Strength and a Sure Path

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (2 Samuel 22:33, NIV)

God is my strong fortress. He clears the path I need to take. – (2 Samuel 22:33, ERV)

God is my strong fortress; He has made me safe. – (2 Samuel 22:33, TLB)

 

Returning home after a long leave away, launched me into a season of scheduled busy that keeps me moving from early morning until the time I lie down to sleep each night. Though I would not trade it, on days such as this, I have to pause and reflect, and recognize that I only reached Friday by God’s grace and strength, with His guidance. He has protected my boys as they have begun the venture of driving solo, and granted each of us strength to return to the routine of the school year. Currently, this also includes crazy, busy weekends for all of us. God is good, and He knows our needs and is generous and kind to meet them. He makes a way for us to navigate securely, and shows us what to prioritize to maintain peace. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and fortress, and to show us the way that He is leading us to go.

As for mom, I imagine she is seeking the Lord to be her strength and security too, as she adapts to the new schedule in Oregon at my sister’s. With my nephews back at school, and sister and brother-in-love back to work, she has a “Visiting Angel” spending time with her during the day in their absence, and is continuing to adjust to discovering a new routine with new care-givers during the day. Mom is resilient and kind, and I know will continue to work tirelessly toward recovering with her eyes on the prize; ever pursuing her total independence again.

 

The Lord is our strength, Bold in Battle

Keeps the way secure;

Grants hope for today,

Help so we endure.

In all our trials,

And each victory;

God will be present,

Love’s delivery.

All thanks be to God,

For His faithfulness;

As we are transformed,

By His graciousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and that You make our path secure. Thank You that You provide and guide, even when we feel weary or wonder how the way will even be possible. Forgive us for the times that we allow the obstacles or heaviness to cloud our faith, rather than look to You. Teach us to trust You, for You are far greater than anything that lies before us or comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and hope and direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your guidance, strength and love that lead us well. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

Humility and Wisdom Go Hand in Hand

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

If you consider yourself to be wise and one who understands the ways of God, advertise it with a beautiful, fruitful life guided by wisdom’s gentleness. Never brag or boast about what you’ve done and you’ll prove that you’re truly wise. – (James 3:13, TPT)

 

Humility and wisdom go hand in hand. Jesus is our ultimate example as to how to walk out a life that is lived accordingly. He loved people as a priority, and was passionate about being in His Father’s presence. As we prioritize time with God, we gain wisdom that comes from Him alone. It is through Him that we are equipped to live and love well, in humility and gentleness, according to His good and perfect will. Talking about living such a life and actually walking it out, are two entirely different things. Wisdom is witnessed in those whose lives model God’s loving kindness and gentleness. Actions always speak louder than words alone. May we ever seek solitude with our Savior, so that we may gain a deeper understanding of who He is and how we are called to love. As we do, we are better equipped to live well, live wisely and live humbly.

 

We’re called to wisdom, Hope in Discouragement

And humility;

To live our lives well,

Compassionately.

A life of this sort,

Is grounded in grace;

Given by Jesus,

As we seek His face.

A life that’s lived well,

In humility;

Occur when we make,

Love priority.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live well, live wisely and live humbly. Thank You that this is not something that You simply expect us to know how to carry out on our own, but rather You give us wisdom and strength to follow that which You call us to do as we seek You and invest in knowing You more. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom when we need it most, or for not walking in humility and taking credit where the credit due is Yours. Teach us to lead lives that demonstrate Your wisdom through our every action, as we seek to humbly do Your will in love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants them eyes to see You through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom, love and direction, so that we may live wisely and humbly, walking out Your will. Amen.

 

 

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

 

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

True Eternal Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. – (Proverbs 31:30, MSG)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

 

The persona and package we present may matter to mankind, but what matters into eternity is our relationship with God. Incredibly, some of the most beautiful and charming women I know are those who love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and strength. The beauty within radiates to the external and draws others unto themselves. Their charm is not something that they manufacture, but rather it is an outpouring of the inward work that God is doing that overflows to all those who are near. Loving kindness and compassion that is poured out through their words and actions is attractive and tends to transform the way in which we perceive people as a whole. May we seek to prioritize our relationship with the Lord above all else, as He is the One who does the work within us that draws others near.

 

Seek not to make charm, given-to-show-goodness

Nor beauty the aim;

Instead seek the Lord,

Choose trust in His Name.

For growth in the Lord,

Is lovely to see;

As the overflow,

Lasts eternally.

So, let us choose God,

Love Him and others;

That’s where beauty lies,

Like loving mothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what matters into eternity is our relationship with You. Thank You that as we grow in You, there is an overflow of the good that You are cultivating within us. Thank You that the thing within us that draws others near is You. Forgive us for focusing too much on the things that do not last. Teach us to trust You more so that our eyes would focus on You above all else. Show us how to love those around us well. Please bless mothers and those who play a maternal role in the lives of those around them today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to grow in You above all else. Amen.

 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5

The Wealth of Wisdom

For wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. – (Proverbs 8:11, MSG)

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. – (Proverbs 8:11, NLT)

 

Wisdom is different from intelligence. True wisdom is a gift from God that comes through our earnest seeking. As we seek Him, God reveals to us a knowledge of what is true and right coupled with just judgment to action. This discernment and insight that He grants those who ask, is the Godly wisdom of which Solomon was speaking. Anyone can study and discover what is right, however, the just judgment and ability to act upon our understanding, is granted and grown by God. Money can’t buy happiness, nor can it purchase righteousness. Our right standing with God comes through our choice to seek Him. When we ask for wisdom, He is faithful to grant us the insight we need so that we can act according to His will. May we ever pursue the wisdom of God, so that we may walk in His ways and live right before Him.

 

Nothing can compare,Marvelously Made

To wisdom from God;

No wealth we amass,

Nor path that we trod.

For only from Christ,

Does true wisdom come;

Knowledge with action,

To get right things done.

Let us not allow,

Our hearts to desire;

Things more than wisdom,

May insight inspire.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom is better than wealth. Thank You that nothing we desire compares to the blessing of insight and discernment that You give us willingly if we choose to seek and ask. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom, when Your insight is what we need the most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prioritize what matters, and recognize the value of having Your discernment in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom so that we may walk in Your way and do Your will. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Love With All You’ve Got

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

You should love Him, your true God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, VOICE)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all that you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

 

When we give God all that we’ve got, He meets us where we are. For whatever reason, God seems to show me tangible examples of this through running. This morning, I had a 15k race to run. I have not really been training, and the longest run I’ve gone on in recent months, was just under seven miles. That being said, it was one of those times where it was not about running a certain pace, but rather about running to finish. My friend and I were in the same position, and both determined that we were going to prioritize having fun while we run, rather than achieving a certain pace. As we ran, we discovered that we were able to enjoy the process, and were provided the stamina and strength necessary to run our own race. We both walked away from the event recognizing the parallels to how God shows up when we give things to Him, rather than attempt to force our own agenda. When we love Him and the life that He has given us, He does incredible things in us and through us. May we be ever willing to love the Lord with all that we are, and give Him all that we’ve got!

 

The Lord, He is good,hot-chocolate-run-2017-pic-1

Worthy of our love;

Our heart, soul and strength,

To God up above.

Let all that’s within,

Be given to God;

He takes what we bring,

Though broken and flawed.

So let all we are,

Give love unto Him;

Our strength and our songs,

Both outward and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding us to love You with all that we are, as when we do, we are filled to overflowing with Your goodness anew. Forgive us for not trusting or seeking You with our whole heart, and teach us to trust You more, so that all that we are would seek You – heart and soul; loving You with all that we are. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may come to know the blessing of Your goodness and faithfulness in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are, and seek to do the same with those around us.  Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

For Love to Flourish

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

So this is my prayer: that your love would flourish and that you will learn not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of. – (Philippians 1:9-10, MSG)

 

Though this was Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi, it is still applicable to us today. When we learn to love as Christ loves us, all those around us benefit. We must understand what is important to God, and love with our intellect as well as our heart. As we choose to prioritize that which matters most, our lives become an example of what it is to love as we are loved by Him. May we learn to love much, and love well, just as we are loved by Christ.

 

Help our love to grow,Enter With Thanksgiving

In wisdom and strength;

To see what matters,

What depth and what length.

May we use our mind,

As well as our heart;

To love as You love,

Give all, not just part.

Let us be blameless,

By Your loving grace;

So we are prepared,

For Your sweet embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and invest our hearts in knowing You more, You grow Your love, knowledge and understanding in us, all the more. Thank You that You show us what is important and what is not, and You lead us in the way in which we are called to love like You. Forgive us for basing our love and affection on sentiment rather than on what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the difference between what is important and what is not, and that we would love according to Your example. Show us how to love others in a way that makes You proud and encourages all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help our love flourish like Yours. Amen.

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

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

Above All, Guard Your Heart

More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, CEB)

Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TLB)

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

 

We are called to prioritize protecting the place within us that dictates the things that we do. Our mind, heart and affection all influence our decisions, and if we do not guard these things, the life that is meant to flow from us, will fall flat. As we determine to walk in His way and seek to obey, we cannot help but exude His light and life as we go about our day. May we above all else, guard our hearts, so that what flows from us leads to life in Christ.

 

More than anything,Confidence in Christ

Let us choose to guard;

Our hearts and our minds,

From becoming scarred.

For as we seek Him,

He protects our minds;

And everything else,

His power can bind.

So, let His light shine,

In all that we do;

Protect heart and mind,

And to Christ stay true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and Your strength, You give us what we need to protect our mind, heart and affection. Thank You that through protecting these, everything else in our lives is protected too. Forgive us for neglecting to be vigilant in guarding our hearts and minds. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, to show us what is acceptable to allow in, and what we need to avoid. Show us how to love others in such a way, that Your loving kindness freely flows from us so that they may come to understand Your goodness and grace. May many come to a place of choosing to walk with You forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and strength to protect our minds, hearts and affections. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Nothing I Desire Compares

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. – (Psalm 73:25)

 

The only thing that lasts, consequently, the only thing that matters, is Christ. What we have in Him, is all that lasts forever, therefore our relationship with our Redeemer ought to be our priority. If we are prioritizing as directed by the Lord, we will love God and love people. The stuff of earth will matter not, as people and what is possible for each of us through Him, will become our priority. I am not there yet… I love God and love people, yet I do like things too. It is nice to find a great deal on something new, or to receive something that has been hoped for.

 

Perhaps the most important point is to examine our heart and determine whether the stuff is getting in the way of loving God and loving people. If our hope is securely grounded in Christ, and we can keep proper perspective that there is NOTHING that compares to Him, then I think we are heading in the right direction. May we hold fast to our hope in Christ in heaven, and let no desire on Earth come before Him.

 

Let us hold on tight,Forgiveness is Free

to heavenly hope;

our place that’s secure,

no other life boat.

For Christ never fails,

His grace is made new;

there’s nothing on earth,

that compares to You.

O God fix our eyes,

on what concerns You;

let’s love each other,

as we see You do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are are hope in heaven and our present help on earth. Thank You that there is nothing that compares in heaven or on earth, to Your love and grace. Forgive us for seeking after anything else before You, and help us to prioritize You in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that our actions demonstrate our love for You. Lead us to love others as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope for both now and forever in You. 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

Seeking in Solitude

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – (Matthew 14:23)

 

Times of ministry, of reaching out to others, time to gather together, corporate worship, community – all are important and necessary, yet in order to pour out our whole hearts and be properly equipped to do as God has for us in each scenario, we must make time to invest individually, in our walk with Him. Just as Jesus withdrew by Himself to pray and spend time with His Father, we too, need to prioritize time invested in seeking our Savior. Every worthwhile relationship takes work, and our most important relationship is no exception. No, we do not need to “work” to be saved, yet our relationship with our Redeemer is far richer when we invest time and attention in Him. Our understanding and insight grows, and our ability to hear His voice becomes fine-tuned, making us more effective as we seek to serve Him in all that we do. May we each open opportunities to set aside time to seek our Savior.

 

In the quiet space,Seeking in Solitude

of seeking alone;

when our hearts are still,

You make Yourself known.

Your strength is granted,

and truth is made known;

our hope is restored,

as Your grace is shown.

May we all draw near,

in a space alone;

to pray and to seek,

so Your will is known.

Grant us ears to hear,

as Your way is shown;

and courage to move,

where seeds need be sown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model for us how to have a right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come into Your presence without stain or blemish, and to be received as righteous before You. Thank You that You long for us to spend time with You, alone in prayer, deepening our relationship with You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the “doing” without prioritizing our time with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may run to You first, as we greet each new day with thanksgiving. Help us to live in such a way, that we seek You first, then pour out the plenty that You place in us to all those who are around us. May many come to know the love and life that is available through You alone, as we go forth in the grace that You grant us. Be glorified, O God, as we seek You in solitude before we serve. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14