Good Forever

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good! His faithful love will last forever! – (Psalm 118:1, ERV)

Give thanks to the Eternal because He is always good. He never ceases to be loving and kind. – (Psalm 118:1, VOICE)

 

This is where I must fix my heart and mind, as I have seen and known the goodness of God, particularly over the past six days, as I have been blessed with precious time with my husband and children. His goodness and love are not limited to the times that I am home, for I am fully aware of God’s faithfulness and kindness while in Wenatchee with my mom as well. He makes His presence known, and His goodness is tangibly shown, as His power is made evident in each step of this journey our family is taking with my mom as she recovers from her stroke. Today, as I return to mom and all that life in Wenatchee entails, I will give thanks to God for His goodness and love, as He continues to show His kindness and grace to us all as we navigate this uncharted journey.

Yesterday was a busy day for Mom and Megan, as she had both occupational and speech therapy appointments. The day passed quickly, and included a Dutch Bros run and enjoying the view, as electrical storms passed through. Our prayers continue as details are an ongoing process to be researched and organized for next steps, and for God’s perfect peace to be present in the hearts of us all as the transition takes place. May we give thanks to God because He is always good, and He never ceases to be loving and kind.

 

When the road ahead, img_2019-07-24_05-27-154738124535135649109.jpg

Is vastly unseen;

Turn in trust to God,

So, He’ll intervene.

He comes with His peace,

When chaos seems reign;

His love and His grace,

Uplift and sustain.

Now and forever,

God’s love knows no end;

All thanks unto Him,

As His peace transcends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always trust in You. Thank You that Your love and grace never end. Thank You that Your perfect peace transcends whatever storm we are in. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubts. Teach us to trust You beyond what our eyes can see and what our hearts can understand. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes Your perfect peace and extends Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and trust in You forever because You are good. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Hearing Our Heart

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

Then you will call my Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, ERV)

At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to hear us every time we call on His Name. Though His answers do not always look the way that we might envision, He is loving and kind and has our very best in mind. In my life, though I prayed one way for years, hoping that He would intervene and bring restoration, He instead protected, provided, and brought me to a place that is far better than I could have even dared to dream. God is good, and He hears our every prayer. May we pray with persistence, trusting that He is faithful and has a plan and a future for us that far exceeds what we could hope or imagine.

 

No matter the state,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our heart when we come;

Each prayer that we pray,

Heard, His will be done.

For God’s will is good,

Because He is love;

His plans are greater,

Grace shines from above.

Though how He answers,

A bit a surprise;

His ultimate good,

Will grant strength to rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer and listen to our heart. Thank You that Your plans are far greater than what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for not seeking You or for questioning Your faithfulness when we cannot see how things could possibly be moving in a direction for good. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever, and have a plan and a future for each of us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens each as they go throughout their days. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and trust You to hear and move on our behalf, even when we do not understand the direction. Amen.

 

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

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

Choose Love Anyway

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV) 

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV) 

 

This can be a serious challenge to actually live out each day. To choose to love, is to make a choice to not respond harshly or rudely, even when that is what we are given. Love is patient and kind and keeps no record of wrongs. That is not to say that we are meant to walk into and remain in abusive and hostile situations, but rather when we are treated any way other than that which God intended, we are meant to respond as He would. Our first line of defense is to pray for those who are against us. So often, it is a matter of hurting people choosing to hurt people out of their own wounded spaces. It does not make it right or acceptable, but it is often a point of prayer for help and healing to be provided for the very one who is causing pain. While we were yet sinners, God loved us. At one point, each of us who call on His Name, discovered the depth of His grace, love, kindness and forgiveness for us, despite our initial lack of love for Him. He tore down the barriers built by our own brokenness and loved us to life in Him. May we choose to love and pray for those who need it most, as God can do far more than we could hope or imagine when we seek Him to intervene in ugly spaces. 

 

We are called to love, Hands of Grace

And choose pray for all; 

Especially those, 

Who want us to fall. 

For as we were once, 

God’s enemies too; 

He loved us to life, 

And made our hearts new. 

Let us choose to pray, 

For those against us; 

Choose love anyway, 

Just as Jesus does. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners and walking against You, You broke through the barriers of our hurting hearts and loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for forgetting to pray for those who treat us poorly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You for strength and direction as to how to love everyone as You would have us love. Show us how to love even the most difficult to love as You do, so that Your heart may be made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us poorly. 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

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Power of Praise

Though much of Psalm 69 is spent crying out to God about the troubles that David is facing, and how he longs for God to intervene, there is a verse that is pivotal, as David turns and points out the power of praise and how God receives it. I will praise God’s Name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. – (Psalm 69:30) He goes on to speak of how God is more pleased with praise than with sacrifice, and that our hearts are changed in the process.

 

Praise and thanksgiving are powerful tools to turn our hearts and minds away from our troubles, and onto He who is our solution. It never ceases to amaze me at how different my circumstances appear, when I begin looking through the lens of gratitude to God. Though I may not appreciate my circumstance, there are always things to be grateful for in the midst of them. His blessings are present, even when the storms are raging. Shelter, a life boat, our anchor in Him – all things for which we can give Him thanks and praise. Each breath that we breathe and the moments we are given are gifts to be utilized for His glory. May we praise His Name with our life song, and glorify Him as we give Him thanks for who He is and all that He has done and will do in our lives.

 

When storms are raging,The Power of Praise

and the waters rise;

may we give God praise,

never compromise.

Let thanksgiving flow,

from our grateful hearts;

as we speak the truth,

for love He imparts.

Though the trials come,

His glory shall last;

Christ’s power within,

our strength to move past.

Glorify the Lord,

praise His Name in song;

He lifts up the weak,

and helps us be strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all praise and thanksgiving. Thank You that You are more pleased by our songs of praise and thanksgiving that come from a heart of gratitude for You, than You are for mere offerings given out of ritual or obligation. Forgive us for doing anything out of obligation rather than from a place of praise. Help our hearts to be right before You, so that when we think of You, we cannot help but pour out praise and thanksgiving for who You are and all that You have done in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may slow down enough to see You in the midst of the storms. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in song and glorify You with thanksgiving. 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

Be the Hope

The twentieth-century American educator and author Loren Eiseley wrote a short piece titled “The Starfish Story” or “The Starfish Thrower,” which has been told and retold in many versions through the years. In this classic tale, we learn a simple lesson about the difference one person can make. Here’s the gist of the story:

A man walking along an otherwise deserted beach came upon another man throwing into the sea a starfish that had been deposited on the sand by the tide. When the man asked the star thrower his purpose, the thrower explained that the starfish left untended, would be dried by the sun and eventually die. But how, wondered the first man, given that there were thousands of starfish scattered for miles along the the beach. The thrower bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean with all his might. He smiled as he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” – (excerpt from Undaunted, Christine Caine)

 

When we look at the world around us, it is easy to see that there are a multitude of starfish lying on the sand, desperate for someone to come along and extend a hand. At first glance, it may seem too overwhelming to even know where to begin, when there is so much need that surrounds us. We can either choose to turn and walk away, or we can walk toward the need, and pick up one starfish at a time. It may not seem like much in the moment, yet to that one starfish, it is a chance to live.

 

Paul was an ongoing example of a starfish thrower, as he extended hope to all whom he encountered. His circumstances mattered not, for he chose to speak truth and shine the light of Christ wherever his journey took him. When Paul was summoned to appear before King Agrippa, he worried not about his own safety, but rather about sharing the truth that would bring freedom and salvation to all who might hear. Clearly Paul had captured Agrippa’s attention.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – (Acts 26:28-29)

May we rise up and be the change that sees not the multitude and becomes overwhelmed, but rather that we look to each need, individually, and do what we can to offer hope where hope is not.

 

Scattered on the sand,Be the Hope

a vast sea of need;

what am I to do,

to rescue, to feed?

We’re not called to meet,

every need seen;

but to offer hope,

step in, intervene.

Often so simple,

a word or a touch;

an acknowledgement,

can matter so much.

Oh Lord I’m ready,

to offer Your hope;

may Your love and light,

be the safety rope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples of “Starfish Throwers” throughout both Your word and history. Thank You that though the need in our world is great, one life touched at a time, can make all the difference. Thank You that You can use us, individually, to offer hope to a hurting world. Forgive us for seeing the need and turning a blind eye because we are overwhelmed or think that we cannot make a difference. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and take each next step of obedience that touches lives as You ask of us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth to be the hope, one life at a time. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Favored, Not Forgotten

Have you ever felt rejected or forgotten by God? Psalm 74 is a great reminder of what we ought to do when we find ourselves in such a space. Our God is big enough to hear our concerns, yet as we pause and reflect on who He is, we will begin to remember just how great He truly is. The first line of Psalm 74 begins with: Why have You rejected us forever, O God? A mere eleven verses later, the Psalmist writes: But You, O God, are my king from of old; You bring salvation upon the earth. As the writer continues to unpack the memories of God’s power and faithfulness, faith seems to rise up, and requests are made with confidence.

 

What can we do when we find ourselves in a similar space – a place where we feel as if we are out of the favor of our Heavenly Father? If we follow the example set before us in Psalm 74, first, we need to be honest with God and let Him know how we are feeling. He is a loving Father, and will not be crushed by our honest admission of frustration or doubt. Next, we ought to spend some time remembering times of His favor and faithfulness. As we speak of the great things He has done, faith rises up, and strength for the stretch ahead, seems to return. Finally, we are meant to ask the Lord for His help. If we are afraid, we need to pray for His courage to rise up within us. If we are weary and worn, we need ask for His strength to sustain. He is, where we are not. May we seek the Lord honestly, and remember all that He has done.

 

Seasons of silence,Do Everything in Love

quiet and alone;

feeling forgotten,

wanting to be shown.

Stop and remember,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

His grace and mercy,

in times of distress.

Time and time again,

His hand, evident;

He rescued and loved,

His peace swiftly sent.

Cry out to the Lord,

for He will give ear;

to all that we ask,

His presence is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when we feel like we are alone and abandoned, You are present and moving on our behalf. Thank You that our feelings are not indicators of Your working. Thank You that we can come to You and speak to You honestly and openly, wherever we are at, and You still love us the same. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages, so that we can look back and see and remember how faithful You truly are. Forgive us for doubting Your presence or Your willingness to intervene on our behalf because Your timeline is different from our own. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, and grant us Your peace in the waiting. May we persevere with confidence, trusting in You alone. Let us love others as You so lavishly love us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to trust You even when we are unaware of Your presence. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

He Hears

This morning, the reading plan I follow, included Psalm 61. Each time I read one of the Psalms written by David, I find myself so encouraged, as he was readily transparent in his calling out to the Lord, be it in strength or in struggle – always knowing his ultimate need for God to intervene.

 

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” – (Psalm 61:1-4)

 

He closes out the Psalm by saying “Then will I ever sing praise to Your Name and fulfill my vows day after day.” – (Psalm 61:8)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles, cries out to the Lord and asks Him to hear his prayers. He identifies his own feelings of weakness, and knows that in his own strength, he cannot stand. With God, David understands that his feet can be secured, despite what is seen, and the Lord is a space of safety – His very refuge in the midst of the mess. At the end of the day, David identifies the portion of the promises he has made unto the Lord, include offering praise each day, no matter what. We too, are meant to have a heart after God, just as David did. When we seek Him, we will find Him; and all of our praise ought to be offered up each day, regardless of our circumstances. God is good, even when life is not.

 

He is our help,He Hears

wherever we are;

no need to fear,

we’re never too far.

For His hands reach,

the ends of the earth;

His hands protect,

our infinite worth.

A strong tower,

refuge in the storm;

strength when we’re weak,

safety from all harm.

May we honor,

the Lord all our days;

do what He asks,

and give Him all praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our cries and listen to our prayers. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness and our shelter in all of life’s storms. Thank You that You lead us to safe spaces, and hide us in the shadow of Your wings. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we shift our focus from You to the obstacle we need to overcome. Help us to fix our eyes securely on You, as You are our strength and our help, and the One who makes our path plain. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily follow all that You ask. May we move mightily in Your love, as we are loved, and may many come to know You as their Maker and Mighty King. Lead us and guide us to honor You in all that we say and do, and may we ever sing praises unto You. Be glorified, O God. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ.

– Ephesians 2:4-5