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,

295835825870096043076989.jpeg

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

Hope in Discouragement

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! – (Psalm 42:5, NLT)

Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again praise Him, your God, the One who will save you.” – (Psalm 42:5, ERV)

Why are you so down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. – (Psalm 42:5, MSG)

 

It is difficult to take in the recent events in our nation, and not feel sad and discouraged. Yet, even in the darkness of such ugliness, good has been burning bright in incredible ways. When the need for blood donations was presented to the people of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, generous hearts lined up in droves. Help is being provided in a place where it is typically lacking, as it is needed most. Additionally, there have been numerous stories of individuals placing themselves in harm’s way to help those in need in the midst of this tragic event. When I see the good that rose up in people who helped because they knew that they could not just standby and do nothing – I am encouraged and remember that God is our hope and our reason to praise. He moves hearts to act with love and compassion, and despite the darkness that is in the world, God is always good. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, as He is the One who saves and is worthy of all of our praise.

 

When I’m discouraged, Hope in Discouragement

And my heart is sad;

Help me hope again,

Lord, make my heart glad.

Glad for Your goodness,

For Your light and grace;

Praise for salvation,

Our hope in this place.

Lord, help us to see,

Where to fix our eyes;

As we look to You,

All hope’s realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the darkness that befalls us and our nation, You are always good. Thank You that You demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness through the grace and love of people. Father, please be with the first responders, the officers, the medical teams and all those impacted by what took place in Las Vegas. Your healing hands are needed more than ever. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to that which overwhelms us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask of You what we are meant to do – be it to give, pray, or go do more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, especially in the places where Your light seems to be lacking. 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

Faithful Love and Amazing Things

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

 

As I stand in a space of reflection, and look back upon what has been a year full of challenges and trials in a space of learning to navigate this new that I have been called into, I can see clearly how faithful the love of the Lord has been with me, and can tell of countless amazing things that He has done for us along the way. He has provided friends that have become family, resources that I did not have, peace where there should have been none, and calm in the midst of chaos (to name just a few). Let all that I am give praise to the Lord, for He is so faithful; always. May we each give pause today to look back and remember the faithful love of the Lord, and give Him thanks for all that He has done for us.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,Enter With Thanksgiving

for His faithfulness;

He comes as our calm,

in midst of distress.

He gives what we need,

when the time is right;

His love overwhelms,

we are His delight.

All that the Lord does,

is due to His love;

His mercy and grace,

are granted to us.

Let us give Him thanks,

for He is so good;

each day offer praise,

for hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful love that does not end, and for the amazing things that You do for us. Thank You that You loved us so much that You gave Your very life for ours, so that we could be made right before You, and have life forever in You. Thank You for Your mercy and grace that You freely give, despite how undeserving we are. Forgive us for forgetting the amazing things that You have done, and how faithful Your love is for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have hearts that overflow with gratitude for who You are and all that You have done for us. Show us how to love others out of the overflow of all that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your faithful love and for all the amazing things that You have done as we prepare to begin a brand new year. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Displaying His Splendor

He has sent me to comfort those who are sad, those in Zion who mourn. I will take away the ashes on their head, and I will give them a crown. I will take away their sadness, and I will give them the oil of happiness. I will take away their sorrow, and I will give them celebration clothes. He sent me to name them ‘Good Trees’ and ‘The Lord’s Wonderful Plant.’ – (Isaiah 61:3, ERV)

 

To provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. – (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)

 

Though these were the words of Isaiah to the people of Israel, Jesus quoted these words in Luke as He read to the people in the synagogue. When we receive Jesus personally, His Spirit in us fulfills these promises for us. Only Christ can turn our ashes into something beautiful, and replace our mourning and despair with songs of praise. Despite what we go through, when we have Christ in us, we can be seen as righteous and pillars of strength in Him. His splendor is displayed through His Spirit in us. May we allow the Lord to be our comfort, our crown and our reason to celebrate as we go forth on this new day that He has made. Let His Spirit within us, display His splendor, as we operate in His righteousness in all that we say and do.

 

Our comfort in sorrow,The Reason for Reverence

our glory in grief;

the Lord’s our provision,

and place of relief.

He takes all our ashes,

and gives us a crown;

pours the oil of gladness,

when our hearts are down.

As despair overwhelms,

He comes alongside;

gives us garments of praise,

hope from the inside.

His Spirit within us,

will rise and stand tall;

righteous in His splendor,

a witness to all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You comfort those who mourn. Thank You that You bestow beauty for ashes and give hope in place of despair. Thank You that You give gladness and reason to praise. Thank You that Your Spirit within us rises up, and You call us righteous; allowing Your splendor to be seen through us. Forgive us for forgetting how very near You are in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look to You in our sorrow and grief, and will celebrate You in our seasons of joy. Lead us to love others in such a way, that Your righteousness and splendor may be seen through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer, and go forth in all that we have been given. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31