Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

Hope Rises

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:2-6, NIV)

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” – (Mark 16:6, NIV)

“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day, be raised again.” Then they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, NIV)

 

Mary and Mary Magdalene had been with Jesus consistently throughout the previous three years. They had witnessed miracles and listened to His teachings, again and again. On the day that He was crucified, the two were mentioned as they stood at the foot of the cross, and the two were there watching as Pilate’s guards placed the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb. In the morning, on the third day, the day following the Sabbath, Mary and Mary Magdalene hurried to the place where Jesus lay, hoping to at least gain a glimpse of His body, likely to honor the Savior with their mourning. I can only imagine their shock and disbelief at the sight of giant gleaming angel, seated on the enormous stone that had been rolled away. I wonder if their hearts leaped within them as the angel of the Lord reminded them of Jesus’ own words, when He had foretold of His resurrection. As soon as the words settled in, they viewed the empty tomb, and realized that all Jesus had spoken, had come to pass. Today, we remember the remarkable way that Jesus came to offer salvation to all who believe. He died in our place, but not even death, a dreadful death on a cross, could overcome our Giver of Life. Death was defeated and Jesus is alive! His death, so we may live; His resurrection, so that we have hope for eternity with Him. May we celebrate this glorious day in the knowledge that He is Risen and we can forever dwell with Him!

 

Early one morning, Hope in an Empty Tomb

Many years ago;

While others still slept,

Two ladies did go.

They walked to the tomb,

Where Jesus did lay;

Angelic greeting,

The stone rolled away.

The tomb sat empty,

Jesus was not there;

“The Lord is alive”,

The angel declared.

In awe and wonder,

The women recalled;

Jesus said He’d rise,

New hope was installed.

Jesus is alive,

Death has lost its sting;

All sin, defeated,

Through Christ’s offering.

Celebrate in faith,

His power to rise;

Through death and new life,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that death was defeated and our sins, forgiven. Thank You for the hope and the power that is planted in us through the resurrection. Forgive us for not recognizing both the weight and the wonder, as Jesus took it all so that we might live. Teach us to look upon the cross with great gratitude, and recall the empty tomb with resurrected hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays the hope we hold because death was defeated for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Risen Redeemer. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your ultimate victory and praise You for the power You impart to us, so that we too may be overcomers, with hope that is secure for our eternity. Amen.

 

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

 

“Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you.” – Matthew 28:7

Recorded Reminders Bring His Holy Hope

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. – (Romans 15:4, NIV)

Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us. Those things were written so that we could have hope. That hope comes from the patience and encouragement that the Scriptures give us. – (Romans 15:4, ERV)

You see, everything written in the days of old was recorded to give us instructions for living. We find encouragement through the Scriptures and a call to perseverance that will produce hopeful living. – (Romans 15:4, VOICE)

 

Scriptures show us the repeated faithfulness of God over time. The more one invests time to discover the truth of God’s word, the more encouragement is found to persevere with patient hope, as that which comes in the end, is well worth the wait. There is nothing new under the sun. Every difficulty, trial, and pain that we face, has been endured before. Though the struggles of those in the past may not look exactly like the things we endure, there are so many similarities, that we can witness the ongoing faithfulness of God, as each inspires us to continue to hope in Him. Recording His faithfulness in writing has always been a way to encourage and inspire those who follow and face something similar. May we look to the Lord and His Holy Word, to remind us of His faithfulness and the hope that is held in His holy hands.

 

All that is written, The Word of God

In God’s Holy Word;

Inspires, brings hope,

To all who have heard.

For the truth of God,

Brings life, love and light;

Hope in the darkness,

Reminders to fight.

Fight through the heartache,

The struggles and fear;

Proof of His true love,

To all who draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that is recorded in Your Word. Thank You that no matter what we go through, we can turn to You and trust in Your Word to remind us of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have sought answers, help and hope elsewhere. Teach us to turn to You first in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us through their trials, and to record and recall the countless examples of faithfulness You have made known in our own lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your Word so that we may more deeply come to know who You are and how You love; for hope is forever held in the truth. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Sharing Hope

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. – (1 Peter 3:15, ERV)

But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat Him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be read to explain your faith with gentleness and respect. – (1 Peter 3:15, TPT)

 

To revere is to view with respect and awe. How often do we truly look at Christ through the proper lens? God is love, hope, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness and self-control for all who call on His Name. The hope we hold is not due in part to anything that we have done, but rather as a result of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He died so that we might live. Few would willingly lay down their life for another, (and typically only for someone whom they dearly love) yet Christ died for us, while we were still sinners. Jesus loved us, even when we knew nothing of His love to return. It is the unconditional love of Christ that grants us hope, not only for today, but for all of eternity. Our story, our own experiences of discovering the hope that is found in Christ, is the most gentle and respectful way to share what we have found with those around us who ask. May we ever maintain a posture of reverence for the Lord, and be ready to tell of His faithfulness and the hope that is ever held in Him.

 

With honor and awe, Sharing Hope

Let’s look to the Lord;

Our hope Provider,

The One we adore.

The hope that we hold,

Dwells deep from within;

As we’ve discovered,

Love time and again.

It is by God’s love,

We come to know grace;

That grants us all hope,

Eternal embrace.

Let’s ever recall,

How we came to know;

Hope that’s forever,

So His grace we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all hope is found forever in You. Thank You that You ask us to partner with You to share what we know with those who are seeking. Forgive us for not maintaining a proper perspective of You, or for neglecting to share the hope we know with those around us. Be glorified O God, as we remember with awe and reverence, the hope that You placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Protection and Peace

But whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NIV) 

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV) 

But those who listen to Me now will live under divine protection; they can rest knowing they are out of harm’s way. – (Proverbs 1:33, VOICE) 

 

God calls us to be in constant communion with Him. As we pray and seek the Lord for direction in all things – great and small, He answers and guides us in the ways that we are meant to go. When we listen, He keeps us safe and we need not fear. Years ago, when I was flying home from Hong Kong, one of the engines on our plane caught fire. The flames were visible to passengers through the windows, and many on our aircraft were terrified. I had just spent six months traveling all over Asia, serving in schools, churches and communities in response to His leading, and I had to believe that He was not finished with me yet. Silently, I prayed for peace and protection, and somehow, by His divine grace, was not afraid. Our plane emergency landed safely and smoothly in Taiwan, and my biggest concern was continuing my journey home. After several hours of waiting, I was able to catch another flight for the remainder of my trip. He was faithful to keep me safe, and I listened as He led me securely home. Though I am not forever fearless when I find myself in potentially harrowing situations, I am frequently reminded of His faithfulness in countless scenarios prior, and discover that if I slow down and listen, God quiets my heart and brings me His peace. May we ever seek the Lord and His leading, for He is the One to lead us and guide us and keep us safe. 

 

The God of all peace, protection and peace

Is forever near; 

Ready to lead us, 

He’s faithful to hear. 

The more we know Him, 

Trust is realized; 

Loving and gracious, 

God will be our guide. 

Let us ever seek, 

We will surely find; 

The Lord’s protection, 

All fear set aside. 

For there is no room, 

For fear in our heart; 

When we pursue God, 

His peace He’ll impart. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to provide Your peace and protection as we seek You and listen to You. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to lead us, rather than our trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as we recall Your previous provision that kept us safe in Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and assurance in spaces of fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are faithful to protect us and keep us safe. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 118:6

Remember With Wonder

But then I recall all You have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. – (Psalm 77:11, NLT)

Lord, I remember what You have done. I remember the amazing things you did long ago. – (Psalm 77:11, ERV)

Yet I could never forget all Your miracles, my God, as I remember all Your wonders of old. – (Psalm 77:11, TPT)

 

This weekend my husband and I are attending several events to celebrate his 30th high school reunion. It is amusing to watch he and his buddies from so long ago, catch up and reminisce. As I observe and take in their stories and various accounts, I am in awe of the protection that was provided to keep them alive, the grace to carry them from adolescence to adulthood unscathed, and the goodness that has grown them into wonderful parents, spouses, community members and human beings. Looking back is a fantastic way to remember all of the amazing things that God has done – the obstacles that He has helped us traverse, the challenges we have overcome, and the wonders His hands have provided throughout the years. As we take the time to recall and recognize the Lord’s faithfulness before, our capacity to forge forward in faith grows stronger. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and recounting personally, our experiences of His faithfulness, renews our fortitude to trust more deeply. May we never forget all that God has done to bring us from where we were to today.

 

May we not forget, Remember With Wonder

The wonders and grace;

That God’s given us,

As we’ve sought His face.

For throughout our lives,

His love has been shown;

As He’s carried us,

From hardships to home.

The more we recall,

The more that trust grows;

Just as He has done,

He’ll continue show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that has protected, carried and provided for us throughout our lives thus far. Thank You that as we remember Your hand and how You provided, it grows easier to trust that You will continue. Forgive us for our lack of trust and for neglecting to recall Your incredible faithfulness. Teach us to stop and remember all that You have done, giving You glory as Your grace grows our faith all the more. Show us how to love those around us as we remain consistent and constant in the lives of those whom You have called us to touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness forever and forge forward with hearts full of faith. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Rise and Press On

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my Source of strength. He is mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever. – (Psalm 73:26, VOICE)

 

Learning something new can be the most exhilarating and frustrating thing on the planet. I know from experience that everything worthwhile, requires hard work. Currently, I am in a space where the learning curve is a bit overwhelming, as my mind attempts to grasp all the new and I commit my body to conform to the physical demands that are unlike anything I have ever done before. Nagging aches and strains are challenging my resolve, and my mind’s capacity to recall play after play as it is called seems to be compromised. Despite my feelings of lack, weakness and brokenness, the strength He provides within me, drives me to press on. Each day is new, and He refreshes and rebuilds us in our spaces of lack and leads us forward in His strength. May we ever seek God in our areas of weakness, trusting Him to empower us to move forward forever in His goodness and grace.

 

On days that we fail, You Make Me Strong

Feel broken and weak;

Let’s trust in the One,

Provides those who seek.

For strength from within,

Is from God alone;

Forever He gives,

And makes His heart known.

Power presented,

To rise and press on;

Strengthening of heart,

Resolve is made strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we feel broken and weak, You are strong and You are our Source of strength to press forward in You. Thank You that You are our portion forever. Forgive us for our frustration with our own humanity, as we fall short and fail. Teach us to turn to You to be our Source of strength in our every weakness. Show us how to love and encourage those around us when they feel broken or weak. May many rise up and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength where we are weak and give You all praise for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Fear Fades in Perfect Love

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love. – (1 John 4:18, NLT) 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear expects punishment. The person who is afraid has not been made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, CEB) 

Love will never involve fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love. – (1 John 4:18, VOICE) 

 

To love God and know His love in return, requires a mind shift as we recognize the difference between fearing God, in the sense of awe and wonder at His power and authority, and fear of punishment, which delivers discipline without love. God loves us so much that He corrects, redirects and leads us to the paths we are meant to take. When we are walking in the light of His love, fear becomes unfamiliar as He shows us what it is to be loved in spite of ourselves. When we fall short, He still loves fiercely. As we misstep or make foolish decisions, He loves us so much that He leads us back the direction that we are meant to go. It is not a fearful thing, but rather our loving Heavenly Father, leading us in His perfect love. May we ever trust in Him who is love, as in Him and through Him we have nothing to fear. 

 

The love of the Lord, Fear Fades in Perfect Love

Is perfect indeed; 

It expels all fear, 

Grants strength where there’s need. 

When we find we’re stuck, 

Fear what we deserve; 

We need to recall, 

His sacrifice served. 

For as we know Christ, 

His cover of love; 

Our fears fade away, 

And hope’s found above. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in Your perfect love. Thank You that though we deserve punishment, You already paid the price for all of our sins. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You lead us and guide us in the direction that we are meant to go. Forgive us for being fearful when we falter, rather than seeking You for forgiveness and help. Teach us to trust You more, so that we embrace the grace that You freely give, and walk boldly in the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to love those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to know and understand Your perfect love so that we can go and love others in the same way. Amen. 

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Forgiveness Fosters Love

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT) 

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV) 

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE) 

 

Our world desperately is in need of the forgiveness of faults to move forward in the freedom that is found in love. Far too often fingers are pointed without taking an honest look in the mirror. We all fall short and make missteps, and at times our errors end up hurting someone near us. If we are walking in love as God calls us to love, we must choose to forgive and move forward. The more we give grace, the greater our friendships grow. Freedom to be human is a tremendous burden lifted, and as we are able to be transparent with those near to us, we are strengthened in our faith and better bonded as dear friends. May we ever choose to be the ones who forgive faults and foster love, just as Jesus has done for us. 

 

As we choose forgive, Faith and Hope in Action

The love we have grows; 

Friendships are strengthened, 

As grace is made known. 

Those who dwell on faults, 

End up in great loss; 

Friendships are ruined, 

Far too great the cost. 

So let us choose love, 

Forgive and give grace; 

Build our bonds closer, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about our every interaction and relationship so much, that You give us guidance as to how to navigate best. Thank You that as we forgive, just as You have forgiven us, You bless us with stronger bonds in the relationships You have granted. Forgive us for dwelling on faults rather than forgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Show us how to love and give grace to those around us, ever strengthening the bonds of friendship that You are building among us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Our Strength and Safety

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV) 

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV) 

O my Strength, to You I sing my praises; for You are my high tower of safety, my God of mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, TLB) 

 

This morning, I wake with nervous excitement, as it will be the first day that we will practice together as an entire team. Veteran players will join us rookies as we take the field today, and the intensity with which we have been working, will surely increase even more. Physically, God has been my strength, and I have felt good, however, remembering all of the plays is a challenge, and my mind often draws a blank when I need to recall. With praise on my heart for the opportunity for the new, I will continue to review that which I need to know and trust the process. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and safety and give praise to God who loves us and on whom we can depend. 

 

O God, You’re my strength, You Make Me Strong

My hope, help and song; 

I bring You my praise, 

Through all the day long. 

You are my safety, 

You bless me with peace; 

In You I can trust, 

As grace You release. 

Help me to rise up, 

In Your strength and grace; 

Protected in power, 

To run well this race. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safety, as You love of best. Thank You for the opportunity for new things, and for strong healthy bodies that can do so much more than we would have thought or imagined. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength, or for avoiding the new that You bring us to out of fear. Teach us to trust You more, as You supply all that we need to do the new that we are brought into. Be our strength and safety, Lord. Show us how to love and encourage one another, so that we each might find the strength and courage to rise up and be who You have created us to become. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and safety that You supply and give thanks for Your faithful love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78