Seek in All Things

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from Him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

 

The difference this makes in my life is remarkable. This morning, I did not have time to begin my day in the usual way, and I felt off and irritable. By rising early and spending time with God, my heart and mind are set on Him, rather on self, and His grace is grown greater within me. Today, that has not been my story. Mom had a rough night, and woke several times. Consequently, my sleep was quite compromised, and we did not get up for breakfast until 6:45. Normally, that would be okay, but today we needed to have mom’s car down to the dealership by 8:30 for an oil change and tire rotation. The morning felt hurried and my heart, unsettled. Small things that normally would not bother me at all, were bringing me near tears, and I could feel my patience running very thin. It took everything in me to not be short with mom, and I was not likely as patient or kind as I normally would have been. After our outing, we returned home and I needed to contact the company whom her wheelchair was ordered through two months ago. Every ounce of self-control was utilized to not unleash on the person on the other end of the line, as she claimed they were still waiting on a signature from a doctor to actually order the chair. By the end of the conversation, I could have utilized a heavy bag and some boxing gloves, or a nice, long run, but alas, neither are options right now. Thankfully, mom was ready to relax and I very much needed to get in the word and chill out with the One who holds my heart. Already, I can feel the tension subsiding, and peace beginning to return to the spaces where it was absent. For me, morning devotions are not about religion or ritual, they are connection and centering and setting my heart right for the day. With intentional time before my day begins, my head and heart are prepared to navigate whatever comes my way. Without it, ugh; my heart gets ugly quickly. May we ever seek His kingdom first, as it is in Him that we find all that we truly need to navigate this life well.

Yesterday, mom conquered more fears, as she had her first hair appointment since March. She had been anxious about going and sitting and worried about transferring from her chair to the one in the shop, but all went well and she felt fantastic after. Additionally, mom had a wonderful visit with two of her dearest friends at lunchtime. They blessed us with lunch and Dutch Bros delivery as well. After they left, mom was ready to relax, so we attempted to watch a movie. Mom was quite weary, but refused to go take a rest. She nodded off several times during the show, but insisted that she did not want to go nap. The remainder of the evening she continued to fight off sleepiness, and finally gave in at a normal bedtime. Whether it was the exhaustion or her mental list-making for the move that made sleep a challenge, her sleep was clearly not restful. Today, I am seeking our Savior specifically for peace and rest, so that mom gets a great night’s sleep tonight.

 

Seek first the kingdom,

The Lord above all;

He holds heart and hand,

And won’t let us fall.

He grants us the strength,

To love and be kind;

Choose patience and peace,

As He has designed.

In all things choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

So we may love well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You meet us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You love us through our grumpiness, brokenness, and ugliness. Thank You that You offer peace and patience, and fill us with love to extend to those around us as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to turn to You for help, and instead focus on our lack. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Comfort. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the peace and kindness that is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Maker of Mountains

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of the heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE)

 

For a visual girl, such as myself, this is such a powerful reminder. At mom’s I am surrounded by hills and mountains that leave me in awe each morning as the sun rises and sets around us; and at home, snow-capped mountain ranges can be seen clearly beyond the water’s horizon of the Puget Sound. Either place, I am reminded from Whom my help comes. The very One who created such beauty, is more than able to be near and provide whatever help I need. We need only glimpse of the glory of creation to know that One who is far greater, has the world in His hands. This is critical to know, as we continue this road to recovery with mom. Our latest dilemma is such that her former in-home speech therapist took a new job, leaving the current in-home care company without a speech therapist. What this means for us, is that we have to switch all of her therapies to a different company because insurance will only work with one company. She loses her amazing physical therapist and occupational therapist, as well as a great in-home nurse. We have to trust that God has her in His hands and has a greater plan. He hasn’t brought her this far, to only bring her this far. We need His help to wrap our minds around how quickly time is flying and how labor-intensive progress is to make small gains. Our current arrangement is wonderful, ideal even for mom’s healing, but it has an expiration date. My capacity to be present in Wenatchee full-time will end in the middle of August. Meg will have exhausted her leave around the same time as well. He is our help and our hope, and we are trusting for miraculous things to determine the best next thing for mom. Thankfully, we have loving families and options in both Meg’s home and mine, if needed, yet it is not a path that mom is even ready to consider yet. All this to say that rather than looking at the size of the mountains before us, we need to look to the One who created them all. He is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine as we choose to trust in Him. We do not know and cannot predict the direction this road will take, but for today, we continue to move forward in faith and trust in He who is our help and our hope forever.

 

Look to the mountains, img_2019-06-22_08-20-406022810217687705642.jpg

Such wonder to see;

How vast and how high,

From sky to the sea.

The same Creator,

Of all of these things;

Is our help and hope,

Salvation He brings.

No matter what comes,

The giants we face;

God will be our help,

With His endless grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter when we look, we are reminded that if You can create such beauty, You can certainly help and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are the help we need, always. Forgive us for seeing the size of our need, rather than the size of our God. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love others in a way that supports and strengthens them, encouraging them to press on and look up as they continue to move ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our help at all times and trust in You for all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Be Interruptible

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, NIV)

People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen. – (Proverbs 19:21, ERV)

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, MSG)

 

Yesterday was a fantastic day, as my husband drove over the mountains to spend time with mom and me. We enjoyed our afternoon and evening together, balancing time between just he and I as mom took an afternoon siesta, and a wonderful adventure of preparing and partaking in dinner with one another, as a trio. Interestingly, we had a plan in place, as a dear friend, (who was like a second mom to me growing up) was going to come spend time with mom, so that Mark and I could go into town for a quick visit with our best friends, who are here for a ball tournament. Well, the timing did not align, and our plans did not go according to what we had imagined, but we ended up having a fantastic evening of playing a family favorite game with mom, my second mom, Mark and myself. So often, what we think we ought to be doing turns out to not be the actual plan. What unfolds, ends up being a perfect sort of wonderful, and exactly the sort of evening that each of us needed. God knew, even if we did not. Though we are not meant to sit idly by and wait for life to unfold; we ought not get flustered or forlorn when plans do not go as we thought they ought to have gone. Rather, we should be open to the idea that when things do not go the way we thought they should, perhaps God had a better plan all along. No matter how the road before us unfolds, God is with us, God is for us, and God is good.

 

Many are the plans, Be Interruptible

Deep down in our heart;

Yet it’s God’s purpose,

That will find a start.

Sometimes the best plans,

Go a different way;

And we discover,

His path is made plain.

All praise to the Lord,

On whom we rely;

For His ways are best,

And His strength supplied.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your plans, greater than our own. Forgive us for our initial frustration or disappointment when our plans seem to fail. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans provide us with all that we need and more. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage, strengthen and build each other up in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep pressing forward in faith, but allow our plans to be interruptible and embrace the way that You direct our steps. Amen.

 

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

 

“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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Plan With Purpose

You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. – (Proverbs 19:21, NLT)

People might make many plans, but what the Lord says is what will happen. – (Proverbs 19:21, ERV)

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God’s purpose prevails. – (Proverbs 19:21, MSG)

 

This is an interesting paradox, as God gives us intellect and free will, yet a heart to seek and serve Him. There are things that are abundantly clear as to what we are meant to do, and others, where it seems that we must brainstorm, make plans, and move forward using our best judgement. It is in these spaces that I think it is good to remember that if our heart is for Him, we need not worry, as His purpose will prevail. Even when we begin in a seemingly misguided direction, twists and turns, hills and valleys become a part of the journey, and our route ends up at an incredible destination. Perhaps God’s ultimate plan and purpose is for the learning and growth that takes place along the way, as we end up on a seeming round-about adventure. May we seek the Lord in all that we do, and ever move forward in the direction to which feel we are called.

 

God grants us a mind, The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

To know and make plans;

Let us seek His will,

With purpose, we stand.

Despite all our plans,

God’s will shall prevail;

For what the Lord says,

Will not ever fail.

Let us choose rise up,

In awe, seek His ways;

Trust the Lord to lead,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your purpose ultimately prevails. Thank You that though we make plans and seek to do the right thing, You always know best, and lead us to the place where You intend for us to go. Forgive us for planning without seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask You and listen for Your leading, rather than attempt to plan out the entire path of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates faith and gratitude for the grace that You so generously give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your plans and purposes for our life, both now and forevermore. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

 

Right in His Sight

If you listen to Him, you will understand what is just and fair and how to do what is right. – (Proverbs 2:9, ERV)

With wisdom you will be able to choose the right road, seek justice, and decide what is good and fair. – (Proverbs 2:9, VOICE)

 

When we seek the Lord and listen for His voice, He shows us what is good and right in His sight. God grants wisdom to those who ask, and makes plain His path that is just and leads to joy as we journey through life with Him. We need to worry less about the weight of our options, and more about what matters to God. As we heed His instruction, the right road is made plain before us. God is faithful to answer when we ask Him what is just and fair and how to do His will. May we ever seek the Lord and listen for His voice, so that we will know and understand what is right in His sight.

 

True understanding,The Direction of Discipline

Is gained through the Lord;

As we seek, we find,

Wisdom He’ll afford.

God shows us what’s just,

The road to do right;

If we choose listen,

Confusion takes flight.

Understanding comes,

As we hear His voice;

True wisdom granted,

To make the right choice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen to You, You grant us understanding of what is just and fair and how to do what is right. Forgive us for the times we neglect to listen, or choose to ignore the instructions that we have heard, to do what we think is best. Teach us to trust You and Your ways, as You know the outcome before we ever begin. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is just and fair, and that models doing right. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You and follow the road that You make plain to do what is right. Amen.

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

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Worship Anyway

Job got to his feet, ripped his robe, shaved his head, then fell to the ground and worshiped. – (Job 1:20, MSG)

When Job heard this, he got up, tore his clothes, and shaved his head to show his sadness. Then he fell to the ground to bow down before God. – (Job 1:20, ERV)

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground to worship. – (Job 1:20, NLT)

 

A few days ago, I passed the one-month mark with my back injury. Typically, I am extraordinarily active, and I participate in high impact workouts at least six days per week. In order for my compression fracture to heal, I was instructed to do no high impact activities. This has left me with few options, and the lack of adrenaline and endorphins released from merely walking, seem to be taking its toll. I am weary, restless, and fighting the darkness that tries to pull me down. The only thing that has kept me somewhat sane in this state of waiting, is an abundance of walking, encouraging friends, and the turning up of my worship music and singing along with all that I am.

This morning, as I read about Job and all of the horrible loss that he endured, as well as how he responded, I am again reminded of what matters most, and how to best combat the fear and frustration. Worship does wonders. As we remove our focus from ourselves and our own situations, and instead fix our eyes and hearts on Him who deserves all of our attention, something shifts and the unbearable becomes bearable. Our burdens are no longer ours alone, and we see Him who is seated on the throne. God who is worthy of all of our worship, is the only One who can see us through our storms. May we mourn what need be mourned, then, despite our sorrow, set our hearts to worship the One who will carry us until our strength is renewed. Let every heart lift praise to our Prince of Peace.

 

When all’s going wrong,photo (3)

The struggle is new;

There’s one place to turn,

Where Love sees us through.

The Lord is our strength,

No matter our state;

As we choose worship,

His love lifts the weight.

He helps bear burdens,

Too heavy for us;

Shines light in darkness,

Grants peace through Jesus.

Despite the struggle,

God is always good;

Let us choose worship,

His grace understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and worthy of our worship. Thank You that despite what we have going on in or around us, You are with us and willing to remain present. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to dictate our view of You, rather than allow You to shape our view of what is going on in and around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and worship You in all things and at all times. Show us how to worship You in spite of what we see, and lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may see how kind and loving You are to all who seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we mourn what need be mourned, but recognize in all things, that You deserve our worship. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Rest As Required

They went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint His body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law. – (Luke 23:56, NLT)

 

The women who had faithfully followed Jesus and watched in sorrow as He breathed His last breath on the cross, were without many options as to what they might actually be able to do in response to such a seeming tragedy. The only role they knew was to faithfully prepare that which would grant their Savior a proper burial. I imagine they worked feverishly and with painstaking care, to finish the preparations in hope of going to the tomb right away, prior to their required rest. Sabbath sunrise arrived just after their work was done, and the ladies were left in a holding pattern of not yet.

How often do we too, in our seeming inability to do anything to help a situation, resort to that which we know, only to get to a place where we hit a wall, and find that we are stuck in a space of waiting or not yet? Often, it is much like it was for the women. Sunday is yet to come. That which is ahead, is exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, even if it is something that has been promised before. Christ had told those who were faithful followers of His that He would rise, yet something about His foretelling did not ever really register with any of them. Often our places of pause or required rest, are strategically spaced just prior to a promise fulfilled or movement of a miracle. May we seek the Lord in our spaces of Sabbath, and simply rest in the assurance that He is good and His faithfulness never ends.

 

In that restless space,Confidence Comes Through Christ

when we hit the wall;

we can’t move forward,

on Him, let us call.

Ever so often,

that‘s the very place;

where He intended,

that we seek His face.

It’s in the seeking,

that we come to find;

His help and His hope,

He’s patient and kind.

Often the forced pause,

that space where we rest;

a season to find,

what‘s coming is best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present and moving, even when it seems that we have hit a wall or come to a place of helplessness where we can do nothing more. Thank You that this is the very space where You bring us to rest in You. Thank You that You showed us that things were still and silent, and the world had to wait for the promise to be fulfilled, just as You had said it would be. Thank You for the difference that the next day brought. Forgive us for resisting rest when it seems to be required, or for not making time to sit quietly before You to fix our eyes on You and all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, regardless of how things appear. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may look to You in the quiet stillness where rest is found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You on our Sabbaths, and trust You in our spaces of waiting. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Possible is About Perspective

For nothing is impossible with God. – (Luke 1:37)

The very same God who answered the longing of a barren mother who was advanced in age, also brought about the birth of the Savior by miraculous means. What seems impossible in our own eyes, is possible in Christ. Health, wholeness, righteousness, restoration, love and new life, are all possible in Him. God gives good by His grace, despite what we deserve. As we seek Him and invest our hearts and lives in the Lord, He opens our eyes and hearts to the possibilities that He can provide through His power, not our own. May we seek our Savior and gain insight as to what He is preparing to make possible, as we walk by faith and not by sight.

Though our eyes may see,Do Everything in Love

what never could be;

God sees the options,

and moves mightily.

For there is nothing,

that our God can’t do;

by His grace all things,

are made right, renewed.

He can bring wholeness,

where brokenness reigns;

love us back to life,

so we dream again.

May we seek the One,

who prepares the way;

as we walk by faith,

let doubts fall away.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible with You. Thank You that You who handcrafted each of us and all of creation, are more than capable of coming along side us, to lead and guide us, in our time of need. Forgive us for forgetting what a big God You are, and help us to hold fast to the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You and trust You in all things and at all times; for You are good. Lead us to love others well, so that they might see the possible in You. May many come into a personal relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You when we face the seemingly impossible, knowing that nothing is impossible for You. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

How Great the Father’s Love

I never grow weary of the parable of the lost son, as each time I read it, I am reminded of just how great the Father’s love is for each of us. In this story, the son had squandered wealth he should have never asked for, and had sunk to rock bottom. His found himself in the lowliest of positions, destitute and desperate. When the son assessed his situation, he realized that repentance before his father, and a willingness to work as a hired hand were far better options than his present position. So he got up and went to his father. “but while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (Luke 15:20)

 

The son recognized his sin, repented, and merely hoped to be made a hired hand. Instead, his father ran to meet him from a long way off, embraced him and celebrated his homecoming. God does the same for each of us when we come to Him with a repentant heart. Though we may come, simply hoping to somehow be seen as “okay”, He does so much more. Christ welcomes us, gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, and we are adopted as sons and daughters of God Himself. We are granted an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken, and provided promises to propel us along our path. May we receive the glorious gift of God’s grace, and welcome with open arms, the compassion conveyed in His embrace.

 

Foolish and selfish,How Great the Fathers Love

the arrogant son;

ran off and rebelled,

lowly position.

When he had squandered,

all that had been his;

he started longing,

for what he fed pigs.

It was then he knew,

that he must repent;

for his father’s men,

lived far more decent.

Perhaps he would hire,

give a chance, employ;

no longer worthy,

to be called dad’s boy.

So the son set off,

he headed for home;

imagine the awe,

as grace was made known.

For while still far off,

his father, he ran;

to greet and embrace,

this shell of a man.

The gifts that he gave,

assured him his worth;

a chance for new life,

a sense of rebirth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with a repentant heart, You do for us, just as the father did for his son. You meet us where we are, shower us with Your grace, robe us in Your righteousness, celebrate our homecoming, and call us Your own! Thank You that we are welcomed into Your family, no matter where we have come from. Thank You that Your grace is more than enough to cover our sin and shame, and that You celebrate and embrace each of us as we choose You. Forgive us for thinking that You could not possibly forgive us for what we have done, or that another around us does not deserve the mercy and grace that You give. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, so that we too, will celebrate and embrace each and every individual who comes into Your kingdom. Lead us to love others as You unfailingly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize how ready You are to receive everyone who comes. Be glorified O God, as we give and receive Your great love. 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