Seeking Solace

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, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

May We Choose Kindness

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, MSG)

 

I could not do my job if I did not seek to follow this guiding principle daily. Kids and colleagues alike, need kindness and compassion, forgiveness and grace. Just as I have been forgiven, I must also forgive. If I did not begin each day new, I cannot even begin to imagine the heaviness that would ensue. We all fall short and need kindness extended our way. May we allow God’s grace to direct our steps as we choose to forgive each other, extending compassion, gentleness and kindness to one another, just as He has done unto us.

 

No matter what comes, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Take pause, look and see;

The one who’s upset,

Needs love and mercy.

For when we are kind,

Forgive and give love;

We act as we’re called,

By God up above.

For He forgave us,

All that we have done;

May we choose kindness,

For everyone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and compassionate to us, forgiving us each time we come to You and ask. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to strengthen and equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that we were not gentle or kind, or we lacked compassion or did not forgive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive others as we are forgiven by You. Show us how to love like You – extending gentleness, kindness and compassion to one another without conditions, especially to those who seem the least deserving. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be kind and compassionate and extend forgiveness to one another, just as we have been forgiven by 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

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

A Moment to Mark the Season

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His Name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

For a child has been born – for us! The gift of a son – for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His Names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong Father, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. – (Isaiah 9:6, MSG)

 

My boys had their Christmas music concert last night, and the director said something that really resonated true with me. He declared that as the choir and alumni joined in the singing of Silent Night with the procession of concert choir members off of the stage and to the back of the auditorium, tonight, just as in each year prior, that moment seems to mark the start of the season in his heart. As my son, his classmates, and a number of other beautifully trained voices joined in such a hauntingly sweet a cappella version of the familiar, I understood clearly what he was saying. Being seated between those whom I love, and listening to my son sing and his twin brother play the viola beautifully with the orchestra, it all made sense. I too have a bit of a moment on the final day of school before Christmas break, when I can at long last breathe, and slow down in full awe and wonder of the real reason for the season. It is as if I am gifted a pause button as we send off our students with cheerful farewells, knowing that the things I love most about the season can be soaked in and mulled over now, rather than merely glimpsed at the usual race pace. May we each find moments to take pause and remember the real reason for this wonderful season, as the child born to us became our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father, and our precious Prince of Peace.

 

Let us remember, 1214171825a1647878590.jpg

This season of cheer;

Why we celebrate,

Is God who came near.

He came as a babe,

So mild and meek;

Yet overcame all,

To help when we seek.

Our great Counselor,

Father forever;

Our most Mighty God,

His peace ends, never.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us to lead us and become our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God, our Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Thank You that You are so much more than we can hope or imagine, if we simply turn in trust to You. Forgive us for forgetting just how mighty You are, and how deeply Your love flows for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize the remarkable reason that we celebrate this season. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may have milestones that help set the season in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise and adoration this most holy season, and let us again recognize in awe and wonder, all that You have done for us. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Making Markers to Remember

“We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future your children will as you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” – (Joshua 4:6-7, NLT)

…Someday when your children ask you, “Why are these stones piled up here?” You will tell them how the waters of the Jordan parted as the covenant chest of the Eternal One crossed the river, and those stones will fix that memory for the Israelites forever. – (Joshua 4:6-7, VOICE)

 

I love how often in the Old Testament that there are significant stories of God’s faithfulness where the people of God marked their story with stones of remembrance so that the memory of all that God had done will live on for the generations yet to come. I’m not sure when or where that practice was lost, but it makes me take pause to consider yet again, all of the times in my life where I could pile stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness. The incredible thing about God is that He cares about the small things as well as the giants that cross our paths. One example of His provision and faithfulness for me came yesterday, as I have been dealing with a dead Keurig for the last two weeks. Yes, I know it is a luxury item and I have been abundantly blessed to have one, yet as a very early riser who starts the day with coffee, it has been sadly missed as I’ve had to brew coffee in a make-shift, rustic way. Yesterday, my love spent two hours disassembling the machine to replace the part that seemed to have gone bad. The inner workings of the machine are tiny and difficult to access, yet my Viking mechanic persisted. Once he replaced the part and turned the machine on, it came to life, only to refuse to work the way it was intended. The life of my coffee maker had expired. I had posted my appreciation for his hard work on Facebook, and he later commented about its demise. A sweet friend that I have not seen in quite a while, offered to give me her machine, as she has given up coffee and no longer uses hers. Just like that, something that is not even a need, but rather a want that is appreciated, was provided. Perhaps I need to form a stack of memorial “stones” from k-cups, to remind myself of His goodness and faithfulness, and to share with others, His kindness to me. We all have stories, both big and small, of the wonderful ways that God has provided in our lives. May we ever remember the things that He has done, and consider the stones of remembrance He is building in our lives.

 

Let us make markers, Making Markers to Remember

Of God’s faithfulness;

Ways to remember,

How we have been blessed.

For as we recall,

The good God has done;

Faith grows in others,

Our daughters and sons.

May we each take time,

To tell of His good;

How He’s provided,

Beside us, He stood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever. Thank You that You care about even the small details in our lives because You love us where we are. Thank You for the example that was set long ago, as Your people placed stones of remembrance to commemorate Your faithfulness to them. Forgive us for not acknowledging the ways that You meet us and bless us – both big and small, for Your hand is in it all. Teach us to remember and give You praise for all things. Show us how to set stones of remembrance in our hearts so that we would always have words of gratitude to give. Help us to love those around us in a way that creates reason to remember in their lives as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness and tell others of the great things that You have done. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

The Wonder of Unfailing Love

Praise the Lord, for He has shown me the wonders of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 31:21a, NLT)

 

Here I sit this morning, in awe once again, at the wonder of the Lord’s unfailing love for me. He blesses in ways I do not deserve, and holds my heart in His hands. Where hope was growing dim, He has fanned a spark to flame. In spaces where worry was growing a bit weighty, God has provided beyond what I would have asked or imagined. More than that, as my heart heard my own voice speak the truth of all that He has done as I was sharing with a dear friend yesterday, joy and excitement began to rise up and flood my entire being, for all that lies ahead. The Lord has so much more. What we see now is but a glimpse of what is yet to come. Each time we take pause and look around, we become acutely aware of the wonders of His unfailing love, and find reason to give God praise. May we ever praise the Lord for the wonders of His unfailing love that He never ceases to show all who call on His Name.

 

Give praise to the Lord,The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For wonders anew;

His unfailing love,

Is faithful and true.

Our God loves to show,

How deep and how wide;

Love for the seeking,

In Him, choose abide.

At times it is more,

Than my heart can hold;

The glory of God,

As His grace unfolds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love. Thank You that You bless us and keep us and lavish us with Your love, not because we deserve it, but rather because we are Yours. Forgive us for not recognizing the wonders of Your love all around us, or not seeking You in our spaces of need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You in all things and at all times, knowing that above all, Your love never fails. Show us how to love with a love like Yours, so others may see the goodness and grace that comes from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for showing us the wonders of Your unfailing love, and go forth and do likewise for those around us. 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

To List and Praise

Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough? – (Psalm 106:2, NLT)

 

It is good to take pause and recognize the truth of the words of this verse. When I look at my life, even over the past year, I am in awe of all that the Lord has done. He has provided abundantly and exceedingly more than I could have asked for, He has cared well for my family, He has loved and encouraged me well, and provided community that has become extended family where it was needed most. That is just scratching the surface. To list everything from each day, would be impossible; not to mention the wonders I have had the privilege of witnessing in the lives of those around me. There is not enough time in the day nor breath in my lungs to give the Lord the praise He is due. May our lives be led in such a way that a posture of praise permeates from our presence as we travel the path on which we have been placed.

 

For who can give count,IMG_2487

Of all God has done?

The great miracles,

New life in His Son.

There is not enough,

Time or enough space;

To give to the Lord,

Ample proper praise.

So let us rejoice,

Choose lift up our lives;

May all that we do,

Let His love light shine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious miracles that You do in our lives day in and day out. Thank You that You love us exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for not recognizing all that You are and all that You do, and for not giving proper praise unto You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and acknowledge You in all things and at all times, giving thanks for Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love others well, so that they may see the mighty miracles of You all around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to give You praise for all that You are and all that You do. 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

 

 

The Work of His Hands

When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers – the moon and the stars You set in place – what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? – (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT)

 

I so appreciate David’s grasp of the greatness of God. It is easy to get so caught up in our busy lives, that we forget to take pause and look around us. When we do, we cannot help but stand in awe at the mighty work of His hands, and revel in the remarkable that He who created all that is around us, would care for us, individually. The very same God who hung the stars in the sky, knows the number of hairs on our heads… That can only be known by One who is as near as our next breath. Love that sacrifices unto death on a cross, for even those who will never love in return, incomprehensible. May we take time to behold the beauty that surrounds us, and remember that He who created it all, knows and loves us, individually.

 

The moon and the stars,

Remaining Resolute in Our Redeemer

image by bibleabc.net

were hung into place;

the work of God’s hands,

in power and grace.

The very same God,

Who called all to be;

both knows and He loves,

all humanity.

Not just as a whole,

but personally;

He knows minds and hearts,

and longs to set free.

May we stand in awe,

as others have done;

at all that God is,

and hope that’s to come.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the mighty work of Your hands that is both in us and all around us. Thank You that You who created everything, care about us individually and personally. Forgive us for losing sight of Your greatness, and help us to keep a proper perspective of Who You are and how amazing Your love is for each of us. Teach us to see the world and others through Your lens, so that we might continually see the beauty all around us. Show us how to love others, as You so tenderly and intentionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause and take in all that You have created around us, and go forth loving all that You have made as You do. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Come Boldly

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

 

It is easy for me to get so busy in the routine of my day, that I don’t realize how desperately I am in need of His grace. Often, He has already given it, which is why I am still standing, yet when I take pause and set my sight on Him, I recognize how much I need His grace, mercy and ongoing presence in order to navigate an ordinary day in His way. God is always available. He never leaves; He patiently waits for us to come. Our charge is to seek Him, as God is gracious and full of mercy. His arms are wide open and He is ready to grant us what is needed to faithfully honor Him in all that we do. May we boldly approach the throne of God, ready to receive His mercy and grace, as He loves us through the trials and triumphs of all of our days.

 

With boldness, let’s seek,

the throne of our God;Gentleness for the Weary

for that’s where our hearts,

hear heaven’s applaud.

All thanks for mercy,

gratitude for grace;

that He freely gives,

when we seek His face.

Whatever our need,

He comes where we are;

He holds hands and hearts,

collects tears in jars.

Our great gracious God,

gives hope in our need;

He helps and He loves,

our hungry soul feeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come boldly before Your throne. Thank You that as we do, You grant us Your grace and mercy to help us when we need it most. Forgive us for trying to navigate our trials on our own, rather than seeking You and Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would boldly and with unwavering faith, come to You with our trials and triumphs, thankful that You are with us in all things. Show us how to love those around us in a tangible way, so that they may find mercy, grace and hope through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come boldly before You in all things and at all times, trusting You to be our help and our hope. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Sing – For Joy Rises

I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. – (Psalm 9:2, NLT)

 

Though there is much joy to be found in the reason for this blessed season, often there are sorrows that surround people, and the holidays are a struggle. Finding joy despite our circumstances, comes not when we fake it ’til we make it, but rather when we turn our eyes and attention on He who is our Source of all joy. No matter what surrounds me, when I begin to sing praises to His Name, joy begins to bubble up and fill my heart again, as I am reminded of what is eternal. There are times that what is weighing us down seems so heavy and long lasting, yet when we take pause, we know that there will be an end. Hope of better days, better seasons, better times, is held fast in our hearts, as we know that in Christ, this is not our end. What is yet to come is beyond what we can even begin to imagine, and because of that hope, we can hold onto His joy. May we allow our hearts and voices to sing praises to His Most Holy Name, as He fills us with joy once again.

 

We’re filled with all joy,Child like Contributions

because of our King;

not by circumstance,

but through truth He brings.

Let our hearts sing praise,

our thank offerings;

let‘s honor His Name,

our great Holy King.

May His joy rise up,

as voices are raised;

His truth be proclaimed,

and Holy Name praised.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your joy, not because of our circumstances, but because You are good and You are loving. Thank You that we can sing praises to Your Name, no matter what we are going through, and as we do, joy rises up in us again. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal the joy that You have given us, and help us to hold fast to You and Your promises so that we would have joy in spite of what is happening around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would sing praise even when it doesn’t make sense. Show us how to love others well, and to spread joy wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we sing praises to Your Name and are filled with Your unending joy. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19