Far Greater

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are My thoughts the same as yours! For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than yours, and My thoughts than yours. – (Isaiah 55:8-9, TLB)

 

I am so thankful that the Lord’s thoughts, plans and ways are far greater than my own. So often in my life, I have thought things ought to go in a certain direction or were on a predictable path, and have found myself frustrated or confused as to why things took a turn that led an entirely different direction. However, hindsight is a remarkable revealer of the goodness of God. In the spaces that I assumed things would unfold in certain way, I can look back and see the hand of God in every step, and recognize the blessings and benefit of His plans, as the outcome has been far greater than I would have hoped or imagined. Often, there is a season of struggle prior the beautiful outcome. It is in the time of trials that He shows us more of Himself and strengthens and equips us for the more that He has in store. Without loss, we might never fully know the fullness of His love. Without need, we’d not truly know the Lord’s plentiful provision. In all things, He is good and His way is to lead to the ultimate outcome of an eternity with Him. May we ever trust in the Lord and His ways, for His ways and thoughts hold hope that lasts forever.

 

Though plans may be good,img_2019-03-03_09-00-141537211458818783495.jpg

And thoughts just the same;

Not one can compare,

To what God has claimed.

For the Lord’s great ways,

Are higher than ours;

We reach for the moon,

He gives us the stars.

In goodness and grace,

His ways lead to more;

Things so much greater,

Than ever before.

So, trust in the Lord,

For His plans are good;

Despite what we see,

Or think that we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, far greater than our own. Thank You that so often we think things ought to go a particular direction, yet Your way always turns out far better than what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for not trusting the process when things are painful or unpredictable. Teach us to trust You, even when we cannot see how Your hand is moving on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope and trust, even when it is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the process, as Your ways are always for our very best. Amen.

 

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

 

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. – Psalm 63:3

Demonstrated through Deeds

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

Love is a verb. To truly make the love of God tangible, we must love with more than words. Acts of love done without expectation of anything in return, reveal the remarkable heart of our Redeemer. We have a Secret Pal system in place where I work. Prior to the onset of random acts of kindness, all who opt to participate complete a simple survey that includes information about the person we plan to bless throughout the school year. There is much joy in finding out more about the person we have chosen, so that we may demonstrate love through kind acts that remind the person that they are known and that they matter. Additionally, when we demonstrate our love for those around us – our family, friends, colleagues, and the like – we are exhibiting glimpses of God’s love made tangible. Each act of love shows the recipient that they are known and valued. Whenever we prefer one another in love, we model the truth of the love of the Lord, and give rise to the goodness of God. May we never limit our love to mere words, but rather demonstrate the lavish love of the Lord through loving deeds.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is ours to display;

Through more than mere words,

Love’s a verb each day.

Called to take action,

To show with our deeds;

Each done with a love,

That meets others’ needs.

So, let us rise up,

in love, take action;

Choose to move in love,

Holy transaction.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You have shown us in countless ways, how love takes action. Thank You that all can come to know You and be the recipients of Your love. Forgive us for not acting in love at times when we have the opportunity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we gain greater insight as to how we may put love into practice. Show us how to make love tangible for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to love those around us with more than mere words. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Delivering Dreams

When a dream long dreamed seems all but dead, it is difficult to hold fast to a promise that seems to have been forgotten. Sarah, the wife of Abraham, had longed to have children for many years, but had been barren. She was long past child-bearing age when she and Abraham were visited by angels on their way to carry out the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. During their short stay, they told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would conceive a son. Sarah, in her sorrow, bitterness, and unbelief because of her advanced years, laughed in response to what had been spoken. Abraham and Sarah traversed more trials in their travels, as they followed where God had called them to go. Just as the angels had foretold, Sarah conceived and bore to Abraham a son, Isaac. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” – (Genesis 21:6)

 

Though the timing was not what Sarah had hoped for, God was faithful to fulfill His promise, and her heart overflowed with joy. At the initial announcement of the promise, Sarah laughed in disbelief. When the God’s promise at last came to pass, Sarah laughed again, this time for joy in awe and wonder of the goodness of God. We have the benefit of the Bible. Throughout the pages, countless stories of God’s faithfulness are recorded for our benefit. Additionally, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, to remind us that His word is true, and He is faithful to all that He promises to do. May we hold fast to God’s promises to us, and ever forge forward in faith, trusting that God is always good.

 

The Giver of dreams,Delivering Dreams

our Lord God above;

true to His promise,

and faithful in love.

No matter how long,

we seemingly wait;

we’re not forgotten,

and God’s never late.

His timing’s perfect,

all things by His plan;

in faith, we must trust,

it’s all in His hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good. Thank You that what You promise, You provide. Thank You that You ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is not according to our timetable. Forgive us for our impatience and our lack of faith when the wait is long, and help us to trust and persevere. Teach us to hold fast to Your word, and keep our hearts from discouragement and disbelief. Lead us to love well, just as You so generously and faithfully love each of us. May many come to know of Your goodness and faithfulness for themselves, and may we be used as Your instruments to share of how You have been faithful in our own lives. Be exalted O God, as we forge forward in faith, trusting in Your eternal goodness and grace. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Rejoicing in Suffering

High priest, jealousy,

image by nooutcasts.org

image by nooutcasts.org

wanting for center stage.

Apostles arrest,

reaction in their rage.

Though placed in prison,

the Lord unlocked the door.

He then brought them out,

leaving chains on the floor.

To the temple courts,

to tell of this new life.

Boldly they went,

despite the coming strife.

Puzzled officers,

chief priests who were confused;

cells still tightly locked,

yet here they preached the good news.

Again brought to court,

for truth, put on trial.

“We must obey God!

In Him, no denial.”

Furious though they were,

one spoke, a voice of reason.

Consider with care,

the time, place and season.

For if it’s from man,

it will surely die out.

But if it’s from God,

you might choose another route.

So they called them in,

and sentenced them a flogging.

The faithful rejoiced,

counted worthy such suffering.

(Responding to Acts 5:17-41)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Your early church.  Thank You that the very same Holy Spirit that equipped and empowered them to do all that they did in Your Name back then, is the very same Spirit that dwells in the hearts of us who invite You in today.  Forgive us for taking too lightly, the significance of Your Spirit in us.  Teach us to live boldly for You, so that we might see Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Lead us Lord in the way we are to go, and teach us to listen and obey.  May many come to know You as we walk in faithful obedience to Your calling.  Thank You that You are always good.  Amen.

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

Build Your House on the Rock

image by Nicole Egerer

image by Nicole Egerer

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my word and puts them into practice.  He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on rock.  When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” – Luke 6:47-48

“Obeying God is like building a house on a strong, solid foundation that stands firm when storms come.  When life is calm, our foundations don’t seem to matter.  But when crisis comes, our foundations are tested.  Be sure your life is built on the solid foundation of knowing and trusting Jesus Christ.” (NIV Study Bible footnotes)

An old song I learned in Sunday school when I was little, keeps going through my head:

Don’t build your house on the sandy land,

Don’t build it too near the shore.

It might be kind of nice but you’ll have to build it twice

Oh, you’ll have to build your house once more.

You better build your house upon the Rock,

Make a firm foundation on a solid spot.

Then the storms may come and go,

but the peace of God you’ll know.

(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AEpUO_5DX8  fun video of kids singing it as I learned it)

Our foundation matters.  Are we deeply planted in Him, rooted in the truth of His hope, and watered by His word regularly?

Though storms are never fun, our endurance and eventual outcome, are determined by the foundation on which we stand.  I have been through times when it felt as though I were starting to sink, and it was only by His grace that my feet were again guided to solid ground.  In more recent years, and even months, it has been remarkable to see how solid His truth, when it is the foundation on which we stand, we live, and from which we draw our every breath.  Not to say in any way that I have “arrived”,not by any stretch of the imagination, but it is a joy to know that I am quicker to turn to Him and trust His truth today, than I was before.  As we seek Him, He grows us in His grace, and firms up our foundation in Him.  He alone, is worthy of all of our trust!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us Your word and illustrations that we can hold onto – images that make sense to our souls.  Teach us to further invest our hearts, souls and time in being with You and in Your word.  Continue to establish in each of us a solid foundation that will withstand life’s most severe storms.  Lead us in love to listen and learn, so that we might be even more securely rooted in You.  May our foundation of faith in You, fuel the fire in others to seek Your face.  Amen.

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

His Purpose Will Prevail

“For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish His purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.” – Revelation 17:17

holyspiritglass.jpg

holyspiritglass.jpg

Were it not for the footnotes, I fear I would still feel a little lost.  The following are the accompanying footnotes in my NIV Study Bible:

“No matter what happens, we must trust that God is still in charge, that God overrules all the plans and intrigues of the evil one, and that God’s plans will happen just as He says.  God even uses people opposed to Him as tools to execute His will.  Although He allows evil to permeate this present world, the new earth will never know sin.”

I find much comfort and reassurance in the reminder that God’s ultimate purpose and plans will be accomplished, regardless of the ruin and wreckage the existing evil may cause.  Sadly, we have seen so much of it with shootings and stabbings – both locally and globally.  However, we have also see a nation grieve the losses of a small northern town, and rally behind them with a monumental outpouring of love and support.  The goodness of God, supplied in the aftermath of inexplicable evil.

Yesterday, my mom, my boys and I, traveled a few hours south, to meet my sister and her boys at the very same mall that was the site of one of the recent shootings.  Upon arrival, I anticipated a sense of fear or anxiousness within me, yet I felt neither.  Instead, I felt joy in our happy reunion, and peace in the perfect protection provided by our Heavenly Father.  People were kind to each other, and I was delighted to be in such wonderful company.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your purpose will always prevail, regardless of our present perception.  Thank You that greater are You who is in us, than that which is in the world.  Teach us to trust You and Your perfect plans, and forgive us for allowing fear a foothold.  Lead us to listen well, so that we might love like You.  Let our light shine brightly before all in need of Your loving light and life.  Amen.

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

Truth be Told

“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at Him.  They said, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” – Luke 23:35

photo by Angie Lawlar

Boy, what a loaded verse!  People who did not know Him, yet despised Him, could not help but speak truth about Him.  Even in their sneers and spoken mockery, truth was told.  From their mouths: He saved, He is the Christ, He is the Chosen One.

Jesus, friend to sinners and physician to the broken, stood strong in His resolve to redeem us in our wreckage, despite the detestable display by those whose hands He allowed to beat His body and hang Him upon the cross.  Jesus saw past the junk, and kept His eyes on His Heavenly Father, knowing his mockers and murderers would soon know just how true their words had been.

He saved others.  You, me, and all who call on Him as our Savior and King, have been saved through the significance of His sacrifice for each of us, once and for all.

He is the Christ of God.  Sent as a baby, raised as a Son, gifted as a man, and at last returned to His rightful throne, seated beside God, the Father.

He is the Chosen One.  Set apart, yet among us, the only One to lead a blameless life, qualifying Him alone to be the Chosen One; the only One worthy to save our souls through His sacrifice on the cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, forgive us for our contributions that made the cross necessary.  Thank You that You provided a path for our redemption, restoring us again to a right relationship with You.  Teach us to treasure the gift of forgiveness that You have granted, and help each of us to hold You in the proper place in our lives and hearts.  May Your majesty move our lights to burn brightly, so that others too, might see the significance of those spoken words.  Amen.

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