How We Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NIV)

The light of God’s love shined within us when He sent His matchless Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, TPT)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

 

We know love, because God first loved us. Jesus made the way for all who choose believe and receive, to access a love so great, that once it is known, it must be shared. The beauty of God’s love is that it is so all-encompassing that we are filled to overflowing and cannot help but give love as we have been given. Our challenge is to actually receive what is being extended. When we truly take the time to taste and see how good God is and how vast His love is for each one of us, it is impossible to not be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is in that space of grace, when we are fully aware, that we long to give that which we have been given. May we each take pause and allow God’s love to wash over us so that we may view others through His lens of love.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is granted to us;

Ready to receive,

Through His Son, Jesus.

In Him there is life,

Grace and lasting love;

Floods both heart and mind,

As we trust above.

And as we receive,

We expand and grow;

Equipped to love well,

So grace overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us love and to equip us with the capacity to love others as we are loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view others through Your lens of love, and extend all of Your goodness and grace to each person we meet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your light and love in ways that bless their hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have to give so that we may go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5

For Beautiful New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

 

I am not big on resolutions nor bandwagon ideas for the coming year. However, as I sat down to prepare to do my devotions this morning, I pondered the overarching word that could capture the heart of this past year. Right away, the word that came to mind was hope. Hope has been the anchor for my soul through some seriously stormy seas that I never thought I’d need to navigate. God’s grace has been abundant, and His hope – overwhelmingly present. Looking forward, I paused, for only a moment, and prayed, asking what word might be one to look for in the coming year. Right away, the word “new” came to mind. For most, I know that new would make sense for a new year, but as a teacher, the new year falls only halfway through the school year, so it really never feels “new”. It is simply a return, rested and recharged for part two. That being said, as I opened my Bible app to go to the day’s reading, and immediately I was greeted by the verses listed above. I do not think that the verse and the word that came to mind and heart are a coincidence. God is doing something new, and I am going to eagerly anticipate all that awaits in the new year. Growth is always good, and possible where things seem impossible – excellent! May we ever watch closely and take notice, for God is doing new things – making a way where there seems no way, and providing beyond what we thought possible.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying Mom to her therapy appointments. It was incredible to watch all of the “new” that she is doing in occupational, speech and physical therapies. Additionally, Saturday morning, Mom determined to try out her new cane, rather than her walker. Since then, she has not looked back, and is now only using the cane to walk! That includes going out for appointments, quick errands, and even when we went out to dinner last evening. God continues to do the “new” in Mom, and we are anticipating an incredible year ahead for her as well.

 

Behold, there is new, wp-15778113316466110001030105135888.jpg

That is yet to come;

God’s making a way,

He’s only begun.

Where impossible,

Was how it all seemed;

God’s making the way,

Realizing dreams.

We know not the way,

He’s working for us;

But He’s full of love,

And faithful to bless.

So, rise up in trust,

Have faith His word’s true;

God’s making a way,

For beautiful new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and grow us beyond what we ever imagined possible. Thank You that You are always doing something new on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that question the possibility of anything more than where we are right now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view life through Your lens rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that support, encourage, and strengthen all whom we meet with reason to believe there is more in store. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all the new that is yet to come in 2020. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19

Joy in the Right Words at the Right Time

A person finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word! – (Proverbs 15:23, NIV)

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

There is great joy in having the right answer, and how sweet is the right word at the right time. – (Proverbs 15:23, VOICE)

 

Words are a powerful weapon; forces of good that extend hope and life and encouragement, or they can become spears hurled at the heart – even when the intent is not harm. When our words land well, we find joy in knowing that the intent and application aligned. However, when words fall flat, or far worse, the desire for a rewind option or the ability to withdraw and delete that which was not received as life-giving is huge. This is where it is critical to remember the power of our words, so that we might pause, take a breath, and think clearly before speaking. God is faithful to provide as we abide in Him. Though we are human, as are the recipients of our words, and each are subject to missteps and misinterpretations, when we seek the Lord and trust in Him to guide our heart, there are far more moments of joy in the right words at the right time.

To update on mom, after Friday’s trifecta of therapies, it was determined that she will be phasing into outpatient therapy within the next few weeks. This is a fantastic graduation of sorts, as outpatient facilities have far more tools to work with to propel mom forward on her healing journey. The challenge remaining will be the logistics and working out the details. Thankfully, mom has two great caregivers that alternate days with her while Meg and Scott are at work. Terry and Angela should be able to coordinate and take mom to her appointments as she makes the change to the new. It will be good, but as always, a covering in prayer for new therapists and all of the details, as well as mom’s ongoing healing, are greatly appreciated.

 

A timely answer,

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So apt a reply;

Joy to the speaker,

Grace none can deny.

And how sweet the words,

At just the right time;

To bless, encourage,

Show that love is kind.

Our words have power,

To give life, build up;

To love others well,

Seek to fill their cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the joy that comes when we are trusting in You to respond to those around us. Thank You for the times that our words are received as they are intended. Forgive us for the times that we have used our words flippantly, grossly unaware of the impact they might have on those around us. Teach us to pause and filter our words through Your lens, as Your heart is to bless and extend love. Show us how to love those around us with our words, each time we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us the words we are meant to speak. Amen.

 

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

 

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

United Purposeful Paths

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV)

Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, CEB)

I urge you, my brothers and sisters, for the sake of the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to agree to live in unity with one another and put to rest any division that attempts to tear you apart. Be restored as one united body living in perfect harmony. Form a consistent choreography among yourselves, having a common perspective with shared values. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, TPT)

 

Assumption is the path to destruction in spaces where unity is being sought. Instead, we must seek to understand one another to find common ground and purpose, so that we may be united rather than divided – as shared perspectives and values accomplish much. That is not to say that values ought to ever be compromised, but rather they need to be heard to search for common ground to identify a starting point. The more that we come together, the more often we discover our purpose and intent is seeking the same outcome. May we seek the Lord’s wisdom to be united rather than divided, so that we may be restored as a body that lives together in harmony and aligned purpose.

 

Brothers and sisters, United Purposeful Paths

Let us choose pursue;

Purpose united,

So division’s through.

Together in thought,

Let minds be renewed;

New harmony found,

In common values.

Let’s seek understand,

As we are made new;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In grace, living true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live united, not divided. Thank You that You call us to seek common purpose, perspective and values so that we may accomplish much in Your Name. Forgive us for fixating on the little things that are insignificant rather than those that last forever. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would view things through Your lens. Show us how to see people and situations through Your eyes, so that we would be able to hear and understand where common ground can be found. Help us to love others in a way that helps create unity and restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be united in purpose with those whom You have placed on our path. 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

Knowing Our Own Need

In Luke 7:36-50, the story of Jesus being anointed by the sinful woman is unpacked. I love the scene that my mind’s eye imagines, as the Pharisee, who has invited Jesus to dinner, likely to show Him how “great” he was, was quite put out when this immoral woman showed up and began hanging out at the feet of Jesus. It even went so far as to record what Simon (the Pharisee) said to himself, “If this Man were a prophet, He would know what kind of woman is touching Him. She’s a sinner!” (Luke 7:39, NLT)

The sinful woman was fully aware of her sin. She was repentant as she knelt at the feet of Jesus and washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. Additionally, she anointed his feet with perfume and continued to cover them with kisses.

Simon just did not get it. Jesus wanted to be sure that he did. He stopped Simon in his tracks, and told him a story of two men being forgiven their debts. One was forgiven a small debt, the other, a much larger debt. When Jesus asked Simon which man would love more, Simon was able to reply, “The one who had been forgiven more.”

It does not appear that Simon had some sort of great revelation for himself and his own need for forgiveness, but at least it seems he gained a glimpse of why the woman’s weeping and washing of Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act of worship.

This story has many points, but the two that stand out the most are that we need to recognize our own necessity to repent, and that it is not our position to determine a person’s heart when they come before the Lord. We all have a past, and those who have been forgiven much, love much. May we ever seek the Lord and His forgiveness, so that we may go forth and love as He loves.

 

There’s no “good enough”,

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Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Nor penance required;

Instead, we can come,

Presence is desired.

Jesus says draw near,

Despite where we’ve been;

He longs to forgive,

Wash away our sin.

As we choose take pause,

Truly recognize;

His mercy granted,

Great love realized.

As we’re forgiven,

Let us likewise love;

So others too know,

Hope in Christ above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us such beautiful examples of forgiveness and gratitude for Your mercy and grace. Thank You that You call us to be gracious and merciful as You are full of mercy and grace toward us all. Forgive us for the times that we either viewed others as less than, or ourselves as more than we should. Teach us to see ourselves and others through Your lens – as loved and in need of a Savior. Help us to love well, all those around us, so that they may see Your heart through our mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love without limits, and forgive as we have been forgiven. 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

Patient Acceptance

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NLT)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

 

If God, the Creator of the Earth and all that exists, chooses to be patient and gentle with us, how much more should we extend patience and gentleness to those around us? Jesus humbled Himself to step down from heaven and make His love known in a tangible way. By His grace, we each have the opportunity to love and be loved by God; for He forgives our faults and loves us as we come. In the same way, we are called to accept others in love, just as they are, knowing that each of us is a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived“, and we all need grace. May we walk in humility and gentleness, extending patience, as we accept one another in love.

 

Always be humble,Gods protection

Extend gentleness;

Be patient and kind,

To show God exists.

For when we accept,

Each other in love;

Christ’s love is made known,

As hope points above.

Let us overlook,

The faults of others;

Instead choose to love,

Sisters and brothers.

From this sort of love,

Our hearts shall know peace;

As grace is granted,

Barriers release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to be humble and gentle and patient with each other, but You have shown us how through Jesus. Thank You Jesus, for demonstrating what it is to overlook other’s faults in love, as You looked past what was, and saw who people could become. Forgive us for not having patience with imperfections, as we all are fallen and flawed. Teach us to view others through Your lens, so that we would see the good in everyone whom we encounter. Show us how to love others with patience and gentleness, leading us in humility as we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we humbly extend patience, gentleness and love to all whom we meet. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7