Demonstrated through Deeds

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

Love is a verb. To truly make the love of God tangible, we must love with more than words. Acts of love done without expectation of anything in return, reveal the remarkable heart of our Redeemer. We have a Secret Pal system in place where I work. Prior to the onset of random acts of kindness, all who opt to participate complete a simple survey that includes information about the person we plan to bless throughout the school year. There is much joy in finding out more about the person we have chosen, so that we may demonstrate love through kind acts that remind the person that they are known and that they matter. Additionally, when we demonstrate our love for those around us – our family, friends, colleagues, and the like – we are exhibiting glimpses of God’s love made tangible. Each act of love shows the recipient that they are known and valued. Whenever we prefer one another in love, we model the truth of the love of the Lord, and give rise to the goodness of God. May we never limit our love to mere words, but rather demonstrate the lavish love of the Lord through loving deeds.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is ours to display;

Through more than mere words,

Love’s a verb each day.

Called to take action,

To show with our deeds;

Each done with a love,

That meets others’ needs.

So, let us rise up,

in love, take action;

Choose to move in love,

Holy transaction.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You have shown us in countless ways, how love takes action. Thank You that all can come to know You and be the recipients of Your love. Forgive us for not acting in love at times when we have the opportunity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we gain greater insight as to how we may put love into practice. Show us how to make love tangible for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to love those around us with more than mere words. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Listen for Wisdom

(If you) turn your ear to wisdom and apply your heart to understanding – then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, NIV) 

Listen to wisdom, and do your best to understand. If you do this, you will understand what it means to respect the Lord, and you will come to know God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, ERV) 

So, train your heart to listen when I speak and open your spirit wide to expand your discernment – then pass it on to your sons and daughters. Then you will discover the fear of the Lord and find the true knowledge of God. – (Proverbs 2:2 & 5, TPT) 

 

Wisdom, knowledge and understanding come when we turn to God and seek Him. It requires that we purposely pursue the One who holds the key to all. Just as it is with people around us, we only get to know and understand them if we spend intentional time together. God waits willingly and lovingly for us to seek Him. When we do, we begin to understand who He is and how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and set aside time to learn and grow with Him, as He opens our understanding to know more of Him. 

 

The wisdom of God, The Word of God

What we ought pursue; 

For His heart’s made known, 

To all those who do. 

Seek to understand, 

For that is the space; 

Where He will reveal, 

His wisdom and grace. 

For great is His Name, 

In every way; 

In awe and wonder, 

May we choose to pray. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to meet us and impart to us, new wisdom and understanding of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we need pursue You and do not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your wisdom in all things, with reverence and awe. Show us how to love those around us in ways that are best for each individual whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding and insight in all things, and view You with proper awe and reverence. Amen.

 

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

 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts have good understanding. To Him belongs eternal praise. – Psalm 111:10

Open

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise. – (Psalm 51:15, NIV) 

Yet He gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens. – (Psalm 78:23, NIV) 

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – (Psalm 119:18, NIV) 

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. – (Psalm 118:19, NIV) 

You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. – (Psalm 145:16, NIV) 

 

Last evening, my husband and I went to a New Year’s prayer service at our church. It provided opportunity to be intentional in a sort of resetting as we journey into 2019. As we spent some time in worship and prayer, I wondered if there was a word that would lead as we walk forward into the new that God has for us. The word that kept coming to my mind and heart was “Open”. At that time, I had a sense that it was for me to be intentionally open to what God has for me, and to be open to others so that He can work through me. That being said, my thought this morning was to do a bit of a word study in His word. The verses above stood out to me as guiding principles as to how to be “open”. As I open my eyes and my mouth, I shall see and speak of His wonders. Additionally, God wants me to be open to receive and walk into the new that He has for me. May our hearts and eyes be open to all that God has, and our mouths ready to reveal the love and grace that He has granted, so that we too, may pour out to those around us. 

 

Open my eyes, Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

So, I ever see; 

All of the blessings, 

And Your great beauty. 

Open my mouth, Lord, 

So that I may speak; 

Of infinite good, 

And point to Your peace. 

Open hands and heart, 

So that I may share; 

All that You’ve given, 

Make clear that You care. 

Open up the way, 

And level the trails; 

So, Your way is clear, 

Your love never fails. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are open to us, we too, can be open to You and all that You have for us. Thank You that You are intentional with Your plans and purposes for our lives. Thank You that we get to participate in Your goodness and grace, as Your abundance is poured out as we run well our race. Forgive us for the times that we have not been open to all that You have for us or to those around us. Show us how to love others with open hearts and hands, granting You room to move in us and through us in a way that blesses all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be open to You and allow You room to move through our open hands and hearts. Amen. 

 

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

 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

The Season Between

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. – (Hebrews 10:36, NIV)

You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:36, ERV)

You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full. – (Hebrews 10:36, TPT)

 

God is faithful forever and His promises are true. The challenge for humanity is that our sense of timing is not the same as He who is the very Creator of time. When we are called to begin to move in a certain direction, as an act of faith, most of us anticipate that after we take the first step, things will suddenly fall into place and become easy. Clearly this is not the case, for the terms persevere, patience, strength and endurance would not be used to describe what it takes to complete the very thing to which we have been called if it was a simple “one-and-done” sort of journey from the promise to its fulfillment. God is faithful to provide the strength that we need to persevere, yet we are the ones who have to make the choice to keep moving in patient persistence in the direction to which we are called. May we choose to persevere in His patient power provided, as the Lord leads us the way that He intends for us to go. For in His time, the fulfillment is well worth the struggle along the way.

 

We must be patient, Present With Me

Choose follow the Lord;

Rise up and do right,

Move in one accord.

For in His good time,

The Lord shall fulfill;

His promises made,

As we do His will.

In patient pursuit,

Let us choose endure;

The trials life brings,

For our hope’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to fulfill Your promises in Your perfect timing. Thank You that You are patient with us, even though we desire instant gratification as we step out in the direction to which we are called. Forgive us for our lack of faith and trust in spaces that You have spoken promises. Teach us to trust You more, even when we cannot yet see the evidence of Your hand. Show us how to love those around us with faithful endurance, so that they may recognize Your consistent love in and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to provide the patience, endurance and strength that we need to persevere in the season between a promise and its fulfillment. 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

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. 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

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Made for Good

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He has already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

 

To watch God’s masterpieces in action is such a great joy to behold. When I observe those whom I know and care for deeply doing the very things that they were created to do, I cannot help but be filled with joy. The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, as I prepared my boys for camp and myself for Belize, traveled to Belize for a week of medical mission work, returned to do laundry and pack myself for the birthday adventure extravaganza for my love, and the boys for their Sea Scouts long cruise. As I sit in a rental home near Red Rock, NV, with the sun shining on the aqua water in the pool outside, I am overwhelmed by the good that I have both witnessed and experienced as those around me have lived and loved as they were created to do. Brand new blessings were poured out in Belize, as my dear friends were faithful to follow where God had led them, and I had the pleasure to join them and see how God had prepared and gone before us. Camp was wonderful for my boys, as they branched out and made new friends, despite their trepidation at not having their best friends along. Now, here in Nevada, some of our dearest friends have joined together to celebrate my Viking, and love so well. He has been overwhelmed by the blessings, and I don’t think I have stopped smiling since we arrived. God is so good, and when we walk forward as who He has created us to be, the things He does are beyond what we could hope or imagine. May we ever pursue our Creator the good that He has hand-crafted us to accomplish.

 

We’re all created, Made for Good

Hand-crafted by God;

Made new with purpose,

With a path to trod.

Created for good,

That’s how we’re designed;

Be true to ourselves,

Let our hearts align.

Rise up with courage,

Go forth in His might;

He has good in store,

Love well and do right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your masterpiece. Thank You that what You can accomplish in and through us, is not dependent on how we feel. Thank You that when we are willing to go where You call, and do as You ask, good things are accomplished by Your grace. Forgive us for not recognizing the intent with which You made each one of us. Teach us to value those around us and ourselves, as You reveal to us, the masterpiece in us all. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they feel valued and celebrated for who You have created them to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for making us new in You so that we can do good things. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Lifelong Learner

Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insight. – (Proverbs 18:15, MSG)

Clever people go after knowledge to obtain it, and wise people attune their ears to hear it. – (Proverbs 18:15, VOICE)

An understanding mind gains knowledge; the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. – (Proverbs 18:15, CEB)

 

Wisdom is something gained by those who actively seek to know and understand. No one ever “arrives“, rather it is a lifelong process in the pursuit of learning, as there is always more to know and understand. God honors the asking, and continues to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves as we are willing to draw near and pursue more of Him. Though I know nearly nothing, I understand far more now, than when I first began. The wisest women I have ever known, spent a lifetime learning and growing with God. My grandmother was ever listening for fresh insight, and did not discount what anyone had to say. She would listen through her filter of faith, and have wise and insightful things to reply. People were a priority, and she had a passion for travel, as I believe it created even more opportunity for her to discover deeper understanding of who God is, and all that He has made. As I continue to prepare for my departure for Belize on Saturday evening, my heart holds fast to this truth – to gain wisdom, I must be listening for fresh insight, ever attuning my ears to hear what the Lord has for me to learn. May we each go forth with a heart to grow in understanding and insight, so that we may walk in His wisdom and the light of His truth.

 

Wise are the learned, Purposeful Prayer

For they seek to grow;

Ever they listen,

For what they’re to know.

God’s ever faithful,

To reveal His heart;

He grants new insight,

Wisdom He imparts.

Seekers of knowledge,

Are those who shall gain;

True understanding,

As His path’s made plain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom comes from seeking understanding from You. Thank You that as we continue to learn and grow, ever listening for new insight, You increase what we can comprehend. Forgive us for not seeking fresh insight, or not listening for Your voice when we most need to hear You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always be looking to listen and learn, so that we live a growth-minded lifestyle. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them feel heard and understood. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever pursuing new knowledge and insight, with open ears and hearts to all that You have for us to learn. 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

 

Finding Wisdom

The wise store up knowledge as a safeguard, but the meaningless chatter of fools means that chaos is near. – (Proverbs 10:14, VOICE)

The wise accumulate knowledge – a true treasure; know-it-alls talk too much – a sheer waste. – (Proverbs 10:14, MSG)

Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster. – (Proverbs 10:14, NLT)

 

Wisdom is found when we quietly listen, rather than when we constantly contribute, only to hear the sound of our own voice. Words bear weight when they are carefully chosen and used purposefully. The wisest people I’ve known, have been those who enter a situation, and in silence, observe first, and do not engage in conversation until they have taken it all in. They tend to read the room, and discover direction as to how to best engage with those around them, rather than rushing in and setting off-kilter a dynamic that was already in place. True wisdom comes from God, as we choose to seek Him and listen in silence. When we take the time to quiet our hearts, we are far better able to hear from Him. May we seek and treasure wisdom from God, and learn to listen well.

 

Lord, help us listen,Refreshment Through Repentance

Seek knowledge from You;

May our hearts treasure,

The light of Your truth.

Keep us from speaking,

When we’re meant to hear;

Help us to listen,

In silence, draw near.

For wisdom is gained,

As we choose pursue;

Knowledge, not limelight,

So we reflect You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom is gained as we seek knowledge and understanding. Thank You that You grow our insight as we ask for clarity from You. Forgive us for the times that talked when we were meant to listen. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek to understand by listening first, as You reveal to us what You want us to know. Help us to love those around us well, as we seek to understand first, even when they are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to store up knowledge and grow in wisdom, so that we might better reflect Your heart to the world. 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