Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

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Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. 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

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

Yet and Still

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

 

Yet, and still… These are powerful transition words as they represent what we choose to do in spite of our circumstances. Today is the second to last Friday of the school year. This past school week has been full of challenges that have shocked and overwhelmed our staff community as we bring this way-too-long week to a close. Yet, and still, I will rejoice in the Lord who saves me. To rejoice is to be glad; to take delight, (dictionary.com) and though none of us are glad about what has transpired, we can take delight in the One who kept us safe and sane in the midst of the chaos. There are days that my joy is renewed in knowing that we are almost done, however, the true Source and space where I find gladness and delight is in the presence of my true Protector. God is good even when circumstances are not, and I will forever have reason to rejoice in Him. May we seek the One in whom all joy resides and take delight in knowing that the trials we face are merely temporary compared to the joy we will know for all eternity.

 

To rejoice in the Lord, Yet and Still

Yet and still, I will choose;

For our God is faithful,

Hope in Him, our best news.

He saves from our chaos,

He brings calm in the storm;

He leads to safe harbor,

As He protects from harm.

No matter the challenge,

Nor struggle that we face;

We’ve reason to rejoice,

In the God of all grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have reason to be glad and take delight in You and the promises that You have made. Thank You that You save us. Forgive us for losing sight of our reasons to rejoice when life gets trying and hectic. Teach us to trust and lean into You more, so that we would not lose sight of You and all that You have done and continue to do in us and for us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too will find reason to be glad, even when life is hard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Grateful for the Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NLT)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

 

God’s faithful love far exceeds the trials that we face. He is good all of the time, even when that which we endure is not. Yesterday, I had a health scare that led to a chain of events that had me spending some quality time in our local emergency room for an array of tests. Though I was alone, a sweet friend who is an administrator on staff spotted me in the waiting room and came over, sat down beside me, and just chatted with me for a few minutes. Her kindness was a sort of tangible reassurance that all would be okay. His peace was present as each assessment was run, and when I was done, a dear friend came and picked me up and took me to get lunch and my car, as I had been dropped off by a kind friend from work. His goodness and faithfulness continued to be made known to me as both my best friend and my fiancé had been in communication with me all throughout the day and continued into the evening. I am so grateful for His goodness and His love that lasts forever. May we ever remember that no matter what we face, God is always good and His faithful love will last forever.

 

Through good times and bad, When the Sun Shines In

Give thanks to the Lord;

He remains present,

And grace He affords.

By His faithful love,

Our hope is secure;

He gives us the strength,

To rise, persevere.

Let all that I am,

Make the choice to praise;

Not for what is seen,

But for all His ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your faithful love endures forever. Thank You that You meet us in our circumstances and continue to show us Your goodness, even when our situations are a struggle. Forgive us for not giving You thanks for Your nearness and goodness, or for forgetting that no matter how things seem now, they are only temporary compared to the eternity that lies ahead. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

O Soul, Be At Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

In the midst of our struggles or the peak of our pain, is often the time when we need most to be reminded of the Lord’s goodness and care for us. A cliché offering of thoughtlessly uttered words does not typically bring rest to a soul stirred up. However, when someone comes alongside us and remains present in our pain and near in our need, we become acutely aware of the goodness of God. As we see and experience His blessings made tangible, it is far easier to slow down and relax and rest in His goodness. Our focus fixes back on Him, rather than that which diverted our attention in the first place. May we relax and rest in the Lord, for He has been good to us, no matter the obstacles before us.

 

O soul, be at rest,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For the Lord is good;

His care is present,

And grace understood.

Despite what we face,

His presence is near;

He will provide rest,

As we release fear.

Embrace the blessings,

He tangibly gives;

Each day that we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can rest and relax in You because You care for us and shower us with Your blessings. Thank You that You make Your goodness tangible in ways our hearts can grasp. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our rest in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on Your goodness that knows no end, rather than our trial that is temporary. Show us how to love well all those whom You place around us, so that we may make Your goodness tangible to others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest and relax in You because You are always good. 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

An Eternal Perspective

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT)

That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it – What God has arranged for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, MSG)

 

As humans, we are creatures who crave comfort. Often, our desire to be comfortable leads us to labor and toil, fret and fear, to the point that we neglect to recognize the blessings we already have, and the hope held in what is yet to come. We are called to live and love well with each of our days as they come, as God has our ultimate destination prepared for us. Yes, we need to be wise with what we are given, but we need not worry about the final outcome, if we have placed our lives in His hands. May we lean into the Lord and trust in His leading, knowing that what lies ahead is far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

No eye’s ever seen,The Reason for Reverence

All God has prepared;

Glimpses of greatness,

Found in love that’s shared.

No ear has yet heard,

Heaven’s full glory;

Yet we know the hope,

Salvation story.

Our minds can’t conceive,

All God has prepared;

For those who love Him,

Our hearts can’t compare.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the love and grace and hope that You give us now, and the promised future that we cannot even begin to imagine. Forgive us for forgetting how temporary our time here is compared to all of eternity with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would keep our priorities where they belong. Show us how to live and love in a way that gives others help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live each day with an eternal perspective. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Fame and Fortune are Fleeting

So don’t be impressed with those who get rich and pile up fame and fortune. They can’t take it with them; fame and fortune all get left behind. – (Psalm 49:16-17, MSG)

 

All that is amassed on Earth is temporary, but the lessons and growth that are gained in our hearts are eternal. It is essential that we keep our hearts right in regard to those who seem to acquire much in the here and now. Of those who have much, much is required. We are called to be good stewards of whatever we are given. Rather than looking to another who seemingly has more in envy, there ought to be a sort of recognition that there is great responsibility with greater resources. Instead of worrying about what others have, we ought to instead look to the Lord and inquire of Him as to how He wants us to best utilize what we have been given. If we have more resources than we need, how are we being called to use them? When we are known beyond our own small circle, how does He want us to best represent Him to others? May we seek the Lord and clearly see resources and recognition through His lens, so that we may honor Him with what is given while it is before us.

 

Do not be impressed,To Reflect His Radiance

With fortune or fame;

For they are fleeting,

Not something to claim.

Whatever’s done here,

Shall die at the grave;

Unless it’s of God,

And sharing His Name.

Seek first to be wise,

To learn to love well;

Value what matters,

So truth our lives tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that fame and fortune are fleeting, but all that is of You, lasts forever. Forgive us for being impressed or envious of those who have more than us, and teach us to see abundance and notoriety through Your lens. Show us how to utilize our resources to love and bless those around us, so that they can more clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worry only about being known by You, and seek to honor You with all that we are given. 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

Courage in Hope

Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid, and many will look to you for help. – (Job 11:18-19, NLT)

You will feel safe because there is hope. God will protect you and give you rest. You will lie down without fear of anyone. Many people will come to you for help. – (Job 11:18-19, ERV)

 

Where there is hope, there is far less reason to fear. Hope in Christ provides assurance that though things may not be blissful right now, we know that our eternity is certain and secure in Him. Whatever is directly before us, is temporary, and the promised hope that lies ahead is eternal. Courage comes when we know that there is an end in sight and that we are not alone in what we face. God is for us, and He is with us – so we need not be afraid. As we walk forward in courage, others too will see the strength and hope that comes from Him, and will look to us to discover why we have hope when things seem hopeless. May we hold fast to the hope that we know in Christ, for He is our safety and comfort. Let fear be far from us, and may we be a source of comfort and encouragement for those around us.

 

All hope in the Lord,Far Better to Finish

Where courage comes from;

Our space of safety,

’til our days are done.

As we each lie down,

We shan’t be afraid;

For He is our help,

And clear our path’s made.

As we choose to trust,

Others will too see;

What Christ’s done for us,

How His strength sets free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that hope in You grants us courage, protection and rest in the safety of Your promises. Thank You that we can lie down unafraid, for You are our place of strength and peace. Thank You that as we trust in You, others too will see what You have placed within us. Forgive us for our fearfulness, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to look to You, no matter what we see in the here and now, as what is now is temporary, and what we have in You is eternal. Help us to love others in such a way, that they may see the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You, and trust You to be our safety and space of rest. 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

Strength and Courage are Commanded

This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NLT)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

 

When I am afraid or leery of something that I know I need to do, this verse always comes to mind. What has been absent as I have recalled these words, has been the first phrase – “This is My command“. Not only does God call me to be strong and courageous in Him; He commands it. He promises me to be present wherever I go, so it is my job to seek strength and courage from He who is with me. Today, these are once again going to be words that work as a sort of anthem as I go. I am extremely claustrophobic, and I have to have an MRI on my back to determine the extent of the damage. Already, the injury itself triggers fear and discouragement, and the thought of being stuck in a tube that clanks all around me is not a pleasant one. As I go, I have to be mindful that He is with me. If my eyes are fixed on Him, knowing that He is right there, holding me in the palm of His hand, I need not fear. More than that, He has commanded me to be strong and brave – not in my own strength, but in His. If He is for me, what can stand against me? Though this is an unpleasant obstacle, it is temporary. God is my healer, and He has given man wisdom to help heal bodies as well. There need not be fear on my part, for He has already gone before me to prepare the way, and He will walk beside me as I go. I have been carried thus far, and can trust that He will see me through until total health is restored. He is good, and I will trust in Him. May we remember that He commands us to be strong and brave in Him, because He is with us wherever we go.

 

For the Lord commands,Bold in Battle

Have courage, don’t fear;

As He goes with us,

His promise is clear.

We must choose be brave,

Fight discouragement;

in the Lord’s presence,

Is where we’re content.

No matter what comes,

Nor where we must go;

The Lord is with us,

His presence made known.

Rise up warriors,

Be strong in the fight;

Fear not what we face,

For God is our light.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that not only can we find strength and courage in You, but You actually command us to do just that! Thank You that You promise to be with us wherever we go, so that we need not fear, no matter what we face. Forgive us for our fear and discouragement in the face of things that are so much greater than we can handle on our own. Teach us to trust in You, remembering that You are far greater than anything that we face or go through. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we may provide encouragement to the discouraged and courage to those in fear, just as You do for us. Let Your light be what is evident in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are strong and brave in You, fending off fear and discouragement because You are with us wherever we go. Amen.

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

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

 

A Pleasing Sacrifice

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His Name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – (Hebrews 13:15-16)

 

The word sacrifice took on new meaning when Christ went to the cross. No longer was it a way of offering something in exchange for a temporary cleansing from one’s unrighteousness, but rather Jesus exchanged His life for ours, so that no more would such offerings be required. To sacrifice now, means to willingly give of oneself; to surrender all that we are, for who we are called to become. When we offer praise and extend kindness to others, especially those who deserve it not, we are offering a sacrifice of self unto the Lord. This is the very sort of sacrifice that is pleasing before God. Both actions, actively demonstrate love for God and love for others, which is exactly what He calls us to do. May we seek the Lord anew each day, with a sweet sacrifice of praise on our lips and hands that are ready to serve and share with others, all that He has given us to offer.

 

Let us each awake,Presenting Our Praise

and offer God praise;

for all that He is,

both now and always.

Let our lips confess,

the truth of His Name;

as we go in faith,

and in love proclaim.

May we choose to share,

all that we’re given;

for without the Lord,

there’d be no living.

With hands set to serve,

feet ready to go;

wherever He calls,

may His love be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because of what Jesus did on the cross, we are able to come before You, continually, offering our sacrifice of praise. Thank You that as we choose to worship You and to love others, our giving of ourselves is an acceptable and pleasing sacrifice before You. Forgive us for neglecting the needs of those around us, or for not giving You proper praise for Who You are and all that You do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will recognize quickly, Your hand and heart in all things, and that we would see others through Your eyes. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually offer a sacrifice of praise to You, and do good and share with others. 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