Our Words Are Heard

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

The Anointed One did not enter into handcrafted sacred spaces – imperfect copies of heavenly originals – but into heaven itself, where He stands in the presence of God on our behalf. – (Hebrews 9:24, VOICE)

When we pray, be it a praise, a petition, a confession or a cry for help, our words make way to the very throne room of God. Because Jesus came and made way for us once and for all, we can approach His throne of grace, knowing that He hears and is moving on our behalf. I am so thankful that there is no go-between, nor series of rituals or requirements necessary to come to Christ whenever we need. So often I find myself offering up a quick prayer, unaware of the power and majesty present in the gift of grace to freely speak to the Creator of the Universe with the closeness of a loving father and faithful friend. May we appreciate in awe, the blessed gift granted through Christ, that endows unto us the opportunity to come before God for help, knowing that Christ is for us, moving on our behalf.

 

We need not worry,

dsc095756042808195682943428.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The way has been made;

Free to approach God,

The price has been paid.

Christ went before us,

And sees us with love;

So now without fear,

We seek God above.

Let us not forget,

This grace we have found;

All thanks be to God,

Who makes love abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to approach Your throne of grace. Thank You that You hear every word uttered, both in our hearts and with our voices. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our need, or have neglected to give You gratitude for Your unending faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and give You thanks for all that You have done, are doing, and shall do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know of Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

 

 

Answers in Love

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

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV)

Now answer me, God, because You love me; Let me see You great mercy full-face. – (Psalm 69:16, MSG)

 

God’s mercy and grace are always at the ready, because of His great love for us. Yesterday was one of those days where I was acutely aware of His goodness and faithful love for me. The morning was a bit of a rough start with a sick kiddo at home, students were very much out of sort, and news of disease destroying bodies of dear ones, could have set the day for complete disaster. Thankfully, in His kindness, God was with me. Calm covered me, when chaos could have reigned. Peace was present, where turmoil tried to rise. Despite the struggles of the day, His love is what led the way. That is not to say that I did not have to pause to breathe in grace, for surely without it the day would have gone far differently. However, in the goodness of His faithful love, mercy and grace were given to me, so that I could do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, as He is faithful to meet us with His mercy.

 

When chaos tries reign, 0109181835_15155887641285679451.jpg

The Lord, He is near;

Full of His mercy,

His love is made clear.

He answers each call,

In kindness, He turns;

With help, He’s ready,

As goodness is learned.

So great is His love,

That shows us His grace;

Hears each cry for help,

As we seek His face.

So call on the Lord,

He is ever near;

His love overwhelms,

As mercy’s made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer us in Your great mercy and love when we seek You. Thank You that in Your faithfulness and kindness, You help us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles, or not giving You proper praise for the help You provide. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope, and faithful forever. Show us how to extend the very same kindness, love and mercy that we’ve been given to those around us, that we’ve been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to receive mercy because of Your goodness and faithful love, so that we may offer the same to others. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Courage to Continue

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

 

It is amazing how this applies to every area of our lives – the things hoped for, the dreams being pursued, and often in our daily devotion to what needs to be done. I appreciate how The Message phrases the verse best, as it reminds us that in the wait, we are often still very actively engaged in whatever we are working towards, yet we need to remember our Source of strength and hope, light and life. Even when things are difficult, (which most things that are worthwhile do indeed require hard work) we must take heart, dig deep and press on. God will supply the strength that we need as it is needed, we ought only continue in the direction to which we are called, and take courage in knowing Who is both with us and for us. For me, I was reminded again of how this applies in a dream being pursued, as we began to walk through plays at football practice. At first, it seemed a bit mind-boggling and overwhelming, but with persistence and commitment to continue, and trust in He who gives me strength, things began to make sense. Though I know there is much to learn, I can take heart in knowing that the courage and strength I need will be supplied as I continue to trust in the Source.  In all things, may we take heart and press on, trusting the Lord to provide the strength and courage that we need to do all that we are called to do, now and forevermore.

 

Be brave, have courage, Courage to Continue

Choose wait on the Lord;

He’s our source of help,

All grace He affords.

Take heart and don’t quit,

Don’t ever give up;

For God is our strength,

Filler of our cup.

Have faith, He will hear,

Each cry of the heart;

As we ask for help,

His strength He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength and courage, help and hope, no matter what our situation or circumstances. Thank You that You care about the things that matter to our hearts. Thank You that no hope nor dream goes unnoticed by You. Forgive us for thinking that the desires of our heart don’t matter. Teach us to trust You with all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives strength and courage, so others too, take heart and continue to pursue that which pulls upon their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stay with You and trust You to answer and be present in all things, as You are our source of all that we need. Amen.

 

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

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Called to Forgiveness

Come on now, let’s walk and talk; let’s work this out. Your wrong doings are blood red, but they can turn as white as snow. Your sins are red like crimson, but they can be made clean again like new wool. – (Isaiah 1:18, VOICE)

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as snow.” – (Isaiah 1:18, NLT)

 

God is constantly calling us unto Himself. He woos us when we go astray, and wants to lead us in the way we are meant to go so that we can be restored to right relationship with Him. Our part is to receive what He is offering – His forgiveness, His love, His light and His life, so that we may live free from the weight of our sin and shame. It is not a free pass to bounce back and forth, but it is the grace to restore our place of right standing before God when we mess up or find ourselves in a space we never intended to go. God is good and loves us no matter where we are or what condition our hearts and lives are in. If we call on Him, He will listen to our every cry. May we ever seek the Lord and receive the forgiveness and grace that He offers as we choose to place our trust in Him.

 

Seek walk with the Lord, Hope in Discouragement

For there, you’ll find grace;

Forgiveness of sins,

A right standing place.

All that we’ve done wrong,

Is made white as snow;

When confessed to God,

In His grace, we grow.

Where sins are no more,

We’re suddenly free;

To walk in His way,

His plan clearly seen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and confess our sin before You, You forgive us and wash us clean as if we have never sinned. Thank You for the overwhelming power of Your forgiveness and grace, as You make us new in You. Forgive us for the times that we forget how much forgiveness has been extended to us, and are not gracious or merciful to those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for forgiveness and for the ability to forgive others. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your mercy and grace, so that they may come to know and understand the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive and give the amazing grace that You give to us. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Wait in Hope

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Hope in the Lord! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the Lord! – (Psalm 27:14, CEB)

 

When we find ourselves lacking strength or courage or hope, there is One in whom we can place our trust to supply all that we need. The God of all grace comes along side us, and He hears our every cry. If we call on Him from our space of need, He meets us in His love. Though His timing and answers may not align with our expectations, the Lord always has our best in mind. We must take courage and be strong as we wait on the Lord, for His help is worth the wait. He is faithful to answer, so let us ever place our hope in Him.

 

Let us wait for God, Anxious for Answers

Choose be strong and brave;

For He grants courage,

The hope that we crave.

He’s our Source of strength,

When we’re feeling weak;

He’s our solution,

To answers we seek.

Choose hope in the Lord,

Don’t quit, rise, take heart;

Ever He’s faithful,

All grace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we can place our hope. Thank You that You are our Source of strength and courage, and that as we wait on You, You meet us in our need and provide Your help. Forgive us for our lack of patience in the wait, as so often the answers we are asking take time, patience and perseverance. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would wait in hope, knowing that You are faithful to answer no matter how long the wait. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and grants courage to those who are losing heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait in hope for Your help with strength and courage that You supply. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

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

Encouraged and Granted Strength

As soon as I pray, You answer me; You encourage me by giving me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, NLT)

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – (Psalm 138:3, ERV)

The moment I called out, You stepped in; You made my life large with strength. – (Psalm 138:3, MSG)

 

Here I sit, yet again, in awe of how the Lord provides His strength when we need it most. Sometimes, the call for help is as simple as a mere thought, and He provides people to rally around us, encourage us, and point us back to the strength we have in Him, simply by being present. I have had multiple occasions in the last few days, where I found myself in overload mode. Between extenuating circumstances beyond my control, commitments to multiple activities in several different directions, and a serious case of sleep deprivation, I was sinking and calling out for help, and He stepped in and armed me with strength. Rest and encouragement led to renewal, and the strength that was needed, was amply supplied. God is good all the time, even when things are not. May we ever pray to Him for what we need, as He encourages us and supplies us with His strength.

 

As soon as I pray,IMG_2415

The Lord hears my cry;

He’s quick to answer,

As I choose abide.

I am encouraged,

granted what I need;

In strength to rise up,

To go where He leads.

Each time I struggle,

Feel I can’t go on;

I call on the Lord,

His grace makes me strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pray to You, You answer us. Thank You that You encourage us and give us strength. Thank You that You place us in community that supports and builds us up, as we move forward in faith as You call. Forgive us for fearing our own frailty, as we forget that where we are weakest is the place where You are given the greatest opportunity to demonstrate Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pray to You and seek Your strength in all things and at all times. Show us how to encourage and build up those that You have placed in our lives for such a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You for help, and trust You to answer and provide Your strength. Amen.

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

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

His Hand at Work

Help me, oh help me, God, my God, save me through Your wonderful love; then they’ll know that Your hand is in this, that You, God, have been at work. – (Psalm 109:26-27, MSG)

Lord my God, help me! Show Your faithful love and save me! Then they will know that You did it. They will know that it was Your power, Lord, that helped me. – (Psalm 109:26-27, ERV)

 

Though these words were the cry of David’s heart to God as he faced his enemies, they are still applicable today as we go through every type of trial. Yesterday, I was reminded again, countless times, of the faithful love of our Heavenly Father and the healing hope He extends through His hands and the hands and hearts of those He places around us. Throughout the day, I was reminded of His kindness and compassion for me in many ways. My students were better behaved than usual, despite not knowing my loss. Friends near and far extended sweet words of condolence and comfort, and my teaching twin, friend and fellow coach gave me a beautiful bouquet of roses (my grandmother’s name was Rose, unbeknownst to her) with a sweet card containing kind words and a verse that points to the promise my heart is holding. Practice after school went well, and I found myself smiling a bit more again. A quick run with a sweet friend followed, and further reminders of God’s goodness ensued. As I came home and was met with great greetings from my boys, gratitude filled my heart. Laughter and smiles were plentiful during my return trip to the gym with dear friends, and in the midst of my time there, a “just because” text came in and further reminded me of how truly blessed I am, and how God helps me in tangible ways in my time of need, by showing His love through the hands and hearts of those around me. May we call out to Jesus and seek His wonderful love, for there is no one who can help our hearts like Him.

 

Oh help me, my God,IMG_3146

By Your love and grace;

Make Your power known,

Be near in this place.

Show Your faithful love,

Through Your tender hand;

So all too may know,

By Your grace, we stand.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

You graciously show;

Your hands and Your heart,

Through people we know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your help and Your hope in our times of need. Thank You that You make Your love tangible through people that You place in our lives, as they remind us of how readily You are moving on our behalf. Thank You that Your faithful love saves us from despair and reminds us again and again of the hope that is forever held in You. Forgive us for not calling out to You in our need, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to hear Your heart for those around us, equipping us to be Your hands and heart to the hurting. Help us to love others well so that many see You through Your life within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your faithful love so that Your power may be made evident in our lives. Amen.

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

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

Praise in Mourning

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, I find myself in a strange space – torn between grief and gladness; sorting between sorrow and surrender. My whole life, my grandmother has been a very real and powerful presence. Her faithfulness to our Heavenly Father, paired with the gifts that He birthed within her that she used without restraint, have been the model that I have looked to, and one whom I admire most. Gram has always been the glue that bound our family to one another. Despite differences, each of us has had a unique and treasured gift in the bond that she has formed with us, individually. The ability to see the value in people and set their heart at peace simply by being in her presence, is a trait that drew so many unto her.  She lived a live unrivaled, faithful in all that she endeavored. Gram served her family, her church, her community, and above all, God. The love grown deep in the quiet time on her knees, overflowed to all who knew her. No matter what I was going through, I knew she was covering me in prayer. After ninety-eight years on the earth, and a long year of colon cancer taking root and stealing the independence she had always known, she went home to be with Jesus last night. I am grateful that her suffering was not prolonged, yet grieve not getting one more visit. God is compassionate, and He offers comfort to us as we mourn. Though there is much sorrow for the personal loss of the phenomenal person my grandmother was, it is tempered with great joy in knowing that she is singing with our Savior. No more sorrow, no more pain. I imagine a great celebration as she is reunited with so many who have gone before her. May we all take comfort in the Father of compassion and comfort, as we give praise for the blessings we’ve been given in the time we had.

 

This morning, it seems appropriate that I share one of my grandma’s poems rather than write my own. Her words are likely the echo of what she is singing right now.

 

Song of Praise – by Rosemary Steiner

Glory and majestyPraise in Mourning

To the Lord God,

Who created the Heavens

And the Earth;

And breathed life

Into all creatures,

Even us, His people.

He gave meaning to our being;

He called us brothers

And prepared a place

For us with Him

Eternally.

He breathed life into us,

Transcendent life of the Spirit –

Gave us eyes to see beauty,

Ears to hear truth,

Wills to choose His way.

The heavens reflect His omnipotence

Time without end.

God enjoys the music of the spheres,

But hears our dissonance

With compassion,

How worthy is He.

How infinite His love.

Holy be His Name forever. Amen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift that so many of us were given through the long and loving life of Gram. Thank You that though we mourn her passing, we can celebrate her homecoming with You. Thank You that we have the blessed hope of being together again for all of eternity in heaven. Forgive us for our fears and regrets, and teach us to trust You so that we might fully live out each of our days, according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love with compassion and comfort, all those who grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they see the faithfulness that has been fulfilled through the life of my grandmother. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You praise, even as we mourn. Amen.

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

There is a time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Sending Light and Truth

Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell. – (Psalm 43:3, NIV)

 

When we ask for God’s truth, we are asking to be provided the right path to follow. As we ask for His light, essentially, we are requesting clear vision to follow that which He has set before us. Thankfully, because of Jesus, we no longer have to go anywhere in particular to find the “holy mountain” (His temple), but rather when we are in relationship with Him, His Spirit dwells within us, and we need only to call on His Name. He hears our every cry, and the Lord is with us; always. His light and truth are available, we need only to ask of Him, to lead and guide us in the way He is calling us to go. May we remember to request that the Lord grant us His light and His truth to guide us in all things and at all times, so that we will faithfully walk where He leads.

 

Oh Lord, send Your light,I Will Go

So I’ll clearly see;

The path You’ve made plain,

Prepared just for me.

God, show me Your truth,

So that I will know;

Where I’m meant to walk,

Which way I’m to go.

Thank You for Your grace,

That’s granted to me;

A heart where You dwell,

And Your love to see.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we ask, You answer. Thank You that You willingly and lovingly provide the right path for us to follow, and give us light to see the way we are meant to go. Forgive us for the times we neglect to ask, or choose to walk a different direction, despite knowing which way we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your truth in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may come to understand the magnitude of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ask You for what You are ready and willing to give. 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