Born to Bloom

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT)

As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us, an aroma to both the saved and unsaved all around us. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TLB)

We have become the unmistakable aroma of the victory of the Anointed One to God – a perfume of life to those being saved and the odor of death to those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, TPT)

 

As I sat here pondering this verse, the image that came to mind for me is that of beautiful, fragrant flowers. The gardener who tends to the plants to trim, water, fertilize and assure proper light, yields healthy plants that produce sweet scents. Contrarily, those who do not provide that which plants need, discover the scent of death and decay soon emit from the perishing perennials. People are comparable when it comes to our faith. If we invest time in our relationship with our Redeemer, we learn and grow and become more like Him. As we do, the love, grace and kindness we extend, become a sweet scent to our Savior, as well as to those who are seeking something more. However, when we neglect the need for investing time with the very One who created us, we begin to wither and rot, stuck with a stench of angst and impatience, anger and a serious lack of love. May we ever seek the nourishment of our Maker, as He provides the soil, water and light that we need to bloom and become the sweet scent of life to all those around us.

 

The sweet scent of life, born-to-bloom.jpg

Through hope and His grace;

Are what we offer,

As we seek God’s face.

A life invested,

In loving the Lord;

Is grown to produce,

Sweet scent that’s adored.

For loving kindness,

Goodness and His light;

Are grown within us,

As we choose delight.

With all that we are,

May we seek His face;

So, our lives smell sweet,

And extend His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life invested in knowing and following You grows and develops us to give off the sweet scent of hope in You. Thank You that You cultivate this within us as we choose to seek You. Forgive us for neglecting time with You, as You are the One who removes the weeds and provides the water and sunlight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You room to come in and cultivate our lives into the fragrant offering You intended. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them breathe deeply from Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in You, and allow You room to grow us so that we can bloom. Amen.

 

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

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

Strength and Help Supplied

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with My right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keeping a firm grip on you. – (Isaiah 41:10, MSG)

 

The saga of moving and cleaning the old house was met with grace and strength. All five of us, (my Viking, my bonus-son-to-be, my boys and me) worked tirelessly yesterday to finish all that needed to be done. By mid-afternoon, everything was a wrap. After everyone had time to shower, pack and load up, we were on our way. God kept our tired crew safe as we traveled east over the pass to my mom’s house to begin preparations for Saturday. The weather was cooler than it has been, which was a huge blessing for preventing our older motorhome from overheating too often. Each of us was comfortable and content as we drove to our destination. As I sip my coffee and enjoy the quiet of the morning while the fellas all still sleep, I find that I have no worries and no fear. I know God is with us, and that He will uphold and help us with all that is yet to come. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, who holds us steady and will never let us go.

 

No matter what comes, wp-15320047487975195601837310296282.jpg

I’ve no need to fear;

I am in His hands,

And I know He’s near.

All strength and His help,

Are granted to us;

As we trust in Him,

Our Savior, Jesus.

So be not afraid,

And trust in the Lord;

He’s faithful always,

All grace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that strengthens and helps us as You hold us by Your righteous right hand. Thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us; always. Forgive us for our times of doubt and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with Your strength and help, as You supply all that we need to walk in Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fear not and trust You to be our strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

All Together for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – (Romans 8:28, NLT)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

God is able to take all that we experience – every trial and triumph, each heartache and happiness, and use them together for good for those who choose to receive what He offers and walk in His ways. If we never experienced defeat, we would not appreciate the thrill of victory. If we did not know what it was to ache, we could not fully grasp the beauty and bounty of His blessings. God does not cause the struggles and trials that we face, but He does take our ashes and brings beauty for all to behold. I am in a season currently, where I am witnessing just how much beauty and blessing He ushers into the spaces that once were swallowed by sorrow. Dashed hopes have become dreams displayed for my heart to hold again, and where there was once nothing but wreckage, now resides fresh tenacity and vitality, as a new chapter of my story is being authored by He who breathes love and life and grace. May we be confident in our hope in knowing that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have chosen to follow the path that He has placed before us.

 

God takes our ashes, All Together for Good

Our space of despair;

Fills them with beauty,

By His tender care.

He orchestrates all,

To work out for good;

For those who accept,

His plans as we should.

In all things, God makes,

His greatness abound;

Darkness becomes light,

And true joy is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our wreckage and return beauty and hope and good things as we trust our lives in Your hands. Thank You that though we will face trials, we can hold fast to confident hope, knowing that You will ultimately use all things for good. Forgive us for struggling to see hope when darkness seems to surround us. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that You are the Light that dwells within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend hope in spaces of struggle and celebrate with those in seasons of blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work all things together toward something good as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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

Saving Strength

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NLT)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

 

Going to Minnesota with my fiancée was an incredible blessing, as I was able to meet so many of his extended family members, hear stories of his life growing up, and see the places that were significant in his formative years. The challenging part of an escape such as that, is the responsibility that waits upon one’s return home. Throughout my entire flight back, I was grading papers that students had spent last week finishing up or rewriting. Upon arriving home, there was little time for much visiting, but rather I had to get right back to grading and entering scores, as semester grades were due by midnight. Though my body had adapted to Minnesota time, I was incredibly enabled to stay alert until the last grade was entered and posted. Today is an equally hectic day, as a new semester begins, it is the first day of gymnastics, and I have football practice this evening. I will trust in Him to be my strength and song, as He provides what I need as it is needed most. May we ever seek the One who is our strength and song, as He is our God and worthy of all of our praise.

 

The Lord is my strength,

Strong Heart

My joy and my song;

He grants victory,

To continue on.

For He is my God,

Whom I’ll ever praise;

For goodness and grace,

He gives all my days.

On days I’m weary,

He’s still faithful true;

He fills me again,

With strength, makes me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my strength and my song. Thank You that You give us all that we need to navigate each new day as we depend on You. Thank You that though things seem impossible or overwhelming in our own strength, in You, we can do far more. Forgive us for attempting to power through when things pile up, and teach us to turn to You in trust for strength. Show us how to lovingly walk beside others who are heavy burdened too, so that they may find new strength and hope and joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our song, and praise You for Your faithfulness, always. 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

In Quiet Wait, There is Rest

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, NLT)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. – (Psalm 62:1, ERV)

Only in God do I find rest; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1, CEB)

 

When life gets hectic and the weight of the world seems to fall upon our shoulders, it is necessary to slow down and find rest in whatever form fuels our souls best. I love the creativity of God and how He provides places and ways for us to recharge as we seek spaces of rest and refreshment in Him. Once a week, during our collaboration period at school, staff members meet to discuss topics that will help improve the culture and climate of our school. Yesterday’s topic, was in part, self-care. Turning to God in trust is the first way that my weary soul finds rest, and that I can carry out “self-care“. Additionally, I am recharged when I spend quality time with the people whom I love. Though I have been fighting a sore throat and dragging this week, there was no hesitation in my decision to keep my plans to join my love, his son, and some great friends of ours at a hockey game last evening. The escape from my normal routine was filled with laughter, cheering and rest. There are few ways in which I would voluntarily sit for three hours, yet with a hockey game on the ice in front of me, no problem. Despite my reduction in sleep last night, (due to the late end of the game) I still bolted out of bed at the first sound of my alarm, and am fully coherent as I begin this new day. As a bonus, this is a short school week, with Friday being an in-service day for which I do not need to complete hours. He is good and rescues us from our weariness in ways that He knows we need most. May we ever wait quietly on God and turn to Him in trust, as He is our rescuer and our salvation.

 

I wait on the Lord, In Quiet Wait There is Rest

So steady and calm;

For I trust in Him,

To keep keeping on.

The Lord is my rest,

My strength when I’m weak;

My hope, salvation,

The answer I seek.

In quiet I’ll wait,

For my God alone;

As He’s where I find,

That my heart is known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we wait quietly before You, we find You and know Your help, Your hope and Your rescue. Forgive us for attempting to gut things out in our weariness, rather than turning to You for rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would calm down and rest in Your presence, as You are our Provider of all that we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and hope and rest that points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and give You praise for Your faithfulness throughout all our days. 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

 

 

The One We Adore

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on the earth is Yours. O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the one who is over all things. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, NLT)

Greatness, power, glory, victory, and honor belong to You, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You! The kingdom belongs to You, Lord! You are the head, the Ruler over everything. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, ERV)

 

I love the sweet silence of Sunday mornings, especially when sunlight is streaming in through the windows. It takes very little looking to find reminders of the greatness of God, and to meditate on who He is and all that He has done. By His power, He created all that our eyes can perceive; through His greatness and His majesty, He placed us on this planet with purpose. All that we have and all that we are is by His goodness, and every good thing is a victory through Him. Everything is His, and all glory belongs to God for who He is and how He loves. May our adoration and awe be evident as we walk in His way, and point people to the path that leads to the lavish love of the Lord.

 

O Lord, You are good,Believe Instead of Striving

It’s You we adore;

For Your majesty,

Power, love and more.

All in the heavens,

On earth, sky and sea;

You hold in Your hands,

Just as You hold me.

Let all that we are,

Rise up and give praise;

Give glory to You,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all greatness, power, glory, victory and majesty is Yours. Thank You that You hold the heavens and the earth in the palm of Your hands. Thank You that this is Your kingdom, no matter what we see. Thank You that You are over all. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize Your greatness, and lacking adoration and awe for who You are and how You love. Teach us see Your hand and heart in all things, so that we would give proper praise, glory and honor to You. Show us how to love people in a way that demonstrates the very same love that is given to us by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we adore You as the One who is over all things, and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

God is not far off and unreachable, He is near – living among us. There is such reassurance in this. Beyond His nearness, He fights for us. The Lord calms our fears with His great love, and He delights in us. It is mind blowing to think that He, the Creator of ALL, would rejoice over us with joyful songs. Despite our doubts, our fears, our brokenness, and our sinfulness – He loves, and He is for us. May we hold fast to the truth of His word, trusting that He is near, He will fight for us, He delights in us, He will calm us with His love, and He will rejoice over us with singing.

 

No matter what comes,Enter With Thanksgiving

We need never fear;

For the Lord our God,

Is present, so near.

He’s mighty to save,

The battle is His;

He delights in us,

And does what He says.

The Lord will bring calm,

By His love, bring peace;

As His songs resound,

With joyful release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You live among us. Thank You that You are not God out there, but rather You are as close as our next breath. Thank You that You fight on our behalf, and that You delight in us. Thank You that You calm all of our fears. Thank You that You sing over us with joy. Forgive us for forgetting all of these things, as they are the reassurance that can soothe even the most stirred of souls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You, as You are for us, and love us through whatever we face. Show us how to love others in the same way, so that Your comfort and calm is extended to those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the promise of Your presence, and listen with our hearts for the songs that You sing over us. 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

Prepare and Trust

Do your best, prepare for the worst – then trust God to bring victory. – (Proverbs 21:31, MSG)

Go ahead and prepare for conflict, but victory comes from God. – (Proverbs 21:31, TLB)

 

When we know a trial or struggle stands before us, we are called to rise up and do what we can do. However, ultimately, we must trust God to provide the strength and success in whatever we are facing, as He is the Rock on which we can stand. May we rise up and ready our hearts for whatever lies before us, trusting that God is our victor, and He has the very best for us as we forge forward in faith.

 

The battles will come,Healed Hands Reach Out

Of this, rest assured;

But do not lose heart,

Success is secured.

For we need not fret,

In the heat of mess;

If we trust the Lord,

And give it our best.

Whatever we lack,

The Lord has and more;

So rise up in faith,

See what is in store.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our need, no matter what we are facing. Thank You that You call us to prepare for the worst and trust for the best. Thank You that in all things, You are present with us, seeing us through. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we cannot clearly see evidence of Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in every moment of each day, knowing that You are with us and for us.  Show us how to love and support those that You place in our path so that they might see You through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare and trust in the goodness of You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mighty Savior

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

The Lord is present and able in our every space of need. He brings victory by His strength, calms our fears with His love, and He rejoices over us with His songs as our mighty Savior delights in us, whom He calls His own. May we look to the Lord, who lives among us, for He is mighty to save. Let us give our every fear unto Him, as He brings calm and He rejoices over us with singing.

 

Wherever you go,His Perfect Peace

God is with you too;

He’s mighty to save,

And bring peace to you.

His love creates calm,

Where fear used to reign;

Such treasured delight,

Worship-filled domain.

We cannot but help,

Offer thanks and praise;

For all that He gives,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You live among us and that You are our Mighty Savior. Thank You that You delight in us with gladness, and that You calm all of our fears. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing. Forgive us for forgetting how very near You are, and for making You less than You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, no matter what we see or understand things to be. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may come to know how deeply loved they are by You through what You grant us to give of ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all that we are and embrace the goodness and grace that You give. 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 Safest Space

You are my hiding place. You will keep me out of trouble and envelop me with songs that remind me I am free. – (Psalm 32:7, VOICE)

You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. – (Psalm 32:7, NIV)

For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. – (Psalm 32:7, NLT)

 

God is faithful, no matter what comes our way. We can always trust in Him to be our space of safety, and the One on whom we can depend. He is our strength, our protection and our peace. As we rest in Him, regardless of what surrounds us, He reminds us that the ultimate victory is His. In Him, we are free. Despite what we see, He is present and moving on our behalf if we call on His Name for help. The Lord will use even the most dire of circumstances for the ultimate good of those who love Him. It does not mean that He orchestrated nor set into motion the difficulties that we endure, yet He, in His loving kindness, will come beside us and supply what we need to navigate the hard, and then bring beauty from the ashes that once reigned. As we watch in wonder the new that He brings forth from what once was broken and laid bare, His sweet songs surround us, reminding us that in Him, there is hope, and the ultimate victory belongs to Him. May we run to Him who is our hiding place, and trust the Lord to be our protection from the perils along our path. Help our hearts to hear Your sweet songs of deliverance as You move on our behalf.

 

You’re my hiding place,Be strong and courageous

as troubles invade;

in Your sweet embrace,

I am not afraid.

For You are safety,

as storms try to rage;

my hope and comfort,

for all of my days.

Your songs of freedom,

surround and remind;

despite what is seen,

in You, hope we find.

Help my heart to hold,

to Your hiding place;

protect and keep me,

for now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hiding place no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You are our protection through the storms of life, and that You surround us with Your songs of hope that remind us of the ultimate victory found in You. Thank You that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that Your grace is sufficient, no matter what we face. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the midst of life’s trials. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You as our hiding place, for in You, we find comfort and safety, despite what surrounds us. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that we might convey the hope and safety that You alone supply. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You as our hiding place and trust You to keep us from trouble and listen for Your songs that surround our hearts and minds. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23