Nothing Without Love

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, NIV)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ERV)

If I speak in tongues of human beings and of angels but I don’t have love, I’m a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and I know all the mysteries and everything else, and if I have such complete faith that I can move mountains but I don’t have love, I’m nothing. If I give away everything that I have and hand over my own body to feel good about what I’ve done but I don’t have love, I receive no benefit whatsoever. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, CEB)

 

All that we say and all that we do is meaningless if each are not motivated by love. More than any words or any deeds or any acts of faith, God desires that we choose love. Above all else, there must be love. Jesus went on to tell us that all of the commandments and all of the laws can be fulfilled if we love God and love people. May we ever pursue a path that presents a palpable passion to love God and love people, as we are loved by Him.

 

Wonderful, wise words,

Peace Through Understanding

Mean nothing at all;

If not said in love,

Such words with just fall.

Great acts of giving,

Or faith that moves all;

If not done in love,

They’ll be our downfall.

Our call from the Lord,

To love Him and all;

Lest our words and deeds,

Must reflect our call.

So, let us go forth,

In word and in deed;

Choose love over all,

For such love meets needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us, above all else, to love. Thank You that You give good gifts and equip Your people to love in a variety of ways. Forgive us for every word spoken and every deed done, that were not motivated by love. Teach us how to align our every word and action with the love that comes from You. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love You and love those around us, above all else. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”… And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37 & 39

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

Whenever I pause to reflect on the wonders God has done, I stand in awe of the love and faithfulness He has shown me. As a visual learner, I have a tremendous appreciation for tangible reminders of God’s faithfulness – be it in writing, some sort of visual or the imagining of the altars of stone that were made so long ago to commemorate God faithfully seeing His people through a variety of challenges. Saturday, I had a tangible visual placed in my daily sight line, as a reminder of all that He has done. “The dragonfly has been a symbol of happiness, new beginnings and change for many centuries. The dragonfly means hope, change and love.” (- Why the Dragonfly) For me, in my life, this is the epitome of what God has done in my life. Knowing the symbolism behind the dragonfly, I have been gently reminded of His faithfulness to me at some incredibly pivotal times over the last few years. It seemed everywhere I went, I would see beautifully colorful dragonflies; overseas, out of state, and locally. After life took a turn that I had never imagined, God walked me through and brought me to a place of change, happiness and new beginnings. Where hope had been dashed, it was renewed. Where love had been lost, it has been gifted to me in ways I never thought possible. God works wonderful miracles in ways we would never think possible. His blessings far exceed what we would hope for when we trust in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and give thanks for the wonders He has done, for none can compare to the Lord.

 

God’s great faithfulness, fb_img_15485608179591346201081960421969.jpg

To none can compare;

Wherever we are,

God will meet us there.

In the deepest depths,

Or on mountain top;

His love, unfailing,

Grace that will not stop.

Beyond all His love,

His blessings abound;

Our Grantor of hope,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and Your unending faithfulness throughout all our days. Thank You that no matter what comes, You are faithful to be with and see us through in ways far greater than we could have thought possible. Forgive us for losing sight of who You are and how You love, when we are in the heat of our own battles. Teach us to trust You more and continue to show us tangible reminders of Your goodness and faithfulness throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May we be a blessing that is an extension of Your hands and heart to those in need of Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we give praise for who You are and how You love, and remember the new that You bring us into. 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

Finding Refreshment

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. – (Matthew 11:29, NIV) 

Accept my teaching. Learn from me. I am gentle and humble in spirit. And you will be able to get some rest. – (Matthew 11:29, ERV) 

Simply join your life with Mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, and easy to please. You will find refreshment in Me. – (Matthew 11:29, TPT) 

 

Jesus longs for all to draw near to Him. He is gentle and humble, willing to teach us the way in which we are meant to live. Rest and refreshment are found as we seek our Savior. The yoke that Christ offers is light and unhindered, whereas on our own, the weight of the world rests heavily and wears us out. May we answer the call of Christ who is drawing us near, and allow His heart to lead us and His love to be our strength. 

 

The way of the Lord, No Matter What Comes

Is loving and right; 

He grants us His grace, 

Calls us His delight. 

Drawn unto Himself, 

His heart is to give; 

Rest to the weary, 

And grace to forgive 

So, let us draw near, 

With hearts full of praise; 

Lay our burdens down, 

And walk in His ways. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that as we learn from You and seek time with You, our lives begin to reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to seek You as we go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would learn from You and share Your heart with the world. Show us how to love those around us according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to learn from You and share Your love with all those whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

Perfectly Loved

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – (Matthew 5:48, NIV) 

You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. – (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. – (Matthew 5:48, CEB) 

 

When I read “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”I cannot fathom doing or being what I ought to become. However, the other two translations grant a bit more clarity as to what is being asked of us. Living generously and graciously toward others, and showing love toward everyone – these are tangibles to work with that are realistic with His help. Being “perfect” is the ongoing pursuit to live a life of love, just as we are loved by God. Though not one of us will get it right 100% of the time, continual pursuit of Him and His help, will lead us to better reflect the Lord through how we live. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may go forth and love completely, as we are completely loved. 

 

When we love fully,

dsc082024426410277909004046.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We are doing well; 

To live as we’re asked, 

Of God’s grace, we tell. 

May we choose pursue, 

God’s help in all things; 

So we may reflect, 

The good His love brings. 

Wherever we go, 

Whatever we do; 

Allow His love lead, 

So His light shines through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that “perfect” is the purposeful pursuit of loving completely, as we are completely loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we do not seek You to lead us and equip us to love like You. Teach us to operate in love in all things, so that Your heart will be evident to all. Show us how to love those around us perfectly, as Your love for us is perfect. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

 

 

 

 

 

Refreshment and Restoration for the Tired

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV) 

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV) 

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG) 

 

This extended weekend away has done exactly what God promised Jeremiah, it has refreshed my weariness and restored the spaces within me that were just plain tired. Though my body still wakes at the usual early hour, I have not jumped right out of bed to get to task. I have moved at a leisurely pace, meandering to the coffee pot beside my bed, prior to taking my time to spend time in His word and reflect. Much of our time has been spent walking and exploring all over the city, and for me, there is much refreshment in movement. Being able to explore in the cool, late fall air, as we take in the sights and sounds of a city I have seldom seen, is the very sort of adventure to rejuvenate my heart and mind. Though I miss my husband and boys, it is a joy to escape and spend intentional time with my best friend. Though refreshment and restoration rarely come in the form of a weekend getaway, God is faithful to give rest and strength when we need it most. May we ever turn to Him to restore our hearts and minds when we need refreshment, and give Him praise for the faithful ways that He provides. 

 

The Lord is faithful, img_2018-12-03_06-57-562597762703058698717.jpg

No matter our need; 

He hears what we ask, 

Grants blessings indeed. 

When weary and tired, 

In great need of rest; 

The way God answers, 

Is always the best. 

He refreshes strength, 

Fortifies resolve; 

Renews and restores, 

Makes fatigue dissolve. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to refresh tired bodies and restore weary souls. Forgive us for attempting to press on through our own exhaustion, rather than seeking You for solutions to strengthen and restore us in our spaces of depletion. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Grantor of strength who lifts us up when we cannot lift ourselves. Show us how to love those around us a way that strengthens and restores the weary and worn out in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

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.

 

Remember the Wonders

Remember the amazing things He has done. Remember His miracles and His fair decisions. – (1 Chronicles 16:12, ERV)

Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. – (1 Chronicles 16:12, NIV)

Remember the wondrous works He has done, all His marvelous works, and the justice He declared. – (1 Chronicles 16:12, CEB)

 

It is so good to pause and reflect on the wondrous works that God has done. In a few short years, God has brought me from a space of brokenness and despair to one that is healed and whole and loved more than I ever thought possible. When I was in need, He provided. At times when things seemed unjust, He brought justice. Throughout each new day God has been present and faithful and loving. This morning, I look forward, for in two short days our boys, my Viking and I, will travel to Wenatchee to prepare for our wedding on Saturday. Down to the last detail, God has provided all. From a home that will accommodate two adults and three teenage boys, to the sale of my Viking’s old home, to just the right timing and grace to move our belongings out of our old home and into the new space. Two days remain to finish moving and cleaning our former home and have things moved in so that we are set to be home when we return from the wedding. Though a bit daunting, I know all will be done as I look back and recognize the grace and strength, help and hope that He has given all along. May we ever remember the wonders our God has done, His miracles, and the righteous way He rules.

 

The Lord, He is good, wp-15317456633552085009570804260347.jpg

Throughout all our days;

His wondrous works,

Of kindness and grace.

He’s seen all our needs,

In love, provided;

Restored peacefulness,

Where angst divided.

With all that I am,

For all of my days;

I can’t thank enough,

Nor give enough praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wondrous works and miracles You have done in my life. Thank You that You are just and fair in all of Your ways. Thank You for the incredible ways that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for the times that we have doubts or fail to see all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that faith would rise up every time a challenge comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and demonstrates the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer all of our praise for the incredible gift of Your loving ways. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

 

 

The Fee for Freedom

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – (John 8:36, NLT)

So if the Son makes you free, you are really free. – (John 8:36, ERV)

So if the Son sets you free from sin, then become a true son and be unquestionably free! – (John 8:36, TPT)

 

Freedom is not without a price. For most of us, we are blissfully unaware of the extent of the cost of the precious freedom that we enjoy each day. We have the right to say and do whatever we desire to do (within the legal limits of the law), and we have the choice to worship and gather without fear. Many nations in the world today are not afforded such luxuries. The people live in fear and cannot gather without the threat of imprisonment or death, simply for seeking to enjoy the very freedoms we so often take for granted. Today, as we celebrate Independence Day, may we take time to reflect and give thanks for the freedoms we know in our nation, and even more importantly, the freedom we know in our hearts that has been granted by God in the gift of mercy and grace generously given through His Son.

 

This mighty freedom, On the Eve of New

We know and adore;

Has come at a price,

From ones who gave more.

National freedom,

From those who fought for;

Sweet independence,

From ways once abhorred.

Personal freedom,

The greatest of all;

Through Christ’s sacrifice,

Our forgiveness call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that we have been given through the sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You all who seek You, find forgiveness and grace – freedom from the weight of our past mistakes and failures. Thank You too for the gift of freedom that we know in our nation, as we know that not all countries know a freedom such as ours. Forgive us for taking either freedom for granted, and teach us to give You praise for all our days for the incredible gift we have come to know in each. Show us how to love others well, so they too, may know the freedom found in the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the freedom we know and the grace to grow. 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

Set Down Our Stones

“Let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – (John 8:7b, NIV)

“Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” – (John 8:7b, CEB)

“Let the first stone be thrown by the one among you who has not sinned.” – (John 8:7b, VOICE)

 

This particular story recorded in the book of John, is one of the amazing goodness and grace of Jesus. A woman who was caught in sin was brought before Jesus by the Pharisees, as they hoped to trap Jesus and condemn the woman. When Jesus spoke these words to those who accused her, one by one, they dropped their rocks and walked away. Each one knew that they too had sinned and did not qualify as sinless to hurl stones. I imagine we all have certain offenses against us that make our blood boil, however, when we slow down, breathe and reflect, we have to recognize that we are also offenders of others, even if it is without intent to harm. Sometimes it is the words that escape our mouths, other times it is our actions, or often even worse, our inactions, that are among our own sins. It is critical that we deal with our own sin, rather than try to manage that of another. Granted, there are roles that we are called to fill where it is our job to help others navigate a life of obedience, but even then, it is not by throwing stones that we correct, but rather through conversation, consequence and redirection. May we look to the example of Jesus when the offenses of others are brought before us, for not one of us is free from sin.

 

The stones in our hands, Set Down Our Stones

We must choose set down;

As we all have sinned,

We’ve made our own mound.

A mountain of rocks,

Where our own sins lie;

Each one forgiven,

Love never denied.

Let us do likewise,

Forgive each other;

Demonstrate God’s grace,

To one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us incredible examples of Your forgiveness and grace, though they are not deserved. Thank You that we all are in need of mercy and grace, as not one of us is without sin. Forgive us for holding stones in our hands, ready to throw, rather than slowing down to look at our own lives and recognize that we too have reason to receive retribution for our own offenses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set down our stones and seek Your strength and grace to extend to those around us. Show us how to love others with the same mercy, grace and goodness that You extend to us in our own spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our stones in Your hands, and receive the goodness that You give in their place to extend to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6