Purposeful Design

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil that they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

 

Perhaps this is the reason that I crave being outdoors so much. Each time I am afforded time to enjoy just being out in nature, I find myself acutely aware of God and the beauty of all that He has made. Yesterday, was a day spent almost entirely outdoors. I began my morning as I usually do, with my devotions and writing, but then went and met my running bestie for a run to kick-off the day. The opportunity to share life with one another as we run, and fill our lungs with the hint of coolness that is still found in the morning air, while running through tree-filled neighborhoods and roads. Green is beginning to give way to hints of yellow on the deciduous trees, a reminder that seasons change, but the like the tree, God remains steadfast. Shortly after returning from my run, I went and picked up my best friend to go hiking. Incredibly, we arrived within thirty-five minutes or so, and soon began our ascent up the trail. Neither of us had hiked this particular trail prior, so everything was new. The surroundings were lush and green, and the trail, nearly three miles of steep switchbacks, reminding us to be grateful for strong, healthy bodies. Upon our arrival at the top, the view made the work well worthwhile. We could see for miles. Hills and lakes, the Puget Sound, mountains and valleys – so much of God’s creation, right there, beautifully displayed before us, waiting to be enjoyed. The few photos that I took do not do the view justice, but perhaps at least give a glimpse of how gorgeous God’s creation is, when we find opportunities to get out and enjoy it. After the hike and time at each of our homes, my love and I joined she and her husband on their deck to sit outside and enjoy a fire and dinner. Summer nights are a sweet reminder of God’s goodness to us. All that to say that every single time I get outside, I cannot help but see the fingerprints of God all over the beauty that my eyes behold. May we each be acutely aware of our Almighty God, as we navigate our days through the beauty He has placed around us, to make His heart for us known.

When I checked in with mom yesterday afternoon, it sounded as if she had been having a good day, thus far. She had done her exercises and some walking laps around the house, and was quick to answer the phone when I called. It has only been a little over a week since mom arrived at Meg’s house, so they are still working to establish routine and work out all of the appointments and therapies. Mom will have her appointment with her new primary care doctor tomorrow morning, so we are praying that in-home therapies begin rapidly after that appointment. Ideally, a case manager would get to the house by Friday to determine mom’s need and establish a schedule for the various therapies.

 

The truth of the Lord, img_2019-08-20_04-20-306977957877656939817.jpg

Is easy to see;

For all around us,

Hand-crafted beauty.

Majestic mountains,

Vast, powerful seas;

Lush, lovely forests,

And river retreats.

Intricate flowers,

And huge, mighty oaks;

Creatures great and small,

And all sort of folks.

Each one created,

Purposeful design;

When we choose to look,

We see truth aligns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made invisible and difficult to grasp attributes tangible through what You have made. Thank You that we need only look around us to see evidence of who You are and how You love. Thank You that Your power and majesty are made clear through that which You have created. Forgive us for neglecting to open our eyes to truly see the work of Your hands. Teach us to recognize and appreciate the evidence that is all around us, testifying on Your behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further provides evidence of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we appreciate the beauty that You have made, and the ways that Your fingerprints are all around us through all that is created. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. – psalm 96:11

 

 

Sweet Independence

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

 

Independence Day has an entirely new meaning in my world this year. I am not speaking on a national level, but rather on a personal one. Independence, as it is defined, is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. (dictionary.com)  Ironically, to be independent from the wiles of this world, we must be dependent on God. We have to know the Lord, trust His word to be true, and actually follow after Him with our whole heart, to avoid being sucked into a dependence on popular thought, regardless of how askew it has become. Personally, I am in a space where my formerly independent mom, is currently completely dependent on me (or my sister) for everything throughout her day. Aid and support are required to sustain her, as the right side of her body is still not cooperating as it used to, prior to her stroke. At times I find myself feeling like a prisoner in this space, as I am accustomed to the freedom to come and go as I choose. Not having the liberty to take off and go for a run or make a quick trip to the store as needed, is an odd sort of normal. That being said, even when I have those freedoms at home, I still depend on God. My thought life and ability to express myself is independent of anyone’s control, and any submitting that I do, is a personal choice unto the Lord.

Perhaps my point is to not take our independence for granted. Mom’s independence was taken in an unexpected instant. She had no prior health issues nor warning signs, yet a stroke happened, and here we are. God is gracious and mom is a fighter. He has given her strength and tenacity, and I believe she will work her way back to full function on her own again. However, there is much work and an undisclosed timeline in the in between. Yesterday was another good day, as mom walked the full length of her hallway by herself with the walker during physical therapy in the morning. A bit later, we went on a “field trip” into town to drive through Dutch Bros for coffee. Honestly, it is a way to get out of the house and take in a change of scenery. Upon our return, we sat on the deck and spent a few hours playing Uno and Dominos. Playing games is a great way to continue to connect pathways in her healing brain, and do not be fooled, as she is a ruthless competitor. 😊 The remainder of the day was fairly routine, as we did the usual sort of activities. Last night, she had a few wake-ups in a short span of time, but then slept until 5:30 this morning. There is absolutely nothing scheduled for today, so we shall see what the day holds. We are independent to choose, yet dependent on God for His goodness and grace as we go. May your day be free and blessed as You celebrate the gift of independence that is held in your hands.

 

Sweet independence,

Freedom to behold;

Where no one controls,

We choose what to hold.

Hold fast to the truth,

Grace rooted in love;

Trust in the Lord’s word,

All hope from above.

Only by God’s grace,

Do we truly know;

Freedom forever,

True peace to let go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that true independence and freedom come when we learn to be dependent on You. Thank You for the nourishment found in Your word. Forgive us for our frustration found in our circumstances, somehow thinking that our independence has anything to do with our location or physical condition. Teach us to trust You more, understanding that Your word truly sets us free from all that holds us captive. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may come to understand freedom in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate our independence because of our dependence on You. Amen.

 

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

 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – Galatians 5:13

Tangible Blessings

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

 

This morning, as I slept in nearly three hours more than usual, I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. Hot coffee on my comfy couch, as I soak in His presence and dive into His word. Seeing daylight flood the room, rather than needing to illuminate the typical darkness of the early hours, I give thanks for the blessings in my life. Part of me was wishing that I too, like many of my friends and colleagues, was off for an escape to a warm location for the week. However, the more I thought about it, the more I can see that this week is an opportunity to get some things completed, and to rest and enjoy my family. Time to both connect and explore, and to retreat and rest, at home without an agenda. Each new day is a gift, and the surroundings in our area are clear evidence of God’s incredible goodness and grace. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, as we taste and see the abundance of His blessings when we depend on Him each day.

 

Choose to make the time, img_2019-04-08_07-26-547644472782879619826.jpg

To look ‘round and see;

All of God’s goodness,

His blessings, indeed.

Graced with His presence,

Fresh start each new day;

Strength to choose follow,

To walk in His way.

Rest when we’re weary,

As God we pursue;

Goodness surrounding,

As He makes all new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only open our eyes, to see the blessings all around us. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that provides rest and strength and hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to appreciate all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do in our lives. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Teach us to bring all before You, and to rest in Your lavish love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they too, might taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days, for the beautiful blessings to behold in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

Growth to the Seeking

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith, add goodness; to your goodness, add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

 

The blessings we behold grant us the capacity to bless others. We are given some specific ways that we can continue to grow and be more effective in loving others well. To do this best, we must make effort to further expand our capacity to grow in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness, and love. As we allow God to change us from the inside out, we are better able to love Him and those around us, which are the very things that we are commanded to do. Growth can be uncomfortable, as our greatest measure of increase most often comes in seasons of struggle. We must understand that we cannot do all things in our own strength and need faith in our Heavenly Father to deepen our dependence on Him. Goodness expands exponentially as we recognize the reality where goodness is lacking. Knowledge comes through actively seeking answers, rather than complacently standing by, hoping for wisdom to whack us on the noggin. There is no comprehension of need for self-control without the understanding how detrimental a lack thereof becomes. Patience grows in opportunities to wait, not in instant gratification. Devotion to God is desperately needed to find patience when we want answers or results right now. Kindness is an extension of our love for God and others made visible. May we seek and depend on the Lord to continue to grow us in all of these things that strengthen our love for God and for all people.

 

To love people well,

img_2019-03-14_04-59-06197596314987504643.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need ever seek;

The Lord and His love,

As we act and speak.

To love the right way,

We must keep growing;

Let faith and goodness,

Abundant, flowing.

Seek understanding,

Control and His grace;

So what our lives bring,

Reflect His embrace.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Equipped, empowered,

To answer Love’s call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love You and love people, but You unpack for us, the ways in which we can grow and expand to do so according to Your good and perfect will. Forgive us for not leaning into You to equip and strengthen us to love as You love. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that our greatest growth comes through struggles. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for them as we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more like You each day. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

The Light Has Come

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NIV) 

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV) 

Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways – He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, VOICE) 

 

This declaration in Isaiah occurred centuries prior to Christ’s arrival. God’s faithful followers were quite familiar with this passage, as they understood that one day, the Christ would come. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds all knew that this was to come to pass, and suddenly, here they were, in the midst of God’s promised miracle. No wonder Mary pondered these things and treasured them in her heart, and likewise, it is no surprise that the shepherds were overwhelmed with praise for the newborn King. All that they had been waiting for was unfolding before them.  What a wonder to behold! Today, we are equally blessed to be the bearers of this news. For the baby that was so long promised, came, grew, and made the way for us to know Him, leading us to a place of knowing the Prince of Peace for ourselves. Throughout time, Christ has shown himself in each of the roles, again and again. He is the Wonderful Counselor who is faithful to lead us and guide us; Powerful God, greater than any circumstance we may face; Everlasting Father, who is the same yesterday, today and forever; and the Prince of Peace, who reminds us that He is present in powerful ways, as He came to be the Light of the world. May we all find a quiet moment to reflect on how our Heavenly Father has fulfilled all of these roles in our lives this year, and look forward in faith, knowing that He will remain present as we walk forward without fear of the future – for God with us, shall endure forever. 

 

The Light of the world, The Hope of the World

Most surely has come; 

Born in a stable, 

Omnipotent One. 

Though but a baby, 

The Savior, He grew; 

To bless with new life, 

Both for me and you. 

Our great Counselor, 

Most Powerful One; 

Who reigns forever, 

The Lord’s only Son. 

Now and for always, 

The great Prince of Peace; 

The Light of the world, 

Whose reign will not cease. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to us, so that we could be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for not recognizing the remarkable roles that You are willing and available to fill for all who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You reign in our hearts and lives forever. Show us how love those around us in a way that illuminates darkness with the hope and help of Your holy light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your power and Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

Wile I am in the world, I am the light of the world. – John 9:5

Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

Purposeful Reign

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV) 

Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return until they have watered the ground. Then the ground causes the plants to sprout and grow, and they produce seeds for the farmer and food for the people to eat. In the same way, My words leave My mouth, and they don’t come back without results. My words make the things happen that I want to happen. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, ERV) 

 

It has been a typically torrential week, weather-wise, in the great Pacific Northwest. Rain has poured down daily, and the mountains are gaining significant snow to help us all remember that December is actually here. Though I prefer the sunshine and sweeter, more leisurely days of summer, there are blessings to behold as the rains come down. Yesterday, as my best running buddy and I were braving the elements on a run, we hit a favorite sweet spot that is an actual decline (as everywhere we run in our town is hilly) an old song I love kept going through my head – Send Your Rain”. As the lyrics were on repeat as we ran, I thought about the benefit and beauty that our wet winter weather affords our area. It is lush and green and gorgeous, and there is a view of either the mountains or water, (or both!) nearly everywhere one goes. In the same way, as I immerse myself in His word each morning, what I learn seems to be recalled at the most opportune moments, when I need to be reminded most. God is a God of intention, and He is able to use everything for good. Even the wet, cold days of winter serve a purpose, as they bring bounty as we walk into spring. (The jury is still out on spiders though, just sayin’…) May we ever seek the Lord and His word, recognizing that what He says is true and what He promises, He will do. May we allow Him reign in our hearts. 

 

Each raindrop that falls, fb_img_15445766468148440667160544576070.jpg

Has purposed intent; 

To water the earth, 

This grace, heaven-sent. 

The same with God’s word, 

Each spoken with care; 

To guide and instruct, 

Love, help and prepare. 

Both are sent for growth, 

For their yield is great; 

Each to be absorbed, 

New life, generate. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your rain and Your word. Thank You that both are used to nurture and grow. Thank You that You give us tangible, visible examples in the world around us to grasp that which might not be clearly seen. Forgive us for not absorbing all that we can from Your word, as You generously give us all that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may feel refreshed and grow in the grace that You so lovingly give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your reign in our lives and soak in all that You speak to our hearts. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

 

 

All Together for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – (Romans 8:28, NLT)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

God is able to take all that we experience – every trial and triumph, each heartache and happiness, and use them together for good for those who choose to receive what He offers and walk in His ways. If we never experienced defeat, we would not appreciate the thrill of victory. If we did not know what it was to ache, we could not fully grasp the beauty and bounty of His blessings. God does not cause the struggles and trials that we face, but He does take our ashes and brings beauty for all to behold. I am in a season currently, where I am witnessing just how much beauty and blessing He ushers into the spaces that once were swallowed by sorrow. Dashed hopes have become dreams displayed for my heart to hold again, and where there was once nothing but wreckage, now resides fresh tenacity and vitality, as a new chapter of my story is being authored by He who breathes love and life and grace. May we be confident in our hope in knowing that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and have chosen to follow the path that He has placed before us.

 

God takes our ashes, All Together for Good

Our space of despair;

Fills them with beauty,

By His tender care.

He orchestrates all,

To work out for good;

For those who accept,

His plans as we should.

In all things, God makes,

His greatness abound;

Darkness becomes light,

And true joy is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our wreckage and return beauty and hope and good things as we trust our lives in Your hands. Thank You that though we will face trials, we can hold fast to confident hope, knowing that You will ultimately use all things for good. Forgive us for struggling to see hope when darkness seems to surround us. Teach us to trust You more, and to remember that You are the Light that dwells within us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend hope in spaces of struggle and celebrate with those in seasons of blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to work all things together toward something good as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

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