Goodness and Love that Won’t Quit

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

Though I have reflected upon this verse on more than one occasion, the words perfectly capture my heart for God, as I am reminded again and again of His love and His goodness. The last twenty-four hours have been a wonderful whirlwind of family time, as Mark and I have been blessed with the opportunity to be at my sister and brother-in-love’s home to spend time with mom and the whole family. My day began with tender time, reminiscent of where my season with mom began daily, as I was able to greet her as she woke (or in this instance, discover that she was already awake and quietly waiting like a ninja), and together, prepare for the day ahead. As she and I ate breakfast, others began to appear downstairs in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before we were able to interact with every family member, sans the fourteen-year-old, who was still sleeping. 😉 There was a relaxed ebb and flow, as my sister had a study session to attend; my eldest nephew, a practice; while the rest of us moved about the house visiting and preparing for mom’s next-door-neighbors from back home, to come join us for lunch. The visit was wonderful and a blessing to all. After Ken and Karen departed for the next outing of their day, mom, Mark and I decided to go on an adventure of our own, leaving time and space for Meg and Scott to scoot out and join their besties for some time together. The three of us ended up in Corvallis, and thoroughly enjoyed the break in the weather as we wandered along the river walk in the sunshine. We even ventured into a few shops in town on our way back to the car, taking in the town in a fashion typical of our exploratory ways. From there, we decided to try a favorite spot of Meg and Scott’s for a light dinner. We quickly discovered why it was a favorite, and delighted in our dining experience together. Once back home, we set to a game of “Dirty Marbles” (a family favorite that is a cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers). When we were nearly finished, our nephews returned home, and no longer “sleepy” Skyler, asked to join the next game with a mischievous glint in his eyes. The game was a hilarious back and forth battle, enjoyed by all. By the time we finished, we all were ready to retire for the evening. Our time together reminds me of the goodness of God, and how His love never quits. May we give thanks to the Lord for His heart for us, as His love is everlasting.

 

All thanks be to God, img_2019-10-20_08-25-315565891628329069230.jpg

Who’s loving and kind;

He blesses our hearts,

With our need in mind.

He knows all the ways,

That fill our soul best;

Encourage our heart,

And grant our minds rest.

For all of these things,

And endlessly more;

I give the Lord thanks,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love never ends. Thank You that You know our needs and bless our hearts in the very best ways possible. Forgive us for our worries, fears and weariness that overwhelm when we lose sight of You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your endless goodness and love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks forever for Your goodness and love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

The Value of Virtue

“It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” – (Mark 7:15-16, NLT)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15-16, TLB)

“What truly contaminates a person is not what he puts into his body, but what comes out. That’s what makes a person defiled.” – (Mark 7:15-16, TPT)

 

Our bodies are a temple and should be treated accordingly. Though we ought to be wise with what and how much we consume, it is not what makes the temple unclean, but rather the things that come from our heart. Our charge to love God and love people requires an investment in our relationship with Him. When we are intentional to seek time with the Lord and study His word, our hearts are cleansed and what we think and say more clearly reflects what He intends for us. In other words, the temple is made beautiful by the expressions of the heart, not by the appearance of the structure. May we ever seek our Savior to cleanse and empower us, so that we may go forth in love, according to His good and perfect plan.

 

The things from the heart, img_2019-03-02_05-51-164357877272792768654.jpg

Each word that’s spoken;

Has power to heal,

Or make things broken.

It is up to us,

To seek and choose well;

And trust in the Lord,

As in Him we dwell.

For He will grant strength,

Remove what’s unclean;

Plant in us, His light,

So His love is seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we consume is not what makes us unclean, but rather the state of our heart and what we think and say. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stray from You, so that our thoughts or words no longer reflect Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times to grant us Your grace to speak light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You so lavishly and unconditionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your heart is made visible by our love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust in You to help us fix our thoughts on the things of You so that our words and deeds shine Your light wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

 

Love Never Stops

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

As I continue to study what the Word says about love, I am reminded of the endurance that love requires. Love rejoices with honesty and wants the very best for others. It trusts, hopes, believes, and refuses to give up. Additionally, love is a space of safety. Though we may not see eye-to-eye, love looks at each person as valued and lovable, regardless of how they interpret the world. When evil or ugliness happen, love is not happy with the hurts, even when the recipient may seem to deserve it. Rather, love delights in truth and never stops believing the best for others. Even when a toxic person is removed from our lives, we are meant to pray for them and trust that God will bring breakthrough on their behalf. To love is to choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere. The road is not always easy, but to love and be loved is always worth the investment. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, to choose love; always.

 

Love does not delight,

dsc062128968373152916220376.jpg

Love always protects…❤ *Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

In evil displayed;

But delights in truth,

Walking in God’s way.

The way of God’s love,

Trust, hope and belief;

Protects, perseveres,

Grace-granting relief.

Though it’s not easy,

Love’s always worthwhile;

To love and be loved,

As the Lord’s own child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in all of these ways to show us how we are meant to love others. Thank You that choosing to love is an act of our will, and not based on feelings. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, and neglected to trust, hope, believe, protect or persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You to equip us to love well. Show us how to love others in a way that helps them know that they are trusted, hoped for, believed in, protected, and that they will not stop being loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love completely, as we are completely loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Light for My Path

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NLT)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of Your word makes my pathway clear. – (Psalm 119:105, TPT)

 

When we seek God and study His word, the path He has paved for us is made plain. Though it will not necessarily be an easy road, He will be faithful to light the way and remain present beside us, before us and behind us, to strengthen, support and guide us with every step that we take. Right now, I am leaning into His promises, as I know that He will never leave me, nor forsake me, even when the road becomes rough. His light is the wisdom required to navigate difficulties well. May we turn in trust to the One who is faithful forever, as He has given us His word to guide and show us the way we are meant to go.

 

The word of the Lord, given-to-show-goodness

Is a lamp to lead;

Lighting our pathways,

Direction we need.

In spaces where all,

Seems dark or unclear;

As we seek the Lord,

He shows us He’s near.

Near with His wisdom,

Strength, hope, love and grace;

His light to show us,

Our steps each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that You are a light unto our path and a lamp unto our feet, showing us which way we are meant to go. Forgive us for our times of wandering in the darkness of our own distress, rather than turning to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and listen to the truth You set in our hearts through Your word and Your Spirit within us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers light, hope and love in places where each seem absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to light our path by listening to Your leading. Amen.

 

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

 

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – Psalm 143:10

 

 

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

The Wealth of Wisdom

For wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. – (Proverbs 8:11, MSG)

For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it. – (Proverbs 8:11, NLT)

 

Wisdom is different from intelligence. True wisdom is a gift from God that comes through our earnest seeking. As we seek Him, God reveals to us a knowledge of what is true and right coupled with just judgment to action. This discernment and insight that He grants those who ask, is the Godly wisdom of which Solomon was speaking. Anyone can study and discover what is right, however, the just judgment and ability to act upon our understanding, is granted and grown by God. Money can’t buy happiness, nor can it purchase righteousness. Our right standing with God comes through our choice to seek Him. When we ask for wisdom, He is faithful to grant us the insight we need so that we can act according to His will. May we ever pursue the wisdom of God, so that we may walk in His ways and live right before Him.

 

Nothing can compare,Marvelously Made

To wisdom from God;

No wealth we amass,

Nor path that we trod.

For only from Christ,

Does true wisdom come;

Knowledge with action,

To get right things done.

Let us not allow,

Our hearts to desire;

Things more than wisdom,

May insight inspire.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom is better than wealth. Thank You that nothing we desire compares to the blessing of insight and discernment that You give us willingly if we choose to seek and ask. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom, when Your insight is what we need the most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would prioritize what matters, and recognize the value of having Your discernment in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom so that we may walk in Your way and do Your will. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. – (Hebrews 12:2, MSG)

Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He was focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor. – (Hebrews 12:2, VOICE)

 

Jesus chose to endure all the scorn and shame of the cross because He knew what it would do for us, and where He would ultimately end up. All that we face, Jesus has already endured. If we look to Him, our road map is clearly displayed before us as to how we are meant to navigate our race. Though we may not know what the entire course looks like, we know the One who does. If we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us and guide us every step of the way. More than that, we know that in the end, the ultimate prize awaits. Just as in most road races there is a finisher medal for all who complete the race, in life, there is the promised place in heaven with Him forever for those who remain faithful. May we keep our eyes on Jesus, who is faithful to show us the way as He equips and encourages us as we each run the race set before us.

 

Let us fix our eyes,The Author and Finisher of Our Faith

On Jesus above;

Who’s been where we are,

And looks on in love.

He already ran,

This race that we run;

Endured the trials,

Though He is God’s Son.

He willingly chose,

To go through the pain;

So we could rise up,

Stand firm in His Name.

From His holy throne,

He ever contends;

As we keep running,

And find strength in Him.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, that You endured the cross and all the scorn and shame on our behalf so that we could have the hope of spending all of eternity with You. Forgive us for losing focus or faith in the fight, and teach us to trust You with all that we are. Help us to fix our eyes on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others with endurance and joy, so that they may see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our eyes on You, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Invested in Instruction

I will fix my mind on Your instructions and my eyes on Your path. – (Proverbs 6:15, VOICE)

I will study Your commandments and reflect on Your ways. – (Proverbs 6:15, NLT)

 

One of the best ways to better know God, is to spend time in His word. As I fix my mind on His instructions and the path He places before me, more and more of who He is become clear. His capacity to love and His concern for us individually, becomes all the more evident when we draw near to Him. Because God is so great, we never “arrive”. The capacity for learning through spending time studying His word is endless. Each time we invest our hearts and minds into seeking to better understand His will for us, the Lord will reveal something new. May we never stop fixing our minds on His instructions nor quit reflecting on His ways.

 

Each day as I rise, photo (11)

I’ll fix eyes on You;

For time in Your word,

Makes mind and heart new.

The Lord’s instructions,

Shall make our path clear;

If we choose silence,

So that we may hear.

Reflect on His heart,

His mercy and grace;

His clear commandments,

To walk in His way.

It’s not about rules,

But rather, His love;

If we love like Christ,

The Lord’s lifted up.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word that we can study. Thank You that You provide instructions for us, that point us on Your path for our lives. Thank You that when we invest time in Your word and seek You for answers, You are faithful to answer and show us the way. Forgive us for not seeking nor reflecting on the truth of Your word. Help us to invest ourselves more to fixing our minds on Your instructions and our eyes on Your path. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may be pointed to the path of eternal life in You. Be glorified O God, as we study Your commands and reflect on Your ways, so that we may do what You are calling us to do. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Willing to Share

I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart, I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. – (Psalm 9:1NLT)

All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One. I will tell others about Your amazing works. – (Psalm 9:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening was the final gathering of ladies for our six-week study on “Telling Our Stories“. We gathered as a large group, but were seated in small group tables, to provide opportunity for discussion. What I loved hearing throughout our time together, was the common thread of God’s faithfulness through difficulties, and that He was somehow now using those very experiences to lead us to care well for others in similar struggles. The very things that He was so faithful to bring us out of or lead us through, were the same spaces that our hearts were being drawn to love others well. Though we have countless reasons to praise Him with all of our hearts, we tend to gravitate toward that which resonates the most clearly for us, personally. As He provides opportunity for us to share our own stories, even in small ways, it is overwhelming to see how He uses our willingness to share. May we continue to give thanks and praise to Him who grants us all of our days, and may we share of all of the wondrous works that He has done in us and for us, so others too might see the light and life found in Him.

 

May we give our praise,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and thanks to the Lord;

with all of our hearts,

let Christ be adored.

For His great wonders,

the work of His hands;

for how He loves us,

and fulfills His plans.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

that we have to tell;

a story of grace,

how You’ve loved us well.

Grant us the courage,

the time and the space;

to share with others,

Your goodness and grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well, no matter where we are or what we are going through. Thank You that You are faithful and full of love and grace. Forgive us for not giving You the praise that You deserve, or for not sharing of the wonders that You have done to make the difference in our own lives. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would praise You with all of our heart, and be quick to share with others, the wonders of Your mighty works in our own lives. Show us how to love others well, so that we may be Your instruments of grace and peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and share of the mighty things that You have done. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31