Never Hidden From Grace

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV)

“Someone might try to hide from me in some hiding place. But it is easy for me to see that person,” says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” – (Jeremiah 23:24, ERV)

“Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NLT)

 

There are times, even if we are not trying to hide, our circumstances may make us feel hidden from plain sight. For me, being in a situation where I am confined to my mom’s home, not being able to come and go as I please, is a strange sort of hidden space. Thankfully, God is faithful to remind me each new morning of His faithfulness and mercy, as He paints the sky anew, in plain view, as I rise. We are not hidden from His sight nor His reach, and the same way His glory fills the skies, is how He fills this house with His grace and mercy and love.

God made His reach and His vision for mom and her recovery evident yesterday as we met her new physical therapist. Nick is a wonderful man, with vast experience, who really took the time to get to know mom, what she is able to currently do, what she hopes to accomplish; and then began actively working with her to reach her goals. In one visit, he showed her new things that she is capable of doing that she did not realize she could already do. Additionally, for the first time, a few of her steps down her long hallway with the walker, did not require his assistance to bring her “stubborn” right leg through! This is huge progress, and truly tangible evidence that mom can see and feel and hold. There is little quite so encouraging as that which you can actually see and feel for yourself, in the direction you are working tirelessly toward. Last night, despite three wake-ups, was better for sleep for both of us as well. Today holds the meetings with her new speech therapist and occupational therapist, so I anticipate a busy, yet encouraging day. Please pray with us that today’s therapists are as wonderful as both Nick and Kari, whom we met on Saturday for an initial evaluation. If the first two are any indication, I would venture to say that yet again, God has orchestrated this change for such a time as this. May we ever trust in the One who hand-crafted the heavens and the earth, for we are never hidden from His sight.

 

Though there may be times, img_2019-06-25_07-02-53343082748570767751.jpg

Where we feel unseen;

The Lord keeps us close,

His love intervenes.

There’s nowhere we go,

That God cannot see;

He’ll never let go,

Presence, guaranteed.

We need only look,

Upon the vast sky;

Recognize His grace,

Grants us wings to fly.

Fly in His freedom,

Soar in His great grace;

Know how we are loved,

No matter our space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no place that we are hidden from You and Your great love for us. Thank You that the hands that created the heavens and the earth also created each of us, and know us individually. Thank You that no concern, care, celebration, nor fear escapes You. You see and know all. Forgive us for feeling isolated or unseen when our circumstances keep us from the communities we love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean on You in the seasons that feel isolated, knowing that we are never alone. Show us how to reach out and love the lonely, helping to remind them how loved they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your grace and celebrate Your nearness. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do. – Psalm 73:28

Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Comfort in Times of Trouble

Last evening I was beyond blessed to have some dear friends drive into Denver as a family photo (8)to spend time with me. They picked me up at my hotel, and whisked me away to tour an area that they thought I might enjoy in the city. My heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude to spend time together, as we shared a meal, caught each other up on the happenings of our lives, and wandered until we landed in an incredible book store. All was going splendidly, as I had found a book, Melissa and the trio of youngers were sharing a silly story and Josh and his eldest meandered through a section of interest nearby, until the calm, sweet mood was suddenly disrupted with a feeling of foreboding unrest.

We could hear it before we could see what was stirring. Soon, a long stream of unhappy people were marching past the bookstore’s front window, waving signs – some in peaceful protest, and others in a bit more menacing fashion. Two of the kids had very different responses. One was calling it a parade, whereas the other responded with a bit of fear. In my own heart, I felt that we needed to stay put until the crowd had passed, as the potential for unrest seemed high.

I had not heard the news this week, as I have been at a conference for work, so I have been in a bit of an isolated bubble. As we ultimately attempted to make way back to my hotel so that I could be dropped off and my friends could get home to get their kiddos to bed, we discovered that the march was growing, as a five-minute drive back, took more than twenty minutes, due to rerouting around those protesting.

Once back in my hotel, I was able to have conversation with my friends from work with whom I am traveling, and discover what has gone on over the past several days. It is impossible to not have a heavy heart, knowing that lives have been lost and fingers are pointing at entire professions and populations, rather than those specific individuals who snapped.

 

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)

 

In this sort of scenario, all that I know to do is to seek the Lord. There are no easy answers. God knows. He cares. The One who hand-crafted each of us, the perpetrators, the victims, and all those left to grieve – He loves each of us as His created. God will comfort us as we seek Him, and when we know His comfort, we are able to extend the same to others. May we choose to seek His comfort in this seeming chaos, and offer the very same comfort to those around us.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

When darkness floods in,The Lord Listens

And fear starts to rise;

Let us not forget,

The hope God supplies.

He is our comfort,

When chaos ensues;

The great Prince of Peace,

When we get bad news.

Far greater is He,

Our Strength and our Light;

Than troubles that come,

No matter our plight.

Seek the Lord above,

For comfort indeed;

Then we can share well,

With others in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort in the midst of trouble. Thank You that as You comfort us, we can then go and comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for our fear, frustration and thoughts of blame of anything other than the sinful brokenness of humanity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your help, strength and comfort, so that we too, could extend comfort to those around us. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of comfort. Show us how to love well. May many come to find peace and comfort in You, despite the world around us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

In God We Can Trust

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps His covenant of loyal love with those who love Him and observe His commandments for a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, MSG)

 

God is faithful to keep His promises and will continue to generously give His unfailing love to those who choose to love and obey Him. When we recognize God for who He is, we cannot help but long to please Him. The very same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all that is within them, hand-crafted each of us, and longs to live in relationship with us. To be loved personally by He who is so much greater than our minds can even conceive, is completely overwhelming. How can we help but love and honor the very hands that held the heart that beats within us, before we breathed our first breath? May we recognize God and who He is, and choose to love and obey all that He commands.

 

The hands that stretched out,Healed Hands Reach Out

to place all the stars;

are the hands of love,

that come where we are.

The Lord reaches out,

He’s faithful and true;

to all who choose trust,

in Him, be made new.

As we choose obey,

and love by our will;

His promises kept,

our hearts His love fills.

No matter what comes,

in God we can trust;

our hope is secure,

for His ways are just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we recognize You as our God, and love and obey what You ask, You are faithful to Your promises and lavish us with Your unfailing love. Thank You that You do not expect perfection, but rather hearts that are earnestly seeking You and Your best for our lives. Thank You that You are always ready and willing to meet us in each moment, wherever we are. Forgive us for our disobedience or hesitation when You call us into something that seems further or more difficult than we have ever gone or done before. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that if You call us into something, You are ready to equip us to do what You are asking and go wherever You are leading. Show us how to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey all that You ask of us, for You are God indeed, on whom we can depend. Amen.

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

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

The Focus of His Affection

For me, writing is a process that involves the tactile and the tangible, not simply sitting at the computer for each step of the process. I delight in the joy of opening a new journal for the first time, knowing that it is the beginning of a new chapter of this journey that God has designed, just for me. Typically, I purchase journals well in advance, as I find them on sale. This morning, I had three waiting in line to choose from. As I reached for the one that had the most colorful cover, I discovered more treasures about it upon closer examination. Imprinted on the cover, is the verse: Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4) What a perfect promise to remember, as I am walking through a season of attempting to recall what exactly the desires of my heart include.

On the inside, each page is framed by a watermarked leaf pattern, and includes a quote about God or a verse.

You are God’s created beauty and the focus of His affection and delight. – Janet L. Weaver Smith

When in a season of searching and seeking, it is easy to forget how He sees us. For many of us, there is nothing beautiful about how we perceive ourselves, nor can we fathom His delight. Our brokenness can distract us from the truth that we are deliberately designed, and He delights in each of His hand-crafted kids. Just as we love and lavish our little ones with affection, His affection for us does not end. It is not limited to when we are little, as He welcomes us into His arms to be held, comforted, and encouraged, no matter our age or what we have done. He is hope and He is love. May we take delight in the Lord, and trust that He will give us the desires of our hearts, as we are His created beauty, and the focus of His affection and delight.

Delight in the Lord,The Focus of His Affection

and you’ll come to know;

desires He’s given,

and how they will grow.

He’ll open the doors,

and create the way;

more than imagined,

as we seek each day.

You are His delight,

beauty that He’s made;

and God’s affection,

aimed at You each day.

His arms open wide,

ready to embrace;

to lavish with love,

and cover with grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and come to know You, we delight in who You are. Thank You that as we take delight in You, You begin to uncover and release the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You created each of us intentionally, and the way that we were made, You called very good. Thank You that You delight in Your children. Forgive us for not holding every human, including ourselves, in the same light as You do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the beauty and blessing in everyone, through Your lens. Lead us to love others with lavish affection and delight. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we take delight in You, trust You with the desires of our hearts, and receive the focused affection and delight that You grant each of us if we are willing to slow down and receive it. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Joy, Patience and Faithfulness

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12)

 

True and lasting joy is not circumstantial, but rather is rooted in our eternal hope. Because we have hope in Him who holds our forever in the palm of His hand, we have reason for joy to rise, regardless of the rough road or ruin around us. Christ comes close and grants us patience and endurance in the midst of our suffering, even when we are desperate to see change. It is in such spaces, that we learn to lean into the Lord, and find our way to becoming more faithful in prayer. Why wouldn’t we want to be consistent in conversations with the King of all creation? He hand-crafted each of us, intentionally for relationship, and relationship only comes when communication continues. May we go forth this day with joy, knowing that our true hope is held in Him; with patience where afflictions are agonizing, and being ever faithful to present our prayers and petitions before our Heavenly Father.

 

Lord, grant us Your joy,Better is One Day

in Your hope alone;

there’s no greater gift,

that we’ve ever known.

Grant us Your patience,

despite pain that comes;

refined through our trials,

Your grace ’til it’s done.

Help us stay faithful,

to You, let us pray;

every answer,

found walking Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our joy and our hope, and that You grant us patience in affliction and are the reason we need be faithful in prayer. Thank You that You are faithful, regardless of our faith. Forgive us for our lack of faith when struggles and afflictions come. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up with joy, knowing where our hope is held, regardless of what lies before us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully and individually love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Understanding Unpacked through Awe

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10)

 

As we come to know God, and stand in awe of Him as our relationship with Him grows, we gain insight and understanding of who He is, and He reveals more of Himself unto us. Wisdom is imparted through a relationship that’s started. Plenty of people know about God, but to know Him through a personal relationship with Him, this is how He instills wisdom within us, rather than us somehow becoming wise in our own pursuit of knowledge. When we seek the Lord with all that we are, we find Him. The insight that is discovered in the day to day interaction with He who has hand-crafted all that is seen and beyond, takes root, and our awe and reverence for the remarkable Redeemer that we serve, grows into a greater understanding of God and our purpose on this planet. May we in reverence, fear the Lord, so that wisdom within begins to grow, as we begin to grasp a glimpse of who He is and how great our God truly is as understanding and knowledge take root.

 

Come before the Lord,Confidence Comes Through Christ

in reverent awe;

for wisdom begins,

when near Christ we draw.

It’s not in doing,

or knowing enough;

but through true pursuit,

relational stuff.

When we place the Lord,

on His rightful throne;

He grows and imparts,

wisdom we’ve not known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we fear You, stand in reverent awe of You, and view You through eyes that understand that You are for us and not against us, You begin to reveal wisdom and understanding to us that we did not have before. Thank You that You show us more and more of Yourself, as we choose to make ourselves available to hear and invest our heart and time in our relationship with You. Forgive us for not making You our priority, or for not listening to that which You are whispering to our heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rise each day with praise on our lips, and ears ready to hear what You have to speak to our hearts. Lead us to love well as we walk in obedience to all that You ask of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we fear You and embrace the wisdom and understanding that You grant us. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Calm in the Storm

On Sunday, my church family was presented with an assignment for the week, if we were so inclined to accept. As we study and review together who Jesus is, the challenge put forth is to spend the week reading through the book of Mark. This morning, through the reading of chapters 3-5, two passages presented parts of of the nature of who Jesus is, in mighty ways.

 

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:39) This first passage attests to both the power of Jesus, and how He is indeed worthy of our trust. Though the disciples were distressed and afraid in the sudden storm and panicked because Jesus was asleep, the moment they turned to Jesus, He stood, spoke, and all was still. The very same presence that silenced the storm, dwells within the hearts of all who believe. Wind and waves may toss us about, but Christ will keep us from going under. At times, He will calm the chaos around us, but more often, He will silence the storm within so that we are able to see the storm through His eyes, instead of our own.

 

The second passage that struck a chord with me this morning, is the interaction between Jesus and Jairus, the synagogue ruler, when men from his house brought news that his daughter had died. Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – (Mark 5:36) Jesus is the God of comfort and compassion, and He does not want us to be afraid. I cannot imagine what must have gone through the mind of Jairus, as Jesus told him to “just believe.” Hope? Resolve? Curiosity? It was likely quite overwhelming and all a bit surreal. First, he knew his daughter was gravely ill. Then, Jairus was brought news that his daughter was dead. Now, standing before him, the Savior spoke hope that he could hold onto. Jesus is still the same today. When all seems hopeless, He is hope. Nothing is impossible for Him. He who set the stars in the sky and hand-crafted each human before their first cries were ever heard, can do immeasurably more than we can fathom.

 

He’s calm in the storm,Calm in the Storm

peace when there is none;

hope in the heartache,

our safe space to run.

He’ll speak to the wind,

and help us believe;

when fear overwhelms,

or our hearts are grieved.

Our Source of comfort,

when chaos, it reigns;

power to defeat,

death by Jesus’ Name.

Do not be afraid,

in Christ, just believe;

all that He offers,

is ours to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus is powerful and worthy of all of our trust. Thank You too, Jesus, that You are comforting and compassionate. Thank You that You know us and love us, in spite of ourselves. Thank You that there is nothing that we face nor go through that You are not both present and able to walk us through. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might lean into You all the more, rather than run or try to stand in our own strength in the storms. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your comfort, compassion and strength through us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your power to see us through the storms, and receive Your comfort when we are afraid. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Marvelously Made

As I further reflect on the truths conveyed in the book study I am participating in, I find myself pondering the point upon which we all struggled. A question for conversation in the Undaunted study guide was phrased in the following way:

“The Bible tells us that God’s works are marvelous. God made you and me. This means we are marvelous! Tell something marvelous about yourself. Why is it so hard, in a day-to-day way, to see ourselves as marvelous in God’s sight and truly valuable?”

Our entire group struggled with the word marvelous, as I think we were all viewing the meaning in the vein of: excellence, greatness, or somehow superb. This morning, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the meaning of the word, as the root of marvelous, is marvel. Indeed, upon further investigation, I discovered that marvelous can mean: such as to cause wonder, admiration, or astonishment; surprising; extraordinary, or even improbable. To me, these things are a bit easier to share, as they are the things in us that make us wonder in awe because a great and loving God has placed them in us, rather than something that we have somehow achieved in our own strength. What has God placed in you, that makes you marvel in reverent awe of Him?

 

I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. – (Psalm 139:14 KJV)

 

Marvelously Made

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

In reverent awe,

I wonder at Thee;

for You have chosen,

each part that makes me.

From hair on my head,

to love in my heart;

all of me designed,

a purposeful part.

Before I was born,

a plan was in place;

You knew what I’d love,

and trials I’d face.

You made me with strength,

hand-crafted by You;

with a heart driven,

to ever pursue.

I give all my praise,

to You, Lord above;

in awe I marvel,

at Your wondrous love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us better than we know ourselves. Thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and You have created in us, all that is needed to accomplish that which You have designed us to do. Forgive us for not marveling at the wonderful ways that You have uniquely hand-crafted each of us, individually, with a plan and a purpose. Teach us to stop and wonder in awe at the work of Your hands, as You so intentionally and beautifully love each of us. Lead us to love others You would love them, and give us Your eyes to marvel at who You have created them to be. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified as we go forth in gratitude in the gifts You have granted. Amen.

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

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