True Source of Strength

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, TPT)

 

The beauty and majesty found in creation are tangible reminders of the power and goodness of God. Even as a small child, I remember seeing the first star of the evening and beginning with a wish that would soon transform into a prayer to the very One who hung the stars in the sky. That same heart is still reminded of God’s grace and strength at the sight of the work of His hands. Today is a day that many of us will never forget. I still remember my drive to work as the news came over the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. Upon arrival, I, with so many others, turned on the TV in my classroom to watch in horror as the footage of the horrific events unfolded. The images will forever be etched in my mind. As I drove home that day, I took in the view of the mountain, and was reminded that the same God who made majestic mountains, could bring beauty from the ashes of so much destruction. Though we may never understand why such tragedies occur this side of heaven, the stories of redemption and beauty and overcoming have risen from the ashes. People who were touched by the tragedy, hold their loved ones a little tighter and do not take a single day for granted. Spouses, siblings and children of those who were lost, have gone on to accomplish great things in honor of their loved ones. May we ever look to the Lord, our Creator, to be our help, as He is the true source of strength.

 

No matter what comes,9-11-memorial-03-marley-white__large.jpg

We must realize;

That God is the One,

Who gives strength to rise.

Rise from the ashes,

When all seemed but lost;

Rise from the rubble,

For He paid the cost.

No matter the darkness,

The Lord is the light;

His love and His grace,

Set wrong things to right.

O Lord, be our strength,

When trials come near;

Grant courage to rise,

In the face of fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created so much beauty that reminds us of Your goodness and strength. Thank You that often, as we see the work of Your hands, our gaze is lifted to You. Forgive us for not looking to You to be the light in every darkness, or for celebrating creation rather than the Creator. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our help, and praise You in all things and at all times, as You alone are our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings light and life, goodness and grace into spaces where there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize where we find help that lasts. Amen.

 

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

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6

Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

Each Child a Gift

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NIV)

Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TLB)

Children are God’s love-gift; they are heaven’s generous reward. – (Psalm 127:3, TPT)

 

This tends to be one of the longest weeks of the summer each year; the week before school officially begins. For those of us who teach or are involved in the public-school system somehow, this week is spent in meetings, seminars, classes, and retreats to best prepare for the upcoming school year. Some of said academic gatherings are great, and the time flies by. However, others are either repeats of what we have done year in and year out, or they are extraordinarily weighty, and make the day seem far longer than we might hope. The reason that we continue to invest our time, resources, energy and heart into what we do, is the very gist of this verse. Children are a gift, and we recognize the value in each and desire to teach and foster growth in each one who enters our classroom. Perhaps if we can see the struggling as God’s love-gifts and heaven’s rewards, we might approach each child all the more delicately and thoughtfully, as to not offend the Giver. May we look at children as gifts from God, just as we do our own, so that we may love them as we are loved by Him.

 

Each child is a gift,

wp-15355448250586654812197514734158.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

From heaven to earth;

A life with a plan,

A purpose since birth.

Our charge and challenge,

Is to help each rise;

Point to discover,

Dreams to realize.

May we foster growth,

And nurture with love;

So each child feels known,

And knows they’re enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that children are a gift from You. Thank You that they are heaven’s reward here on earth. Forgive us for the times that we have viewed them as anything less than a gift. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength to love through the struggles, and to equip us to help kids grow in safety, security and trust. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path to care for well, so that they may know their worth in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love children as You love us – unconditionally and lavishly. Amen.

 

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

 

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Blessed

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, NIV)

Her children bless her; her husband praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, CEB)

Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise. – (Proverbs 31:28, MSG)

 

Though I cannot even begin to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, I am beyond blessed by both my children and my husband. God has granted me the greatest gift I’ve ever known through the lives of my boys, and a love I never knew was possible through the loving union of marriage to my husband, partner and friend. I am blessed and praised by these guys, even when I am least deserving, and each one of them is fiercely protective and willing to help whenever I ask. Perhaps it is a recognition of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, far more than a living up to a certain standard or expectation. Because I am loved well, I desperately desire and am driven to do the same. I imagine that is God’s intention for all of us. As we realize the depth and breadth of His love for us, we are inspired to go and love likewise. May we seek our Savior who loves us more than we can comprehend, so that we too, can go and love those around us without reservation.

 

Such wonder indeed,

wp-15350288286757860031671821938770.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Is love we receive;

The blessings bestowed,

When we are in need.

The gift of children,

The love of a spouse;

Love made tangible,

Within my own house.

Let’s freely receive,

God’s love and His grace;

So we too can love,

In His tender ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the loved ones whom You bring into our lives – be it children, spouses, family or friends. Thank You that You make Your pleasure known through the words of others in a way that inspires us to ever pursue You and Your ways. Forgive us for taking Your love or that of those whom You have blessed us with for granted. Teach us to appreciate and value the goodness and grace that You generously give in tangible ways. Show us how to lavishly love those whom You place in our path, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and the grace, and the tender embrace, that You wrap around us through the people whom You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely You have granted him/(her) unending blessings and made him/(her) glad with the joy of Your presence. – Psalm 21:6

How Precious a Love

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – (Psalm 139:17-18, NIV)

Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun. – (Psalm 139:17-18, ERV)

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

 

This conveys a love that goes beyond human understanding. I imagine it is part of the purpose that we are created for relationship. When we think of those whom we love and treasure the most, it does not even begin to compare to the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us. The number of grains of sand that would fill up a small bucket would take far too long for us to consider counting. All of the grains of sand on the earth are less than how often He things of us?! As I consider my limited exposure to the various spaces where sand is found around the earth, I am overwhelmed with the goodness and great love that God has for us. More than grains of sand in a desert; more than that lying at the shore by the sea… All for you and for me!  May we consider the generosity of the heart of God and how deeply we are loved by Him, as we seek the Lord to lead us and guide us throughout all of our days.

 

How precious a love,

10917_15227942730243444664612386319390.jpg

Photo by Open Doors Photography. ❤

That grants countless thoughts;

As we rise, then rest,

All grace for us brought.

We are considered,

So loved endlessly;

Beyond human grasp,

Generosity.

So often He shows,

A glimpse of His heart;

Through those He’s given,

For us, set apart.

The greatest love known,

Still does not compare;

To Christ’s love for us,

And His endless care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts for us go beyond what we can even begin to understand. Thank You for the gift of those who love us well, that remind us that their love is only a whisper of the depth and breadth of Your love for each of us. Forgive us for disregarding the depth of Your love. Teach us to trust that Your word is true, and to recognize the tangible reminders rendered each time we feel faithfully loved, as such love is only possible through You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and resolve that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for the countless ways You love and consider us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

Kindness, Help and Love

Answer my prayers, O Lord, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is so plentiful. – (Psalm 69:16, NLT) 

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) 

Oh, Lord God, answer my prayers! I need to see Your tender kindness, Your grace, Your compassion, and Your constant love. – (Psalm 69:16, TPT) 

 

The love of the Lord never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes, He provides answers that we don’t even realize our hearts are asking. His help, kindness and love are often made evident through those whom He places in our lives. Yesterday afternoon, I was sore and tired by the time I arrived home from work. Incredibly, my fiancé had arrived to my home before me and greeted me with tender kindness and compassion. God’s unfailing love and care for me was made tangible through the ways in which my Viking tended to me. He walked beside me, stepped behind me if the path was a bit sketchy (to catch me if I were to take a tumble), opened every door, made certain I was seated comfortably in each place we went, and showered me with kindness and compassion. Additionally, I received messages from a friend who is like family and a teammate whom I greatly respect and admire. God sees and He knows what our hearts need the most and in His tender kindness and constant love, He provides. May we ever seek Him for the answers we need, and with open arms, receive the goodness of His faithful love that He provides. 

 

The God of all grace, 

dsc044281720436005.jpg

My Viking ❤ -Photo:Open Door Photography

Through unfailing love; 

Shows His care for us, 

As mercies rise up. 

He provides His help, 

While compassion’s seen; 

As we receive grace, 

We learn what love means. 

He’s faithful to hear, 

Each time that we pray; 

His unfailing love, 

Will make clear a way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You that You take care of us and that Your mercy knows no end. Thank You for Your great kindness and help when we need it most. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles and frustrations. Help us to trust You more, as You hear us and answer, no matter the size of our need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your tender kindness, grace, compassion and constant love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and the wonderful ways that You make Your kindness and compassion tangible through those around us. 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

To Love Likewise

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 14:4-5, VOICE)

 

In this season where love is celebrated and elevated, it is important to realize what love is and is not. God’s love is our ultimate example, be it in love between family, friends, or the one whom we have been given as our person with whom to share life. To love and be loved, we need to be patient and kind. We are not meant to be jealous, proud, nor rude. If we love others as ourselves, we will not be easily upset nor keep record of wrongs. Because God forgives us, we must forgive. Just as He loves, we need to do the same. While we were yet sinners, He chose to love us. Likewise, we are called to walk in love with those around us, even when they do not treat us the way we desire to be treated. Our patience and kindness are an avenue to express the very same love that we have been given, to those around us. May we ever choose to walk in His love, extending love, just as God loves each of us.

 

Love that is patient,wp-1518363553391117403764.jpg

And kind to others;

Is like the Lord’s love,

For sisters, brothers.

True love is not rude,

Won’t seek its own way;

Instead love prefers,

To give good away.

Love will not record,

Wrongs that have been done;

But instead forgives,

By grace from the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what love is and is not. Thank You that as we seek You, You provide patience and kindness and correct us when we get caught up in ourselves rather than preferring one another. Forgive us for the times that we have held onto the wrongs against us, or have chosen anything other than patience and kindness when that is what You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prefer one another in love, just as You love us. Show us how to be patient and kind, extend forgiveness and grace, and love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for Your lavish love, and go forth and seek to love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – Psalm 31:21a

 

 

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Essence of Prayer

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself interceded for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – (Romans 8:26-28, NIV)

Meanwhile, the moment we realize we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs and aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. – (Romans 8:26-28, MSG)

 

Yesterday, my pastor spoke about prayer. He reminded us that the essence of prayer is talking to God. So often we overcomplicate prayer, thinking that it requires specific rituals, routines or the “right” words. In actuality, prayer is us communing with God. It is a time of intentional slowing down to not only share our hearts with Him, but to listen as well. When we do not have the words to speak, we can rest in silence before Him, fixing our hearts on Him, and He hears what we cannot put into words. May we take time each day to commune with our Maker, as He knows and He hears our every heart cry and is faithful to be present as we travel each step of our path.

 

In strength and weakness, Refreshment Through Repentance

Our faithful Lord hears;

Each prayer that we pray,

Throughout all our years.

Even without words,

With our hearts to Him;

He hears and He knows,

Each need from within.

All things in our lives,

Can be used for good;

As we live for Him,

His grace understood.

So make time to pray,

With our God, commune;

You’ll find He’s faithful,

His heart to us tuned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that prayer is not the complicated thing that we tend to make it out to be. Thank You that prayer is talking to You. Thank You that You made the way for us to commune with You directly. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You through lack of prayer. Teach us how to slow down, pull away and be disciplined to have intentional time conversing with You. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter, and to pray for all who are in need. Help us to listen too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You intentionally and spend time communing with You. 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

Mortality Known is Wisdom Grown

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

 

Life is short, and not one of us knows the number of our days. What we do each day matters, and God’s wisdom is the best way to have a heart to live according to His purposes. Each day that we draw breath, we have the opportunity to love God and love people, just as He loves us. The more aware we are that not one of us is guaranteed another day, the more the present is valued as a gift, and lived out accordingly. May we treasure the gift of today and walk in His wisdom and love so that we may honor the One who gives us life and bring hope to those who need it most.

 

With a grateful heart, given-to-show-goodness.jpg

For all of our days;

May we seek wisdom,

To walk in His ways.

Show us plain Your path,

Each day we draw breath;

So we truly live,

Our lives until death.

And even in death,

We know there is peace;

For when our days end,

To You, we’re released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all who seek You can find a heart of wisdom to walk in Your ways for all of our days. Thank You that when we are willing, You use each day for Your good. Forgive us for the times that we choose to ignore Your direction, and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that all of Your plans and purposes for us are good. Show us how to love well, all whom we encounter, so that each may see a glimpse of Your goodness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for each new day, and seek You for direction as to how to walk it out. 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