Purposeful Design

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil that they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

Perhaps this is the reason that I crave being outdoors so much. Each time I am afforded time to enjoy just being out in nature, I find myself acutely aware of God and the beauty of all that He has made. Yesterday, was a day spent almost entirely outdoors. I began my morning as I usually do, with my devotions and writing, but then went and met my running bestie for a run to kick-off the day. The opportunity to share life with one another as we run, and fill our lungs with the hint of coolness that is still found in the morning air, while running through tree-filled neighborhoods and roads. Green is beginning to give way to hints of yellow on the deciduous trees, a reminder that seasons change, but the like the tree, God remains steadfast. Shortly after returning from my run, I went and picked up my best friend to go hiking. Incredibly, we arrived within thirty-five minutes or so, and soon began our ascent up the trail. Neither of us had hiked this particular trail prior, so everything was new. The surroundings were lush and green, and the trail, nearly three miles of steep switchbacks, reminding us to be grateful for strong, healthy bodies. Upon our arrival at the top, the view made the work well worthwhile. We could see for miles. Hills and lakes, the Puget Sound, mountains and valleys – so much of God’s creation, right there, beautifully displayed before us, waiting to be enjoyed. The few photos that I took do not do the view justice, but perhaps at least give a glimpse of how gorgeous God’s creation is, when we find opportunities to get out and enjoy it. After the hike and time at each of our homes, my love and I joined she and her husband on their deck to sit outside and enjoy a fire and dinner. Summer nights are a sweet reminder of God’s goodness to us. All that to say that every single time I get outside, I cannot help but see the fingerprints of God all over the beauty that my eyes behold. May we each be acutely aware of our Almighty God, as we navigate our days through the beauty He has placed around us, to make His heart for us known.

When I checked in with mom yesterday afternoon, it sounded as if she had been having a good day, thus far. She had done her exercises and some walking laps around the house, and was quick to answer the phone when I called. It has only been a little over a week since mom arrived at Meg’s house, so they are still working to establish routine and work out all of the appointments and therapies. Mom will have her appointment with her new primary care doctor tomorrow morning, so we are praying that in-home therapies begin rapidly after that appointment. Ideally, a case manager would get to the house by Friday to determine mom’s need and establish a schedule for the various therapies.

 

The truth of the Lord, img_2019-08-20_04-20-306977957877656939817.jpg

Is easy to see;

For all around us,

Hand-crafted beauty.

Majestic mountains,

Vast, powerful seas;

Lush, lovely forests,

And river retreats.

Intricate flowers,

And huge, mighty oaks;

Creatures great and small,

And all sort of folks.

Each one created,

Purposeful design;

When we choose to look,

We see truth aligns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made invisible and difficult to grasp attributes tangible through what You have made. Thank You that we need only look around us to see evidence of who You are and how You love. Thank You that Your power and majesty are made clear through that which You have created. Forgive us for neglecting to open our eyes to truly see the work of Your hands. Teach us to recognize and appreciate the evidence that is all around us, testifying on Your behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further provides evidence of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the beauty that You have made, and the ways that Your fingerprints are all around us through all that is created. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. – psalm 96:11

 

 

Tangible Blessings

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

 

This morning, as I slept in nearly three hours more than usual, I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. Hot coffee on my comfy couch, as I soak in His presence and dive into His word. Seeing daylight flood the room, rather than needing to illuminate the typical darkness of the early hours, I give thanks for the blessings in my life. Part of me was wishing that I too, like many of my friends and colleagues, was off for an escape to a warm location for the week. However, the more I thought about it, the more I can see that this week is an opportunity to get some things completed, and to rest and enjoy my family. Time to both connect and explore, and to retreat and rest, at home without an agenda. Each new day is a gift, and the surroundings in our area are clear evidence of God’s incredible goodness and grace. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, as we taste and see the abundance of His blessings when we depend on Him each day.

 

Choose to make the time, img_2019-04-08_07-26-547644472782879619826.jpg

To look ‘round and see;

All of God’s goodness,

His blessings, indeed.

Graced with His presence,

Fresh start each new day;

Strength to choose follow,

To walk in His way.

Rest when we’re weary,

As God we pursue;

Goodness surrounding,

As He makes all new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only open our eyes, to see the blessings all around us. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that provides rest and strength and hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to appreciate all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do in our lives. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Teach us to bring all before You, and to rest in Your lavish love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they too, might taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days, for the beautiful blessings to behold in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

Deep Roots Produce Fruit

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

 

The more we learn to trust in the Lord and place our hope in Him, the better we are able to weather the difficult or unexpected. As we press in and grow deep roots, we become anchored with a confidence that God is who He says He is, and that His word is true. Our decision to love God and love people carries on in strength, for the roots deeply established, provide all that we need, even when our surroundings do not. May we ever invest our time, energy and passion into things that show us more of who God is and how He loves.

 

Those who trust the Lord, Deep Roots Produce Fruit

Grow roots by His grace;

Hope comes as we know,

His loving embrace.

Living waters flow,

Nourish and revive;

Flood our hearts with hope,

As love comes alive.

We need not despair,

When challenges come;

For God remains near,

Strength to overcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the more we trust and have confidence in You, the more we discover that our peace, joy and love are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are reliant on Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when challenges come, and teach us to trust in the hope we know in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that waters weary souls and grants hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dive deep into Your living water and allow Your love to flood our thirsty souls. Amen.

 

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

 

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:16-18

Provision of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way that the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

 

Jesus came to us, lived, loved, taught, modeled and performed miracles to show us His love and peace that last forever. When He returned to the Father, He sent His Spirit to be our peace, present in all things and at all times. God’s peace conquers fear and concern, and grants courage and strength where there seemingly should be none. The peace He left is present always, we need only seek Him to be made aware of what is already there. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what stands before us, for He is greater than all. 

 

Provision of peace, Provision of Peace

The Lord God, He gives; 

To all who choose seek, 

Among us, He lives. 

Peace comes in knowing, 

The strength of our Source; 

The power of love, 

Infallible force. 

All trust we can give, 

To our God, Most High; 

He answers in love, 

Every heart cry. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make peace possible, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You for Your presence that provides perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances or surroundings to steal our peace, when You are ever-present to provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You when chaos seems to surround us, and praise You when we are aware of Your nearness that is providing our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to places of unrest, as You alone help us to love best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times to be our Provider of Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Our Real Reason

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, TLB)

 

When we choose to keep praying and give thanks in all things, joy seems to remain, even during our times of struggle. No wonder it is God’s will for us to pray and give thanks in all things, as He longs for His children to remain full of joy, regardless of our surroundings. Our real reason to rejoice is not found in temporary things, but rather it resides in the hope we hold forever. May we choose to keep on praying, no matter what happens, and always be thankful for who God is and how He loves.

 

May our joy be full, Purposeful Prayer

As we choose to pray;

Giving thanks always,

For this is God’s way.

We’re called to seek Him,

No matter what comes;

For he is our help,

‘Til each day is done.

It is the Lord’s will,

That we ever seek;

For each circumstance,

In Him, joy’s complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to rejoice, pray and give thanks, as this is the very way that You desire for us to walk out our days in You. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, we always have reason to rejoice in You. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for losing sight of eternity when our present circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust You more and to view things through Your lens of forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and gratitude and offers hope where it has been lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all things according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

When All Seemed Silent

But He never left them without evidence of Himself and His goodness. For instance, He sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts. – (Acts 14:17, NLT)

 

When Paul and Barnabas were sharing the good news in Lystra, and the people began to be misguided and were not recognizing and giving credit where credit was due, Paul reminded them of the great things that God had done for them in the past, and how He was continuing to make His presence known. The same still holds true today. Every blessing and good and perfect gift, comes from our Father above. Though not one of us particularly enjoy seasons of struggle, they tend to help us recognize and appreciate all the more, the glorious gifts and boundless blessings that God so generously gives to us. As we sit for a moment in silence on this Saturday, when so many years ago they were celebrating a most somber Sabbath, we can give thanks, for we know the hope that tomorrow holds. The grave could not contain Christ. Blessing beyond what anyone could have fathomed was on the way, and oh the joy that all would know in but one more day! May we all take pause to recognize the blessings that God has given us; our family and friends, our surroundings, freedoms, employment, homes, hope, health, and more than anything, the promise of eternal life with Him.

 

As I look around,Hope in What is Unseen

It is plain to see;

Evidence of God,

And His love for me.

He’s given me life,

Hope, faith, love and joy;

All things that I need,

And two baby boys.

Even in heartache,

His presence stays near;

His peace gives me hope,

And chases off fear.

Wherever I go,

I can’t help but see;

The glory of God,

In all before me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us evidence of Yourself everywhere we go. Thank You that we can see You in the beauty of Your creation around us, as well as in the eyes of the people that You place in our lives. Thank You for the love, peace and joy that You give, as we come to grasp the glory of our hope in You. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distract us from the hope we know, or keep us from giving You glory for all of the good that we know in You. Teach us to trust You more, for just as all seemed silent on that Sabbath, the very next day – You rose and nothing was ever the same again! Show us how to love in a way that offers hope and peace and joy to those who cannot see any. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the evidence of Your goodness everywhere we go. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Our Constant in Continual Change

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – (Hebrews 13:8, NLT)

 

In this day and age where so much changes at a pace that is impossible to track, the place where peace is found is in Christ. His love is constant, and His faithfulness does not waiver. The promises of God that were presented in the beginning, hold true and remain our hope from now unto eternity. Regardless of the rapid rate at which our surroundings switch, our Savior is constant, and we can steady our hearts and our hope in Him. May we trust in the Lord with all of our heart, and lean on Him for understanding. For no matter what comes, His love and presence remain consistent and true for all time.

 

No matter what comes,The Reason for Reverence

Or how things do change;

Jesus is constant,

And His love remains.

What was yesterday,

Holds true still today;

Will be tomorrow,

His faithfulness stays.

So fear not, dear ones,

The Lord’s ever near;

Though life’s uncertain,

In God, there’s no fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that we need not fear when everything around us changes before our eyes, as long as we place our hope in You. Thank You that You hold us in the palm of Your hands, and steady us when we feel weary. Forgive us for our fear of change that continues around us. Show us Your presence in the new that surrounds. Teach us to trust You, even when we cannot see how change could possibly be a good thing. Lead us to love those around us well, so that we may provide consistency in an ever-changing world. Help us to be Your light before all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You to be our constant in this ever-changing world. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Let Love Prevail

And do everything with love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NLT)

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, ERV)

Love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, MSG)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians is a call that is still asked of us today. Now, more than ever, we need to operate out of a place that is motivated by love. If love alone were to determine what we do and say, imagine how much gentler and kinder our surroundings would become. This should not merely be something to imagine, rather it needs to be something that we bring to fruition. It begins with a choice. One word. One deed. One intentional action motivated by love, rather than by selfishness. As we operate out of selflessness, and choose to see the needs of others first, the atmosphere of an area begins to change. Kindness is contagious, and love extended, often comes back in a gentle return. May we choose to do everything in love, for His love shall prevail in our lives, our words and our actions, as we seek the Lord to direct our steps.

 

May all that we do,Faith and Hope in Action

Be done with His love;

There’s nothing greater,

To help overcome.

So let love prevail,

In life, word and deed;

Love without stopping,

Help give where there’s need.

In places of hurt,

Still governed by pain;

Gently extend love,

So they’ll rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as we are loved by You. Thank You that You love us without ceasing. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Forgive us for withholding love or for placing conditions on who, when or where we choose to give love. Teach us to trust You more, as You ask us to love without stopping, just as You love us. Show us how to love those around us with our life, words and actions, so that they may know the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to let love prevail in our lives, words and deeds. Amen.

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

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

Courage Comes with Presence

This morning, as I reflect on last evening’s outing with dear friends, I am in awe, as God unpacks the parallels between what I experienced, and the truth of His word.

 

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, some sweet friends and I went to a delicious dinner at a favorite restaurant of ours, and then headed north into the city to go on a “haunted tour“. I am no fan of the whole haunted house scene; though I do not have a high startle reflex, what goes on internally, is not exactly my favorite. Fear does funny things when we cannot control our surroundings. Anyway, because I love my friends, and they promised to go in front of and behind me as we walked through (holding my hands), I agreed to participate. At first, fear tried to gain a grip, but I soon realized that I could just speak out reality, and it wasn’t such a fearful thing. When an actor would jump out in creepy costume, I looked at them, and then spoke out whatever came to mind. Sometimes it was a bit of sarcasm, such as “classy“, or “lovely” and other times it was merely a “well done, pal“, and we continued on. What I found was that as I utilized my words, the weight of the fear disappeared. In life, the very same holds true. When we speak out the reality of what we are afraid of (confident in the truth that we know), or begin to anticipate that all things do not always go according to plan, we are prepared for that which may try to derail us. Additionally, just as I had those who were ahead of me and behind me, knowing that they would never leave me alone and had my back, God does the very same thing as we navigate our days. No matter how we feel, He goes before us and will never abandon us. Though it may seem a bit odd to find truth in an adventure going through a haunted house with friends, God used the experience to show me in a very tangible way, how weighty His words truly are. May we all gain strength and courage as we walk out our days, knowing that the Lord our God, personally goes ahead of us, and will neither fail us nor abandon us.

 

Be strong, have courage,courage-comes-with-presence

Wherever you go;

God goes before us,

The Bible says so.

He will never leave,

And Love does not fail;

We need not panic,

For God shall prevail.

When God is for us,

There’s no room for fear;

Take courage by faith,

For He’s always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You because You go before us and will not fail us nor abandon us. Thank You that You use ordinary experiences to teach us extraordinary truth. Forgive us for our fearfulness that is fueled by lack of trust. Teach us to trust You more, as You are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants strength and courage, and demonstrates the faithfulness that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in strength and courage, knowing that You will go before us and never leave us. 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

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

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, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

 

Left to our own devices, our words and thoughts wander far from where we represent our Redeemer well. It takes mere moments in tough traffic, or the span of several seconds in strenuous social settings, for our thoughts, if not our words too, to become curt, callous, or downright cruel. We need Jesus and His grace to keep our thoughts and words aligned with His. If the meditation of our heart is first and foremost fixed on Him, then that which comes out of us, is more likely to be pleasing before the Lord. Thankfully, He is merciful and full of grace, and everyday is a new start. The Lord does not look at where we were yesterday and remind us of how we should have been, but rather He loves us and leads us forward, so that we may be better today. May our words and thoughts be pleasing to the Lord today, as He is our help and our hope.

 

May each word I speak,The Power of the Tongue

Be pleasing to You;

Let my thoughts as well,

To You, Lord, be true.

For You are my Rock,

My rescuing One;

Unto You, Father,

May Thy will be done.

Let not surroundings,

Steer my heart off course;

In all things, always,

Be my Strength and Source.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we ask for Your help, You answer us. Forgive us for not fixing our hearts on You, and allowing our thoughts and words to drift in directions that do not honor You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set our hearts and minds on You in all things and at all times, and be obedient to all that You ask; always. Show us how to love those around us, as we speak words that are pleasing unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to please You with the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts. 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