Giving Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

After a bit more than a week away, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for His goodness and love. His faithfulness was evident throughout, and the work of His hands that we were blessed to witness, have left me further in awe of who God is and how He loves. At first, I had intended to continue writing while away on our honeymoon, but with spotty wifi service and a heart led to let go and just take in all that was before me, I took the longest break from writing that I have had in more than eight years. His grace covered my heart and set me free to just be in the moment. The Caribbean holds incredible beauty, and it was humbling to be out at sea with no land in sight for a few days.  Our overwhelming sentiment was awe at the vastness of creation and how little of it most are ever able to witness. God is good and His love never ends. May we give Him thanks for who He is and how He loves forever.

 

So great is His love, wp-15335618508844399711459607615907.jpg

It’s easy to see;

All of creation,

Testifies beauty.

All thanks be to God,

For love and for grace;

For light, life and love,

Found in His embrace.

Such treasure is found,

In eternal love;

All thanks unto Him,

Our Father above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness and blessings that You pour out upon us. Thank You for the incredible work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking in the beauty and blessings that are all around us. Teach us to see Your hand in all things, and have hearts full of thanks for Your unending love. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days for Your eternal love. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

How Precious a Love

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – (Psalm 139:17-18, NIV)

Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun. – (Psalm 139:17-18, ERV)

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

 

This conveys a love that goes beyond human understanding. I imagine it is part of the purpose that we are created for relationship. When we think of those whom we love and treasure the most, it does not even begin to compare to the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us. The number of grains of sand that would fill up a small bucket would take far too long for us to consider counting. All of the grains of sand on the earth are less than how often He things of us?! As I consider my limited exposure to the various spaces where sand is found around the earth, I am overwhelmed with the goodness and great love that God has for us. More than grains of sand in a desert; more than that lying at the shore by the sea… All for you and for me!  May we consider the generosity of the heart of God and how deeply we are loved by Him, as we seek the Lord to lead us and guide us throughout all of our days.

 

How precious a love,

10917_15227942730243444664612386319390.jpg

Photo by Open Doors Photography. ❤

That grants countless thoughts;

As we rise, then rest,

All grace for us brought.

We are considered,

So loved endlessly;

Beyond human grasp,

Generosity.

So often He shows,

A glimpse of His heart;

Through those He’s given,

For us, set apart.

The greatest love known,

Still does not compare;

To Christ’s love for us,

And His endless care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts for us go beyond what we can even begin to understand. Thank You for the gift of those who love us well, that remind us that their love is only a whisper of the depth and breadth of Your love for each of us. Forgive us for disregarding the depth of Your love. Teach us to trust that Your word is true, and to recognize the tangible reminders rendered each time we feel faithfully loved, as such love is only possible through You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and resolve that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for the countless ways You love and consider us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

Mortality Known is Wisdom Grown

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NLT)

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

 

Life is short, and not one of us knows the number of our days. What we do each day matters, and God’s wisdom is the best way to have a heart to live according to His purposes. Each day that we draw breath, we have the opportunity to love God and love people, just as He loves us. The more aware we are that not one of us is guaranteed another day, the more the present is valued as a gift, and lived out accordingly. May we treasure the gift of today and walk in His wisdom and love so that we may honor the One who gives us life and bring hope to those who need it most.

 

With a grateful heart, given-to-show-goodness.jpg

For all of our days;

May we seek wisdom,

To walk in His ways.

Show us plain Your path,

Each day we draw breath;

So we truly live,

Our lives until death.

And even in death,

We know there is peace;

For when our days end,

To You, we’re released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all who seek You can find a heart of wisdom to walk in Your ways for all of our days. Thank You that when we are willing, You use each day for Your good. Forgive us for the times that we choose to ignore Your direction, and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that all of Your plans and purposes for us are good. Show us how to love well, all whom we encounter, so that each may see a glimpse of Your goodness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for each new day, and seek You for direction as to how to walk it out. Amen.

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

May We Marvel Like the Magi

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, His mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left that territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. – (Matthew 2:9-12, MSG)

 

As I continue on my journey to dig deeper into the stories of those who first were mentioned in the Christmas story, this morning I did some searching about the Magi. What I had already learned, is that the wise men who visited bearing gifts, did not actually visit Mary, Joseph and Jesus as He lay in the manger. It was likely a year or two later. As mentioned, the wise men entered their home, not an animal shelter of sorts with Jesus in a manger. My new discovery however, is that according to what I found, the Magi were a priesthood of the Medes, known for their exceptional religious knowledge, and some proved to be experts at interpretation of dreams. This was the very same group of wise men and advisors to whom Daniel had been appointed Chief of the Magi, several generations prior. The gifts that these priestly people brought had prophetic and powerful meaning in religious realms. Gold spoke of His kingship, frankincense was a spice used in priestly duties, and myrrh was an embalming ointment anticipating His death. The wise men followed a star, knowing of the significance of Who they would find if they followed where it led. Based on the gifts that they had prepared to take, I imagine that they had already been given some dreams and insight about what had been foretold long before. It is awe-inspiring to envision what the moment must have been like for the Magi. A lifetime of studying and seeking, and then suddenly these wise men found themselves standing before the Savior of the world.  May we each have Magi-like moments this Christmas, where we recognize in awe and wonder, His powerful presence, because He chose to come and be God with us.

 

A star of wonder, May We Live Like the Magi

Led wise men afar;

Check in with a king,

Then follow the star.

The Magi arrived,

In Bethlehem town;

The way clearly shown,

As the star shined down.

With awe and wonder,

The wise men took knee;

They gave Him their gifts,

All praise unto Thee.

May we too behold,

A similar awe;

At the Gift given,

What the wise men saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly show us more and more of Who You are and all that You have done, as we seek You and ask for Your insight. Thank You for the faithfulness and obedience of the Magi, and a bit more of the story behind them. Forgive us for taking everything at face value, or for becoming numb to the depth and life that come from beholding the truth and the treasure that is found in the story of Jesus’ arrival. Teach us to seek to see it through fresh eyes, so that we never lose our awe and wonder at the glory of the Gift that You gave. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You, the ultimate Giver of all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have done for us, and the very reason we celebrate this season. Amen.

 

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

 

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

(link to Magi research)

The Greatest Gift

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. – (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into the world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately, He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. – (Galatians 4:4-5, VOICE)

 

God knew that humanity needed a Savior. For most, the law was a list of do and do not from a distance out of fear and reverence, rather than being rooted in relationship. The arrival of Jesus changed everything. God out there, became God is here. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension gave way for us to be adopted into God’s family as His children. No more are we simply subjects attempting obedience out of fear, but rather we are children of the Most High, saved by grace and dearly loved. From this position of freedom, it is difficult not to desire to do what is pleasing to the very One who set us free. May we rise up and recognize the sacrifice that was given so that we could be free, and walk out our days honoring God with our words, deeds and praise.

 

God saw all our need, The Greatest Gift

And set forth a plan;

Redemption and grace,

By His loving hands.

Hands that chose to send,

His beloved Son;

To bear all the weight,

Of what we have done.

Freely He took on,

All our ugliness;

So we may be called,

His in righteousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You saw mankind’s need for a Savior and sent Your Son to redeem us. Thank You that not only do You forgive us of all of our sin, but You adopt us as sons and daughters of Your own. Thank You that You lovingly receive all who come seeking You. Forgive us for forgetting the magnitude of Your sacrifice to be called sons and daughters. Teach us to treasure the gifts of Your mercy and grace far more than we do. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the same sort of mercy and grace to others, so that they might see glimpses of You through the good we give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the greatest gift ever given through the sending of Your Son. Amen.

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

 

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Listen for Wisdom

Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. – (Proverbs 19:20, NLT)

Listen to advice and accept discipline, then you, too, will become wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, ERV)

 

Wisdom comes over time, through actively seeking to know and understand. My mom models this principle, much like her mother before her. She pursues new learning wherever she can, and reads constantly. Her circle of friends is vast and diverse, exposing her to a wide knowledge base, even in her social arena. Today is the day that we celebrate her birth, and I am beyond blessed to call her my Mom. She loves with her whole heart, and gives all of herself to those whom she loves and whatever she does. Her wisdom is not flaunted, but sweet and subtle, just as her mother before her. However, when a conversation of depth is covered, the years of actively pursuing truth is evident, and I still call my mom to ask her how to do things and want her to be pleased with the things that I say and do. May we give thanks for the moms who raised us, or those who came alongside us to show us what it is to mother well.

 

All thanks be to God, Mom

For my own mother;

Whose wisdom and strength,

Led like no other.

As she sought advice,

Her wisdom and grace;

Showed me how to live,

To run well, my race.

Thank You, dear Jesus,

For this precious gift;

For my loving Mom,

All praise to You, lift.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek advice and instruction from You, You give us wisdom. Thank You for my mom and her mom before her that have modeled this so beautifully for me. Please bless and keep her today and always, as she is a treasure that I am so grateful to have in my life. Forgive us for not seeking You for advice and instruction, and teach us to remember that all wisdom that lasts, comes from You. Show us how to love and appreciate those whom You have placed in our path to both parent us, and for us to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek wisdom and instruction from You, so that we might be wise in the ways that You are calling us to go. Amen.

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

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

The Value of Friendship

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, NLT)

Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, ERV)

Friends come and go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. – (Proverbs 18:24, MSG)

 

There is nothing quite like an escape together, to discover the depth of a friendship with the person you love. As a birthday surprise, I brought my guy to Nevada for a long weekend of sunshine and adventure. Yesterday, we braved the masses of the Las Vegas strip, to people watch, dine, and take in a great show. What I discovered in all of this, is how much I truly enjoyed spending time with my Viking. Despite the crowds, which I am not really a fan of, I felt safe, protected, and enjoyed walking mile after mile, hand-in-hand. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of one another, and had fun taking in the new. His presence feels familial, and I am at ease, knowing he is near. I am blessed to have friends who are like family, and family, who are friends. May we each recognize and value the gift of those who have been given unto us as family and friends, and invest the goodness God has given us to share.

 

Friends are a treasure, IMG_3743

A gift from the Lord;

Blessings straight from Him,

Who could ask for more?

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For those whom You give;

Family and friends,

Goodness as we live.

Help us invest well,

In those whom You bring;

All thanks unto You,

As we rise and sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You bless us with. Thank You for those whom You have given me. Thank You for the fullness and grace that I know because of Your heart that shines through the love I receive from these treasures. Forgive us for not investing our time and energy into the family and friends that You provide, and teach us how to manage our time well so that there is balance as You would call us to have. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the gift of friendships that You have given. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

 

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Fifteen

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. – (Psalm 127:3, NLT)

 

There is no truer statement to be made, as my children are one of the greatest gifts that God has given unto me. To be blessed with two happy, healthy, tender-hearted, intelligent, kind young men is a treasure that fills my heart to overflowing. Fifteen years ago, both of my babies took their first breath. Though they came ahead of schedule and needed assistance as their lungs developed, even then, the Lord used their lives to teach me more of who He is and about His faithfulness as a loving Father. Throughout each age and stage, these treasures have helped me gain understanding about unconditional love, and the beauty of childlike faith. Today, as they journey toward adulthood, it is a joy to continue to watch what God does in and through them, as well as learning my own lessons of new levels of letting go and trusting more. May we each recognize and remember that children truly are a gift from God, and that it is a privilege to be trusted to raise them well.

 

Children are a gift,fifteen

A treasure from God;

They make His heart known,

Among His “ta-da‘s”.

May we each embrace,

Those in our own care;

Help us love them well,

So they are prepared.

Ready to rise up,

Go forth as You call;

Lead us as we love,

Lord, please bless them all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that You give to us through children. Thank You for the blessing that my own boys are to me. Please continue to bless and protect them as they walk out the second half of their teen years. May they ever pursue Your heart and Your will for their lives. Forgive us for not recognizing the great gift that You have given us through the next generation. Teach us to trust and rely on You to love and lead them well, so that You will be glorified and given proper praise. Show us how to love those around us, especially the kids who are challenging to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the great gift You give us through our children, and may we honor You by loving them well. 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

Joy in Answers Spoken

A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! – (Proverbs 15:23, NKJV)

People are happy when they give a good answer. And there is nothing better than the right word spoken at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, ERV)

 

I imagine we all have been both the bearer and the recipient of a well-timed word that brought joy. It is a treasure to have the privilege of being the one whom God utilizes at just the right time, to deliver that which someone most needs to hear. So often, the words that are received in this way, are simply those that flow freely from us, as we interact with others in love. As we walk in step with our Savior, and have our heart open to His, we are more apt to love as He loves, and speak as He speaks to us. May we invest our hearts in hearing His, so that we might be bearers of joy through the words that we speak to others.

 

As we follow God,The Power of the Tongue

He’ll use words spoken;

To bring others joy,

Hope to the broken.

For at the right time,

The words that we speak;

Offered in His love,

Shine light others seek.

So let there be joy,

Through our spoken word;

As we offer love,

May His heart be heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the times that You have utilized the words that we speak to bring joy to another, and for the times that others have brought us joy through their spoken words. Thank You that You lead us and guide us in Your words and Your timing, if we choose listen to You. Forgive us for not seeking or listening as we should. Teach us to trust and rely on You for words to speak in every season, as You alone, have the words that others need to hear. Grant us Your words to speak that offer joy to those around us, so that we may build up, encourage and point people to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to give us the words to speak, so that we may answer in due season, and bring peace and joy to those around us. 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