To Purvey Perfect Peace

Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, NIV)

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

The ways of wisdom are sweet, always drawing you into the place of wholeness. – (Proverbs 3:17, TPT)

 

I’m not sure if I ever thought about it before, but it is intriguing that wisdom is referred to as “her or she” in several of the various translations of the Bible. After thinking about it for a few moments, what came to mind for me is my grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family, and the one whom all agreed was full of wisdom. Interestingly enough, she always seemed to be at peace, her faith secure, and her future, certain. If wisdom had a face, it would bear the image of my grandmother. Her example was an ever-present reminder of how to appreciate and enjoy a life of joy and peace. We are to never stop learning and growing, ever investing in God and walking in His ways. May we ever seek the Lord and His wisdom, allowing His leading to draw us into His place of peace.

 

Wisdom will lead you,img_2019-04-18_04-54-067828651336326131492.jpg

To a place of peace;

God in His goodness,

Grants joyous release.

Freed from the burdens,

That seek steal His joy;

Blessed in the knowing,

The grace God employs.

So, ever seek God,

His wisdom and grace;

For in His presence,

His peace comes to stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom from You brings peace and joy, comfort and hope. Forgive us for attempting to find peace anywhere other than in Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your peace tangible, in the same way You utilized my grandmother to show all who came near her. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and recognize the perfect peace that comes from You alone. Amen.

 

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

 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

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

Persistently Pursue in Praise

A blind beggar on the side of the road was calling out to Jesus. People tried to silence him, but he shouted all the louder. His persistence captured the attention of Jesus, and the following exchange took place:

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. – (Luke 18:40-42)

When we know what we need from the Lord, and we persist in our pursuit of Him, He moves mightily and miracles take place. The challenge is that we not give up when our circumstances or surroundings tell us to be silent. Faith requires us to keep calling out, even when all seems impossible in our own eyes. As we are willing to keep pressing in, we make room for God to move. The moment we are aware of His touch, or His acting on our behalf, we ought to respond with thanks and praise. When we do, others too, have the opportunity to become aware of His faithfulness, and express their gratitude as well. May we have a persistent faith that refuses to be silenced, even when the world around us would tell us there is no hope; for in Christ, our hope brings healing and health and wholeness.

When we are but blind,The Splendor of Salvation

and needing to see;

our charge is to call,

on Christ to be free.

For only through Him,

will we truly find;

freedom for body,

heart, spirit and mind.

We must choose press in,

no matter what’s said;

let faith fill our hearts,

chase doubt from our heads.

With all that we are,

let us offer praise;

so others may know,

the Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us with Your love as we call on You in faith. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, and that You love us back to life, despite how we come before You. Forgive us for our lack of faith or persistence, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would have the faith of the blind beggar that is relentless, regardless of what those around us might say. Lead us to love others generously and faithfully, so that they might see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persist in our pursuit of You, and give You all of our praise. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

He Climbs in the Boat

Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51)

When the disciples were rowing across the lake, having left a miraculous evening in which Jesus had fed a multitude with a mere five loaves and two fish, they somehow lost sight of their story when a storm set in. Waves were crashing around them, and then, as if an apparition, Jesus was walking beside these men on the water. To say they were frightened, would likely be an understatement. Jesus reassured them, and then, what really brought about comfort and peace to each stirred up soul, was when He climbed into the boat beside them. As He did, the wind and waves were calmed, and so too, were the hearts of those who He came near.

As storms rage around us, do we look up from our oars? If even for a moment, I imagine we’d find similar shock at just how near the Lord is to us, and how willing He is to climb in beside us and still the storm in our soul. Our charge is to look for Him in the midst of both the calm and the storm, as He stays beside us in each. His miracles are available and He moves on our behalf, more often than we realize. When we really look, we too, will be completely amazed at how the Lord is moving among us.

As storms are raging,

we strain at the oar;
crying to the Lord,
“Dear Jesus, no more.”
But do we look up,
and bother to see;
how near the Lord is,
on standby, waiting?
For He never leaves,
He’s promised to stay;
through calm and through storms,
both now and always.
He’s gentle and kind,
will come close beside;
if we only ask,
trust Him and abide.
There’s no storm too strong,
nor crisis too great;
He always shows up,
and is never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when storms rage around us, You don’t just look down on us from afar, but You come close and climb in the boat beside us, commanding the chaos within us to become calm. Even if the storm that surrounds us continues for a season, You bring stillness to our soul. Thank You that You are our comfort and our peace, and that You do amazing things when we look to You. Forgive us for focusing our attention on surviving the storm, rather than on You, the One who can still the storm with a word or Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look for You, and discover just how often You are seated beside us in the boat. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may discover Your nearness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You who draws near to us and calms the storms within us, and help us to stand amazed at the mighty ways in which You move. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Nearness Fends Off Fear

You came near when I called You, and You said, “Do not fear.” – (Lamentations 3:57)

Why is our default fear or panic, despite the ongoing faithfulness of God? Every time I call on the Lord, He is faithful to answer, and reminds me that I need not fear. His presence is tangible, and His heart for me is made evident. Though His answers are rarely what we expect, and His timing is not our own, the Lord listens to every whisper of our heart, and every prayer raised in faith before Him. Each time fear, anxiousness or panic begins to press in, I have to remember that His words to us are, “Do not fear.” Greater is He that is in us, than anything that is in the world. That includes every struggle, situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, as He knows the outcome before we even face the challenge. Our charge is to call on Him and to trust. He will meet us every moment, and carry us when we are no longer able to keep moving. He is good, and His heart is always for us, no matter how things appear. May we draw near to our faithful Father, as He holds our hands and hearts, and says to us, “Do not fear.”

When we call on Christ,ç€À

He hears every word;

faithful to answer,

as our voice is heard.

From our heart to His,

He’s faithful and kind;

worthy of our trust,

Most Holy, Divine.

He says, “Do not fear,”

for He is enough;

no challenge too great,

nor trial too tough.

Greater is the One,

dwelling within me;

than all that we face,

or ever will be.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call on You, and that You remind us to fear not. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are greater than anything that attempts to come against us. Forgive us for forgetting how near and powerful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear when storms rage around us, but rather would cling to You, the anchor of our soul. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too might see the strength and nearness found in You, and recognize that with You, there is no need to fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust Your presence to keep fear far from us. Amen.

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

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

Remembering His Faithfulness

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what your hands have done. – (Psalm 143:5)

David faced some seriously discouraging circumstances. More than once, he had to flee for his very life, despite knowing that God had called him to be king. Despite the dismay at the detours, David chose to direct his heart and mind to the displays of faithfulness that the Lord had demonstrated for the many generations that had gone before him. He knew that God was faithful, and that His word was true. Rather than fixing his eyes on the hardships that he could see, David chose to meditate on all that God had done before, trusting that He would be faithful to continue to keep His promises as He had done so faithfully, for the many generations that had gone before him.

We are called to do the very same thing in the face of adversity. It is our choice to either focus on the problem, or on He who is faithful to hear our every prayer, and be present beside us, every step of the way. When we slow down and remember all the ways in which He has been faithful to us already, it is easier to meditate on the truth of His word, and what He has promised He will do. God is good, and His love endures forever. We need not allow our hearts to be overcome with fret or fear, but rather we ought to meditate on His works and the wonder of all that He has done. May we keep our hearts and minds fixed on Christ and the truth of who He is, so that we always remember what He has done, and where we are ultimately headed.

Remember the times,Break Camp and Move Out

that God has come through;

provided answers,

shown us what to do.

When there was a need,

our God did provide;

unexpectedly,

a whisper replied.

The Lord’s gentle hand,

as someone came near;

His comfort granted,

to our silent tears.

A ray of sunlight,

after raging rain;

hope we can cling to,

He makes our path plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are and have always been faithful. Thank You that You remain the same: yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that we can look to the past to remember Your faithfulness throughout the ages, when we are discouraged about today. Thank You that when we look to all that You have done, You restore our hope for both today and forever, as You are unchanging and abounding in love. Forgive us for forgetting to stop and meditate on all of Your works, as when we consider all that You have done, we cannot help but be hopeful. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and take time to consider all that You have done for us, even in the midst of our greatest trials, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that we might be an extension of Your hands and heart to those who need Your tangible touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember all that You have done, and go forth in confidence, knowing that Your faithfulness will last forever. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Loved Like Lazarus

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. – (John 11:33)

 

Jesus was not God out there, He was God came near, who felt what we feel, and loved people through their points of pain. This particular verse was Jesus’ response after He saw and spoke with both Martha and Mary after Lazarus had died. Little did the ladies know, that when Jesus was moved in spirit, it would bring back to life, the brother that they thought they had lost… The very same God who loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus in their spaces of sorrow, loves each of us and knows our needs. He is moved when we weep and hears every prayer. We never know how He intends to answer our requests, and we can always count on His coming close in our space of need. May we never forget that He is close to the brokenhearted, and He hears every cry of our hearts. He is faithful to meet us in our brokenness, and love us back to life.

 

There are times like Lazarus,Internal Investments Exceed External

when light gives way to pain;

all the heart knows is weeping,

we need new life again.

In those places of darkness,

if we call on the Lord;

He’s faithful to draw near us,

love and peace He’ll afford.

Healing this side of heaven,

is held in His great hands;

as we submit and trust Him,

His love reveals His plans.

He stays with brokenhearted,

and hears each cry we pray;

He’s near us every moment,

His light will point the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how You love. Thank You that Your love is not from afar, but it is love that comes close, that feels, and touches, and weeps when we weep and rejoices when we rejoice. Thank You that You are moved by what moves us. Forgive us for forgetting how very personal and near You are in the throes of our own pain, and help us to know Your nearness in tangible ways. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would call on You in our chaos and give You thanks for the gifts of grace. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come to know Your nearness personally, and choose to enter into a relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we come before You with both thanksgiving and petitions, grateful for Your nearness and understanding of each one of us as You provide new life for us in You. 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

Compassion Crosses the Street

Compassion defined, is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. – (dictionary.com) Meeting together with my book study group, session four unpacked Part 4 – Be the Change, as we continued to discuss the book Undaunted, by Christine Caine.

 

Caine defines compassion in a far more tangible way: “Compassion is never compassion until we cross the street and get involved in someone else’s pain.”   The Bible shows us again and again, examples of what it means to be compassionate towards others. In Luke 10:25-37, both a priest and a Levite pass by a man who had been robbed, beaten and broken on the side of the road. Despite their positions of leadership and their vows to honor God, they disregarded a man in need, and continued on their way. A Samaritan, one whom would have been a sworn enemy of the injured man, looked past societal status and stooped down to help one who would have normally looked down upon him. The Good Samaritan first moved toward the man in the midst of his pain, then attended to his immediate needs, and finally, carried him to a place where continued recovery could be made. (Which he also provided for…) Indeed, the Samaritan crossed the road and got involved in someone else’s pain.

 

How can we do the same? What need to we see that we can cross the road to go and meet? If we attempt to look at every need that exists and try to go out and meet them all, we will become overwhelmed and end up meeting none. Our charge is to listen to the Lord and hear where He is leading us, and then go and do that which He asks. Sometimes it is going to coffee with a struggling friend and just being a listening ear. Other times, He calls us to go out into the trenches and get in the mire and the muck to help dig another out of the ditch. Whatever He asks, He will also equip us to do. May we go forth in His grace and strength, with true compassion that crosses the street to get involved in another’s pain.

 

May we have a heart,Compassion Crosses the Road

that’s willing to hear;

where You are calling,

be it far or near.

Let us be ready,

to do as You ask;

Lord grant us Your strength,

to complete each task.

Help us cross the road,

fear not get involved;

in another’s pain,

may we show resolve.

Let our every act,

show that there is hope;

may our compassion,

help the hurting cope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that are the ultimate example of compassion, as You stepped down from heaven and came near, so that we would have a way to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us in the midst of our pain, and that You remain present, no matter how ugly it gets. Forgive us for our reluctance and excuses for not crossing the road to be present in another’s pain, and grant us the wisdom and the strength to hear Your voice and act on every opportunity to which we are called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not hesitate to move and jump in, even if we do not feel qualified nor equipped, understanding that if You call us, You too will provide what is needed. Lead us to above all else, love well, just as You have so lavishly loved each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the fullness of Your grace in the compassion of another’s face, who is obeying You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to cross the street and get involved in another’s pain. Amen.

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

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

Weighty Words

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” – (Luke 18:38-42)

 

Though a seemingly simple exchange, the weight of the words are extremely significant. Religious leaders who had studied scriptures and seen Jesus speak and do the miraculous before their own eyes, did not recognize Him as the Messiah. A blind man, who begged by the side of the road and likely only heard stories of what Jesus had done, believed and called out to Christ by Name. He knew that the One passing before him on the road, was Him alone who could restore his sight. Though desperate and destitute, the blind man had enough faith to cry out to Christ. Even when he was hushed, he called out all the louder, in hope of being heard. His act of faith resulted in his being seen, heard and healed. May we too, recognize the power present in our Messiah, and call on Him in faith in all things and at all times. May our response also be to follow, praising God for all that He is.

 

Merciful Savior,Weighty Words

He hears when we call:

He gives us His time,

and loves us through all.

Christ beckons us near,

draws us closer still;

hears each faithful cry,

with His peace, He’ll fill.

We need to persist,

choose trust and believe;

the Lord is faithful,

by grace, we receive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us such clear evidence of who You are. Thank You for Your Word and for sending Your Son to show us the way unto You. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our unbelief, and grant us the same sort of sight that the blind beggar had, so that we may clearly see that You alone are our only hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as Jesus loved all whom He encountered. May many come to find their hope in You alone, as we faithfully follow You. Be exalted O God, as we praise You for all that You are in our lives. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

The Good Shepherd

Christmas is a remembrance of when Love came near.  God, came in flesh, so that all might know the saving grace that is available through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, the Light unto the world, and the good Shepherd to all whom believe.

In John 10:11, it says, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Though few of us have much exposure to present-day shepherds, what I can gather from footnotes and other resources that I have read, is that shepherds treat their sheep as family, and are willing to lay down their own life to keep each of them safe from harm.  A shepherd’s love and commitment to care for his flock is not a paid position, but rather one’s chosen duty as he cares for each sheep as if it were his own precious progeny.

Jesus, throughout scripture, is called the Good Shepherd.  He is the ultimate example of one who loves us with His very life, and cares for each of us, individually.  When we make the decision to follow Him, we become the sheep of His flock – the people of His pasture.  The cross was endured on our behalf, so that we are forgiven and freed from all that would lead us away from the security of our Good Shepherd; and His resurrection and the sending of His Holy Spirit, provide us with the ability to hear and obey His voice, as well as the power to hold fast to the promise of our eternal hope.  What a treasured song to sing, when His glad tidings we choose to bring.

The Savior came near,The Good Shepherd

in flesh, became man;

still fully holy,

for us, came to stand.

The Light of the world,

came down to the earth;

an innocent child,

lowly stable birth.

Announced by angels,

to shepherds in field;

for they knew of love,

sacrificial yield.

Baby became man,

Good Shepherd to all;

who choose to follow,

and answer His call.

For He gave His life,

so our life we’d gain;

eternal promise,

the truth to proclaim.

Sing out, fellow sheep,

glad tidings to share;

for His hope is ours,

rejoice in His care.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Good Shepherd.  Thank You that You know us and love us, individually.  Thank You that You willingly laid down Your life, so that we could have life with You forever.  Forgive us for allowing the worries of the world to steal our joy, and help us to rejoice in the promises that are ours forever.  Help us to share the great news of who You are, and may many receive the gift of You this Christmas.  May we love as You love, so that Your light is evident in all that we say and do.  May our actions be announcements of Your goodness and grace.  Amen.

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