Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Children By Faith

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. – (Galatians 3:26, NLT)

For now we are all children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. – (Galatians 3:26, TLB)

It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God. – (Galatians 3:26, VOICE)

 

Our status as children of God does not come through us somehow earning our way, but rather by a choice to trust our hearts to Him and believe that He is who He says. There is an interesting balance between an awareness of our need for His grace and our desire to respond accordingly. We cannot do or be anything to cause God to love us more or less, for He loves His children unconditionally. However, we must trust in His love and faithfulness as our Heavenly Father, for that is the very nature of faith. May we ever hold fast by faith to who we are in Christ, trusting by faith that He is good and faithful to all of His beloved children.

 

The Lord God on high, Believe Instead of Striving

Is Father to all;

Who trust in His Name,

And to Him choose call.

It’s not dependent,

On things that we do;

But rather on grace,

As His love breaks through.

So, trust in the good,

Of our loving Lord;

And live in His grace,

And love it affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You are faithful as our loving Father to all who choose trust in You. Thank You that we are considered Your dearly loved children. Forgive us for attempting to do or be enough to somehow earn Your favor. Teach us to trust in Your grace that loves us always. Help us to love those around us in response to Your incredible love and faithful grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days in Your faithful grace that compels us to love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12

Immeasurably More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. – (Ephesians 3:20, NIV)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. – (Ephesians 3:20, ERV)

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. – (Ephesians 3:20, TPT)

 

The house that my fiancé and I have purchased to make our home had everything that we had hoped for and imagined, except decent closet space in a master bedroom. I had a few “hope fors, and a walk-in master closet was one of them. It became quite clear that this particular home was the one meant for us, and I let go of the notion of such a closet and was thrilled with the space that met the needs of all five of us. One day, just prior to our receiving of the keys, we walked around the property to show some dear friends our home to be. We shared with them who would be in which space and recognized how extraordinarily blessed we were. As we walked around, our friend had a suggestion that we had not considered. He proposed the idea of us turning the downstairs living space into our master suite and building a walk-in closet. This idea excited both of us, and my Viking, being a man of action, set a plan in place to get it done. A coworker and friend of his used to build houses, so he chatted with him about what it would take. Shortly after the keys were given, his buddy and his brother came out one Saturday morning to frame the closet. Merely days later, my fiancé set to work to get the sheet rock up so that the job would be completed. We looked at different options for the wall finish and came up with something that we both love. This past weekend, he set to work, and as of last evening, we have a beautifully finished walk-in closet. The thing about this is not so much that I was given what I had hoped for, but God did immeasurably more than I would have asked or imagined, just to bless me. He placed a love so deep in the heart of my Viking for me and gifted him with the skill set and contacts in whom he knows to meet a seemingly trivial hope that was held in my heart. Every time I go over to the new house, my heart soars at the blessings that God has granted me. This house is to be our home, and God outdid our greatest requests, dreams and what we could have imagined for a space for our newly merging family to grow together. May we ever give God the glory for the way that He sees and knows our hearts and does far more in us and through us than we would have ever thought possible.

 

More than we could hope, img_2018-07-09_04-54-585066844589650882094.jpg

Ask or imagine;

God in His power,

By His grace, moves in.

He blesses our hearts,

Amazes our minds;

As He works in us,

His power, we find.

The dreams of our hearts,

Our loving God knows;

In goodness He gives,

And blessings bestows.

For great is our God,

And greater His love;

That He has for us,

The Lord, high above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the ways in which You do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine; in us, through us, and for us. Thank You for the incredible blessings that You bestow upon us that show us that You care deeply for us in all things. Forgive us for not giving dreams a voice before You, as You love to bless Your children. Teach us to tell You our every hope and dream and give You the reigns to determine the path each is meant to take. Show us how to hear Your voice, so that we may bless those around us with Your lavish love in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our hopes and dreams, and praise You for hearing and blessing us with Your loving kindness. 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

How Precious a Love

How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – (Psalm 139:17-18, NIV)

Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun. – (Psalm 139:17-18, ERV)

How precious it is, Lord, to realize that You are thinking about me constantly! I can’t even count how many times a day Your thoughts turn toward me. And when I waken in the morning, You are still thinking of me! – (Psalm 139:17-18, TLB)

 

This conveys a love that goes beyond human understanding. I imagine it is part of the purpose that we are created for relationship. When we think of those whom we love and treasure the most, it does not even begin to compare to the depth and breadth of God’s love for each of us. The number of grains of sand that would fill up a small bucket would take far too long for us to consider counting. All of the grains of sand on the earth are less than how often He things of us?! As I consider my limited exposure to the various spaces where sand is found around the earth, I am overwhelmed with the goodness and great love that God has for us. More than grains of sand in a desert; more than that lying at the shore by the sea… All for you and for me!  May we consider the generosity of the heart of God and how deeply we are loved by Him, as we seek the Lord to lead us and guide us throughout all of our days.

 

How precious a love,

10917_15227942730243444664612386319390.jpg

Photo by Open Doors Photography. ❤

That grants countless thoughts;

As we rise, then rest,

All grace for us brought.

We are considered,

So loved endlessly;

Beyond human grasp,

Generosity.

So often He shows,

A glimpse of His heart;

Through those He’s given,

For us, set apart.

The greatest love known,

Still does not compare;

To Christ’s love for us,

And His endless care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts for us go beyond what we can even begin to understand. Thank You for the gift of those who love us well, that remind us that their love is only a whisper of the depth and breadth of Your love for each of us. Forgive us for disregarding the depth of Your love. Teach us to trust that Your word is true, and to recognize the tangible reminders rendered each time we feel faithfully loved, as such love is only possible through You. Show us how to love others with the same grace and resolve that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for the countless ways You love and consider us all. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. 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

Ponder the Treasure

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. – (Luke 2:19, NLT)

Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:19, ERV)

Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. – (Luke 2:19, CEB)

Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, VOICE)

 

The chain of events leading to and surrounding the birth of Jesus, must have been more than enough to keep Mary’s mind on constant overload. Angelic visits and prophecies, miraculous pregnancies, having to travel by donkey in the desert, arriving only to be turned away at all of the possible places to stay, giving birth in a stable, having shepherds show up… Mary was now mother to the Son of God. I imagine she vacillated back and forth between bewilderment and amazement at the role that she had been called to fill. Her faithfulness and trust in God was apparent, as she said “yes” to that which she had been called to do by God. Each of these events to treasure, were likely the things that gave her courage and strength in times of uncertainty as Jesus grew. Today, as many of us participate in candlelight services, may we ponder all of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, and treasure them in our hearts, so that we too, will find courage and strength in times of uncertainty.

 

Joining to gather, Ponder the Treasure

In candlelight glow;

Sing of our Savior,

Arrival we know.

Born in a stable,

Such a humble birth;

Path for us to know,

The depth of our worth.

For God sent His Son,

To show love to all;

Let us each embrace,

Grace to which we’re called.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us how to stop in awe and wonder of all that took place surrounding the birth of Jesus through the example of Mary. Thank You that You did not call the equipped, but rather You equipped the called. Thank You that You used ordinary people to do the extraordinary to change the course of history forever; a young girl, a carpenter, some shepherds, an inn keeper with a bit of compassion – each with a role that led us to why we celebrate this most holy season. Forgive us for breezing through the day as if it is just another holiday. Teach us to stop and ponder the magnitude of what You have done for us, so that we will treasure it all in our hearts. Show us how to love those around us with a love that is tangible and worth treasuring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are introduced or reminded of Who You are and all that You have done through the glorious gift of Your Son. Be glorified O God, as we ponder and treasure the reason for the season. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. 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

Turn Our Attention

So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, the Emissary of God and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess. – (Hebrews 3:1, VOICE)

 

So, my brothers and sisters, those chosen by God to be His holy people, think about Jesus. He is the one we believe God sent to save us and to be our high priest. – (Hebrews 3:1, ERV)

 

At first glance, it is easy to discount oneself from being considered “holy partners” or “holy people“, lest we remember that it is not through anything on our own, but through the saving grace of Jesus that we choose to embrace that we are called clean and holy before Him. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, we are able in Him, to do abundantly more than we could ever hope or imagine according to His good and perfect will. May we focus our faith on the amazing grace that God has given, and go forth in confidence that we are called and chosen with a plan and a purpose as God’s very own. Let us set our eyes securely on Christ, and listen to His leading.

 

Don’t ever discount,

caught-in-awe-sylvia-carlton

Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

The call of the King;

Our yes to Jesus,

The gift that we bring.

As we come to Him,

He forgives, makes clean;

Calls us His people,

Shows what holy means.

Let’s securely fix,

Our hearts and our eyes;

On Jesus who saves,

And makes our hearts wise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we invite You to be Lord of our life, we belong to You and are considered partners among those with a heavenly calling. Thank You that as we fix our eyes on Jesus, You show us the way in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for wandering aimlessly without seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your will in all things and at all times, as Your way is always best. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them feel valued and grants a sense of belonging. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that we have been given, and turn our attention to You. 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

Maintain the Message

Those men who were considered to be important did not change the Good News message I tell people. (It doesn’t matter to me if they were “important” or not. To God everyone is the same.) – (Galatians 2:6, ERV)

It makes no difference to me (or to God for that matter) if people have power or influence. God doesn’t choose favorites among His children. Even the so-called pillars of the church didn’t contribute anything new to my understanding of the good news. – (Galatians 2:6, VOICE)

 

The point Paul is making in this verse is that when God calls us to speak the truth of His Word, all are an equal opportunity audience. In other words, we should not be intimidated to speak the very same truth that we share with our children to those who are in positions of power and influence. God sees everyone the same, and longs for all to come to know Him. When God gives us words to say, we need to simply speak them, rather than worry about how they will be received by those who hear. May our hearts be open to His words, so that we are prepared to speak the truth in love as He asks.

 

No one should try change,The Word of God

The truth of God’s word;

None are so mighty,

Nor by God, preferred.

We are all equal,

In God’s precious sight;

Dearly loved children,

In whom He delights.

He speaks to our hearts,

True words we can share;

Encouragement, love,

Comfort and His care.

Be brave and be bold,

Choose speak truth in love;

Let not fear of man,

Hold you in what was.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the truth of Your word remains the same, and that no one can change that, regardless of their power or position. Thank You too, that what You call us to, You also equip us for, and You do not choose favorites among us. Thank You that we are all equally loved and valued as Your precious children. Forgive us for being intimidated by some, and allowing our perceptions of others to influence what we do or don’t say, despite what we know You have asked us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would speak the truth of Your word through our words and deeds in all things and at all times, regardless of who is near. Show us how to love people as we are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen and let our lives speak truth, no matter who is near. Amen.

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

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