Hope When it Feels Like Hell

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is the very reminder that I needed the most. I know there are stages of grief, particularly when something so traumatic takes place with a parent, especially a parent who has filled the role of both mother and father, coach and teacher, friend and confidant, leader, example, pastor, sole grandparent to my children, and so much more. Anger seems to be the stage in this process that both my sister and I are in. Between the frustration of the questions of why her, the outrage at the details and the seeming disclosure violations, the paperwork battle to place her near family (which is far less costly than the dang hospital), to simply being just plain mad that it happened to OUR mom. We would never wish this on another, but why her? I know no one has the answers, and quite frankly, I would probably throat punch anyone who tried to give me answers. In fact, I woke myself in the night saying “throat punch”, as my left arm shot forward with a balled fist. Thankfully, I was facing the opposite direction of my Viking, and he was soundly sleeping. Finding joy in the hope is particularly difficult when we feel like we are on hold. Patience in static spots is not a strength of mom’s, Meg’s nor mine. Prayer, we can do, as I know so many of you are too. Perhaps that is the point of this post. Please pray for joy in hope, patience in all of this, and ever be faithful to continue to contend for mom’s complete and total healing.

 

Find joy in the hope, 05031906408349317511433862260.jpg

Of what lies ahead;

For fear’s a liar,

No matter what’s said.

God is far greater,

Than all that we face;

We must be patient,

It’s His, not our pace.

In everything,

Choose seek God and pray;

no matter what’s seen,

God will make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than our frustration and anger and grief. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and ride out our rage, waiting lovingly to embrace us with Your joy, peace and comfort. Forgive us for allowing fear a foothold based on our limited understanding. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to find joy in the hope of all that lies ahead, patience in the here and now, and to pray without ceasing. Lead us to love well, all those around us, so that they may recognize Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this, for we know that You alone can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Amen.

 

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

 

To all who mourn in Israel He will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness. For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. – Isaiah 61:3

 

Devoted in Love

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourselves. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. – (Romans 12:10, TPT)

 

We are called to invest in loving one another in a way that makes us feel like family. This happens when we respect and honor each other, choosing love over all else. Like family, there will always be things that we disagree with or are bothered by, yet at the end of the day, family is family, and we choose to love. It is meant to be the same way with those whom the Lord has brought into our circles. May we ever choose to be devoted to the body to which we are called, and love tenderly with respect and honor, as we are called to do.

 

We’re all the body, Bold Grace

Each called to believe;

To love each other,

Just as we’ve received.

With love and respect,

May we choose to raise;

Lift those around us,

Throughout all our days.

Respect and honor,

Draw close together;

Brothers and sisters,

Loved ones to treasure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You draw us into a body of believers with whom we can become family. Thank You that You lead, guide and direct our steps as to how to do so in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected the very things which You call us to do with those whom You place in our lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love, respect and honor those around us as part of Your family. Show us how to love in a way that honors and respects those around us and draws us together as family. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are devoted to one another in love, and honor others more than ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king. – 1 Peter 2:17

Peace Through Loving People First

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, NLT)

Live together in peace with each other. Don’t be proud, but be willing to be friends with people who are not important to others. Don’t think of yourself as smarter than everyone else. – (Romans 12:16, ERV)

Work happily together. Don’t try to act big. Don’t try to get into the good graces of important people, but enjoy the company of ordinary folks. And don’t think you know it all! – (Romans 12:16, TLB)

 

We are called to be at peace with one another. One glimpse at the news, and the work that needs to be done becomes overwhelmingly apparent. What if each one of us began exactly where we are planted? In our neighborhood, our school, our workplace, our city? If each one of us treated everyone with value and respect, and recognized that all people have something to contribute, the political, economic, ethnic, religious, and whatever else separates one from another, could be celebrated and appreciated, rather than utilized to divide. Each one of us is infinitely valued and loved by God. If we are called to love as God loves, then why would we not do the same? May we seek the Lord for His heart for each other so that we may be at peace with one another, willing to be kind to all who cross our path, seeing each as one with infinite worth.

 

May we choose to live, Show the Love

Harmoniously;

Value each other,

With equality.

Each person offers,

What they have to bring;

From which we can learn,

And grow in new things.

Let us strive for peace,

Through kindness and love;

Give good to others,

Let grace be enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people of peace with one another. Thank You that peace does not mean that we have to agree on everything or view the world through the same lens, but rather it is a mutual respect for one another that loves, regardless of opinions and perspectives. Thank You for the areas in our life where we have seen and experienced such peace. Forgive us for the places where we have done anything to prevent peace from being present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love and listen above all else. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who see the world far differently than we do. May Your peace be present, even in the most unlikely of places. Help hurting hearts come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to best love and bring peace into the places where we find ourselves each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Peace With All People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

If it is within your power, make peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, VOICE)

We are called to live at peace with all people as much as humanly possible. If we operate as promoters of peace, extending mercy and grace, goodness and love, just as God gives to us, peace is possible far more often than not. Yes, there are always exceptions who will not receive and will continue to cause unrest, but with all that we are in all that we do, we are called to seek His peace. May we ever depend on the Prince of Peace to fill our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and live at peace with everyone around us.

 

Peace is not a place,
Joining Together

But a state of mind;

Granted by the Lord,

For all of mankind.

It’s meant to be shared,

One to another;

From neighbor to friend,

Sister to brother.

Let us do our best,

With all, be at peace;

So God’s grace may flow,

And hope be increased.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your peace when we seek You. Thank You that You equip us to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us. Forgive us for not attempting to live at peace with everyone around us when people become difficult to take. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we are filled again with Your grace and compassion and power to promote peace in places where it seems impossible. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace to the unsettled places in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to live at peace with everyone. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

At Peace With People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

If possible, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, CEB)

If it is within your power, make peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, VOICE)

 

In two very different and distinct arenas within my world, there are amazing people who feel at odds with one another. Sadly, the thing that seems to disrupt the peace between people is not a lack of desire for the same outcome, but rather a misperception of one another’s intention of how to work toward and achieve the end goal. When we slow down and listen with the intent of seeking to understand, peace prevails and progress toward the desired outcome actually occurs. When our intention is to be at peace with the people around us, that is the very attitude that abounds. We reap what we sow and harvest what we grow. May we be sowers and growers of peace.

 

We’re called to our best, Willing to Set Free

To live life in peace;

With everyone,

As grace grants release.

So often unrest,

Is need to listen;

Where seeking to know,

Will make peace happen.

 We shall one day reap,

The peace that we sow;

And likewise harvest,

The good that we grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all peace. Thank You that as we seek Your strength and understanding, You grant us what we need to bring peace to the places in which we dwell. Forgive us for expecting peace to be present without our persistence. Teach us to trust You more so that we would depend on You to be the Provider of peace in all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be at peace with everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to supply the strength we need to be at peace with all people. Amen.

 

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

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

Hope and Patience in Prayer

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

 

These three things are not in isolation of one another, but rather they are an ongoing, interwoven team that work together for the good of all who choose to participate. As we are faithful to pray, we find patience in our affliction and discover joy in the hope that we know, regardless of our circumstances. Just yesterday, I both witnessed this in the lives of two friends as they worked out a misunderstanding that I am certain both had approached prayerfully, and in my own life as a burden was lifted that was a specific answer to prayer. Both situations reminded me of the joy that is found when we continue to hold hope in Him. May we ever choose to be joyful in the hope we have, be patient in the troubles that lie before us, and remember to be prayerful, always.

 

In hope there is joy, Hope Makes All the Difference

Despite what we see;

For this is where God,

Points to what shall be.

As we are faithful,

To trust and to pray;

He grants us patience,

In all of our ways.

There is no trouble,

He can’t overcome;

So seek Him and hope,

Trust His will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy despite our circumstances because of the hope that we have in You. Thank You that as we come to You in prayer, You meet us and grant us patience and perseverance to press on when things are difficult. Forgive us for attempting to navigate trials on our own rather than turning to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times, as our hope, patience, strength and joy all are gifts granted by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope in times of trouble and extend joy, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are faithful to pray at all times, choosing joy in the hope we have in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Worship in All that We Do

So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him – an offering that is only for God and pleasing to Him. Considering what He has done, it is only right that you should worship Him in this way. – (Romans 12:1, ERV)

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. – (Romans 12:1, AMP)

 

As someone who thrives on movement, I am acutely aware of the blessing I have been given to have a healthy body that can be challenged and pushed to do extraordinary things. When we use our bodies to fulfill the purposes and callings that have been placed upon our lives, whatever we do can be an act of worship to God. Something that has stuck out to me for many years is the line from Chariots of Fire, “…when I run I feel His pleasure.” -(Eric Liddell) This is an encouragement to me, as I pursue new athletic endeavors, knowing that each one presents opportunity to love as I am called to love, and to utilize what I have been given to its full potential. My hope is that each time I take to the field this season, I will remember the One who gives me strength, and consider every moment an act of worship that will be pleasing unto Him. May we dedicate all that we do unto the Lord, and allow our every deed to be an act of worship to the One who gives us life.

 

I urge you, dear friends, Worship in All that We Do

In all that you do;

To give all to God,

In worship and truth.

All that we offer,

Is pleasing to Him;

From hearts of worship,

Praise flows from within.

Let all that we do,

Be an offering;

Though we can’t repay,

God finds this pleasing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the ability to dedicate ourselves to You in whatever we do. Thank You that it is pleasing to You when we choose to offer that which we do as a sacrifice to You. Forgive us for neglecting to give You praise for that which You make possible. Teach us to recognize Your hand in every detail of our lives, so that we will give You all of the glory for the good that You bring. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that sets us apart by Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate all that we are and all that we do as an act of worship unto You. 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

Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Good That Overcomes

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, MSG)

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, NLT)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

 

Though a seemingly simple concept, it is often difficult to carry out. Humans have a natural inclination to seek justice when we have been “wronged“. When someone intends us harm, the last thing we want to do, is extend kindness or grace. Jesus was the ultimate example of not allowing evil to overcome Him; for even as He hung on the cross He cried out for the forgiveness of those who placed Him there, rather than for their destruction. Most of us struggle to not use ugly words when we are cut off in traffic. I had a friend growing up that used to yell, “Bless you, in Jesus Name!“, each time someone cut him off or did something stupid on the highway that could have potentially caused harm while driving. When I asked him about it, he replied that it was a way to begin to train his heart to do good, even when he wanted otherwise. He intentionally chose words that were for good, rather than for harm, even if the tone did not yet match. Granted, I know that traffic violations are hardly comparable to gross acts of evil, but if we are able to do good with the small things, perhaps our hearts will be tender and receptive as God asks us to choose to overcome evil with good in the larger things later on. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom and strength, so that evil may not get the best of us and we can rise up and do the good He asks of us.

 

Flying Butterfly

Do not let evil,

Get the best of you;

For it’s overcome,

By good that we choose.

God provides the strength,

To rise and do well;

As we move in grace,

We overcome hell.

Evil cannot stand,

Where grace and love flow;

Let’s keep doing good,

So all may come know.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that evil can be defeated when we choose to do good in Your Name. Thank You that this is not something that we have to attempt to do in our own strength, but rather You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to do, so that we may overcome the darkness that would attempt to destroy us. Forgive us for thinking that we have to fight alone, or for allowing the darkness around us to overwhelm us, rather than looking to the light within. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times, as You alone can overcome anything that would try to get the best of us. Show us how to love those around us, so that we would be light in dark places and do the good that overcomes that which attempts to destroy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we conquer evil by doing the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Joining Together

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, as I attended the memorial service for little Eli, the four-year-old grandson of my mom’s best friend, I was not sure what to expect, other than the weight of grief as we walked into the church. What I observed, was really this verse being made tangible. There were those who were greeting people in their shock and grief as they walked in, (and wisely, the ones who handed out the program for the memorial were the cousins of Eli, so we were greeted by sweet, smiling children), family members were mingling among those waiting to go inside to be seated, friends who had gathered from near and far, an auntie and uncle who spoke from the heart and demonstrated the depth of love that the family shared for Eli, and a pastor who beautifully balanced the celebration of who Eli was and the reality of how much missing and mourning would take place. Even after the service, different people operated in their various strengths. Some were in the kitchen preparing and serving, others were greeting people as they came into the reception area, still others were engaging in sweet conversation about how Eli had touched and blessed their lives, personally. Because they were surrounded and supported, I imagine that together, the family was able to get through far more than they would have thought possible, than had they been on their own. Though it was an agonizing reason to gather, there were tender moments of laughter and smiles at the memory of the incredible life this little boy lived in his four years. May we ever remember that we are each a part of the body, and what we contribute, helps the whole become more than it would be without us. We need each other; that is the way we have been designed.

 

No matter the why, Joining Together

We are meant to join;

Together as one,

As God does anoint.

For as a body,

With so many parts;

Together there’s strength,

To encourage hearts.

Each of us alone,

Find there is a lack;

But joined together,

We rise and come back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as a body has many different parts with different functions, that we too, as the body of believers do as well. Thank You that You created us this way with intention. Thank You that when we come together and support one another with the gifts that You have granted, the entire body becomes stronger. Forgive us for not rising up and joining in to offer what You have given us to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would naturally extend Your heart and hand through who You have made us to be. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with each other to become what we cannot be alone. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8