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

All for All

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. – (Romans 3:23, ERV)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23, TPT)

 

This passage is a reminder that we ALL are in need of God’s mercy and grace. From the greatest saint to the most horrendous criminal – ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We all need the Savior. Without Him, we would never be acceptable in the eyes of God, and would be doomed for all eternity. However, Jesus came and took our place so that we could be seen as righteous before God. Because of His sacrifice, all who believe and receive the incredible gift He offers, are welcomed into His glory. It does not mean that we have a free pass to live a life ruled by sin, but rather as we follow the Lord and seek to do His will, we can find forgiveness and grace when we mess up. Just as a parent loves their child and corrects and redirects them, so too does God with us when we commit our lives to Him. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, trusting His leading and welcome embrace.

 

All people fall short, stone of grace

Have succumbed to sin;

Chose go our own way,

Not letting God in.

Because we all sin,

We all are in need;

Of the grace of God,

To go where He leads.

So, rise up in faith,

Believe and receive;

The Lord’s gift of grace,

He knows what we need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that meets all who come to You seeking. Forgive us, for we are all sinners in need of Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, trusting You to lead, guide and equip us to walk in Your way and do Your will. Show us how to love those around us, extending Your goodness and grace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in faith, trusting You to forgive us and lead us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

But everyone who believes in this raised-up Jesus is declared good and right and whole before God. – Acts 13:39, MSG

The Wisdom of Grace

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. – (Proverbs 19:11, NLT)

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. – (Proverbs 19:11, MSG)

A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense. – (Proverbs 19:11, TPT)

 

Wisdom is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Patience prevails and mercy will not fail when dealing with those who have done wrong. Though there is a time and a place for correction, or at least making known the offense, there too are times when it is best that we simply forgive and move forward, allowing grace to cover what the words or deeds were lacking. May we continually seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we will know how to demonstrate patience and hold our tongue when it is best for us to overlook an offense.

 

Wisdom is made clear, Ambassadors of Love

When mercy is shown;

Offense forgiven,

Makes God’s goodness known.

For we are not called,

To judge each other;

But rather to love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us to be slow,

To respond to hurt;

For grace extended,

Demonstrates true worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us despite our propensity to offend and insult You with our words and deeds, each time we act or respond out of anything other than love. Thank You that You do not withhold Your goodness and grace based on how we come before You. Forgive us for denying grace and forgiveness to others when we have felt insulted, offended or wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond with Your wisdom that extends love and overlooks offenses. Show us how to love and give grace to those who offend us most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize and receive Your grace through us. Be glorified O God, due to our decisions to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. – Luke 2:40

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Our God has designed, wp-15323501515116858327490790099683.jpg

Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3

Strength to Stand

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. – (Isaiah 40:29, MSG)

He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, TLB)

 

How I am still functioning is clearly by the grace of God. For more than a week now, I have struggled to sleep at night. Though it is spring break, I have gone ahead and gotten out of bed long before the sun has risen, as by the time it reaches three or four o’clock, I figure I have tried long enough and may as well begin my day. Each day, I have had the strength I have needed to navigate what was required of me, and on a few of the days, found there was even time for a nap. He has sustained me with His strength where my own has been lacking. God is faithful to meet us in our weariness and weakness and fill us with His strength and power. May we ever seek Him in full surrender, trusting that He will provide all that we need to rise up and run strong.

 

In full surrender, Be strong and courageous

To You, Lord, I come;

Tired and weary,

My heart is undone.

I lean into You,

For I know Your hands;

Are strong when I’m weak,

You give strength to stand.

Power provided,

When ours is all gone;

Help we can hope in,

For You make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to the weary and increase power in the weak. Thank You that we can always turn to You in trust. Forgive us for attempting to “muscle our way” through things on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our strength when we are weary and power when we are weak. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your strength and hope and help when they are weary and weak. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer to sustain and strengthen us to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Modeling Our Maker – The Beauty of Mothers

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – (Psalm 145:8)

 

These four attributes of God, are characteristics that I am grateful to understand cleary, as they have been modeled well by my mother. Her mother, my grandmother, is also a woman with a heart after the Lord, who demonstrates grace and compassion, is slow to anger and abounds in love.

 

Our heritage to pass on, is dictated by how we live. If we want our children to extend grace to others, we must be quick to be gracious with them. Compassion for others is learned through modeling a life that loves and serves where needs are seen. Though some have shorter fuses that others, we can teach kids how to cope with anger and frustration, so that they learn how to respond appropriately, rather than lashing out at the onset. When love is abundantly given, it cannot help but spill over to all who are around the one who is lavished in love. The amazing grace of God covers all of our shortcomings, and He can grow in each of us, His heart for others, and His attributes, even if they were not modeled for us. May we each go forth with grace and compassion, being slow to anger and generous in love.

 

In the heart of those,Modeling Our Maker

who will heed His call;

He pours out His love,

extends grace to all.

These priceless treasures,

there are none other;

than the one He gave,

whom we call Mother.

Be it by our birth,

or through sacrifice;

she’s the one who loves,

us for our whole life.

For those in spirit,

who in love, speak truth;

who walk beside us,

grant grace each day, new.

Thank You, dear Jesus,

for the moms You give;

Your blessings made known,

of how we’re to live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessing that mothers are in our lives. Thank You for the privilege that it is to be a mom. Thank You that You provide spiritual moms for those who don’t have access to mothers who know You, or who are not nearby. Thank You that You are gracious and compassionate, patient and loving. Thank You that You birth in us, as believers, the very same attributes. Forgive us for not extending grace where we should have, for lacking compassion where it was needed, for growing angry quickly when we ought not have, and for not extending Your lavish love to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more and to move mightily in the love and the grace that You so lavishly give. May many come to know You through the kindness we extend. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the One who sustains me. – Psalm 54:4

 

Sow Where We’re Planted

When our circumstances seem dismal, or if our surroundings are a space less than what we’d hoped for, we may very well be exactly where God intended for the purpose of influencing people for His Name’s sake.

In Acts 25, despite having been imprisoned for two years, Paul found himself with an audience of the governor, a king, and some other very influential individuals.  Paul, true to form, made the most of his opportunity, and proclaimed the truth about Jesus before them.

The fall that followed my graduation from university, I took a giant leap of faithful obedience, and joined YWAM. (Youth With A Mission)  After several months of training, my cohorts and I found ourselves in the slums in Bangkok, Thailand.  The air was so thick that it felt as if we could chew it, and the scent in our surroundings was that of stagnant water and garbage, stewed in sweltering heat.  For many of us, this was our first introduction to anything outside of the United States, and there was a bit of culture shock, to say the least.  However, by the grace of God, we got it together, and began to serve the community in the slums where we were staying.  Each morning, we went out to the waterway and dug out as much garbage as we could load into our baskets, and carried it away to the pick up site.  Day in and day out, we faithfully worked, giggling at ourselves, and making the most of our time, despite the dismal circumstances.

Unbeknownst to us, just over the wall, in a palatial home, was a very high ranking government official.  This man had observed what we were doing each day, and he could not understand why we would come and do what we were doing.  He invited a couple of the guys on our team to come to his home to speak with him, and they had the opportunity to share not only our intent to love and serve the people of Thailand, but they shared the gospel as well.  The official was so impressed, that he invited our entire team into his home for appetizers, arranged for a tour bus, and funded a sightseeing adventure for our team that we would not have otherwise had.

Circumstances,Sow Where Planted

do not determine;

effectiveness,

that’s only through Him.

May we all turn,

to trust in each space;

He is working,

rely on His grace.

For He can use,

whatever we bring;

so let our hearts,

extend offering.

Always ready,

the truth to exclaim;

we never know,

who’ll embrace His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, and for the gift of life experiences to demonstrate how faith in action really works.  Thank You that You use us, Your children, to touch lives and transform communities, if we are only willing to serve where we are planted.  Forgive us for grumbling if things seem uncomfortable or less than we had hoped for, and help us to keep an eternal perspective, knowing that whatever we experience here is nothing, compared to what You have prepared for us in heaven.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to speak truth in love as You lead, so that hearts may turn to You.  May many come to know of Your glorious grace and the eternal hope that is held in You alone.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Life by the Spirit

In every heart,

image by Matthew Gargano

image by Matthew Gargano

a war wages on.

Pulls of sinful self,

contrary and wrong.

Spiritual conflict,

desperate our need,

to give reigns to God,

let His Spirit lead.

The vices without

His help from within,

lead down the hard road,

full of every sin.

Immorality,

envy and discord,

rage, impurity –

dishonor the Lord.

The list, it goes on,

the warning is clear,

don’t let sinful self,

find voice in our ear.

But by His Spirit,

the fruit is so sweet,

love, joy, peace, kindness,

such goodness to eat.

Belonging to Christ,

means sin-man has died.

In Him we’re equipped,

to see with clear eyes.

Keep sight on the Lord,

with Him, heart in line.

Preventing conceit,

let His love refine.

(Responding to Galatians 5:16-26)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when You sent Your Son, who defeated death, You also defeated our sinful nature and sent Your Holy Spirit to strengthen us so that we might overcome our own sinful desires, daily.  Thank You that in You, we have all that is needed to walk upright and bear the blessed fruit of the Spirit toward all whom we encounter: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Forgive us for not relying on Your Spirit within us, and for submitting to our sinful nature.  Thank You that as we come to You and confess, You forgive us and cover us, removing our every stain, and allowing us a fresh start once again.  Lead us to be a blessing and may many come to know You by the bounty of blessed fruit that we bear.  Amen.

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

Glory to the Giver, Not the Gift

“Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.” – Galatians 6:4-5

artwork by Miriam Sarzotti

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that.  Don’t be impressed with yourself.  Don’t compare yourself with others.  Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” – (The Message)

What are we doing and why are we doing it?  Has God called us to it, or are we trying to keep up with so-and-so?  God places in each of us, gifts and talents to be used for His glory.  No two gifts and talents are exactly the same, nor two people meant to serve God in the exact same way.  His call on each of our lives is unique to how He has made us.  What we do in Him, is only because that is who and how He designed us to be.  We are not meant to compare ourselves with one another, but rather to recognize and celebrate the remarkable that our Redeemer does in us and through us.  All glory is His alone.  Each of us need to be responsible for doing our best to use the gifts that He has given, in the way He wants it to be utilized.  If it is to serve, then we must serve with our whole life.  If it is to teach, then we must teach what He has taught us.  If it is to plant, we must faithfully plant where we are placed.  If to harvest, then we only be present and obedient to supply what we are meant to share, as people have been previously prepared for a time such as this, to enter into relationship with Him.  The list goes on, as there are far too numerous the gifting that He gives by His grace, to be used for good.  May we honor Him with our very lives, as He calls us to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us are uniquely and wonderfully made.  Each of us, designed with a purpose and a plan to display Your deity to the downcast and dying, so that they too might come to know Your goodness and grace.  Forgive us Father, for comparing ourselves to one another, and for becoming impressed with ourselves for things that are ordained and ordered by You in us, and for not giving all glory to You.  Teach us to take responsibility for what You are asking each of us, so that we may honor You and give proper glory to You, who grants us the grace to do anything that might be considered good.  Lead us Lord, to love You and love others, so that many may come to hear Your call.  All glory and honor to You, Father.  Amen.

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

Lose the Law, Grab the Grace

photo by Cian Rhys

“For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” – Galatians 3:18

If our salvation depends on our following of religious laws, rituals and customs, then it does not come from Jesus, who is our promised path to perfection in Him.  Because God, in His great grace, gave His Son to die in our place, we may receive the promise of our permanent inheritance to enter into eternity with Him, if we are willing to walk by faith.

Living by the law, under the notion that we need to do and be “enough” to inherit that which has been promised, would be missing the point.  When we turn to trust and receive His grace, He delivers deep within us, our heavenly hope in Him.  As we live and love in that place of His goodness and grace, we are compelled to consider one another, and become eager to bless and share of our inheritance with those around us.

It is by faith and not by living under religious law that we are redeemed and rendered worthy to receive our redemption in Christ.  His covering, our cloak that came by the cross, creates the way to bridge the chasm between us and our Beloved.  In Him, we are called clean.  In Him, we are deemed deserving of our destiny, designed to be delivered in fullness upon our earthly end.  It is promised, that even now, He is preparing that place for us to enter His eternal presence.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is only by faith, not works, that we are saved.  Thank You that You sent Your Son to take our place so that we are no longer subject to religious laws, but rather are released in redemption to run the race that You have placed before us.  Forgive us for falling for the farce that we somehow must earn that which You freely give.  May we learn to live in Your loving place of grace, and be compelled to live and love like You so that all may come to know of Your precious promise, presented to all who believe.  Amen.

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