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

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Our God has designed, wp-15323501515116858327490790099683.jpg

Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3

The Gift of Peace

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

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

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

 

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

 

Do not be troubled, Safe in New Seasons

Dear heart, do not fear;

For the peace of God,

Comes as we draw near.

The great gift of peace,

Is from God alone;

It settles our hearts,

As His love is known.

Do not be troubled,

By all that is seen;

Instead, call on Christ,

Our great Prince of Peace.

 

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

 

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

 

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

The Master of Peace

May the Master of Peace Himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you! – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, MSG)

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, NLT)

We pray that the Lord of peace will give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, ERV)

 

Peace can sometimes feel elusive when the season is so full of activities. Though they are good and exciting and enjoyable, they can be stealers of peace if we do not seek to keep our Savior at the center. Despite the lack of daily scheduled routine, my days continue to be filled and busy. The need to begin my day seeking the Lord does not change, and I recognize His peace that is present in places it otherwise would be absent. As I seek Him, I find that His peace follows me throughout my day, and He makes His peace known to me through my interactions with others. May we seek the Lord and His peace in all things, so that in every situation His peace may be made known.

 

The Master of peace,IMG_2491

Is faithful to give;

The grace that we need,

To tranquilly live.

His peace and His grace,

Are ours to receive;

To live and love well,

Show hope to believe.

May our Lord of all,

Be with you always;

Giving You His peace,

As you rise each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord of peace, and that You give Your peace when we call on You. Thank You that You can bring Your peace into the most tumultuous of situations and circumstances because of who You are. Forgive us for forgetting how great You are. Teach us to trust Your peace more than the chaos that we see. Show us how to present Your peace to those around us in turmoil, as we love like You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for peace at all times and in every situation. All glory unto You, our Mighty Source of peace. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

Take Delight in Honoring Others

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. – (Romans 12:10, NLT)

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. – (Romans 12:10, MSG)

 

God calls us to love people like family; His family. This sort of love runs deep, and draws others in. It is not selfish nor rude, but rather delights in honoring others above ourselves. When we show love as God loves us, we give a window to the world to the very heart of God. May we love each other in a way that makes us feel close like sisters and brothers, and honor one another more than ourselves. Let our love be light that points people to Christ.

 

Love from the center,Generous Giving

Of who you’ve become;

Let your heart delight,

In all He has done.

Because of His grace,

We can go love well;

With all that we are,

Of hope let us tell.

May we all find joy,

Honoring others;

Let us choose lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

For as we delight,

Love as we’ve been shown;

God’s grace evident,

And He is made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in the very way that You call us to love others. Thank You that You draw near and delight in us. Forgive us for not loving those around us as we are called to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love with all that we are, and honor others above ourselves. Show us how to love like You, so that all might see Your love made evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other as we are called to do. Amen.

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

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

Palm Sunday

Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God! Blessings on the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!” – (Mark 11:9, NLT)

Running ahead and following after, they were calling out, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in God’s Name! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven! – (Mark 11:9, MSG)

 

Today is Palm Sunday. This is the day that we remember Jesus making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, just days prior to the last supper, the betrayal of Judas Iscariot, the crucifixion, and ultimately, His resurrection. On Palm Sunday, as He returned to Jerusalem, Jesus was actually welcomed as the One who saves. People praised God as He passed by, threw palm branches before Him, and even their own cloaks so that Christ would not walk on the filth of a regular road. Jesus was given the honor that was due, yet the hearts of the people were still not quite grasping how His reign would come to be. They wanted Jesus to overthrow the Roman rulers right then and there, rather than reign in their hearts and rescue them from their sin and shame. God’s ways are far greater than ours, and it is often difficult to grasp the greater good when we want immediate relief. May we ever remember that despite what we see, God has our very best in mind. He sees and He knows what is and will be, and His ways are higher and greater than ours.

 

Triumphal entry,Palm Sunday

All honor is due;

To the God who saves,

All praise unto You.

Let us ever praise,

Despite what we see;

Your ways are higher,

Help me trust in Thee.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That all’s in Your hands;

You take willing hearts,

And lead in Your plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that like the people of Jerusalem, though we might not fully understand what You have in mind, our hearts long to give You praise. Thank You that You show us Your will and Your way, and strengthen and equip us to do as You say. Forgive us for the times that we run the wrong direction in search of security or relief, when You are all we need to successfully navigate every obstacle and trial. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You, trusting Your way, despite what we see, as whatever we go through here and now is temporary in comparison to our eternity that is to come. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they may see the hope we hold in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember the magnitude of the sacrifice You made for us. 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

The Word at Work

God’s word is alive and working. It is sharper than the sharpest sword and cuts all the way into us. It cuts deep to the place where the soul and the spirit are joined. God’s word cuts to the center of our joints and our bones. It judges the thoughts and feelings in our hearts. – (Hebrews 4:12, ERV)

For whatever God says to us is full of living power; it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are. – (Hebrews 4:12, TLB)

The truth of God stands. No matter what lies hidden, it is known by God. He sees past all pretenses and pretty cover-ups, and gets straight to the heart of things. Where we need correction, He comes. Where we need direction, He leads. Where we need to be encouraged, He speaks life. In those spaces of weariness where we begin to tire of doing good, He grants strength and reminds us how pleased He is when we do His will. God’s word is alive and active and as we invest our time and attention to spending time reading it, He takes what is before us, and instructs, grows and shows us where we are meant to go. May we spend time earnestly seeking the Lord each day through the washing of His word; and may we be encouraged as He refines and defines us, as our hearts become more and more like His.

The word of the Lord,The Word of God

is alive, at work;

it cuts to the core,

highlights sin that lurks.

It judges our thoughts,

actions and desires;

points out our true heart,

rescues from the fire.

The truth of God stands,

for now and always;

it’s hope we can trust,

for all of our days.

By His word He shows,

how we’re meant to live;

what we should let go,

and grace we’re to give.

His words wash away,

that which needs to go;

and raises in us,

His love we’re to show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword. Thank You that Your word gets past all of our walls and straights to the heart. Thank You that by Your word and Spirit, You show us our thoughts and attitudes of our hearts through Your eyes. Forgive us for every way within us that does not align with Your heart and the truth of Your word. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your strength to lead and guide us to walk in Your way and live out Your truth. Show us how to love others with the same gracious and selfless love that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and allow Your Spirit to show us how it is to shape all that we say and do. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Praise to the Burden Bearer

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – (Psalm 68:19)

 

Though we all must face barriers and burdens before us, not one of us was ever meant to bear them alone. God created us with relationship in mind. Even when the original intent for the relationship was fractured with the fall of man, Christ came to create the way for nearness to be restored, and for mankind’s mistakes to be made right before our Maker.

 

We each have a choice. If we choose Christ, and opt to allow Him to be the center of our lives, He comes along side us, forgives and restores us to righteous standing before Him, and is our help and our hope, bearing our burdens and guiding us through that which we were never meant to walk through alone. Because He is God who saves, He alone deserves our praise. May we give Christ all of our praise, and allow Him to bear the burdens that we cannot carry.

 

May praise be present,An Appropriate Answer to Anger

to the Lord our King;

Who bears our burdens,

His grace offering.

Let not life’s challenge,

lead our hearts astray;

for only in Christ,

will we find the way.

The Lord’s way is love,

to save and restore;

to walk alongside,

give strength to endure.

All praise unto You,

our Savior and King;

for in You alone,

we find what strength means.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God and Savior who daily bears our burdens when we seek You and willingly place them in Your hands. Thank You that no matter what comes, Your strength is sufficient to carry us through. Forgive us for attempting to bear our burdens alone, or for questioning Your ability to carry that which is weighing us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will come before You and ask You to bear what we are not meant to carry. Help our hearts remain in a perpetual place of praise unto You, for You deserve all of our adoration and honor for who You are. Lead us to love others with a love like Yours, and may many come to know You personally as a result. Be exalted O God, as we praise You, the beautiful bearer of our burdens. Amen.

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

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

The Seasonal Shift

There is a not-so-subtle shift that somehow takes place between yesterday and today.  Every year, it seems much the same – gather, eat, relax and enjoy the company of family and friends, and return home to rest.  Despite a day off that follows, there is a sort of frantic feel in the air; a new sense of list-making, and task-doing that must be accomplished NOW.  Though I am not a Black Friday shopper, nor did I set an alarm clock this morning, I woke early with a sense of urgency to get things done.  Perhaps it is a realization that Christmas is now only twenty-six days away, or that I have not even begun to shop, decorate, or visibly prepare for the next season that has now arrived.

After slowing down my heart and mind, and spending time in His presence, I am reminded again of what matters most – not only this time of year, but always.  Am I loving God with my whole heart?  Am I loving people?  If I can answer yes, I am choosing to commit each day unto Him, then I am moving in the right direction.  Christmas is a most wonderful time of year, when we keep Christ in the center.  Remembering how He came to us as a vulnerable baby, only to go through all of the growing pains that we too experience and more, so that He could love us with His life, and ultimately, His death in our place on the cross and then His resurrection on the third day;  it truly is a sacred season.  When we think about preparations and giving, where does our heart go?  My hope is that as I ready my heart and home for this blessed new season, I will be intentional to honor Him.  As I give, I want to feel a fraction of what He feels when He gives us gifts.  When I worship, I want to marvel in the majesty of His presence.  Seated near the tree that will eventually go up, I hope to hear the heavenly hosts singing praise in my heart, as I gaze upon that which is adorned before me, as I think of Him.

May every heart stop,The Seasonal Shift

slow down and take in;

glimpses of You, God,

our Father, and Friend.

Let us not forget,

You are the reason;

we now celebrate,

this holy season.

Grant us eyes to see,

and Your heart to hear;

the glory around,

as You’re ever near.

Be honored, Lord, God,

in all that we do;

may all be now done,

to glorify You.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings that You wrap in this most holy season.  Please help us to keep our eyes fixed securely on You, so that our priorities will be aligned with Yours.  Show us how we may be a blessing to those around us.  Forgive us for getting caught up in the craziness of the “have-to’s”, and help us to know what matters to You, and what does not.  Help us do everything unto You, and may many come to know the real reason we celebrate this Christmas season.  Let Your love shine brightly through all that we say and do.  Amen.

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