Orchestrated Overcoming

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is beyond my understanding how God takes the most difficult or heart-breaking of seasons, events, or circumstances, and uses them to launch us into something far greater than we would have ever thought possible. Not one hurt nor heartache is overlooked, and He leads us through to so much more than we would have envisioned for ourselves. When we choose God and listen to His leading, we find His grace, comfort and love through the trials, and discover the hardest of roads lead to the most beautiful of destinations. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of despair, yet as we cling to Christ, love lights the way through the darkness, and His hand leads and guides us to something new. His new is light, life and love. Dreams are imagined and beauty comes from the ashes we thought would never end. May we ever hold fast to hope in God, as He uses all things for our good as we trust in Him.

 

All things in our lives,

Smiling fields

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Can be used for good;

When given to God,

His love, understood.

Beauty from ashes,

His hope from despair;

God shows us the good,

As His love repairs.

What once overwhelmed,

Darkness that has passed;

Seasons of struggle,

Lead to hope that lasts.

So, let us choose trust,

Find hope in His Name;

For there’s so much more,

Love changes the game.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good, as we trust in You. Thank You that You alone, can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You for the incredible outcomes of so many spaces we thought would be the end of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts during seasons of difficulty. Teach us to trust You more, as we look to You to be our hope and help as we navigate to the new that awaits us on the other side. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends help in the now and hope for all that is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and rely on You, even when we see no possible way for good to come from what we are walking through. Amen.

 

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

 

…”to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” – Isaiah 61:3

To Stay on Track

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

This is a powerful prayer for self-reflection. Though God already knows us and knows our heart and mind, the invitation is extended through our asking that He show us things that we need to change. It is an admission of our own need, and an acknowledgement of who God is and how He loves us so much that He is willing to show us the best ways to stay on track with Him. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, allowing Him reign so that we follow the path that leads to a life in His love.

 

Search my heart, O God, To Stay on Track

Please show me the ways;

That are needing change,

Throughout all my days.

You know me so well,

My heart and my mind;

In love, You point out,

The wrongs that You find.

Not to embarrass,

To hurt nor cause harm;

But rather to lead,

Uphold in Your arms.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and ask You to show us what needs to change, You are faithful to lead us away from that which can cause harm and show us the best ways to walk in Your will. Forgive us for not seeking Your heart for direction. Teach us to trust You and know You always have our very best in mind. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points to the path paved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and guide us on the path You have prepared for us forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Love Covers

Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NIV)

One who seeks love conceals an offense, but one who repeats it divides friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, CEB)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Choosing to love and forgive when others hurt or offend us through their mistakes, preserves the friendship. Sometimes love needs to talk to the offender, however repeating what transpired to others only deepens the divide. If we do not walk in love with those around us, we will be hurt and offended often. We must assume positive intent, and go directly and gently to the source when we cannot clarify without conversation. Loving relationships last because love seeks to understand, rather than holding the offense and discussing it with others. Sometimes, wise counsel is needed to understand. In such cases, it is a confidential working through what transpired with the intent to make reparations, rather than being bent on returning harm. There are times when what has developed has destroyed trust and created a need for safe distance, yet even then, our charge is to walk in forgiveness and not speak ill of the one who has done harm. May we ever seek the heart of God, who in His very nature, loves and forgives us, so that we too may go forth in love and forgiveness, giving thanks for the gift of others whom He has placed in our lives.

 

Let love lead the way,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

No matter what comes;

Seek to understand,

Like the Holy One.

For the Lord forgives,

Though it’s undeserved;

Such love leads to change,

And friendships preserved.

Don’t speak ill of those,

Who’ve made a mistake;

Choose love as they learn,

Preventing heartache.

For we too will fail,

Do things that cause hurt;

As we receive grace,

Love makes us alert.

Alert to others,

With grace to forgive;

Let’s love as we’re loved,

In His peace we’ll live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that gives grace and forgiveness when we fall short. Thank You that we are called to love in the same way, as no relationship would last without grace. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the harm caused by the words or deeds of others. Teach us to rely on You to give us Your grace to love through the hurt. Show us how to walk in love in a way that seeks to understand, forgive and love well, without conditions. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your forgiveness and grace, seeking to understand rather that holding onto hurts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we overlook the mistakes of others with love, knowing that all fall short and need grace. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Walking in Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

 

Love is a choice that we have to make, day in and day out. It is not dependent on feelings or actions done for or against us, but rather a decision to love others as we are loved by God. He is patient and kind with us. God is not easily angered by our short-comings, and He does not keep a record of our wrongs. When we ask for forgiveness, it is done. If we are to act in the same way, we must have an “otherly” outlook. Choosing to be patient and kind, even when we aren’t feeling it, is being intentional to love. We are not meant to envy others, but rather to celebrate their blessings beside them. Everything good that comes our way is a blessing bestowed upon us, not something to boast about. If we keep score when others hurt us, we are not walking in forgiveness. Yes, we must be wise and not remain in circumstances where there is intentional repeated offense against us, but neither are we to keep stewing on hurts. Our charge is to love and forgive, in the same way we are loved and forgiven by Christ. May we ever look to the Lord to lift us up, so that we may choose to love others in the same way that we are loved by Him.

 

Keep not a record,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Of others offense;

Instead choose to love,

When love makes no sense.

For the love of God,

Is patient and kind;

We are not worthy,

Of His love defined.

Love’s not dependent,

On what we choose do;

A beautiful gift,

Where He makes us new.

Called to do likewise,

To love anyway;

Forgive grievances,

Choose love each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are a work in progress. Thank You that You love us through our highs and lows, good and bad, and You teach us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have been rude or proud, impatient or unkind, or held onto an offense against us that You intended for us to release. Show us how to walk in love, in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to walk away. Teach us to trust You more, as You are love defined. Lead us to love those around us with kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love others in the same way that You so faithfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

The Hope In So Much More

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him. – (2 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

 

In the ebb and flow of life, it currently feels like a season of loss. Yesterday, I learned of the passing of one of my classmates from high school. We were friends on Facebook, and I was aware that she had some health challenges, but none so great that they would be life-ending. She leaves behind a husband and two children, and I am heartbroken for their loss. Additionally, I heard this past week, that the mother of a very dear lifelong friend had a massive stroke. The prognosis is grim, and my heart hurts for her kids, and her husband and best friend of more than fifty years. Two weeks ago, I attended the memorial for a wonderful lady from our church, who was about my age and lost her long battle with cancer. Her husband and four children, as well as her parents and siblings, are left with the ache of missing her. This morning, reading this verse, I am reminded anew of the hope for those who have passed or are on the verge. Each of these ladies know/knew Jesus, and I am comforted in the fact that where they are going is beautiful beyond what I can imagine – so much more than I have ever seen or heard. The same God who hung the stars, formed the majestic mountains, determined how far the sea can roll into the land, causes the sun to rise and set each day, has prepared a place far greater still. Though there is heartache and hurt for those left behind, there is great hope for those who have gone on to their eternal home. May we hold fast to the hope we know in the One who is holding us in His hands, and extend help, hope and love to those left behind in their space of great loss.

 

When I see such loss, Filled Each Morning

I find myself torn;

Between hurting hearts,

And hope in much more.

For my eye has seen,

Such beauty indeed;

Incredible views,

And heaven, exceeds.

Imagine the sights,

The angelic sound;

In the Lord’s presence,

Where all hope is found.

Embraced by Jesus,

As He ushers in;

All who have sought Him,

True glory begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessed hope that we have in You. Thank You that You have prepared a place for us that far exceeds anything that we could ever hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as our eternal hope in You outweighs all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear our end on earth, but rather look forward with anticipation to our heavenly homecoming. Show us how to love those who are in hurting in the midst of great loss. Lead us to show Your heart in tangible ways, extending comfort and support. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the homecoming of those entering Your kingdom, and comfort all who are grieving loss. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. – 1 Peter 1:3-4

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

Jettison Judgment

Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So, we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

So, don’t criticize each other anymore. Try instead to live in such a way that you will never make your brother stumble by letting him see you doing something he thinks is wrong. – (Romans 14:13, TLB)

 

This is a two-fold instruction for us to follow. First, we are not called to judge one another. Rather, we are called to love. The very nature of loving others includes making choices that will not bring harm to them. If we are mindful of the things that are a struggle for those around us, we will be abiding by the second part of what we are instructed to do. We each have a different level of what is and is not acceptable in our own eyes and within our own walk with God. If we know that another cannot or does not do something because it is what they feel is right before God, then it is not that difficult to refrain from it in their presence, so as to not lead them to be tempted to judge us. Above all, if we are guided by God in choosing to love one another first, the latter is less likely to be as much of a struggle. May we ever seek the Lord and His eyes for others, so that we would see through the lens of love, rather than judgment.

 

Seek first to choose love, choose-love1

So we will not judge;

Brothers and sisters,

Whom we’re called to love.

Likewise, let us seek,

To walk in a way;

That does not distract,

As we live each day.

If we are aware,

Of stumbling blocks;

Simply choose avoid,

Those things as we talk.

It is far better,

To build others up;

Love with open hearts,

And fill well their cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us and love us as we are. Thank You that when we seek You, You will lead us and direct our steps as to how to love best. Forgive us for judging others or for saying or doing things that cause those around us to stumble. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom as to how to best navigate each encounter with others to demonstrate love above all else. Show us how to love without judgment and to walk in Your grace so that we do not draw judgment from others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us others through Your eyes so that we do not judge, and to grant us wisdom to walk upright and not cause those around us to stumble. Amen.

 

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:1

 

Wise Words Build Bridges

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, NIV)

Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV)

Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, TPT)

 

As I continue to mull over Sunday’s message, I am reminded of how much I value well-weighed words. Words of encouragement are some of the sweetest things for my soul, yet reckless words can bring my heart to ruin. Our words have the power to penetrate people’s hearts – for both healing and for destruction. We must choose wisely how we use our words, for they echo long after they leave our lips. As an adult who has experienced words utilized for both healing and for hurt, I have learned to form a filter, and give far less weight to the words of those who have not yet earned my trust. That being said, our job is to build bridges between people, not walls. Bridges are formed when safety is established, and safety comes when our words and actions align. May we ever seek the Lord to tame our tongue as He leads us on the path He has placed before us, so that we find wisdom to offer words that soothe and bring healing.

 

Words that are reckless, Wise Words Build Bridges

Pierce hearts like a sword;

Yet words of the wise,

Are healing outpoured.

We have the power,

To heal or to harm;

With the words we speak,

That fire or disarm.

May we choose to think,

Before we give voice;

So our words bring life,

And hearers rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You speak words of light and life and love into our hearts and souls so that we may know hope forever in You. Thank You that You call us to be wise with our words to bring healing to those around us. Forgive us for speaking without thinking or for being reckless with our words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and listen with our hearts to hear the words that You would have us speak that bring healing and health and wholeness. Show us how to love those around us well with well-chosen words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom to use our words to bring healing to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

A Choice of Will

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

Be gentle and ready to forgive; never hold grudges. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – (Colossians 3:13, TLB)

Fault-finding, blame, grudges and the like, do nothing but keep heaviness in the heart of the holder. Though there are some situations where wisdom will lead us to walk away, it does not mean that we are to hold unforgiveness in our heart. Forgiveness looks different in every situation, but the one thing that is constant is that it is a choice of will, and a decision that has to be made over and over again. There are days that forgiveness comes easily, and we find ourselves in a good space, recognizing that because we have been forgiven much, we too, can forgive much. However, there are times when whispers of previous offenses rise up, and so too does the anger. It is in these moments that we have to choose again to forgive. May we fix our eyes on the Lord who has forgiven us for all that we have done, so that we may go forth and forgive in the same way.

We’ve been forgiven,

The Unforgiving Debtor

For everything;

All our transgressions,

And harm that we bring.

Because of this love,

We’re called to the same;

To forgive others,

Let go, remove blame.

Often the process,

Of choosing release;

Hurt brought by others,

As God’s grace increased.

May we choose to rise,

Forgive in His Name;

Love as we are loved,

Let grace be our aim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Thank You that as we choose again and again to forgive, You refine and change our hearts to be more like Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto hurts or allowed old injury to rise up and renew our anger toward another when we have chosen to forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to forgive again and again, each time a hurt or offense comes our way. Show us how to love and forgive others, just as You love and forgive each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to be our strength and our example for forgiveness so that we may go forth and do the same. Amen.

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

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9

Lavish Love Gives Glorious Grace

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. – (1 Peter 4:8, MSG)

 

When we choose to love others, we see their strengths far more clearly than their weaknesses. Just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord, we are able to pour into others as we are willing to receive that which is freely given by God. Though we may get hurt, irritated or frustrated with choices that our loved ones make, we are far more easily empowered to forgive, as we commit to the choice to love. Not one of us is without fault, yet God loves each of us as if we were the only one to love. He knows our thoughts before we think them, our words before we speak them, and still He loves us in spite of ourselves. As we choose to love others deeply, we are able to love likewise. May we seek to love others as we are loved by the Lord, for love like His makes up for practically anything.

 

With intention choose,

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-Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Deeply love others;

For love looks past faults,

Dear sisters, brothers.

It’s grace to forgive,

When others do wrong;

Love like we’re given,

Strength to choose love on.

Because we’re loved well,

We can do the same;

Prefer each other,

For by love, we gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can love because You first loved us. Thank You that Your love is so deep, it covers our faults and failures. Thank You that as we choose to love deeply, we too are able and willing to forgive as we are forgiven. Forgive us for not choosing love when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love others as if our lives depended on it, for by such love others with come to know the greatness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love each other deeply with the same love that You pour out upon us. 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