Seek in All Things

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

 

The difference this makes in my life is remarkable. This morning, I did not have time to begin my day in the usual way, and I felt off and irritable. By rising early and spending time with God, my heart and mind are set on Him, rather on self, and His grace is grown greater within me. Today, that has not been my story. Mom had a rough night, and woke several times. Consequently, my sleep was quite compromised, and we did not get up for breakfast until 6:45. Normally, that would be okay, but today we needed to have mom’s car down to the dealership by 8:30 for an oil change and tire rotation. The morning felt hurried and my heart, unsettled. Small things that normally would not bother me at all, were bringing me near tears, and I could feel my patience running very thin. It took everything in me to not be short with mom, and I was not likely as patient or kind as I normally would have been. After our outing, we returned home and I needed to contact the company whom her wheelchair was ordered through two months ago. Every ounce of self-control was utilized to not unleash on the person on the other end of the line, as she claimed they were still waiting on a signature from a doctor to actually order the chair. By the end of the conversation, I could have utilized a heavy bag and some boxing gloves, or a nice, long run, but alas, neither are options right now. Thankfully, mom was ready to relax and I very much needed to get in the word and chill out with the One who holds my heart. Already, I can feel the tension subsiding, and peace beginning to return to the spaces where it was absent. For me, morning devotions are not about religion or ritual, they are connection and centering and setting my heart right for the day. With intentional time before my day begins, my head and heart are prepared to navigate whatever comes my way. Without it, ugh; my heart gets ugly quickly. May we ever seek His kingdom first, as it is in Him that we find all that we truly need to navigate this life well.

Yesterday, mom conquered more fears, as she had her first hair appointment since March. She had been anxious about going and sitting and worried about transferring from her chair to the one in the shop, but all went well and she felt fantastic after. Additionally, mom had a wonderful visit with two of her dearest friends at lunchtime. They blessed us with lunch and Dutch Bros delivery as well. After they left, mom was ready to relax, so we attempted to watch a movie. Mom was quite weary, but refused to go take a rest. She nodded off several times during the show, but insisted that she did not want to go nap. The remainder of the evening she continued to fight off sleepiness, and finally gave in at a normal bedtime. Whether it was the exhaustion or her mental list-making for the move that made sleep a challenge, her sleep was clearly not restful. Today, I am seeking our Savior specifically for peace and rest, so that mom gets a great night’s sleep tonight.

 

Seek first the kingdom,

The Lord above all;

He holds heart and hand,

And won’t let us fall.

He grants us the strength,

To love and be kind;

Choose patience and peace,

As He has designed.

In all things choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

So we may love well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You love us through our grumpiness, brokenness, and ugliness. Thank You that You offer peace and patience, and fill us with love to extend to those around us as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to turn to You for help, and instead focus on our lack. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Comfort. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the peace and kindness that is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

 

 

 

 

Strength in Love

I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

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

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

 

Everything about God is good. From sunrise to sunset, His wonders and provisions never cease to amaze me. He grants strength when we are weary, hope when we despair, and joy when sorrow seeks to sink our hearts. I am not certain of what has caused the shift, but there has been a fortification of sorts in my heart that was not present prior. Where I was anxious, I find that I have trust; where I was weary and exhausted, I have renewed strength and hope. It may be in part the new strides that mom is making with her walking, but honestly, I think that it is a work that God is doing within me. There is no magical timeline of healing and recovery that can indicate an end date to when mom will be restored and ready to be independent again, yet I find my heart in a space that is finding it easier to simply stay present and trust. I am embracing each day, each moment as they come, and celebrating the victories – great and small, appreciating the fact that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have all of this precious time with my mom. We laugh often, and there is little sweeter than our early morning wake-up routine of her surprise first call of the day, be it a song, a phrase, or something completely silly, we usually end up giggling about it as we waltz to the restroom before breakfast. Together, we sit in wonder and awe as we watch the sunrise together. Incredibly, the painting across the sky transforms rapidly, and may begin in shades of pink and blue, turn to gray, then reappear in a fiery orange glow. That was our gift from God this morning. 😊

Yesterday was quite busy in the morning, as mom had occupational therapy and physical therapy back-to-back, filling the late morning slot. During OT, Larissa, mom’s wonderful occupational therapist, devised a simple way to tape mom’s shoulder to provide a bit of extra support, as the right one is beginning to have a bit of twinge pain with some movements. The added support really seems to help. Physical therapy was a fantastic continuation of working to strengthen mom’s right leg and keep up her hallway walking. After the therapists had gone, mom was a little restless, and I talked her into a quick field trip into town to go through the Dutch Bros drive through. We both benefited from an escape, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. The remainder of our day was rather quiet, spent resting, stretching, doing laundry and the like. Mom slept very well, with only one wake-up in the night, so we are both rested and refreshed this morning. God is faithful, and He is always ready to supply the strength that we need.

 

O Lord, You are love, img_2019-07-02_06-33-255028693986524136181.jpg

Strength, power and grace;

Much more than enough,

To conquer each day.

Not in my own strength,

But only in Yours;

For it’s Your strong hand,

That opens locked doors.

Lord, show me the way,

You’d have me to go;

Each new direction,

By Your love, make known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who gives us strength to navigate this life according to Your purpose and plan. Thank You that You turn seemingly horrendous detours into beautiful routes we would have never known. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when trials and tribulations derail us. Show us how much strength You are willing to deposit within us, so that we can navigate the new that stands before us. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and encouragement when theirs feels depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our strength, as we praise You for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

 

Persevere in Doing Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

 

The first person that came to mind as I read this verse this morning, is my vice principal at school. She is the person who did some of the most difficult work on campus, yet did not grow weary in doing good, with a positive attitude and a heart for people. Her kindness and heart for people draws others in, and I consider her a friend as well as a colleague. Part of not growing weary in doing good, is knowing when to take a rest. For her, the opportunity to take a year’s sabbatical has presented itself in the coming school year, and I imagine God has an incredible harvest of blessings for her as she enjoys a new season of rest and is able to spend far more quality time with her wonderful family.

This same principle applies with mom and all who are in her corner. Each person who is investing or has invested time to help with her healing and recovery, is aiding in her ultimate good. The willingness of others to walk alongside mom has encouraged her to rise up and press on with a determination and resilience that few would find in such a situation. Yesterday was a changing of the guard day for my sister and me. I returned after time at home to close out the school year, and she now needs to get back to her home to her family and work. There is good to be done in each space, and our call is to do what we can, wherever we are – no more, no less. God is faithful to grant us the strength; it is our charge to keep moving forward. May we ever continue to press on in the good that lies before us, for every act of kindness goes out and can be utilized by God.

 

Let’s not grow weary, fb_img_15611258346534200705895356085413.jpg

In choosing do good;

For God grants us strength,

To do as we should.

He helps us to rise,

Encourage, be kind;

To help each other,

With their best in mind.

When the day is done,

And it’s time to rest;

May we truly say,

We gave God our best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good; not because we have to do or be anything to earn Your favor, but rather because You want others to see You through us. Thank You that we can be Your ambassadors of love to those who need to know what love and kindness and grace truly means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the good that You have for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be a living reflection of who You are to those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

The Endowment of Early Mornings

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

Lord, in the morning You hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before You. Then I wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, CEB)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Being up in the early hours to usher in the first morning’s light reminds me of the greatness of God and kicks off my day in awe and appreciation of all that lies ahead. We are called to present our requests before God, and He wants all that we are in exchange for all that He is and all that He desires to do in and through us. God sees and He hears everything that we freely offer unto Him. In doing so, we ought to wait in anticipation of all that He will do. The Lord is faithful to meet us each morning and will move mightily in and through us as we present all unto Him. May we rise each morning and lay our gifts – our prayers, our hearts and our offerings to the Lord and trust that He will see and hear and move on our behalf.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

I choose wake and rise;

To draw near to God,

His grace realized.

For each day I come,

And bring Him my best;

He grants me His strength,

And extends His rest.

I cannot but help,

Of Him stand in awe;

For He is faithful,

As near Him I draw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us each morning as we rise and present our all unto You. Thank You that You see and hear and move on our behalf. Thank You that we can wait expectantly, assured that You will answer in Your faithfulness. Forgive us for doubting when answers take longer than we would anticipate. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, for Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives ear to every word spoken, so that they may gain a glimpse of how You listen to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise each morning and present our all unto You, anticipating the wonderful ways that You move on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day. – Lamentations 3:23

 

 

 

Praise Even When

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. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. Amen.

 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Action to Attain Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (Psalm 105:4, NIV)

Search for the Lord and His strength; continually seek Him. – (Psalm 105:4, NLT)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (Psalm 105:4, ERV)

Pursue the Lord and His strength; seek His face always! – (Psalm 105:4, CEB)

 

God’s strength is more than enough for all that we need, no matter what we face. However, this verse reminds us in four different ways that it requires action on our part. We must look to the Lord, search for Him, depend on the Lord and pursue Him, ever seeking Him for help. Though the Lord is gracious and kind, He wants us to actively participate in our pursuit of Him and His strength. In His kindness, God often provides people who point our hearts to Him in our spaces where we have stopped seeking. Again and again, the Lord shows us that He is for us and that His strength is available to all who seek Him. May we ever search for, depend on and pursue the Lord and His strength, for He is faithful to all who seek Him for help.

 

Let’s look to the Lord, Pardon Brings Peace

For He is our strength;

Ready to provide,

As we seek His path.

In good times and bad,

Let’s always choose seek;

For He’s always there,

Grants strength when we’re weak.

He’s our Source of help,

On Whom we depend;

His love fills our lack,

Beginning to end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look to You, search for You, depend on You and pursue You for strength, ever seeking Your face. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You supply the strength we need to navigate all of our days. Forgive us for the times that we have sat passively, hoping for things to change, rather than pursuing You and Your strength to know how to best proceed through our every circumstance. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever depend on You to be our strength. Show us how to love those around us in Your strength so that they too may come to depend on You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and Your strength each day that we draw breath. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Trust 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)

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. – (Hebrews 11:1, MSG)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

 

Faith is what happens when we allow our hearts to hold onto the hope of that which we cannot yet see. Though it may start small, if we nurture our faith and allow it to grow, mountains that appear to be a road block from forging forward, may be moved by faith. God uses the smallest seed of faith to grow and develop our fortitude and trust in Him, into something that becomes taller and further reaching than we know. By faith, seeming impossibilities become possible. As our hope lies in He who gives us life and love and good things, that which we cannot see begins to become reality. May we choose to hold hope, even in that which we cannot see, and trust in Him who can make the things hoped for our new reality.

 

Faith is confidence, Trust in the Unseen

In what we hope for;

Trust in the unseen,

As God unlocks doors.

It moves us forward,

When we cannot see;

It grants us the strength,

To simply believe.

Faith’s the foundation,

Of all good in life;

Our confident hope,

That helps us to thrive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of faith and in Whom we place our hope. Thank You that faith makes hope reality, regardless of what we see. Forgive us for our lack of faith, as we tend to trust in that which we can see with our own eyes. Teach us to have faith in You and all that You are doing in and through us. Show us how to hold fast to hope in that which we cannot yet see. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they may find faith that grows. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have faith in what we hope for and trust in that which we cannot see. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

 

 

Fear Fades in Perfect Love

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. – (1 John 4:18, NLT) 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, CEB) 

Love will never involve fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love. – (1 John 4:18, VOICE) 

 

To love God and know His love in return, requires a mind shift as we recognize the difference between fearing God, in the sense of awe and wonder at His power and authority, and fear of punishment, which delivers discipline without love. God loves us so much that He corrects, redirects and leads us to the paths we are meant to take. When we are walking in the light of His love, fear becomes unfamiliar as He shows us what it is to be loved in spite of ourselves. When we fall short, He still loves fiercely. As we misstep or make foolish decisions, He loves us so much that He leads us back the direction that we are meant to go. It is not a fearful thing, but rather our loving Heavenly Father, leading us in His perfect love. May we ever trust in Him who is love, as in Him and through Him we have nothing to fear. 

 

The love of the Lord, Fear Fades in Perfect Love

Is perfect indeed; 

It expels all fear, 

Grants strength where there’s need. 

When we find we’re stuck, 

Fear what we deserve; 

We need to recall, 

His sacrifice served. 

For as we know Christ, 

His cover of love; 

Our fears fade away, 

And hope’s found above. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in Your perfect love. Thank You that though we deserve punishment, You already paid the price for all of our sins. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You lead us and guide us in the direction that we are meant to go. Forgive us for being fearful when we falter, rather than seeking You for forgiveness and help. Teach us to trust You more, so that we embrace the grace that You freely give, and walk boldly in the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to love those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to know and understand Your perfect love so that we can go and love others in the same way. Amen. 

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25