The Process of Perfect Love

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, HCSB)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love changes our hearts and transforms our minds so that we too, might love as He loves. As humans, we are subject to sin and falling short, so the process of being transformed is one that requires an entire lifetime. That being said, it is a process that is well worth the while. When we allow God’s love to reconstruct our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own, we have the opportunity to show God’s love to all those around us. In this space of loving as God loves us, we can become His representatives of what love ought to be. The challenge is that when we do not choose to act in love, we are responding as the world does, and discrediting the heart of God for others. I say that not to bring shame, but rather to encourage each of us to seek to love God and love people (His creation) as He loves us. We all fall short, but what we do with our shortcomings makes all the difference. Are we quick to apologize and make amends, or do we ignore and let things go that can create a divide? The more I seek the Lord, the more I see opportunities all around me to show evidence of His love. Love is patient and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love never ends and has set before us the way to love well. (see 1 Corinthians 13) May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us might experience for themselves the goodness of God.

The love of the Lord,

Is greatest of all;

For it lifts us up,

Each time that we fall.

It brushes us off,

And fills us again;

Overwhelms with good,

As each day begins.

Press in, keep seeking,

For God’s always found;

Perfect love won’t fail,

Hope in Him is sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You fill and equip us to love like You as we seek You and depend on You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and failures when we did not choose love. Lead us in Your kindness so that we may love as You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your perfect love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us as You intended. Amen.

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

This is My command. Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Unseen Reality

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

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

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Faith and hope are funny things, for we all have faith and hope in something. Some hope for a spouse, a job, a vacation or simply something more than they have known before. In Christ, we can have faith in a hope that is certain, and proof of what we cannot see. His love overwhelms and surrounds us and shows us that we can be certain in the reality that we do not yet see. Without faith, it is impossible to find hope, for we must trust in something to hope that there is more than what we now see. May we ever look to the Lord to grow our faith, it is through Him that we know hope and trust in the things unseen.

Lord, strengthen our faith,

In all that is true;

Let Your hope be known,

As we trust in You.

Please grant us Your peace,

In space of unrest;

Lead us and guide us,

To all that is best.

Make the things unseen,

Known reality;

For all that You are,

Hope that sets us free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we learn and grow in the goodness of Your love, faith rises and we become certain of our hope in You. Thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You and be tangibly aware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for relying on what is only seen right now. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our hope, help and future that is secure. Show us how to love those around us so that they too may know hope, even in that which is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grow our faith, for our hope is held in You forever. Amen.

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

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

Forget Not the Blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget and kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

 

David so often has exactly the right words to express my heart in each season. This morning, I find my heart fixed on praise, as I prepare to spend six days and five nights with my Mom in Oregon. His kindness has afforded me the exact job to allow for the time off in just the right season, so that I am able to go and be with her. Additionally, He directed the steps between my sister and myself, so that we could coordinate timing best, minimizing time missed coaching, and maximizing quality vacation time for she and her family. Another blessing included in this time, is that my husband and boys will come for the weekend to celebrate Christmas together with Mom. Our tradition of family Christmas all together is being sustained, despite the different locale. God is so kind, and from head to toe I cannot help but praise Him. He loves with kindness and grace, and repeatedly shows us His goodness and love. May we ever remember the kindness of God and bless His holy Name.

As for Mom, she is continuing with her out-patient therapies. I am eager to be the one to take her to her appointments and see the progress she is making, and witness the work that they have her do to further regain strength and mobility. She is looking forward to our visit, as we have not had so many days in a row together since summer. I know she is eager to see her grandsons too. It will be a wonderful time of togetherness, and we are all praising God for the opportunity to gather.

 

My soul, praise the Lord,

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Christmas together 2018, looking forward to 2019 memories this weekend.

With all my being;

I thank You, O God,

For countless blessings.

In space of despair,

Always God, You hear;

You comfort and bless,

As You choose draw near.

Your grace overwhelms,

Your goodness exceeds;

You bless us beyond,

What we merely need.

Your kindness unmatched,

As well as Your grace;

May we ever choose,

Lift to You all praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the way that You love us so well. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us with kindness and grace, blessings and benefits beyond what we could ever imagine. Thank You that You are a good, good Father. Forgive us for not always giving You the praise that is due. Teach us to recognize the blessings that You bestow upon us, and flood our entire beings with praise for You, as You are the giver of light and life, hope and love. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the same sort of blessings to others that You so lavishly pour out upon us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift all thanks and praise unto You, and remember the incredible kindness and blessings that You bestow upon us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

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Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

The Source of Self-Discipline

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to put His power into practice. There was an internal battle based on what I observed, and “Mama Bear Mode” kicked into high gear. I was infuriated without knowing the full extent of the circumstances surrounding what I saw, and it took every ounce of love and self-control to hold it together. Though I did not take it out on anyone, it took at least a half an hour for me to settle down internally, and let go of the anger I was holding. Love took over, and lifted me up so that I could move forward and focus on the tasks that were set before me. The Spirit of God is faithful to meet us when we are willing to ask and allow Him to move. My hope is that the next time I find myself so upset, that I stop, breathe, and give it to God immediately. May we look to the Lord to be our strength, the One who loves us through our lack and helps us exercise self-control when our instinct wants to do otherwise.

 

We need not have fear, The Mirror of the Heart

For that which we face;

As God’s always near,

Ready with His grace.

Grace to bring us calm,

And keep in control;

To choose His great love,

That we’re meant to hold.

When life overwhelms,

He’s faithful to hear;

Each request we make,

Answered with Him near.

All praise to the Lord,

Whose love never ends;

Embraces with grace,

In power, He sends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your power, love and self-discipline that You grant to those who seek You. Forgive us when we allow our circumstances to overwhelm us, rather than placing them in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and seek Your help in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace, power and calm in the midst of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your power, love and self-control. Amen.

 

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

 

You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples. – Psalm 77:14

The Solution for Stress

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

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

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

 

Every Friday afternoon, I make a point to ask my boys what homework they need to accomplish before returning to school on Monday, and then give them a run-down of what is on the agenda for the weekend so that they can pace themselves accordingly. At times, there is an unrealistic assessment of what must be done, and the workload come Sunday afternoon, is far greater than it ought to be. Sadly, for one of my sweet sons, that was the case last evening. He had underestimated the number of tasks to be completed by school’s start this morning and began to get himself so worked up and stressed, that he had wasted an hour of precious work time pacing and wandering, rather than actually working. At first, I had a moment of serious frustration, followed by the recognition that my irritation would only worsen the situation rather than help bring resolution. We talked about what needed to be done and then came up with a strategy and manageable plan. Next, I simply placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for peace, strength and clear thinking. From there, it was up to him to complete the task at hand, and I needed to go to bed and get some sleep. This morning, I woke to a note by my computer where I write each morning, expressing his gratitude with a request for an early wake up. God provided the strength and peace that he needed to get things done, and the resolve to rise early and continue to work to complete what remains to be finished. With only two and a half school days remaining, I trust that His strength and peace with continue to be provided so that we may finish strong. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times, as He is faithful to meet us each time we ask.

 

When life overwhelms, wp-15293227850142624927069206169917.jpg

And things seem all wrong;

Seek the Lord for peace,

As He makes us strong.

He calms our wild hearts,

And grants us His peace;

Deposits His hope,

As grace is released.

No matter what comes,

Trust God who is near;

Our Grantor of peace,

And Calmer of fears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and peace, as You provide what we need as we need it most. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to send us in a stress spiral rather than running to You in trust. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, as You are our Provider of peace and strength. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in their spaces that feel unsettled. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength and peace that You alone provide and go forth seeking to share the same with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Remain in His Love

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16b, NLT) 

God is love, and those who remain in love remain in God and God remains in them. – (1 John 4:16b, CEB) 

God is love. Anyone who lives faithfully in love also lives faithfully in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16b, VOICE) 

 

God is the Author and Creator of love, as He is Himself, love. In order for any of us to truly lead a life that exhibits love as we were created to give and receive, we must first know and embrace God’s love for ourselves. When we believe, receive and walk in the light of God’s love, we are able to give out of the abundance of what we have come to know. May we seek, find and faithfully remain in His love, so that we are able to go forth and live the lives of love we have been designed to display. 

 

For God is our Source, Remain in His Love

Where true love comes from; 

As we live in Him, 

Our hearts are restrung. 

He fills us with peace, 

Overwhelms with grace; 

So we may go forth, 

In love all our days. 

Let us choose remain, 

In the love of God; 

So His love in us, 

Is what we pass on. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love and that all who truly live in love are living in You and You in us. Forgive us for the times that we have not exhibited Your faithful love to those around us. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would give the very same goodness and grace that we are given by You, to all those around us. Show us how to love all whom we are called to love according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live faithfully in You so that we may live out our days in light of Your perfect love. 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

The Love That Remains

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love – not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. 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 8:38-39, ERV)

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. – (Romans 8:38-39, MSG)

 

These are incredibly powerful words of declaration, meant to remind and encourage each of us of just how vast the love of God is for us all. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, God loves us in spite of ourselves. We have the choice to receive or reject His love, but His love remains. The closest comparison I can come up with is the love I have for my children. My love for them is not situational, circumstantial, nor dependent on whether or not they receive and give love in return – I love them because they are mine. If we in our broken humanity have the capacity to love those whom He has gifted us to love, how much more does He who is love, love us in spite of ourselves? When we slow down and are ready to receive that which He offers freely, the depth and breadth of His love surrounds and overwhelms. May we each choose to receive that which God offers to each of us, as His love shall always remain.

 

There isn’t a thing, The Love That Remains

Created on earth;

That can take away,

Our infinite worth.

Because we are God’s,

Made by His own hand;

His love shall remain,

Forever will stand.

No height nor great depth,

For there is nothing;

That can take away,

The love that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is not dependent on our circumstances, surroundings or on what we do or do not do. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that Your love is ready to receive for all who choose to call on Your Name. Forgive us for rejecting what You freely offer and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love others with the same tenacity that You have as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love that never ends and seek to go and love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18

Answers in Love

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – (Psalm 69:16, NIV)

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)

Now answer me, God, because You love me; Let me see You great mercy full-face. – (Psalm 69:16, MSG)

 

God’s mercy and grace are always at the ready, because of His great love for us. Yesterday was one of those days where I was acutely aware of His goodness and faithful love for me. The morning was a bit of a rough start with a sick kiddo at home, students were very much out of sort, and news of disease destroying bodies of dear ones, could have set the day for complete disaster. Thankfully, in His kindness, God was with me. Calm covered me, when chaos could have reigned. Peace was present, where turmoil tried to rise. Despite the struggles of the day, His love is what led the way. That is not to say that I did not have to pause to breathe in grace, for surely without it the day would have gone far differently. However, in the goodness of His faithful love, mercy and grace were given to me, so that I could do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, as He is faithful to meet us with His mercy.

 

When chaos tries reign, 0109181835_15155887641285679451.jpg

The Lord, He is near;

Full of His mercy,

His love is made clear.

He answers each call,

In kindness, He turns;

With help, He’s ready,

As goodness is learned.

So great is His love,

That shows us His grace;

Hears each cry for help,

As we seek His face.

So call on the Lord,

He is ever near;

His love overwhelms,

As mercy’s made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer us in Your great mercy and love when we seek You. Thank You that in Your faithfulness and kindness, You help us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, or not giving You proper praise for the help You provide. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope, and faithful forever. Show us how to extend the very same kindness, love and mercy that we’ve been given to those around us, that we’ve been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to receive mercy because of Your goodness and faithful love, so that we may offer the same to others. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Foolish Grow Silent with Good

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, ESV)

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. – (1 Peter 2:15, VOICE)

 

As we choose to do the right thing and walk in the will of God, those who have ill intentions toward us, or opt to speak without awareness, will not long be heard by those who observe the truth of who we are. Our heart and character speak far louder than either ill-intended or misunderstood murmurings about a mere snapshot of our story. Consistency over time tells a much truer tale than an isolated observation or a limited impression. What matters most is that we seek the Lord and pursue His heart in all that we do and say. If our words and deeds are motivated by love, then all other interpretations of our actions will eventually be silenced. May we rise up and choose love again and again, as this is the will of God that shall silence foolishness that finds faults rather than loves.

 

The will of the Lord, choose-love1

Is that we’ll do good;

That we will choose love,

His law, understood.

Foolish are silenced,

As love is given;

His grace overwhelms,

With wrongs forgiven.

So, let us do good,

Make the choice to love;

Silence foolishness,

Show grace from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us and that You do good for us, to silence our ignorance and foolishness. Thank You that as we pursue Your will and act accordingly, Your character that is conveyed through our love, speaks for itself. Thank You that foolishness is silenced and the truth will stand. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen well or have acted in ignorance rather than sought You for answers when we were uncertain about what stood before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to do good in all things, ever walking out Your will everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that our words and deeds silence the foolishness that would lead them to believe lies about their value. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do good according to Your will, just as You do for us. 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