To Run Our Race Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race hat is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In order to run well, a runner needs to be rid of all of the “extras” that would weigh them down. Just as a runner does not run a marathon with a backpack, nor with extra weight, we too need to rid ourselves of the burden of holding hurts and the sin that trips us up. The things that help most, both in running and in life, are those things we carry in our heart. Perseverance is possible when we know the end goal. In a marathon, though 26.2 miles may sound like forever, there is an end point. Likewise, in life, our time on this rock that spins around the sun, is not the end, but rather the time granted to learn and grow, share and know, the blessed hope that is held in our heavenly eternity. It is far easier to “run” with passion when one is well-trained. Ongoing training teaches our hearts to persevere. May we look to the examples of those who have gone before us and run life’s race well, so that we too, may be encouraged to rid ourselves of anything that hinders us from moving forward in Christ with passion and determination, so that we may run our own race well.

 

Release the burdens, img_2019-04-03_04-26-166398438284953483236.jpg

That weigh the heart down;

Past hurts, temptation,

The trip-ups we’ve found.

Look to examples,

Of those who’ve run well;

Trust the Lord’s leading,

In Him, we’ll excel.

Our race isn’t won,

At a turbo pace;

Instead, with purpose,

We run our own race.

For Christ shall strengthen,

All those who choose seek;

Grant perseverance,

When we’re feeling weak.

In hope, keep running,

Our God, He provides;

All that is needed,

To eternal prize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Thank You that You provide all that we need to run our own race well. Thank You that You provide our ultimate race plan, so that we may run well. Forgive us for holding that which weighs us down, or for allowing sin to entangle us. Teach us to walk away from that which trips us up, and to lay down the weight we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love and encourage those around us to run with perseverance, the race to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what weight needs be let go, and how to avoid that which entangles so that we may run with perseverance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. – Isaiah 40:31

 

 

Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Pursuing What is Right

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – (Matthew 5:6, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who want to do right more than anything else. – (Matthew 5:6, ERV)

How enriched you are when you crave righteousness! For you will be surrounded with fruitfulness. – (Matthew 5:6, TPT)

 

As we pursue God’s best for us, we find He is faithful to meet us. God’s presence assures, His love endures, and His grace is far greater than we could ask or imagine. Blessings come when we are aware of the work of God in and around us. He is good and He endows the seeking with His presence and His grace, and makes His nearness known throughout all of our days. May we ever crave to do what is right, as our Savior surrounds us with His presence and provision to pursue His path.

 

Help us to pursue, pursuing what is right

All that’s good and right;

For each who does so,

Becomes God’s delight.

Ever He’s faithful,

To all those who choose;

To seek the Lord’s best,

For grace and breakthroughs.

So, let us rise up,

With hearts full of praise;

Pursue the Lord’s best,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue righteousness, we discover the blessings that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way without seeking, or have neglected the direction that You have provided. Teach us how to come to You in trust and to follow all that You are asking. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them see the blessings found in Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path of righteousness that You have prepared for us to follow. Amen.

 

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

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

 

 

Speak With Care

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT)

 

Words matter. Words can build up or they can tear down. What we do with our words may have a lasting impact on the hearer, far beyond what we will ever know. This works with both encouragement and that which is destructive. One unkind, ugly or hateful word spoken carelessly, can haunt the hearer for years. If a child is already feeling discouraged and struggling, and someone comes along and tells them that they are stupid, that thoughtless word can become a barrier to them becoming their best self for an extended stretch of time. On the contrary, when a child is built up, encouraged, nurtured, loved and valued with words (and actions that prove them true), they soar as they are equipped to become the best version of themselves. Adults are no different. Marriages, friendships, work environments, etcetera – all grow stronger and become better when encouragement and grace are prevalent. I have experienced both, and the difference between the two is surviving and thriving. People surrounded by ugly and hateful words either join in and engage, attempt to bring change, or stay silent. Either way, it creates a survival sort of mentality. However, in an environment of encouragement and grace, people grow and become equipped to do likewise. May we watch our words with wisdom, knowing that what we say has the capacity to either build up or tear down.

 

May all of our words,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be spoken with care;

For words have power,

Bring life or despair.

Our words can build up,

Bring out other’s best;

As we encourage,

Receivers are blessed.

Yet in the same way,

Words that are unkind;

Can wound and destroy,

The ears that they find.

So, let all we say,

Be seasoned with grace;

Spoken with kindness,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the words that You have for us are love and life and light and full of goodness and grace. Thank You that You call and equip us to do the same with the words that we extend to others. Forgive us for the words that we have spoken that have wounded others. Teach us to stop and think before we speak, seeking Your heart and help to extend words that encourage and build up, rather than destroy. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging words and use each word spoken to help others become a better version of themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom for every word that leaves our lips. Amen.

 

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

 

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Trust in His Hand

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – (Psalm 111:7, NIV)

Everything He does is good and fair. All His commands can be trusted. – (Psalm 111:7, ERV)

All His accomplishments are truth and justice; all His instructions are certain. – (Psalm 111:7, VOICE)

My husband, on our wedding day, happened to be holding both of our wedding bands in the hollow of his hand. As he looked closely at the two symbols of our love and commitment to one another, he noticed that mine fit easily in his. He snapped a photo of our rings in his hand, and at some point, showed me the picture he had taken. Because I am such a visual person, when I saw the image, my heart held fast; for just as my Viking held our rings in the hollow of his hand, so too does God hold us in His. In the same way that his ring surrounded and protected mine, likewise is his charge as a husband to surround and protect in love as we are held in the Lord’s hands. Throughout our entire relationship so far, the image matches how my heart has been held. May we ever rest in the Lord, as we are held in His hands, for He is faithful and just, and we can trust Him in all of our ways.

 

Loved and protected,

For all of our days;

We’re held in His hands,

Both now and always.

We can always trust,

For His ways are sure;

He holds us in love,

In Him, we’re secure.

So, ever seek God,

Who’s faithful and just;

All His ways are good,

And worthy of trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible examples of how You love us and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for forgetting how great the hands are that hold us, as You who created all that exists are capable of holding us and leading us the ways in which we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that envelops each in the goodness and faithfulness that Your love provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands. Amen.

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

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

With Gratitude, I Rise

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – (Psalm 59:17, NLT)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

 

With a song of gratitude in my heart, I rise. Today marks the final day of the 2017-2018 school year, and I am ready for summer! It has been a year of far more new than I had anticipated would take adjusting to, and only by His strength and unfailing love have I navigated the distance without becoming completely lost. His strength sustained me and His love surrounded me, even on the most difficult of days. As I look forward from this space of one chapter ending and another about to begin, I am reminded anew that God is my place of safety, and the One on whom I can always rely. Thirty-one days until I marry my Viking, and the coming school year holds great promise, as I will be teaching three sections of art, which is my favorite, and one block of humanities. I know that the road that lies before me will not always be smooth either, but I know Who is my refuge and Source of strength, on Whom I can depend. May we ever sing praises to the One who remains present to be our strength and our safe space, no matter what lies ahead.

 

Wake up, rise and sing, With Gratitude I Rise

For the day has come;

School’s at last ending,

The work has been done.

All praise to the One,

Our strength and our song;

Who carried us through,

All of the year long.

Safety and comfort,

Through His love given;

sing grateful praise,

This life I’m living.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength, safety and unfailing love on which we can depend. Forgive us for not recognizing nor giving You praise enough for the incredible ways that You love, support, strengthen and protect us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for strength, safety and love in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others well, so that our very lives are songs of praise for all that You have done and continue to do in us and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You for Your faithfulness forever. 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

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

Peace Planted Grows Goodness

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NLT)

People who work for peace in a peaceful way get the blessings that come from right living. – (James 3:18, ERV)

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness. – (James 3:18, TLB)

 

The pursuit of peace can often seem like a daunting dream, especially when one is surrounded by a vast array of needs and personalities that are vying for attention. Each seed planted is not spread in vain, as the unexpected moments of goodness that crop up when least expected, are reminders that choosing to sow seeds of peace is worthwhile. May we ever pursue the path of peacemakers, for His goodness granted is worth the time and effort spent in sowing seeds of peace.

 

Be not discouraged, All Together for Good

All seekers of peace;

For each those who sow,

Will find sweet relief.

For God is faithful,

To honor with good;

All those who’ve planted,

Peace seeds as He would.

We’re not meant to live,

In turmoil, dissent;

We’re crafted for peace,

His love knows no end.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to be peacemakers who sow seeds of peace in places of turmoil. Thank You that as we continue to extend Your peace in places of unrest, we begin to see Your goodness rise up. Forgive us for the times that we succumb to the unrest or walk away from the spaces that we are meant to stay. Teach us to trust You more so that we would bring peace to the places that are unsettled and in desperate need of You. Show us how to love others well, so that our words and deeds plant seeds of Your peace in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as peacemakers, sowing seeds of peace. Amen.

 

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

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

 

 

In Strength, She Smiles

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)

She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. – (Proverbs 31:25, ERV)

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, VOICE)

 

Strong people strengthen people. I have been overwhelmingly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by strong and loving women who have modeled strength, dignity and courage through active faith in their daily lives, no matter what their circumstances. From my phenomenal mom and her mom, to aunts, dear friends, pastors and colleagues, I have seen such lives lived out, and have been encouraged when my own strength, courage or confidence was lacking. Though there is no “arriving”, I am in a space where I look forward to the future with confidence, trusting that God has good things in store for me and my loved ones. I know that trials will come and go, yet He is faithful through all things, so I need not fear what lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and confidence, so that we can look to the future and smile.

 

He’ll clothe us in strength,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And His dignity;

As we trust in Him,

In faith, choose believe.

We’ll laugh without fear,

At what lies ahead;

Knowing God’s with us,

By grace, we’ll be led.

Others will respect,

The strength that they see;

As we walk beside,

And help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You clothe us with strength and dignity and give us reason to look confidently to the future. Thank You for the women that You have placed in our lives that have supported and modeled these attributes for us and in us. Forgive us for the times that we have remained in our fearfulness or attempted to navigate things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, and to embrace those whom You have intentionally placed in our lives for mutual encouragement. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grows strength and dignity and removes fear of the future. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the strength and dignity that You are growing in us and look forward to the future without fear. 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

Patient Acceptance

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV) 

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT) 

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, VOICE) 

 

Last evening, I was the grateful recipient of patient acceptance, as my teammates and coach were humble and gentle, allowing for my very “off” time at practice. After sleeping so little the night before, I was exhausted and struggling to recall plays. Rather than respond with irritation or unkindness, I was surrounded by people who gently and patiently helped remind me of the routes that I could not recall, and continued to encourage, despite my exhausted state. After sleeping so little the night before, I was struggling to remember routes for the different plays. Rather than grow weary of my questions and seeming memory lapse, those around me gently reminded me of that which I could not recall, and encouraged, even when I did a less than stellar job. Having been on the receiving end of humility, gentleness and patience, I am all the more refueled to go and do likewise in love for those around me. No one has it all figured out, and we are all a work in progress. We tend to thrive and grow exponentially in an atmosphere where we are given grace where we fall short, and encouraged by those who walk in humility, gentleness and love. May we ever go forth with patience, humility and gentleness, accepting others as we are accepted by God. 

 

Always be humble, Patient Acceptance

Choose gentle and kind; 

Patient, accepting, 

With others in mind. 

When we act in love, 

Encourage, build up; 

The empty places, 

Soon become filled up. 

Acceptance in love, 

Provides room to grow; 

So let us choose love, 

As grace is made known. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and accept us as we are, despite our faults and failures. Thank You that You call us to patiently, humbly and gently do the same for one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not tolerated one another in love. Teach us to look to You to walk in patience, humility and gentleness, so that we may love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love and accept others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your example of humility and gentleness, patiently accepting one another in love. Amen. 

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5