A Longing Fulfilled

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” – (Luke 1:24-25, NIV) 

Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So, she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” – (Luke 1:24-25, ERV) 

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!” – (Luke 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

God’s miracle for Elizabeth and Zechariah, through granting them a son after many years of being barren, was a magnificent prelude to the miracle arrival of the soon-to-follow birth of Jesus. Elizabeth had gone from years of longing and hoping and waiting, to a space of hope fulfilled, when she likely no longer thought it possible. Though I have not experienced the heartache of infertility personally, I have had several friends walk through a similar season of waiting and hoping and longing. Like Elizabeth, some received their own miraculous blessing through conception, others discovered their miracle through adoption, whereas others, still remain in a space of waiting. My heart cannot help but celebrate at the thought of Elizabeth’s joy, at such a longing fulfilled. May we give thanks for the gifts all around us, and for those that are yet to come.  

 

A longing fulfilled, The Mirror of the Heart

Such wonder indeed; 

A hope that’s answered, 

God’s grace meeting needs. 

Needs birthed within us, 

Desires of the heart; 

Treasured reflections, 

Of where His grace starts. 

Seek Him in longing, 

Place hope in His Name; 

Wait and choose trust Him, 

He does what He claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real-life heartache and hope that You give us in Your word. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that You are the same God who has done countless miracles throughout the ages, and are present to make the impossible possible still. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that You are moving, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope, despite the way that things may appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness, grace and presence that remains the same forever. 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

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Draw Near with True Hearts

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, NIV)

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So, come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. – (Hebrews 10:22, ERV)

Let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, VOICE)

Christ made coming to God possible. Through His sacrifice, once and for all, we have full assurance that the price has already been paid for our sins. Because we have been washed clean from the inside out, when we draw near to God and receive what He freely offers, we can confidently enter into His presence and communicate with the nearness of a loving Father and friend. May we readily receive what Christ gives by His glorious grace, and draw near to the Lord with faith, as we are fully known.

 

One great sacrifice,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Made way for us all;

To become washed clean,

Be heard when we call.

What Christ did for us,

Is ours to receive;

By faith, to lay hold,

All hope we believe.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts that embrace;

The gift of new life,

Through God’s lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus, thank You for taking on all of our sin and shame, so that we could be made clean and worthy to approach the throne of God. Forgive us for taking Your sacrifice for granted, or for somehow thinking it could not possibly cover the weight of our own ugliness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the grace that You have so generously given, and never forget the ultimate price that You paid on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize Your grace and love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of grace that You freely give, and continue to come close to You so that we will know how to best walk according to Your will. Amen.

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

For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:19

 

Lifting Up Those Who Lead

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Savior to pray for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, TPT)

 

The charge we are given in this passage is clear, we are meant to pray for people – for blessings, provisions, and with gratitude; especially for those who are in leadership positions. It does not qualify the call to pray based on whether or not we like or agree with the person in the position. Rather, we are called to pray with purpose so that we might live quiet and peaceful lives. In the wake of being flooded by campaigns that brought out the worst in people, I cannot think of a more important call. Our political views ought not determine our obedience to that which we are asked. Every person who has been placed in a position of authority will need wisdom and grace to lead well. Whether I agree with elected officials or not, I am called to pray. Imagine what the nation could be like if our first thought was to pray for our leaders, rather than to criticize? This is not to say that we ought to stand idly by when there is injustice or wrong-doing, but in the day-to-day, we need to pray for each person who is in a position that represents the people for the people. May we look to the Lord and present our petitions before Him, seeking Him for wisdom and blessing so that we may live in peace.

 

We are called to pray, All Together for Good

For everyone;

The people who lead,

Let us seek the Son.

His wisdom and grace,

Are needed by all;

And provide the peace,

His love does install.

Let us choose to pray,

For all those who lead;

May wisdom find way,

And fulfill each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for people not only around us, but those who are chosen to represent us in leadership – be it in our city, state or our nation. Forgive us for forgetting the very thing that we are called to do, as prayer leads to peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift up our leaders, asking You to bless them with wisdom to lead well. Show us how to love those around us well, so that those who are in positions of authority over us feel supported and encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Please bless those who rise to lead with Your wisdom and strength. Be glorified O God, as we lift up people and leaders before You, asking that You bless them with wisdom and strength, trusting that You will answer and grant us peace. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Trust and Pray

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – (Psalm 25:1, NIV)

To You, O Lord, I pray. – (Psalm 25:1, TLB)

Always I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One. – (Psalm 25:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening, after we had finished dinner, I began chatting with my son about the details for his homecoming dance that I thought was nearly two weeks away. As we began speaking about specifics, it came to light that the dance is actually taking place this Saturday evening. Normally, that would be no problem, but this weekend I have long since planned to be at the women’s retreat with my church. What is a mom to do when her child is going to his first dance with a date, and is scheduled to be away for the weekend?! The first prayer that flooded my heart was, “Please let him have the date wrong!” Once it was confirmed that the dance was indeed this weekend, I simply and silently called out for help. My sweet husband was nearby and was witness to this new information. As soon as the actual date was discovered, he cancelled his plans for Saturday to help facilitate preparation and transportation for my boy and his date. Though I am not yet certain how every detail will be orchestrated, I am confident that God will make a way. My retreat is in a town that is only 45 minutes away, and we have a sizeable break on Saturday afternoon. It is possible for me to drive home to help him prepare and take photos at the beginning of the evening, prior to returning to my retreat. God is good, and I trust Him to provide a way for this to work for all of us. Perhaps seemingly small, but to my son who adores this sweet young lady, and to this momma who loves her son with her whole heart, the care and provision granted matter more than mere words can express. It is a reminder that He cares about us; about what matters to our heart. God hears each prayer, even those whispered in frustration. May we ever present our prayers and petitions to our Provider, and give Him all glory for His goodness.

 

Let us choose lift up,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

All things as we pray;

For God always hears,

In love, makes a way.

He grants us His grace,

When we need find rest;

Provides solutions,

For His heart knows best.

The things still unseen,

He already knows;

As we pray, we’ll find,

A way He will show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that we can come to You for all things, no matter how great or small. Forgive us for thinking that the small things are ones that we can “handle” on our own, rather than relying on Your wisdom and grace to lead us and guide us through. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You in prayer, knowing that You can make a way where there seems to be no way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope that make Your love and faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and place our trust in You. Amen.

 

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

 

 

 

 

 

Trust in His Hand

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – (Psalm 111:7, NIV)

Everything He does is good and fair. All His commands can be trusted. – (Psalm 111:7, ERV)

All His accomplishments are truth and justice; all His instructions are certain. – (Psalm 111:7, VOICE)

My husband, on our wedding day, happened to be holding both of our wedding bands in the hollow of his hand. As he looked closely at the two symbols of our love and commitment to one another, he noticed that mine fit easily in his. He snapped a photo of our rings in his hand, and at some point, showed me the picture he had taken. Because I am such a visual person, when I saw the image, my heart held fast; for just as my Viking held our rings in the hollow of his hand, so too does God hold us in His. In the same way that his ring surrounded and protected mine, likewise is his charge as a husband to surround and protect in love as we are held in the Lord’s hands. Throughout our entire relationship so far, the image matches how my heart has been held. May we ever rest in the Lord, as we are held in His hands, for He is faithful and just, and we can trust Him in all of our ways.

 

Loved and protected,

For all of our days;

We’re held in His hands,

Both now and always.

We can always trust,

For His ways are sure;

He holds us in love,

In Him, we’re secure.

So, ever seek God,

Who’s faithful and just;

All His ways are good,

And worthy of trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible examples of how You love us and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for forgetting how great the hands are that hold us, as You who created all that exists are capable of holding us and leading us the ways in which we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that envelops each in the goodness and faithfulness that Your love provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands. Amen.

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

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

The Fee for Freedom

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. – (John 8:36, NLT)

So if the Son makes you free, you are really free. – (John 8:36, ERV)

So if the Son sets you free from sin, then become a true son and be unquestionably free! – (John 8:36, TPT)

 

Freedom is not without a price. For most of us, we are blissfully unaware of the extent of the cost of the precious freedom that we enjoy each day. We have the right to say and do whatever we desire to do (within the legal limits of the law), and we have the choice to worship and gather without fear. Many nations in the world today are not afforded such luxuries. The people live in fear and cannot gather without the threat of imprisonment or death, simply for seeking to enjoy the very freedoms we so often take for granted. Today, as we celebrate Independence Day, may we take time to reflect and give thanks for the freedoms we know in our nation, and even more importantly, the freedom we know in our hearts that has been granted by God in the gift of mercy and grace generously given through His Son.

 

This mighty freedom, On the Eve of New

We know and adore;

Has come at a price,

From ones who gave more.

National freedom,

From those who fought for;

Sweet independence,

From ways once abhorred.

Personal freedom,

The greatest of all;

Through Christ’s sacrifice,

Our forgiveness call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that we have been given through the sacrifice of Your Son. Thank You all who seek You, find forgiveness and grace – freedom from the weight of our past mistakes and failures. Thank You too for the gift of freedom that we know in our nation, as we know that not all countries know a freedom such as ours. Forgive us for taking either freedom for granted, and teach us to give You praise for all our days for the incredible gift we have come to know in each. Show us how to love others well, so they too, may know the freedom found in the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the freedom we know and the grace to grow. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Take Delight

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you whatever you ask for. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Enjoy the Lord, and He will give what your heart asks. – (Psalm 37:4, CEB)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

 

God is so good. As we seek and serve Him, our desires are shaped by who we are becoming in Him, and He shows us in ways beyond what we could hope or imagine, how He will give us the very things that we are hoping for in His Name. As my fiancé and I are preparing for our wedding in July, we have begun the process of searching for a home that will accommodate he and his son and me and my two boys. It is a challenging task to find a space that meets the needs of three teenage boys, two adults, several vehicles, and the need for space to spread out, as the personalities of each need room of our own. Additionally, we would love a space that has room to welcome others into our home to share a meal, come and visit from out-of-state (as we both have extended family far away), and space to decompress from the hurried pace that is required in both of our jobs. Yesterday, we were shown our dream home. It fulfilled everything on our wish list and more. The price was higher than we had hoped, and we did not think it would be feasible until we went back, sat down, and really analyzed numbers on paper. We both were in awe as we ran the numbers and discovered that as two heads of household merged into one, we would indeed be able to afford the home we desired most without overextending ourselves. God continues to remind me that as I delight in Him, He will bless me with the desires that He has placed in my heart. The hopes and dreams that my heart holds are not simply random thoughts that came out of nowhere, but rather they are things birthed and nurtured within my design, intentionally. May we ever delight in the Lord and seek to serve Him, as He is the One who gives us what our hearts desire most.

Asking for Amazing Answers

Delight in the Lord,

For He is the One;

Who knows our heart’s cry,

As each day is done.

The more that we seek,

The Lord and His will;

Our hopes shall align,

And dreams be fulfilled.

For when He’s our joy,

Desires come from Him;

Blessings are bestowed,

Both outside and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You give us the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You love to bless Your children. Thank You for the incredible ways that You move beyond what we could hope or imagine, and that the hopes and dreams that dwell within us come from You. Forgive us for our doubts or for thinking that anything is impossible for You. Teach us to trust You more, and to place our hopes, dreams and desires in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope and courage and joy in the wait between the dream and the fulfillment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You and give all glory to You as You bless us with the very things our hearts are longing for. Amen.

 

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

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

Our Thoughts Control Our Life

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, NLT)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, VOICE)

 

The thoughts we hold in our heart determine the direction that we take in life. If we hold onto negativity or fear or frustration, each step that we take is weighed down by the heaviness we are holding. However, if we guard our hearts and listen and trust in His word of truth, our burdens lessen and we are better able to stay the course to which we have been called. Obstacles will always stand before us, yet if we move forward with our eyes open and our hearts fixed on He who is greater, the challenges will not determine our direction; the path that has already been presented will continue to propel us to progress in the life to which we are being led. May we ever guard our hearts and minds, fixing all securely on our Savior; for in Him, we find safe harbor and a course that has been set for us to successfully navigate with Him.

 

Let us guard our hearts,

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photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Above other things;

For the thoughts we think,

Impact our blessings.

As we are weighed down,

Fixed on weight we bear;

We miss so much good,

That God has to share.

Protect heart and mind,

For good things shall come;

Our path is made plain,

When we seek the Son.

The blessings in life,

All good things that flow;

Are from God to us,

As we seek to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we guard our hearts and place our trust in You, You lead us on a course that is far greater than we could have hoped or imagined. Thank You that though trials and difficulties will come, as we fix our eyes on You, rather than the challenge, You lead us on and carry us through. Forgive us for not guarding our hearts from the heaviness that life can bring. Teach us to trust You more, so that we do not get weighed down by the difficulties and instead rise up in Your strength to press on. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend Your goodness, strength and grace to help others navigate the course to which You are calling them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and fix our eyes on You; for with You, good and noble things light the path to which we are called to walk.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

The True Look of Love

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, NLT)

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

There is no love that has ever been nor that will ever be, that compares to the love God has for each of us. Many of us would give up tangible things that we care about for those whom we love, but I imagine none of us would willingly send our sons or daughters to those whom were against us, knowing that they would die. God gave all so that we would have all in Him. We have a free will that grants us the choice to either believe and receive the glorious gift that He has given, or to reject our redemption and run our own race. Even in that, I envision the vastness of the Father’s heart. He waits patiently for those who wander and welcomes each into His loving arms when we are ready to receive all that He has for us. May we fix our eyes on He who is love rather than on what the world attempts to define as love.

 

The true look of love, The True Look of Love

Is not from a store;

But comes from above,

And means so much more.

The greatest love known,

Is that which God gives;

Because of His Son,

We gain life to live.

As we choose believe,

Receive His great grace;

We’re set on the path,

To run well His race.

The glorious end,

Our true finish line;

Heaven forever,

Most Holy Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved the world better than any of us could begin to fully comprehend. Thank You that everyone who believes in You gains life with You forever. Forgive us for allowing the world to define love for us, rather than looking to You for the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive and believe all that You offer, so that we may go and love as we are called to love. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive and believe the greatest love ever given, as You sent Your Son to us to show us what love truly is. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6