The Beauty of Otherly

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

 

An “otherly” approach brings beauty far greater than anything that comes from simply looking out for oneself. This weekend, I have witnessed two wonderful examples of such love in action. First, my sister has been working tirelessly to fight the insurance battle to orchestrate in-home therapy for our mom. She has been loving mom well, and fighting on her behalf. The fruit of all of Megan’s labor has finally come to fruition, as Mom’s evaluation and step one of in-home therapy will take place on Monday! Second, our trip out to this part of the country has been for the sole intent and purpose for my husband to see his father and let him know he is valued and loved. Mark’s love for his dad is not dependent on their history together, but rather on knowing how important it is to look beyond himself and simply choose to love. Additionally, he wanted his dad to have one more chance to see his grandson and daughter-in-law, along with his son. We had a great day visiting with each other, and Mark is able to go back home knowing that he has cared well and extended love as he is called to do. May we ever choose to have an “otherly” approach, so that we may care well for the lives of those around us with humility.

 

May all that we do, 09141912302527739590534708850.jpg

Be rooted in love;

With others in mind,

Lives valued above.

Held higher than pride,

In humility;

Love without limits,

For in Christ, we’re free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it means to prefer others and to love with others in mind. Thank You for a love so selfless that He laid down His very life for us. Forgive us for the times that we get caught up in ourselves and neglect to look beyond at the needs around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love as You love and without pride or selfish ambition, would simply love others well. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to share the beauty of Your “otherly” love with the world. 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

Help Us Teach Well

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

As a mom who has always tried to point my boys in the right direction, I am especially aware of both the fruit of my investment, and the need to continue to invest, as they enter this new step into adulthood, with one having acquired their license on Friday and the other scheduled to test for it this coming Friday. I find myself in a strange space of trust and anticipation, as we have an agreement in which they text me before they leave and when they arrive, whenever they drive anywhere. For me, I pray and trust that God will keep them safe and grant wisdom and protection as they go. Additionally, it provides me such appreciation for the investment that my own mom made in my life, as I am certain that she experienced what I am going through now. She invested well in teaching us the way we should go, and by doing so, was able to release us into adulthood with the assurance that she had done what she was called to do. It is my hope that when my boys are ready to venture out on their own, that I will have the same confidence.

 

Lord, help us to teach, 0802191348a8711127607626478864.jpg

Show our kids the way;

To walk in Your grace,

And in Your will, stay.

Help us to hold fast,

To Your promise made;

Invest when they’re young,

In old age, they’ll stay.

Thank You for Your grace,

Your love and Your light;

That shows us the way,

To raise our kids right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in the way we are meant to go. Thank You that as we trust in You, You show us how to lead our kids in love, so that they will know You and not depart from You when they are old. Forgive us for the countless ways that we fall short. Teach us to trust You more. Fill the gaps where we have been lacking. Show us how to love all those around us in a way that points people to Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and lead our kids accordingly. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

For God and His Grace

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

 

The same God, who in His great power, made the heavens and the earth, also knit each of us together while we were being formed in the womb. He knows every cell and fiber of our being, and the unspoken needs of our hearts. God sees, He hears, He cares, and He answers, even when we are unsure of what we are asking.

This morning, I am grateful that I had a four-hour stretch of sleep, after multiple wake-ups due to the pain that mom is suffering from her right shoulder. Finally, after a second dose of ibuprofen, she was able to sleep for a stretch long enough to provide both of us some true rest. Thankfully, her shoulder seldom bothers her during the day, as she is able to support it properly and stretch and utilize it in the ways that best keep it stable. The struggle is during the night as she sleeps. As she continues to grow stronger, she adjusts her sleep position more and more, yet doing so in a way that does not cause pain to her shoulder, is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when she is maneuvering in her sleep. Yesterday, mom did her best walking yet. She walked the full length of the hallway with her walker without assistance nor pause, and did so fluidly and with clear purpose. Additionally, mom showed marked improvement with all of her strengthening exercises during physical therapy as well. So much so, that we discussed a possible transition to a hemi-walker on Friday (which is a much smaller, one-handed walker that assists in a transition to a cane). Mom is motivated and determined, and after she and I had a quick outing to drive to pick up a prescription and coffees, we returned home. After lunch she decided she would relax and watch a movie in the living room, so I had her transfer from her wheelchair to a comfortable chair. For the first time ever, as she transferred, she actually picked up her right foot as she stepped! She did not slide nor drag it, but picked it up for an actual step. The entire transfer was completely on her own, with me only holding her right arm so that it would not dangle down and cause pain. We both recognized right away what she had done, and looked at one another in awe and pure delight. God is moving, and we are seeing the fruit of her labor and His faithfulness. The biggest prayers right now are obviously for her full and complete healing, yet as we wait, for no more pain and ongoing regain in that right arm. He is good, and we continue to trust in Him.

 

The very same God, For God and His Grace

Who made earth and sky;

Saw fit to make us,

And loved with His life.

Whatever we face,

All that comes our way;

Is never too much,

For God and His grace.

He knows all our needs,

And hears our heart’s cry;

He draws ever near,

Lord of love, Most High.

So, each day we choose,

To trust in His grace;

For always He’s good,

And He’ll make a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, the One who created heaven and earth, by Your great power, can overcome anything with a mere word. Thank You that You know us and love us, and are willing to draw near and hear our every cry. Forgive us for our wavering faith. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens and gives grace and goodness in the spaces where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust in You, and recognize that You are far greater than all else. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. – Daniel 2:20

Help Us Believe

“If you can?” Said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” – (Mark 9:23, NIV)

Jesus said to the father, “Why did you say ‘if you can’? All things are possible for the one who believes. – (Mark 9:23, ERV)

What do you mean, “If there’s anything? All things are possible, if you only believe.” – (Mark 9:23, VOICE)

This verse is a critical portion of a conversation between Jesus and the father of a young man who needed healing. The father was desperate to see his son healed, yet struggled to believe it was possible after so many years of suffering. Jesus recognized the father’s need for faith, as well as the need for healing for his son. His declaration that “all things are possible for those who believe”, greatly encouraged the father, and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief. In the verses that follow, Jesus heals the young man and increases the faith of the father. Jesus knows our need before we ever seek Him, yet requires that we have faith in Him to see Him move on our behalf. Where we lack faith in the midst of our need, we are charged, just as the young man’s father, to ask Jesus to help us with our unbelief. Our broken humanity struggles to believe that which we cannot see, however, that is the very nature of how faith works. Faith requires that we trust in that which we cannot see, and believe for that which is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord to step into our spaces of need, and ask Him for help to grow our faith in the places where unbelief has found a foothold.

God, the Creator, Strength and Peace Supplied

Is able to do;

All that is needed,

For me and for you.

Faith is required,

To trust and believe;

Those who ask in lack,

Will by grace, receive.

Strength when we’re weary,

Healing where there’s pain;

Faith to move mountains,

To trust is to gain.

Ever let’s seek Him,

The Lord of all grace;

Trust in His goodness,

Faithful all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real people, just like us in Your word, who sought You and learned from You, as You showed them the goodness of Your love and grace. Thank You that You are ever faithful to hear us in our need, and grant us what is needed most. Forgive us for our faltering faith, as we struggle to believe that which we cannot see before us. Show us how to trust You more, as You are ever moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages faith and demonstrates the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You always, and ask You to grow our faith in spaces where it is lacking. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

The Hand of Blessing

You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head. – (Psalm 139:5, NLT)

You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me, and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder. – (Psalm 139:5, VOICE)

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness You follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With Your hand of love upon my life, You impart a blessing to me. – (Psalm 139:5, TPT)

 

Though there are disappointments and struggles (as it is a part of human existence), I am acutely aware of God’s bountiful hand of blessing in my life. Through the most trying seasons, He has gone before me and been behind me, and His hand was gently upon me. Never, even on the worst of days, did I feel as if I were on my own. Yesterday, marked one more step towards the fulfillment of this beautiful forward momentum that He has set into place in my life. My fiancé and I received the keys to our new home and were able to go and get started on a bit of yard work, despite having each worked full days, with responsibilities to attend to in the evening. We have been given the gift of time, as we have just the right amount for he and his son to move into our new home after his son’s graduation, time for my boys and me to gradually move things over as we can, and the flexibility in my rental agreement to not move in completely until the day we all depart for Wenatchee for the wedding. May we ever remember Who surrounds us and prepares the way, as He imparts blessings upon us by His love.

 

Before me You go, img_20180531_191403_1463527364648733055004.jpg

In love, make a way;

You follow behind,

Ever near You stay.

Your great hand of love,

It rests upon me;

As You grant blessings,

So abundantly.

Though trials will come,

I need never fear;

For Your love’s greater,

And Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us and behind us and You place Your hand of blessing upon us. Thank You that You prepare the way ahead and protect us from the harm of what has past. Forgive us for not recognizing Your presence and Your blessings in our lives. Teach us to have open eyes and open hearts so that we would be ever aware of Your presence and Your hand in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that imparts abundant blessings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and thank You for Your hand of blessing in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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

The Essence of Prayer

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself interceded for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – (Romans 8:26-28, NIV)

Meanwhile, the moment we realize we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs and aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. – (Romans 8:26-28, MSG)

 

Yesterday, my pastor spoke about prayer. He reminded us that the essence of prayer is talking to God. So often we overcomplicate prayer, thinking that it requires specific rituals, routines or the “right” words. In actuality, prayer is us communing with God. It is a time of intentional slowing down to not only share our hearts with Him, but to listen as well. When we do not have the words to speak, we can rest in silence before Him, fixing our hearts on Him, and He hears what we cannot put into words. May we take time each day to commune with our Maker, as He knows and He hears our every heart cry and is faithful to be present as we travel each step of our path.

 

In strength and weakness, Refreshment Through Repentance

Our faithful Lord hears;

Each prayer that we pray,

Throughout all our years.

Even without words,

With our hearts to Him;

He hears and He knows,

Each need from within.

All things in our lives,

Can be used for good;

As we live for Him,

His grace understood.

So make time to pray,

With our God, commune;

You’ll find He’s faithful,

His heart to us tuned.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that prayer is not the complicated thing that we tend to make it out to be. Thank You that prayer is talking to You. Thank You that You made the way for us to commune with You directly. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You through lack of prayer. Teach us how to slow down, pull away and be disciplined to have intentional time conversing with You. Show us how to love well, all those whom we encounter, and to pray for all who are in need. Help us to listen too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You intentionally and spend time communing with You. Amen.

 

 

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

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

All Things Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

 

The first day of the new year is great time to remember and recognize that we are made new in Christ. God is the God of fresh starts, and He is ever making us new as we seek and trust in Him. What better time to seek and listen for direction, as we begin the first page of what He will do in 2018? What are we holding in our hands to utilize for Him right now, and what are the dreams that He has given that are not yet? Our charge is to walk forward in what we’ve been given, love as we are loved by Him, and to be faithful to each new step we are shown along the way. May we take time to recognize all of the places in our hearts, minds and lives that the Lord has made new as we begin this brand-new year with eager anticipation for all that He has in store.

 

All things are made new, All Things Made New

New year, a fresh start;

To choose be faithful,

As God’s work of art.

Each with a purpose,

A plan God designed;

Let’s follow in faith,

Heart, body and mind.

Wherever we are,

And where we choose go;

If lived out in love,

The newness will grow.

Goodbye to the old,

Hello to the new;

Each step that we take,

Chance for love shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made new in You. Thank You for the blessed reminder that all things are new in You, as we begin day one of a brand-new year. Forgive us for dwelling on the past, and teach us how to embrace what we are given now and the promises that lie ahead. Show us how to love well, all those around us, so that they would be encouraged to embrace all that is made new in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings. 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

Run With Purpose

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, NLT)

So I run like someone who has a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something, not just the air. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, ERV)

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. – (1 Corinthians 9:26, MSG)

 

Why a verse about running? Running is in the forefront of my mind. Tomorrow I leave to head north for my fourth Ragnar Relay. Ragnar is a twelve-person, 200 mile relay, that begins early Friday morning, and ends sometime on Saturday afternoon as the final team crosses the finish line. Hundreds of teams participate, and there is an incredibly supportive and festive atmosphere throughout the entire event. Each member runs three separate legs, varying in length, depending on experience, preference and physical condition. As a repeat Ragnarian and an avid fitness fanatic, I will be running leg eleven, which is one of the longest and most grueling legs, for which I earn a bonus medal. The thing I love about running is that it is a reminder of our spiritual life. If we are consistent in our training, (time in the word, time on the road/gym) we are prepared for obstacles that come our way. Though the uphills and battles may be unpleasant, when we are trained, we are able to fight through them and dig deep and lean into Him. May we ever run our race with purpose, every step we take. Each moment matters, as He has a plan and a purpose for all of His created.

 

Each one of us called,Run With Purpose

With purpose to run;

Towards the call given,

’til our days are done.

We’re meant to stay sharp,

To train, be alert;

Ever at ready,

To do the Lord’s work.

May we choose be fit,

Trained up in His word;

With strength and resolve,

To do as we’ve heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of running. Thank You for the parallels that You show me as I go. Thank You that training is essential in all things, and that is our reminder of how critical it is to spend time with You. Forgive us for attempting to run without purpose, or going out without being equipped with the time we need with You. Teach us to invest our time where it matters most, so that our hearts, minds and bodies are best prepared for whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see and know Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the strength that You give our bodies, and give You praise for the great things that You will do. 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

Declare What You Deem True

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, NLT)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. – (Romans 10:9, ERV)

 

So often, we make it all far more complicated than it needs to be. Jesus does not desire an army of robotic rule followers, but rather He longs for those who believe and trust in Him. As we make the choice to let actions and voice reflect the truth that we trust, our salvation has already been deemed secure. It takes trust and a profession of our faith – a statement that declares though we may not understand everything, we will choose to trust the truth that we have come to know. In taking a step forward in faith, He meets us and further grows our foundation in the hope that we hold in Him. Though trials come, His promised presence proves trustworthy and true, time and time again, as we lean into the Lord and allow Him to lead. May we declare the truth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that He was raised from the dead, so that all may be saved and know with certainty that our eternity is secure in Him.

 

Confession of faith,Hope in an Empty Tomb

Declaring Christ Lord;

With heart that believes,

Eternal reward.

For it’s not by works,

Nor can it be earned;

God longs for our hearts,

That choose love and learn.

Let words that we speak,

And our hearts believe;

God’s death raising strength,

Our hope to receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not desire robotic rule followers, but rather You long for us to believe the truth that You defeated death and say with our voice that You are Lord. Forgive us for over complicating the process of coming into a relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn the truth as we seek You and spend time in Your presence and Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might see the evidence of Your heart in our lives as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we declare that You are Lord and believe that You alone, raised Jesus from the dead so that we could have life everlasting. Amen.

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

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

Trust in His Timing

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

 

God is faithful to meet us when we pray, however, His answers do not always look the way that we hope they might. Sometimes, the Lord answers only with encouragement and strength to keep pressing on for another day, and then the next morning, will do the same again. We are a fast food, instant-gratification society, so waiting for answers from the Lord is difficult. Answers sought online can be “googled” and discovered in mere moments, but those presented before the Lord can take days, weeks, months or even years. His answers come in a gentle whisper, not in a bright pop-up screen. Our hearts must be intently focused on hearing His, or we may miss what He has been speaking all along. Beyond the hearing, often there is an additional step required of us – the actual doing. I cannot think of a single example of my own asking something of the Lord that did not require some sort of step of faith on my part as well. May we pray in faith, trusting that He hears and answers, ready to act in obedience as He encourages us and gives us His strength.

 

Let’s pray to the Lord,Healed Hands Reach Out

In faith, may we seek;

The Lord for answers,

His love is complete.

The Lord is faithful,

And goes to great length;

He hears our heart’s cry,

Builds up and grants strength.

It may take some time,

To hear the Lord’s heart;

To see the answers,

We’ve sought from the start.

Be patient in prayer,

And trust in His time;

The Lord’s always good,

With the best in mind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and that You answer us. Thank You that though You don’t answer in our timeframe, You encourage us and give us strength as we wait. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, and we can ALWAYS trust that You have the very best for us in mind. Forgive us for our lack of patience and persistence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait patiently on You for the answers we seek, and trust You and Your perfect timing in all things. Show us what steps we are meant to take to walk forward toward the answers You have for us. Lead us to love those around us in a way that helps them see Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust Your timing for answers. Amen.

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

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