Protection and Strength

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV) 

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV) 

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide?  – (Psalm 46:1, VOICE) 

As a visual learner, I am often reminded of biblical truths as I observe the world around me. This morning, as I sit on the couch with my laptop in front of me and my sweet puppy sleeping soundly on my lap, I am reminded that just as I am a safe space for Thor, God is so much more for us. Thor is a smart puppy, and often gets overzealous in his desire to play. Interestingly, despite correction and redirection, he quickly comes and wants to jump on my lap and snuggle in. He knows that I love him fiercely, even when his impulses get the best of him. God provides the same sort of safety as we seek Him. He embraces us in His goodness and grace, and guides us in the way that we must learn, change and grow, even after correction or redirection. May we ever seek the Lord as our shelter and strength, for when trial or trouble are near, He is nearer still. 

God is our shelter, 

Our true Source of strength; 

No matter what comes, 

Through depth, height or length. 

When troubles are near, 

The Lord’s nearer still; 

Embracing with grace, 

With His love, He’ll fill. 

Strength when we’re weary, 

Safety through the storms; 

Wisdom, direction, 

With truth, He informs. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Throughout each new day; 

Pursue what is right, 

He’ll show us the way. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and strength, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You lead, direct and correct us in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have thought, spoken or walked the wrong way. Teach us to look to You for wisdom in the ways that we are meant to go, so that all we do will honor You. Show us how to love as You love – lavishly and without reservations. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to be our strength and safety while we pursue all that You are calling us into. Amen. 

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

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. – Psalm 27:5

Blessed in the Bittersweet

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.

 

No matter the day, Daily Provision

Or how my heart cries;

God remains faithful,

And grants strength to rise.

Rise up from weakness,

Step out of despair;

Enduring presence,

Strengthens as He cares.

Faithful Provider,

Our God of all grace;

Our help and our hope,

For now, and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

To Demonstrate Love

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

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

wp-15816817937588641311806906910576.jpg

The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

As I Rise

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

This morning, there is a choice to trust and praise involved as I rise. The day holds an overwhelming amount of new, which requires strength of heart, mind and body, to navigate as I go. For me, a new semester means three brand new classes of students to get to know, as well as the first day of middle school gymnastics. No matter how many times one has experienced such firsts before, there is always a bit of nervous anticipation for how all will unfold. Yes, there is wisdom in experience, yet each new group has its own dynamics and set of personalities. There is never a “one-size-fits-all” in establishing a positive classroom culture. This is the space where I rely on God’s grace to lead and guide me as I go. Of course, I prepare the things that I need to have ready, but I trust in the Lord to guide me as I navigate the new. Today I praise God, the Source of my strength, and trust in His loving kindness and provision as I prepare for the new that this day has in store.

 

This morning I rise, Statements of Praise

And choose to sing praise;

For God is my strength,

Throughout all my days.

Faithful forever,

No matter what comes;

His presence promised,

Loving, Holy One.

Ever I will seek,

For in Him I find;

All that is needed,

To press on, be kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending faithfulness to be our strength and security in our spaces of the unknown. Thank You that You empower and equip us to navigate the new, and help us to do as You call us to. Forgive us for our anxiousness at all that lies before us, when we take our eyes off of You and allow our minds to fix on the size of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You with all, as You are more than enough to navigate every circumstance and situation with wisdom, strength and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your strength and loving mercy may be made evident in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength, for who You are and how You provide for us. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Keep Singing

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

As I prepare to head home for a quick visit until Sunday morning, I have much to be grateful for as I go. God is doing a new thing in mom, as He is granting her courage and desire to actually get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery. For me, this has been a huge answer to prayer, especially with no appointments scheduled over the long holiday weekend. Mom desperately needed something to break up the long hours, and I needed a change of scenery and an escape. Wednesday, she willingly obliged to go into town for a quick coffee run, and consequently, we picked up lunch at a favorite take out place. Yesterday, what began as another quick coffee run, turned into a glorious adventure in scenic driving, as mom directed me on amazing back roads that I had never been. We both were all smiles as we soaked in the sun and the scenery along the river, nestled between the surrounding mountains. For a few hours, life did not seem like we were in this post-stroke limbo space, but rather we were simply out on an adventure together. Dare I say, all felt gloriously normal. The outing challenged her enough to leave her needing a rest, and helped break up the day so that what could have been a long and dull day, actually flowed and was an enjoyable and relaxing one. Sleep last night was decent, and the sunrise this morning was an exceptional orange glow. As I drive home late this afternoon, I know that my way will be accompanied by a loud sing-along to my favorite songs of praise. God is loving and merciful, and He provides all that we need, just as it is needed. May we ever praise Him for His goodness and grace.

 

Forever faithful, img_2019-07-05_06-48-18148229039848643710.jpg

God of strength and grace;

Our space of refuge,

For all of our days.

You show us Your love,

As it never fails;

Kindness unending,

Your goodness prevails.

May we ever sing,

Give unending praise;

To You, our Savior,

Hope of all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are goodness and kindness, strength and love. Thank You that You are our refuge forever. Thank You that You teach our hearts to sing, so that we may ever praise You. Forgive us for forgetting the tune that You have planted in our heart when things feel too heavy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place all in Your hands and praise You through life’s storms. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten the load that others are bearing, so that they too, may find the song within. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our strength and refuge, for Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him; yes, sing His praises. Tell everyone about His wonderful deeds. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Help Ever Near

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. – (Psalm 46:1, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to meet us wherever we are, no matter what we are facing. Yesterday, I wrote about my anxiousness over an upcoming oral surgery that I need to have done. Incredibly, it was not at the surgeon’s office that peace was made present, but rather through the sweet and encouraging words of both my sister-in-love and a sweet friend from work. As each mentioned their own experiences or that of another, my mind was eased of the fear that I had been holding. Often God’s nearness is made tangible through those whom He places around us. For me, learning from those who had witnessed or experienced what lies ahead, took the unknown element out that which was the root of my fear. Strength is provided in the safety of His hands when we choose to seek Him. May we ever remember our Source of strength and safety when trouble instills fear into our heart.

 

Space of protection, Pardon Brings Peace

Our Calmer of fear;

When troubles come close,

The Lord will be near.

Choose place in His hands,

All trouble that comes;

He will keep us safe,

Grant strength through His Son.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our hope;

Faithful to meet us,

His grace helps us cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to be near and answer us as we call on You for help. Thank You that You are our strength and our shelter in all things and at all times. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to be Your voice and Your heart to us. Forgive us for our fears when troubles and trials come our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength and peace and safety. Show us how to love others well, so that they may come to know the strength and security that are found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our Source of safety and strength, for You are always near. Amen.

 

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

 

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

With Gratitude, I Rise

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

 

With a song of gratitude in my heart, I rise. Today marks the final day of the 2017-2018 school year, and I am ready for summer! It has been a year of far more new than I had anticipated would take adjusting to, and only by His strength and unfailing love have I navigated the distance without becoming completely lost. His strength sustained me and His love surrounded me, even on the most difficult of days. As I look forward from this space of one chapter ending and another about to begin, I am reminded anew that God is my place of safety, and the One on whom I can always rely. Thirty-one days until I marry my Viking, and the coming school year holds great promise, as I will be teaching three sections of art, which is my favorite, and one block of humanities. I know that the road that lies before me will not always be smooth either, but I know Who is my refuge and Source of strength, on Whom I can depend. May we ever sing praises to the One who remains present to be our strength and our safe space, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Wake up, rise and sing, With Gratitude I Rise

For the day has come;

School’s at last ending,

The work has been done.

All praise to the One,

Our strength and our song;

Who carried us through,

All of the year long.

Safety and comfort,

Through His love given;

sing grateful praise,

This life I’m living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength, safety and unfailing love on which we can depend. Forgive us for not recognizing nor giving You praise enough for the incredible ways that You love, support, strengthen and protect us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength, safety and love in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others well, so that our very lives are songs of praise for all that You have done and continue to do in us and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

© 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

Messes Made Magnificent

Despite the mountains we may climb, the obstacles we must overcome, and the unforeseen circumstances that we find ourselves facing – God is still God, and He will use every trial to grow greater good within us.

 

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)

 

God takes our mess and makes it something magnificent within us. He uses our most broken places to reach, help and heal others who are stuck in the very same sort of space. He is gentle and kind, and loves to lead those who call on His Name, to walk on the path that fulfills their purpose. May we hold fast to the truth that God is good, no matter what comes our way, and trust that He will use ALL things for ultimate good.

 

Let faith rise in us,Chosen With Purpose

no matter what comes;

for we know our hope,

is held in the Son.

Despite obstacles,

and trials we face;

the Lord is still good,

and provides His grace.

More amazing still,

is how God will use;

our greatest disgrace,

to grow something new.

No trial for naught,

for God will surely show;

how He helped and loved,

strengthened us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the pain and heartache associated with life’s trials, You promise to use ALL things for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You are good and that Your promises are eternal. Thank You that as trials come, we learn to lean on You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more, so that we will remember that You are our true Source of strength in every storm. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we would be willing to share the encouragement of how You loved us well in the same sort of struggle that they are standing in. May many come to place their forever hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work ALL things for the good of those who love You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

O My Strength, I’ll Sing

O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:9)

O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:17)

 

Psalm 59 was written by David when Saul had sent men to his home to watch him, in order that they might kill him. Despite the space of being pursued by those who were sent to end his life, David trusted in the Lord and was quick to call on His Name. David knew well, from where his strength and safety could come, and not only did he cry out to the Lord for help, but He praised God for who He is.

 

When we are standing in the storms, or feel as if the enemy is hot on our heels, do we too, watch for the Lord and praise Him? God is faithful and loving, and is our source of strength when we call on His Name. He is our fortress, our strong tower, to whom we can run, whenever we feel afraid. He is good, and we can always trust and call on the Lord. May we rely on the Lord’s strength as we watch for Him and sing praise to Him, because He is our space of safety and our loving God.

 

The Lord is my strength,Sense in Storms

I will watch for You;

safety and fortress,

protection that’s true.

O God, You are love,

my strength and my song;

to whom I can run,

when all things go wrong.

No matter what comes,

I’ll watch and I’ll sing;

for You Lord are good,

my Savior and King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes, You are our Strength, our fortress, and our loving God. Thank You that as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our eyes and hearts are opened to the truth of who You are. Forgive us for not trusting, watching or praising when life’s circumstances become overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we call on You as David did, even if all seems to be against us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may see the strength and safety that is available through You, our loving God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our strength, our fortress and our loving Lord. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

*A song that kept running through my heart and my head this morning as I wrote was:

Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams.

Power Made Perfect in Weakness

Paul lived a phenomenal life of obedient faith. Often, we fail to remember that he had some sort of affliction that tormented him throughout many of his years of ministry. Despite his asking the Lord repeatedly to remove it, he remained faithful to continue in that which he was called, even when the Lord’s answer was not what Paul had hoped.

 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

The Lord spoke to Paul, and Paul listened. Though he could have had a pity party and complained about having to live with his affliction, instead, Paul came to recognize that the very point of pain and weakness was a perfect opportunity for God’s power to be magnified. Where we are weak, it becomes obvious that anything we do well, is done in the Lord’s strength. Additionally, when we are aware of our own shortcomings, we are more likely to seek our Savior to be our source of strength, help and hope, as we know fully that without Him, we will fall on our faces. May we choose to embrace His grace this day, in our places of weakness, allowing His power to be made perfect in us. Let the Lord lead us, so that many may witness His mighty strength where our own is not.

 

Grace that’s sufficient,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

it’s more than enough;

despite what we face,

the Lord’s strength is tough.

For when we are weak,

we choose to seek Him;

make way for His strength,

to come enter in.

Therefore let us boast,

of where our strength lacks;

so Christ’s power comes,

to keep us on track.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for us, and that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that our spaces of weakness are not something to be ashamed of, but rather they are opportunities for Your power to shine. Forgive us for stubborn independence or our fear of exposing our weaknesses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to be transparent in our weakness and allow Your strength to shine. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Amen.

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

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