Selected to Serve

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – (Philippians 2:5-7, NIV)

In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. – (Philippians 2:5-7, ERV)

And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let His mindset become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet He gave no thought to seizing equality with God as His supreme prize. Instead He emptied Himself of His outward glory by reducing Himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! – (Philippians 2:5-7, TPT)

 

Jesus was the ultimate example of how we ought to relate to one another. He let go of who He was so that He could love all in a way that was tangible and approachable. Heaven came to earth and walked among us. The Creator of all that is and was and ever will be, set down His deity to become like us, so that we might understand what love means. Jesus did not come as a king demanding to rule, but rather as one who served and loved, helped and healed, touched and taught. By serving in love, Jesus influenced the hearts of humans for all of eternity. We are called to do the same. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may love and serve with the same mindset that Christ has for us.

 

How vast is the love, Healed Hands Reach Out

That set throne aside;

To be made like man,

Deity denied?

And O so much more,

Jesus came and gave;

He taught, lived and loved

Healed, sacrificed, saved.

O how the Lord loves,

Still unto this day;

Contending for us,

To walk in His way.

We are also called,

To choose do the same;

To love and to serve,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Jesus. Thank You Jesus for the example You lived, and for Your ongoing help through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You showed us what it looks like to serve and love. Forgive us for not following the example that You are calling us to walk out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose loving kindness, regardless of what we receive. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to walk in Your ways and do Your will, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. – Ephesians 6:7

Wherever God Dwells

God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. – (Psalm 46:5, NLT) 

God is in the midst of His city, secure and never shaken. At daybreak His help will be seen with the appearing of the dawn. – (Psalm 46:5, TPT) 

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. – (Psalm 46:5, NIV) 

 

The city the author is referring to is the promised New Jerusalem. Incredibly, God’s promises for us are similar when He dwells within us. His protection, help and strength are new every morning. This is great encouragement, as there are days I feel like I may sink. Each day, God provides new strength, help and His presence. For an early riser like myself, I witness His ushering in of each distinct dawn, as light chases away the dark of night. The NIV translation feels like personal encouragement. Though the verse is in reference to the city of God, His promises are for His people. All who love the Lord and follow Him, are a part of that city that cannot be destroyed. May we seek the Lord to be our security and strength, and give Him praise that His help is new every morning. 

 

Wherever God dwells, Established Peace

Shall not be destroyed; 

For where the Lord is, 

His strength is employed. 

Each brand-new morning, 

His help is renewed; 

With each rising sun, 

Faithfulness proved true. 

Choose trust in the One, 

Whose mercy won’t fail; 

Where darkness exists, 

His light will prevail. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are within us; You will not fail. Thank You that You help us anew at the dawning of each new day. Forgive us for our fear and doubts when we feel as if the darkness will overtake us. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how the light within destroys the darkness that surrounds. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers strength, hope and light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our trust in You and rely on You to be our strength and help, as Your provision is new every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

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

Who Do You See?

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” – (Matthew 16:15)

 

Though this was a question presented to the disciples by Jesus, it aligns with where my mind still lingers after Sunday’s message. During the sermon, Surprised by Hope – The Ascension, my pastor posed a very poignant question, as he had us participate in the following exercise. Close your eyes. Picture Jesus. What do you see? Do you see a baby lying in a manger? A boy, learning and growing in the temple? Perhaps a teen, learning carpentry? Or do you see Jesus as He began His ministry, touching the untouchables, healing the hurting, and teaching all who would hear? Perhaps an image of Christ on the cross comes to mind? An empty tomb? Maybe you imagine Jesus appearing to the disciples in the upper room after He had risen. Though all of the aforementioned images are part of who Jesus is, none portray Jesus now. For after He had commissioned the disciples to go out into all the earth, He ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus is on His throne, and is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, where He is worshipped continually, and has reclaimed all power and authority that belong to Him. He holds all in His hands, and there is NOTHING that He cannot overcome. How we picture Jesus, impacts how we think He can move.

 

Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter six, verses one through nine, was given a glimpse of God seated on the throne. He became very aware of his own sinfulness, and as a result, asked for forgiveness. As he was forgiven, he was then commissioned to be the mouthpiece to a sinful people that surrounded him.

 

Today, we have access to both the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Our hearts are continually being drawn unto Him. It is up to us to accept all that He has done with a repentant heart, and then go forth as He calls. May we hold fast to the truth of who He is, and allow Him to update the image we hold in our heart.

 

When I close my eyes,Who Do You See

whom does my heart see?

An infant in hay,

looking up at me?

Or perhaps a boy,

seeking all that’s true;

a young man growing,

preparing for new?

Could it be the man,

who went out to touch;

He healed hurting hearts,

as He loved so much?

Is it the Savior,

hanging on the cross;

or the empty grave,

that dealt death its loss?

Do I see the One,

who walked through the wall;

showed His nail-scarred hands,

to answer a call?

What I ought to see,

is Christ on His throne;

all power is His,

and I’m called His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You, personally. Thank You Jesus, for dying, rising, and ascending to take Your rightful place. Thank You that as You are seated on Your throne, You intercede on our behalf. Thank You that Your ascension affirms all blessings and promises that were previously made, for You are good and faithful. Thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and that You are preparing a place for us. Forgive us for our warped view of You, and help us to begin to picture You properly. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You have given, and help us to go forth in love, just as You have loved us. May many come to know You as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as they allow You to come rule and reign in their lives too. Be magnified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25