Never Hidden From Grace

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV)

“Someone might try to hide from me in some hiding place. But it is easy for me to see that person,” says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” – (Jeremiah 23:24, ERV)

“Can anyone hide from Me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NLT)

 

There are times, even if we are not trying to hide, our circumstances may make us feel hidden from plain sight. For me, being in a situation where I am confined to my mom’s home, not being able to come and go as I please, is a strange sort of hidden space. Thankfully, God is faithful to remind me each new morning of His faithfulness and mercy, as He paints the sky anew, in plain view, as I rise. We are not hidden from His sight nor His reach, and the same way His glory fills the skies, is how He fills this house with His grace and mercy and love.

God made His reach and His vision for mom and her recovery evident yesterday as we met her new physical therapist. Nick is a wonderful man, with vast experience, who really took the time to get to know mom, what she is able to currently do, what she hopes to accomplish; and then began actively working with her to reach her goals. In one visit, he showed her new things that she is capable of doing that she did not realize she could already do. Additionally, for the first time, a few of her steps down her long hallway with the walker, did not require his assistance to bring her “stubborn” right leg through! This is huge progress, and truly tangible evidence that mom can see and feel and hold. There is little quite so encouraging as that which you can actually see and feel for yourself, in the direction you are working tirelessly toward. Last night, despite three wake-ups, was better for sleep for both of us as well. Today holds the meetings with her new speech therapist and occupational therapist, so I anticipate a busy, yet encouraging day. Please pray with us that today’s therapists are as wonderful as both Nick and Kari, whom we met on Saturday for an initial evaluation. If the first two are any indication, I would venture to say that yet again, God has orchestrated this change for such a time as this. May we ever trust in the One who hand-crafted the heavens and the earth, for we are never hidden from His sight.

 

Though there may be times, img_2019-06-25_07-02-53343082748570767751.jpg

Where we feel unseen;

The Lord keeps us close,

His love intervenes.

There’s nowhere we go,

That God cannot see;

He’ll never let go,

Presence, guaranteed.

We need only look,

Upon the vast sky;

Recognize His grace,

Grants us wings to fly.

Fly in His freedom,

Soar in His great grace;

Know how we are loved,

No matter our space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no place that we are hidden from You and Your great love for us. Thank You that the hands that created the heavens and the earth also created each of us, and know us individually. Thank You that no concern, care, celebration, nor fear escapes You. You see and know all. Forgive us for feeling isolated or unseen when our circumstances keep us from the communities we love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lean on You in the seasons that feel isolated, knowing that we are never alone. Show us how to reach out and love the lonely, helping to remind them how loved they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your grace and celebrate Your nearness. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do. – Psalm 73:28

To Choose to Love

Valentine’s Day seems to be bittersweet for many people. Those who are single, are reminded of their perceived lack, and those who are paired, often have unrealistic expectations that lead to disappointment. That being said, there is One who loves without limits, and does not need a special day to deliver. Christ loves us, in spite of ourselves, and His love is patient, kind, hopeful, enduring, and will always win. (1 Cor. 13) Because He loves us so well, He calls us to go and do likewise.

 

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

As followers of Christ, we are not only called, but we are commanded to love. Because we have been loved so well, we are equipped to go and do likewise. The love we have been given to give away, is not all about chocolates and flowers. We are called to serve and honor, encourage and uphold those around us. There may be times that He asks us to bless with a tangible gift, but it is far more critical that we are present and invested, loving with our time, energy and attention. On this day where love is misconstrued, and people have the capacity to feel more alone than ever, may we be present and love well, just as we are loved.

 

For we have been called, Tether Our Hearts

to choose to love well;

it is a command,

that Jesus did tell.

Not merely spoken,

but He showed the way;

to love with our lives,

to give them away.

Sit with the lonely,

walk beside the lost;

speak life to hopeless,

it is worth the cost.

Just as we are loved,

may we do the same;

so all may come know,

the truth of God’s Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have showed us what it is to love. Thank You that You have not just commanded us to love, but You command us to love with the very same love that You give unto us. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing, so that we are simply passing on the goodness that You have given us, when we choose to love. Forgive us for not loving deeply and fully as You have loved us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not be fearful of the possible repercussions of choosing to love like You. Show us how to demonstrate Your love to all whom we encounter, so that Your light may shine brightly through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love each other fully and deeply, just as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Love One Another

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35)

 

These words, spoken by Jesus to His disciples on the night on which He was betrayed, are words meant to lead and guide all that we say and do. If we choose to follow Christ, then we are choosing love. Not only are we opting to love God, but we are signing up to love all those whom we encounter. We are to love those who love us back, and those who are unkind to us. He calls us to love the unloveable, the lonely, the destitute and distraught, just as much as He calls us to love our family and our friends. When we truly love others, people see a difference in us and desire to have what we have. However, if we do not love, they are repelled by what we claim is ours. We bear a weighty responsibility through the choices that we make, yet the reward of watching another come to know that they too, can be the recipients of our Redeemer’s remarkable, unconditional, unending love, is worth the sacrifice of our own selfishness to give love away. May we rise up and choose to love anew, each day.

 

God has commanded,Diligent for All of Our Days

that we choose to love;

all those around us,

as Christ has above.

For He has shown us,

what we are to do;

to love as He loves,

model what is true.

As we are willing,

to love anyway;

people will see Him,

through what we display.

Be His disciples,

follow His commands;

love without limits,

lift up with these hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to love one another as You have loved us. Thank You that You showed us what that looks like through the gift of Your Son. Thank You that when we do as You ask, people will know that it is You in us, that provides the ability to love. Forgive us for being disobedient, or selective in whom we choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will walk in complete obedience to truly love ALL as You call us to love. Lead us and guide us – help us to hear You clearly, and then obey immediately, all the ways in which You ask us to love well, those who are around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we love one another as You have loved us. Amen.

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

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

Tangible Touch

Twelve years without so much as a handshake, high five, nor a hug.  Can you imagine?  Touch is a biological and developmental need.  It helps us feel connected to others.  Touch reduces anxiety, forms bonds, lowers blood pressure, improves our outlook, and provides sensory input that we need to function and develop properly.  This morning, as I again read the story of the woman who’d been subject to bleeding for twelve years, in Luke, chapter eight, I saw the story through fresh eyes – through a perspective that I had not previously seen.  This woman had lived with not only the stigma of being considered “unclean” for twelve years, but she had likely lived in isolation for just as long.  The sheer loneliness was likely far worse than the condition itself.  I wonder if that is the very thing that drove her determination to hold onto the hope that she might be healed, if she could only touch the hem of His cloak?

Personally, I picture her experience as some sort of roller coaster ride.  Sheer determination to end her isolation propelled her through the throes of the crowd.  Hope reached out her hand for His hem, and joy unimagined must have been rising as she felt the bleeding cease.  Then, she was called out.  Would He take it back?  Would she be sent back to her isolated space for her violation of societal laws in her unclean state?  Imagine the momentary fear that tried to lay hold of her heart.  Somehow, faith continued to rise within her.  “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet.  In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed.  Then He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” – (Luke 8:47-48) 

She was free!  Not only was she free from the illness that had plagued her for twelve long years, but she no longer needed to live in isolation.  The touch of His hem touched more than her hand, it touched her heart and soul.  Never again, would she be considered “untouchable“.

Lonely, untouched,Tangible Touch

a face in the crowd;

the world, silent,

despite being loud.

Who knows not touch,

in our world today?

Lonely, outcast,

let love light the way.

For He will show,

where the need is great;

are we willing,

to step out in faith?

Pat on the back,

a hug on the side;

what will it cost,

to give those denied?

Please show us, God,

how we’re meant to touch;

as Your hands, Lord,

to share Your love much.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an unfailing and everlasting love.  Thank You that while we were yet stuck in our own sinfulness, You loved.  Thank You that You touch us, even when we feel untouchable, and that there is never a time when You are not willing to be near.  Forgive us for neglecting to be Your hands and heart to the hurting in a tangible way, and help us to know how to touch those who feel alone and untouchable.  May Your light and love be evident in us, and may many come to know the freedom and acceptance that is always available in You alone.  May lives be changed and hearts be restored, as the lonely and isolated find way into community.  Be glorified as we gather, Lord God.  Amen.

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

Care Over Comfort

An orphanage in India during my YWAM days.<3

An orphanage in India during my YWAM days.<3

Far beyond comfort,

or care for his chains;

Paul’s one heart desire,

the truth to proclaim.

In face of trial,

he stood before kings;

always his message,

the freedom Christ brings.

May we stand in strength,

with courage, speak truth;

share of holy hope,

in all that we do.

Study well His word,

persistent in prayer;

let exaltation,

be raised up with care.

Let every heart,

that calls on His Name;

lay hold of His grace,

and boldly proclaim.

Love to the lost souls,

still searching for peace;

may we each love toward,

the lonely’s release.

(Responding to Acts 26:28-29)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us countless examples through Your word, Your only Son, and through faithful men and women throughout the ages, who have cared more about loving people and showing them Your heart for them, than they did about their own safety and security. Birth in us, that very same passion for people. Forgive us for the times we have been fearful and the times we have turned a deaf ear to Your still small voice because whatever You asked of us was not convenient. Grow us in Your grace, so that our concern is not about convenience, but rather about compassion for Your creation. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. May our care and compassion for those who are hurting, lead each to Your loving and healing arms. Amen.

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

Who Is My Neighbor?

image by Shawne K. Wickham

image by Shawne K. Wickham

Location has little

to do with this term,

as Jesus, Himself

wants each one to learn.

The one who is hurting

be they near or quite far;

the despised, the rejected,

wherever they are.

The orphans, the lonely,

the widows and such,

the poor and the downcast –

those needing so much.

We are their neighbors.

If not we, then who?

When we ask of our Father,

He’ll show us what to do.

Sometimes a word

is His greatest gift,

for through His perfect power,

a downcast soul He can lift.

Maybe a meal,

made by our tender hands,

will refresh one who’s weary,

fulfilling His plan.

Such seemingly small things,

can matter so much,

when fueled by the Father,

we offer His touch.

(responding to Luke 10:25-37 – The Parable of the Good Samaritan)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to model so much more than what it is to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus did not hesitate in His giving, even unto His life in exchange for ours, so that we would have a way to come to know You. Forgive us for not allowing our light to shine bright at all times, and for withholding blessing from those You have declared to be our neighbors that we may have overlooked. Teach us to trust You so that we might love You and love one another as You have loved us. May the love that we give away, lead people to You today. Amen.

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