To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

Tend to This Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

Dear friends, we have these promises from God. So, we should make ourselves pure – free from anything that makes our body or our soul unclean. Our respect for God should make us try to be completely holy in the way we live. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, ERV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

 

Each one of us who claims Christ as our King, is a temple in which His Spirit dwells. Our charge, as one who tends His temple, is to be mindful of our body and spirit, so as to nourish our very being with what we take in. When we fuel and care for our bodies well and spend time in His word, our thoughts align with His and our bodies are better equipped to do that to which we are called. The decision to be wise with what we opt consume – physically, mentally and emotionally, is an act of reverence to the very One who created us. May we make clean breaks from all that distracts or defiles us so that we may become fit and holy temples for He who dwells within us.

 

Lord, help us be wise, strength-in-waiting

With things that we choose;

For heart, mind and soul,

Your way, let’s pursue.

In You, there is truth,

Love, laughter and light;

Sound mind and body,

True space of delight.

Lord, may this temple,

Be prepared for You;

Help me to tend well,

And walk in Your truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come and dwell in all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You created each one of us to be a temple for Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected the care of either body, mind or spirit, as all work together for You. Teach us to trust You more, as You lead and provide what we need to be a suitable space for Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models and provides care for mind, body and spirit in each one. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide the decisions we make about how to best tend the temple You have provided. Amen.

 

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

 

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? – 1 Corinthians 3:16

The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

The Appeal of Good Fruit

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

 

It is commonly recognized that we become like those with whom we spend time. If we are intentional to invest time with our Savior, He grows His traits in us through His Spirit who dwells within us. Despite people’s opinions about faith, none can oppose the fruit produced in us by God. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, create the makings of humans that are a pleasure to be around. People are drawn to those who exhibit such fruit in their lives. May we ever seek time with our Savior to grow in us such fruit, so that our existence will nourish those around us.

 

Oh Lord, grow in me,

dsc043471775591435.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The fruit of Your love;

That Your Spirit grows,

As You’re sought above.

Help me to show love,

Peace, patience, kindness;

Faithfulness, goodness,

Control, gentleness.

For there is no law,

Against these great things;

As they grow in us,

This fruit we shall bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and invest time with You, You grow in us fruit that feeds the hearts of those around us. Please grow in us each of these things, so that we may extend the fullness of Your love to those around us. Forgive us for not seeking You or allowing You to grow and refine us. Teach us to trust You more, so that Your Spirit within us would produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Show us how to extend each of these to those around us, so that they may know Your love in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us to be more like You, so that we may love as You love. 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

Blessings through Honor

“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on earth.” – (Ephesians 6:2-3, NLT) 

Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing. – (Ephesians 6:2-3, TLB) 

For the commandment, “Honor your father and your mother,” was the first of the Ten Commandments with a promise attached: “You will prosper and live a long, full life if you honor your parents.” – (Ephesians 6:2-3, TPT) 

 

I am watching the fruit of this very principle unfold before me, as we have traveled to Minnesota to spend time with my Viking’s father. Cancer has invaded his body, and he was given an expiration date that seems quite bleak. Despite the span of nearly twenty-five years since he last saw his father, and only a handful of phone conversations in-between, witnessing the two of them (as well as my sister-to-be, and soon-to-be bonus son) interact with this man in grace and love, honoring him as their father, blessed my heart beyond what I could have imagined. It was as if all of the time, distance and disappointments disappeared, and only good and grace and love remained. It is evident that walking in forgiveness and grace blesses not only the transgressor, but sets free, the very one who has been hurt. May we ever go forth in grace and forgiveness, honoring our parents, regardless of their shortcomings. We all fall short and are in need of grace, and the beauty that comes is worth the release. Let us honor our parents as the people who granted us this glorious gift of life.  

 

The Bible commands, img_2018-01-27_08-43-45418161434.jpg

That we honor well; 

Fathers and mothers, 

Of love and grace tell. 

For with the command, 

There’s a promise too; 

That blessings will come, 

As we follow through. 

So, ever give good, 

Honor and choose love; 

There will be blessings, 

Of grace from above. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the parents that You give to us. Thank You for those whom we know well and see often, and thank You for those whom we see rarely. Father forgive us for not walking this out according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to honor our parents as You call us to honor them. Lead us in Your love and grace, so that we would be a blessing as we are blessed by You. Teach us to love like You, so that all may come to know the truth of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to honor those You have given us according to Your love and grace. Amen. 

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Wisdom With Friends

Be friends with those who are wise, and you will become wise. Choose fools to be your friends, and you will have trouble. – (Proverbs 13:20, ERV)

Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces. – (Proverbs 13:20, MSG)

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. – (Proverbs 13:20, NIV)

 

The company we keep matters. Those whom we spend the most time with, have the loudest voice in our lives. Are the words spoken by those around us encouraging and uplifting, ever willing to speak truth in love? Though we cannot control what others say and do, we can choose the people that we make a priority in our lives. Additionally, we can determine the influence that we have on those around us. When we walk in wisdom and truth, we are providing a path to peace. May we seek to spend time with those who are wise, rather than making friends with fools; and may we be friends who walk in wisdom and lift up all who surround us.

 

Help me be a friend,Wisdom With Friends

Who’s wise in my ways;

An encouragement,

To others, always.

A fool for a friend,

Is cause for alarm;

For such company,

Will only bring harm.

So choose well your friends,

Opt walk with the wise;

Growing in wisdom,

Purpose realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us and give us direction as to what is best for us. Thank You that You remind us that the company we keep matters. Thank You that not only do those we choose to spend time with have influence on us, but we do on them as well. Forgive us for either choosing poorly, or for being foolish as friends. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to show us whom we are meant to spend time with, and that all wisdom comes from You. Grant us Your wisdom, so that we may love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we first seek You for all wisdom and listen to You for direction in our friendships, so that above all, You may be praised. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Able to Answer

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:5-6, ERV)

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. – (Colossians 4:5-6, NLT)

 

The things that we say and do matter. In some circles, the only Jesus people have ever seen is that which we display through our words and deeds. If we show love and kindness and wisdom with our words and actions, the grace of God within us will draw others unto Himself. This is not something that just flows out of us at will, but rather is a capacity within us that is nurtured and grown as we seek and spend time with our Savior. The more we know Him, the more we reflect His heart through our words and way of being. May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, so that our lives are a clear reflection of His goodness and grace as we respond according to the Lord’s leading.

 

Be wise with actions,choose-love1

Wherever you go;

For our words and deeds,

Are how God’s made known.

Help every word,

Be gracious and kind;

So we always speak,

With Your heart in mind.

If we seek the Lord,

For wisdom and grace;

He’ll help us respond,

And walk in His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will give us wisdom to act according to Your will and use our time wisely, if we seek You for help. Thank You that You do the same for how we speak with others, as You grant us Your grace to extend kindness and wisdom in how we answer everyone. Forgive us for acting according to our own will, rather than Yours, or for attempting to be kind without seeking You and Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source and Supply in all things. Show us how to love with kindness, wisdom and grace, so that people see You through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to act according to Your will wherever we go. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Comfort in Times of Trouble

Last evening I was beyond blessed to have some dear friends drive into Denver as a family photo (8)to spend time with me. They picked me up at my hotel, and whisked me away to tour an area that they thought I might enjoy in the city. My heart was overflowing with joy and gratitude to spend time together, as we shared a meal, caught each other up on the happenings of our lives, and wandered until we landed in an incredible book store. All was going splendidly, as I had found a book, Melissa and the trio of youngers were sharing a silly story and Josh and his eldest meandered through a section of interest nearby, until the calm, sweet mood was suddenly disrupted with a feeling of foreboding unrest.

We could hear it before we could see what was stirring. Soon, a long stream of unhappy people were marching past the bookstore’s front window, waving signs – some in peaceful protest, and others in a bit more menacing fashion. Two of the kids had very different responses. One was calling it a parade, whereas the other responded with a bit of fear. In my own heart, I felt that we needed to stay put until the crowd had passed, as the potential for unrest seemed high.

I had not heard the news this week, as I have been at a conference for work, so I have been in a bit of an isolated bubble. As we ultimately attempted to make way back to my hotel so that I could be dropped off and my friends could get home to get their kiddos to bed, we discovered that the march was growing, as a five-minute drive back, took more than twenty minutes, due to rerouting around those protesting.

Once back in my hotel, I was able to have conversation with my friends from work with whom I am traveling, and discover what has gone on over the past several days. It is impossible to not have a heavy heart, knowing that lives have been lost and fingers are pointing at entire professions and populations, rather than those specific individuals who snapped.

 

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT)

 

In this sort of scenario, all that I know to do is to seek the Lord. There are no easy answers. God knows. He cares. The One who hand-crafted each of us, the perpetrators, the victims, and all those left to grieve – He loves each of us as His created. God will comfort us as we seek Him, and when we know His comfort, we are able to extend the same to others. May we choose to seek His comfort in this seeming chaos, and offer the very same comfort to those around us.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

When darkness floods in,The Lord Listens

And fear starts to rise;

Let us not forget,

The hope God supplies.

He is our comfort,

When chaos ensues;

The great Prince of Peace,

When we get bad news.

Far greater is He,

Our Strength and our Light;

Than troubles that come,

No matter our plight.

Seek the Lord above,

For comfort indeed;

Then we can share well,

With others in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort in the midst of trouble. Thank You that as You comfort us, we can then go and comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for our fear, frustration and thoughts of blame of anything other than the sinful brokenness of humanity. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your help, strength and comfort, so that we too, could extend comfort to those around us. Help us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of comfort. Show us how to love well. May many come to find peace and comfort in You, despite the world around us. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Wisdom and Insight to the Seeking

Give discernment to me, Your servant; then I will understand Your laws. – (Psalm 119:125, NLT)

I am Your servant. Give me wisdom to understand Your rules. – (Psalm 119:125, ERV)

 

Without God’s wisdom and discernment, we only see things at face value, rather than discovering the deeper truth that we are meant to gain, as we spend time in His word. God is faithful to open our understanding and speak to our hearts, if we seek Him and spend time in His word. It amazes me that each time I read a passage, He highlights new things that I have not seen before, or shows me a new application for my own life. When our earnest pursuit is to understand the things of God through a heart that longs to serve Him, He opens our understanding and provides insight that we could not gain on our own. May we seek the Lord with a heart to serve, and grow in wisdom and insight as He meets us in our faithful pursuit of Him.

 

Give me discernment,The Word of God

as I seek You, Lord;

grant understanding,

to walk in accord.

May I live my life,

in constant pursuit;

of seeking Your face,

and learning Your truth.

Please grant me wisdom,

to know well, Your word;

so I trod Your path,

in truth undeterred.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give wisdom and discernment to those who earnestly seek You. Thank You that You open our understanding, so that we might know the expectations that You have set before us as to how we ought to live in accordance to Your standards. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom and understanding, and help us to seek You in humility and truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your voice as we spend time in Your word. Show us how to love others in a way that leads them to the light of Your love that never fades. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and discernment, so that we may understand the path You have placed before us, and can walk it well in the strength that only You can provide. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16