A Very Good Day

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

 

Thankfully, joy is not circumstantial, but rather something that is deep-rooted in our souls. Praying continually is far easier to remember, especially in times of crisis, and giving thanks is not about being grateful for our circumstances, but rather giving thanks for Who is with us through them.

Yesterday was a very good day. God showed us His faithfulness in countless ways. First thing in the morning, as Megan and I were preparing to make our way to the hospital for the day, we received the call from Sheila, the case manager (whom we adore), that the cabulance would be at the hospital at 10 am to move mom to the acute care facility. Her call hustled us out the door even faster than we would have normally exited, and we were on our way. Upon arrival, mom was seated in a chair and smiling, fully aware of the fact that it was moving day. Additional blessings that immediately came prior to leaving the hospital were: the removal of her IV, removal of the heart monitor stickers, leads and the five-pound accessory box that sat in a pocket on her chest, hospital gowns, as well as the standard hospital required practices of waking patients every four hours to ask a series of questions that may or may not inspire intelligible answers in the midst of a fog of sleepiness. The hospital crew was kind in their sendoff, and the cabulance drivers were incredible. In fact, one driver had been one of the EMTs on the scene when mom had been found in her home by the police, and one of the officers was her husband. (God is so cool!) Anyway, I knew they were in great hands as Megan rode with mom to the new place and I drove over with her belongings in my vehicle. As we arrived, though a whirlwind, we were overwhelmed with kindness and grace. God’s hand was abundantly evident. From the attending doctor, to the lead RN, to the superb social worker; everyone was hand-picked for mom and our family. God knew what we would need. After a sort of orientation with the doctor and nurse, mom met with the speech therapist for nearly an hour. That gave Meg and myself time to explore a bit, and I was able to speak with the social worker about paperwork. After eating lunch with mom in her room, (the only time that will happen, as they have a family-style dining area), we met Penny, her physical therapist, and they got to work. Penny began with some seemingly simple things, to evaluate where the disconnect lies. She asked mom to do something specific, did not see results, then begin making notes and mom did it! Megan and I sat watching in awe. I imagine someone could have come along and pushed our chins to close our mouths, and we would not have noticed… Even more amazing, Penny was so in tune with mom’s needs. She ordered a wheelchair that was the right size for her, an armrest for her uncooperative arm (to keep it safe and from swelling), and she had mom moving herself with her good foot and good arm, down the hallway, by herself! At first, mom wasn’t sure how to make the chair move, so Penny grabbed another wheelchair and sat in it beside her and showed her. It was then that the sweet game of chase began. Though slow, it was on. Mom is a fighter and a competitor. When she became tired, Penny knew to shift gears rather than stop. She helped mom get herself to a hallway that had a railing on her good side, stood her up out of her chair, and assisted her with walking several steps down that hall. I think both Megan and I were doing everything within us not to cartwheel down that hall in celebration! After PT was OT, but primarily a get-to-know-you session, followed by dinner, then we watched a movie, and the piece de resistance, was the freedom to take mom outside. The sun was low enough that it was not bright nor beating on us, the wind was still, and the air was a perfect warm hug, as we sat together in the little park by the tree surrounded by flowers, where bees were buzzing, and the green grass cooled our feet. Though all these things have happened, there was this beautiful, perfect peace. The little smiling angel figurine in the flower bed was a sweet reminder of His faithful army watching over us. We walked out of the acute care center yesterday, far lighter than we had gone in. God truly is so good.

And, for those who appreciate comic relief, we walked to my Jeep, hopped in, and were ready to zip away. Only, I turned the key, and nothing… Seriously? Ugh! It only took a moment, as it is a stick, and we are two, fairly strong-willed, stubborn, redheads. We started out with Meg pushing me and I tried popping the clutch, but could not quite get enough speed. We had it turned far enough around, so we switched spots. A young man and his wife were walking to their car, and he jumped in and joined me in the pushing. The added boost helped get the car to the speed we needed to pop the clutch, and all was well. Plus, I think Megan was eager for an opportunity to drive the Jeep, and this way she had to zip around the big parking lot several times prior to picking me up, just to make sure the charge was up enough. Add the kindness of a stranger to our list of reasons to be thankful for yesterday.

 

Each day we draw breath,

img_2019-05-06_22-33-432372452717547527438.jpg

Mid-giggle as we attempted several selfies together. So, so good. ❤

Let us choose rejoice;

Despite what we face,

We still have a choice.

Joy’s not a feeling,

Based on circumstance;

It’s deep in the soul,

And not there by chance.

Through a thankful heart,

That knows and believes;

That God is for us,

His joy is received.

All thanks we choose give,

To God, our great King;

May He shine through us,

Our praise offering.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us more than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that You make that love tangible. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to temporarily steal our joy. Fear is a liar and a thief. Protect us from such things. Thank You that You continue to show us the power of a smile, an encouraging word, a gesture; all things done in love. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all those who are touched by her both far and near. May her light spark a flame in the hearts of those who do not know You yet. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give thanks for Your hand in all things and Your presence, always. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Purposeful Grace

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Be poured upon us;

So people may see,

The light of Jesus.

Each blessing received,

Make Your glory known;

Through favor to us,

Your love light be shown.

Let all come to know,

Power of Your grace;

So all would seek You,

For all of our days.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Acknowledge the Goodness

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – (Psalm 69:16, NIV) 

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help. – (Psalm 69:16, ERV) 

O Eternal One, hear me. Answer me. For Your enduring love is good comfort; in Your great mercy, turn toward me. – (Psalm 69:16, VOICE) 

 

This particular verse follows several verses of David airing his grievances for all that is going on around him. After voicing his frustrations and fears, he arrives at this verse, where he speaks out the goodness of God’s love, and the faithfulness found in His mercy. For me, this is a great reminder to acknowledge the goodness of God when we pray. Of course, we are meant to present our prayers and petitions before Him, but we ought to also recognize His authority over all that lies before us, and praise Him for who He is. I know that I thank Him, but I am reminded to be specific in speaking out the attributes of God, who is my help and my hope. No matter what comes against us, His love never fails. May we look to the Lord with hearts full of praise, and give Him credit for His faithful, loving ways. 

 

O Lord, You are near, img_2019-01-09_04-50-30678598369087799220.jpg

You hear what we pray; 

Your goodness and grace, 

New every day. 

As we come to You, 

May we praise anew; 

You for who You are, 

And all that You do. 

Help us in trouble, 

Be our strength and grace; 

With all that we are, 

Let our lives bring praise. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the goodness of Your faithful love that helps us in our need and grants us hope and peace in the midst of all that we face. Forgive us for presenting our need without giving You praise. Teach us to see the majesty in who You are and how You love. Show us how to love others in the same way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present both our requests and our praise unto You, for all of our days.

 

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

 

I will proclaim the Name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! – Deuteronomy 32:3

Pray for People

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them, intercede on their behalf, give thanks for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1, NLT)

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. – (1 Timothy 2:1, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. – (1 Timothy 2:1, MSG)

 

This is exactly the reminder that I needed this morning. I have one class during my day that feels like a battle zone. No matter what I try in my teacher bag of tricks, I cannot come to a consistent calm in that class. Between the attention seekers, the noise makers, and the downright disrespectful, each day it is a struggle to walk in with new hope that it might be better. Some days I pray, but really more for survival than for specific kids. I do like each of the kids individually, yet when combined together, a different dynamic arises, and there is rarely joy in what I am doing. Today, I am going to pray differently. I will be praying for these young ones individually, and with gratitude. My prayer will be for God’s blessing and provision to be poured out upon them. My hope is that as I reset my heart’s focus, there would be a change in me that somehow overflows to them. May we run to our Redeemer in prayer, ever lifting up all people before Him – interceding on their behalf as we give thanks for them.

 

O God, here I am, Pray

Before You in prayer;

Lifting up others,

Who need know Your care.

Father, please help them,

In every way;

Bless them and keep them,

Throughout their whole day.

Provide all they need,

May Your love be shown;

Thank You for each life,

I’m blessed to have known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and pray to You, You hear us and meet us where we are. Lord, I lift up people who are struggling to fit, be it students in a classroom, people in a workplace, or community members in their given community. Thank You for each person that You have given us. Please bless them and provide for their every need – spiritual, emotional and physical. Forgive us for not looking past our own frustrations with the behaviors that people display. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see others through Your eyes so that we may respond in love, even when frustration rises. Show us how to pray for people in a way that matters. Help us to be an extension of Your hands and heart to those around us through the way in which we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for all people and give You thanks for them. Amen.

 

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Be Slow to Anger

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Planned with Purpose

Now God has us where He wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all His idea, and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. – (Ephesians 2:7-10, MSG)

 

Where we are is no accident. Our time, place and position is ordered by God, Himself. Though where we are and what we do may seem insignificant to us, it is intentional and purposeful to the Lord. While we were yet sinners, Christ came close so that we might come to know Him. As we chose to believe and receive what He had to offer, the Lord showered us with His grace and kindness; loving us to new life. In Him, we are created to do good work that He has planned for each of us, individually. Each of us are uniquely designed with a particular path in mind. He knows us intimately, and has created a calling for our lives that is specific to our individual strengths that He has placed within us. May we rise us and seek the Lord and His will, so that we may be about that which we have been created to do.

 

For the Lord is good,When My Soul Waits

His creation too;

all with a purpose,

unique things to do.

We all have been called,

to trust in the Lord;

to use what He gives,

let Christ be adored.

Nothing within us,

comes from our own will;

but has been granted,

it‘s through Christ we’re filled.

May we choose to rise,

go forth and do all;

that which He’s asking,

let‘s answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that where we are and what we are doing is no accident. Thank You that we are intentionally designed with a plan and a purpose in mind. Thank You that no matter how things appear to us, there is work that You have designed, specifically and individually for us, right where we are. Forgive us for doubting Your design, or for not seeking You to discover what You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You and Your plans rather than our own. Show us how to embrace that which You have created within us, so that we can go forth in confidence, loving those around us as You intended us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You enough to join You in the work that You have prepared for us, and designed us to do. 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

New Life from What Appears Empty

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. Se the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.'” – (Mark 16:6-7)

These two verses are packed full of significance. They demonstrate just how personal Jesus is to people, and how specifically He cares for us, individually. He knew to have the waiting messenger first tell those who found the empty tomb to not be afraid. Jesus knew their hearts and knew that fear would be their first response. Next, he showed them where the Savior had been laid, so they could see for themselves that He had risen, just as He had said He would do. After that, the ladies were charged with the task of going to tell the disciples, (with specific mention of Peter who had just denied Jesus three times) that Christ had risen! Finally, they were assured that Jesus had gone ahead of them to Galilee, and that they would get to see Him there, just as He had promised.

Jesus knows us. He knows our hearts and our needs. He knows what we need to see and hear to understand and to fend off fear. Jesus takes our circumstances and places people in our path whom convey hope that He is good and His word is true. Christ remains present with us, and does not leave us, despite how things appear. Though the ladies approached an empty tomb, what they discovered was the risen Lord. May we approach our empty tombs with hopeful hearts, trusting that the Lord knows our needs and will lead us and stay beside us, to the place where we too, witness the wonder of what He has planned.

Our Savior Jesus,Hope in an Empty Tomb

knows us each by name;

His heart is for us,

and His truth remains.

No matter what comes,

or stands in our way;

the Lord is our help,

our peace each new day.

Seek Christ in triumph,

and when troubles come;

He’s ever ready,

where our hope is from.

Dear heart, hold not fear,

for Jesus made way;

to overcome all,

as we trust and pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us, individually and personally. Thank You that You know our needs before we even express them, and You love us where we are at. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we encounter the seemingly empty tombs in our lives, and teach us to trust You, and Your plan to bring life and hope and redemption from what seems like an end. Teach us to trust You more, so that we eagerly await each new thing that You bring, regardless of how it appears. Lead us to love others with the same gentleness and compassion that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to bring new life out of our empty tombs. 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