Love Reaches Out

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NIV)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be a pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Love is sacrificial and does not love because it receives. Love chooses to give because it is the right thing to do. God has shown us what it is to love, as He loved us while we were far from loving Him. His love covers us and changes our hearts, leading us to Him who is love, so that we too, might love one another. To love is a daily decision to choose, not an emotion based on how we feel. Extending God’s heart to the world is our opportunity and call to love as we are commanded to do. This is a far easier charge with those who love us back. However, we are still called to love those who do not. It does not mean we are to be unwise and take abuse or allow boundaries to be violated, but it does mean that we must continue to extend kindness and grace, even to those who do not seem to understand either in return. We never know the impact that our choice to love will have, yet we do know that each decision to love plants a seed that another can water, and still another can sow. God knows, and this is why He calls us to keep loving as He loves us. May we go forth and choose to love, just as God first loved us.

 

After eluding to the pending change, today is the official day that Mom will be moving into her new place, back in Wenatchee. She still has her home, but for now, will be in a smaller, more manageable space where help is available as needed, while she continues to rebuild and gain strength. Already, there have been joyful celebrations, as Megan and Scott made the journey with her back to Wenatchee from Albany, Oregon, and have spent time since Thursday afternoon in Mom’s home. What a difference for Mom to be back in her home and able to walk around freely with her cane, rather than using a walker with someone following closely behind to be sure she was steady on her feet. Mom’s joy has returned, as it was apparent that she desperately needed to be back home, in her own community. Mark and I are very much looking forward to driving over tomorrow to spend the day with her and check out her new place, and take her wherever her heart desires to go. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to the sacrificial love that my sister and her family have made over the last six months, as they opened their home and hearts to walk with mom through the most recent leg of her healing journey. We all are excited to see the progress she will make now, as she reenters life back in her own community. Mom loved the support of family that she has had since her stroke, but we all knew that she was at a point where she needed to be reengaged with the community she loves and has invested so deeply in. May love be what leads every person who interacts with Mom as she continues to move forward on this healing journey.

 

To love is a choice, 0530190535_hdr7684487105677418242.jpg

It reaches out first;

Gives kindness always,

In best and in worst.

For just as God loves,

And shows love to us;

We must also love,

Choose extend kindness.

True love gives the best,

Prefers each other;

No matter what comes,

Love one another.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us and made the way for us to love You and love one another. Thank You that You are love. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the love that we are called to give. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would love big, even when what comes back to us is less than loving. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Every Good Gift

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

 

God is always good. Though life takes twists and turns that are not; He forever remains the same. In the darkness, we can trust in His light. There is no place that we can go to depart from God’s presence, and there is nothing that we can do that will take away His love for us. Such consistency is reassuring in seasons of uncertainty. It matters not what we face, for God remains good, and present, and for us. He gives good gifts and brings light to the darkness; His love is always the same. May we trust in the Lord in all things and at all times, and recognize every good and perfect gift that comes from our Father above, for He is faithful and true and remains the same forever.

Today will be mom’s first day of out-patient occupational therapy, which is the therapy she is most eager to get started on, as O.T. focuses on upper body, and for mom, that is especially significant for her right arm. We are praying that new pathways begin firing to her right arm, and that movement and mobility begin to be reestablished where it has been lacking the most. Mom is hopeful and ready to work hard, and we are trusting in faith beside her.

 

All good that exists, The Holiday of Hope

Comes down from above;

Gifted from the Lord,

Full of His great love.

Light in the darkness,

Hope when there’s despair;

Love in low spaces,

His grace, everywhere.

All thanks be to God,

For each good gift known;

It’s given in love,

As His heart is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that in You there are no shadows and that You do not change. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness remain the same forever, so we can always trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when life takes unanticipated turns. Teach us to trust You more, for You bless us with Your presence and Your peace as You love us through all things. Show us how to love those around us at all times, so that they may know the beauty of Your light, hope and love in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You, and for Your unchanging nature. Amen.

 

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

 

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

Joy and Trust

Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You. – (Psalm 86:4, NIV)

My Lord, I put my life in Your hands. I am Your servant, so make me happy. – (Psalm 86:4, ERV)

Restore joy to your loving servant once again, for all I am is Yours, O God. – (Psalm 86:4, TPT)

 

What a wild ride the last twenty-four hours have been! The day began in anticipation, knowing that we would be bringing mom home to her house by the day’s end. As with any scenario that has a plan, the plan never works out exactly as one thinks it might. On our way to the acute care facility, my sister and I had to stop at a medical supply store to check on a few things to be delivered to the house, just prior to our scheduled arrival. Due to the close timing of the two, we had decided to drive two cars, just in case. While in the store, we noticed a device that appeared to be a genius invention, took a photo, and brought it back to show mom’s favorite physical therapist. She concurred that it would indeed be a fantastic idea for mom, and proceeded to have the attending physician write a prescription for it, so that insurance could cover the cost. In between this process, mom’s temporary wheelchair was delivered, and it was a “hot mess”. Megan and I looked at it, and something in me rose up (I am guessing the fierce mama bear protector) and I very firmly refused to receive the chair, letting the poor delivery guy know that it simply would not work for mom. This began my somewhat comedic quest to retrieve all of the appropriate supplies to help make certain we had what we needed to take mom safely home. First, I visited the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization of retired men that offers free medical supplies to anyone who needs them. The gentlemen that run the place are some of the kindest and most helpful fellas you will ever meet. Not only did they have the walker I was looking for, but the armrest piece that I was given the prescription for as well. My entire demeanor was transformed as I had such a kind exchange with the gentleman who shares a birthday with mom, but is ten years her senior. Joy along the journey through the kindness of strangers. Next, I went back to the medical supply store to see if I could straighten out the wheelchair situation and bring back something that would work to mom. The sales representative was kind and helpful, and very willing to make things work. It was quite an endeavor to fit the wheelchair in my Jeep, but somehow, it happened. I am fairly certain that when I unloaded the supplies at the acute care place, it looked a bit like the clowns exiting a tiny car act at the circus, as large equipment was being pulled from the small space in my vehicle. No more than twenty minutes after I had been back with mom and Meg, we received the call from the delivery truck driver at mom’s house. They were supposed to call when they were on the way, but had not; so off I went again to let the guy in to set up the garage ramp and receive supplies. By the time I returned to the hospital, Megan was walking to the parking lot to get the car to begin loading up to leave. At long last, we were on our way. Once we finally arrived home, mom was completely exhausted. All she wanted to do, was rest in her own bed. All of the anticipation, the hurry up and wait, the preparation, and transportation, at last had brought her to her own space. We sat at the kitchen table together for dinner, then in the living room to watch a movie before we were all ready for bed. It was a very good end to an extraordinarily long day.

As for the now what, that is the portion of placing our trust in His hands. We are in uncharted territory, and having to navigate a whole different sort of new. Already this morning, we are witnessing the potential challenges to being home. Mom is a strong independent woman, and not used to asking for help. Thankfully we bought monitors and I am a very early riser. Shortly after I had risen to get coffee and sit down to do my devotions and begin writing, I heard mom stirring. I walked back to her room to check on her, and she was sitting up in bed, moved to the edge, as if to hop out of bed on her own. (She is not safe or able to do that yet, so it could have been a very bad scene) As I greeted her, helped her transfer to her chair and make way to the restroom, Megan heard us and came in to help as well. There is joy in the journey and we trust our lives in His hands. He is good, and His love never fails.

 

Joy in the journey,

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Mom relaxing on the couch, watching a movie. ❤

On this path we roam;

Seeking and trusting,

As You lead us home.

Show us the best way,

Each step we’re to take;

Strength each new morning,

Love that won’t forsake.

Glorious, His grace,

His peace is divine;

There’s no greater love,

That we’ll ever find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You in every situation and circumstance that comes our way. Thank You that our lives are in Your hands. Thank You that joy is a gift that You deposit deep within our soul, rather than something circumstantial and dependent on what happens in our day-to-day lives. Forgive us for allowing anything to steal our joy or take away our trust in You. Teach us how to trust more, as You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and demonstrates trust. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out this journey in joy and trust. Amen.

 

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

 

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Power Within

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

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and His powerful strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, CEB)

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

 

Strength is a peculiar thing. We can work hard to build it up, yet there are variables beyond our control that can take it away in an instant or over time. The strength that is sustained within us, is strength of heart that comes from the Lord. His strength is that which grants us the resolve to keep rising, even when what lies before us is heavy, and often far more than we can bear. Though physical strength is both a blessing and a gift from God, it is the strength within us, that He deposits by His Spirit, that will carry us through all of the days of our lives. May we ever seek to be strengthened by the Lord in His mighty power, so that we are equipped to do all that to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

And His great power;

We can trust in Him,

Our safe Strong Tower.

He strengthens our hearts,

Emboldens our minds;

Grants us the resolve,

Move as we’re designed.

No matter what comes,

He’s faithful to be;

Present with His strength,

To help in our need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong in You and Your mighty power, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though physical strength is a blessing and a gift, it is strength of heart that comes from You that will carry us through the trials that life provides. Forgive us for not seeking You to supply the strength we need and teach us to trust You for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens hearts and minds, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your strength and power that You provide within us as we turn in trust to You. 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

The Love That Remains

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love – not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, ERV)

I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. – (Romans 8:38-39, MSG)

 

These are incredibly powerful words of declaration, meant to remind and encourage each of us of just how vast the love of God is for us all. No matter where we go, no matter what we do, God loves us in spite of ourselves. We have the choice to receive or reject His love, but His love remains. The closest comparison I can come up with is the love I have for my children. My love for them is not situational, circumstantial, nor dependent on whether or not they receive and give love in return – I love them because they are mine. If we in our broken humanity have the capacity to love those whom He has gifted us to love, how much more does He who is love, love us in spite of ourselves? When we slow down and are ready to receive that which He offers freely, the depth and breadth of His love surrounds and overwhelms. May we each choose to receive that which God offers to each of us, as His love shall always remain.

 

There isn’t a thing, The Love That Remains

Created on earth;

That can take away,

Our infinite worth.

Because we are God’s,

Made by His own hand;

His love shall remain,

Forever will stand.

No height nor great depth,

For there is nothing;

That can take away,

The love that God brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is not dependent on our circumstances, surroundings or on what we do or do not do. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that Your love is ready to receive for all who choose to call on Your Name. Forgive us for rejecting what You freely offer and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love others with the same tenacity that You have as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love that never ends and seek to go and love likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:18

Real Love

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

This is love: He loved us long before we loved Him. It was His love, not ours. He proved it by sending His Son to be the pleasing sacrificial offering to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, TPT)

 

Real love is that which comes from God. Before we even knew Him, He loved us. His love is so great that He chose to make the way for what had been fractured by our own sinfulness to be restored through the sending of His one and only Son. As we believe and receive the mercy and grace that God grants to all who seek Him, we grow in our own capacity to love as we are loved. May we ever remember the magnitude of His mercy that we have been shown, so that we might go forth and give grace as God has given to us.

 

The love of our God, Enter With Thanksgiving

Abundant in grace;

As He loved us first,

So we’d find our way.

The way to seek God,

Is open, secure;

Through His precious Son,

Our hope is made sure.

Remember the truth,

That God first loved us;

Forgiveness is ours,

When we trust Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that real love comes from You, as You loved us so much that You sent Your Son so that our broken relationship with You could be restored. Forgive us for allowing anything or anyone other than You to set the standard for what love truly is meant to be. Teach us to trust You more, so that we allow Your love to surround and shape us into who You are calling us to become. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that many may come to see the truth of Your love. May hearts be stirred and lives be changed forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and go forth to love others likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Hold On to the Faith You Have

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. – (Revelation 3:11, NLT)

I am coming soon. Hold on to the faith you have, so that no one can take away your crown. – (Revelation 3:11, ERV)

 

Our hope is found in Christ alone. What we have is the security in knowing that no matter what happens in the here and now, our ultimate destination is assured if we have given our heart to Him. There are days that faith is the only thing that we have to hold, as what is seen seems to dictate anything other than hope. However, when we know the Lord and have seen the work of His hand in our lives, we can trust His word to be true and hold fast to the faith that we have come to know. May we trust in the One who has given us life and breath, as He will be the One to ultimately lead us home.

 

The God of all grace, Compassion in Confrontations

Has promised to us;

A future secure,

Through our Lord Jesus.

The part that’s required,

Is we must hold fast;

To the faith we know,

For His word shall last.

If to Christ we’re true,

Hold tight to what’s found;

Our future’s secure,

As is kingdom crown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, our future is secure. Thank You that we have faith for today and hope for tomorrow. Thank You that we are called sons and daughters when we choose to follow You. Thank You that no one can take away our faith. Forgive us for being fickle or wavering in our walk with You. Teach us to trust You in all things, so that we hold fast to all that we have in You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and fervor by which You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold on to what we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Grace Unearned

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved. – (Romans 11:6, NLT)

And if He chose them by grace, then it is not what they have done that made them His people. If they could be made His people by what they did, His gift of grace would not really be a gift. – (Romans 11:6, ERV)

Grace is central in God’s action here, and it has nothing to do with deeds prescribed by the law. If it did, grace would not be grace. – (Romans 11:6, VOICE)

 

God’s grace at first glance, seems to be a paradox, as how could He possibly give such undeserved goodness and love to a sinner, such as myself. That is the amazing thing about His grace, He gives to the undeserving, and loves without limits. Each time I am made aware of His goodness and grace, I recognize just how incredible His love is for me, despite all of my flaws and failures. Yes, I love Him and long to serve Him, but I am a work in progress, and am far from having “arrived“. Perhaps that is the point. As we recognize our own shortcomings and see how His goodness is complete, we are ever aware of our need for Him in our lives. May we rise up in thanksgiving for God’s goodness and grace, and give Him thanks for the gifts that we’re given, though we deserve them not.

 

We cannot earn grace, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For God freely gives;

Because He is kind,

We have life to live.

Every good thing,

That comes unto us;

Is thanks to the Lord,

And His Son, Jesus.

There’s nothing we’ll do,

And no words we’ll say;

That can earn His grace,

Or take it away.

All thanks be to God,

For kindness and love;

It is undeserved,

These gifts from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness to us. Thank You that it is not given for good works that we do to somehow earn it, but rather You give grace out of the abundance of Your love for us. Thank You that it is free and undeserved, reminding us that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we either take Your grace for granted, or try to somehow earn our way into a good space before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we say and do is motivated by our love for You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they too, will long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You freely give, and praise You for who You are. 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

Don’t Settle for Crumbs

Yesterday evening was the second week of the book study I am participating in with the women of my church as we read through the book, Without Rival, by  Lisa Bevere. My personal take away from the text this week is to not “settle for crumbs” because God is calling us to feed on His faithfulness. Though sermons, podcasts, books, quotes, posts on Facebook and various other sources of uplifting material are good, they are merely crumbs compared to our seeking and finding the presence of God for ourselves.

 

But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see; eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of His Divine Being. – (Romans 1:19-20, MSG)

 

In other words, God is not difficult to find if we seek Him. It is merely a matter of opening our eyes to the world around us, as His handiwork is evident everywhere. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, so there is no reason not to pursue His presence for ourselves. There is abundantly, exponentially more waiting for us as we choose seek Him on our own. He longs to show us more and more of who He is and how He loves, if only we are willing to pursue His presence. May we each allow the “crumbs” to be a trail that take us into the fantastic feast of our Heavenly Father’s presence, as He is ever waiting for us to draw near, so that we might come to know Him more.

 

Settle not for crumbs,Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

But come forth to feast;

For there is much more,

That God will release.

As we choose to come,

He shows us the more;

A love far greater,

Than we knew before.

Each time we draw near,

He’s faithful to show;

His grace and His love,

Truth we come to know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have so much more for us than crumbs or leftovers. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself to experience more of You, personally. Thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to know You intimately and individually. Forgive us Jesus, for not seeking You for ourselves, or for settling for less than You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You individually and personally, as You have so much more for us all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points to Your goodness and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your presence for ourselves, and feed on the faithfulness that is found in You forever. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13