Devoted and Delighted

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

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

 

Devoted love is a love that willingly chooses the other, regardless of how the recipient appears before them. To love with devotion is to be committed to caring and seeing the other person through, no matter what comes their way. Throughout my life, I have had such devotion in love modeled for me well, through both my grandmother, and my mom. My gram was a natural encourager and lifter of souls, as she loved with her whole heart and was committed to make sure that we all knew her heart for us, individually. Not only was I the recipient of her devoted love, but I was witness to the power it provided in the lives of those around me. Mom, her only daughter, has followed closely in her footsteps, as my sister and I still marvel at how she, as a single mom, managed to attend every game, concert, banquet, ceremony, etc., work full-time, manage a household, keep our home and yard beautiful, and always welcome our friends into our home with open heart and arms. Even as we have grown, married and had children of our own, mom has managed to be present at nearly all of the significant events in the lives of our children. She has driven hundreds of miles to be sure that each of her grandsons knows how proud she is of them, and she honors each of them and loves them lavishly.  With that as our model, how could my sister and I possibly choose do anything differently? With mom in a time of need, our only choice is to love with all that we are, and to delight in doing all that we can to honor whatever her heart desires. My favorite response to mom these days is, “As you wish.” She giggles every time I answer that way, but I know it delights her heart to know that she is loved as deeply as she loves others.

As for the practical application and fruit of devotion, yesterday was an incredible day for mom before my guys left to drive home! She determined that she would show them how she was doing with her walking in the hallway with her walker, and I had Mark stand and video so that we could send documentation to my sister. One of my guys followed behind us with the wheelchair in case she grew weary, and the other stood back to watch what would transpire. Incredibly, mom shocked us all, herself included, as she walked the ENTIRE length of the hallway! Prior to yesterday, she had only gone halfway unassisted. Happy tears were shared by all as we celebrated this incredible and hope-filled milestone. If she could double her distance in a matter of two days, imagine what will transpire in a matter of a few weeks?! We were beaming ear-to-ear as we sent off my guys to drive home. It had been a wonderful weekend together, and had ended perfectly. The remainder of the day was rather relaxing, as it was spent resting, doing a variety of mom’s PT and OT exercises, and movie watching. Sleep again went well last night, as there were only two wake-ups. We slept in longer than usual this morning, as our early breakfast time was nearly an hour later than we are accustomed. Today, mom has both physical therapy and occupational therapy, so I anticipate a great day ahead.

May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to be devoted to one another in love, and to delight in honoring each other above ourselves.

 

Devoted in love, img_20190630_100257_3922772888685512407775.jpg

Is love’s true design;

To prefer others,

And choose to be kind.

Honor each other,

Choose lift and build up;

Love through the trials,

And never give up.

Set down our own wants,

And see other’s need;

Love with our whole lives,

By God’s grace, proceed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be devoted to one another in love and to honor others above oneself through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have set aside devotion or honor for our own agenda. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be devoted in love and honor others, as You love and honor us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be devoted in love and help us delight in honoring others above ourselves. Amen.

 

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

 

Protect me, for I am devoted to You. Save me, for I serve You and trust You. You are my God. – Psalm 86:2

Found by the Sound

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – (Luke 19:10, NIV)

The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them. – (Luke 19:10, ERV)

For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost. – (Luke 19:10, MSG)

 

Years ago, I was hiking in the early spring. We came upon an area that was covered in snow, and kept walking. Soon, we lost the trail, and were uncertain of which direction we were meant to go. In life, it is just as easy to slip away from the right path, once we start stepping beyond the security of the one that has been prepared for us. Thankfully, we stopped wandering and paused to listen. Water flows down, and we heard a stream nearby. We followed the sound, and soon discovered the path we had lost sight of in the snow. Jesus is the same way. If we listen for His voice, He will lead us in the way that we are meant to go. He pulls us out of our darkness and restores us into a right relationship with Him. His life, death, resurrection and ascension all took place so that we could be rescued from our wandering in the wilderness. Jesus will lead us back to the path He intends for us to walk, if we slow down and seek His voice. May we ever be intentional to listen, so that we know the path prepared for us; for this is the way to live eternally with Him.

 

We all are in need, Found by the Sound

God’s grace leads us on;

His love that forgives,

Empowers, makes strong.

Strong for the journey,

To follow the way;

The path He provides,

For all of our days.

He came to save us,

All who were once lost;

To set our feet right,

His love paid the cost.

Listen to His voice,

He’ll make the way clear;

Ever He will lead,

As we seek, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to seek and save us. Thank You that You bring us out of our wandering in the wilderness, and set our feet secure on the path that You have prepared for us. Forgive us for wandering. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know where every road leads, and have prepared the way for us with purpose. Show us how to love and support those around us as they discover the route that You have prepared for them to best navigate their own journey. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we faithfully follow every step You call us to take, for You path provides an eternal promise. 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

From Heavenly Throne

Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. – (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)

So, Christ can save those who come to God through Him. Christ can do this forever, because He always lives and is ready to help people when they come before God. – (Hebrews 7:25, ERV)

From such a vantage, He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God. – (Hebrews 7:25, VOICE)

 

We have a Savior, seated in heaven at the right hand of God, who continually contends for all who seek Him. His sacrifice covers our iniquities, and His love restores us to righteousness before the Father. On our own, we are sinners, destined to die. With Jesus, we are redeemed and made right with God, and granted the promise of eternal life with Him. This gift is freely given, and we need only to receive. As we do, our hearts are changed and our minds renewed, so that we may walk in the freedom that God’s favor and forgiveness provide. Without the weight of our former sin, we are empowered to forge forward in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the grace He freely gives, so that we too, may extend His loving kindness to all.

 

On heavenly throne, The Hope of the World

Jesus does reside;

To contend for us,

And make all things right.

He covers our sin,

Our shame and our doubt;

Restores and renews,

His love is devout.

This love we’re given,

So abundantly;

Is so we too give,

And set others free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for Your life, death, resurrection and ascension to take Your rightful throne in heaven where You contend for us before the Father. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of Your sacrifice, or for not receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive Your goodness and grace, and in turn, extend the same to all those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and grace, and offer the same to all those around us, by Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God. – Luke 22:69

Purposeful Grace

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine on us – so that Your ways may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. – (Psalm 67:1-2, NIV)

God, show mercy to us and bless us. Please accept us! Let everyone on earth learn about You. Let every nation see how You save people. – (Psalm 67:1-2, ERV)

May God pour His grace and blessings into us and turn His face to shine His light on us. So all those on earth will learn to follow Your way and see Your saving power come to redeem all nations. – (Psalm 67:1-2, VOICE)

 

David, the author of this Psalm, was specific to ask for God’s grace, blessing, and favor. However, his requests did not end there. There was purpose in his petition – David’s prayer was that God’s ways would be known throughout the earth, His salvation spread to all people. His heart was that of a missionary, as David had hope that all might come to see and know the saving power of God. He recognized that as people could see God’s grace, blessing, and favor upon those who already knew and followed God, that they too, would desire the difference. His prayer had purpose. David did not pray for the goodness of God to be evident in him for his pleasure, but rather so that God’s ways might be made known throughout the earth; that people everywhere would come to know His salvation. The heart of David is a model for all who believe. May we seek the Lord and His mercy, grace and blessings, so that His favor upon us may make His heart known to all those around us and beyond.

 

O Lord, may Your grace,numbered-days-and-wise-ways.jpg

Be poured upon us;

So people may see,

The light of Jesus.

Each blessing received,

Make Your glory known;

Through favor to us,

Your love light be shown.

Let all come to know,

Power of Your grace;

So all would seek You,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that David modeled both what to pray and why. Thank You that Your grace, blessings, and favor have a far greater purpose that extends well beyond the recipient. Forgive us for not recognizing the reason for Your favor. Teach us to see every act of mercy, grace and blessing as an opportunity to show others what it is to know and embrace Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your heart and hands. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask for and embrace all the good Your pour out upon us, recognizing the opportunity to be Your light and love to the world. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – John 1:16

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Ready to Rescue

The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. – (Psalm 34:17, NLT)

Pray to the Lord, and He will hear you. He will save you from all your troubles. – (Psalm 34:17, ERV)

Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you. – (Psalm 34:17, MSG)

 

God is faithful to listen when we call on Him for help. Though His answers may not come in the way we might think they ought to, He is faithful to answer with His presence and provision to carry us through. There are times that He calms the storm we are stuck sailing in, yet other times, He simply gives us the strength to navigate the rough waters, so that we can reach safe harbor with His help. May we ever seek the Lord, be it in seasons of strength or struggle, and know that He hears our heart in all things.

 

Our faithful Father, Ready to Rescue

Hears all our heart cries;

By His love He’ll lead,

Help won’t be denied.

At times He gives strength,

To press on, get through;

And then other times,

He brings calm, makes new.

No matter the how,

God’s faithful to hear;

He listens in love,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us when we call on You for help. Thank You that You rescue us from sinking in the shadows of our own self-reliance. Forgive us for not crying out to You in our space of need. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides an ear to hear and a heart to understand in a way that gives hope and help where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and give You praise for the hope You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

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

Faith Requires Action

My brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but does nothing, that faith is worth nothing. Faith like that cannot save anyone. – (James 2:14, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? – (James 2:14, CEB)

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? – (James 2:14, TLB)

 

No, there is nothing that we can do to make God love us more than He already does, nor is there a way to “earn” His favor. However, when there is a transformed heart through faith in Him, a desire to love as we are loved rises up within us. What we do and how we love is an outward demonstration of the internal transformation that Christ is doing within us. If we claim to have faith, but have no kindness, there is no evidence that faith actually exists. The outward expression of the faith that is fortified in Christ, ought to grow greater as we dig deeper in our walk with the Lord. May we ever invest time and energy in allowing God to grow our faith, so that our actions may clearly shine the light of His love.

 

Brothers and sisters, Good Gifts

May our faith shine bright;

As we seek love well,

In others, delight.

For faith in just words,

Means nothing at all;

If it is not shown,

Our words simply fall.

Yet faith that is shown,

Through actions in love;

Illuminate light,

From the Lord above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we act in faith and choose to love and move in the direction You call, Your light shines bright before others. Forgive us for the times that faith has been a theory hidden in our hearts, rather than what we act upon and allow to lead us to move and do as You have done for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will give action to the faith we hold in our hearts. Show us how to love well those around us, so that needs are met and good is given where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put our faith in action. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19