To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Praise Even When

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. Amen.

 

 

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

 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. 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

Mercy When We Need it Most

So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, NLT) 

Finally, let’s draw near to the throne of favor with confidence so that we can receive mercy and find grace when we need help. – (Hebrews 4:16, CEB) 

So, let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE) 

 

I am continually in awe of God’s provision of mercy and grace when we need it most. The last day and a half have been a whirlwind for me. Sadly, on Wednesday night, I sustained an injury to my lower left leg at football practice and struggled to sleep that night because of the pain. His grace was with me, and He provided the strength I needed to get through a day of teaching and maneuvering around campus, be it ever so slowly, until I was able to go get an x-ray. As it turned out, my fibula had been fractured, and my excitement and anticipation for our first game, eight days from now, were dashed. Thankfully, I did not have time for a pity party, as I had a District Championship gymnastics meet that I had to be present and on for, as the head coach of a phenomenal group of girls. Not only was the pain kept under control, but my girls had an incredible meet. We were hopeful for a shot at a win but went in as the second placing team. Beyond His help, there was incredible blessing, as the ladies had the best meet of the season. We ended up with the win, and I was acutely aware of His kindness for me, as I embraced the blessing He provided in spite of the frustration of my own injury. He is good, and His grace and help are present. May we ever go boldly before the throne of grace, as He grants us His mercy and help when we are in need. 

 

Let us choose draw near, wp-1522410516881456130985.jpg

With great confidence; 

For the God of grace, 

Mercy to dispense. 

His help is ready, 

When we are in need; 

In kindness, He helps, 

As we trust, He leads. 

So, boldly choose come, 

Before His great throne; 

Ready to receive, 

For each need is known. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace and help when we need it most. Thank You that we can come boldly before Your throne to receive what we need. Forgive us for not seeking in our need, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to pursue You in both our struggles and our blessings, as You are present in all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that conveys Your grace, mercy, kindness and help to those who need it the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before Your throne with thankful hearts, knowing that we are heard and loved beyond what our minds can conceive. Amen. 

 

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

 

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

The Hand that Steadies

I cling to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. – (Psalm 63:8, NLT)

I stay close to You, and You hold me with Your powerful arm. – (Psalm 63:8, ERV)

My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up. – (Psalm 63:8, VOICE)

 

Much like a small child who has not quite yet learned to walk on their own, who reaches for the strong hand of a loved one to help steady them and hold them up, we too ought to do likewise with the Lord. Though we no longer need the help of a hand to walk, His nearness and His strength are necessary to navigate the obstacles that rise up before us. Just as a toddler has absolute trust in the hand that holds them, we too need to cling to Christ and trust that He has us in His outstretched hands. His arms are far greater than our adversaries and obstacles. As we stay close to Christ, we become acutely aware of His presence and His provision to persevere in all things and at all times. May we have faith like little children, as we trust completely in the nearness and greatness of our God to whom we cling.

 

I cling to You, Lord, the-hand-that-steadies.png

For Your strength is great;

Your hand holds me up,

Hope to celebrate.

His mighty right hand,

Reaches where we are;

Holds our heaviness,

Grants strength to go far.

No matter what comes,

Have hope and believe;

The depth of His love,

Too much to conceive.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cling to You, You hold us up with Your mighty hands. Thank You that we can seek You in all things, and trust You to be our strength, our help and our hope. Forgive us for not coming to You in trust. Teach us to know in our hearts the truth of Your promises for ourselves. Show us how to love others well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to You and become aware of Your hands holding us secure. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Faithful to Fulfill

Finish what You started in me, God. Your love is eternal – don’t quit on me now. – (Psalm 138:8, MSG)

Lord, I know You will do what You have promised. Lord, Your faithful love will last forever. You are the One who made us, so don’t leave us! – (Psalm 138:8, ERV)

The Eternal will finish what He started in me. Your faithful love, O Eternal One, lasts forever; do not give up on what Your hands have made. – (Psalm 138:8, VOICE)

 

Just as David called on the Lord in faith, trusting that God would fulfill His promises, we too can do the same. Though David went through some trying and troubling seasons, He ultimately knew that His life was in God’s hands. In his fear and frustration in what human eyes could conceive, David chose to trust and called on the Lord. We are called to do likewise. The work that God has begun in us, He will be faithful to complete. His love will never leave us nor forsake us, and we can place all of our trust in Him. May we fight to forge forward in faith, even when we cannot seem to find our footing. God has us in His hands, so we must place our trust in Him.

 

The Lord has a plan,hope-overflowing

For your life and mine;

We must choose to trust,

Place hope in Divine.

For God’s faithful love,

Endures for us still;

He’ll work to complete,

Each promise, fulfill.

The Lord won’t give up,

On what He has made;

Keep seeking His face,

As He makes the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have a plan and a purpose for each of us, and that Your faithful love for us endures forever. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt when we cannot see clearly the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep moving in the direction to which You have called us. Show us how to love and encourage those around us as they seek to discover who You have created them to be as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be faithful to all that You have promised, and continue to move in the direction to which we have been called. 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 Strength of His Love

For His unfailing love toward those who fear Him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. – (Psalm 103:11, NLT)

His love for His followers is as high above us a heaven is above the earth. – (Psalm 103:11, ERV)

As high as the heaven is over the earth, so strong is His love for those who fear Him. – (Psalm 103:11, MSG)

 

God’s love never fails. He is faithful to demonstrate His love to those who faithfully follow Him. Our human minds cannot conceive the height nor depth of a sacrificial love so great that it will not fail. As we seek the Lord and follow after Him, we gain deeper insight and understanding of His love for us, individually. It is from that very space of being loved beyond what we can fully grasp, that we can go forth and love others well. May we ever pursue the Lord with all of our hearts, and share well what He has given to us with others.

 

For the love of God,grasping-the-greatness-of-love

Has strength that won’t quit;

For all who believe,

Shall come to know it.

There’s no height nor depth,

That we can conceive;

As great as His love,

For those who believe.

So, ever seek Him,

And trust in His Name;

For His love won’t fail,

This truth we proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your unfailing love towards us is beyond our comprehension. Thank You that as we seek You and trust in You, You begin to reveal more and more of who You are and how You love to us, so that we might love like You. Forgive us for not seeking or embracing You, as Your love covers and cleanses all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever pursue a deeper understanding of who You are as we place our trust in You. Show us how to love well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love, and go forth to love as we are loved by You. 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

An Eternal Perspective

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT)

That’s why we have this Scripture text: No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it – What God has arranged for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, MSG)

 

As humans, we are creatures who crave comfort. Often, our desire to be comfortable leads us to labor and toil, fret and fear, to the point that we neglect to recognize the blessings we already have, and the hope held in what is yet to come. We are called to live and love well with each of our days as they come, as God has our ultimate destination prepared for us. Yes, we need to be wise with what we are given, but we need not worry about the final outcome, if we have placed our lives in His hands. May we lean into the Lord and trust in His leading, knowing that what lies ahead is far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

No eye’s ever seen,The Reason for Reverence

All God has prepared;

Glimpses of greatness,

Found in love that’s shared.

No ear has yet heard,

Heaven’s full glory;

Yet we know the hope,

Salvation story.

Our minds can’t conceive,

All God has prepared;

For those who love Him,

Our hearts can’t compare.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the love and grace and hope that You give us now, and the promised future that we cannot even begin to imagine. Forgive us for forgetting how temporary our time here is compared to all of eternity with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective, so that we would keep our priorities where they belong. Show us how to live and love in a way that gives others help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live each day with an eternal perspective. 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

Infinitely More

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)

 

The God who is at work within us, can do anything for us, through us and around us. Beyond what we could ask or imagine, the Creator of the Universe can both conceive and achieve infinitely more. Our charge is to either get on board or get out of the way. I continue to be amazed at what He does when I am willing to trust Him. My hope for a manageable outcome in difficult circumstances, becomes opportunity for His glory to be revealed. The good that the Lord brings through some of my most trying circumstances leaves me standing in awe, every time, of how powerfully He moves. He turns our tests into testimonies and our trials into triumphs. Only our God who deserves all honor and glory and praise, can do this for us. May we be mindful of Who is for us, and seek Him in all things and at all times. All glory to God, for He alone deserves our praise.

 

Wherever we go,Dead lift TSC April 2016

His power’s within;

For all who believe,

Where true hope begins.

Far more than our minds,

Can ever conceive;

He will accomplish,

For those who believe.

Our job is to trust,

To depend on Him;

Give glory to God,

As His hope moves in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to do infinitely more than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that You move through Your mighty power within us. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, as the God who created the heavens and the earth and everything else, You can do so much more than we can fathom. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we point others to the infinitely possible in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as all glory belongs to You who deserves all of our praise. 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

In God We Can Trust

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps His covenant of loyal love with those who love Him and observe His commandments for a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, MSG)

 

God is faithful to keep His promises and will continue to generously give His unfailing love to those who choose to love and obey Him. When we recognize God for who He is, we cannot help but long to please Him. The very same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all that is within them, hand-crafted each of us, and longs to live in relationship with us. To be loved personally by He who is so much greater than our minds can even conceive, is completely overwhelming. How can we help but love and honor the very hands that held the heart that beats within us, before we breathed our first breath? May we recognize God and who He is, and choose to love and obey all that He commands.

 

The hands that stretched out,Healed Hands Reach Out

to place all the stars;

are the hands of love,

that come where we are.

The Lord reaches out,

He’s faithful and true;

to all who choose trust,

in Him, be made new.

As we choose obey,

and love by our will;

His promises kept,

our hearts His love fills.

No matter what comes,

in God we can trust;

our hope is secure,

for His ways are just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we recognize You as our God, and love and obey what You ask, You are faithful to Your promises and lavish us with Your unfailing love. Thank You that You do not expect perfection, but rather hearts that are earnestly seeking You and Your best for our lives. Thank You that You are always ready and willing to meet us in each moment, wherever we are. Forgive us for our disobedience or hesitation when You call us into something that seems further or more difficult than we have ever gone or done before. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that if You call us into something, You are ready to equip us to do what You are asking and go wherever You are leading. Show us how to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey all that You ask of us, for You are God indeed, on whom we can depend. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6