A Faithful Heritage

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

 

Every year, I am blessed with the opportunity to gather with family to give thanks. What I have noticed, is that the same goodness and faithfulness that I remember my great-grandmothers speaking of, what I saw in my grandparents’ lives, have witnessed and still see in my mom’s life, I now observe in awe, in my own life and the lives of my children. This is not to say that life has been free of trials or struggles or difficulty, but rather it is that through it all, the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness have been evident through each generation. May we take time to tell one another of the Lord’s ongoing faithfulness in our lives, as His love endures forever and His mercy knows no end.

 

Come and bless the Lord,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’s faithful and good;

His love is endless,

Throughout time it’s stood.

Firm in great mercy,

Generous in grace;

Faithful forever,

The Ancient of Days.

Each generation,

Make known to the next;

This love, unending,

As God loves us best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a heritage of wise women and men who followed faithfully after You. Thank You for the example that previous generations have set for the next. Forgive us for not sharing enough about Your faithfulness with those who follow after us. Teach us to trust and rely on You, so that our children and their children cannot help but see Your faithful, enduring love forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your faithfulness, love and grace known through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and give You praise throughout all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures. – Psalm 119:90

Each Child a Gift

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NIV)

Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TLB)

Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TPT)

 

This tends to be one of the longest weeks of the summer each year; the week before school officially begins. For those of us who teach or are involved in the public-school system somehow, this week is spent in meetings, seminars, classes, and retreats to best prepare for the upcoming school year. Some of said academic gatherings are great, and the time flies by. However, others are either repeats of what we have done year in and year out, or they are extraordinarily weighty, and make the day seem far longer than we might hope. The reason that we continue to invest our time, resources, energy and heart into what we do, is the very gist of this verse. Children are a gift, and we recognize the value in each and desire to teach and foster growth in each one who enters our classroom. Perhaps if we can see the struggling as God’s love-gifts and heaven’s rewards, we might approach each child all the more delicately and thoughtfully, as to not offend the Giver. May we look at children as gifts from God, just as we do our own, so that we may love them as we are loved by Him.

 

Each child is a gift,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

From heaven to earth;

A life with a plan,

A purpose since birth.

Our charge and challenge,

Is to help each rise;

Point to discover,

Dreams to realize.

May we foster growth,

And nurture with love;

So each child feels known,

And knows they’re enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that children are a gift from You. Thank You that they are heaven’s reward here on earth. Forgive us for the times that we have viewed them as anything less than a gift. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength to love through the struggles, and to equip us to help kids grow in safety, security and trust. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path to care for well, so that they may know their worth in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love children as You love us – unconditionally and lavishly. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. 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

A Heritage of Faithfulness

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

 

Just after the Israelites had passed through the parted Red Sea to safety, and watched the seas cover the Egyptian army that pursued them, these words were theirs, as they recognized, celebrated and honored God for His faithfulness to lead them out of the space of slavery where they had been bound for far too long. God does the same for us today. He comes close and provides what we need as it is needed, and will be our strength to lead us to safety from the places that we have been stuck. For me, I am blessed to have a rich heritage of faithful followers of Christ. I specifically remember both my paternal great-grandmother and her gentle, kindness to all, and my maternal grandmother, who at ninety-six, is still light, life and love to all whom she meets. She is the one whom I most admire, and if I live my life half as well as she has and still is living hers, the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will surely be heard when my days are done. For all of these things and more, I sing and give God all of my praise. No matter what comes, He is the reason to give thanks. My hope lies not in the here and now, but in that which is yet to come. I know that I only see in part, the fullness of what lies before me. God has purpose and plans for all who love and follow Him. May we rise up and remember who is our source of strength, giving Him all honor and praise as we pursue His ways.

 

The Lord is my strength,Compassion in Confrontations

my reason to sing;

my Savior and hope,

all help, He does bring.

For He is my God,

I give Him my praise;

for His faithfulness,

throughout all my days.

A rich heritage,

of following Christ;

granted unto me,

His grace has sufficed.

May I do the same,

for my next of kin;

show them God’s great love,

so faith enters in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that You save us and give us reason to sing praise unto You. Thank You that You are our God. Thank You for those who have gone before us and set an example of faithfully following You, for it is through their faithfulness that we have found our way unto You. Forgive us for not giving You the praise and honor that You deserve, and help us to honor and praise You with every word we speak and everything we do. Let our very lives give glory unto You. Show us how to love others as You have loved us, so that future generations will have a solid example through us, of what it is to live a life devoted to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength to do Your will, and give You all praise as we go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

 

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

 

Know to Show

One of the things that made Paul such a powerful presenter of God’s truth, is that he observed the audience to whom he was speaking, and began his message by making connections to the people, wherever they were at.  In Pisidian Antioch, when Paul and his companions were invited to speak in a synagogue on the Sabbath, Paul honored the hearers’ Jewish heritage by recounting the rich history of God’s chosen people, and the lineage of Jesus.  Once he had firmly established a foundation of common ground, Paul then explained the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.  It was only after the connections had been established, that he could come in and share the most important part.  “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” – (Acts 13:38-39) 

What connections can we make today?  Is there need for peace?  We have access to the Prince of Peace.  Is there lack of hope?  Christ is the hope that we hold, when we know Him.  Does fear dominate the day?  He who is in us is greater than that which is in the world.  Whatever the struggle, challenge or need known to mankind, the only true and lasting answer that leads to life, is Christ.  As we place our trust in Him, He provides wisdom and opportunity to share of what He has done for us, personally.  Our story may be the link that leads another into an everlasting life with Christ…

See where we are,Know to Show

listen for His voice;

answer His call,

make His words our choice.

Willing to share,

the change in our life;

let others know,

the blessings in Christ.

May how we live,

show visible proof;

of God with us,

so all may know truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of Your word, and for the countless examples of men and women of faith who have gone before us and modeled how to live a life faithfully following You.  Thank You that this is not something that we are able to do on our own, nor in our own strength, but rather it is only by Your grace, through the power of Your Holy Spirit in us, as we are invested in You and surrounded by a body of believers, that we truly may live out our lives in the manner to which we have been called.  Forgive us for staying silent when we were meant to speak, or for the times that our actions did not align with our beliefs.  Teach us to trust You more, and let our every word and deed speak volumes on Your behalf.  May many come to know You as the Savior of their soul, as we live out our lives in Your love.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1