Offerings Become Art

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV)

As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, CEB)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for Him is a waste of time or effort. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG)

 

This verse is both a challenge and an encouragement. As an individual who has felt called to teach since a very young age, it has been an interesting path to traverse over the last twenty-one years. There have been times that the obstacles and challenges seemed so impossible, that I wanted to walk away. The time, resources and self that are poured into each day, have to be for Him, or our perspective becomes distorted.  I know this is only the first week, but there is something that feels more steady and secure than it ever has before. Perhaps it is the tangible support I have at home that provides me the freedom to invest more of myself as I begin each day full, rather than depleted. Another possibility is that I am, for the first time in my career, teaching what I love most, for the majority of my day. Though I enjoy teaching the variety of subjects I have taught throughout my career thus far, I know that my excitement and enthusiasm for helping kids discover that they can create art, is not a waste of time or effort. There is something powerful to watch as students realize that they are able to do far more than they ever thought possible. May we ever stand firm and stay the course to which we are called, for nothing we do for Him is ever for naught.

 

If all that we do, 257314779340194518937431.jpeg

Is unto the Lord;

No effort wasted,

As grace is outpoured.

For God gladly takes,

What we choose to bring;

And uses for good,

All our offerings.

Whether it is time,

Resources or heart;

All done unto God,

Become lifetime art.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all that we do unto You can be used for Your glory. Thank You that as we stay the course to which we are called, we see Your faithfulness unfold in Your time. Thank You that You are always good, even when we cannot see the good before us. Forgive us for our doubts that make us question the direction we know we are meant to go. Strengthen us to stand firm and press on, trusting completely in You to bring beauty from our investment of time, energy and heart. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages them to discover or continue on the path to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to use our every offering for good as we stay the course to which we are called. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this. – Psalm 37:5

The Favor of Forgiveness

And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. – (Matthew 6:12, NLT)

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – (Matthew 6:12, ERV)

Forgive us the wrongs we have done as we ourselves release forgiveness to those who have wronged us. – (Matthew 6:12, TPT)

 

Yesterday morning, we were up fairly early, and had plenty of time to finally finish watching “The Shack”, before we needed to get ready to go to church. What stood out to me in the final hour of the movie was the powerful impact that the decision to forgive had on the life of the main character. “The Shack” beautifully illustrated how forgiveness is often not a one-and-done decision, but rather it is an ongoing journey that we make a thousand times, choosing to forgive again and again, each time the pain enters our awareness. Though not an easy path to traverse, the healing that comes is well worth the work. As the main character, Mackenzie, made the most difficult decision of his life to choose to forgive one who had brought such incredible pain to his entire family, he was granted forgiveness of his own that set him free from a weight he had carried most of his life. It was a powerful reminder that we all have a story and each one of us needs to choose to forgive. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we may be quick to forgive and love well.

 

Let us choose forgive, The Favor of Forgiveness

For it shall be done;

With equal measure,

Through the Holy One.

We are forgiven,

As we freely choose;

To give all to God,

Let His Spirit move.

For His grace and love,

Bring healing and life;

He mends broken hearts,

Brings peace where there’s strife.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You that You forgive us as we choose forgive others. Thank You that we never have to forgive on our own, but rather You walk beside us and grant us the strength, peace and love to do the seemingly impossible. Forgive us for all of the times that we have withheld forgiving others. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to forgive as You have forgiven us. Lead us to love with Your grace and goodness that breaks down barriers and brings peace to places that need to know it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to forgive others as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

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

 

 

Trust in His Hand

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – (Psalm 111:7, NIV)

Everything He does is good and fair. All His commands can be trusted. – (Psalm 111:7, ERV)

All His accomplishments are truth and justice; all His instructions are certain. – (Psalm 111:7, VOICE)

My husband, on our wedding day, happened to be holding both of our wedding bands in the hollow of his hand. As he looked closely at the two symbols of our love and commitment to one another, he noticed that mine fit easily in his. He snapped a photo of our rings in his hand, and at some point, showed me the picture he had taken. Because I am such a visual person, when I saw the image, my heart held fast; for just as my Viking held our rings in the hollow of his hand, so too does God hold us in His. In the same way that his ring surrounded and protected mine, likewise is his charge as a husband to surround and protect in love as we are held in the Lord’s hands. Throughout our entire relationship so far, the image matches how my heart has been held. May we ever rest in the Lord, as we are held in His hands, for He is faithful and just, and we can trust Him in all of our ways.

 

Loved and protected,

For all of our days;

We’re held in His hands,

Both now and always.

We can always trust,

For His ways are sure;

He holds us in love,

In Him, we’re secure.

So, ever seek God,

Who’s faithful and just;

All His ways are good,

And worthy of trust.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us tangible examples of how You love us and hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for forgetting how great the hands are that hold us, as You who created all that exists are capable of holding us and leading us the ways in which we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are so good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that envelops each in the goodness and faithfulness that Your love provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands. Amen.

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

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

Refreshment in His Hands

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV)

“I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

“I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

This morning, 4:00am came far too early for my sweet husband. After running errands, cleaning, appointments and finally a fantastic evening with my bonus brother, his girlfriend, and dear friends, my Viking was completely exhausted by the time we went to bed. Thankfully, he only has three days of work this week until we at long last escape for an eight-day honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean. My prayer, even now, is that our time will be one of refreshment for his weariness and restoration for our souls as we work to build a new life together. I anticipate all of the good that will come from time away together, with the ability to do as much or as little as we feel like on any given day. We have been overwhelmingly blessed each step of our journey thus far, and I trust that we will find rest and strength in the spaces where both have been sparse. May we ever seek the Lord, who grants rest for the weary and strengthens the faint.

 

When we are weary,

img_20180724_051744_9218287520847950934122.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

The Lord grants us rest;

Strength in our weakness,

Our God knows what’s best.

Time in His presence,

Brings strength to the soul;

Joy where there’s longing,

His love makes us whole.

Let’s lean into Him,

Our Grantor of peace;

For time in His hands,

Bring power’s release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our place to find rest and refreshment as You are the Bestower of strength when we have none. Thank You that You are the one who sees and hears our needs, and refreshes and renews where we are depleted. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength and rest when it is needed. Teach us to trust You more, as You give good things to those who pursue Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and rest to those who are weary and depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Source of strength and rest. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Wise Words and Hard Work are Worthwhile

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Words spoken wisely result in much good, and working with your hands pays a large reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, VOICE)

 

What we say and what we do have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Hard work and well-chosen words bring blessings, as we reap what we sow. When we give good, good is returned. Kindness begets kindness and hard work wields wages by which we can live. As my family continues to prepare for the upcoming wedding and move, the truth of these words is made evident. Yesterday, I let my boys know that there was yardwork that needed to be done at the new house. Additionally, I let them know how much I appreciated their willingness to jump in and work, and that their efforts would be rewarded at the end, if the job was seen through to completion. Encouragement was extended to each of them as we worked, and neither young man complained, but rather worked steadily and with determination to get their given job done. In a few short hours, the front, back and side yard were vastly improved. My guys were rewarded for the work of their hands, and good things came as I had chosen my words carefully. May we ever be mindful of the words that we speak and choose to work as if unto the Lord.

 

Good things come our way,

From well-chosen words;

For we’re rewarded,

When wisdom is heard.

And likewise we reap,

Whatever we sow;

The work of our hands,

Bring reward, we know.

So, let us in word,

And work that we do;

Do as unto God,

From Love’s point of view.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that our words and our work have a lasting impact on that which we receive. Thank You that You strengthen and empower us to choose our words wisely and to work as unto You as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we speak without thought or slack on the work that we are called to complete. Teach us to trust You and seek You for the strength we need to continue all that to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us with our words and through hard work. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose our words wisely and work as if we are working for You. Amen.

 

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

 

Do your work, and be happy to do it. Work as though it is the Lord you are serving, not just an earthly master. – Ephesians 6:7

Power to the Tired

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps the tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

His understanding is beyond human reach, giving power to the tired and reviving the exhausted. – (Isaiah 40:29, CEB)

 

I am so grateful to know where our strength comes from when we feel as though there is none remaining in us. It has been an incredibly long week, particularly for my fiancé, as he has worked long days with a grueling commute, and then has been driving to his old house to work and make preparations to sell and then on to further make ready the new home that we will all share in a few short weeks. Yesterday evening, he hit the wall, and was done. Exhaustion had taken over, and rest was required. After spending a few hours at the house with him, working on finishing details beyond his already lengthy day, he reached a point where he needed to be done. We left, met the boys, my mom and sister for dinner, gave a tour of our new home, and departed so my Viking and my bonus son could get some rest. This morning, I trust that he will be strengthened and rested and revived. God is faithful to provide what we need as we need it most. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength in our weariness and allow His rest to refresh us from exhaustion.

 

O Lord, I thank You, Power to the Tired

You’re faithful to meet;

Us when we’re weary,

Revive from defeat.

You grant us power,

When we find we’ve none;

You love us to life,

All things, overcome.

Your understanding,

And help in our need;

Grant strength to rise up,

In Your strength, succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us, no matter how we come. Thank You that You give strength when we are weary and grant us power when we are weak. Thank You that You see us in our need and provide in places we lack. Forgive us for attempting to power through beyond what we are meant to do. Teach us to turn to You for strength in spaces it is lacking, and for renewal when we are worn. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways so that we may help strengthen and encourage in practical ways when they are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the strength and refreshment we need to navigate all that we are called to complete. Amen.

 

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

 

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41 

Encouragement and Strength Supplied

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

On the day I cried out, You answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength. – (Psalm 138:3, CEB)

When I pray, You answer me and encourage me by giving me the strength I need. – (Psalm 138:3, TLB)

 

This is an incredibly exciting season, as there are many preparations for the coming month ahead. With so much new, and much to do, I find myself up, moving and pushing through from sunup to sundown. All the work that is being fulfilled is for good and undertaken joyfully, yet I am so grateful that I am met each morning with the new strength that is needed to navigate all that must be accomplished. Between helping prepare my fiance’s old house to sell, assisting in moving he and his son into the home that we have purchased, projects at the new house, sorting and purging items in my own home to ready ourselves to move, and wedding preparation, this week has been crazy busy. Each morning, as I make time with God my priority, I am met with all that is required to rise and run strong throughout the day. He grants me strength and encouragement, as I am filled with joy in knowing the beauty of all that lies before me. May we always remember to call on the Lord, as He is faithful to answer and encourage us and grant us strength.

 

Each time that we pray,

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Our boys sharing the workload too. ❤

God’s faithful to hear;

He grants us His strength,

And draws ever near.

Encouragement’s found,

As we seek His grace;

Empowered each step,

Throughout all our days.

So, rise up in hope,

And call on the Lord;

He grants us His strength,

As love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as soon as we pray, You answer us. Thank You that You encourage us by giving us strength. Thank You for the countless blessings that You pour out upon us as we walk out our days, seeking Your face. Forgive us for becoming distracted by all that lies before us, rather than looking to You, the One who supplies all that we need for whatever lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, recognizing the strength and encouragement that You alone supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens them as they pursue the path that has been placed before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and give You thanks for the encouragement and strength that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

The More We’re Created For

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

And let the Lord our God favor us and give us success. May He give us permanence to all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TLB)

Oh Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

Though the school year just ended, teacher brains never fully unplug nor shut off to bettering their craft. Yes, the summer is a season for us to rest, retreat and recharge, but it is also a time to prepare for the work we will begin again as the new year arrives far more quickly than one might think. This verse is one of hope and my prayer, as teachers teach not to cram facts and figures into the minds of young people, but rather with the hope of helping each child discover the “more” that they were created for.  The success and permanence in this difficult work is found in watching children blossom into adulthood with the confidence and tools to take them wherever they want to go. May the favor of the Lord rest upon us all and establish the work of our hands.

 

May the Lord’s favor, The More We Are Created For

Come rest upon us;

In all that we do,

To know His success.

In God, establish,

The work of our hands;

May we move forward,

And follow His plans.

Things done in God’s strength,

As He guides our way;

Have lasting impact,

Beyond just today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us Your favor and establish the work of our hands as we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own, rather than trusting You to lead us and guide us to make a difference in all that we do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize and know Your nearness and favor upon us and follow wherever You lead. Show us how to love those around us in a tangible way that aids in the success of all that they are drawn to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your favor and trust You to establish the work of our hands. 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 Solution for Stress

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

Every Friday afternoon, I make a point to ask my boys what homework they need to accomplish before returning to school on Monday, and then give them a run-down of what is on the agenda for the weekend so that they can pace themselves accordingly. At times, there is an unrealistic assessment of what must be done, and the workload come Sunday afternoon, is far greater than it ought to be. Sadly, for one of my sweet sons, that was the case last evening. He had underestimated the number of tasks to be completed by school’s start this morning and began to get himself so worked up and stressed, that he had wasted an hour of precious work time pacing and wandering, rather than actually working. At first, I had a moment of serious frustration, followed by the recognition that my irritation would only worsen the situation rather than help bring resolution. We talked about what needed to be done and then came up with a strategy and manageable plan. Next, I simply placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for peace, strength and clear thinking. From there, it was up to him to complete the task at hand, and I needed to go to bed and get some sleep. This morning, I woke to a note by my computer where I write each morning, expressing his gratitude with a request for an early wake up. God provided the strength and peace that he needed to get things done, and the resolve to rise early and continue to work to complete what remains to be finished. With only two and a half school days remaining, I trust that His strength and peace with continue to be provided so that we may finish strong. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times, as He is faithful to meet us each time we ask.

 

When life overwhelms, wp-15293227850142624927069206169917.jpg

And things seem all wrong;

Seek the Lord for peace,

As He makes us strong.

He calms our wild hearts,

And grants us His peace;

Deposits His hope,

As grace is released.

No matter what comes,

Trust God who is near;

Our Grantor of peace,

And Calmer of fears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and peace, as You provide what we need as we need it most. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to send us in a stress spiral rather than running to You in trust. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, as You are our Provider of peace and strength. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in their spaces that feel unsettled. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength and peace that You alone provide and go forth seeking to share the same with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6