His Plans are Good

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

No matter how our circumstances feel, God has good plans for each of us. Though we walk through seasons of heartache or hardship, what comes from it is ultimately good, and often leads to a place of hope and blessing that far exceeds what we could have anticipated or imagined. In my own life, dreams were dashed for a time, and could not imagine how the turn life had taken could lead to the sort of future I had hoped for. Incredibly, God provided and loved me through it and grew and prepared me for the new season I was about to enter. Today, I can look back and see His heart for me through it all. His strength and resolve were deposited in my heart in fresh new ways, and I now know His love far better than I ever had before. Though none of us know for certain what lies ahead, I have hope and trust that it is good. May we ever seek our Savior and trust in Him, as He has good plans for us that include hope and a good future.

 

Despite what we see,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Hope ever remains;

For God’s plans are good,

As we let Him reign.

Reign within our heart,

And show us the way;

To trust the future,

Your love Lord, we pray.

May all know Your hope,

That fills hearts with love;

Grants courage and trust,

As we seek You above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that in You, we have hope and a future. Forgive us for doubting Your hand in what lies ahead when things grow difficult for a season. Teach us to trust You through all things and at all times, as You are our strength and supply for our every need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer hope for the future and strength for right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the hope and future that You hold in Your hands for each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

 

 

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

Considering a Couple’s Calling

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, NIV) 

During those days, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, ordered that the first census be taken throughout his empire. So, Joseph and his fiancé, Mary, left Nazareth, a village in Galilee, and journeyed to their hometown in Judea, to the village of Bethlehem, King David’s ancient home. They were required to register there, since they were both direct descendants of David. Mary was pregnant and nearly ready to give birth. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, TPT) 

 

At the time of Caesar Augustus, if a decree was issued, the people followed. Though a seemingly chaos inducing order, I imagine a four-day, eighty-some mile journey on foot, would likely be a better option than dealing with the Roman guard. Furthermore, Mary was nearing the time that Jesus was due. There was probably some honor in being connected to the lineage of David, yet this young couple was about to enter town, unwed and very obviously expecting. Back then, such a predicament would be scandalous, and may have been the cause of their difficulty in finding a place to stay upon arrival in Bethlehem. Being that it was the town both Mary and Joseph were expected to register, it is odd that there were no family members that could offer them room. And, what about each of their families? These are my ponderings as I read through this particular passage this morning and picture their journey and struggles as they traveled. Did they travel alone as a couple, or were they part of a caravan? Did they have family that turned them away, or had their living ancestors all moved to Nazareth too? What I do know is that God was with them. Though it was a long and arduous journey, they were faithful to that which they had been called. At times, we too find ourselves in strange and seemingly desolate spaces, yet when we persevere in that which we have been asked to do, we discover that God uses our circumstances to grow, equip and transform us for that which lies ahead. Perhaps the four-day walk was an opportunity for Mary and Joseph to get to know one another and share their joys and fears about what had been spoken. Whatever transpired on their journey, God was with them, and He provided what they needed when it was needed most. May we seek and trust the Lord, even when we find ourselves on paths that have not yet been made plain. God is faithful and will remain with us, no matter our circumstances. 

 

No matter the road, Considering a Couples Calling

We find we need trod; 

The Lord is faithful, 

Ever-present God. 

Through trials and joys, 

No matter what comes; 

He grants what we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

So, seek the Lord’s grace, 

Choose trust in His Name; 

He grants strength and peace, 

Does what the word claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to walk among us and experience the same sort of struggles and joys that we do. Thank You for the faithfulness of Mary and Joseph, as they demonstrate what it is to truly trust You with all. Forgive us for our faltering faith when things do not make sense. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your grace, peace and presence known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You rather than what we see or think we know, for You are the answer to our every need. Amen.

 

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Help Ever Near

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. – (Psalm 46:1, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to meet us wherever we are, no matter what we are facing. Yesterday, I wrote about my anxiousness over an upcoming oral surgery that I need to have done. Incredibly, it was not at the surgeon’s office that peace was made present, but rather through the sweet and encouraging words of both my sister-in-love and a sweet friend from work. As each mentioned their own experiences or that of another, my mind was eased of the fear that I had been holding. Often God’s nearness is made tangible through those whom He places around us. For me, learning from those who had witnessed or experienced what lies ahead, took the unknown element out that which was the root of my fear. Strength is provided in the safety of His hands when we choose to seek Him. May we ever remember our Source of strength and safety when trouble instills fear into our heart.

 

Space of protection, Pardon Brings Peace

Our Calmer of fear;

When troubles come close,

The Lord will be near.

Choose place in His hands,

All trouble that comes;

He will keep us safe,

Grant strength through His Son.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our hope;

Faithful to meet us,

His grace helps us cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to be near and answer us as we call on You for help. Thank You that You are our strength and our shelter in all things and at all times. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to be Your voice and Your heart to us. Forgive us for our fears when troubles and trials come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength and peace and safety. Show us how to love others well, so that they may come to know the strength and security that are found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our Source of safety and strength, for You are always near. Amen.

 

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

 

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

The Waste in Worry

Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life? – (Luke 12:25, NLT)

None of you can any time to your life by worrying about it. – (Luke 12:25, ERV)

And besides, what’s the use of worrying? What good does it do? Will it add a single day to your life? Of course not! – (Luke 12:25, TLB)

 

I am not a huge worrier, yet there are some things, based on previous experience, where I struggle to find faith. This month I have to have oral surgery for gum grafting. In my numerous prior experiences with dental visits requiring Novocain, I find reason for dread, as dentists cannot seem to keep my mouth numb throughout an entire procedure. Though I have tried to not even give the upcoming appointment much thought, as I have had plenty of wonderful distractions, it is clearly a point of concern when I wake to disturbing dreams about the process. My prayer is that by voicing my concerns to the surgeon at my consultation, my mind and heart will be put at peace and worry will not enter my thoughts again. Worry steals rest rather than returning remedy for what lies ahead. Instead, I have to place it in His hands and trust. May we release worry and fear into His hands, find peace and comfort in His care.

 

Worry’s a challenge, We Need Not Worry

To choose to release;

Yet holding to it,

No good is increased.

Instead, we need give,

Our concerns to God;

Who’s greater than all,

His grace knows no flaws.

So, bring God all fears,

Place each in His hands;

He meets us with love,

Strength from Him to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry in You. Forgive us for allowing worry to remain in our hearts and minds, as no benefit is brought in through worry. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces where we have known discomfort or pain in the past, as each day and experience is new in You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that worry is released and peace is found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to place our worries in Your capable hands in exchange for the peace found in You alone. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Confident in Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. – (Hebrews 11:1, TLB)

 

Faith is trusting in the unseen and holding hope in that which is not yet fully known. Marriage is an excellent example of faith in action. We may know our spouse-to-be quite well, yet rarely are they fully known as we enter into the very relationship that God has ordained. It takes two people who have confident hope in a lifetime together, as well as the commitment to trust in God and each other for all that lies ahead. When our hope is in God and the good things that He has in store for us, we find assurance in that which is yet to come. Though I know there is no “perfect” nor easy existence with one another, I have confident hope that when two people are pursuing God’s best for themselves and one another, that His grace will be the glue that holds hope steady in each heart. May we ever seek the Lord and have faith in who He is and all that He has in store for those who place their hope in Him.

 

Faith’s the foundation,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

On which we can stand;

As we seek the Lord,

And all He commands.

For confident hope,

In all that’s unseen;

Exemplifies faith,

And what God’s grace means.

Though we cannot see,

All that lies ahead;

When we trust in God,

Faith rises and spreads.

The Lord is faithful,

In what we can’t see;

Choose confident hope,

Through trust and belief.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have confident hope in that which we cannot yet see, for You are faithful to all who believe. Forgive us for doubting the good that You have in store for us, and help us to hold firmly in faith all that You are and all that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, in our relationships with You and one another. Show us how to love confidently and fearlessly, the way that You intended, so that many may be encouraged and find faith where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold confident hope in You and trust in that which is yet to come. Amen.

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

The Endowment of Early Mornings

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

Lord, in the morning You hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before You. Then I wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, CEB)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Being up in the early hours to usher in the first morning’s light reminds me of the greatness of God and kicks off my day in awe and appreciation of all that lies ahead. We are called to present our requests before God, and He wants all that we are in exchange for all that He is and all that He desires to do in and through us. God sees and He hears everything that we freely offer unto Him. In doing so, we ought to wait in anticipation of all that He will do. The Lord is faithful to meet us each morning and will move mightily in and through us as we present all unto Him. May we rise each morning and lay our gifts – our prayers, our hearts and our offerings to the Lord and trust that He will see and hear and move on our behalf.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

I choose wake and rise;

To draw near to God,

His grace realized.

For each day I come,

And bring Him my best;

He grants me His strength,

And extends His rest.

I cannot but help,

Of Him stand in awe;

For He is faithful,

As near Him I draw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us each morning as we rise and present our all unto You. Thank You that You see and hear and move on our behalf. Thank You that we can wait expectantly, assured that You will answer in Your faithfulness. Forgive us for doubting when answers take longer than we would anticipate. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, for Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives ear to every word spoken, so that they may gain a glimpse of how You listen to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise each morning and present our all unto You, anticipating the wonderful ways that You move on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day. – Lamentations 3:23

 

 

 

Encouragement and Strength Supplied

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

On the day I cried out, You answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength. – (Psalm 138:3, CEB)

When I pray, You answer me and encourage me by giving me the strength I need. – (Psalm 138:3, TLB)

 

This is an incredibly exciting season, as there are many preparations for the coming month ahead. With so much new, and much to do, I find myself up, moving and pushing through from sunup to sundown. All the work that is being fulfilled is for good and undertaken joyfully, yet I am so grateful that I am met each morning with the new strength that is needed to navigate all that must be accomplished. Between helping prepare my fiance’s old house to sell, assisting in moving he and his son into the home that we have purchased, projects at the new house, sorting and purging items in my own home to ready ourselves to move, and wedding preparation, this week has been crazy busy. Each morning, as I make time with God my priority, I am met with all that is required to rise and run strong throughout the day. He grants me strength and encouragement, as I am filled with joy in knowing the beauty of all that lies before me. May we always remember to call on the Lord, as He is faithful to answer and encourage us and grant us strength.

 

Each time that we pray,

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Our boys sharing the workload too. ❤

God’s faithful to hear;

He grants us His strength,

And draws ever near.

Encouragement’s found,

As we seek His grace;

Empowered each step,

Throughout all our days.

So, rise up in hope,

And call on the Lord;

He grants us His strength,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as soon as we pray, You answer us. Thank You that You encourage us by giving us strength. Thank You for the countless blessings that You pour out upon us as we walk out our days, seeking Your face. Forgive us for becoming distracted by all that lies before us, rather than looking to You, the One who supplies all that we need for whatever lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, recognizing the strength and encouragement that You alone supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens them as they pursue the path that has been placed before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and give You thanks for the encouragement and strength that You provide. 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

Soar in Strength

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG)

 

With school ending and the wedding drawing nearer each day, I find myself a different sort of busy. I do not rise quite as early, but am still greeted by early morning light, and I find that I am often lying down to sleep after the day has gone dark. The pace of my days is not nearly as hectic, yet they are equally full, as there is much to do in preparation for all that lies ahead. Between moving classroom and homes, as well as less than a month until the wedding, much needs to be done. If I pause and think about it, I am weary before I begin; however, if I rise and set to whatever needs to be done each day, I find that the Lord renews my strength and I am not weary until the day comes to a close. Incredibly, I have found this to be so even in my long-awaited return to running after sustaining a fibular fracture in football. I feared that I might struggle to run even a short distance, yet my best running buddy and I set out and ran nearly four miles on a hot day, on my first day back to it. There was zero pain and I felt as strong as if I had never stopped running.  May we ever hope in God who gives us fresh strength for each new day so that we may run without growing weary and walk without lagging behind.

 

When we hope in God, img_20180620_172045_852631896968823023748.jpg

Our strength is renewed;

We find wings to soar,

As His path’s pursued.

Each time that we run,

We will not grow tired;

For God is our strength,

All that is desired.

In Him, we can walk,

And not lag behind;

For He shall provide,

Help and hope aligned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we hope in You, You renew our strength and help us to soar. Thank You that we can run and not grow weary and walk and not grow faint, as we move in the direction to which You are calling us to go. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of weariness or where we feel depleted. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as You are the wings on which we shall soar. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens, helps and renews others in their spaces of weariness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You forever, soaring in the strength that You alone provide. 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

In Strength, She Smiles

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)

She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. – (Proverbs 31:25, ERV)

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, VOICE)

 

Strong people strengthen people. I have been overwhelmingly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by strong and loving women who have modeled strength, dignity and courage through active faith in their daily lives, no matter what their circumstances. From my phenomenal mom and her mom, to aunts, dear friends, pastors and colleagues, I have seen such lives lived out, and have been encouraged when my own strength, courage or confidence was lacking. Though there is no “arriving”, I am in a space where I look forward to the future with confidence, trusting that God has good things in store for me and my loved ones. I know that trials will come and go, yet He is faithful through all things, so I need not fear what lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and confidence, so that we can look to the future and smile.

 

He’ll clothe us in strength,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And His dignity;

As we trust in Him,

In faith, choose believe.

We’ll laugh without fear,

At what lies ahead;

Knowing God’s with us,

By grace, we’ll be led.

Others will respect,

The strength that they see;

As we walk beside,

And help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You clothe us with strength and dignity and give us reason to look confidently to the future. Thank You for the women that You have placed in our lives that have supported and modeled these attributes for us and in us. Forgive us for the times that we have remained in our fearfulness or attempted to navigate things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, and to embrace those whom You have intentionally placed in our lives for mutual encouragement. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grows strength and dignity and removes fear of the future. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the strength and dignity that You are growing in us and look forward to the future without fear. 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