completely motivated, as she is ready to demonstrate her new-found confidence for my husband and boys when they arrive later this morning. The appointment with mom’s physiatrist went well, as she is the one who oversees and coordinates all post-stroke care. She was pleased with mom’s progress thus far, and will see her again in early August. We had a wonderful visit with mom’s next-door neighbors before dinner, and made the most of our evening, prior to calling it a night fairly early, after our previous two nights of not nearly enough sleep. Mom and I shared an early breakfast to watch the sunrise (photo below), and appreciated God’s handiwork together. Each of us sat in awe, as we gazed upon His glory in gratitude. May we ever remember the faithfulness and goodness of God, and just how far-reaching His love is for us all.

 

The Lord is faithful,img_2019-06-29_05-55-33225047676974216251.jpg

Beyond what we see;

His grace unending,

He loves tangibly.

Be it a sunrise,

At the break of day;

Or loving guidance,

As He points the way.

No matter what comes,

The Lord, He is near;

He will remain close,

Help us persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You for sleep and restoration when we need it the most. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot do anything to control our circumstances. Continue to teach us to hand all to You. Show us how to love well all those around us, as You empower us to walk faithfully and lovingly alongside them, encouraging and building up as they move forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your steadfast love and faithfulness that reaches to the heavens and is painted across the sky each morning. Amen.

 

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

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

The Fullness of Grace

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – (John 1:16, NIV)

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – (John 1:16, ERV)

And now out of His fullness we are fulfilled! And from Him we receive grace heaped upon more grace! – (John 1:16, TPT)

 

The grace of God has been evident from the beginning of time. When Jesus came for the forgiveness of all who seek Him, grace was made all the more perceptible. Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. (dictionary.com) Often, I find myself in awe of God’s grace that is provided in visible and tangible ways. Obviously, the greatest gifts of grace have come through life, love and salvation. However, the grace of God is granted in small and seemingly insignificant ways as well. Yesterday, I had a dental appointment to take care of a few small fillings. I was dreading the appointment, and wished very much, that I could just cancel it. It is not the dentist, as he and his staff are wonderful, but rather that my mouth does not stay numb through and entire procedure – EVER. Feeling the drill grind on nerves in my teeth is one of my least favorite sensations. After arriving at the office and getting seated, the sweet receptionist looked at me, looked at her computer screen, and said, “We don’t seem to have you on the schedule today.” In both joy and disbelief, I let her know that I was just fine with that. Though I had it in my calendar, which I only enter on the spot, in the office, to be certain I record the correct information for appointments, somehow, it did not get entered on their end. Not only did I not need to stay for a procedure, she actually handed me a Starbucks gift card for my “trouble”. It truly was NO trouble. Anyway, for me, this series of small things that transpired in a span of mere moments, were sweet gifts of grace. Yes, I realize that I will still need to have that sort of appointment, however, for yesterday, the time returned to my day, (and the bonus coffee) were evidence of God’s goodness and grace that is given when we need it the most. I was tired and in need of rest, and ended up having time to come home and relax for a while before preparing dinner and the usual evening routine. May we ever be aware of the grace upon grace given by God, as His love for us is made evident, individually.

 

God, in His goodness, Ambassadors of Love

Created all things;

And then sent His Son,

Great love offering.

Always there was grace,

And with Jesus, more;

Love tangibly shown,

Through Him we adore.

May we be aware,

Of the grace You give;

Extending our praise,

Each day that we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us in ways that show us Your loving kindness. Forgive us for missing the moments of grace that You give us throughout our day, or for failing to recognize Your goodness being granted in great and small ways. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are ever aware of Your freely given, unmerited favor and love throughout all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness and grace, and make Your love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for the countless ways that You love us and grant us grace each day. Amen.

 

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

 

What shall I return to the Lord for all His goodness to me? – Psalm 116:12

Evidence of the Unseen

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God. – (Romans 1:20, NLT)

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – God’s eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So, humans are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, CEB)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

It boggles my mind to think that with all of the beauty of creation, there are still some who do not believe there is a Creator. I cannot even so much as look at a sunrise or sunset, the ocean waves, the mighty mountains, the countless stars in the sky, or the faces of my family, and question God’s goodness. God gives beauty, where humans attempt to destroy; He gives love, as humans have a propensity for hatred. Everything good comes from God. May we take pause to look all around us and discover the evidence that He who is unseen, has made visible for us to know Him.

 

All-powerful God, Filled Each Morning

Has made His heart known;

Throughout creation,

His goodness is shown.

Displayed by beauty,

For all to behold;

His power, present,

The truth being told.

Invisible things,

Become clearly shown;

The sun, moon and stars,

God’s greatness made known.

How can we question,

The God who has made;

All things for our good,

His love is conveyed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the power and beauty of all that You have created. Thank You that Your presence is clearly shown throughout creation. Forgive us for our doubts, for Your handiwork is clear evidence of Your goodness. Teach us to trust You more, as You who created all that is seen and known, can surely handle our confusion and fear in that which is not known to us. Show us how to love those around us in practical, tangible and powerful ways, so that Your heart may be clearly conveyed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have created, and trust in Your power and presence to show us Your good in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Good in Good Friday

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us! – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TLB)

For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TPT)

 

This. This is the good that we celebrate on Good Friday. Jesus Christ, who had lived and served and loved without sin, willingly took all sin upon Himself and bore it on the cross, so that we would have a way to be right with God. Our sinfulness was exchanged for Christ’s righteousness. His sacrifice made the way for all who seek Him to become righteous before God. This holy exchange is the very thing that empowers God’s goodness to be evident in us. Christ’s love that made the way for us all to be restored unto God, is the good in Good Friday. May we each recognize with reverent awe, the enormity of the exchange that took place on our behalf.

 

One horrific day, The Good in Good Friday

A long time ago;

Christ went to the cross,

To make goodness known.

Upon that old cross,

Jesus bore all sin;

The wrongs of the world,

Were nailed upon Him.

The weight that He bore,

Was for you and I;

Though we were sinners,

He still chose to die.

Such a painful death,

So we could be free;

Covered with goodness,

Righteousness to see.

This is what is good,

On this dreadful day;

Death of our Savior,

Cause for Good Friday.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to take our place upon the cross. Thank You that His goodness covers all of our ugliness in Your eyes. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of the burden You bore on our behalf. Help us to see just how good, Good Friday is because of Your incredible love. Show us how to embrace the goodness You have given to us and empower us to love well, all those whom with we cross paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become aware of the incredible exchange of our sinfulness for Your righteousness, that make Good Friday so good. Amen.

 

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

 

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Plan to Do Good

If you plan to do evil, you will be lost; if you plan to do good, you will receive unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NLT)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

“You reap what you sow” becomes evident based on what we choose to do, day in and day out. When our focus and intent are rooted in God’s goodness, love and loyalty seem to find us. Contrarily, those who choose to do otherwise, end up lost and in the company of those with unsavory notions. May we ever set our hearts and minds on things of God, so that kindness and truth come our way.

 

You reap what you sow,Sowing Seeds of Peace

Forever holds true;

We get what we give,

Our choice a preview.

For when we choose good,

Give love and God’s grace;

The same is returned,

His love is in place.

Let us seek the Lord,

To love as He does;

Far from all evil,

Let good rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, so that we may know the love and loyalty that is returned. Forgive us for the things we are drawn to that are not of You. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the good You have established for us to follow. Show us how to love those around us with loyalty, faithfulness and grace, so that they may recognize the good in all of Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us according to Your good and perfect plan. Amen.

 

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

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

Cut Complaints to Give Glimpses of Good

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)

 

In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.

 

Strong Heart

 

Lord, help us to choose,

Do everything;

Without complaining,

And trust grace You bring.

Try not to argue,

Be ready with cheer;

For our attitude,

Can show God is near.

Let Your love light shine,

A breath of fresh air;

As we choose live right,

And show that we care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Anticipate God’s Goodness

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that those troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6