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

Live Out Love

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, NIV)

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, ERV)

Whatever happens, keep living your lives based on the reality of the gospel of Christ, which reveals Him to others. – (Philippians 1:27a, TPT)

 

As followers of Christ, we are called to live our lives accordingly. No matter what comes, our call is to conduct ourselves as people who love God and love people. If we truly love, we will live our lives in a way that honors God and reveals His heart to those around us. When we choose to walk out our days according to His ways, we proclaim God’s goodness, even when we do not say a word. What we do day in and day out, is an ongoing declaration of our faith. May we ever choose well so that we live in a way that honors God and reveals His heart to those around us.

 

No matter what comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

May we ever choose;

To love as God loves,

So His heart rings true.

Let our very lives,

Show a history;

Of God’s faithfulness,

Giving Him glory.

Each time we choose love,

No matter how tough;

God gives what we need,

He’s always enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in such a way that others might see You through all that we say and do. Thank You that You trust us as Your ambassadors. Forgive us for the times that we have not represented You well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and depend on You to supply all that is needed to navigate our days according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they see Your heart through our every interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep on seeking to live our lives in a way that honors You. Amen.

 

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

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 43:19

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

Ambassadors of Love

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. – (1 John 4:12, NLT)

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:12, ERV)

No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently, God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:12, VOICE)

 

When we love God and love people as He has called us to do, though we do not see God with human eyes, our hearts lay hold of who God truly is, as He becomes tangible through the expression of love brought before us. The more we choose to love, the more we are available to be ambassadors to those around us, granting glimpses of His goodness and grace to those longing to feel it for themselves. His love accomplishes its mission among us as we choose to live out a life in His love. May we ever pursue the path that keeps us loving God and loving people as our priority, as it is the place where we experience His love made perfect in us.

 

Though no eye has seen, Ambassadors of Love

Our great Holy God;

He lives in each heart,

That seeks His path trod.

For those who choose love,

As priority;

Have God within them,

His heart plainly seen.

To love each other,

The goal surely met;

God’s mission complete,

In Him, no regrets.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though no human eye has seen the fullness of Your face, our hearts have come to know the glory of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that when we love You and love one another, You live in us and bring Your love to full expression in us. Forgive us for not allowing the fullness of Your love to be expressed through us to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love without withholding, and allow Your love to be made complete in us. Show us how to love those around us as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. 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

The Gift of Peace

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid. – (John 14:27, NLT)

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT)

My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. – (John 14:27, VOICE)

 

True peace, the sort that settles us to the center of our soul, comes from Christ alone. Though we may search for peace in a thousand different places, the only peace that lasts is that which is given by God. His peace calms our chaos, makes fears fall away, and gives our hearts the grace we need to find rest. His hand is evident everywhere we go, if we only open our eyes to see all that He has made. The changing leaves, a smile on the face of a friend, well-timed lyrics in a song, the mountains, ocean, or the still small voice that whispers words of encouragement when we slow down and just rest in His presence – these are just a few of the ways that God conveys His perfect peace to us. May we ever run to our Redeemer, as He is the true Provider of the peace that removes fears and grants the courage we need to continue to move in the direction we are called.

 

Do not be troubled, Safe in New Seasons

Dear heart, do not fear;

For the peace of God,

Comes as we draw near.

The great gift of peace,

Is from God alone;

It settles our hearts,

As His love is known.

Do not be troubled,

By all that is seen;

Instead, call on Christ,

Our great Prince of Peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no peace on the planet that compares to Your perfect peace. Thank You that when we seek You, You meet us where we are and settle our hearts and minds with Your peace. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for pursuing peace in places other than Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our Source of peace. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us, as we love as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as seek You for peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Faithful Forever

I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NLT)

 

Though this was God’s promise to the Israelites long ago, His word remains true for us today. When we invite Him to be the Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells within us for all of our days. He cares for us, saves us, and carries us when we do not have the strength to take another step. Our hope and our help come from Him. May we rise up and rest in our Redeemer, for He is faithful to meet us where we are, and lead us where we are meant to go.

 

Oh Lord You are God,Hope in What is Unseen

In whom we can trust;

Faithful forever,

You’re righteous and just.

You lead and guide us,

Where we’re meant to go;

You care and provide,

So our faith will grow.

You save us from all,

That gets in the way;

You love us to life,

With each brand new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God now and forever. Thank You that You are faithful throughout our entire lives. Thank You that You made us, know us, save us, carry us when we are weak, and care for us – always. Forgive us for forgetting how faithful You are in the midst of our own struggles. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would look to You and Your strength in all things and at all times, knowing that You are faithful, always. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we would be an extension of Your hands and heart to care for and carry those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust You and go forth as Your ambassadors. Amen.

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

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

 

Finding Favor

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, NLT)

Stay focused; do not lose sight of mercy and truth; engrave them on a pendant, and hang it around your neck; meditate on them so they are written upon your heart. In this way, you will win the favor of God and others, and they will think well of you. – (Proverbs 3:3-4, VOICE)

 

When we operate our lives according to God’s will, we find the favor of both God and man is upon us. Loyalty, kindness, mercy and truth go far in a world where these attributes are not always easy to find. As we exhibit these things, we are being salt and light; granting glimpses of God to those who do not know Him, in a practical and tangible way. Let us remember with reverence the importance of representing our Redeemer well, as we operate as His ambassadors. May we never let loyalty and kindness leave us, as we allow the Lord to write His truth deep within our heart.

 

The Lord’s loyalty,Enter With Thanksgiving

And kindness to us;

Are ours to pass on,

How we show Jesus.

Let us tie around,

Something near our hearts;

So we don’t forget,

Where grace and love starts.

A reputation,

That is full of good;

To God and people,

Favor understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we enter into relationship with You, You show us loyalty and kindness, and You write them upon our hearts. Thank You that as we choose to operate in the very things that we have been shown, Your favor and the favor of those around us is upon us. Thank You that by choosing to faithfully follow You, we will earn a good reputation. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness, or for our lack of kindness or mercy when we feel we have been wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can extend loyalty, kindness, mercy and truth in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom as to how we are to do so in a healthy and safe way, and draw people unto Yourself by the kindness we extend by loving in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we never let loyalty and kindness leave us. May we be ambassadors of Your mercy and truth all of our days. 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

Peacemakers Plant Seeds of Peace

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NLT)

 

I teach in a growing community. Three brand new mega-apartment complexes will have opened in our city by this time next year. One of the complexes will house students that will attend the school where I teach. This can be both terrific and terrifying for teachers. On one hand, it provides an opportunity for a whole new group of students to care for and embrace, yet on the other, it can be a nerve-wracking thing, as there are many variables that are unknown, leaving questions unanswered and planners without a proper path to plan. The first housing community opened just prior to the start of the school year, and housed far more students than had been projected. With so many more students than anticipated, schools were scrambling to figure out the best ways to meet student needs, and accommodate numbers in the classrooms.

Thankfully, the first opening taught our district how we might best prepare for the next. With the second community six weeks or so away from opening and sending students to my school, we are working to make the transition to a new place as pleasant as possible. What has been determined, is that if we go as peacemakers and ambassadors to meet the families before they come to register students for school, there will be familiar friendly faces that they know are for them, and ready to help welcome them to their new school community. It is a way of planting seeds of peace. I imagine that an investment of time and care will reap a harvest of right relationships between school and community in the long run.

May we choose to be peacemakers wherever we go, planting seeds of peace. Let the harvest be one of righteousness before the Lord.

 

Let us go in peace,

Forgiveness is Free

wherever we go;

to plant well Your seeds,

of truth that we know.

May what is then reaped,

be Your righteousness;

so all whom we meet,

will come to feel blessed.

Let Your love lead us,

in all that we do;

in word and in deed,

all glory to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever we go. Thank You that as we do, a harvest of righteousness is reaped. Please watch over and bless each family that is preparing to moving into our community – provide protection, direction and all that they need. Forgive us for not sowing peace in places that need it most, and help us to trust You more, so that we would be Your ambassadors of peace, no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to plant seeds of peace everywhere we go, and how to love as You first loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever You direct our steps. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Transformed to Touch Lives

Yesterday, my pastor continued a series entitled, “Transformed.” He began with the reminder that we are called and invited to do as Jesus did unto the world.

 

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – (John 14:10-12)

 

The Lord is sending us as His ambassadors to move things back toward the kingdom of God. We are charged to walk through life with our eyes wide open and our hearts at the ready, so that we can see what is out of alignment with His perfect plan, and hear Him as to how things ought to be. Because He is in us, we can play a part in moving things back to God’s intended order. Our giftings and callings are not just meant to be utilized as a gift to the church, but rather as a gift to the world. When we reach out to the world around us, lives are touched and communities are transformed.

 

Often our own hesitation is opposition, however, the disciples and the early church took root and grew in a time of persecution of the worst kind. Ostracizing, imprisonment, flogging, stoning and crucifixion, were common fates among early believers. Despite the demise of many, Christianity spread like a wild fire in a dry forest. “Christianity that fails in a tough environment, may not be TRUE Christianity.” – (Pastor Jon McIntosh) If we are truly being His hands and feet to the world, broken lives will be made whole, as He alone has the capacity to redeems all things. God can do abundantly more than we could ever hope or even begin to imagine, if we are only willing to walk in His ways.  May we rise up and embrace our charge, and go forth to share the gifts that God has placed in each of us with the world.

 

For those who are saved,Forgiveness is Free

our lives are transformed;

the faithful drew near,

and love was outpoured.

The gifts of the Lord,

in another seen;

used for His glory,

now we are redeemed.

May we too rise up,

in love freely give;

the best of ourselves,

so others might live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us the way to love well. Thank You that You send Your Spirit to empower all who choose to invest their lives in You and invite Your presence to come. Thank You that in You, we can do the very things You did. Forgive us for forgetting the tremendous power that resides within us, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and move mightily as You call. Lead us to love others in such a way, that people cannot help but turn to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we go forth in faith, operating in the gifts that You have given to share with the world around us. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6