Heaven’s Handiwork

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

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

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

Though I seldom feel like a masterpiece, I know that I am clay in the Potter’s hands. I am His, and He is continually etching heaven’s poetry on my heart and in my life. Watching my children grow into young men, has been the greatest reminder of my charge to do the good that God prepared for me in advance. In spite of my flaws and failures, God has grown my boys into kind, thoughtful, intelligent, loving, handsome young men, with hearts that are set on loving people well. Each one is a masterpiece that I have been blessed to witness in the works. The beautiful thing for all of us, is that we are His handiwork that is continually being crafted and honed, until the day we meet Him face-to-face. We do not have to be in “final form” to be effective in doing the good work that He calls us to do; rather as we do each next thing, our hearts are further shaped to mirror His. May we delight in the hands that hold and shape us into our best selves as we seek Him, and ever pursue opportunities to carry out good works to which we are called.

The masterpiece that is my mom, was excited to view the sneak peek photos from my boys’ senior photo shoot. For those who know mom, it is clear that pictures are a priority for her, as she has family photos hung throughout her home, with an enormous shelf at the end of the hallway, full of photo albums. Christmas gifts for mom this year will be a bit easier to choose. 😉 We kept missing one another with phone calls, but thankfully, the text full of photos made the needed connection yesterday.

 

For we each are called, img_2019-10-30_04-43-17994737177984006958.jpg

God’s own work of art;

Made with a purpose,

He’s known from the start.

When God looks at us,

He calls His work good;

The Lord’s masterpiece,

Purposed livelihood.

Heaven’s poetry,

Etched upon each heart;

How can we argue,

Or question His art?

Rise up in wonder,

In awe, choose embrace;

The call to do good,

Love others with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose to do good works as Your intentionally and purposefully handcrafted works of art. Thank You that we are constantly being refined so that we may more clearly reflect heaven’s poetry through how we live our lives. Forgive us for questioning Your handiwork or for neglecting to do the good that You created us to do. Teach us to trust Your hands and Your leading, as You provide all that we need to do whatever it is that is asked of us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may understand the work of art that they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the plans and purpose that You have for each of us, and for the intentional art that You have created each of us to become as we move forward according to Your calling. Amen.

 

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

 

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. – Psalm 33:11

A Day to Remember

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE)

 

It is impossible to begin today without taking pause to reflect on the events that transpired on this date, nearly two decades ago. The shock and horror of the tragic losses, are forever etched in images in my mind. However, in the midst of such devastation, people came together and helped one another, in ways that have seldom been matched since. Stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help and provide for those around them, brought great light in the midst of so much darkness. When I see such dissent in our current culture, and the ensuing animosity that follows, I have to take pause and remember to lift my eyes to the One who can be the help and the peace that is present, and trust Him to bring change, beginning with me. May we look to the Lord to be our help and our hope, as we extend the light that we long to see in the world.

 

A day to remember, 9-11-memorial-03-marley-white__large

Let us never forget;

All the loss that took place,

Sorrow’s sea of regrets.

Lives tragically taken,

Families left alone;

To pick up the pieces,

Acts of terror had sown.

The nation chose rally,

Stand together, unite;

Support one another,

Rise and do what was right.

May we capture the heart,

That came from tragedy;

Choose to love others well,

Agree to disagree.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help who we can always look to, no matter what we face. Thank You for the countless ways that You made Your heart known through the kindness of people on that fateful day, years ago. Thank You that we saw the best in people in the worst of times. Forgive us for forgetting that there is good in the world. Teach us to go forth and be the example that we long to see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your light and life and hope. May many come in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You and go forth in love. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Wait Expectantly

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, NIV)

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

The Psalms are the space where my heart most closely relates, as so often David’s words capture the echo of my own thoughts. This morning is no exception. I know that God hears our prayers whenever we present our requests before Him, however, for me, there is something significant about starting my day with Him. Rising before the sun has made its full debut, provides the opportunity to watch the Master Artist paint the sky new every morning. Each day, I am reminded again, of just how powerful He is. He hears each word uttered, and those that remain hidden in my heart, loving me all the while. As I gaze in awe and wonder at the way that He transforms the sky differently each morning, I cannot help but know that I am heard. If I, an imperfect parent who loves her children with my whole being will seek to answer all that is reasonably asked, how much more will a perfect and all-powerful Heavenly Father present answers to our inquiries?

Though God’s answers seldom look like I would envision, they are faithful, and far better than I could have pictured on my own. I know that His plans for mom are no different. Already, He is faithfully providing answers when we need them the most. Last night, mom only woke once, and is still sleeping now! This is the farthest I have been able to get in the writing process with her still sleeping, as typically, we share breakfast together, then she meanders while I attempt to focus. We both enjoy the sunrise together, yet I am a creature who longs for my solitude first thing in the morning, and today is a tremendous blessing. Not to mention, mom desperately needed a really great night’s sleep. Yesterday, mom’s only appointment was speech, and it went remarkably well. Susan is wonderful, and we enjoy the time with her, each visit. There was a bit of down time after speech for lunch and relaxing, so that is exactly what we did. Later in the afternoon, two of mom’s dearest friends came for a visit after having been out of the country for a few weeks, and thoroughly adored the opportunity to share with one another, all that had taken place. Mom and I made a quick run into town for the Dutch Bros drive thru, and a scenic wander before dinner, followed by dinner and a movie with stretching and exercises during the commercials. It was a good day, and I am especially grateful for a great night’s sleep. May we ever continue to present our petitions before our Provider each morning, for He hears and He answers all that we ask.

 

O Lord, each morning, img_2019-07-12_07-32-3950737445691531947.jpg

I start the day new;

My hope is restored,

As I look to You.

Father, I lay down,

My hopes and my prayers;

Placing in Your hands,

Each burden I bear.

I wait on You, Lord,

In expectancy;

Knowing You’re faithful,

You give graciously.

Though undeserving,

You love us so well;

You hear and answer,

As doubt You expel.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come and pray to You, You hear our prayers each morning, and we can wait expectantly, trusting that You will answer. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when answers seem slow or do not look the way we anticipated they would. Teach us to trust You more, for Your ways are higher than our ways and Your thoughts, far higher than ours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope and strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our prayers to You anew every morning, trusting that You will hear and anticipating Your faithful answer. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Preserving His Promises

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.’” So, he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. – (Genesis 12:7, NIV) 

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” Abram built an altar to honor the Lord who appeared to him there. – (Genesis 12:7, ERV) 

God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.” Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him. – (Genesis 12:7, MSG) 

 

What stood out to me is that Abram heard God, trusted Him, and built an altar to commemorate a promise spoken. How often do we hear a promise from God, and then carry on with our existence, just as before? Abram did not wait for the promise to be fulfilled to create a memorial, but rather, by faith, built an altar because God had spoken a promise. There is a lesson to learn from Abram’s faithfulness. He took God at His word, and moved forward accordingly. We too, ought to take time to signify the promises God speaks to our hearts, and place them where we can look back and remember what He has spoken to encourage our hearts to press on. Additionally, it is a reminder of His faithfulness, for we are able to look back, see what has been spoken, and celebrate with thanksgiving, the fruition of promises fulfilled. Though I am a writer, I am not sure that I am intentional enough to commemorate the promises spoken for me, so that I have something tangible to look at and remind me to press on, even when what has been promised seems out of reach. In hindsight, I can speak of the Lord’s faithfulness for days, yet I seldom have something to look back upon to identify the promise that has now been fulfilled. All of us have promises from God. He speaks to our hearts and His word is for all who trust in Him. God has a plan to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future(Jeremiah 29:11) He promises to: never leave us nor forsake us… (Deuteronomy 31:8) The list goes on as we dig into His word and discover His heart for us. May we seek our Savior with all of our heart, and mark out the promises He places in our hearts. As we do, we will have reminders of what is true and will be able to look back in awe, at the faithful way that He has worked things out in our lives. 

 

Promises spoken, preserving his promises

Will surely come true; 

For God is for us, 

And makes all things new. 

What God speaks to us, 

He’s faithful to do; 

His word’s forever, 

He will see it through. 

Perhaps we should mark, 

What He says He’ll do; 

Reminders to trust, 

The Lord for breakthrough. 

As His word is kept, 

And we see the truth; 

Our trust ever grows, 

Fulfillment in view. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises spoken and Your faithfulness to fulfill. Thank You that despite what we see, You are ever moving on our behalf and are always true to Your word. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt, despite the promises You have made. Teach us to trust You more and to find way to commemorate that which You have spoken, so that we may look back and be encouraged to press on and then give You praise for Your faithfulness as Your word is fulfilled. Show us how to love those around us when they grow weary in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we record the promises that You have spoken and look to Your words to encourage and strengthen us as we press on in faith to their fulfillment. All praise to You for Your eternal faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45

Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Don’t Let Worry Stand in the Way

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

 

Always the truth of His word is timely. I love that He cares for us individually and so personally. Tomorrow is the day of my grandmother’s memorial. Though I am not a fan of public speaking, I agreed to share. What’s more, is I don’t read my poetry aloud. It is such a space of baring my soul, that it is too vulnerable and raw for this girl who so seldom sheds tears. That being said, a few weeks ago, on my way home from work, the first four lines of a poem were forming in my mind in memory of my Gram. I knew that they were meant to be written down and shared, so when asked, I agreed to speak, despite my disdain for standing in front of folks. The four lines became twenty-eight, and contain words I know that I am meant to share. I have been worried about not being able to get through the reading, as a lump forms in my throat when I barely whisper the words out loud on my own. Yet here I sit, this morning, and am reminded again, that I am not to worry, but rather I am to pray and tell God what I need and thank Him for all that He has done. As I began to do just that, I was reminded of His faithfulness the last time I had to speak at a memorial for my dear friend who had passed. His peace was present in a way that guarded my heart and mind, and I was able to speak when I feared I would be unable to say a word. May we ever give our worries to the One who is able to grant us peace, let Him know what we need, and thank Him for all that He has done.

 

Let not our worries,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

Come stand in the way;

Instead, seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

Tell God what’s needed,

Thank Him for what’s done;

Our faithful Father,

Holy, gracious One.

His peace will meet us,

Guarding heart and mind;

Calm out of chaos,

This love we shall find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t want us to worry, but rather You are ready and willing for us to bring our burdens and concerns to You. Thank You that we can tell You what we need and thank You for what You have done, and as we do, we experience Your peace that guards our hearts and minds. Thank You that we are Yours. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to get worked up and worried over things rather than bringing them before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be in constant communication with You, allowing Your peace, comfort and clarity to come, rather than our anxiousness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and comfort in places of worry, so that they can see Your peace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give our worries to You, and thank You for all that You have done. 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

Freedom from Fear

I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. – (Psalm 34:4, NLT)

 

Typically, I don’t think that people who know me would consider me to be fearful. In fact, often my sense of adventure leads people to believe that fear is seldom on my radar. Unfortunately, fear has a way of creeping into unexpected cracks, and wreaking havoc where we least expect it. Strength, courage and boldness come more easily in areas that the Lord has shown His faithfulness before. However, there are spaces where prior experience sends up all sorts of red flags, and fear fights to prevent forward momentum where we are called to move. This, this is the place where persistence in prayer is the only way past our past. As we pray, He is faithful to meet us, take us by the hand, and lead us forward into the freedom that He intended for us all along. When we find ourselves face-to-face with fear, may we pray to the Lord for His help; for He is faithful to meet us in our need and lead us to the freedom He designed for us for all our days.

 

No one is fearless,photo (10)

For fear finds a way;

To rise and threaten,

Where peace ought to reign.

We’re not to be stuck,

Nor crippled by fear;

For God will answer,

Each prayer, He hears.

He grants us courage,

To face the unknown;

Provides new freedom,

Where our faith is grown.

Rise up warriors,

Pray, for He is near;

The Lord will answer,

And free us from fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You, and You answer us. Thank You that You are the One who will take us by the hand and walk us through the places that we are held captive by fear. Forgive us for not calling on You for help and staying stuck in the spaces where fear holds us prisoner. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring each fear before You as it is identified, and trust You to lead us forward, despite what we see or have experienced in the past. Show us how to walk beside people in the strength of Your love, so that they too may find freedom from the fears that keep them captive. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our fears to You, and trust You to set us free. 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

 

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