Orchestrated Overcoming

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is beyond my understanding how God takes the most difficult or heart-breaking of seasons, events, or circumstances, and uses them to launch us into something far greater than we would have ever thought possible. Not one hurt nor heartache is overlooked, and He leads us through to so much more than we would have envisioned for ourselves. When we choose God and listen to His leading, we find His grace, comfort and love through the trials, and discover the hardest of roads lead to the most beautiful of destinations. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of despair, yet as we cling to Christ, love lights the way through the darkness, and His hand leads and guides us to something new. His new is light, life and love. Dreams are imagined and beauty comes from the ashes we thought would never end. May we ever hold fast to hope in God, as He uses all things for our good as we trust in Him.

 

All things in our lives,

Smiling fields

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Can be used for good;

When given to God,

His love, understood.

Beauty from ashes,

His hope from despair;

God shows us the good,

As His love repairs.

What once overwhelmed,

Darkness that has passed;

Seasons of struggle,

Lead to hope that lasts.

So, let us choose trust,

Find hope in His Name;

For there’s so much more,

Love changes the game.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good, as we trust in You. Thank You that You alone, can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You for the incredible outcomes of so many spaces we thought would be the end of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts during seasons of difficulty. Teach us to trust You more, as we look to You to be our hope and help as we navigate to the new that awaits us on the other side. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends help in the now and hope for all that is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and rely on You, even when we see no possible way for good to come from what we are walking through. Amen.

 

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

 

…”to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” – Isaiah 61:3

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

Pass It On

As the Scriptures say, “People are like the grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you. – (1 Peter 1:24-25, NLT)

The Scriptures say, “Our lives are like the grass of spring, and any glory we enjoy is like the beauty of a wildflower. The grass dries up and dies, and the flower falls to the ground. But the word of the Lord lasts forever.” – (1 Peter 1:24-25, ERV)

For as Isaiah said, “All life is like the grass, and its glory like a flower; The grass will wither and die, and the flower falls, But the word of the Lord will endure forever.” – (1 Peter 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

Our life, the very beauty that God grows within us, is fleeting. What is true and lasting is that which He plants within us to pass on to those around us. As we demonstrate the love of God to the people with whom we meet, that which lasts beyond what is seen, is shared with those around us. May we allow the truth of His word to spring up in love, so that what is shown is lasting and life-giving to those with whom we interact.

 

Looks, they are fleeting,Enter With Thanksgiving

But what truly lasts?

The love of the Lord,

To all shall be passed.

The word of the Lord,

Is truth for all time;

It lasts beyond life,

Brings future divine.

For God’s word is shown,

As we choose to love;

Elevate people,

Do as Jesus does.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though what is seen is temporary, the truth of Your word endures forever. Thank You that as we love like we are loved, we share the truth of who You are with those around us. Forgive us for allowing the beauty that You place within us to be hidden rather than allow Your light to shine bright. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love fearlessly and give generously, just as You do unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to let Your light shine through our love so that the truth of who You are may be evident in us. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Remembering to Look Up

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)

On this Patriot’s Day, as we remember the terrible tragedy that struck the safety of our own soil, we can also recall a time that our nation banded together as a united front, to help the hurting, care well for the courageous that continued to search for the missing, and sought the strength and security that our Savior alone provided. Our help to make sense of something so senseless, could only come as we chose to cling to Christ.

Time has passed, and the new generation of kids I have in my classroom were not even born yet when 9/11 occurred. Many of them, have no personal connection to the event, as they have not traveled beyond the West Coast, or for some, even outside of our state. They have never known life without scanners and security guards at government buildings and hospitals, nor do many have connections to fire fighters, law enforcement officers, or military personnel. History needs to be shared. Each generations ought to be made aware of what has gone before them, so they gain empathy and compassion for those who serve and protect our nation. Today, this verse is more personal, as I lift my eyes to the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth, and trust Him to lead and guide me; to show me how to create connections that are relevant and personal for seventh grade students, to an event that occurred prior to their existence. May we each take time to remember the lost, and the lives of those who continue to live with the holes in their hearts all of these years later. Be our help Lord.

Remember the time,911

when tragedy struck;

nation was silenced,

in shock we were stuck.

The world fell silent,

in horror, we watched;

such acts of terror,

and countless lives lost.

The chaos encased,

in great clouds of dust;

everywhere running,

which sense could they trust?

It did not take long,

for heroes to rise;

to search for missing,

help those still alive.

Even days after,

the tragedy fell;

people were praying,

holding hope as well.

Out of the ashes,

came beauty indeed;

people united,

to rise and meet needs.

Let us remember,

the community;

together triumphs,

with trust, unity.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lift our eyes up to You, You are where our help comes from. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You, even on the darkest of days. Thank You that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You alone, can turn tragedy into triumph. Forgive us for allowing tragedy, trials, grief, or our own lack of hope in what we cannot see to keep us from looking to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift our eyes to You, no matter what comes our way – for You are our Help and our Hope, always. Lead us to love and encourage others, no matter what circumstance life has them in, and may many find their hope forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our Help and our Hope, always. 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

Pleasing Meditation

May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord. – (Psalm 104:34)

 

The focus of our meditation is on whatever captures our continued extended thought, reflection, contemplation or introspection. If we choose to meditate, to fix our hearts and minds on the things of Christ, not only is our choice pleasing to the Lord, but we find reason to rejoice. It is impossible to truly set our sights on who Christ is, and all that He has done, and not feel a sense of gratitude rise up within us. Even in the most dismal of circumstances, in Christ, there is reason to rejoice. We rejoice not for our present circumstance, but rather for our eternal hope; for the forever that is yet to come. All that is in the here and now, is but the blink of an eye when compared to eternity with Christ. May we meditate on Christ and the things of Him, so that our focus is pleasing before Christ, as rejoicing rises up within us.

 

Let that which captures,Confidence Comes Through Christ

my heart and my mind;

be focused on Christ,

Who’s loving and kind.

He’s our place of hope,

but hope is a choice;

to lay hold of truth,

and learn to rejoice.

Rejoice in the Lord,

for all that He is;

not what we’re facing,

but how we shall live.

Not just for today,

but all tomorrows;

our future glory,

wipes away sorrows.

It won’t remove pain,

or trials that come;

but still we rejoice,

through hope in the Son.

For on that great day,

when we breathe our last;

we’ll enter glory,

forget all that’s passed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on the things of You, we find reason to rejoice. Thank You that rejoicing is not circumstantial, but rather is always appropriate because of who You are, and what You have done for us. Thank You that our hope in You is far greater than anything that we face in the here and now. Forgive us for allowing our hearts and minds to fix on anything that distracts from the truth of the hope that we hold forever in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice in every season – be it in sorrow or celebration – knowing that You are our God and that we have You with us now, and will dwell in Your house forever. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a space where their meditation is pleasing unto You, as they too, rejoice in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we fix our hearts and minds on that which is pleasing to You, and in turn, rejoice in the truth of who You are. Amen.

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

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

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

Blessings Bestowed in Our Lack

The mercy of our Maker never ceases to amaze me. In the book of Luke, chapter seven, verses eleven through seventeen, we are told the tale of a widow whose only child, a son, had died. At that time, the repercussions of such a tragedy would have gone far beyond the emotional anguish of losing your loved ones. Her source of support and livelihood had just passed, and she would likely have been reduced to a life a begging for food for survival. When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” Then He went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. – (Luke 7:13-15)

 

Jesus met her in her place of deepest need, and restored the hope for her future. Not one of our needs are unknown by the Lord. He sees and hears our every prayer. His ways are higher than our ways, and He is able to provide for our greatest deficit. Christ’s solution may look different than we might imagine, but He is faithful to meet us, if we choose to place our trust in Him. May we seek Him in our every storm, and praise Him for His every provision.

 

Compassionate One,Our Map and Our Guide

our Father above;

He hears our heart cry,

and listens in love.

He loves us the best,

has answers in mind;

He provides the way,

to seek and to find.

Christ’s heart is to heal,

to touch and restore;

a life in the Lord,

grants us hope for more.

Trial or triumph,

in hope or despair;

our Lord is faithful,

and ever aware.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and kind, and that You are for us. Thank You that You see and know our every struggle and trial that we face. Thank You that You are with us and that You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our lack of faith in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that when the trials come, we will not be shaken. Lead us to live lives that are clearly focused on You, so that we may love as You love us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, so that they too, may know Your safety in the storms, and tenderness in the trials. Use us as Your hands and feet made tangible to those who need to see You.  Be glorified Lord God, as we seek You and trust You in every season. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5