To Keep Keeping On

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

He empowers the feeble and infuses the powerless with increasing strength. – (Isaiah 40:29, TPT)

 

This is the time of year that the weeks grow long and weekends seem to fly by in the blink of an eye. Weariness seeks to set in, as less daylight and cooler temperatures take a toll, with so many “need-to-dos” and seemingly fewer hours for completion. Incredibly, each time I reach the end of my own strength, God provides strength or rest or reprieve that refreshes and readies me to begin again. Yesterday, we were blessed with the opportunity to go to a hockey game with dear friends. Though the game did not go well for our team, time spent in their company was good for the soul. Today holds a quick, twenty-four-hour trip to mom’s so that we can check on things and prepare her home for freezing temperatures. We will have an added blessing of our best friends meeting up with us as well, as Leavenworth is a short, fifteen-minute drive away, and a place we will enjoy time together, while in town. God is good, and He knows what strengthens us when we are weary. May we ever seek the Lord to renew our strength and grant the power we need to accomplish all of the things to which we are called.

Mom had both physical and speech therapy yesterday. She is working hard and enjoying the therapists who come to the home and challenge her with new exercises to further propel her recovery. An additional blessing was that she slept soundly on Thursday night, which has not been the case in quite some time. For those who are faithfully praying for mom and her recovery, please add solid sleep with no wake-ups in the night, to the list. Solid sleep will aid in making mom stronger and my sister as well. Megan is juggling so many roles right now, that a good night’s sleep is always needed; hence, the more often they occur, the better she will feel and function. May His strength continue to be present when weariness creeps in.

 

When weary and worn, fef5d24e-e998-405b-b390-8f649c83aa77597430737440339617.jpg

The Lord grants us strength;

To keep moving on,

And traverse great lengths.

Power in weakness,

When all strength is gone;

Blessed refreshment,

To keep keeping on.

In goodness and mercy,

God lovingly gives;

All that is needed,

In His strength, to live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength when we are weary and power in our weakness. Thank You that when our strength ends, Yours begins. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed ourselves to wallow in our weariness, rather than turn to You to be our strength. Teach us to trust You more, as You sustain, strengthen and refresh us to do and be all that for which we are called. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen, refresh and empower. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we can love and serve as we are called to do. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Called to Task

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. – (Luke 1:76-77, NIV) 

Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. You will make His people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. – (Luke 1:76-77, ERV) 

 

As Zechariah’s song of praise continued, he proclaimed words of truth, as God revealed the role that his son, John, would play in preparing the hearts of people for all that Christ had to offer. John was a faithful proclaimer of truth, and he spent his life, even unto his own death, speaking of the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the parents of John, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew their son was called to a task that was beyond their own human understanding. Both, likely spent John’s formative years, educating and raising him close to God, guiding him in the direction that he was meant to go. I imagine it took tremendous faith and dependence on God, to lead a child who was called to such specific work for the Lord. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Raising children who have been set apart from infancy, or even earlier, would be a task that takes trust beyond measure. In my own experience, simply being responsible for two tiny humans at the same time, took formidable faith, as premature twins in the care of a first-time parent was slightly terrifying. God’s grace, mercy and strength made the unknown and unyielding, manageable and marvelous. May we seek the Lord and His strength, as we recognize that He is our help and our hope in raising up the next generation of faithful followers of Him. 

 

O Lord, let our faith, 0119180406679500301.jpg

Be rooted in You; 

Our strength and our hope, 

For Your love is true. 

However You call, 

Whatever our way; 

Your help, grace and hope, 

Will lead us each day. 

Faithful forever, 

O Lord God, You reign; 

Please show us each day, 

The path we’re to take. 

  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness forever. Thank You that You never call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the call seems far beyond our ability to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than any seeming impossibility that lies before us. Show us how to faithfully navigate the roles to which we are called. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things at all times, and faithfully walk wherever You lead. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – Psalm 138:3

Goodness and Love Flourish Forever

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV) 

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV) 

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG) 

 

The love of God continues forever, and is not dependent on us. God loves us because we are His created, not because we have “done enough” or “been enough” to satisfy some sort of check list. For me, that is a tremendous reason to give thanks. As a wife, mom, teacher, friend, daughter, sister and more, I wear many hats and fill many roles. That being said, I often feel stretched and spread thin, leaving little to offer to anyone. Thankfully, God’s love for me is not portioned out based on my performance. He loves on my best days and on my worst. His faithfulness knows no end. No matter how things unfold on a particular day, God is good, and the next day is made new once again. May we give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and love that never quit, even on our most difficult days. 

 

Faithful forever,

img_2018-12-12_05-04-056211236554903867902.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The Love of God’s true; 

Endures for all times, 

Each day, it’s made new. 

Always He is good, 

Deserving of praise; 

He loves endlessly, 

Throughout all our days. 

All thanks unto Him, 

For goodness and grace; 

Present where we are, 

In blessing, give praise. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that know no end. Thank You that Your grace is not dependent on our performance. Forgive us for thinking we have to do or be enough to receive all that You have to freely offer. Teach us to embrace Your goodness and grace, as You lavish us with Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps hearts to receive the good that You intend for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your 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

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

Friends Sharpen Each Other

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, NLT)

As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp. – (Proverbs 27:17, ERV)

In the same way that iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend. – (Proverbs 27:17, VOICE)

 

I am overwhelmingly blessed to see how this principle plays out practically in my everyday life. In each of my various roles, God has given me great friends who walk beside me and challenge me to continue to learn and grow. As a mother, teacher, coach, athlete, friend and in all of these, a follower of Christ, I have fantastic friends with whom I am walking, as we sharpen one another to be more than we were before. May we recognize and invest in the relationship that God has given us to sharpen and shape one another into who we are meant to become.

 

As iron sharpens,img_2017-12-01_05-13-37440905203.jpg

So friend sharpens friend;

Pushing each other,

To grow and extend.

For as we’re challenged,

Our character grows;

We become better,

As grace clearly shows.

Invest in people,

That bring out our best;

May we do likewise,

Through such love, we’re blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You designed us for relationship for a reason. Thank You that as we invest in friendships, we learn and grow from each other. Forgive us for not dedicating the time and energy we should to those whom You have called us to walk beside. Teach us how to manage our time and energy so that we are able to fill the roles to which we are called, and walk with whom You call us to walk. Show us how to love well, all those that cross our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sharpen each other to become who You are calling us to be so that we more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Anticipate God’s Goodness

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. – (Romans 5:3-4, NLT)

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that those troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV)

And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. – (Romans 5:3-4, VOICE)

 

Though all three versions say essentially the same thing, the last part of verse four from the VOICE, really spoke to my heart. It has been an extremely long week in the classroom for me, as I am adjusting to new curriculum, which honestly requires hours of preparation each day, learning how to best help and work with new students, an Open House at the start of the week, (which made for a 14+ hour day), and have had to respond to some serious behavioral challenges that came up in class as the week unfolded. I do not think that I can say that I am rejoicing about the trials, but I am able to see the patience and refining that God is doing through the process, and I find myself hoping for and anticipating God’s goodness through it all. What I know is that I cannot do it all in my own strength. With Him, all things are possible, and great things can be accomplished. Hearts can be changed and minds can be renewed. He has placed me with phenomenal team members who teach the same subject and grade level. Together, we are working to navigate through the new, and the time it takes to discern what needs to be taught and how to best do so, is divided. Additionally, there are extraordinary staff members in roles that mentor, support, encourage and teach the kiddos who are struggling both academically and/or behaviorally, so that they can learn, grow and experience successes in and out of the classroom. May we ever look to the Lord with gratitude for the endurance and strength of character He develops within us, even if we are not yet in a space of celebrating our struggles. May we see the hope that is held in Him, and anticipate God’s goodness as He moves among us.

 

Troubles and trials, Delivering Dreams

Though never much fun;

Serve hearts with purpose,

As battles are won.

These things bring patience,

And patience will show;

The strength from the Lord,

As we learn and we grow.

In this refining,

We learn what it means;

To anticipate,

God’s goodness indeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we go through trials and troubles, You develop patience and endurance within us. Thank You that strength and hope grow as our characters are refined, and we learn what it truly means to hope and anticipate Your goodness. Forgive us for our frustration with our circumstances. Teach us to press into You, ever seeking and depending on You for strength in the struggles, as You are our Source. Show us how to love well, those around us who are struggling, and how to give strength and hope where there is none to be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in the refining and development of our character that takes place in our trials, and look forward with hope as we anticipate Your goodness that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Balance Within the Body

Yesterday in church, my pastor unpacked Romans 12, verses one through eight. At one point in the process, he jokingly said, I am a colon.” His jest was not to poke fun at any portion of scripture, but rather to draw attention to the fact that though we seldom consider our colon, it is indeed an essential body part. The same is true in the body of Christ. There are those who are highly visible in their giftings and as they operate openly in what God has called them to do, others are aware of their role in the body. However, there are others whom are fulfilling equally important roles that are less visible. If we are choosing to allow the Lord to lead us, and are willing to grant Him access to all so that we may fully operate in the giftings which He has placed within us, then the whole body will benefit, regardless of whether or not our part is visible.

 

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. – (Romans 12:4-8)

 

As an interesting aside, though the colon is hidden, it removes water, salt, and some nutrients. The bacteria that line the colon help maintain a healthy balance within the body. (WebMD) Likewise, there are those in the body that act as filters, and truly help maintain a healthy balance within the body. Regardless of the role to which we are individually called, we each have a purpose and a position that is meant to edify the body and bring forth the full potential of that which God has for us and those around us. May we each rise up and fulfill the role to which we have been called.

 

We are the body,

#iamacolon

#iamacolon

and each have a role;

if one’s not moving,

the body’s not whole.

Each part is needed,

to work as God planned;

so move forth in faith,

in grace, take a stand.

Allow God to lead,

however He asks;

and trust it is good,

to answer each task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have uniquely designed each of us to play an equally important role in the body of Christ. Though not all roles are as visible as others, thank You that each one is necessary and valuable for the body to function as You intended. Forgive us for either neglecting the gifts that You have placed within us, or for comparing our role to that of another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You and allow You to use us as You have equipped us – in whatever way is most beneficial to the body. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they too discover that they were uniquely designed with a purpose. Be glorified O God, as we operate in the giftings that You have given unto us. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Our Provider

We are currently in the midst of a series at church, where my pastor is unpacking the roles of Jesus. Yesterday, the topic of study was Jesus is Our Provider. Among the many names known for the Lord, Jehovah Jirah means, our provider.

 

During Jesus’ time on earth, He proved to be a provider to many. Just after Jesus had learned that His cousin, John, had been beheaded by Herod and was setting out by boat to a solitary place, the crowds followed Him on foot, and in their zeal to see Him, arrived before Him. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14) More than that, it was on that same occasion that Jesus fed the multitude from five small loaves and two fish. Again, the Lord saw the need of the people, and He provided.

 

God wants us to trust Him with our time, talent and treasure. In return, He gives us enough to sustain us and to give away. Even when it feels like we don’t have what we will need, the Lord wants us to ask Him to provide for each day, and He is faithful to meet us accordingly. When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said to say: “Give us today our daily bread.” – (Matthew 6:11) We are to ask for what is needed today, and let tomorrow worry about itself. For as our day is, so too shall our strength be.

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:19)

 

May we ask of the Lord what is needed for this day, and go forth in faith, trusting that He will provide all that we need, according to His glorious riches.

 

Jehovah Jirah,Finding Freedoms Flight

our great Provider;

full of compassion,

true hope decider.

For He has taught us,

to choose ask each day;

for what is needed,

come to Him and pray.

Our needs shall be met,

one day at a time;

enough to sustain,

His power divine.

Let’s bring to the Lord,

time, talent, treasure;

and He will pour out,

with lavish measure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider. Thank You that as we pour out, You provide. Thank You as we trust You with our time, talent and treasure, You meet us where we are at, and grant us the strength and supply as each day comes. Thank You that You even taught us how to pray – to ask You each day for that which is needed, one day at a time. Forgive us for worrying about things too far down the road, or for spaces where we are short supplied. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first, and ask for that which is needed for this day, as we go forth and sow generously with our time, talent and treasure. Lead us to love well all those whom we encounter, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust all of our time, talent and treasure in Your hands, and seek You for what is needed each day. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Be the Change

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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