Heaven’s Handiwork

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

Though I seldom feel like a masterpiece, I know that I am clay in the Potter’s hands. I am His, and He is continually etching heaven’s poetry on my heart and in my life. Watching my children grow into young men, has been the greatest reminder of my charge to do the good that God prepared for me in advance. In spite of my flaws and failures, God has grown my boys into kind, thoughtful, intelligent, loving, handsome young men, with hearts that are set on loving people well. Each one is a masterpiece that I have been blessed to witness in the works. The beautiful thing for all of us, is that we are His handiwork that is continually being crafted and honed, until the day we meet Him face-to-face. We do not have to be in “final form” to be effective in doing the good work that He calls us to do; rather as we do each next thing, our hearts are further shaped to mirror His. May we delight in the hands that hold and shape us into our best selves as we seek Him, and ever pursue opportunities to carry out good works to which we are called.

The masterpiece that is my mom, was excited to view the sneak peek photos from my boys’ senior photo shoot. For those who know mom, it is clear that pictures are a priority for her, as she has family photos hung throughout her home, with an enormous shelf at the end of the hallway, full of photo albums. Christmas gifts for mom this year will be a bit easier to choose. 😉 We kept missing one another with phone calls, but thankfully, the text full of photos made the needed connection yesterday.

 

For we each are called, img_2019-10-30_04-43-17994737177984006958.jpg

God’s own work of art;

Made with a purpose,

He’s known from the start.

When God looks at us,

He calls His work good;

The Lord’s masterpiece,

Purposed livelihood.

Heaven’s poetry,

Etched upon each heart;

How can we argue,

Or question His art?

Rise up in wonder,

In awe, choose embrace;

The call to do good,

Love others with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose to do good works as Your intentionally and purposefully handcrafted works of art. Thank You that we are constantly being refined so that we may more clearly reflect heaven’s poetry through how we live our lives. Forgive us for questioning Your handiwork or for neglecting to do the good that You created us to do. Teach us to trust Your hands and Your leading, as You provide all that we need to do whatever it is that is asked of us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may understand the work of art that they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the plans and purpose that You have for each of us, and for the intentional art that You have created each of us to become as we move forward according to Your calling. Amen.

 

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

 

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. – Psalm 33:11

Courageously Love

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ERV)

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, MSG)

 

No matter where we are, where we go, or who we are with, we are called to stand firm in our faith. It takes courage to be strong in our convictions, especially to do so in love. We must remain ever aware, through the lens of love, so that we can see others through His love, and respond accordingly. Loving others who see the world differently, who choose to operate through a different set of convictions, does not mean that we are unable to love. Our charge is to stand firm in what we are called to do and who we are called to be, yet ever doing so in love. In today’s political climate, this can get a bit crazy if we focus on the beliefs, rather than the individuals who hold them close. What I have discovered is that the seemingly vast divide is not nearly as great as the media makes it out to be. The majority of the people I know and love, despite being on both sides of the debate, take their particular side for personal reasons that are valid. Ultimately, each wants what is best for themselves, their families, their city and their nation. If only disputes could be approached in love… May we ever keep our eyes open, holding fast to our convictions, always choosing to love without stopping.

Mom is standing firm in her faith as she is being courageous in her convictions and strong to persevere with each new therapy appointment. Love surrounds her, and at the end of the day, she is a step closer to the end goal than she was the day prior. Days likely feel like spinning wheels, yet I anticipate when I at last get to go and see mom for myself, I will notice significant progress. Our prayer is still for her to regain movement in her right arm, as there really is none beyond small movements in her shoulder. Please pray with us for her right arm to be regained, and for her ongoing recovery to continue well.

 

Be ever on guard, Courageously Love

Hold fast to what’s true;

Stand firm in the faith,

To God what is due.

Courageous and strong,

Do all things in love;

Love one another,

As loved from above.

No matter what comes,

Choose seek to love first;

So often we find,

Ugly is reversed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it means to stand firm in our convictions and do everything in love. Thank You Jesus, that You loved the sinners, the outcasts and the rejected, yet never compromised who You are to love. Forgive us for the times that we have walked away from the opportunity to love. Show us how to love others well, especially those who see the world differently than we do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in the truth, and choose to courageously love in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

In Strength, Choose Love

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ERV)

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, MSG)

 

This is something that we are all called to live out, in every area of our lives. It is both rare and wonderful, when there are public figures who live by this principle in a way that is seen, heard and known. Last night, my husband and I went to a concert that featured my favorite band, Skillet. Their lead vocalist, John Cooper, is completely clear in his convictions as he performs, and is courageous and strong as he shares his music and message in love. After more than twenty-three years as a Christian band that tours with bands that typically are not, and it is evident that they are careful to be on their guard and hold firm to their faith. Each time I have seen them in concert, the other bands touring with them have raved about the kindness extended to them by Skillet. What that speaks to me is that they are living out loud, the very message that they follow in faith. If a rock band can cling to their convictions and love well, why can’t we? May we each be aware of the things that distract us from what is true, and with courage and strength, hold fast to the faith that anchors us secure. And in all that we do, may we let love be our motivation.

 

Help us guard our hearts, img_2019-08-29_06-26-021861362932488398857.jpg

To our faith, hold fast;

Have courage, be strong,

With the love that lasts.

For each time we choose,

In strength, to love well;

We are showing Christ,

His story we tell.

Not with our speaking,

So much as our deeds;

People remember,

Those who met their needs.

Let us choose to love,

In all that we do;

Rely on His grace,

He’ll carry us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You warn us to be careful of that which distracts us from the truth, and You call us to stand firm in Your strength to the truth so that we may do all things in love. Forgive us for the times that we allowed the things around us to pull us off course. Teach us to stay anchored in You. Show us how to love those around us in all things and at all times, just as we are loved relentlessly by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand strong in the truth, ever aware of what surrounds us, and choose to love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Stand firm , and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

Surrounded

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, NIV)

“You will not have to fight this battle. Just stand there and watch the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, because the Lord is with you. So go out to stand against those people tomorrow.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, ERV)

“Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.” – (2 Chronicles 20:17, VOICE)

 

After waking up and preparing my coffee, and settling to begin my devotions, I heard mom stirring in her room. Her movement is my cue to go check and see if she is ready to get up for a restroom run. Of course, she gladly took me up on the early morning offer, and after all was said and done, she determined that she would try to go back to bed and sleep a while longer. When I returned to my spot at the kitchen table with a view, the lyrics from a simple worship song kept playing on repeat in my head and heart:

This is how I fight my battles

This is how I fight my battles (repeats)

It may look like I’m surrounded 

But I’m surrounded by You (repeats)

(To listen, click here. )

As I looked in the word for similar, I found the story in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. The gist is about God’s faithfulness in fighting on behalf of Judah and Jerusalem when they were surrounded on all sides. Reading verse seventeen, it was as if Jesus was saying to me: You will not have to fight this battle(alone). Just stand there and watch Me work. Shannon and Megan, don’t be afraid. Don’t worry, I am with You. Go out and take each tomorrow as it comes, for I will be with you. Now, I am not trying to twist scripture, nor change the meaning of a passage, but rather, I am attempting to share the encouragement gained from reading about God’s faithfulness to Judah and Jerusalem when they likely felt completely overwhelmed. For my sister and me, we too have had such “surrounded” moments as we navigate this road to recovery with mom. Just as the song came in like a flood and surrounded my heart and mind, so too has God’s faithful provision for mom, Megan and myself, when we needed it most. He knows our need and is full of goodness and grace, ready to move on our behalf. Personally, after my sister had to return home Thursday, I was a bit intimidated to take on the care giver role alone. I want to bless, protect, help and encourage mom every step of this journey as I love her well, and I feel completely inadequate and ill-equipped to do all that needs to be done. None of us are ever fully equipped nor prepared for the things to which we are called. I imagine that is part of God’s wise design. It keeps us dependent on Him to be our help, hope and strength, and helps us recognize His grace and provisions, both great and small.

Yesterday, mom and I were surrounded well by my husband and boys. It was so good to share meals together, visit together, and enjoy a family favorite game before bed. Watching the delight on mom’s face as she interacted with my guys, and the same look, mirrored on their faces, filled the places in my heart that were feeling a bit depleted. We have a bit more time altogether today before they head home, so I know that our cups will be fuller still, before the day’s end. May we ever seek the Lord to fight our battles, and know that we are surrounded by Him.

 

When life overwhelms,

295835825870096043076989.jpeg

Surrounded by family. ❤ (Christmas 2018)

And battles rage on;

Turn in trust to God,

Whose help makes us strong.

Strong for the battles,

We’re chosen to fight;

Wisdom to listen,

Gain the Lord’s insight.

The courage to wait,

And trust in His plan;

Soak in surrender,

As for us, He’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fight on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and equip us for each new day, and that You supply all that we need as the need arises. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we appear to be surrounded by more than we can bear. Teach us to recognize that we are actually surrounded by You. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as You fight for us and through us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they too may come to know and understand Your strength and grace and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fight our battles by surrendering to Your surrounding of us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Our Faithful Forever Rock

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal. – (Isaiah 26:4, NIV)

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is a rock for all ages. – (Isaiah 26:4, CEB)

 So trust in the Eternal One forever, for He is like a great Rock – strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting. – (Isaiah 26:4, VOICE)

 

The Lord was and is and always will be the One in whom we can trust. Because God is strong, we can depend on Him for strength. His stability steadies us when life brings the sort of storms that shake us to the core. Our trust is secure in the hands of He who knit us together and knows the number of hairs on our head. Each time I have placed my trust in the Lord, rather than my circumstances or own strengths, He has been faithful to meet me and provide what was needed to carry me through, according to His good and perfect will. Even through the seasons of struggle, I can look back and see His hands and His heart that held me and delivered me, as He grew my understanding of His faithfulness and His grace. God is good, and He is strong and secure for all who trust in Him, forever.

 

Choose trust in the Lord,

dsc083293936009573389116774.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For He is our Rock;

Strong, ever steady,

Faithfulness won’t stop.

He has always been,

Is now and shall be;

The One we can trust,

To eternity.

No matter what comes,

In good times and bad;

Trust in the Lord God,

Faith and grace He’ll add.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You forever to be our Rock, who is strong, steady and secure. Thank You that Your faithfulness knows no end. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to trust in You and have either attempted to power through difficulty on our own or changed direction due to the challenge we were designed to walk through. Teach us to trust and depend on You more. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know and understand Your goodness and faithfulness through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and stand firm in Your promises. Amen.

 

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

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? – Psalm 18:31

Stand Firm and Love Well

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, VOICE)

Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of courage. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, TPT)

 

With so many ideas and influences bombarding us day in and day out, it is critical that we guard our hearts and minds, and know with certainty, what we believe. It takes courage and strength to remain strong in our convictions, yet when we remember, above all, to allow love to lead in every part of our being – our life, our words and our actions, there are less often challenges to the faith on which we stand. Because I know what I believe and try to allow love to be my motivation behind all that I say and do, I have had amazing, peaceful and kind conversations with friends that hold opposing viewpoints to my own. We do not need to view the world the same way to choose to love, and love and kindness do not soften the strength of one’s faith. May we listen and be aware of what influences are surrounding us so that we can have courage to stand strong in our faith. Above all, let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that we do.

 

We need to listen,

dsc078507199877344294618322.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Choose to be aware;

Know well our beliefs,

And cover with prayer.

In strength, choose to stand,

By faith, for what’s true;

Take courage in Christ,

He’s always with you.

Let love and kindness,

Above all, prevail;

In word, deed and life,

Love shall never fail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and Your Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in what is good and true. Thank You that You not only call us to be strong and courageous in our faith, but You equip and empower us to do so. Thank You that the greatest call we are given is to love You and love people. Forgive us for the things that have not demonstrated love to You or to Your created. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us with our words, deeds and the very life we lead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in our faith and lead lives of love. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

Where True Strength Resides

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB) 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV) 

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE) 

 

When we are in Christ, He is in us as well. The very same power and strength that dwells in the Lord, is available and alive within us as we turn in trust to Him. Even when we feel completely depleted, His strength knows no end. He calls us to seek Him for the strength that we need, as He is ever ready to supply. Personally, I know how true to His word He is, as this week has been non-stop and demanding, with little time for sleep. As I sit and reflect on the blur that this week has been, I am in awe that it is now Thursday. He upheld me, strengthened me, and at times carried me through to get to today. He is good, and His faithfulness never ends. May we trust in the Lord and His strength, remembering that His mighty power lies within the hearts of all who believe. 

 

Let us not forget, strength-in-waiting

Where true strength resides; 

For it is in Christ, 

As we choose abide. 

All strength and all might, 

The power within; 

He grants unto us, 

As we seek, ask Him. 

So, lean not on self, 

But trust in the One; 

Rely on His strength, 

‘Til each day is done. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your strength, might and power to us as we seek You. Thank You that we do not need to navigate this life on our own. Forgive us for trying to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You to supply that which we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would draw strength from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw our strength from You so that we may stand firm. Amen. 

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Perfection, Promises and Protection

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. – (Psalm 18:30, NLT)

God’s way is perfect. The Lord’s promise always proves to be true, He protects those who trust in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, ERV)

Everything God does is perfect; the promise of the Eternal rings true; He stands as a shield for all who hide in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, VOICE)

 

All that God is and all that God does are good. When we trust in Him, we begin to recognize the truth of His word, and understand how He protects and fulfills His promises. This does not mean we are sheltered from struggles and trials, but it does mean that He is with us and will never leave us, and that He guards our hearts and minds as we choose to be covered by truth. God is faithful to keep us in His hands, and will walk beside us every step we take. We can always run to Him as our hiding place and our space of help and hope. He leads where we are meant to go, and will provide what we need to do as He asks. His ways are perfect, even when they do not make sense to us. May we ever trust the Lord and His promises, and look to Him to be a shield about us as we go where He leads.

 

God’s way is perfect,Perfection Promises and Protection

His promises true;

He’ll do what He says,

Protect and lead through.

Life won’t be easy,

But oh, what a ride;

For all who choose trust,

In the Lord, abide.

Each promise He makes,

By faith, shall prove true;

Stand firm and go forth,

As He leads us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your way is perfect and Your promises prove true. Thank You that You are a shield for those who look to You for protection. Thank You that though there are trials and struggles, You never leave us nor forsake us, and utilize the difficulties we endure to show us more of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for not trusting or for not seeking You as we should, as You are our place of promise and the One to whom we can run. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would trust in Your promises and Your protection, knowing that You are with us and will never forsake us, even when things are not easy. Show us how to love well, those who are in the midst of the difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your ways and know that Your promises are true as You protect us and lead us in all things. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11