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

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

You Lead Us to Rest

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

 

God is our provider and protector. He leads us to places of rest and refreshment and brings restoration when we are depleted. He will lead us and guide us on the right path, if we seek and trust in Him. Our modern-day meadows come as we listen to His leading about rest. At times, we are given an unexpected span of time to rest and allow Him to refresh where we are weary, yet at other times, we have to be intentional to listen to His leading and make time to slow down from our typical race-pace, and just be. It is in these wonderful windows of time and space that we are refreshed and renewed. I love that this illustration in Psalm 23 speaks of green meadows and peaceful streams of water, as so often, getting outside and simply enjoying what He has made, renews strength and recharges what has felt depleted. May we ever rely on our Redeemer, as He provides for our every need. He renews our strength and sets our feet on the right path to show that He is good.

 

O God, my Shepherd,

dsc045002000268283.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I don’t need a thing;

For You provide us,

Most everything.

You lead us to rest,

In meadows of green;

Bring places of calm,

Beside peaceful streams.

You restore our strength,

When ours is all gone;

And show us the way,

We’re meant to walk on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd. Thank You that a shepherd protects and provides for his sheep. Thank You that You lead us to rest in peaceful places and restore our strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You guide us in the way that we are meant to go so that we may bring honor to Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source for rest and strength and direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and intentionally seek You. Show us how to rest in You. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may find rest, strength and direction in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You as our Shepherd who leads, protects and provides for us. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Thirst No More

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life. – (John 4:14, NLT)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life through eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

 

Just as we are wired to need water to survive, our spirit within us desperately desires something to quench our thirst. The only One who can truly satisfy what we crave is Jesus. His love and light and life bring fulfillment where we are lacking. In the spaces where we formerly lacked hope, we discover eternal life in Him. The truth of His word becomes a wellspring within us that bubbles up and flows in us and through us to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord and the hope that He holds, for in Him there is light and life and love forever.

 

We are created, No Matter What Comes

With inborn desire;

A thirst for the Lord,

It’s how we are wired.

We all have a need,

To be satisfied;

Natural pursuit,

Of God glorified.

For as we find God,

We shall thirst no more;

His heart within us,

Refreshes, restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that Your word is life that flows within us and through us, granting us secure hope in eternal life with You. Forgive us for seeking to satisfy our thirst anywhere other than in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are light and life and hope, and our thirst is only truly satisfied in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that allows Your goodness to freely flow through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we drink from the water of Your word, and hold fast to the hope we know in You forever. 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

To Overcome Offenses

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, NIV)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch; if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness, and God will look after you. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, MSG)

Is your enemy hungry? Buy him lunch. Win him over with your kindness. Your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience and God will reward you with favor. – (Proverbs 25:21-22, TPT)

 

 

When we choose to give good to those who are not good to us, there is a softening on both sides. Often, it makes our hearts more tender toward the offender, and the heart of the one who chose unkindness toward us, to see us in a different light. Though I don’t see others as enemies, I do try to catch myself when I am hurt or offended by the words or actions of another. “How can I respond in kindness, despite that which I have been given?” This is not always an automatic reaction, and there are some offenses that make responding in love far more difficult. We are all a work in progress, and God’s grace is far greater than our own. When we seek Him for the strength and wisdom to respond according to His will, the outcome is far better than if we simply react. May we ever pursue the Lord and His love for people, so that we may surprise others with goodness and generosity that is not necessarily deserved.

 

When we receive rude, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Let’s love anyway;

As others choose hurt,

May we walk God’s way.

Generosity,

Extended with grace;

Can change the outcome,

Create new safe space.

For God will reward,

A generous heart;

Despite what’s given,

His grace He’ll impart.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to love as You love us, despite what we are given by others, You intervene and move in the hearts of people. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You did this for us, as You showed us Your kindness and grace, and brought us to a place where we could know and understand the depth of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love and extend kindness to those who have not been kind to us. Teach us to trust You more, as You guide and direct our steps with Your wisdom and grace if we are willing to walk in Your way. Show us how to love the people around us, even those who make loving difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they become aware of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we choose love, regardless of what we are given, as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Happy with Hiccups

When times are good, be happy. – (Ecclesiastes 7:14, NIV)



Good is such a relative term. What is good to one, is miserable to another. Sometimes, our perspective matters most in determining if times are good. Right now, I am staying at a beautiful facility in the jungle in Belize as a part of a medical mission team. Many of the team members are dear friends, and I am enjoying the opportunity to get to know the others as well. The hiccup in this humidity is that there has been no water in the main house where I am staying for the past two days, and consequently, I have not had a shower in as many days. Despite feeling a bit slimy, times truly are good and I am happy to be here in this place, at this time, with these people. May we ever recognize the good that comes from God, and lay hold of the joy that He brings.
As the sun rises,  Happy with Hiccups

There is good to see;

We must make the choice,

In Him, find happy. 

For there will be snags,

Small stealers of joy;

But we have the choice,

His grace, to employ. 

For throughout all things,

And during all times;

God is always good,

And His love we’ll find. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible good that You surround us with every day. Thank You for the joy that is ours for the taking, if we choose joy in You. Forgive us for not recognizing the good all around us, or for allowing small things to bear too much weight in our world. Teach us to trust You more so that we would appreciate the good that You grant us, and exude the joy that is ours in You. Show us how to love those around us as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are happy and appreciate the good that You have given. Amen.

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

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

It is Well

Satisfy us each morning with Your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, NLT)

 

It is well with my soul. These are the words that resonated in my heart and mind this morning as I walked beside my dear friend and her coworker at Chamber’s Bay. Overlooking the Puget Sound as the sun finished rising, with the water glasslike and reflecting the puffs of  pristine white clouds, I was awestruck at the wonder of the world around us. When things are good, we are reminded of the blessings that He pours upon us; when they are difficult, He shows us His faithfulness as He remains near and makes His presence known. His unfailing love is constant, so we may find joy throughout our entire journey, regardless of our circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord and draw near each new morning, so that we may know His unfailing love for all of our days.

 

May we look to You,It is Well

Maker of the earth;

Your love unfailing,

Grants us matchless worth.

For as we come know,

How You love us all;

We rise new with joy,

With strength and resolve.

And when the day’s done,

All praise we’ll extol;

Glory to You God,

It’s well with my soul.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You refresh us with Your unfailing love anew every morning, and because of You, we have joy for all of our days. Forgive us for not seeking You or for not recognizing the joy and grace that You impart in us all of our days. Teach us to slow down and take in the view, as You have given us what we need for it to be well with our soul. Show us how to love well, all those around us, especially those in the midst of trials or difficulty and needing help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the unending love that You give. Amen.

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

I have chosen to be loyal to You. I respect Your laws. – Psalm 119:30

Deep Wells from Shallow Graves

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – (John 4:13-14, NIV)

 

When we are dry and thirsty, nothing satisfies our soul but Jesus. In the places where we have died or suffered loss, the Lord’s light and life can come and bring healing and hope that can quench not only our own thirst, but that of those around us.

God takes our shallow graves and turns them into deep wells.

The things that have only just died and are barely buried, are the very things that God will take, if we are willing, and turn them into deep wells.  These are the places where He brings beauty from ashes, and hope from despair. The losses we have suffered are the very spaces where He graces us with His great strength so that others might drink deeply from the hope that is held so clearly in a place that was once buried in darkness. New light and life shine forth to illuminate the way to His deep well, birthed within us.

 

Where hope was once lost,

Twin Falls, on the way to Hana.

Or love scorned and gone;

Lying in ruins,

How can one press on?

Barren in ashes,

Such desolate space;

Nothing left to give,

Desperate for grace.

Yet when we look up,

Our ash at His feet;

Beauty and wisdom,

By His grace, we meet.

The ugliest grave,

Often can become;

The deepest of wells,

For His chosen ones.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us beauty for ashes and hope for despair. Thank You that You are the well that waters our soul so that we are not left dry and thirsty, but rather as we drink deeply of Your word, You spring forth within us, living water that is a deep well to extend to others. Forgive us for our withdrawal when we feel dry and thirsty. Help us to ever seek You, our endless Source of living water, as You refresh and renew our strength and hope in all things and at all times. Show us how to depend on You to allow You to take our shallow graves and grow deep wells of living water from where they once lay. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the love and grace available in You alone. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days as Your vessels that continually pour out of the abundance of hope that we have found. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Obey the Impossible

So Moses did as he was told… – (Numbers 20:9a, NLT)

 

Despite the seemingly impossible and at times, absurd, Moses did as the Lord asked. As he did, God moved miraculously to provide for the people. In this particular passage, when Moses struck a rock with his staff, enough fresh water to satisfy all of the people and their livestock in the middle of the desert flowed forth.

There were times that Moses wrestled with obeying the things that God had asked of him, and as a result, he at times, missed out on the fullness of what the Father had for him. The same holds true for us. God does not ask us to do the seemingly impossible or apparently absurd, just to isolate and let us suffer. Rather He calls us to trust so that we might see the mighty move of His hand on our behalf, if only we will trust and allow Him to be God. When we do that which He has called us to do, His provision and purpose present themselves in phenomenal ways. However, when we do not move where we are called, we miss out on what He has prepared. May we seek the Lord with all that we are, and then in faith, do as He asks so that we may know the fullness of the Father’s goodness and grace.

 

So often the times,Be Transformed 1

That we’re called to move;

Seem impossible,

Yet His strength shall prove.

In Christ, no mountain,

Shall stand in the way;

When we trust in Him,

There’s strength to obey.

In obedience,

Miracles take place;

God goes before us,

And grants us His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need and more, to walk in obedience to that which we are called. Thank You that You make the impossible, possible in You. Forgive us for our doubts and fears, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to hold fast to the promises of Your presence and provision to all who place their trust in You alone. Show us how to love others well, so that they might see the hope that is found in You alone through how we care for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and obey all that You say, even when it seems completely impossible. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6