Step Out of the Boat

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV) 

Peter said, “Lord, if that is really You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come, Peter.” Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, ERV) 

Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really You, then have me join You on the water!” “Come and join me,” Jesus replied. So, Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, TPT) 

 

Peter’s desire to know the truth about Jesus was tremendous. After just having been caught in treacherous wind and waves, and out of seemingly nowhere, witnessing Jesus walking up to the boat on the water, Peter called out to Jesus and asked to join Him where He was. As a fisherman, Peter knew the danger in the midst of the storm, and the risk of drowning in the depths of the sea. However, with his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter’s desire to be with Jesus, where He was, despite having to step out of the safety of the boat that actually floated, he called to Jesus and asked to be where He was. Jesus told him to “come”. Incredibly, Peter chose to step out of the security of sitting in the boat and set both feet on the water, trusting that Jesus, who called him, could empower him to do what Jesus was doing. Though we know how the story goes, and that Peter, as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, began to sink; yet Peter is the only one other than Jesus to ever experience walking on water. Both his faith and desire to be where Jesus was, empowered him to do what Jesus was doing. Peter asked, Jesus answered, and Peter stepped out of the boat. What does it take for us to step out of our “boat”? We ask, He answers and we have to choose to take that first few steps. Often, we never set foot out of the boat. Additionally, when we feel ourselves sinking, do we call out to Christ, or dive back in the boat? Jesus is trustworthy and will not let us sink. Just as He did for Peter, He will take our hand and keep us afloat. May we seek the Lord for the ways in which He wants us to draw ever nearer to Him, and be willing to step out of our space of comfort and safety, so that we too, may experience the wonder of walking with Him in ways we never thought possible. 

 

Lord, help us to trust, step out of the boat

Despite what we see; 

Help us move to You, 

Our place of safety. 

May we choose step out, 

Of that which we know; 

With eyes on You, Lord, 

So our faith may grow. 

No matter the wind, 

Nor waves that surround; 

To place trust in You, 

Is hope that is sound. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You answer and are present with us. Thank You that You show Yourself faithful each time we trust and move toward You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, and allowing our circumstances to cloud our sight line. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on You, no matter the storms that come our way, and ever press on toward You and where You call us closer to You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know the security that is in Your presence, rather than the space they are in right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we step out of what we know to move ever closer to You. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Refreshment for My Soul

He refreshes my soul… – (Psalm 23:3a, NIV)

He restores my strength… – (Psalm 23:3a, ERV)

You let me catch my breath… – (Psalm 23:3a, MSG)

He makes me whole again… – (Psalm 23:3a, VOICE)

 

As I have been provided the opportunity to gather with dear friends this weekend, my heart holds onto the promise that He refreshes our souls. This particular group of gals and I have been dear friends for twenty-five years. We met in Montana as each of us was following the call to participate in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. Our time together back then was an intense six months, as we prepared and then traveled to our determined destination in Southeast Asia. Three of us landed together in Thailand, while the other two spent their outreach experience in Japan. That connection so long ago has held fast, and we are each blessed and refreshed as we try to make time to get together at least once a year for a weekend. Though each of our lives have gone different directions, there are common threads and shared experiences that bring our bond even closer. This weekend grants us each room to catch our breath, as we find time to laugh and simply enjoy the presence of one another as we share what has been happening in our lives. I love how God uses the people that He has placed in our lives to refresh, restore and encourage us as we navigate the path that He is leading us along. May we ever seek Him to restore our strength and refresh our soul, as He is the One who will make us whole again.

 

Be still, O my soul,

YWAM Girls

From the last time we gathered…<3

For there shall be rest;

He knows what we need,

And He loves us best.

He restores our strength,

When it’s all but gone;

Helps us catch our breath,

To end the day strong.

Our soul is refreshed,

Through His loving grace;

He grants what’s needed,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You refresh, restore and make us whole again when we feel completely depleted. Thank You that it is not something that we need muster the strength to do, but rather it is in the seeking that You provide. Thank You for the gift of long-standing friendships that last. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through difficulties rather than seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and trust You to restore what is broken and refresh us in our weariness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your refreshment and restoration so that they might catch their breath and find strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we seek Your refreshment and strength, as You alone, make us whole. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Forgiveness Fosters Love

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT) 

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV) 

Those who forgive faults foster love, but those who repeatedly recall them ruin relationships. – (Proverbs 17:9, VOICE) 

 

Our world desperately is in need of the forgiveness of faults to move forward in the freedom that is found in love. Far too often fingers are pointed without taking an honest look in the mirror. We all fall short and make missteps, and at times our errors end up hurting someone near us. If we are walking in love as God calls us to love, we must choose to forgive and move forward. The more we give grace, the greater our friendships grow. Freedom to be human is a tremendous burden lifted, and as we are able to be transparent with those near to us, we are strengthened in our faith and better bonded as dear friends. May we ever choose to be the ones who forgive faults and foster love, just as Jesus has done for us. 

 

As we choose forgive, Faith and Hope in Action

The love we have grows; 

Friendships are strengthened, 

As grace is made known. 

Those who dwell on faults, 

End up in great loss; 

Friendships are ruined, 

Far too great the cost. 

So let us choose love, 

Forgive and give grace; 

Build our bonds closer, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about our every interaction and relationship so much, that You give us guidance as to how to navigate best. Thank You that as we forgive, just as You have forgiven us, You bless us with stronger bonds in the relationships You have granted. Forgive us for dwelling on faults rather than forgiving. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Show us how to love and give grace to those around us, ever strengthening the bonds of friendship that You are building among us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by You. Amen. 

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

His Passion for Our Peace

But as He came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, He began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is hidden from your eyes.” – (Luke 19:41-42, NLT)

Jesus came near Jerusalem. Looking at the city, He began to cry for it and said, “I wish you knew today what would bring you peace. But it is hidden from you now.” – (Luke 19:41-42, ERV)

When the city came into view, He wept over it. “If you had only recognized this day, and everything that was good for you! But now it is too late.” – (Luke 19:41-42, MSG)

 

I’m not quite sure why this portion of passage has never stood out to me before, but this morning, I feel as if it is giving me deeper insight into the heart of our loving Father. The verse, “Jesus wept,” is often quoted and easily pointed back to the loss of His dear friend, Lazarus, and the response Jesus had when He saw the grief of those mourning the loss. In this passage, Jesus is grieving over an entire city. He knows the fate that will befall them, as He has shared His message of hope and peace again and again, yet knew that His time was nearing an end and the people who chose not to hear Him would be lost. I imagine that God grieves over us in much the same way when we stay stuck in our sorrow, grief and hopelessness, rather than turning to Him in trust. Jesus came and bore the weight of all of our heaviness so that we could know His peace, yet we must receive it in order to know it for ourselves. Though Jesus knocks and waits, we are not immortal. Each of us have an expiration date that is unknown. If we choose to neglect our opportunity to know Him when He is directly in front of us, the possibility may pass us by. May we ever seek our Savior and turn to Him in trust, as He is our place of peace at all times.

 

The Lord sees our hearts, His Passion for Our Peace

When lost, without peace;

With weeping, He grieves,

When we choose not seek.

God is the answer,

The hope our hearts need;

He’s ever waiting,

As we ask, He’ll lead.

He’s always gentle,

Won’t force His way in;

Waits for us to ask,

Then sets free from sin.

Peace He will bring us,

If we make request;

Grace freely granted,

He gives us His best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your heart is so clearly for us. Thank You that You love us to the point of tears, and that You willingly sent Your Son so that we could have life abundantly in You. Forgive us for not seeking You in trust when evidence of Your goodness and faithfulness are all around us. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, so that we would ever seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your peace to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with our lives and receive the grace and peace that You abundantly give. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

The Value of Friendship

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, NLT)

Some friends are fun to be with, but a true friend can be better than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, ERV)

Friends come and go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. – (Proverbs 18:24, MSG)

 

There is nothing quite like an escape together, to discover the depth of a friendship with the person you love. As a birthday surprise, I brought my guy to Nevada for a long weekend of sunshine and adventure. Yesterday, we braved the masses of the Las Vegas strip, to people watch, dine, and take in a great show. What I discovered in all of this, is how much I truly enjoyed spending time with my Viking. Despite the crowds, which I am not really a fan of, I felt safe, protected, and enjoyed walking mile after mile, hand-in-hand. We thoroughly enjoyed the company of one another, and had fun taking in the new. His presence feels familial, and I am at ease, knowing he is near. I am blessed to have friends who are like family, and family, who are friends. May we each recognize and value the gift of those who have been given unto us as family and friends, and invest the goodness God has given us to share.

 

Friends are a treasure, IMG_3743

A gift from the Lord;

Blessings straight from Him,

Who could ask for more?

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For those whom You give;

Family and friends,

Goodness as we live.

Help us invest well,

In those whom You bring;

All thanks unto You,

As we rise and sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends and family that You bless us with. Thank You for those whom You have given me. Thank You for the fullness and grace that I know because of Your heart that shines through the love I receive from these treasures. Forgive us for not investing our time and energy into the family and friends that You provide, and teach us how to manage our time well so that there is balance as You would call us to have. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the gift of friendships that You have given. 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

 

He Stills the Storms

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. – (Psalm 107:29, NIV)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. – (Psalm 107:29, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea. – (Psalm 107:29, VOICE)

 

Life gets harrowingly hectic, and at times, all we want is to stop and sit in silence. The amazing thing about God is that there are times when in the midst of a raging storm, He brings peace; out of nowhere, we find rest and are refreshed, despite what has been raging around us. The very same God who can command the wind and waves to be still, can calm the hurricane that is happening around us. Sometimes it is in an instant, and other times, He walks us gently through the eye of the storm to safety, and before long we can look back and see how far we’ve come by His goodness and grace. May we ever seek the Lord, for He alone is the One who can bring stillness to our every storm, and lead us safely back to shore.

 

When waves are crashing,Answers As We Ask

And life’s storms have come;

We must seek the Lord,

The safe, anchored One.

He silences storms,

With only a word;

The waves all stand still,

As His voice is heard.

Sometimes God will calm,

All that’s running wild;

And then other times,

It’s peace to His child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can still the storms to a whisper and every wave that comes can be hushed. Thank You that sometimes You bring peace to that which surrounds us, but other times You simply grant us peace in our hearts as we navigate the storms. Thank You that no matter what, You are with us and will never leave us. Forgive us for questioning Your presence when the storms rage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would cling ever closer in the midst of the storms. Show us how to love well, those who are in the middle of their own storms, so that they would find hope and help and safe harbor in those You have intentionally placed in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to still our storms, both inside and out. 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

Grasping the Greatness of Love

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. – (Ephesians 3:18, NLT)

And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:18, ERV)

 

To begin to grasp the depth, breadth and vast expanse of the love that Christ has for us, is the very thing that changes everything. Though none of us can fully fathom the greatness of such love, the more we comprehend, the more we desire to know Him. Human love, though wonderful when given, is fallible and fractured – but Christ’s love is eternal and unerring; His love never fails. In our limited understanding, it is easy to confuse our own experiences of love gone awry, with that which God gives to us. Even on the brightest and best days, our most tender and true examples of love that we experience with those around us, barely scratch the surface in comparison to that which the Lord has for us. Yes, He uses people to make His love tangible to us, however, in Him, there is so much more. The older I get, the more in awe I become at the depth of His love that gives mercy and grace, and draws me closer still to discover more of Him. May we each invest in the pursuit of knowing more of Him, as He increases our understanding of how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is for each of us.

 

May we come to know,grasping-the-greatness-of-love

More and more each day;

The greatness of love,

That God gives away.

How wide and how long,

How deep and how high;

May His grace reveal,

Truth none can deny.

The more that we know,

The more we can give;

As Christ has loved us,

So too, let us live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love never fails. Thank You that as we seek You, You begin to unpack for us, the width, the length, the height and the depth of Your great love for all. Forgive us for failing to listen or for mistaking Your love for that of what people pass on to us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, and allow Your love to be what fills us, and Your voice to speak the truth of who we are in You. Show us how to love others with Your love – pure and lovely, with no expectations in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow in understanding of the vastness of Your great love. 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

Familial Friends

Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family. – (Proverbs 18:24, MSG)

There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. – (Proverbs 18:24, NLT)

 

As I have begun the preparation process to return back to the classroom for the new school year, I have had the joy of reconnecting with colleagues whom I also have the privilege of calling friends. This summer, I have had the pleasure of spending time with several friends, whom I adore. I am overwhelmed when I consider the corners of my community. Between relatives, church family, lifelong friends, fitness friends, colleagues, and more, I have this beautiful circle of people on whom I can depend, that mean the world to me. Some have been in my life for decades, whereas others are relatively new members of my tribe. However, all are equal contributors to what I consider the wealth of my existence. These true friends have become family, and it is my charge to do likewise for those around me. May we all invest well in those who the Lord brings into our lives, so that we can be the truest of friends that build up and share a familial bond.

 

People come and go,photo (14)

For not all invest;

But those who are true,

Are the very best.

The truest of friends,

Remain ever near;

Their hearts are faithful,

Their motives are clear.

A close friend for us,

Is like family;

Grants courage and grace,

And strength to just be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of sweet friendships. Thank You for the gift of true friends in so many different facets of my life. Forgive me for the times that I have not been a good friend to those around me. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would hear Your heart for each person that I encounter, and that I might love well, as You love me. Show us how to be true friends to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for our friendships and go forth to be true friends to those around us. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Hope in Early Rising

I wake before dawn and call for help; I hope in Your words. – (Psalm 119:147, VOICE)

I rise early, before the sun is up; I cry out for help and put my hope in Your words. – (Psalm 119:147, NLT)

 

From the moment I first rise, my mind begins to race with all that I have to do throughout the day. If I were left to my own devices, I would surely self-combust on most of them. However, for me, each day begins with what matters most, as I am intentional to slow my heart and mind, and settle in to focus on God and His word. In the quiet stillness of the early morning, while the world still sleeps, I read the words written from His heart to mine, and He whispers encouragement, instruction, and correction that draw me ever closer unto Him. My hope continues to grow, the more I come to see and know, just how great our God truly is. He is my help and my hope, and He hears every word whispered from the depths of my heart. May each new day greet you with a revelation of His presence, as you become more and more aware of how He is at the ready – waiting and willing to hear every cry of your heart.

 

Before the dawn breaks,Approaching the Throne of Grace

the Lord is so near;

ready as we wake,

as we speak, He’ll hear.

When we call on Him,

our hope is assured;

the truth of His word,

where peace is secured.

No matter what comes,

or what lies ahead;

when Christ is with us,

we‘ve nothing to dread.

Even in trials,

in hardships and pain;

the Lord takes our hand,

His hope shall remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we rise early to call on You, You meet us, and provide Your promises of hope in Your word. Thank You that Your presence is assured when we place our trust in You. Thank You that no matter what comes, You promise to never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for not bringing our needs before You and trying to take Your rightful place. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will place all things in Your hands, and trust You to lead and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Show us how to love people through their pain, so that their hearts might seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise early to spend time with You and study Your word, as it is in this space where our hope grows greater in You. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28