Grace that Empowers

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, MSG)

 

When we come to know and follow God, He deposits within us, His power, love and self-control, through the presence of His Spirit. We need not fear, for God in us is far greater than all that comes against us. Each of these three things are presented with a purpose. Power is His strength, not our own; His love equips us to love others, and self-control protects us from pursuing paths that He never intended for us to pursue. May we ever seek the Lord to be our provision, as His Spirit equips and empowers us to walk in love and self-control.

 

The Spirit of God, A Fountain of Life and Light

Deposits in us;

His power and love,

They’re always enough.

The self-discipline,

Helps us to choose well;

To love by His strength,

All fear it repels.

So, pursue the Lord,

Allow His power;

To fill us with love,

Grace that empowers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not be timid nor afraid, for Your strength empowers us to love and become self-controlled. Thank You that this is not something we do on our own, but rather as we seek You and come to know You more, You fill us with Your strength, love and self-discipline to love others according to Your good and perfect will. Forgive us for the times that we have been afraid to love like You or walk forward into all that You are asking. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source and Strength to be bold, love well, and keep clear of the things not meant for us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to go forth in love and discipline, so that others may see You through us. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Love Made Evident

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

The central truth – the one you have heard from the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

 

Our charge, always, is to love one another. Love makes itself known in a myriad of ways, yet a common thread in all is that love is “otherly”. It sees the needs of others first, and gives without worrying about what is received in return. I am beyond blessed to receive such love from family, friends and colleagues. Currently, my husband and I are on a Valentine’s Escape weekend in San Francisco. It was my joy to plan our escape with him knowing nothing of where we were headed. He worked eleven days straight, prior to our departure, as his job requires him to keep all city vehicles running and in good repair. The demands of his skill set grew exponentially as our entire state attempted to keep roads drivable with the triple hit of heavy snowfall. Yesterday, the first day of our getaway, was at long last an opportunity for rest. We were able to balance exploring with relaxing, and last night, both of us slept more than eight full hours. All this to say, he woke up and began making breakfast for both of us. Despite his exhaustion and this vacation being meant as a break for him, he continues to choose to love and serve, rather than sit back. Love works hard and chooses to act on behalf of others, even when rest is desired. May we ever seek to love and serve as Christ has done for us, so that our words and deeds make His love evident to all.

 

To love is a choice,

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My love and dear cousins who drove into the city to visit while we are in town. ❤

We all have to make;

To freely choose give,

Instead of just take.

Love chooses to see,

The needs of others;

Reach out and give grace,

One to another.

May we persevere,

And give love away;

For that is how peace,

Comes in hearts to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You for the incredible examples of people who love well that You have placed in my life. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as our first response. Teach us to turn to You in trust, to lead and guide us in how we are meant to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways that clearly communicate a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as You have loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Gifts to Bless

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gifts He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

God created each of us with a gift that will bless and benefit those around us, if we choose to walk out our days with the purpose for which we were designed. We do not need to go searching to discover what our “gift” is, but rather we ought to serve in the spaces where we have been called, as faithful forward momentum is how we can be faithful stewards of the good God has placed within us. May we ever choose to seek and serve the Lord, utilizing the gifts which we have been granted to love and serve one another.

 

We’ve all been gifted,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

By God’s loving grace;

Spiritual blessings,

To share all our days.

All we’ve been given,

Was done with intent;

So others are blessed,

By God, heaven sent.

Let us choose to use,

These great gifts of grace;

To love others well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with gifts and purpose and a plan. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected the gift or the purpose, or wandered away from the plan that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your way and do Your will, even when we cannot see the “why” or where we are going. Show us how to love those around us well, as we utilize the gifts You have placed within us to bless and love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days utilizing the gifts that You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – Jeremiah 17:7

 

 

The Wisdom of Grace

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. – (Proverbs 19:11, NLT)

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. – (Proverbs 19:11, MSG)

A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense. – (Proverbs 19:11, TPT)

 

Wisdom is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Patience prevails and mercy will not fail when dealing with those who have done wrong. Though there is a time and a place for correction, or at least making known the offense, there too are times when it is best that we simply forgive and move forward, allowing grace to cover what the words or deeds were lacking. May we continually seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we will know how to demonstrate patience and hold our tongue when it is best for us to overlook an offense.

 

Wisdom is made clear, Ambassadors of Love

When mercy is shown;

Offense forgiven,

Makes God’s goodness known.

For we are not called,

To judge each other;

But rather to love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us to be slow,

To respond to hurt;

For grace extended,

Demonstrates true worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us despite our propensity to offend and insult You with our words and deeds, each time we act or respond out of anything other than love. Thank You that You do not withhold Your goodness and grace based on how we come before You. Forgive us for denying grace and forgiveness to others when we have felt insulted, offended or wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond with Your wisdom that extends love and overlooks offenses. Show us how to love and give grace to those who offend us most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize and receive Your grace through us. Be glorified O God, due to our decisions to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. – Luke 2:40

The Mirror of the Heart

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. – (Proverbs 27:19, NLT)

Just as you can see your own face reflected in water, so your heart reflects the kind of person you are. – (Proverbs 27:19, ERV)

A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses. – (Proverbs 27:19, TLB)

 

The very heart of who we are is demonstrated by the choices we make. Our words, our deeds and the very company we keep, all show the content of our character in the same way that water or a mirror reflect our physical appearance. People are far more aware of the condition of our heart through what we do consistently over time, rather than what we claim. A few of my favorite quotes that are connected to this verse, include: “Actions speak louder than words” and “Preach the gospel always. When necessary, use words.”(St. Francis of Assisi) Both quotes emphasize the importance of what we do. People cannot and will not have any desire to hear what we have to say if they do not trust our heart. May we ever seek our Savior to strengthen us to love as He loves us, without limits or conditions, so that we may clearly reflect the heart of our Father in heaven.

 

May what we reflect, The Mirror of the Heart

From the inside out;

Be a heart of love,

Spread kindness about.

For all that we do,

Speaks louder than words;

Each time we give grace,

Love’s goodness is heard.

In all that we do,

And all that we say;

May our hearts reflect,

The Lord’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and kind and loving to all who seek You. Thank You that as we ask, You equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or actions have not been loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness and grace, even in the spaces where it does not seem warranted. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that help their hearts hear how Your heart beats for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fuel our hearts with faith to live out Your love in our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

Love is an Active Choice

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

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, TLB)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

God’s words to us explain what it truly is to love. Love does not merely speak the words, but it is an ongoing demonstration of actions that support the things we say. Tomorrow, I will have the tremendous joy of joining together in holy matrimony with the one who has shown me love in action, day in and day out, in a way that my heart never knew possible. He demonstrates love from the time I wake to a text each morning, greeting me with words that blanket my heart with blessings, to all of the countless thoughtful little things that show me again and again, he loves me and chooses me as his actions demonstrate what love looks like in a life of choosing to love as we are loved by God. Love truly is a choice, and it requires that we align our deeds with the words that we choose to speak. Though not one of us could do this on our own all the time, with God, we are loved in a way that the overflow shapes the things that we do to reflect His heart for one another. May we all seek the Lord daily, so that we may love in action and truth, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love is so much more,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Than mere words spoken;

For true love lifts up,

It heals what’s broken.

In every act,

In all that we do;

When fueled by love,

God’s kindness shines through.

True love will align,

All that’s said and done;

For love always protects,

As trustworthy one.

True love perseveres,

For it is a choice;

To match word and deed,

One heart and one voice.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of love that we are given through those whom You have placed in our lives to show us Your love through actions over and over again. Thank You for the love that You have given me in the one to whom I will soon wed. Thank You that as I am loved well by him, I come to understand more deeply, the love that You have for us all. Forgive us for doubting the sincerity of love that is demonstrated consistently in our lives and for the times that we do not allow Your heart to lead in the words that we speak and actions that we opt to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your loving way each day and be known as people who live lives of love. Show us how to love those around us with our every deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as we are so lavishly loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10