Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

Promises Seen

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV) 

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. “Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE) 

 

When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to dedicate Him to God, they met a man named Simeon, who had been waiting for a promise to come to pass. God had spoken to Simeon that he would see with his own eyes, the promised salvation for all people. For Simeon, this was the fulfillment of a promise long awaited; for Mary and Joseph, it was more to ponder in awe and wonder as they sought the Lord to raise this precious gift properly. This passage is a powerful reminder that what God promises, He will do. Simeon had been waiting and trusting that what God had said, He would do. His faith was met by him holding the Son of God in his own arms, as He dedicated Jesus to the Father. Not only did Simeon see the Savior, but he held Him and faithfully fulfilled his role in the temple as he dedicated Jesus to the Lord. God followed through on His promise to Simeon in an extraordinary way. Not only did Simeon see Him with his own eyes, but he held the Son of God, and proclaimed truth about Jesus and what was yet to come. A long-awaited promise was answered faithfully, and in a way that went beyond simply seeing. May we ever trust the Lord that His promises are true, and wait patiently for the fulfillment, as it is always worth the wait.  

 

When the time had come, Simeons Story

His parents, they knew; 

Go to the temple, 

To give God what’s due. 

Dedicate this child, 

To the Lord on High; 

And trust in His grace, 

For all of their lives. 

When the three arrived, 

They set to the task; 

Of honoring God, 

Just as He had asked. 

Simeon met them, 

And burst into praise; 

For soon in his arms, 

The Savior was laid. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise fulfiller and faithful Father to all who seek You. Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask of us, and that Your promises are true. Forgive us for our impatience in the wait between a promise and its fulfillment. Teach us to trust that what You say, You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort in chaos and peace in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our faithful Father forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

Resolve to Love

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, ERV)

May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, VOICE)

 

In Paul’s first letter to the church of Thessalonica, he admonished them to love one another, and let them know that love for one another and for people everywhere, would be his priority in prayer for all. The very same encouragement and lasting love that Paul had for the body of Christ, ought to be our example that leads us to allow love to direct our steps and choose to pray and lift up one another. A resolution to love, results in God’s love being made known. May we pray and encourage and love one another, just as the Lord loves each one of us.

 

Let love and His grace, The Mirror of the Heart

Lead us each along;

For the Lord is good,

His grace makes us strong.

Strong in the spaces,

Where love can be tough;

Hope in the places,

Where we aren’t enough.

Only by His grace,

Will love in us grow;

So, ever seek Him,

That His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us with an unending love that You plant deep within us so that we too, may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to love. Show us how to choose to love all people at all times, even when it is the last thing we desire to do. Direct our steps so that those around us may know the greatness of Your grace and the endless depth of Your lasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love as we are loved by You, and pray for others to be equipped to do the same. Amen.

 

 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Gentleness Makes Love Tangible

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, NIV)

Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, CEB)

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE)

Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near. – (Philippians 4:5, TPT)

 

Gentleness is a vehicle for kindness that makes love tangible. God loves us fiercely, but so often makes His love known through the gentleness of those whom He places in our lives. A kind word, a gentle gesture or a small, sweet sentiment extended toward us, make us feel seen and known and loved. We are called to allow gentleness to be seen in and through us in every relationship. God equips and empowers us to extend grace and kindness to all, even the seemingly undeserving. Just as we have received His gentleness when our thoughts, words or actions warranted quite the opposite, so too, are we to allow the very same gentleness to be evident through us. May we seek the Lord and His love for all to fill our hearts so that His gentleness may be seen in our every interaction with those around us.

 

Let sweet gentleness,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be easy to see;

For kindness given,

Sets captive hearts free.

Because God is love,

We know tenderness;

A word, deed or touch,

In our brokenness.

So, let us choose too,

Be gentle and kind;

Such things soften hearts,

And soothe troubled minds.

The Lord’s ever near,

With kindness and grace;

Fill with gentleness,

So love is in place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to extend gentleness to others, but empower and equip us to love as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not been gentle with ourselves and with those around us, as each of us are loved and valued beyond measure by You. Give us Your eyes to see one another as You do, so that we are better able to allow gentleness to be our mode of operation as we interact. Show us how to love others with the same kindness and gentleness that You make so evident to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend gentleness in our words, thoughts and actions to all whom we meet. Amen.

 

 

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

 

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – Proverbs 15:1

Heard in Silence

You who answer prayer, to You all people will come. – (Psalm 65:2, NIV)

Anyone can come to You, and You will listen to their prayers. – (Psalm 65:2, ERV)

You hear us pray in words and silence; all humanity comes into Your presence. – (Psalm 65:2, VOICE)

 

For me, The Voice translation is such a comforting reminder of the character of our Creator. He hears the words that we can give a voice, and those that are trapped in the chambers of our heart, pleading for His hand to hold them. God sees and He knows, and He listens to the prayers of all who set their mind and heart on Him. May we ever remember that the Lord is near, ready to listen to our prayers – whether our words unto Him have volume or are uttered in the silent spaces of our hearts and minds – He hears.

 

The Lord is faithful,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He sees and He hears;

Each time that we pray,

He listens, comes near.

God hears more than words,

He knows each heart cry;

Prayed in the stillness,

Where His hope stands by.

God always listens,

When people choose pray;

He loves and forgives,

And shows us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer, no matter if we give them an audible voice or hold them in our hearts for You. Thank You that You love all of creation so much that You are always ready to listen to anyone who desires to speak to You. Forgive us for making prayer more complicated than it ought to be, as You desire our heart, not a stream of eloquent words. Teach us to be real with You in relationship, rather than “pray” out of obligation. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and willingness to listen and love, without prerequisites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, sharing the things of our heart with You; always. Amen.

 

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

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

Peace With All People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

If it is within your power, make peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, VOICE)

We are called to live at peace with all people as much as humanly possible. If we operate as promoters of peace, extending mercy and grace, goodness and love, just as God gives to us, peace is possible far more often than not. Yes, there are always exceptions who will not receive and will continue to cause unrest, but with all that we are in all that we do, we are called to seek His peace. May we ever depend on the Prince of Peace to fill our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and live at peace with everyone around us.

 

Peace is not a place,
Joining Together

But a state of mind;

Granted by the Lord,

For all of mankind.

It’s meant to be shared,

One to another;

From neighbor to friend,

Sister to brother.

Let us do our best,

With all, be at peace;

So God’s grace may flow,

And hope be increased.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your peace when we seek You. Thank You that You equip us to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us. Forgive us for not attempting to live at peace with everyone around us when people become difficult to take. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we are filled again with Your grace and compassion and power to promote peace in places where it seems impossible. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace to the unsettled places in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to live at peace with everyone. 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

Love’s Great Return

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

I want you to know that the Eternal your God is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, VOICE)

 

As we seek the Lord and come into a lasting relationship with Him, He meets us with His faithfulness that endures forever. We are called to love and obey His commands, and in turn, He shows His kindness and love to us for all time. He is trustworthy, for what He says is what He will do. May we ever love the Lord and the people He places in our path; for in return, we will know His love and faithfulness now and forevermore.

 

“You get what you give,” Be Full of Joy

The saying is true;

For as you choose love,

It comes back to you.

The Lord is faithful,

And His word is true;

His love shall endure,

As we choose love too.

All of the commands,

Are simply summed up;

Love God and others,

Our act of worship.

He’s faithful always,

With unfailing love;

Now and forever,

The Lord God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that as we love You and obey Your command to love others too, You are faithful to show Your love and kindness to us forever. Thank You that what You say is true, and that You keep Your word forever. Forgive us for the times that we fail to follow Your commands and choose to act in a way that is less than loving or kind. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we say and do is driven by Your loving kindness and grace. Show us how to love as You love, so that others may come to know the enduring faithfulness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey all You ask of us, and trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Thankful for Love that Endures

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. – (Ezra 3:11)

The people during David’s time, had seen the destruction of the former glory of the temple that Solomon had built. Some, had never even known anything except the rubble of the ruins that remained. Finally, fifty years after the destruction, the foundation of a new temple of the Lord had been laid. I imagine there was such power in the recognition of the reality of the promise to rebuild, coming to pass before their very eyes. The people responded with praise and thanksgiving, as they identified His goodness and faithfulness for all time. God had been faithful in the destruction, and continued to remain faithful as they were in the space of rebuilding.

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Lord is present with people in the midst of destruction, and remains present throughout the healing and rebuilding process. May our hearts, though at times are heavy from all of the destruction that we see, be encouraged to sing praise and thanks to God because He is good and His love and faithfulness to people remains for all time. Be our foundation, O God, no matter what we see.

Praise and thanksgiving,

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Vandy Massey Watercolor

sing unto the Lord;

for He is so good,

all grace He affords.

When all seems but lost,

in Him we are found;

the Lord shall restore,

what was shaking ground.

With great shouts of praise,

give God the glory;

for He holds the pen,

to write our story.

Though storms enter in,

our course is assured;

when we trust in Christ,

we’ve strength to endure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and Your love endures forever. Thank You for the foundation that You lay in the hearts of all who choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not giving proper praise and thanksgiving for who You are, despite what we witness around us. Father, we lift up all of those impacted by the tragedy in France, and ask that You would be their Comfort and their Healer, as they find themselves in a place of ruin, needing You to rebuild. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might extend thanks and praise unto You through all that we say and do. Lead us to love others so that they may come to know Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing of Your goodness and enduring love with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

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

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