Way Maker

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing Himself to the worst by sending His own Son, is there anything else He wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? – (Romans 8:32, MSG)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

 

More than anyone, God understands sacrifice and suffering. In fact, because He chose the ultimate sacrifice for us all, no one is left to face life alone, and though we will endure trials and hardships in this life, we have help and hope to overcome. What we see and perceive is not the whole story. God is at work, far beyond what we can observe or comprehend. Yesterday, mom had her appointment with her new primary care physician in Oregon. We thought that through the consultation, in-home therapies could be referred out and quickly established, just as they had been in Washington. Unfortunately, that was not the case. According to insurance criteria in Oregon, mom has to see a specialist of some sort to gain a referral for her in-home care. In our limited understanding, this is frustrating, as it delays the entire process of getting mom back to work with forward momentum. Even so, God sees far more than we do. He does not withhold good. I have to believe that there is purpose in the delay, and He is making a way for something even greater than we could hope or imagine on mom’s behalf. The Lord is generous and kind, and He loves our mom even more than we do, and wants even greater things for her than us. We have to trust that He has a purpose and plan for the delay, and is making a way that is greater still than anything that we have known before. May we all trust in the Lord, who does not withhold good from us, as He loves us beyond what we can even begin to grasp.

 

O Lord, help us trust,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Your grace is secured;

For You don’t withhold,

Your love we’re assured.

Despite what we see,

In You, there is more;

The impossible,

Become open doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Flood us with Your grace;

Fill hearts with Your peace,

As You make the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that You do not withhold any good thing from us. Thank You that You willingly and lovingly sacrificed everything to make the way for us to be with You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we somehow make You small, when You are the Creator of all that exists. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Healer, Provider, Father, Friend, and so much more. Show us how to love those around us through the seasons of waiting, so that they might be encouraged and strengthened and know how deeply they are loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness to make the way, where it seems so difficult. Amen.

 

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

 

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16

Come Close

Come close to God, and God will come close to you… – (James 4:8a, NLT)

 

Everyone has heard stories of receiving that dreaded phone call – the one that announces unfortunate news of a loved one, causing an immediate emotional response, and a quick call to action. Yesterday morning, that phone call came to me. At the start of my second period class, I received a frantic phone call from my Mom. It was miraculous that I was at my computer taking attendance when she called, otherwise I would not have even seen her photo pop up on my phone screen, as I keep my ringer off during class. She never calls during school hours, so on a whim, I answered. On the other end of the line, I heard a voice that I barely recognized as hers, telling me that she’d been in a horrible accident. When I asked if she was okay, her response was simply, “no.” She was able to tell me her location, and I knew in that moment, that nothing mattered more than my getting to where she was to be present. My quick, internal, “Oh God, help me!” was followed by my class quickly being covered, a rapid exit from my room, and my arrival on the scene of the accident before the first responders had my mom loaded in the ambulance. Seeing her face and talking to her in person as I held her hand when I arrived at the accident site, brought a bit of peace, despite the destroyed car in front of me. The hardest span of time throughout the entire ordeal, was the time between leaving the scene and arriving at the hospital. Though I could see she had no lacerations visible, the internal and skeletal damage was unknown. All I could do was breathe and pray as I made my way, trusting that He had her in His hands. Thankfully, after two CT Scans, two x-rays, hours of waiting, blood draws and routine checking, Mom was given the all-clear (and the last few hours of her care were provided by a friend of mine who happened to be the nurse on shift in the ER), and walked away from an accident that could have taken her life. God protected and preserved the life of my Mom, and I am forever grateful. Though it is only the morning after, in hindsight, I already can look back and see how He covered and protected my Mom, surrounded and provided for me, as a way was made for me to get to her so quickly, as well as the loving community of friends and family that called, made themselves available, and sent messages to check on Mom as soon as they heard the news. Much of the time I spent waiting for Mom during her scans and x-rays, was utilized to reply to dear ones who were desiring updates on her well-being. I was back and forth between two phones, as the notes kept coming in. Last evening, two of my beloved favorites came to help with both the care of my Mom and to go and check on the status of her car, while another pair of dear former neighbors came to call on Mom to see that she was okay for themselves. God is so good, and He has provided and placed us both in kind and caring communities that are family. More than anything, this continues to show me how near God is in all things and at all times, and how He uses people to be His hands and heart when we hurt. May we ever draw close to God, for He will be near to us.

 

When that call comes in,ambulance

And hearts are dismayed;

Call upon the Lord,

He will not delay.

His presence made clear,

In tangible ways;

Hope and help to us,

As we seek and pray.

Choose draw closer still,

For God will be near;

He calms anxious hearts,

His love covers fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we draw near to You, You are right here, waiting. Thank You that You are faithful to bring peace to our anxious hearts, and surround us with support and encouragement when it is needed most. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we walk into the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in times of peace and in times of turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever nearer to You. 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

Be Slow to Anger

Considering the state of current events, I found this morning’s reading in Psalm 4  to be quite timely. The verse that stood out the most, was verse four: Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent.

 

When we respond emotionally, the results are rarely productive or fruitful. However, when we slow down, listen – truly listen to hear and understand all of what is going on, anger begins to subside, and compassion comes in and a call to action arises. In James 1:19-20, it is stated this way: “…You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

 

God is intentional and specific in how He calls us to respond when anger arises. In this broken and sinful world, there will be trials and troubles that make anger well up within us in response. There are times that it is justified, and we need to slow down to figure out how He wants us to use that unsettled feeling to fuel our fight for what is right, and then there are other times when we need to simply step back, kneel down, and ask for forgiveness for the state of our own hearts. May we be willing to seek the Lord and discover what He is asking of us in our onsets of anger, and may we choose obedience to all that He directs us to do.

 

As life’s injustice,Honoring the Temple

Stares you in the face;

Do not give anger,

A permanent place.

Instead, seek the Lord,

For His ways are right;

Be quick to listen,

Rather than to fight.

Better to delay,

Than respond in wrath;

For once it’s spoken,

We can’t take it back.

Yes, there’s forgiveness,

But deeds can leave scars;

Better to delay,

Than cause further harm.

We’re meant to be light,

Agents of God’s peace;

Grant us wisdom Lord,

So love shall increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us as to how to keep anger in check so that it does not control us. Thank You that when we slow down and seek You, Your light and life and love is what rises up and resonates, rather than an ugly by-product of anger. Forgive us for lashing out rather than slowing down and being silent. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stop and be silent until we can respond as You call us to respond. Show us how to love people, no matter where they are at, and how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not allow anger to control us, but rather stay silent and listen for Your direction and perspective on the matter. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Be Glad In It

Saturdays are typically my go and get things done day. Yesterday, the intention was very much the norm, though I woke feeling a bit off. I was dizzy and a little nauseous, but figured it would pass if I powered through. Devotions were done, boys were up and out the door for their all-day retreat with youth group, and I went on my way to workout. What I normally blast through, was quite a struggle. My stomach was stirring maliciously, and I had to breathe through each movement. Finally, during the last five minutes or so of the workout, I had to tap out. I simply sat down and waited for it to finish. Stopping is not my M.O., but wisdom told me it was stop or create a scene with how my body responds.

When I arrived home, I crawled straight into bed. All I could do was toss and turn as my body fought the fever. Food and drink did not feel like quality options, so attempted sleep was it – all day long. No errands run, no outing fun – just rest. The fever must have broken late last night, as I don’t remember waking again until this morning.

Today is a brand new day. The sun is shining, the house is quiet, and my stomach seems satisfied with some Gatorade and gluten free pretzels. Though I will likely take another day to rest (and keep my germs to myself) I am so grateful for the difference that a day can make.

 

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. – (Psalm 118:24, NLT)

 

My rejoicing yesterday, despite how I was feeling, was the blessing that my mom was in town. She stayed at my house all day, to be available if I needed anything. Her trip to the store yesterday provided that which is palatable for me today.

Each new day is a gift, despite the challenges presented. He grants us what we need to sustain us and see us through, therefore we have reason to rejoice and be glad in the blessings of today.

 

Today is the day,photo (7)

Designed just for you;

He brought you to it,

So He’ll see you through.

Let us choose be glad,

In all things rejoice;

Thanks to our Savior,

We’ve always the choice.

No matter what comes,

Hope will not delay;

With God and His grace,

There’s always a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each new day is a gift from You, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You can use even our sickness or discomfort, to show us more of Your love and provision. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things don’t seem to go our way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might recognize that You can take every trial and odd turn and use it for Your glory. Show us how to love others with Your goodness and grace. May many choose to seek Your face. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice and are glad in each new day that You grant us. 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

 

 

 

Discovery in Delays

So often we want instant results, or at least answers that will give an inkling of an idea as to when resolution will come, healing will happen, or breakthrough will be brought forth. Faith, however, does not work that way. God’s timing is not our timing, and His ways are not our ways. Just as God led Moses and the Israelites on a longer route around the Philistines to protect them from unseen obstacles, so too may His purpose be in the delay or different direction than we had hoped for. When the disciples gathered and were anxiously awaiting the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, Jesus responded to them. He said to them; “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – (Acts 1:7-8)

 

Jesus has plans for us all, even as we wait. We are called to share of His goodness and grace, here in this place. When we choose Christ, He equips and empowers us to do that to which we have been called. Often it is in the delays, the distractions and redirections that we discover the depth of His provision and power, granted to us for a time such as this. May we rise up in His strength, and go forth in His grace, even as we wait for that which is yet to come.

 

May our hearts prepare,Discovery in Delays

for this is the time;

to rise up in faith,

to seek the Divine.

Though there is waiting,

there’s much to be done;

our pause has purpose,

to point to the Son.

Empowered by Christ,

His Spirit indwells;

the grace to go forth,

His presence propels.

Let nothing deter,

from God’s loving plan;

listen and follow,

He’ll lead us to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your timing is not our timing, and though we don’t necessarily understand why there are delays and detours, we know that You are good and can trust that Your way is for our benefit. Thank You that You have our very best in mind. Thank You that You give us the gift of Your Holy Spirit as we wait, and entrust us to go forth and share of all that You have done. Forgive us for not trusting Your timing or for staying stuck when You are calling us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will make the most of the wait, and discover all that You will do in the detours and delays. Lead us to love others as You so thoroughly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we allow Your power to prevail in our pauses. Amen.

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

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

I Will Go

When God shows Himself faithful, how do we respond?

 

In the story of Isaac and Rebekah, when Abraham sent his servant to the land of his father’s family to find a bride for his son, God clearly answered the faithful prayers of those who called on His Name, and made the path clear. Abraham’s servant prayed for a specific scenario upon his arrival, so that he might know whom God had chosen. When the servant stood beside the spring of water with his camels, Rebekah did just as he had prayed that God’s chosen one would do, as she offered water to both he and his camels. From there, the servant returned with she and her brother to her household, where he shared with the family his purpose for being in town, and asked to take Rebekah back to Isaac to be his bride. The mother wanted to delay, but Abraham’s servant let them know that he really must return to his master quickly. So they called Rebekah and asked her, “Will you go with this man?” “I will go,” she said. – (Genesis 24:58)

 

I find Rebekah’s faith remarkable. She was barely more than a girl, yet her faith was certain, as she was willing to leave all that she knew to travel to a far away land and become the bride of a man that she did not know. Rebekah understood all that the Lord had done to orchestrate her being chosen to be the one to bring water to a stranger and his camels at just the right time, in response to one man’s faithfully prayed prayers for direction. All around us, God orchestrates encounters. We are presented opportunities to share His goodness with those who may not yet know Him. At times, He calls us to go into places unknown. When He calls us, how will we respond?

 

Journey of promise,I Will Go

into the unknown;

faithful the prayers,

of one servant sown.

Certain to answer,

the Lord, He made clear;

the one He’d chosen,

as she had drawn near.

The scene unfolded,

just as he had prayed;

and she responded,

without a delay.

May we learn to do,

as Rebekah did;

and say, “I will go,”

for that’s where God is.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of both Your faithfulness, and those who were obedient to what You asked of them. Thank You that You still speak today. Thank You that we have the benefit of Your Holy Spirit, dwelling within us to lead and guide us, every step of the way. Forgive us for our fears and hesitation to go where You call. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might be fearless in Your strength. Lead us to love and serve as Jesus modeled for us. May many come to know the eternal hope that is held in You alone. Be glorified Lord God, as we choose to say, “I will go.” 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

Choose to Follow

Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. – (Mark 1:20)

 

This verse is in reference to when Jesus called James and John to come and follow Him. “Although it took time for Jesus’ call and His message to get through, the disciples followed. In the same way, we may question and falter, but we must never stop following.” – (NIV footnotes for Mark 1:16-20) It is our charge to do likewise. Though we may not always understand, and we make mistakes and have questions, our call is to keep following Christ. As we do, our faith will grow and our understanding of His ways and His will shall multiply. He is faithful to meet us where we are, if we are willing to choose to follow Him. Following Christ will not necessarily be convenient, nor easy, but it will always be worthwhile. May we set aside our nets, and simply follow Him.

 

To heed the call,Choose to Follow

forego delay;

set aside all,

and choose obey.

All that He asks,

of us today;

may we stand up,

trust in His way.

Despite unknown,

do anyway;

He shall remain,

now and always.

He is faithful,

and hears us pray;

He will answer,

rest in His stay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to follow You, we need not always understand everything, or be without flaw, as long as we continue after You. Thank You that the longer we follow You, the more You reveal Yourself to us. Forgive us for our flawed thinking and understanding about who You are, and how You love us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may grow in Your grace and gain deeper insight as to who You are, and just how much You love each one of us. May we go forth and love others, as You so generously love each of us. May lives be changed and hearts be healed as Your love is revealed to those who seek You. Be glorified, O God, as we follow You in faith. Amen.

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

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

Chasing Dreams

Desires, dreams, the very hopes we hold in our heart that are deeply rooted and established in our faith, are not there by mistake.  God places these things in us, so that we faithfully move forward with Him.  However, there is often a long and winding road to take between that which we long to do, and the fruition of said reality.

Paul was no exception.  He desperately desired to preach the gospel in Rome.  I imagine that Paul’s plan did not include chains, shipwrecks, snakes, arrests, and long delays, in order to actually arrive to his desired destination.  “Although he may have wished for an easier passage, he knew that God had blessed him greatly in allowing him to meet the believers in Rome and preach the message to both  Jews and Gentiles in that great city.  In all things, God worked for Paul’s good.” – (Acts 28:17-20 NIV footnotes)

Like Paul, we can trust that God will work all things out for our ultimate good.  He may not make it easy, nor comfortable, but He will be present, and will provide what we need to do that which He has called us to do.  When all is said and done, we too, will see that God has worked all things together for good, and that though His ways are not our ways, His ways work wonders.  As He moves in us and through us, hearts are moved and lives are changed.  His kingdom is further established in the hearts and homes of all who hear.

What is the dream,Chasing Dreams

that your heart does hold?

Do you pursue,

or fearfully fold?

Are there delays,

obstacles in route?

Are there trials,

disturbing pursuit?

You move forward,

be faithful to trust;

don’t be deterred,

by obstacles thrust.

Often the bumps,

the trials and tests;

grow us further,

to trust in the mess.

When the dream comes,

may hearts recognize;

strength in struggles,

bring hope realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place in us, dreams and desires.  Thank You that in You, we have all that we need to move forward in faithful pursuit, as You call us to go.  Thank You that despite the way things often appear, You are working and moving in us and through us, even when we don’t understand how it is possible.  Forgive us for our fears and disappointments when things do not go the way that we imagined they would, and help us to trust You more.  Teach us to see things through Your eyes, rather than our own, so that we may have an eternal perspective.  Lead us to love as You love, so that many may come to know the saving grace that is available in You.  May lives be changed and hearts made new.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Persist in Prayer

“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” – (Luke 18:1)

“To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions.  Always praying means keeping our requests constantly before God as we live for Him day by day, believing He will answer.  When we live by faith, we are not to give up.  God may delay answering, but His delays always have good reasons.  As we persist in prayer we grow in character, faith and hope.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 18:1)

According to dictionary.com, persist means to continue firmly in purpose, especially in spite of opposition.  In my experience, this is how faith is further formed, and hope is given way to rise up.  As we face opposition or difficulty, what we choose to do in response, determines the development of our character.  If Jesus instructs us to pray and not give up, then regardless of how things appear, that is what we are meant to do.  Faith requires action.  First and foremost, our petitions ought to be presented before Him.  However, that is rarely the end, but instead, just the beginning.  As we seek Him earnestly, He often gives instruction as to how we are to move further in faith; the what we are meant to do as we wait.

Never give up,Persist in Prayer

persistently pray;

trusting He hears,

despite seen delay.

He is faithful,

and always, He’s good;

let faith rise up,

our hope, understood.

When He says move,

do all that He asks;

answers await,

we grow in new tasks.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful, always.  Thank You that regardless of what is going on around us, You have our heart in Your hands, and You remain present.  Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and that You instruct us to be persistent as we pray.  Forgive us for our lack of fortitude in the fight, and grant us Your strength and endurance in all things and at all times.  Teach us how to be persistent in prayer, without endless repetition or whining.  Thank You that You are a patient and loving Father, Who loves us, and continues to help us grow in character, faith and hope as we seek You.  May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may many come to know You through our love and persistent petitions before You.  Be exalted, Lord.  Amen.

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