Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Kindness, Help and Love

Answer my prayers, O Lord, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is so plentiful. – (Psalm 69:16, NLT) 

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV) 

Oh, Lord God, answer my prayers! I need to see Your tender kindness, Your grace, Your compassion, and Your constant love. – (Psalm 69:16, TPT) 

 

The love of the Lord never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes, He provides answers that we don’t even realize our hearts are asking. His help, kindness and love are often made evident through those whom He places in our lives. Yesterday afternoon, I was sore and tired by the time I arrived home from work. Incredibly, my fiancé had arrived to my home before me and greeted me with tender kindness and compassion. God’s unfailing love and care for me was made tangible through the ways in which my Viking tended to me. He walked beside me, stepped behind me if the path was a bit sketchy (to catch me if I were to take a tumble), opened every door, made certain I was seated comfortably in each place we went, and showered me with kindness and compassion. Additionally, I received messages from a friend who is like family and a teammate whom I greatly respect and admire. God sees and He knows what our hearts need the most and in His tender kindness and constant love, He provides. May we ever seek Him for the answers we need, and with open arms, receive the goodness of His faithful love that He provides. 

 

The God of all grace, 

dsc044281720436005.jpg

My Viking ❤ -Photo:Open Door Photography

Through unfailing love; 

Shows His care for us, 

As mercies rise up. 

He provides His help, 

While compassion’s seen; 

As we receive grace, 

We learn what love means. 

He’s faithful to hear, 

Each time that we pray; 

His unfailing love, 

Will make clear a way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You that You take care of us and that Your mercy knows no end. Thank You for Your great kindness and help when we need it most. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles and frustrations. Help us to trust You more, as You hear us and answer, no matter the size of our need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your tender kindness, grace, compassion and constant love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and the wonderful ways that You make Your kindness and compassion tangible through those around us. 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

Loved By You

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) 

And so I am giving a new commandment to you now – love each other just as much as I love you. – (John 13:34, TLB) 

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) 

 

We are called and commanded to love, just as we are loved by God. His love is often made evident through the kindness of those who surround us. Yesterday, I was the recipient of His love made tangible on several occasions. My day in the classroom begins with my most challenging class, and yesterday was no exception. By the end of the ninety minutes, I would have gladly gone home if I had been given the option. God knew, and He provided support in spaces where it was needed most. Encouraging words from colleagues who are friends that came randomly as I walked across campus, flowers delivered at lunchtime from my fiancée, a brief, yet supportive conversation with my principal, and more messages from dear ones as the day went on. God knows what fills our hearts, and He loves us the way that helps our hearts hear best. We are called to go and do likewise. May we rise up and make the choice to love one another, just as the Lord so lavishly loves each of us. 

 

New command given, img_20180213_164632_6431902058580.jpg

To love others well; 

For as we choose love, 

Doubts and fears dispel. 

The love that God shows, 

Our hearts and our minds; 

Helps us love others, 

Leads us to be kind. 

On this day of love, 

Let us choose anew; 

To love as He loves, 

For His love is true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are commanded to love each other. Thank You that You place people in our lives to make Your love tangible when we need it the most. Thank You that just as we are loved, we are called to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen anything other than love for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You do. Show us how to love with patience and kindness, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth and love as we are loved by You. 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

Faithful Love Never Ends

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 107:1, NLT) 

Say thank you to the Lord for being so good, for always being so loving and kind. – (Psalm 107:1, TLB) 

Let everyone give all their praise and thanks to the Lord! Here’s why – He’s better than anyone could ever imagine. Yes, He’s always loving and kind, and His faithful love never ends. – (Psalm 107:1, TPT) 

 

This is a month where society floods us with messages of “love”. For some of us, it is a seemingly sweet sentiment, as we are in a good space, and know and appreciate that we are loved well. However, there are others who are in spaces of mourning, either for the love they have lost, or the love than is yet to be. The challenge in either space is to keep a proper perspective toward the love that matters most. God’s love has always been and will always be, and is not dependent on our feelings nor performance. No matter what sort of relationships we are in, our relationship with God ought to come first. When we love God and know His love well, we are equipped to give and receive love in a way that is lasting. May we rise up and give thanks to the Lord for His good, faithful and lasting love and receive what He gives, so that we can go and give in the same way. 

 

All thanks be to God, Love Made Known

For goodness and love; 

He’s always faithful, 

To help from above. 

He gives us kindness, 

For all of our days; 

Love overflowing, 

He’s present always. 

No matter status, 

Together, alone; 

When we go with God, 

Our heart’s always home. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that when we are single, You fill the places in our hearts that lack. Thank You that when You bring love to us, You show us Your heart for us in new ways through the other person. Thank You that in all things, You are loving and kind. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see things go our way, rather than trusting You and Your perfect timing. Teach us to trust You in the waiting. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may gain glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all our days for Your faithful love that never ends. Amen. 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Love Can Be Found

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel. – (Psalm 119:64, MSG)

Lord, Your faithful love fills the earth. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:64, ERV)

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV)

 

Everywhere the human eye can see, there is evidence of the Eternal’s love for us. The intentional, exquisite design of each individual we encounter, the beauty of nature, the intricacy of the countless systems set in place by His hands – I stand in awe when I give even a moment to think about the complexity of messages it requires to send information from my mind to my fingers to movement on the keyboard, yet the words that are typed on the screen occur so often with little thought or thanks for He who designed my body to function in this way. Just as it required training to learn to type without having to think about where each key is located, we need to be intentional to train our hearts and minds in the word of God, so that we don’t agonize to know what is right in His sight. May we take time to notice the love of the Lord that surrounds us, and be intentional to allow His word to train us in the ways we are meant to go.

 

The love of the Lord, IMG_3721

Fills the earth, surrounds;

Wherever we look,

His love can be found.

May we ever seek,

To walk in His ways;

Do right by the Lord,

For all of our days.

Lord, train up our hearts,

To walk in Your will;

Do what pleases You,

Your counsel, instill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is evident everywhere! Thank You that the earth is filled with Your love. Thank You that when we ask, You are faithful to answer and train us to live according to Your will. Forgive us for not seeking You and Your will as we walk out our days, and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to live according to Your counsel so that we love others in the way that You intended them to be loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your love all around us, and listen to Your leading in all that we do. Amen.

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

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

Trust the Transformation

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

We are bombarded by information, images and messages that compete for control of our hearts and minds. The influences of the world would have us believe that we must have more, do more and be more. God tells us that we are enough in Him. When we slow down and tune our ears and hearts to His voice, the message we receive is far different. The words the Lord speaks give life and hope and help, drawing us closer to Him, where we may find rest in the very presence of our Creator. Yes, there are some things that we have to do for our jobs, families, and so forth, yet in Christ, we find strength and help and hope that there is more than the mundane of “doing time”. He establishes purpose in all that we do and gives us eyes to see small things that we can do each day. May we stay true to who God has created us to be, and allow Him to be the one to transform us more and more into people who are refined and renewed and ready to do His will.

 

Do not change yourselves, not-defined-by-a-day

To be like the world;

Instead, allow God,

Show His path preferred.

For when we allow,

God on the inside;

He shows us what’s good,

And how to abide.

Let us seek the Lord,

Learn His perfect will;

Be ever renewed,

Find rest and be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but rather we can seek You and allow You to transform us to be more like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we learn Your will for us, which is good and pleasing before You. Forgive us for folding to the ways of the world, rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your ways and do Your will, even when it does not make sense. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is good and pleasing before You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let You transform us into the person that You have created us to become. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Relentless Love

No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:39, NLT)

I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:39, ERV)

 

By the end of the evening yesterday, I was seriously grumpy. Fortunately, no one was home, nor near me, to need deal with my less-than-stellar state of mind. Perhaps the weight of the weekend had caught up to me and I was just really exhausted. Whatever the case, God’s love for me did not waver based on my foul mood. In fact, He utilized people to encourage and bless me in spite of myself. Two different people sent messages to me that were uplifting and kind, reminding me that His love is not dependent on the condition of my countenance. There is nothing that can separate us from His love for us. No matter where we go or what we do, He still loves. God’s love is not reliant on us doing or being enough, but rather it is something He does freely and fiercely because we are His children. Nothing in us or around us can stand in the way of Christ having loved us with His life. It is that love that overcomes all that cannot be hidden, harmed, nor removed, no matter what comes. May we each embrace the gracious gift of love that God gives, knowing that there is nothing in all of creation that will ever be able to separate us from His love for us.

 

Wherever we go,Enter With Thanksgiving

Whatever we do;

The love of the Lord,

Is present and true.

There’s nothing on earth,

Above nor below;

That can take away,

Or make His love go.

I am certain now,

Of this truth I claim;

None can separate,

From love in His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your good and gracious love. Thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that You love relentlessly so that we may know the peace of Your perfect love. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles or somehow thinking that Your love cannot reach us in our space of uncertainty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You, so that they too, may come to know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your relentless love, and go forth and love likewise. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Adorn Our Hearts

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

Let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:4, VOICE)

 

We are constantly bombarded with images and messages about what is beautiful. If we wear this clothing, or have that hair, or fit a certain body type – then, then we will be considered beautiful. That “beauty” is both fleeting and subjective. Fashion and trends come and go, and external beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, the beauty that lasts and matters most to God, is the sort that is developed and upheld in our hearts. When we seek after Him, and are in step with our Savior, a gracious, and settled spirit emerges from us wherever we go. People are drawn to this sort of beauty that lasts. Our hearts, in which the Lord delights, are what attract others to draw near. Interestingly enough, the most beautiful people I know have hearts after God, and what is on the inside overflows to that which is seen. May we invest in adorning ourselves with the lasting beauty of His goodness and grace, as we go forth in the gentleness and quietness of a spirit that is set secure on our Savior.

 

Let us choose be clothed,Bloom Where We're Planted

In traits of the Lord;

For internal light,

Is beauty adored.

The things of this world,

Are fleeting at best;

For external fades,

When time puts to test.

A gentle spirit,

Quiet and at peace;

Is precious to God,

And shall never cease.

This is true beauty,

That draws others near;

A heart after God,

Walking without fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not so interested in how we adorn the external, but rather how we invest our hearts in You. Thank You that as we seek You and trust You, You create a beauty from within. You place in us a gracious and quiet spirit, that is secure in whom You have created us to be. Forgive us for our insecurities that cause our focus to shift to the external rather than within. Teach us to prioritize our focus on the beauty of our hearts according to Your standards, rather than the external according to the world. Show us how to love those around us with gracious and gentle spirits, so that we would be quick to recognize the beauty in those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to adorn ourselves with beautiful hearts. 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

 

Genuine Repentance

As I continue to study the scriptures in Exodus, I am reminded of how important genuine repentance truly is. Often, saying that we are sorry is simple, yet allowing our hearts and minds to make a change is an entirely different story. Pharaoh was a perfect example of why we ought not wait to really repent. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver a series of messages to Pharaoh, warning him of what would happen if he did not allow God’s people to go. Pharaoh was a master of double-talk, as he would be convinced in the moment of discomfort to allow the Israelites to leave, yet as soon as the plague had passed, he took back his words and denied them their desert departure.

 

After the seventh plague had been poured out upon Egypt, and hail had destroyed men, livestock and all of the land, Pharaoh responded. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, “This time I have sinned,” he said to them, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” – (Exodus 9:27-28) Sadly, as soon as it stopped, Pharaoh retracted his ruling, and prevented their passage, yet again. Consequently, three more plagues were poured out upon Egypt. The third of which was so severe, that the Israelites were practically chased out of Egypt, at last.

 

True repentance is made evident through our actions. Words are weightless and worthless if we cannot back them up with work. God forgives us for our every iniquity, yet He expects us to turn and walk away from that which seeks to entangle us. Real repentance is not only an act of our will alone, but it is a total dependence on Christ, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, change us, and restore us, so that we will not be the same as we were before. May we turn from our wicked ways, and demonstrate lives that are forever changed, by the loving and living God.

 

Lord, let not our hearts,Genuine Repentance

be calloused and hard;

keep us supple, soft,

to You, all regard.

Ready to listen,

with hearts that can hear;

ready to repent,

aware You are near.

May we clearly show,

the changes You make;

as our actions speak,

of which path we’ll take.

Let us walk in love,

that draws others near;

so all may see You,

make Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, forgiving and full of grace. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You give us many opportunities to come unto You. Forgive us for hardening our hearts to You in any way, and help us to allow You to break down the barriers that keep us from hearing all that we need to know to be right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily confess and then move away from the very things that brought us down. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many hardened hearts be softened before You, as lives are changed and hope is restored. Be exalted O God, as we tread tenderly unto You. 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

Honoring the Temple

In our media-driven society, we are flooded with what to eat, what to wear, how to look, and how to appeal to others.  The barrage of messages can overwhelm a soul that is not centered in Christ.  Those images and messages are not from God, yet so often are taken to heart. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” – (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

Though we are given the freedom to choose, when we choose Christ, we are no longer our own, but instead, we are now His.  Each one of us are His craftsmanship, created in His image; prepared to do good works, representing Him well, before those around us.  What we choose to do with the temple, (our body) in which His Spirit dwells, matters.  If we care for our bodies, avoiding sin that has been explained throughout scripture, not giving in to gluttony nor other indulgences, we are honoring God with what we have been given.  Christ sacrificed His own body on the cross, so that we could have life in ours.  May we choose well, to honor God with our entire being.

Though we have a choice,Honoring the Temple

we need to choose well;

for freedom unchecked,

is pathway to hell.

Yet freedom in Christ,

teaches us to trust;

the Spirit within,

and hear Him, we must.

We are His temple,

where Spirit resides;

if we will listen,

He’ll lead and He’ll guide.

May we honor God,

with our whole being;

let the lost be found,

and blind start seeing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who believe.  Forgive us for not treating our bodies as Your temple, by overindulging or by neglecting needs.  Teach us to care properly for the body that we have been given, so that we can best honor You each day.  Thank You that we belong to You, and that You are willing and available to lead and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that You care about even the smallest of details, as You are the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb.  May we listen and obey  all that You ask of us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King.  Let us love and serve others as You so lavishly love and care for us.  Be exalted in everything we say and do, and may we live as though we are merely the tenants of these temples in which we dwell, as we treat them as treasures belonging to You.  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