Treasured Jars of Clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV)

We have this treasure from God, but we are only like clay jars that hold the treasure. This is to show that the amazing power we have is from God, not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, ERV)

But this beautiful treasure is contained in us – cracked pots made of earth and clay – so that the transcendent character of this power will be clearly seen as coming from God and not from us. – (2 Corinthians 4:7, VOICE)

 

The treasure is Jesus within us, and through His presence, we are empowered to love as He loves us. I love the imagery of people as jars of clay, for each of us are molded and shaped to hold Him in our hearts, capable of pouring out to all whom we encounter. Ordinary people can live extraordinary lives through that which is within them. God’s heart, His power and His love, are made known as we choose to pour out from the spaces that we have invested to fill. Incredibly, the more we seek the Lord and choose to love, the more we have to pour out to those around us. May we ever invest in our relationship with our Redeemer, who fills us and makes His goodness known through us, His jars of clay, created to contain the treasure of His power, grace and love for the world.

Yesterday, Micah and I caught up with Mom on the phone as we were running an errand. She sounded good, and was eager to hear about the weekend adventures we each had, and pass on congratulations to the newest driver in our household. Later in the evening my sister and I did a bit of texting back and forth, and I was actually able to go back through old messages and find Mom’s occupational therapist from Wenatchee to contact for needed information in Albany. I reached out to Larissa, and she responded rapidly. Hopefully, the information provided will help expedite the in-home therapy hang-up, as I know it has been frustrating for all. Please pray for my sister, as I imagine she is wearing the weight on her shoulders. Her job is insanely busy, her boys have crazy busy schedules, my brother-in-love’s work schedule often requires him to travel and work insane hours, and Meg is the cog that keeps the machine running. She deserves a cape or a crown, but truly, I know prayers are coveted.

 

The power of God, Treasured Jars of Clay

That shines from the stars;

Dwells also in us,

Broken, earthen jars.

Jars are containers,

Ready to outpour;

Let us make love known,

For His love restores.

The treasure we hold,

Is in us to share;

Lord, lead us in grace,

Always, everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be vessels to receive and in turn pour out the treasures of Your love, goodness and grace to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have placed a lid on our jar, preventing either the receiving or the outpouring of all that You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remain open vessels. Show us how to love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue You and invite You to fill us again and again, so that we may go forth and pour into the lives of those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

 

 

Giver of Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

 

Boy, what a whirlwind… I had a later start than anticipated to return home yesterday, but was graced with a smooth trip and moving traffic. There was only one spot on Blewett Pass, where the road was down to a single lane for both directions, that I had to wait for about fifteen minutes, before continuing my journey home. Upon arrival, I was enthusiastically greeted by my boys with enormous hugs, and we quickly set to work to get organized and packed, so that they could be certain that they had everything necessary for their trip. By the time both boys were organized and packed, Mark had returned home from work. After giving him a few minutes of down time following his long commute, the four of us went to our favorite sushi place in town for dinner together. My momma heart was full, as I was surrounded by my guys. We enjoyed a great dinner, and then made a quick store run for a few items that were still needed for packing. As we were returning home, my best friend and I had messaged one another, and Mark and I ended up heading to their home (a few blocks away) for a quick visit. All was well, and it was wonderful to catch up. I had a moment though, as I finally heard back about the drop-off time for the boys (that I thought was either 8:30 or 9 am), only to discover that they were not expected to the base for loading and departure until 6:00 pm! Knowing the impossibility of the timing, I began attempting to problem solve. Thankfully, Jeff, Robin’s husband, offered to take the boys for me, knowing that I would be unable to stay that late into the evening. Waves of grief flooded me as we drove home, and by the time we were in the safety of our own room for the night, I was inconsolable. The weight of grief gripped my heart so heavily that it was hard to breathe. Mark just held me and offered comfort, and I had to ride it out. Once the weight had subsided, I was able to relax a bit and attempt to sleep. Though restless, I did sleep, and when I woke this morning, I discovered fresh resolve. After sleep, I cannot help but see that God is providing me more time with my boys. With an early departure, the boys would have been dropped off in the morning, and that would have been it. Now, they will have the opportunity to sleep in, I can run some errands and run with Ashley, and then take my boys to lunch and really visit with them some more, prior to my return to Wenatchee. Yes, I am a bit gutted to not actually drop them off for departure, yet I have to fix my eyes on the gift that has been given. Time together has been my greatest struggle over the last many months, as I have been in Wenatchee with mom, and here I am receiving the precious gift of more time. Plans change, expectations change, but God, in His infinite wisdom, does not. He knows what we need, and He loves us enough to grant us gifts that we sometimes don’t even recognize, until we step back and see them for what they truly are. He is good, and I am grateful.

As for mom, she is having a marvelous time of catching up with lifelong friends. Karin and Bill are treasures, and I do not think the visiting stopped from the time they arrived, until everyone called it a night. The two of them took mom out for a coffee date at Starbucks, and she had an incredible time and thoroughly enjoyed visiting sharing life together. All was well each time I checked in with Karin, and I am able to fully engage in my time at home, knowing mom is in loving, capable hands. Yet another incredible gift, as the two of them made my being here to help my boys prepare to go, possible. May we ever give thanks to the Father of Lights, for He is the giver of all good things.

 

Every good gift, img_2019-08-02_06-32-255141113095649126594.jpg

Comes down from above;

Treasures from heaven,

Given in God’s love.

Our expectations,

May appear not met;

Our God, in His grace,

Has more for us yet.

For the gifts God gives,

Always they are good;

His ways are higher,

Outcome’s understood.

So, let us choose trust,

The Father of Lights;

Who’s always for us,

And in us, delights.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You that though our circumstances and feelings change, You never change. Thank You that You are patient with us, and remain near, ever-loving and showing us how what we think is something to grieve, may actually be a blessing. Forgive us for our fear and frustration when we cannot see the good in the twists and turns that life takes. Teach us to trust You more, as You use all things for good for those who love You, and You love to bless Your children with good gifts. Show us how to slow down and look for the good in whatever comes our way. Lead us to love those around us in a way that extends Your goodness and light to the spaces it is missing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Giver of every good gift, who remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

The Skies Don’t Lie

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Every morning, no matter the number of times I’ve been up in the night, nor the quality of sleep I’ve obtained, the handiwork of God is brilliantly displayed across the sky to remind me that He is present and that His truth remains. Whenever I am in a space of uncertainty, so often the words that bring comfort are from the Psalms. David was a man who endured trials and triumphs, and he recorded his heart after God with passion and honesty that is genuine and timeless throughout the ages. His recognition and awe at the handiwork of God captures my heart perfectly, as I watch the sunrise in wonder and amazement each morning.

Yesterday was another full day for mom. She had occupational therapy in the morning, lunch delivered and shared with two of her dearest friends midday, and then a late afternoon appointment with her primary care physician. The trip into town again went smoothly, and we are in awe of how God found the perfect PCP for mom. Her new doctor is a perfect fit, and sets our minds and hearts at ease, the moment she enters the room. All went smoothly, and we were on our way. After we had enjoyed dinner together back home and were ready to settle in to watch a movie, I checked mom’s phone for messages. There was a message from her doctor that must have come shortly after we left her office, and it left us both a bit unsettled. Mom just finished a 30-day heart-monitor study on June 10, and to our knowledge, it had been uneventful. The message implied that perhaps there was something to discuss, so we will be in contact with the doctor today to discover what exactly was found throughout the study. This is certainly a prayer point, as there are pros and cons to there being “something” there. A pro is that it could be the “why” as to what actually caused mom’s stroke. Additionally, if we know the what, it can be treated and prevented. However, an obvious con is that we do not want mom to have issues with her heart. God is greater. He knit her together in her mother’s womb and knows the number of hairs on her head. May we ever trust in He who hung the stars in the sky and causes the sun each day to rise.

 

God’s great glory shines,0612190457254276551488597199.jpg

Each morn as I rise;

His work is displayed,

Across painted skies.

Brilliant the colors,

Show His handiwork;

Dark becomes daybreak,

World’s finest artwork.

All of creation,

Makes God’s glory clear;

Present Creator,

Who chooses be near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the heavens declare Your glory and that Your handiwork is evident as we gaze across the sky. Thank You for the daily reminders of Your presence. Forgive us for our uncertainty, fearfulness and doubts as we continue to walk along a road where we cannot see past the step we are taking right now. Keep holding us close, reminding us that we are in Your hands and that You have a plan that is already well prepared. Show us how to love those around us as they seek to navigate their own road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek and trust, appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Hearing Our Heart

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

Then you will call my Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, ERV)

At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to hear us every time we call on His Name. Though His answers do not always look the way that we might envision, He is loving and kind and has our very best in mind. In my life, though I prayed one way for years, hoping that He would intervene and bring restoration, He instead protected, provided, and brought me to a place that is far better than I could have even dared to dream. God is good, and He hears our every prayer. May we pray with persistence, trusting that He is faithful and has a plan and a future for us that far exceeds what we could hope or imagine.

 

No matter the state,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our heart when we come;

Each prayer that we pray,

Heard, His will be done.

For God’s will is good,

Because He is love;

His plans are greater,

Grace shines from above.

Though how He answers,

A bit a surprise;

His ultimate good,

Will grant strength to rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer and listen to our heart. Thank You that Your plans are far greater than what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for not seeking You or for questioning Your faithfulness when we cannot see how things could possibly be moving in a direction for good. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever, and have a plan and a future for each of us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens each as they go throughout their days. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and trust You to hear and move on our behalf, even when we do not understand the direction. Amen.

 

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

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

No More Darkness

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark. – (John 12:46, NLT)

I came into this world as a light. I came so that everyone who believes in Me will not stay in darkness. – (John 12:46, ERV)

I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him. – (John 12:46, VOICE)

 

In the Pacific Northwest, we often have a long, dreary season of darkness. Days are grey and rainy, and the hours of available daylight after work are seemingly non-existent. Yesterday, as we sprung our clocks forward to daylight savings time, we were greeted with an unusually warm and sunny day for our area. Days like that remind me that we have the Light who shines forever, and no darkness truly remains when we are in Him. Though days, circumstances, situations and moments may seem dim, there is light and hope and help in Christ. As we place our trust in Him, darkness disappears and light illuminates our path. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, as He is the light of the world; in Him, no darkness remains.

 

Into the darkness,

dsc04349684340120.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Our Savior did come;

To bring light and life,

To everyone.

For all who choose trust,

In His precious Name;

Will leave dark behind,

Find true what’s proclaimed.

There is no darkness,

Where His love light shines;

Safe space forever,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came as a light shining in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in You will no longer remain in the dark. Thank You that You are trustworthy and true. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be the light and life and hope when all seems dim. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects You light and love in places that seem overwhelmingly dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our light forever. 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

 

 

How Darkness Disappears

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. – (John 1:4-5, NLT) 

In Him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it. – (John 1:4-5, ERV) 

His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light – A light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazes through murky bottoms. It cannot and will not be quenched. – (John 1:4-5, VOICE) 

 

The book of John begins with a reminder that Jesus was in the beginning, and the light that He brings cannot be extinguished. When we seek the Lord and His love, the light that He grows within us, cannot be burned out. Darkness disappears with even the smallest of lights. A small flame allows our eyes to see where previously nothing could be seen. The more we see and know, the more the light within us grows. May we ever seek the Lord and the light of His love, so that we may be light in darkness and shine where love is lacking. 

 

In the beginning, The Lord Listens

Was the Word with God; 

He became a man, 

And on the earth trod. 

Into the darkness, 

The Lord brought His light; 

To love us to life, 

And make all things right. 

When we seek the Lord, 

Allow His light in; 

Darkness disappears, 

And true love begins. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to shine light in the darkness and love us to life where we were dead. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces and teach us to trust You to shine in the places where we cannot see through the muck. Show us how to be light in darkness as we love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel the flames of the light that You breathed within us, so that we may go forth and shine bright in Your love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

My Sons, This I Pray

My son(s), if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding – indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. – (Proverbs 2:1-11, NIV)

 

It is difficult to believe that today, sixteen years ago, my life was forever changed for the better. Thoug0119180406679500301.jpgh I knew what it was to love and be loved, I could not fully grasp the human heart’s capacity to love, cherish and protect, until my precious baby boys were born. There has been no greater joy than to watch them grow into the young men that they are becoming. Today’s reading is quite timely, as it is my prayer for them, as they continue to grow in faith and pursue wisdom and walk in His ways. The older this delightful duo becomes, the more I have to let go and trust them to follow and seek and choose wisely. May we all continue the pursuit of understanding the Lord and seeking His wisdom, and may His protection be ever present as we pursue the path He places before us.

 

 

My sons, this I pray, 12141718251901389040.jpg

That you seek to know;

The wisdom of God,

Each day, may it grow.

For where you choose seek,

And ask of the Lord;

He will grant insight,

You’ll not be ignored.

He’s always faithful,

As we trust each day;

Seek Him for answers,

He’ll show you the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my precious progeny. Not only was I blessed with one son, but with two! Thank You for the tender hearts and loving ways that You have instilled in each of them. May they ever pursue the path that You have placed before them. Protect them each and every moment of every day, I pray. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom and understanding, as You are always faithful to answer when we seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would understand what is just and fair, and follow Your good path. Lead us to love those around us in a way that shines Your light in dark places. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom and understanding all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Faithful the Shepherds

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

 

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

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Working On Our Why

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – (Colossians 3:23, NLT)

Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. – (Colossians 3:23, CEB)

Put your heart and soul into every activity you do, as though you are doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others. – (Colossians 3:23, TPT)

 

What a perfect reminder on a Monday following a long, holiday weekend. This final push prior to Christmas, takes some serious digging deep. However, it is so good to remember Who we are ultimately working for – in all things, all that we do should be unto the Lord. If we keep that in proper perspective, there is an urgency in our call to action as we rise and return to work this morning. Whatever our job or position, we are called with purpose, and have things to accomplish unto Him. No matter what we do, we can work as unto the Lord. If it is teaching, be it with kindness and grace; if it is serving or helping or leading, let patience and goodness reign – in all things, whatever we do, may His love be evident as we commit ourselves to working as unto Him.

 

May we choose to work, Generous Giving

In all that we do;

As unto the Lord,

So His love shines through.

When heart and soul,

Are in what we do;

Our best is put forth,

And grace is renewed.

In everything,

Our best for the Lord;

So His love light shines,

And peace is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the reminders of truth that You give us in Your word. Thank You that ultimately, we are not working for people, but rather unto You. Forgive us for approaching anything that we do with an attitude that is less than our best. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would do all things as unto You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do all that we do, unto You, giving our very best. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

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