As He Loves

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

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is my command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

 

I am beyond blessed to have so many people in my life who model this very sort of love toward me on a regular basis. This weekend, I have been reminded especially well, of just how much God loves me, as He has made His love tangible through the people whom He has intentionally placed in my life. Though this past year has not unfolded exactly as one might have hoped nor expected in the first year of marriage and as I roll into the start of my forty-eighth year of life, I can clearly see God’s hand in it, and have been held, strengthened, encouraged and carried, every step of the way. Many spouses would not be so fortunate to have the blessing of their husband of nine months, and their seventeen-year-old twins, to go and care for their mother after a stroke. Mine, however, said, “Go!” Each weekend, my husband has faithfully driven the three hours to come see me, and have made sure to speak with me and encourage me daily on the phone, (the boys join him as often as their schedules allow). This weekend was kicked off with my running bestie on Friday evening through Saturday morning, followed by my husband and boys on Saturday at midday, and as the fellas prepare to leave this afternoon, my best friend will arrive to stay a quick overnight as well. Not only am I blessed and encouraged by their visit and presence, but mom is too. It is only fitting, as she is the reason that I am here. As this week continues, Megan will return and I will head home to go on an escape for our first anniversary trip. God is good, and I have learned to love more deeply in the last three months than I ever knew possible prior.

As for mom and her progress yesterday, she accomplished another new milestone with her grandsons cheering her on! Mom walked the entire length of her hallway, twice! That is one-hundred and twenty feet, unassisted. I love watching the recognition of new progress on mom’s face each time she conquers new milestones. There is a visible flood of hope that fills not only her face, but her entire being. It is almost as if she could jump out of her chair and dance down the hallway with excitement. So much joy. Another accomplishment was tackled as we went out to dinner as a family. Being out in public is not her favorite, and I imagine the idea of sitting in a restaurant makes her feel especially vulnerable. Thankfully, the place we selected was fairly quiet, and we were at a table in a room where there were nearly no other patrons. We enjoyed our meal together and did not have any issues navigating the space. After dinner, we returned home and played several rounds of our family favorite game, Dirty Marbles. It is a sort of combination of Chinese Checkers and Sorry, and gets quite competitive. Each of us ended the day full, happy, and knowing how truly loved we are. I could not think of a better way to close out my 47th year. 😊

May we ever recognize how God loves us so well, and go forth and love as we are loved.

 

We are commanded, img_2019-07-14_07-32-527808805951401243208.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Give as we’re given,

From the Lord above.

For all that God gives,

Within, multiplies;

So we might go forth,

And love with delight.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

We help others know,

How much they’re adored.

The Lord loves us all,

His most treasured ones;

May we trust in Him,

And love like His Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You already have shown us in countless ways. Thank You that Your love is tangible. Thank You for the treasured gift of family and friends whom You place in our lives to show us what Your love really means. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved according to Your plan. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without limits and allow Your light to burn brightly through us to the world. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are difficult to love or do not know how to receive the love You have to offer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others in the same way that You selflessly and generously love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Our Help and Defense

For He is our God. We are the people He watches over, the flock under His care. – (Psalm 95:7a, NLT)

He is our God, and we are the people He cares for, His sheep that walk by His side. – (Psalm 95:7a, ERV)

For He is our God and we are His people, the flock of His pasture, His sheep protected and nurtured by His hand. – (Psalm 95:7a, VOICE)

 

God is faithful. As we choose to submit to Him and place our trust in His hands, recognizing that we honestly cannot control our circumstances, yet God, who is greater than all, is willing and able to hold us in the palm of His hands and lead us through whatever comes our way; it is only then that we begin to see the power of His promise fantastically fulfilled. For me, (and my sister and mom) having to switch in-home care companies for mom’s stroke recovery rehabilitation therapists, due to the loss of a speech therapist from the former company, was both frustrating and terrifying. Mom had a wonderful rapport with her therapists, she worked hard for them, and trusted them completely. We had to embrace the idea of the new, albeit with some reservations, and anticipate that God had a plan for mom that was greater still. Yesterday, as mom worked with both the new occupational therapist and speech therapist, it became abundantly clear that these were the people whom God had selected for mom to work with now. During the first few weeks of mom’s in-home care, she benefited greatly from the enthusiasm and energy of the young therapists, who were just getting started in their careers. However, now, after a time of building up, she was ready for some veterans to come in and fine-tune; people with bigger bags of tricks, to take her to the next step of rehabilitation and recovery. God knew, even if we could not see past the initial loss of what was familiar. May we choose to trust in He, who is the Good Shepherd, ever watching over and protecting His sheep.

 

For He is our God, Our Help and Defense

And we too, are His;

We’re safe in His hands,

He does what He says.

Our God is faithful,

In love, He protects;

He makes our path plain,

Each step He directs.

Even in spaces,

That do not make sense;

He’ll be our anchor,

Our Help and Defense.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Good Shepherd and that we are the flock that You lovingly care for and call by name. Thank You that You know us and love us and hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the road before us does not seem to make any sense. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our anchor in the storm and our calm in the chaos. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace, security, strength and trust in times of trial. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You, our Good Shepherd, and listen for Your voice, in all things and at all times, as You lovingly lead us and keep us safe. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Faith is an Action Word

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. – (James 2:26, NLT) 

A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith – faith that does nothing is dead. – (James 2:26, ERV) 

Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse. – (James 2:26, VOICE) 

 

Faith is a verb. It is an action word that requires something of us to exist. Our decisions to step out beyond ourselves and do the things that God calls us to, are those that define and breathe life into faith. Just as we have no life without breath, faith has not formed without follow through. Faith grows as we continue to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Each new step fortifies our faith and makes it tangible. May we move forward in faith, ever trusting in God, who grants all that we need, so that our faith will grow and His faithfulness show, in all that we say and do. 

 

Lord, lead us forward,

dsc085177651033562558946177.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To trust and obey; 

So faith may take root, 

You do what You say. 

The things that You ask, 

Require we choose faith; 

A trust that steps out, 

Certain of God’s grace. 

As we choose to trust, 

Allow faith to rise; 

We see You move, Lord, 

Before our own eyes. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not a mere idea nor theory, but rather it is an intentional action as we move forward, trusting that You are who You say You are, and that You will do what You say You will do. Forgive us for the times that our faith has faltered and we have stayed stagnant when You call us to move. Teach us to trust You more, ever leading us to take steps in the direction You call us to move. Show us how to love those around us in a way that inspires faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be people of faith-filled action. Amen.

 

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

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

img_2018-12-04_04-50-223530978993609554246.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. 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

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Immeasurably More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. – (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. – (Ephesians 3:20, ERV)

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. – (Ephesians 3:20, TPT)

 

The house that my fiancé and I have purchased to make our home had everything that we had hoped for and imagined, except decent closet space in a master bedroom. I had a few “hope fors, and a walk-in master closet was one of them. It became quite clear that this particular home was the one meant for us, and I let go of the notion of such a closet and was thrilled with the space that met the needs of all five of us. One day, just prior to our receiving of the keys, we walked around the property to show some dear friends our home to be. We shared with them who would be in which space and recognized how extraordinarily blessed we were. As we walked around, our friend had a suggestion that we had not considered. He proposed the idea of us turning the downstairs living space into our master suite and building a walk-in closet. This idea excited both of us, and my Viking, being a man of action, set a plan in place to get it done. A coworker and friend of his used to build houses, so he chatted with him about what it would take. Shortly after the keys were given, his buddy and his brother came out one Saturday morning to frame the closet. Merely days later, my fiancé set to work to get the sheet rock up so that the job would be completed. We looked at different options for the wall finish and came up with something that we both love. This past weekend, he set to work, and as of last evening, we have a beautifully finished walk-in closet. The thing about this is not so much that I was given what I had hoped for, but God did immeasurably more than I would have asked or imagined, just to bless me. He placed a love so deep in the heart of my Viking for me and gifted him with the skill set and contacts in whom he knows to meet a seemingly trivial hope that was held in my heart. Every time I go over to the new house, my heart soars at the blessings that God has granted me. This house is to be our home, and God outdid our greatest requests, dreams and what we could have imagined for a space for our newly merging family to grow together. May we ever give God the glory for the way that He sees and knows our hearts and does far more in us and through us than we would have ever thought possible.

 

More than we could hope, img_2018-07-09_04-54-585066844589650882094.jpg

Ask or imagine;

God in His power,

By His grace, moves in.

He blesses our hearts,

Amazes our minds;

As He works in us,

His power, we find.

The dreams of our hearts,

Our loving God knows;

In goodness He gives,

And blessings bestows.

For great is our God,

And greater His love;

That He has for us,

The Lord, high above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the ways in which You do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine; in us, through us, and for us. Thank You for the incredible blessings that You bestow upon us that show us that You care deeply for us in all things. Forgive us for not giving dreams a voice before You, as You love to bless Your children. Teach us to tell You our every hope and dream and give You the reigns to determine the path each is meant to take. Show us how to hear Your voice, so that we may bless those around us with Your lavish love in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our hopes and dreams, and praise You for hearing and blessing us with Your loving kindness. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. 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

Choose a Life of Love

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, NLT)

Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, ERV)

Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:2, MSG)

 

When we choose to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us, we are a pleasing aroma to God. The idea of our offering being a sweet scent before our Maker is a remarkable reminder that our choice to love matters. Likewise, as we love others as Christ loves us, we are a pleasing aroma to people. When we observe or are the recipients of words or deeds that are not done in love, often the way we describe the situation is that it stinks. I imagine that before God, there is a stench when we are not acting according to His love. We have been given the greatest example that ever was to follow, and He equips us to go and do the same. The decision to choose to live out a life of love is ours, and the choice we make matters. May we each opt to live the life of love that God has prepared for us, and go forth as a sweet scent before both the Lord and those whom He places on our path.

 

The sweet scent of Christ, Love Made Known

Is one full of love;

For His sacrifice,

Grace, His true motive.

Christ’s own sacrifice,

Created the way;

For us to receive,

And give love away.

He did not withhold,

But chose to give all;

So we too could love,

And answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life lived out in love is a pleasing aroma before You. Thank You Jesus, for being the ultimate example of how to love without limits. Forgive us for the times that we opt to withhold love when we are called to extend that which we have been given. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love anyway, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of love. 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

Love Made Known

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

 

John, who had walked with Jesus closely as His disciple, was both reminding and reassuring those who followed Christ, that our ultimate call is to love. This charge has not changed throughout the ages. All of the wisdom and wonder that is packed in the Bible can be best explained as: we are called to love God and love people. To do so, it cannot simply be something that we theorize and discuss, but rather we must act upon it and live it out in our daily lives. Love must be evident in not only what we say, but also in the things that we do. May our lives display a pattern of faithfully living a life of love, consistent with that which we are called to do.

 

Our love shouldn’t be talk, Love Made Known

It’s much more than words;

It must be sincere,

Beyond what is heard.

For love is made known,

Through what we choose show;

May all that we do,

Be lit by love’s glow.

When all that we do,

And all that we say;

Demonstrate His love,

His heart’s on display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love. Thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us through our words and deeds. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds do not align with Your gracious love. Teach us to trust You more so that we would show Your love through all that we say and do. Help us to love those around us with goodness and grace, even when the word or deeds extended toward us are kind nor warranting a gentle response. May our love turn away wrath and lead many to Your loving arms. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show love through all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

The Gift of Salvation

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this, it is a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, NLT)

I mean that you have been saved by grace because you believed. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. – (Ephesians 2:8, ERV)

Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish. – (Ephesians 2:8, MSG)

 

Salvation is a gift that God freely gives to us, if only we choose to place our trust in Him. We cannot do enough, nor be enough, but rather it is a matter of making the choice to believe that God is who He says He is, and that He is true to His word. There is no prerequisite to have a certain depth of knowledge in biblical studies or theology, instead, we simply need to have a heart that is open and willing to allow God to be God, because we are not. For those who trust in the Lord, let us give thanks for the gracious gift that He has given; for those who are searching – He is always available and at the ready to hear our heart and love us to life.

 

God saves us by grace,

Rejoice Always

Not by what we do;

It’s all about love,

For His word is true.

What the Lord offers,

Is a gift that’s free;

It’s given to all,

Who choose to believe.

Rise up and have faith,

In God You can trust;

For He alone saves,

God’s loving and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You save us by Your grace if only we choose to believe. Thank You that we do not have to do “enough” or be “enough” to somehow earn Your favor, but rather You love us where we are and accept us because we are Your created. Forgive us for thinking that we have to somehow get ourselves cleaned up or do things a certain way before we can approach You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as Your grace is greater than all of our shortcomings and failures. Show us how to love without limits, all those whom You place in our charge, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of the gift of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the gift of salvation, and trust You with all that we are. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14