Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2

Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Charged to Choose

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, VOICE)

 

This charge, given by Paul to the church of Corinth in the closing of his second letter, is also for all of us today. As we determine to rejoice despite our circumstances, seek to be at peace with those around us, encourage each other, make amends where there is brokenness, and strive to be united in purpose, God, who is the source of all love and peace, will be present. Though at times it seems impossible to reach such a place of peace with particular people, God is capable of the miraculous and can make a way where there seems to be no way. It is not up to us to change hard hearts, but rather to continue to encourage, love and seek peace as we are called to do. The heart change is in His hands, our part is to love and do what we can to make things right. May we ever seek our Savior to equip us to love, encourage, seek peace, repair what is broken and choose to rejoice; always.

 

Let us choose rejoice,Charged to Choose

In each circumstance;

God goes before us,

He knows in advance.

The Source of all love,

The Bearer of peace;

He creates a way,

As grace is released.

Called to encourage,

And make all things right;

Choose lift others up,

In purpose, unite.

Brothers and sisters,

Be filled with His joy;

His presence remains,

As Love’s given voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to rejoice, restore, encourage, unite and be at peace with the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked the love to do these things with those who challenge us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the God of all, and You love each of Your created, fiercely. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, unites, restores, and brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in all things and seek You to empower us to do all that You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

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

Practice As His Poetry

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

 

This week, I had the pleasure as a parent, of watching my children do some of what they were designed to do, as they each took part in their fall concert. Both boys have always loved music; it is part of their design. Watching my eldest (by one minute) sing with the concert choir, and his twin brother play the viola with the concert orchestra, filled my heart with joy. God has given each of us talents and gifts, dreams and desires – all of which can be used for His good. When we utilize what we’ve been given with gratitude, God receives the glory. As we seek Him and join our hearts with His, good works can come in every avenue of our lives. Encouragement, kindness, gratitude, generosity and love, all demonstrate His heart for people, and provide opportunity for those who may not know Him, to see the light of His goodness and grace through those around them. May we ever remember that we are God’s poetry, His very masterpiece – created to delight those around us by doing good.

 

For we have been made, Practice As His Poetry

To be who we are;

God’s own masterpiece,

To shine like the stars.

We’re meant to do good,

Fulfill what God planned;

Love as God loves us,

By His grace, choose stand.

Stand for the hurting,

Encourage, lift up;

Answer His calling,

In all things, choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose, and that You consider each of us Your poetry – Your masterpiece. Thank You that we have been designed to do good things that You planned for us long ago. Forgive us for not recognizing the masterpiece in others, or for choosing to walk away from the good to which we are called to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see all whom we encounter through Your eyes, and treat them accordingly. Help us to do good works and walk out our purpose in all that we do. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up all whom we encounter, so that Your light might shine bright before everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate who You are by being who You have made us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Keep Nothing Back

 

Faith in the Fight

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

I do not understand why some people are healed in an instant, while others continue to battle day in and day out with sickness and disease. What I do know is that God is able to heal, so my charge is to contend for those who are still fighting, as they wait for healing to come. I have witnessed both healing and heartache, and through it all, have seen the goodness of God. Today, as I learned of a dear one’s relapse in her battle against cancer, I will rise up with resolve to continue to contend on her behalf, just as she will fight with fervor. May His healing come quickly to those in the wait, and may each of us who know Him, be utilized to strengthen and encourage those who are fighting.

 

O Lord hear our cry, Faith in the Fight

As we choose contend;

For those in the fight,

Your healing, please send.

Each word we offer,

To You up in prayer;

Is heard and received,

As Your hope is shared.

Come near, Lord Jesus,

With Your healing hands;

Restore what’s broken,

May Your peace advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, we call out and contend for Your touch for those who are fighting sickness and disease. Thank You that You are our Help and our Healer. Thank You that You give us strength and sustain us in the fight, and that You can do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as it is difficult to see beyond a diagnosis or statistics. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us who are fighting for restoration. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry to You for help, and trust You to bring healing. Amen.

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

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

Hand-Crafted for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

 

As I am preparing to go to high school camp as the girls’ cabin leader next week, this verse is a great reminder for my heart. I want to do and be all that God desires, yet in Him, I already am. My job is to show up and be available. He prepared the way, long before I even knew that I would be going. Some of the details that have come to light this week have been mind-blowing. The way that God has orchestrated the pairing of the person whom I will co-lead with is unbelievable. She and I have walked parallel roads, and share stories that are so similar, it is almost eerie. Just knowing that, I cannot even begin to fathom the other details that He has prepared for the benefit of the campers and fellow leaders. It is going to be a phenomenal week. When we are mindful of who we are in Him, and allow Him to be God and we choose to show up and walk where He leads – the possibilities are endless. May we choose to embrace the grace of being His handiwork, and move forward in faith where He calls.

 

Hand-crafted, we’re His,Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Created in Christ;

Made to do good works,

Our Father’s delight.

Prepared in advance,

The Lord makes a way;

For us to follow,

So we can obey.

It is from this space,

Of obedience;

That lives can be changed,

And hope can advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your workmanship, created in You to do good works that You prepared in advance for us to do. Thank You that You equip us and walk beside us in the process. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do anything in our own strength or of our own accord. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to do the things You have prepared in advance for us to do. Lead us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do that which You have prepared for us to do. 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

Joyful, Patient and Faithful

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

These are wise words to live by, as hope is what gives us reason for joy. In Christ, we find patience, even when troubles come, and we are reminded how critical it is to pray without ceasing. As we pray, our hope is renewed and joy rises within us, regardless of what we are facing. Not a happiness about what we are going through, but rather a deep-rooted joy in knowing that the Lord is for us, no matter what comes our way. Despite what we face today, our eternity is secure in Him. That, in and of itself is reason to find joy. May we be joyful in our hope in Christ; patient no matter what we face, and faithful to seek the Lord in all things and at all times.

 

For our joy shall come,Honoring the Temple

Through hope in the Lord;

Despite what we face,

Let Christ be adored.

With patience we seek,

Faithfully, let’s pray;

God shall be our strength,

And hope each new day.

God is always good,

Despite circumstance;

May hope rise again,

He goes in advance.

He’ll lead if we ask,

Found when we pursue;

Granter of all hope,

As He shows us truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy in the hope that we have in You; patience, no matter what we face, and pray to You – always. Thank You that our joy is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is held in the hope we have in our forever with You. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth when trials come our way. Teach us how to be faithful in prayer, so that we can be patient in affliction and joyful no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may find the joy that comes from hope in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are joyful in the hope we have in You, patient in whatever we face, and faithful to pray – always. Amen.

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

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

Planned With Purpose

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, MSG)

 

When we are in the midst of a season of uncertainty, these words are part of God’s promise that we can cling to. Each of us were created with purpose, and He has plans that include a hope and a future for all who call on His Name. He will never leave us nor forsake us, even in the spaces that seem lost and alone. We can rest assured that God is near, and that He is moving on our behalf, even when it feels as if there is no way forward from where we are standing. The Lord knows our present position and knows where we will end up. The two are not the same. I am so grateful that despite what we see, our hope and future in Christ, is far better than wherever we are dwelling in the here and now. He leads us to places of rest when we are weary, and He equips us to do immeasurably more than we could ever hope or imagine when we are willing to walk by faith, rather than simply by sight. Let our hearts hold fast to the hope that we hold in He who has our future in His hands. His plans are good. He is present and has planted hopes and dreams in our hearts for a purpose.

 

For the Lord, He knows,Be Transformed 1

the plans that are held;

by the Lord Himself,

from whom fear‘s dispelled.

In Him, there’s no harm,

but rather a plan;

to grant us all hope,

for our whole lifespan.

His plan’s to prosper,

to grant us His good;

to lead and guide us,

where hope’s understood.

May we choose the Lord,

in each circumstance;

for He is our strength,

who loved in advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known the plans for our lives since before we were created. Thank You that Your plan for us is good, and it includes hope and a future. Thank You that no matter what we see in the here and now, You are present and You are at work on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what comes our way, we would cling to You and Your promises, trusting that regardless of what we see, our hope is held in You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might discover the value they have, and that they were hand-crafted with a plan and a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans, despite what we see in the here and now. 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

The Focus of His Affection

For me, writing is a process that involves the tactile and the tangible, not simply sitting at the computer for each step of the process. I delight in the joy of opening a new journal for the first time, knowing that it is the beginning of a new chapter of this journey that God has designed, just for me. Typically, I purchase journals well in advance, as I find them on sale. This morning, I had three waiting in line to choose from. As I reached for the one that had the most colorful cover, I discovered more treasures about it upon closer examination. Imprinted on the cover, is the verse: Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4) What a perfect promise to remember, as I am walking through a season of attempting to recall what exactly the desires of my heart include.

On the inside, each page is framed by a watermarked leaf pattern, and includes a quote about God or a verse.

You are God’s created beauty and the focus of His affection and delight. – Janet L. Weaver Smith

When in a season of searching and seeking, it is easy to forget how He sees us. For many of us, there is nothing beautiful about how we perceive ourselves, nor can we fathom His delight. Our brokenness can distract us from the truth that we are deliberately designed, and He delights in each of His hand-crafted kids. Just as we love and lavish our little ones with affection, His affection for us does not end. It is not limited to when we are little, as He welcomes us into His arms to be held, comforted, and encouraged, no matter our age or what we have done. He is hope and He is love. May we take delight in the Lord, and trust that He will give us the desires of our hearts, as we are His created beauty, and the focus of His affection and delight.

Delight in the Lord,The Focus of His Affection

and you’ll come to know;

desires He’s given,

and how they will grow.

He’ll open the doors,

and create the way;

more than imagined,

as we seek each day.

You are His delight,

beauty that He’s made;

and God’s affection,

aimed at You each day.

His arms open wide,

ready to embrace;

to lavish with love,

and cover with grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and come to know You, we delight in who You are. Thank You that as we take delight in You, You begin to uncover and release the desires of our hearts. Thank You that You created each of us intentionally, and the way that we were made, You called very good. Thank You that You delight in Your children. Forgive us for not holding every human, including ourselves, in the same light as You do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see the beauty and blessing in everyone, through Your lens. Lead us to love others with lavish affection and delight. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we take delight in You, trust You with the desires of our hearts, and receive the focused affection and delight that You grant each of us if we are willing to slow down and receive it. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

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