Faith Not Sight

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

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

 

Life is full of opportunities to walk by faith; for few of us have a path that is made plain enough to see our every next step. Faith is trusting that God will take us where we are meant to go, even when we cannot see a clear path, nor do we have our footing established. Often, we know where we are meant to go, but then only know how to take the first step. The steps to follow come with faith as we forge forward, and trust as we go. This evening, my husband, bonus son and I will be flying more than half-way across the country, to pay a final visit to his father. His health is failing, but we are trusting in faith, that our timing is right, and that we are doing what we ought to do. No matter what we see, we can trust that God can move mountains in the hearts of men, and we are going, trusting in His goodness and grace.

As for my Mom, I know that this road she walks is all about faith. I imagine there are days that it feels as if there is no end in sight as she longs to regain all that she has lost, yet by faith, she perseveres. Yesterday, I was thrilled to receive a text from her that her bible study ladies had called her while they met, and included her in their conversation. Her whole day was made by being remembered and included, as I know how hard it is for her to be away from her beloved friends. When I spoke with her after work, the joy and excitement was still present in her voice. Christy, Sandy, and the rest of you ladies – thank you!

 

Faith is a strong heart, Trust in the Unseen

Trusts when it can’t see;

Possibilities,

Allow the Lord lead.

This journey of life,

Is an unknown road;

Requiring faith,

Space for trust be sown.

Each time we choose faith,

The Lord’s faithfulness;

Meets us in our trust,

By grace, He does bless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to trust, even when we cannot see. Thank You that You fortify our faith as You move on our behalf. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us, and that You are our strength and our peace. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we cannot see what we hope to see. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know the outcome, far beyond what we can see or imagine. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build faith and express the depth of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, even in the spaces where we cannot see a solution. 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

Sing for Joy

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – (Psalm 95:1, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. – (Psalm 95:1, ERV)

Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord! Give a joyous shout in honor of the Rock of our salvation! – (Psalm 95:1, TLB)

 

There is something about singing that elevates our entire being. It is no wonder that throughout God’s word, there are numerous references to singing and giving praise, from Genesis to Revelation. Likewise, it is only fitting that the songs we sing and the praise we offer, are to the very One who places songs in our heart and grants us words to express all that dwells within us. Recently, one of the new songs released by my favorite band, seems to be on repeat in my heart and mind. I find myself humming the tune or singing the lyrics as I move around, even in the most mundane of tasks. Each time I think of the song that celebrates who God is to me, I am encouraged and filled with gratitude. May we ever choose to sing praise to God with joy, honoring He who is our salvation.

This morning, for the first time since mom’s stroke, I received a text message from her. For me, this was a reason to sing for joy to the Lord, as I know how labor-intensive texting is with only her left hand. The fact that she chose to invest the time and energy to do so, was very much a labor of love, and spoke volumes beyond the content of the message. I was able to text her back while in line at Dutch Bros after my run, and let her know that I would call as soon as I was through the line. It is always comforting to actually hear her voice, and I think that we are both feeling the weight of separation, after having spent all of our time together for three and a half months. She is doing well, and she and my sister were enjoying the ordinary of a Saturday morning together. We continue to pray for healing and provision as mom perseveres on the journey to restoration.

 

May we sing for joy, Give Rise to the Songs

To the Lord above;

All thanks unto Him,

For His endless love.

With all that we are,

Throughout creation;

Let us give God praise,

For our salvation.

Always He is good,

In all things, always;

Let us sing to Him,

With joy, lift our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music and song and the way that the combination of the two can so beautifully capture our heart of gratitude for You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to sing the songs our hearts are holding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find the joy and reason to praise You, in all times and circumstances. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may spread joy in a way that shines Your light to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy to You, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Joy and Peace Through Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

 

Hope is where it all begins. When we have hope, we have all that is required to live an abundant life. Hope is that knowing deep within us, that there is more than what we are experiencing in the here and now. The hope that comes from God is eternal, and grants peace and joy, even in the parts of our journey where such things do not make sense. In fact, hope in Him, fills us to overflowing, so much so, that the peace and joy present within us, begin to spill over into the lives of those around us. My mom is an incredible example of this. Despite having suffered a massive stroke that left the right side of her body uncooperative, she has hope for healing, and the peace and joy that she holds in her heart, overflow to those around her as she navigates this journey to her recovery. Yes, she is human and has tough moments, but truly, she has joy and peace and is filled with hope for a full recovery as she perseveres in this battle. Her willingness to do the work has already aided in her regaining much of what was lost. She is walking with a walker, and her speech is back to normal. Though waiting and working on the right arm, she is trusting in the hope that she already knows. May we all be filled with His hope, so that peace and joy are abundant and hope overflows by His Spirit within us.

The greatest update about mom for yesterday was that her medical insurance card finally arrived. With that, appointments can be scheduled and in-home therapies can begin soon. I imagine much of the day was quite routine, with walking and stretching, some games and perhaps a movie or two. At day’s end, I received a Marco Polo video from mom and my sister as I was about to go to sleep. It was a sweet close to my day, and a blessed encouragement, assuring me that all is well.

 

May the God of hope, 70a6c53c-3c22-4bb8-9875-9ad6b1e524c18631709261054991580.jpg

Come fill you today;

With peace and His joy,

And flood you with grace.

For God’s tenderness,

Meets our hearts and minds;

Brings calm in chaos,

His presence, divine.

So, trust in the Lord,

Lean full into Him;

His hold is steady,

As we let love in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your hope fills us with joy and peace to overflowing. Thank You that as we hope in You, our faith grows, and we see You move mountains that stand before us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more, no matter what we see standing in our way. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us in a way that offers peace, joy and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Love is an Active Choice

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

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, TLB)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

God’s words to us explain what it truly is to love. Love does not merely speak the words, but it is an ongoing demonstration of actions that support the things we say. Tomorrow, I will have the tremendous joy of joining together in holy matrimony with the one who has shown me love in action, day in and day out, in a way that my heart never knew possible. He demonstrates love from the time I wake to a text each morning, greeting me with words that blanket my heart with blessings, to all of the countless thoughtful little things that show me again and again, he loves me and chooses me as his actions demonstrate what love looks like in a life of choosing to love as we are loved by God. Love truly is a choice, and it requires that we align our deeds with the words that we choose to speak. Though not one of us could do this on our own all the time, with God, we are loved in a way that the overflow shapes the things that we do to reflect His heart for one another. May we all seek the Lord daily, so that we may love in action and truth, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love is so much more,

dsc045071369451189.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Than mere words spoken;

For true love lifts up,

It heals what’s broken.

In every act,

In all that we do;

When fueled by love,

God’s kindness shines through.

True love will align,

All that’s said and done;

For love always protects,

As trustworthy one.

True love perseveres,

For it is a choice;

To match word and deed,

One heart and one voice.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of love that we are given through those whom You have placed in our lives to show us Your love through actions over and over again. Thank You for the love that You have given me in the one to whom I will soon wed. Thank You that as I am loved well by him, I come to understand more deeply, the love that You have for us all. Forgive us for doubting the sincerity of love that is demonstrated consistently in our lives and for the times that we do not allow Your heart to lead in the words that we speak and actions that we opt to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your loving way each day and be known as people who live lives of love. Show us how to love those around us with our every deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as we are so lavishly loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Promise to Save

“For I am with you and will save you,” says the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, NLT)

I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, CEB)

For I am with you to save you, declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 30:11a, ESV)

 

When I am with people and my mind is occupied, I am in a reasonably good space, considering I am not allowed to do the very things I long to do the most. However, in the quiet moments, when I am alone, I find fear and anxiety try to find a foothold, as I become acutely aware of my own mortality and the potentially ticking time bomb that is currently calling a vein deep in my calf, home. I know that not one of us knows the number of our days, nor have we been given any sort of guarantee nor shelf life. However, I do know that this verse in Jeremiah is a great reminder this morning, as God is with me, and He will save me from this season in His time. For whatever reason, it is a road that I have to currently walk. I do not know if it is to learn patience, perseverance, or to simply be shown in an even greater capacity, how He remains present through all things. Whatever the reason, I will keep fixing my eyes on the reality that He is with me and that He is present to save. May we set our hearts and minds on the truth and trust in the Lord who is mighty to save.

 

Allow not the fear, Ready to Rescue

To find a way in;

For God is present,

He fights from within.

Ready to rescue,

The Lord’s ever near;

Let anxiousness go,

As He calms all fear.

Rise up in His strength,

Keep moving, be brave;

For God is with us,

He’s mighty to save.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and You save us. Thank You that Your presence preserves and strengthens us as we keep pressing forward. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety over the unknown, as lack of faith fuels these things. Teach us to trust You more, for You have promised to be with us, always. Show us how to hold fast to Your promised presence, so that we will walk boldly into all that You ask of us. Lead us to love others in Your strength, so that we would encourage and support those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and Your promise to save. 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

Love Fulfills the Law

Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:10, NLT)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So, loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, TPT)

 

When we choose love, we are choosing to follow and fulfill that which God requires. If we make love our priority in how we navigate our days, we are walking in obedience to His will. Love is a word that is often overused, yet it is clearly defined in God’s word. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, we are told that love does not: envy, boast, dishonor others, delight in evil, keep record of wrongs, it is not self-seeking, and it is not easily angered. On the other hand, love is: patient and kind, it always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, rejoices with the truth and love never fails. Though some of these come more naturally than others, love is a choice. Each time that we make the choice to love, even when we would rather not, we are walking in obedience to the will of God. May we look to the Lord and His endless love to empower and equip us to go and do likewise with all whom we encounter. Let love be our motivation for all that we say and do, so that we may ever honor You.

 

To love is a choice, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

In Christ, we’re made strong;

To love as He loves,

For love does no wrong.

Patience and kindness,

Choose hope and protect;

Persevere, rejoice,

Won’t envy, reject.

Love won’t keep record,

Of others mistakes;

Will celebrate good,

As Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love, we are walking in obedience to You. Thank You that love does not hurt others, but rather it protects and builds up. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we would seek Your wisdom and strength to know how to love in at all times and in every circumstance. Show us how to love those around us in a way that protects and conveys kindness and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love in all things and at all times, so that we may fulfill all that You require. 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

Love Never Gives Up

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NLT)

 

The way that we are relentlessly loved by God shows us how we are meant to love. He never gives up on us, no matter how far we wander, or the crazy mess we become – He loves because we are His. Probably the closest example that I have come to understand in my own life is through how I am designed to love my children. Whether they are tremendously successful or they are struggling, my love for them does not change. I have great hope for their futures, and what they do or do not do, does not change the depth of my love. There are days that are more difficult than others, yet always, always, there is love. The very same love that God gives us as His children, He imparts to us to show to those whom He brings into our lives. May we seek the Lord and His unending love, so that we never give up, nor lose faith, and share hope as we continue to choose to love through all things.

 

The Lord, who is love,love-never-gives-up

Will never give up;

He loves endlessly,

As He fills our cup.

Always He grants hope,

So faith is not lost;

Through each circumstance,

No matter the cost.

May we also choose,

To love in all things;

As we impart hope,

Through grace that we bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never give up on us. Thank You that You fill us with faith and hope and grant us endurance to navigate all things because Your love does not end. Forgive us for losing faith or hope in the trials of life, and teach us how to trust in Your love in all things. Show us how to love in a way that never gives up nor loses faith, that always hopes and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the depth and unending power of Your love. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to love as we are loved. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

If We Love

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:12)

 

When we are in relationship with Christ, His Spirit lives in us. Our love that comes from the Father, extended to all whom we encounter, is a glimpse of God Himself, to those who know Him not. This is both a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility. Imagine with joy, knowing that we get to represent His hands and His heart to the world. However, in doing so, it is essential that we love others as He loves us. Christ’s love is patient and kind, not envious nor boastful, nor rude. It does not seek recognition nor return. It is not easily angered and does not keep score. Christ’s love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. His love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Jesus’ love never fails. In order for us to love as He loves us, we must fully rely on Him. On our own, we will fall miserably short. In Him, we are equipped to love beyond what we would have thought possible. May we go forth in His love, so that many may gain a glimpse of just how glorious our God truly is.

 

Though no eye has seen,Adventurous & Cautious
the face of the Lord;
we have seen in part,
through love He affords.
His Spirit within,
faithful human hearts;
grants us all glimpses,
His glory, in part.
Christ’s love is selfless,
it’s given away;
no expectations,
to somehow repay.
It always speaks truth,
it never keeps score;
it always protects,
leaves us wanting more.
God’s love always hopes,
ever perseveres;
it will never fail,
it wipes away tears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have never seen You face-to-face, we have been given glimpses of Your glory through the hearts of those whom love and serve You. Thank You that when You dwell in us, Your love is made complete in us. Thank You that we have the privilege of being extensions of Your hands and heart to the world. Forgive us for falling short – for not loving as You would love. Please grant us Your eyes to see others, and break our hearts for what breaks Yours. May we be moved by the things that stir Your heart, and then act upon those things in love. Lead us and guide us in Your goodness and grace. Let the lost be found as they are given glimpses of who You are through the love of those faithfully following You. Be glorified, O God, through our love. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

His Love, Not Mine

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  LOVE NEVER FAILS…” (I Corinthians 13:4-8a)

Whenever I think that I am somehow becoming more patient and kind, something happens to show me just how far I have to go.  I say this not as a discouragement, but rather an encouragement; for we all are a work in progress.

As a mother, patience with kids is a fairly natural and routine part of my world.  The same holds true in my role as a teacher.  However, when lines are crossed, and students intentionally attempt to inflict harm upon other children, I no longer feel patient, nor kind.  When the attempt is made on my own child, a fierce sense of protection rises up, and mama bear’s claws come out.  Though I did not physically lash out, nor verbally go after said child, the initial thoughts in my heart toward him were neither patient nor kind.

Once I had the time to slow my body and mind long enough to listen, I recognized that God loves that child, just as I love my own.  The truth of the matter is that hurt people, hurt people, and the boy obviously needs more support than he is being provided presently.  Additionally, God protected my son from what could have been, and created opportunity to speak truthHis love never fails.  Every morning before my children wake, I pray for their protection.  Once again, He has shown me how He always protects, for His love never fails.

Lord make my heart,His Love Not Mine

patient and kind;

let my eyes see,

through Yours, not mine.

In You, is truth,

what we can trust;

loving kindness,

from birth to dust.

Teach me Your ways,

so my life shows;

unfailing love,

that each day grows.

Your love alone,

endures always;

it never fails,

all of our days.

May we hold hope,

in You alone;

trust in Your grace,

know that we’re known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an unconditional, everlasting, unchanging love.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You keep no record of our wrongs when we confess and ask for forgiveness.  Thank You that You are our protection and our hope, and that You give us the strength to trust You so that we may persevere.  Forgive us for our tempers, our pride, our lack of patience and kindness, and for our keeping record of wrongs.  We desperately need You to walk out our lives as we are called to do.  Teach us how to extend grace to the hurting who hurt us and our loved ones, and help heal the wounds that have hurt them so deeply.  May hearts be changed and lives restored, as we love like You love us.  Let the lost, the lonely, and the hurting, find comfort and restoration in You.  Be glorified, our great and loving Lord.  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

Safety’s Stay

Struggles, sickness and the sorrows in this life, can suck the fight out of even the most resolute.  So many around me are facing battles far bigger than seem possible for them to endure.  If the fight were their own, that would surely be true; however, they are not in the battle alone.  Each has a Defender, Physician, Comforter, and Friend who is able to see them through.  Regardless of the outcome, in Him, our hope is secure.  Despite what we see, Love is more.  “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – (I Corinthians 13:7)  I want to love like that – always.

If we hope to love as we are loved, we must be invested in Him who is love.  When we know Christ, we more clearly reflect His love and light into the world.  I don’t have the answers as to why some people suffer with sickness, while others remain the picture of health their whole lives, but I do know that He who created us all, does.  God uses every trial for the good of those who love Him, when we place our trust in Him.  Again and again I find myself in awe of just how quickly this comes to pass, after weathering one of life’s storms.  Though I have my moments of questions and doubts, I know where I can turn, and on Whom I can depend, to be my Safe Harbor through every storm.

May we hold fast to truth,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as life’s storms come our way;

may we trust our Safe Harbor,

our Strong Tower, Safety’s Stay.

In struggle or in illness,

or in sorrows of this life;

may we know Who is fighting,

and trust You to end all strife.

For You alone are always,

before, now and forever;

steadfast, faithful and loving,

promise to leave us NEVER.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, our hope is secure, regardless of what is going on around us.  Thank You that we don’t have to understand the “why” or “how” things happen as they do, we need only know the “Who” that we can always run unto.  Thank You that You use our past experiences of pain to come along side another to bring comfort and offer hope.  Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are in the throes of the storm, and help us to hold fast to You, our Anchor and Safe Harbor, regardless of the storm’s intensity.  Father, please give comfort to all those who are in the throes of the fight, and may we be people to come beside them to be You hands and heart made tangible, and help them to know that it is You in us that brings comfort and peace.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as a result of our obedience.  Be exalted in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Strong Tower by Kutless is the song on my heart this morning. Click the colorful title to have a listen. 🙂