Made Strong in His Peace

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

After having been away for another long three weeks, this is exactly the reminder I need, prior to heading back to school to finish out the final three days of the school year. I know not what I will discover, as I reenter my classroom after my absence. Each time I have been away, I find myself nervous to return. It will be good to finish out the year, and I am looking forward to seeing my colleagues and students; there is simply a nervous anticipation in the waiting. God will give me the strength I need and provide His peace, if only I remember to slow down and breathe. This too, is part of the reason I rise as early as I do – extra time to process and prepare.

In the same way, God continues to give strength and peace to mom and Megan in Wenatchee. Yesterday was a leisurely Sunday, as they took care of practical things as well as enjoyed a visit with one of mom’s dearest friends. The fruit of all mom’s many months of labor is in full bloom, as her yard is bursting with color every direction the eye can see. Exposure to her yard over the last few months has certainly inspired me to dream about what to do with my own.

In all things, God is our strength and peace, and the One in Whom we can trust at all times.

 

The Lord makes us strong,

img_2019-06-17_04-30-122609492394303133472.jpg

A view on a walk near home…<3

Beyond physical;

He grants strength of heart,

Unsurpassable.

And oh how His peace,

Comes in and surrounds;

Calm to our chaos,

As His grace is found.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

Promised, His presence,

So, we need not fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our peace. Thank You that You are with us wherever we go and whatever we do, so we need not fear with You. Forgive us for our anxiousness about what lies ahead when we cannot see past the first step. Teach us to trust You more, as You always make a way and never leave us nor forsake us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in places of unrest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Our God has designed, wp-15323501515116858327490790099683.jpg

Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3

An Eternal Perspective

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)

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT)

That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it – What God has arranged for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, MSG)

 

As humans, we are creatures who crave comfort. Often, our desire to be comfortable leads us to labor and toil, fret and fear, to the point that we neglect to recognize the blessings we already have, and the hope held in what is yet to come. We are called to live and love well with each of our days as they come, as God has our ultimate destination prepared for us. Yes, we need to be wise with what we are given, but we need not worry about the final outcome, if we have placed our lives in His hands. May we lean into the Lord and trust in His leading, knowing that what lies ahead is far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

No eye’s ever seen,The Reason for Reverence

All God has prepared;

Glimpses of greatness,

Found in love that’s shared.

No ear has yet heard,

Heaven’s full glory;

Yet we know the hope,

Salvation story.

Our minds can’t conceive,

All God has prepared;

For those who love Him,

Our hearts can’t compare.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the love and grace and hope that You give us now, and the promised future that we cannot even begin to imagine. Forgive us for forgetting how temporary our time here is compared to all of eternity with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would keep our priorities where they belong. Show us how to live and love in a way that gives others help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live each day with an eternal perspective. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Godly Pursuit

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all of my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind. – (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11, NIV)

 

King Solomon was given wisdom and wealth beyond what anyone else had ever acquired before him. In his wisdom, Solomon recognized the futility of amassing people and possessions and giving in to every whim. He discovered all were without meaning, and not one brought true happiness.

The same remains true today. Stuff does not bring pleasure, nor does acting on our every desire. Instead, as we exercise self-control, and seek the Lord and His will for us, we find the joy that He brings in our choosing obedience to Him. There is a fine line in all of this. It seems the best way to know whether we are pursuing something that is meaningless or if it is a blessing that the Lord is willing to give, really depends on our heart condition. When we see things we like and are covetous, our heart is likely not in the right space. However, if there are things that we appreciate, but do not allow to dominate our desires, it is likely a more reasonable space from which to stand.

In my own life, there is a fine line of would I be willing to give it away? If not, I should probably not pursue it in the first place. There is nothing that I should cling to more tightly than Christ. Belongings are far easier to hold open-handed than relationships. The desire to hold tightly to something that I have invested time, energy and my heart into, is not so easily released. I am a work in progress, and know that more than anything, I must set my heart to seeking our Savior. May we delight in our pursuit of the path that the Lord has made plain for us, and choose to hold all else with open hands.

 

To pursue the Lord,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Is the only thing;

That has true meaning,

Grants us life lasting.

Though things may be nice,

Not one can compare;

To our hope in Christ,

For He hears our prayer.

We’re not meant to trust,

In people or things;

But rather in God,

And life that He brings.

There will be blessings,

He gives unto us;

But none can compare,

To our Lord Jesus.

Help our hearts be right,

Ever faithful, true;

As we seek to serve,

May we honor You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we delight in the process of work, its completion is our reward. Forgive us for a focus that is on accomplishments and acquisitions. Teach us to trust You more, so that our energy and attention are placed on things of You. Show us how to hold people and things with open hands, trusting You to keep all in proper perspective. Lead us to love others so that they can clearly see Your hand in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place You first in our every pursuit on this planet. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Strength for Serving

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

 

We are called to be firmly planted in Christ. When we allow His strength to be ours, we are unshakable. He calls us unto Himself, as He refines and renews us in Him. As long as we keep our eyes and hearts fixed securely on Christ, we find strength in Him to stand firm. The more we know Him and give ourselves fully to the Lord, the more we desire to serve Him. Nothing that we do unto the Lord is ever wasted. He uses every act of love done in His Name, for good. May we rise up in His strength to stand firm in who He calls us to be, and to serve God and those around us – trusting that He will use everything we do for His glory.

 

Be firmly planted,Living a Legacy Life

as people of Christ;

rooted in His strength,

always shall suffice.

For when we’re in Him,

we shall not be moved;

our hearts remain true,

and hope is renewed.

Choose to serve the Lord,

work as we are called;

our labor useful,

to tear down sin’s walls.

With joy, let us serve,

as He calls us to;

Allowing nothing,

to divert from truth.

Sisters and brothers,

we shall not be moved;

for we are the Lord’s,

in Him, we’re approved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can be strong and firmly planted; unshakable in the truth. Thank You that when we work enthusiastically for You, our work is never wasted. Thank You that You use our every offering that is brought to You with a heart that seeks to serve You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You and allowing the task to become more of our focus than You, who gives us the ability to complete it. Teach us to trust in You for all things at all times, so that all that we do is of use to You. Show us how to love and serve those around us in such a way, that they may see Your heart through who we are and what we do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stay firmly planted in You, doing good works in Your Name. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Do Not Be Moved

Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58)

 

Whatever He calls us to, we are meant to stick to; for He calls us with purpose and has a plan for each of us. When we know that to which we are called, we are meant to give ourselves fully to the task, as whatever we do, is unto Him. Anything that we do unto the Lord, is not done in vain. May we stand firm in Christ’s strength, allowing nothing to move us from the place to which He has called us.

 

Let us each stand firm,Faith for Forever

may we not be swayed;

by life’s distractions,

lest we’ll be afraid.

For when we’re in Christ,

we shall not be moved;

steadfast to the course,

that He leads us to.

Let’s fully invest,

to what the Lord calls;

for all unto Him,

His strength He installs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we may stand firm and not be moved. Thank You that as we give ourselves fully to that which You call us to, our investments of time, talent, and treasure are not in vain. Thank You that the risk is always worth the reward, even if it is not seen until we see You face-to-face. Forgive us for our lack of firm footing or our half-heartedness in that which we are called to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm and do all things fully as unto You, so that we may honor You in the process. Lead us to love others well, so that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm and whole-heartedly invest in all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

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

Go Now, Rest Later

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” – (Revelation 14:13, NIV)

 

Then I heard a voice from heaven It said, “Write this: From now on there are great blessings for those who belong to the Lord when they die.” The Spirit says, “Yes, that is true. They will rest from their hard work. What they have done will stay with them.” – (Revelation 14:13, ERV)

 

What we do now, matters for all of eternity. Today’s investment in others through His strength, will have an eternal reward. Though our motivation ought to be our love and devotion for our Savior who first loved us, He sees and knows our hearts and deeds, and our care for others does not go unnoticed by Him. Our commitment to our relationship with Christ grants us firm footing for today, and certain hope for all of eternity. Investing in the work while we are in the world, is well worth the cost, as the outcome is our ultimate invitation to enter eternal rest in His perfect presence. To be counted among His blessed, is a beauty worth beholding. May we seek Him and serve Him with all that we are, as long as we draw breath.

 

In life and in death,Go Now Rest Later

how blessed to be;

counted among those,

betrothed unto Thee.

For those who have sought,

surely too, have found;

new life in Your love,

where hope shall resound.

All faithful in life,

will enter Your rest;

You remember well,

things that we do best.

Grant us eyes to see,

others through Your lens;

so we will care well,

for strangers as friends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every moment invested in You and in loving people, is time well spent. Thank You that You see and know our hearts and deeds, and You remember how we choose to love. Thank You that as Your people, we are considered blessed, and that You are our hope forever. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love others as You would have wanted us to love, and help us to see others through Your eyes, so that we cannot help but love as You love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may faithfully step out to love and serve and care for those whom You place in our path. May many come to know the eternal hope that is held in You, as we go forth as Your hands and heart to the world. Let Your light shine brightly through us. Be glorified, O God, as we go forth. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Without Complaint Nor Argument

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. – (Philippians 2:14-16)

 

Paul was encouraging the church in Philippi to uphold a higher standard. He knew that if people could see a difference among the believers in how they lived, those who did not yet know Christ, would be more apt to hear and receive the words of life that they were openly offering.

 

I imagine we each can picture a person who willingly serves behind the scenes, that never has a complaint nor argument, and somehow has a bit of a glow about them. The Spirit dwelling within them, is evident, and people want to be near. May we each become more and more like Him, as His blameless and pure children – without complaining nor arguing, so that we may shine brightly, offering forth His words of life.

 

Let not a complaint,Without Complaint Nor Argument

leave these lips of mine;

nor arguing be,

a way to pass time.

Make me more like You,

one blameless and pure;

Your child without fault,

whose hope is secure.

Keep me from crooked,

depraved sorts of things;

allow me to shine,

Your word of life bring.

When my days are done,

I so long to hear;

“Well done, faithful child,”

“Come close and draw near.”

With arms extended,

reaching to embrace;

I’ll run to You, Lord,

as I see Your face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope is found in You alone. Thank You that You give us instructions as to how we are to be effective for You. Forgive us for our complaining and arguing, and help us to set aside our wicked and warring ways, and fix our eyes entirely on You. Help us to become Your blameless and pure children, without fault, so that we may be a mighty witness of Your word. Let Your light shine brightly through us, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. May many come to know You as their Lord and Savior. Be exalted as we are made blameless by the glorious gifts of Your mercy and grace. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5