Ask and See

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

Because my sister is not returning home to Oregon until Tuesday, we determined that it would be good for me to make a quick trip home to see my boys overnight, as I will be staying in Wenatchee with mom at least for the next week and beyond. At first, I was a bit anxious. It reminded me of when my boys were preemies in the NICU, and I was taken home for one night, away from my babies. I am not an outward “emoter” at all, but I cried the entire time, and vowed then and there that I would not be leaving the hospital again until my boys came with me. Thankfully, this did not feel the same. My sister was staying with mom, and my mom is able to speak for herself. Mark and I went to the hospital with Megan before we left town, and were able to witness some really remarkable milestones in her progress thus far. With the help of the occupational therapist and an aid, mom took her very first heavily assisted steps since her stroke. They moved her right side for her, as she focused on the left. Each movement was slow, frustrating, and very labor intensive; yet they were movement forward, upright, and progress in a very positive direction. The next petition that was answered prior to our departure, was getting her out of her room. Anyone who knows mom, knows that she is constantly on the go. Her sitting in bed or the chair in her room for hours and hours on end was quite concerning to us all. We got to wheel her out in a wheelchair to the waiting area on her floor that is full of windows with a spectacular view. The room was flooded with warm rays of sun, and she basked in the warmth as she happily sucked down a Coffee Frappuccino we smuggled in for her (with the medical team’s permission of course). Lastly, though mom has not had a problem with chewing or swallowing (praise God), she just has not had an appetite. No food has had any appeal, and even her favorites she has only been willing to take a bite or two. Yesterday, that too, changed. Breakfast was extraordinarily late to come, and her sweet nurse got after the kitchen to make it happen when we inquired. For whatever reason, the simplicity of the sourdough toast with her Frappuccino hit the spot, and she had taken in more in one sitting than she had since arriving last Sunday. Better still, at lunch, she ate all but the crust of a grilled cheese sandwich. This may sound trivial, but these are milestones that are critical for strength building as she moves to acute care on Monday. Once there, she will be working actively in therapies for at least three hours each day. Her determination, faith and work ethic with be invaluable. God is faithful as we cast our cares upon Him. When worry comes, it is our reminder to pray. May we ever be prayerful in all things, giving God room to move in places we need Him the most.

 

Do not let worry,

0503192124_hdr5780951510696600713.jpg

The mountain in the background is Mt. St. Helen’s, so prior to 1980…

Be what takes control;

For we have a God,

Who heals broken souls. 

When we give to Him,

The weight that we bear;

He exchanges all,

With His loving care.

So, lift up in prayer,

All that your heart needs;

The Lord always hears,

And His grace succeeds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness to us as we give our anxiousness and worries to You in prayer. Thank You that You surround us with the right people at the right time, to encourage and love us well, as an extension of Your arms, heart and love for us, individually. Thank You for the outpouring of support that You have graced my mom, sister and me with over the past week. Forgive us for our moments of fear and anxiousness about the unknowns that lie ahead. Teach us to trust and continue to give it all to You, again and again and again. We lay it all in Your hands, as we see so clearly how You have held and are still holding our mom in Your loving arms. Show us how to love and support mom the best way for her, and how to love those who are around her so that they may see You in us. Lead many into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this we pray. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

United Purposeful Paths

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

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

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

 

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

 

Brothers and sisters, United Purposeful Paths

Let us choose pursue;

Purpose united,

So division’s through.

Together in thought,

Let minds be renewed;

New harmony found,

In common values.

Let’s seek understand,

As we are made new;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In grace, living true.

 

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

 

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Rise Up United

I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no division in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

 

Though I am no theologian, I am intentional to invest time studying the word of God each day. Everything that I read in His word, points me back to the basic charge that Jesus gave: love God and love people. Paul’s words to the people of Corinth were no different. When people gather, even if it is for a common purpose, there are bound to be a vast array of values and beliefs. We have to remember to keep the main things, the main things. It is entirely possible to love God and love people in harmony with one another, even when we do not share the same political views or opinions about whatever the latest news story that happens to be trending. If our focus and our purpose is to love God and love people, then we should be united in thought and our actions should be a reflection of such. In my own world, the values and beliefs that those around me bring to the table vary so vastly that it would make my head spin if that were my focus. Instead, when I look at how to love well, I find all the commonalities that we share, and we work together in harmony for the greater good of those around us. Loving well does not mean compromising what we believe, but it does mean we must choose to love, regardless of whether or not we agree on all things. May we heed the appeal presented, and live in harmony with each other. Let our hearts focus on what matters most, so that we love God and love people as we have been called to do.

 

Rise up united,

Rise Up United

Image from: atonement-ecumenism.blogspot.com

 

In purpose and thought;

Choose be of one mind,

As Jesus has taught.

When we choose allow,

Our focus to be;

Love God and people,

We find harmony.

Brothers and sisters,

Let us choose agree;

Each commit to love,

Joined in unity.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what we make far too complicated, You have shown us how to simplify. Thank You that when we seek You and choose to love as we are loved, barriers break down and harmony happens. Thank You that when groups of people choose to do the same, there are bodies of believers that are united in purpose. Forgive us for making small things sacred, rather than fixing our eyes above all else on loving You and loving people. Teach us how to love people first, trusting You to lead us and guide us as to how to love best. Show us how to be united in thought and purpose according to Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and choose to love You and love people well. Amen.

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

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

Standing Firm in the Storm

Paul, more than most, understood what it was to stand firm, even in the face of a long and raging storm. Several times, he was imprisoned for his faith, yet each time Paul utilized his time in chains as an opportunity to stand firm, and share with others, the foundation of the faith on which he stood. After two years of imprisonment, Festus brought Paul before himself and the accusers from Jerusalem. Then Paul made his defense: “I have done nothing wrong against the law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” – (Acts 25:8) As the hearing continued, Paul made it clear that he had no fear of death if he deserved to die; however, knowing that he was innocent, Paul made his appeal to be heard before Caesar as a Roman citizen. After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: “You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!” – (Acts 25:12)

 

Because Paul knew he was innocent and knew his rights as a Roman citizen, he was able to seek Rome’s protection. Also, Rome was a destination that Paul had hoped to go to preach the gospel, and this appeal would provide the opportunity – prisoner or not. Paul was standing firm in his faith in Christ’s strength, faithfulness, and provision, as he knew that though the path he was taking to get to Rome was not ideal, it was a way for Paul to arrive in Rome sooner than he might have otherwise. He did not bow down in despair as he remained a prisoner, rather he recognized the upcoming opportunity to share the good news with those who had not yet heard.

 

How can we do likewise? How can God use our circumstances to be light in the midst of darkness? When we remain grounded in Christ, regardless of what is going on around us, there is something magnetic that draws others in. Whether it is wonder or awe, people cannot help but draw near to a space of peace in a storm. May we stand firm in our faith, no matter what storm rages around us.

 

When mighty winds blow,Standing Firm in the Storm

and nothing is still;

depend on the Lord,

Who’s present to fill.

He will grant us strength,

when we have run out;

He’ll love us to life,

show us the safe route.

At times He will lead,

us right through the storm;

where we have to trust,

know He’ll keep us warm.

No matter what comes,

the promise remains;

His grace is enough,

to remove each chain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us with Your life. Thank You Jesus, that as You stood secure through the storm of the cross and took our every sin upon Yourself, You conquered death and brought new life to all who choose to believe. Thank You that when we stand firm in You, You see us through our every storm. Thank You that You remain present, and You provide the strength and support that is needed to either ride out the storm, or find a way out. Forgive us for failing to stand firm when storms seem too strong for us to face, and teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love well all whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in You, through every storm that blows our way. 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

He is the King

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. – (John 18:37)

 

Though Pilate recognized the truth about Jesus, he chose to reject the truth that stood before him for the sake of pleasing the masses. Many find themselves at a similar crossroad at Christmas. They hear the truth of who Christ is, and must decide to either receive and embrace the truth, or to reject the Redeemer before them, for the sake of upholding sin and selfishness. As believers, we must model a life lived for Christ. If His love does not clearly flow through us, what possible appeal will the truth hold for those who know Him not? May we be vessels of His light and love unto the world, and may many come to embrace the truth of who Christ is this Christmas.

 

Though many have heard,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

they have not embraced;

the mercy of Christ,

as sin He erased.

Jesus is much more,

than infant domain;

He’s the Mighty King,

from His throne, He reigns.

May each seeking heart,

hear the truth, made plain;

and receive the Lord,

to come rule and reign.

Let each heart who knows,

go forth and love well;

shining light and life,

may our lives truth tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that regardless of a person’s decision to accept or reject the truth, the truth remains. Thank You that You are the King. Thank You that You came into the world to testify the truth so that all might come to know You. Forgive us for not embracing the truth we know, or for neglecting to stand firm in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we completely rely on You. May we trust the truth, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that many may be directed to embrace the truth that is found in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we live and love in such a way, that the truth we embrace is evident. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Honoring the Temple

In our media-driven society, we are flooded with what to eat, what to wear, how to look, and how to appeal to others.  The barrage of messages can overwhelm a soul that is not centered in Christ.  Those images and messages are not from God, yet so often are taken to heart. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.” – (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

Though we are given the freedom to choose, when we choose Christ, we are no longer our own, but instead, we are now His.  Each one of us are His craftsmanship, created in His image; prepared to do good works, representing Him well, before those around us.  What we choose to do with the temple, (our body) in which His Spirit dwells, matters.  If we care for our bodies, avoiding sin that has been explained throughout scripture, not giving in to gluttony nor other indulgences, we are honoring God with what we have been given.  Christ sacrificed His own body on the cross, so that we could have life in ours.  May we choose well, to honor God with our entire being.

Though we have a choice,Honoring the Temple

we need to choose well;

for freedom unchecked,

is pathway to hell.

Yet freedom in Christ,

teaches us to trust;

the Spirit within,

and hear Him, we must.

We are His temple,

where Spirit resides;

if we will listen,

He’ll lead and He’ll guide.

May we honor God,

with our whole being;

let the lost be found,

and blind start seeing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in the hearts of all who believe.  Forgive us for not treating our bodies as Your temple, by overindulging or by neglecting needs.  Teach us to care properly for the body that we have been given, so that we can best honor You each day.  Thank You that we belong to You, and that You are willing and available to lead and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go.  Thank You that You care about even the smallest of details, as You are the one who knit us together in our mother’s womb.  May we listen and obey  all that You ask of us, and may many come to know You, personally, as their Savior and King.  Let us love and serve others as You so lavishly love and care for us.  Be exalted in everything we say and do, and may we live as though we are merely the tenants of these temples in which we dwell, as we treat them as treasures belonging to You.  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

Unity in the Body

Unity is a necessary component for any group to grow.  In order to be unified, time and energy must be invested and mutual respect extended, or an organization will never truly become united.

As a department, the Language Arts team at my school was able to block out a few hours to meet together for a previously determined purpose.  We always begin with a time of connections, recognizing the importance of opportunity to simply air where each of us are coming from.  This tremendous team has inadvertently tapped into the importance of unity in a body.  Safety and confidentiality have been established (TRUST), and each of us are available to help one another as we are able.  Though we may not have accomplished as much of the task as we had intended, our team walked away from our time together, feeling more united and supported than before.

Paul was encouraging the people in Corinth to do the same, as he wrote the following: “I appeal to you, brothers, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no division among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” – (I Corinthians 1:10) I don’t think that he meant that they had to agree about inconsequential things, but rather that they were to be united in purpose, and were to follow the ways of Christ, steering clear from the immorality that was widely accepted in society.  I am amazed that the very same appeal, still applies today.  The immorality that is widely accepted runs rampant, yet we are called to stand firm in our faith, staying true to our Father in heaven.  He is our Judge, not our neighbor nor our friends.  Ultimately, our decisions must be made by referring back to His word, and asking Him.

Together as one,Surrendered to See

in purpose and plea;

become the body,

through true unity.

Called to follow Christ,

stay true to His word;

let the Spirit lead,

not just what is heard.

Honor each other,

don’t argue and fight;

prefer each in love,

in purpose unite.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united together as a body in You.  Thank You that we are not meant to live out this life alone, but rather we are meant to walk together, learning and growing, side-by-side, so that we may strengthen and encourage each other.  Forgive us for any attitudes that can cause division among the body, and help us bring unity where it has been lacking.  Teach us how to come together as one in purpose, in You and for You, and may lives be changed on Your behalf.  Let our ability to be united appeal to those who are standing alone, and help all who come near, feel welcomed in.  May we love and welcome others in as You do.  Let lives be changed and hearts be healed.  Amen.

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