Treasured Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, ERV)

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us – cracked pots made of earth and clay – so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, VOICE)

 

The treasure is Jesus within us, and through His presence, we are empowered to love as He loves us. I love the imagery of people as jars of clay, for each of us are molded and shaped to hold Him in our hearts, capable of pouring out to all whom we encounter. Ordinary people can live extraordinary lives through that which is within them. God’s heart, His power and His love, are made known as we choose to pour out from the spaces that we have invested to fill. Incredibly, the more we seek the Lord and choose to love, the more we have to pour out to those around us. May we ever invest in our relationship with our Redeemer, who fills us and makes His goodness known through us, His jars of clay, created to contain the treasure of His power, grace and love for the world.

Yesterday, Micah and I caught up with Mom on the phone as we were running an errand. She sounded good, and was eager to hear about the weekend adventures we each had, and pass on congratulations to the newest driver in our household. Later in the evening my sister and I did a bit of texting back and forth, and I was actually able to go back through old messages and find Mom’s occupational therapist from Wenatchee to contact for needed information in Albany. I reached out to Larissa, and she responded rapidly. Hopefully, the information provided will help expedite the in-home therapy hang-up, as I know it has been frustrating for all. Please pray for my sister, as I imagine she is wearing the weight on her shoulders. Her job is insanely busy, her boys have crazy busy schedules, my brother-in-love’s work schedule often requires him to travel and work insane hours, and Meg is the cog that keeps the machine running. She deserves a cape or a crown, but truly, I know prayers are coveted.

 

The power of God, Treasured Jars of Clay

That shines from the stars;

Dwells also in us,

Broken, earthen jars.

Jars are containers,

Ready to outpour;

Let us make love known,

For His love restores.

The treasure we hold,

Is in us to share;

Lord, lead us in grace,

Always, everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be vessels to receive and in turn pour out the treasures of Your love, goodness and grace to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have placed a lid on our jar, preventing either the receiving or the outpouring of all that You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain open vessels. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and invite You to fill us again and again, so that we may go forth and pour into the lives of those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

 

 

Only Owe Love

Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:8, NLT)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

 

Being in debt to one another provides opportunity for division. However, the debt of love that we owe to the One who loved us with His very life, is one that makes us right before the Lord as we seek to love others as we are loved by God. As we recognize the call to love God and love people, the charge to choose love is a debt that is good and right to ever seek fulfill. For as we opt to love others, we meet the requirements of our Redeemer. Let us not borrow what cannot be repaid, but rather choose to love as Christ, for all of our days.

 

Don’t borrow beyond, Ambassadors of Love

What can be repaid;

Instead, choose to love,

Like He who has saved.

For those who choose love,

Fulfill the Lord’s law;

We each have been called,

To love with our all.

May our only debt,

Be a loving one;

So our days are spent,

Loving like the Son.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us with Your very life. Thank You that You call us to love one another in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to love according to Your will, or lack responsibility with our resources. Teach us to trust You more, so that our only debt owed is the one of love that is an ongoing payment through loving You and all those around us. Show us how to love others as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love like You, for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7

Ready for Rest

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

Weariness is worn on the faces of myself and my colleagues, as we press in and power through this final week prior to spring break. Though there were a few snow days sprinkled in, the stretch between winter break and this well-timed rest in the spring, feels like a marathon. Between escalating behaviors, time commitments that extend the already busy hours of each day, and the plague of viruses that have made their way around, finally arriving at today, the last day prior to break, feels miraculous. God knows what we need. Next week is a provided opportunity to lay down burdens and be refreshed. I love The Passions Translation, as the imagery of God being our oasis is outstanding. An oasis in the desert of exhaustion is exactly where I am ready to go. May we all run to our Redeemer, who is ready to receive our burdens and exchange them for real rest and refreshment.

 

When heavy burdens, img_2019-03-03_09-00-141537211458818783495.jpg

Overwhelm our hearts;

We need seek the Lord,

In Whom rest shall start.

God is our sweet space,

Where true rest is found;

Strength when we’re weary,

And grace to slow down.

Slow in His presence,

Renewal shall come;

Our Great Provider,

Where true peace is from.

Rest for the body,

And peace for our minds;

The love of Jesus,

Is gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to bring You our heavy burdens. Thank You that as we give all to You, You grant us rest in Your love. Thank You that You are our oasis in the desert of weariness. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to remain on our shoulders when You did not design us to carry so much. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, allowing You room to grant us reprieve and true rest. Show us how to lay all things down and find rest in You. Help us to love those around us in such a way, that they too, may know real rest in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You for rest and lay our burdens before You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

All Praise is Due

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, NIV) 

Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help His people and has given them freedom. He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of his servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, ERV) 

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. And the Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David. – (Luke 1:68-69, VOICE) 

 

These verses are a portion of Zechariah’s song, which are sung in a praise-filled celebration of sorts, following the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). As a faithful follower of God, Zechariah understood the significance of all that was taking place, as it had long before been foretold. The birth of his son was the prelude to the coming of Christ, the long-awaited Redeemer and Savior. Zechariah’s stretch of silence, after his holy visitation that left him mute, ended with the faithful obedience of writing down the name he was told to give his son. The first thing he did with his reopened lips was give glory and honor to God for His faithfulness. May we each embrace the incomprehensible grace that came to us through a virgin birth, and praise the Lord for being faithful to fulfill His promises forever. 

 

All praise to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

For all praise is due; 

For what He promised, 

Was provided true. 

A Savior to come, 

The Light for mankind; 

Entered a baby, 

Yet fully divine. 

The hope of the world, 

Had come down to earth; 

To set captives free, 

And grant us rebirth. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You for those who set the example of recognizing who You are and how You love. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same God who set aside His throne to be God-with-us, still dwells within the hearts of those who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You for all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for Your faithfulness, and conveys Your heart and character to all those with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wonderful things that You have done to extend Your grace and send us Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

413999ed-2061-46e4-9b6c-565cd74dcf5d5593075506363422581.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Born to Bloom

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and unsaved all around us. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TLB)

We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God – a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TPT)

 

As I sat here pondering this verse, the image that came to mind for me is that of beautiful, fragrant flowers. The gardener who tends to the plants to trim, water, fertilize and assure proper light, yields healthy plants that produce sweet scents. Contrarily, those who do not provide that which plants need, discover the scent of death and decay soon emit from the perishing perennials. People are comparable when it comes to our faith. If we invest time in our relationship with our Redeemer, we learn and grow and become more like Him. As we do, the love, grace and kindness we extend, become a sweet scent to our Savior, as well as to those who are seeking something more. However, when we neglect the need for investing time with the very One who created us, we begin to wither and rot, stuck with a stench of angst and impatience, anger and a serious lack of love. May we ever seek the nourishment of our Maker, as He provides the soil, water and light that we need to bloom and become the sweet scent of life to all those around us.

 

The sweet scent of life, born-to-bloom.jpg

Through hope and His grace;

Are what we offer,

As we seek God’s face.

A life invested,

In loving the Lord;

Is grown to produce,

Sweet scent that’s adored.

For loving kindness,

Goodness and His light;

Are grown within us,

As we choose delight.

With all that we are,

May we seek His face;

So, our lives smell sweet,

And extend His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life invested in knowing and following You grows and develops us to give off the sweet scent of hope in You. Thank You that You cultivate this within us as we choose to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting time with You, as You are the One who removes the weeds and provides the water and sunlight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You room to come in and cultivate our lives into the fragrant offering You intended. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them breathe deeply from Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You, and allow You room to grow us so that we can bloom. Amen.

 

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

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

dsc085178740783907006225248.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

See How Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste and see how good the Lord is! The one who takes refuge in Him is truly happy! – (Psalm 34:8, CEB)

 

When I look back and reflect on all that has transpired over the past few years, I am in awe of the goodness of God. Though I have walked through some seasons of trial and heartache, He has been my refuge and my strength. All the while, the Lord provided and protected, and has now brought me into a space of unbelievable blessing. Even on the most difficult days, I have been fully aware of His goodness and grace. Today, I know happiness that my heart had only hoped for, and am ever aware of just how good God truly is. This evening, my Viking and I leave on our honeymoon for eight glorious days. Together, we will experience new things in a destination that neither of us have been. Each step of the way, leading to today, we have stood in awe at just how good the Lord has been to us. May we always run to our Redeemer, who is our refuge, and depend on Him in all things and at all times; for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

The Lord God is good, Carnival_Sunshine_0002

He’s faithful and true;

He answers our call,

To make all things new.

God is our refuge,

Our safe place to stay;

Our bringer of hope,

Who shows us the way.

Great are His blessings,

So full is His joy;

For those who trust Him,

His grace is employed.

All thanks be to God,

For all He has done;

For love and fresh starts,

As each day’s begun.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and the source of all blessings bestowed upon us. Thank You that You are faithful forever to be present with us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are so good. Forgive us for our moments of doubt when trials feel that they might overwhelm us. Teach us to run to You, our refuge, in seasons of struggle and those filled with joy. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates the same sense of security and abundant blessing that You grant to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how wonderful You are. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good, because His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Beautifully Broken

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

First thing in the morning, before the chaos of the day ensues, it is fairly easy to keep my thoughts fixed on that which is pleasing to the Lord and my words follow, much the same. As the day moves forward and responsibilities and demands grow heavy, it can become far more difficult to keep my heart, mind and mouth aligned. Yesterday, after spending several hours packing and moving things from my old house to the new one we all will share, in the heat of the day, I was hot, tired and a bit grumpy. When we returned to the new house with the last load of the day, I scanned Instagram. What jumped out at me was a post from a friend of mine who had a photo of a broken plate with the words to a Matthew West song that I love. “But if it’s true You use broken things then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours.” – (Matthew West, Broken ThingsHaving read the words, they began to sink deep in my heart and the song began to play on repeat in my heart and mind. I was reminded that even when we are broken down, tired or hurting, He will use us if we are willing. That tug at my heartstrings reset my mind and heart to what matters, and I was able to continue the remainder of my afternoon and evening with the thought that He would use whatever I bring, and He sets my heart where it ought to be. May our every word and thought be pleasing unto God, for He is our Rock and Redeemer.

 

Lord I am the clay,

Scars as Signs of Strength

Just as the Japanese practice the art of Kintsukuroi (the Japanese art of embracing broken and flawed things and making them beautiful), so does God with us as we are willing. ❤

And You, the Potter;

Let my heart reflect,

Love as Your daughter.

Where my heart and mind,

Choose to sit and dwell;

Become the story,

My whole life will tell.

O here I am, Lord,

In my brokenness;

Use what I offer,

In Your tenderness.

May all of my words,

And thoughts in my mind;

Be shaped by Your love,

For You are so kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You stop us in our tracks and remind us of what matters most. Thank You that You use us, in our broken imperfections, to touch those around us with Your love. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to shape how we see things, rather than coming before You as we are and trusting that You can use all that we offer. Teach us to set our hearts and minds on things of You, so that our every thought and word are pleasing in Your sight. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your light and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You, Lord, and say, “I’m all Yours.” Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

*Another song that comes to mind and is a great reminder, Beautifully Broken, by Plumb.