Weathering the Waves

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, NIV)

A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides of the boat, and it was almost full of water. Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with His head on a pillow. The followers went and woke Him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be Still!” Then the wind stopped and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, ERV)

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused Him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to You that we’re going down?” Awake now, He told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. – (Mark 4:37-39, MSG)

 

Though I have both read and heard the passage about Jesus calming the storm numerous times, yesterday’s message by my pastor, brought new revelation that is extraordinarily timely. The disciples were primarily a group of experienced fishermen. They had spent their years and earned their livelihood fishing on this particular body of water, so none of them were new to sudden storms. What stood out about this one was that no longer was it a storm surrounding them, but it was actually bringing water into the boat. Fear entered when the storm on the outside, began impacting the inside. As the waves began to fill the boat, they recognized their desperate need for a Savior. In their state of terror, they questioned Christ’s concern for them, as they feared their own demise. Jesus demonstrated His authority and power as He spoke to the storm, telling the wind and the waves to “Be still!”  We are no different. Often, we neglect to pray about things that are “out there, but when they come close, or affect us directly, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the storm. The beautiful thing is that Jesus will still respond to us in the same way that He did to His disciples. 

1) In the midst of the storm, we need to seek Jesus. 

2) As we do, our prayers have the power to calm the storm. 

3) In the midst of the storm, we need to anchor ourselves to God’s love. 

Jesus has the power to not only calm the storm around us, but He calms the chaos within us as well. Sometimes, they are simultaneous, yet other times we will be brought to a space of His relentless grace, simply to be at peace in knowing that He is in the boat with us. Our boat will not sink when He is aboard. May we hold fast to the Anchor who is our hope, and remember Who is in the boat with us through the storms.

 

When the storm surrounds, wp-15849697395664983915925030867878.jpg

Take pause, choose to pray;

Fend off fearfulness,

Christ shows us the way.

Even when the waves,

Break over our boat;

If God is with us,

He’ll keep us afloat.

It takes but a word,

An act of God’s will;

Peace will be present,

And waters made still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what storms surround us, or even the waves that make way into our boat, You remain with us. Thank You that all power and authority are Yours, and that in You, we have access to be anchored in Your love and calmed in the storm. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the waves crash too close to our own boats. Teach us to come to You in both the calm and in the storm, remembering it is You to whom we need to anchor ourselves to stay afloat. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may find hope and peace and strength to weather the storms that come their way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor ourselves to Your love each day, as You keep us safe and secure through every wave that comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Be Our Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and He wants you strong. – (Ephesians 6:10, MSG)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

 

If anyone can speak truth into our lives as we are limited in what we can safely and wisely do, it is Paul, through his letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul was writing from a Roman prison, encouraging all to find strength in God. His reminder to us is that as we are invested in our walk with God, His strength will rise up in us and flow through us, in all things. In a space of rapidly increasing restrictions and limited availability, there are still a plethora of freedoms that we are granted that Paul did not experience in a Roman prison. We are able to communicate with loved ones, near and far; we are able to get outdoors and take in the fresh air and move. Technology grants us access to far more than ever before, even in as much as the opportunity to worship together, separately, from our own homes, with our own congregations, online. No, it doesn’t look the same, but it is far better than the space Paul was in, and likewise, far better than the confines of a hospital bed, fighting for life. In this time of being primarily home bound, there is room to grow closer to our family, with whom we reside, and time to invest in things that we seldom otherwise do. Yesterday, I walked around the perimeter of our yard and snapped some photos, choosing to be intentional as I looked through the lens. I found great delight in observing how the light and shadows danced among plants ready to bloom, and soaked in the sunshine that has been present all week. Our evening ended with a family game night, and our middle son dominated at Dominoes. Smiles were on each face around the table, and there was a sweet peace in one another’s presence as we laughed and played together. God is so good, and His strength is granted as we trust and depend on Him in all things, great and small.

 

Be strong in the Lord, DSC00007

For that is how strength;

Rises within us,

And reaches great lengths.

As we trust in Him,

For life, love and grace;

He meets and equips,

To run well, our race.

Trust in His goodness,

Look around and see;

He’s ever faithful,

Watch and you’ll agree.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength is limitless and Your love, boundless. Thank You that You make us strong as we seek You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when times are tough. Teach us to trust You, no matter what we see. Show us how to love in the strength You give us, so that others may come to know the abundance of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust in You to be our strength all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Born As Blessed News

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – (Luke 2:11-12, NIV)

“Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. This is how you will know Him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” – (Luke 2:11-12, ERV)

“Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.” – (Luke 2:11-12, VOICE)

 

The good news announced more than two-thousand years ago, is still the good news that we celebrate today. That baby, announced the Messiah and Lord at birth, grew and made His power known. He did this not be demanding reverence and obedience, but rather through living and loving in a way that made His peace, power and provision visible and tangible, so that we might understand His heart for us. Being a visual learner, I try to imagine what it might have been like to take in such an incredible announcement from an enormous angel, hear praise from the angelic hosts, and then attempt to find a swaddled baby, lying in a manger. Were there many families with farm animals and feed boxes in Nazareth? How did the shepherds know where to go? I know there was a star, but I imagine that is what made the way to Nazareth clear for the wise men, not so much the final details once in town. Maybe it was small enough that the shepherds (and later the wise men) could simply ask where the couple was that were staying out with the animals and just birthed a baby. No matter how the minute details of history unfolded, I am forever grateful that they did. May we all look at the truth told so many centuries ago, that transformed hearts and lives in such a way, that we may all access the holy, living God, personally.

 

The Light of the world, And the Word Became Flesh

Entered our darkness;

Humbly He was born,

To make right our mess.

His love restores hope,

Grants strength to the weak;

Brings peace where it’s not,

As we choose to seek.

Holy announcement,

By grace, entered in;

Born Lord and Savior,

To take away sin.

Willingly He died,

So we’d come to know;

Salvation, free life,

Love that nurtures growth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that sent Your one and only Son to earth as an infant, so that we would see what it is to live and love and grow in You without sin. Thank You that Jesus modeled the sort of life that we are called to lead, as He loved people without limits. Forgive us for the times that we do not live or love like You. Teach us to trust You more, as we recall the sacrifices made on our behalf to bring us life everlasting. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the gift of Your presence this most holy season. Amen.

 

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

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Searched, Known and Loved

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV)

O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. – (Psalm 139:1, TLB)

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE)

 

The very One who created us knows everything about us and loves us for who we are. Though we are broken and flawed, He loves. As we seek Him, we find Him. Once we choose to invite Him to be in charge, He will not leave us nor forsake us. There is much comfort and reverence in knowing the overwhelming, never-ending, all-encompassing depth of His love for us in spite of ourselves. May we ever give praise to the Ancient of Days, as He knows us and loves us far better than anyone else ever will.

 

God, our Creator, Searched and Known

Has searched us and knows;

What dwells in our hearts,

When we come and go.

Though dark and broken,

His love still remains;

He brings light and love,

And washes the stains.

So, ever seek God,

He knows our hearts best;

In His love and grace,

We come to know rest.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have searched us and know us and love us anyway. Thank You that You do not place qualifications on Your love. Forgive us for the things within us that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give You access to all. Show us how to allow Your light into the dark spaces and give grace room to move where it is needed most. Help us to love those around us the way that blesses and encourages them and helps them to feel known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for knowing us and loving us as we are, and for refining us to become more of who You are calling us to become. 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

Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. Amen. 

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

The Power and Precision of the Word

For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and bones, it judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

The word of God, you see, is alive and moving; sharper than a double-edged sword; piercing the divide between soul and spirit, joint and marrow; able to judge the thoughts and will of the heart. – (Hebrews 4:12, VOICE)

 

God’s word is compared to the sharpest of tools because when we are invested in studying it, He will use His word with great precision to help correct and direct our lives. As we allow His word to penetrate the hidden spaces of our soul, He will show us what should stay, and that which needs to be cut away. Often there are thoughts and attitudes that creep in and need His care, so that we can continue to love according to His calling. May we ever invest our time in God’s word, so that He may move mightily both in and through our lives.

 

Alive and active,Write Upon My Heart

Correct and lead well;

The word of the Lord,

Has purpose to tell.

With great precision,

The word separates;

Attitudes of heart,

Not good, and the great.

He shows us His heart,

The good we’re to do;

Then grants us the strength,

To follow what’s true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word. Thank You that it is alive and active and that it words with precision in our hearts and lives to show us what is good and what needs to go. Forgive us for not pursuing You and all that You have for us, or for neglecting to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You access to all. Separate what is good from that which needs to go, so that we may better walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that leads them to pursue Your heart for the hope that they see in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our time and hearts in Your word and allow You access to every part of our hearts and lives so that we may ever be refined to better reflect You. 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

Words and Thoughts Matter

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, NIV)

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 gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

Our words and thoughts matter to God. The things that come out of our mouths provide evidence of that which lies within our hearts. There are days that feel better than others in this arena. It is a choice to either allow our circumstances to dictate how we respond, or rather, we choose to react in a spirit of love, regardless of what we are given. God is gracious and kind, and He will guard our hearts and make us new, even in the way in which we respond with words, if we are willing to allow Him access. May we ever seek the Lord and meditate on His word, so that our words and thoughts may be pleasing before God.

 

 

May all that I say, Words and Thoughts Matter

And each thought I hold;

Be pleasing to God,

As His love is shown.

For I long to please,

My God, who’s my Rock;

Not just with thinking,

But also with talk.

Let what’s in my heart,

Reflect Your love true;

As You grant Your grace,

Ever make me new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that as we ask, You answer. Thank You that when we choose to fix our minds and hearts on You and Your word, that which comes out of us is a clearer reflection of You and Your love. Forgive us for not investing our hearts and minds in the things of You, or for ignoring Your still small voice that reminds us to silence the thoughts and words that enter in that are not pleasing in Your sight. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, so that we would set our hearts and minds on that which builds others up, regardless of what comes our way. Show us how to love others well, so that Your love may be evident in our every interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our minds and hearts on You, so that our words and thoughts are pleasing unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Weighing Words

Fools believe every word they hear, but wise people think carefully about everything. – (Proverbs 14:15, ERV)

The gullible believe anything they are told, but clever people know to question every step. – (Proverbs 14:15, VOICE)

Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps. – (Proverbs 14:15, NLT)

 

As an educator, I have had to teach middle schoolers to question their sources of information for years. With access to so much at their fingertips, it is imperative that they learn to identify what sort of source is credible, and that which is not. The same holds true in our own lives. What we once trusted as reliable, now has the capacity to be called into question. However, there is one Source that has not, does not, and will not change. No matter what is going on in the world around is, our anchor of truth is found in Christ. When we place our trust and hope in Him, He grants us clarity and wisdom that weighs what is going on in the world, next to the truth of His word. May we listen cautiously to what is being spoken, and carefully consider each step, based on the truth of God’s word, and the voice of His Spirit to our hearts.

 

Do not lack wisdom,Constructive Permission

Nor choose play the fool;

Instead, opt listen,

Weigh against God’s rule.

The wisest choose think,

On everything;

Questioning each step,

Seek God on all things.

Don’t believe all words,

Spoken that we hear;

Consider what’s said,

And to God, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us warning to not believe every word we hear, but rather to weigh what is spoken carefully. Thank You that we are not left to our own devices to simply figure it out, but rather You are beside us, willing to speak truth to our hearts and help us to know the truth. Forgive us for not weighing words that are spoken, or for being quick to believe whatever we hear. Teach us to trust and rely on You first, rather than whatever source of information spews stories our direction. Show us how to filter everything through Your lens. Help us to love others as You so completely and lavishly love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we weigh the words spoken into our lives, and likewise choose our own words well. 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

Faithful Tree Tending

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV) 

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! – (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT)

 

No human is all of these things, all of the time. However, I imagine we all can come up with a few folks who come close. Typically, those who exhibit abundant fruit, are those who have been faithful to tend their “trees” and nourish the soil of their hearts well for many years. If we are consistent in our seeking and allow the Almighty access to all areas of our hearts and lives, the evidence of His hand becomes clear by the fruit that we produce. When we are given hate, we respond in His love; when sorrow comes, His joy soon follows in the faithful. Where there is chaos, peace is held in the hearts of those who depend on Him. In trying times, patience is provided, and kindness escapes the lips of those leaning into the Lord. No matter what lies before us, when we give all to Him, God’s goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are available in us by His Spirit, and it is up to us to listen and obey as we walk out each day. We all are a work in progress. On those days when I feel my patience growing thin, I recognize my desperate need for the Lord, and have to choose to either seek Him, or snap at everyone who pushes my limit. May we ever seek the Lord and His fruit, for that which the Spirit provides is desirable and will draw others unto Himself.

 

The fruit the Lord gives,Becoming Branches

Is sweet and so good;

It draws others near,

As the faithful should.

The Spirit within,

Chooses to grow well;

Love, joy, peace, patience,

Goodness, self-control.

Also there’s kindness,

And sweet faithfulness;

So much is given,

With His gentleness.

There’s no law that stands,

Against these great things;

So let us pursue,

The fruit that Christ brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and allow You access to our hearts and lives, You grow in us the fruit of Your Spirit, as it is sweet and desirable to all. Thank You that we all can have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in You. Forgive us for not seeking You or trusting You when things go awry. Teach us to trust You more so that we would lean into You and allow Your Spirit within us to prune the places that are lacking life, and grow greater in us, the fruit that gives light and life to all who come near. Show us how to love according to the fruit of Your Spirit, so that many may come to know Who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to tend the trees of our hearts so that we produce the fruit that You have for us. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

When We Need Wisdom

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. – (James 1:5, NLT)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

 

In this day and age, we can access information just about anywhere. However, there is a vast difference between information and wisdom. It requires wisdom, which is the knowledge of what is true and right, coupled with just judgment as to action (dictionary.com), to know what we are meant to do with the information we gather. True wisdom comes from God, as He is good and just and truth. When we seek Him, He is generous to grant us insight and discernment, so that we can do right by Him. As we find ourselves in spaces of needing to know what is right and true, or what exactly we are meant to do, may we seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom each step of the way.

 

Our God is so good,Refreshment Through Repentance

Generous and kind;

Whatever we need,

When we seek, we find.

Knowledge of the truth,

The way we should go;

What’s true and what’s right,

Things God’s wisdom shows.

We need only ask,

And our God supplies;

Without holding back,

Wisdom realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we need wisdom, we need only ask of You, and You generously give. Thank You that You will not make us feel less than for asking, but instead You lovingly give. Forgive us for attempting to act on our own insight, rather than seeking Your wisdom in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and ask You for insight and discernment in all situations and circumstances, as Your wisdom is the way to light and life. Show us how to love those around us in a way that models what is true, right and just. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You for the wisdom we need to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5