The Ultimate Love

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NIV)

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

Because God loved us, His created, so much, He sent His Son to make Himself tangible and approachable to all. Jesus made the way for all who choose to believe, to have life eternal in Him. This blessed assurance provides hope, peace, comfort and removes fear from all that lies ahead. No matter how tumultuous life can become, there is so much more waiting for us when our time here is done. Though we mourn loss of loved ones as we have to adjust to life without their tangible presence, we may also rejoice for those who know Him, as they enter into eternal glory. Additionally, when we know the Lord as well, goodbye is really just a “see you later.” One day, we will be reunited with those who have gone before us to be with the Lord. Imagine the celebration that will take place when we see Jesus face-to-face, and again join with loved ones who have gone ahead of us. May we rejoice in the incredible love that God has for each of us, as His Son showed us what He is like and how greatly He truly loves.

 

The ultimate love, Healed Hands Reach Out

Chooses truly see;

Past every flaw,

And looks to meet needs.

There’s no greater love,

Than God’s sacrifice;

A love undeserved,

Paid ultimate price.

A death undeserved,

In our place He chose;

Faced the darkest grave,

And third day, He rose.

He went on ahead,

To prepare a place;

For all who believe,

His welcome embrace.

May we look to God,

Ever seek His face;

Trust all that He is,

And unending grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You loved, we too, may come to know love. Thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, who made love tangible for all to see and understand. Forgive us for the times that we let go of hope and allow our struggles to define what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that despite the hard things that we walk through and endure, there is everlasting hope to be held in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your love and provides hope for what is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for our everlasting hope, and embrace the grace that You alone give. Amen.

 

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

 

In Your unfailing love you will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13

Why We Gather

“For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

“Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

“And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – (Matthew 18:20, MSG)

 

This verse is a reminder of why it is so important to gather with other believers. Church is not about religion and rules, it is an opportunity to join together and recognize the presence of God. Yes, God is with us, always, but there is something powerful that transpires when a group of people gathers to seek the heart of God. His presence is made known, and those in the midst of it are strengthened, encouraged and equipped to go out in His power. We were created for relationship. Isolation for too long, causes the heart to grow weary, and faith to become frail. God is faithful and loving no matter what, but He invites us to lay hold of the power of His presence through gathering together with others who seek Him. May we ever pursue opportunities to gather with others who are seeking the Lord, so as to mutually encourage and edify one another as He makes His presence known.

 

Let us seek gather,

Peace Through Understanding

With others, pursue;

The heart of the Lord,

As His word is true.

When people choose join,

Their hearts and their minds;

To seek our Savior,

His presence, they find.

Our God is faithful,

His word ever true;

He makes Himself known,

Collective pursuit.

Let’s seek with intent,

And join together;

For God will be found,

Most gracious treasure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to join together to seek You. Thank You that You are faithful to make Your presence known, each time we gather to pursue You. Forgive us for thinking that we can handle life on our own, rather than joining with others to seek and find Your faithful presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest in relationships that support and encourage a life lived in pursuit of You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, would want to pursue Your heart with others to experience the power made known as we gather. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather in Your Name, recognizing the power of Your presence that comes when we join together to seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise. – Psalm 106:47

Step Out of the Boat

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV) 

Peter said, “Lord, if that is really You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come, Peter.” Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, ERV) 

Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really You, then have me join You on the water!” “Come and join me,” Jesus replied. So, Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, TPT) 

 

Peter’s desire to know the truth about Jesus was tremendous. After just having been caught in treacherous wind and waves, and out of seemingly nowhere, witnessing Jesus walking up to the boat on the water, Peter called out to Jesus and asked to join Him where He was. As a fisherman, Peter knew the danger in the midst of the storm, and the risk of drowning in the depths of the sea. However, with his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter’s desire to be with Jesus, where He was, despite having to step out of the safety of the boat that actually floated, he called to Jesus and asked to be where He was. Jesus told him to “come”. Incredibly, Peter chose to step out of the security of sitting in the boat and set both feet on the water, trusting that Jesus, who called him, could empower him to do what Jesus was doing. Though we know how the story goes, and that Peter, as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, began to sink; yet Peter is the only one other than Jesus to ever experience walking on water. Both his faith and desire to be where Jesus was, empowered him to do what Jesus was doing. Peter asked, Jesus answered, and Peter stepped out of the boat. What does it take for us to step out of our “boat”? We ask, He answers and we have to choose to take that first few steps. Often, we never set foot out of the boat. Additionally, when we feel ourselves sinking, do we call out to Christ, or dive back in the boat? Jesus is trustworthy and will not let us sink. Just as He did for Peter, He will take our hand and keep us afloat. May we seek the Lord for the ways in which He wants us to draw ever nearer to Him, and be willing to step out of our space of comfort and safety, so that we too, may experience the wonder of walking with Him in ways we never thought possible. 

 

Lord, help us to trust, step out of the boat

Despite what we see; 

Help us move to You, 

Our place of safety. 

May we choose step out, 

Of that which we know; 

With eyes on You, Lord, 

So our faith may grow. 

No matter the wind, 

Nor waves that surround; 

To place trust in You, 

Is hope that is sound. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You answer and are present with us. Thank You that You show Yourself faithful each time we trust and move toward You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, and allowing our circumstances to cloud our sight line. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on You, no matter the storms that come our way, and ever press on toward You and where You call us closer to You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know the security that is in Your presence, rather than the space they are in right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we step out of what we know to move ever closer to You. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Finding Refreshment

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – (Matthew 11:29, NIV) 

Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. – (Matthew 11:29, ERV) 

Simply join your life with Mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment in Me. – (Matthew 11:29, TPT) 

 

Jesus longs for all to draw near to Him. He is gentle and humble, willing to teach us the way in which we are meant to live. Rest and refreshment are found as we seek our Savior. The yoke that Christ offers is light and unhindered, whereas on our own, the weight of the world rests heavily and wears us out. May we answer the call of Christ who is drawing us near, and allow His heart to lead us and His love to be our strength. 

 

The way of the Lord, No Matter What Comes

Is loving and right; 

He grants us His grace, 

Calls us His delight. 

Drawn unto Himself, 

His heart is to give; 

Rest to the weary, 

And grace to forgive 

So, let us draw near, 

With hearts full of praise; 

Lay our burdens down, 

And walk in His ways. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that as we learn from You and seek time with You, our lives begin to reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You as we go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn from You and share Your heart with the world. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to learn from You and share Your love with all those whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

Our Strength and Safety

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV) 

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV) 

O my Strength, to You I sing my praises; for You are my high tower of safety, my God of mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, TLB) 

 

This morning, I wake with nervous excitement, as it will be the first day that we will practice together as an entire team. Veteran players will join us rookies as we take the field today, and the intensity with which we have been working, will surely increase even more. Physically, God has been my strength, and I have felt good, however, remembering all of the plays is a challenge, and my mind often draws a blank when I need to recall. With praise on my heart for the opportunity for the new, I will continue to review that which I need to know and trust the process. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and safety and give praise to God who loves us and on whom we can depend. 

 

O God, You’re my strength, You Make Me Strong

My hope, help and song; 

I bring You my praise, 

Through all the day long. 

You are my safety, 

You bless me with peace; 

In You I can trust, 

As grace You release. 

Help me to rise up, 

In Your strength and grace; 

Protected in power, 

To run well this race. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safety, as You love of best. Thank You for the opportunity for new things, and for strong healthy bodies that can do so much more than we would have thought or imagined. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength, or for avoiding the new that You bring us to out of fear. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need to do the new that we are brought into. Be our strength and safety, Lord. Show us how to love and encourage one another, so that we each might find the strength and courage to rise up and be who You have created us to become. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and safety that You supply and give thanks for Your faithful love. Amen. 

 

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

 

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

Peace in Thankfulness

And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NLT)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG)

 

Peace and gratitude are two excellent things to set to the forefront of our hearts and minds as we enter into this long holiday weekend. For some, this is a season of struggle, as they deal with the reminders of recent loss of loved ones, or are too far from family to gather – for them, may peace be present to hold them, and gratitude fill each heart for what is before them. Many of us, however, will be traveling near and far to gather with loved ones to celebrate this season of thanks. As we go, may Christ keep our hearts and minds fixed on what matters, so that gratitude for time together provides opportunity for His overwhelming peace to be present. May we join together as one body, ever grateful for all the Lord has done, and celebrate His peace that is present as we fix our eyes on Him with thanksgiving.

 

May peace that’s from Christ, Peace in Thankfulness

Come reign in each heart;

As we’re one body,

That has many parts.

Always be thankful,

For here we find peace;

In hearts full of thanks,

God’s grace is released.

Wherever we go,

Be it near or far;

May God’s peace and love,

Show how glad we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace rules in our hearts when we depend on You to lead and guide us as we go. Thank You that though we are one body with many parts, You have called and created us to live in peace. Forgive us for lacking gratitude for all the good that You give, or for not seeking You and Your wisdom to know how to live together in Your peace. Teach us to turn to You with thankful hearts, ever trusting You to rule and reign with Your perfect peace. Show us how to love others in a way that brings peace and demonstrates gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in body, heart and mind, giving You all of our gratitude as we recognize Your peace that is present. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Practice As His Poetry

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

 

This week, I had the pleasure as a parent, of watching my children do some of what they were designed to do, as they each took part in their fall concert. Both boys have always loved music; it is part of their design. Watching my eldest (by one minute) sing with the concert choir, and his twin brother play the viola with the concert orchestra, filled my heart with joy. God has given each of us talents and gifts, dreams and desires – all of which can be used for His good. When we utilize what we’ve been given with gratitude, God receives the glory. As we seek Him and join our hearts with His, good works can come in every avenue of our lives. Encouragement, kindness, gratitude, generosity and love, all demonstrate His heart for people, and provide opportunity for those who may not know Him, to see the light of His goodness and grace through those around them. May we ever remember that we are God’s poetry, His very masterpiece – created to delight those around us by doing good.

 

For we have been made, Practice As His Poetry

To be who we are;

God’s own masterpiece,

To shine like the stars.

We’re meant to do good,

Fulfill what God planned;

Love as God loves us,

By His grace, choose stand.

Stand for the hurting,

Encourage, lift up;

Answer His calling,

In all things, choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose, and that You consider each of us Your poetry – Your masterpiece. Thank You that we have been designed to do good things that You planned for us long ago. Forgive us for not recognizing the masterpiece in others, or for choosing to walk away from the good to which we are called to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see all whom we encounter through Your eyes, and treat them accordingly. Help us to do good works and walk out our purpose in all that we do. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up all whom we encounter, so that Your light might shine bright before everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate who You are by being who You have made us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Sharing a Shoulder

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

At my church, there has been a phrase that has been spoken many times over the years. I always knew that it was Biblically based, but never really thought about the specific reference from which it may have been derived. However, this morning, this seems a fitting verse to align with the statement, “At Grace, no one stands alone.” The statement is a direct affirmation of a commitment to be obedient to share each others burdens so that no one is attempting to carry the weight on their own. Whatever the challenge, it is lessened when another chooses to join in the journey. Often when we help one another, we end up being helped ourselves in the process. There is a discovery of strength and help and grace, as we walk beside another in the strain of their struggle. May we rise up and look to help one another bear the burdens that life brings, so that we are walking in obedience to Christ and recognizing the power that is present as we choose to obey.

 

The Lord is calling, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So that we might see;

Each other’s burdens,

Places where there’s need.

We are meant to share,

The weight of their load;

To help them travel,

Where they’re meant to go.

As we opt rise up,

And help bear the weight;

It’s as God has called,

His peace shall be great.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to share each others burdens so that we have tangible help through You. Thank You that as we walk alongside one another, we are being obedient to what You ask of us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder the weight of our woes alone, or for neglecting to reach out to those that we know are in need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead us to those we are meant to walk beside, and receive the help from others that You provide. Show us how to love those around us who are bearing heavy burdens, so that we might help lessen their loads. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we help one another in times of trouble, just as You are present to help each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

In Quiet Wait, There is Rest

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. – (Psalm 62:1, ERV)

Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, CEB)

 

When life gets hectic and the weight of the world seems to fall upon our shoulders, it is necessary to slow down and find rest in whatever form fuels our souls best. I love the creativity of God and how He provides places and ways for us to recharge as we seek spaces of rest and refreshment in Him. Once a week, during our collaboration period at school, staff members meet to discuss topics that will help improve the culture and climate of our school. Yesterday’s topic, was in part, self-care. Turning to God in trust is the first way that my weary soul finds rest, and that I can carry out “self-care“. Additionally, I am recharged when I spend quality time with the people whom I love. Though I have been fighting a sore throat and dragging this week, there was no hesitation in my decision to keep my plans to join my love, his son, and some great friends of ours at a hockey game last evening. The escape from my normal routine was filled with laughter, cheering and rest. There are few ways in which I would voluntarily sit for three hours, yet with a hockey game on the ice in front of me, no problem. Despite my reduction in sleep last night, (due to the late end of the game) I still bolted out of bed at the first sound of my alarm, and am fully coherent as I begin this new day. As a bonus, this is a short school week, with Friday being an in-service day for which I do not need to complete hours. He is good and rescues us from our weariness in ways that He knows we need most. May we ever wait quietly on God and turn to Him in trust, as He is our rescuer and our salvation.

 

I wait on the Lord, In Quiet Wait There is Rest

So steady and calm;

For I trust in Him,

To keep keeping on.

The Lord is my rest,

My strength when I’m weak;

My hope, salvation,

The answer I seek.

In quiet I’ll wait,

For my God alone;

As He’s where I find,

That my heart is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we wait quietly before You, we find You and know Your help, Your hope and Your rescue. Forgive us for attempting to gut things out in our weariness, rather than turning to You for rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would calm down and rest in Your presence, as You are our Provider of all that we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and hope and rest that points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and give You praise for Your faithfulness throughout all our days. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Joining Together

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, as I attended the memorial service for little Eli, the four-year-old grandson of my mom’s best friend, I was not sure what to expect, other than the weight of grief as we walked into the church. What I observed, was really this verse being made tangible. There were those who were greeting people in their shock and grief as they walked in, (and wisely, the ones who handed out the program for the memorial were the cousins of Eli, so we were greeted by sweet, smiling children), family members were mingling among those waiting to go inside to be seated, friends who had gathered from near and far, an auntie and uncle who spoke from the heart and demonstrated the depth of love that the family shared for Eli, and a pastor who beautifully balanced the celebration of who Eli was and the reality of how much missing and mourning would take place. Even after the service, different people operated in their various strengths. Some were in the kitchen preparing and serving, others were greeting people as they came into the reception area, still others were engaging in sweet conversation about how Eli had touched and blessed their lives, personally. Because they were surrounded and supported, I imagine that together, the family was able to get through far more than they would have thought possible, than had they been on their own. Though it was an agonizing reason to gather, there were tender moments of laughter and smiles at the memory of the incredible life this little boy lived in his four years. May we ever remember that we are each a part of the body, and what we contribute, helps the whole become more than it would be without us. We need each other; that is the way we have been designed.

 

No matter the why, Joining Together

We are meant to join;

Together as one,

As God does anoint.

For as a body,

With so many parts;

Together there’s strength,

To encourage hearts.

Each of us alone,

Find there is a lack;

But joined together,

We rise and come back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as a body has many different parts with different functions, that we too, as the body of believers do as well. Thank You that You created us this way with intention. Thank You that when we come together and support one another with the gifts that You have granted, the entire body becomes stronger. Forgive us for not rising up and joining in to offer what You have given us to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would naturally extend Your heart and hand through who You have made us to be. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with each other to become what we cannot be alone. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8