Called to Task

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. – (Luke 1:76-77, NIV) 

Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. You will make His people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. – (Luke 1:76-77, ERV) 

 

As Zechariah’s song of praise continued, he proclaimed words of truth, as God revealed the role that his son, John, would play in preparing the hearts of people for all that Christ had to offer. John was a faithful proclaimer of truth, and he spent his life, even unto his own death, speaking of the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the parents of John, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew their son was called to a task that was beyond their own human understanding. Both, likely spent John’s formative years, educating and raising him close to God, guiding him in the direction that he was meant to go. I imagine it took tremendous faith and dependence on God, to lead a child who was called to such specific work for the Lord. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Raising children who have been set apart from infancy, or even earlier, would be a task that takes trust beyond measure. In my own experience, simply being responsible for two tiny humans at the same time, took formidable faith, as premature twins in the care of a first-time parent was slightly terrifying. God’s grace, mercy and strength made the unknown and unyielding, manageable and marvelous. May we seek the Lord and His strength, as we recognize that He is our help and our hope in raising up the next generation of faithful followers of Him. 

 

O Lord, let our faith, 0119180406679500301.jpg

Be rooted in You; 

Our strength and our hope, 

For Your love is true. 

However You call, 

Whatever our way; 

Your help, grace and hope, 

Will lead us each day. 

Faithful forever, 

O Lord God, You reign; 

Please show us each day, 

The path we’re to take. 

  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness forever. Thank You that You never call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the call seems far beyond our ability to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than any seeming impossibility that lies before us. Show us how to faithfully navigate the roles to which we are called. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things at all times, and faithfully walk wherever You lead. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Chaos Becomes Calm

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

The perfect peace that comes from God as we depend and trust in Him, is a supernatural calm that supersedes the chaos that surrounds us. In a space where it makes no logical sense to know peace because of turmoil, yet somehow, deep within, we hold fast to the hope that we know, His peace becomes present. It does not mean that difficulties disappear, yet it is the way to know peace even when trials and troubles come our way, for God is faithful forever to all who trust in Him. May we ever choose to dedicate our hearts and minds to He who brings peace in His presence.

 

In Your perfect peace,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

O God, You shall keep;

All who place their trust,

And earnestly seek.

Dependence on You,

Leads to perfect peace;

Chaos becomes calm,

As our hearts release.

Sometimes You silence,

The storms that surround;

But more often still,

It’s internal sounds.

You speak loving truth,

Our hearts need to hear;

Make Your presence known,

For You’re ever near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust and depend on You, You are our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith when storms begin to stir. Teach us to trust You more when the battles rage – both inside and out. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace in places that are tumultuous and bring calm into chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our peace forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord will turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Protection and Strength

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

 

No matter what comes our way, we have help, strength and safety when we trust in the Lord. He is always ready and available to be our help and supply the strength we need, and He will protect us in ways we would never imagine on our own. Safety and strength, help and hope – all come from God. May we seek Him to be our Source, and rely on His faithfulness to see us through.

 

Our place of refuge,Rest in the Rock

Our strength in the storm;

Help when there’s trouble,

His grace shall transform.

Always, He’s ready,

As Source and Supply;

To give help and strength,

He hears each heart cry.

So call on the Lord,

He is ever near;

To protect and give,

Strength to face each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our protection and source of strength. Thank You that You are always ready to help us in times of trouble. Thank You that we do not need to be afraid when trouble comes, as our hope is in You alone. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of dependence on You. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our Source in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in a way that help them to see the strength and security that is found in You alone. May many enter into lasting relationships with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our protection and our source of strength in all things and at all times. 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

Doing What We Don’t Want to Do

Is there any task or chore that you despise? For me, I am not a fan of housework. There are a million things that I would rather do, outdoors, than be stuck inside cleaning. The worst part for me, is when I set my intentions to get after it and get the job done, I might begin strong, but often become distracted by something that I find, and end up not finishing what I began.

It is the same with sin. We know which way is right and determine in our hearts that we will follow what is good before God, and then end up doing the very things we wanted to avoid. Our inability to navigate without sin reminds us of how desperately we are in need of a Savior. His word, His laws – are all for our benefit to identify the right way and to know the way we’re meant to walk. Without His Spirit dwelling within us, there would be no way to consistently follow His commands. By His grace, we are forgiven when we fall, and in His strength, we can choose what is right.

 

What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. – (Romans 7:15-16, MSG)

 

Paul was well aware of his own short-comings. He recognized the pull of his own broken humanity to lead him away from that which he knew he was meant to do. It was through his recognition of his own need, that he became dedicated to dependence on Christ. We too are in need of Christ to lead us in the way we are meant to go. Without Him, we continue to do the very things we despise. May we embrace the grace that God gives through the gift of His Son, and allow Him access to lead us on the path we are meant to travel.

 

When I long to go,The Direction of Discipline

The way of the Lord;

Do what He deems right,

I try, but then fold.

For the sinfulness,

That dwells deep within;

Will rise up and rule,

When not seeking Him.

The way God commands,

Is not to bring harm;

But rather to save,

To righteously arm.

By God’s saving grace,

We’re able to do;

What He asks of us,

By His strength, ensue.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite our battle with our own sinfulness, You come near and love us to life. Thank You that by Your grace, we are forgiven and set free to do what is right before You. Forgive us for attempting to do things our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue You in all that we do, and walk upright before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your kindness and grace, so that they might seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, so that we might do that which You are calling us into. Amen.

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

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

Blessings for Patient Endurance

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NLT)

Great blessings belong to those who are tempted and remain faithful! After they have proved their faith, God will give them the reward of eternal life. God promised this to all people who love Him. – (James 1:12, ERV)

 

One thing is certain – we all will go through times of testing and temptation. It is part of the package that comes with being residents of a fallen world. We are called to patiently endure all that we face before us, so that we may receive that which ultimately awaits. The enduring that is asked of us is not something that we are meant to do on our own, but rather through the strength of He who dwells within us. God is faithful to be present in our every need, and will walk beside us and give us the strength that we need to endure all things. May we rise up in faith and trust He who is more than able to see us through every trial and test that lies before us, so that we can patiently endure to the end and receive the crown of life that God has promised to all who choose to love Him.

 

With patience, may we,Far Better to Finish

endure all that comes;

not in our own strength,

but through Christ, the Son.

For when we choose trust,

dependence on Him;

He’s present to help,

see us to the end.

His promise is clear,

as we set pride down;

trust His grace and love,

eternal life’s crown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Thank You that we have the hope of eternal life to hold, as it is promised to all who love You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness in the throes of trials and temptations. Help us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and place ourselves in Your hands in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others so that Your hope may be made plain through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we patiently endure all that comes our way, trusting You to be our strength and our hope each new day. 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

Away with Anxiety’s Hold

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7)

 

To give all of our worry, distress and uneasiness of mind to Christ, is easier said than done. It has a way of sneaking into the sinews of our soul, and creating claws, that grab hold and grip tightly so that we find ourselves tense without even realizing why. In Philippians 4:6, we are instructed as to how to cast our cares on Christ, so that we can actually allow Him to care for us. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. In other words, when worry or uneasiness come, pray – tell God about it. We are not meant to carry the burden by ourselves, but rather we are to make our request known before He who is abundantly able to carry the load that we cannot. Yesterday, in my Pastor’s Intensive class, we were covering some deep and difficult material. One of our instructors had a great bit of advice. She said that when we come to a crossroads where we want an answer to be black and white, but there clearly isn’t one for us to find, we are to hit our knees and worship. God is so much greater than our struggles, that our dependence on Him is what matters most. He cares for us and will meet us in our space of need; however, we must choose to trust.

 

To cast far away,

ishareimage.com

ishareimage.com

anxiety’s hold;

place in the Lord’s hand,

whatever unfolds.

For He’s much greater,

than all that may come;

and He cares for us,

as shown through His Son.

Through all of our days,

with much thanksgiving;

present unto God,

the hope lacking things.

Wherever there’s lack,

our God can come fill;

for He’s so much more,

than trials or ills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast all of our anxiety on You, because You care for us, and You do not want us to stay stuck in that space. Thank You that we can come to You, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and present our requests before You. Thank You that You meet us in that space with Your peace and Your comfort and Your care. Forgive us for allowing fear and anxiousness to reign in silence, rather than calling on You out loud, and allowing You into the darkness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will remember that where Your light shines, darkness cannot be found. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know the peace and presence that are found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we cast all of our anxiety on You, and move forward boldly in all that You have called us to become. Amen.

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

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

Genuine Repentance

As I continue to study the scriptures in Exodus, I am reminded of how important genuine repentance truly is. Often, saying that we are sorry is simple, yet allowing our hearts and minds to make a change is an entirely different story. Pharaoh was a perfect example of why we ought not wait to really repent. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver a series of messages to Pharaoh, warning him of what would happen if he did not allow God’s people to go. Pharaoh was a master of double-talk, as he would be convinced in the moment of discomfort to allow the Israelites to leave, yet as soon as the plague had passed, he took back his words and denied them their desert departure.

 

After the seventh plague had been poured out upon Egypt, and hail had destroyed men, livestock and all of the land, Pharaoh responded. Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, “This time I have sinned,” he said to them, “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.” – (Exodus 9:27-28) Sadly, as soon as it stopped, Pharaoh retracted his ruling, and prevented their passage, yet again. Consequently, three more plagues were poured out upon Egypt. The third of which was so severe, that the Israelites were practically chased out of Egypt, at last.

 

True repentance is made evident through our actions. Words are weightless and worthless if we cannot back them up with work. God forgives us for our every iniquity, yet He expects us to turn and walk away from that which seeks to entangle us. Real repentance is not only an act of our will alone, but it is a total dependence on Christ, as we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, guide us, change us, and restore us, so that we will not be the same as we were before. May we turn from our wicked ways, and demonstrate lives that are forever changed, by the loving and living God.

 

Lord, let not our hearts,Genuine Repentance

be calloused and hard;

keep us supple, soft,

to You, all regard.

Ready to listen,

with hearts that can hear;

ready to repent,

aware You are near.

May we clearly show,

the changes You make;

as our actions speak,

of which path we’ll take.

Let us walk in love,

that draws others near;

so all may see You,

make Your presence clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, forgiving and full of grace. Thank You that You draw us unto Yourself. Thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You give us many opportunities to come unto You. Forgive us for hardening our hearts to You in any way, and help us to allow You to break down the barriers that keep us from hearing all that we need to know to be right before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily confess and then move away from the very things that brought us down. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many hardened hearts be softened before You, as lives are changed and hope is restored. Be exalted O God, as we tread tenderly unto You. 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

Trust in the Asking

God often calls us to step out in areas where we feel the most ill-equipped. Moses was a man who claimed to be slow in speech, yet God called him to go and speak to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. He was being asked to speak not only before the powerful ruler of a nation, but to gather and speak before those whom he was called to lead as well.

 

But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on the mountain.” – (Exodus 3:11-12)

 

Moses felt inadequate and afraid for the task to which he had been called. God understood his fears, and assured Moses that He would be with him and that there would be clear evidence of His presence when all was said and done. God still does the same for us today. Though He calls us to that which we often feel the most ill-equipped, His presence is promised and His help, assured. It is far better to be in a scary space of total dependence on God, than a fearless space that we try to traverse on our own. May we rise up and respond in faith to that which Christ calls us to do, trusting that Him who calls us will also provide all that we need to navigate in the new.

 

God calls us to go,Trust in the Asking

where we think we can’t;

and asks us to do,

what we think we shan’t.

Inadequacies,

our personal fears;

the true barriers,

that make paths unclear.

Lord help us to hear,

Your promises true;

that You will be near,

to see us each through.

May we each rise up,

take heart and obey;

Lord, grant us the strength,

to walk in Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if You call us to do something, You will provide what is needed to see us through. Thank You that Your calling us to the difficult teaches us to trust and rely on You. Forgive us for focusing on our own inadequacies rather than on how great You are, and help us to reset our focus. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what You ask, we are willing to say “YES” and trust You to provide what is needed to accomplish what You are asking. Help us to love others as You so willingly and wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Jesus, as we move in obedience, even when we feel ill-equipped. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all that You ask of us. 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

Standing Strong in Struggles

Today, as I again read the first two chapters of Job, I am reminded anew that though God does not cause the trials in our lives, He does allow them. Often they have nothing to do with sin, but rather are a test of sorts, meant to deepen our dependence on Him. In the case of Job, God saw his faith, and allowed Satan access to him, with the condition that Job was not to be killed. Even after losing everything and all of his children, in the midst of being chided by his wife to curse God, Job’s faithfulness remained.

 

He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. – (Job 2:10)

 

When trials and struggles come our way, do we remain upright and confident in Christ? Are we able to keep from sinning in what we say? It is one thing to quickly cry out to Christ when calamity comes our way, yet it is entirely another, to continue to trust for a long season of suffering or despair. As we choose Him in the midst of our heartache and struggles, He is faithful to be present. Just as Job’s friends initially sat beside him in silence (as he actually needed), God is present, and will remain. Christ whispers the words that our hearts need to hear, and holds us up when we cannot take even one more step forward. He is faithful forever; we need simply place all of our trust in Him, no matter how things appear. May we fix our eyes on Christ and allow Him access to our whole heart, so that we become rooted and established in He who will help us weather every storm.

 

God is always good,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

even though life’s not;

His hope will remain,

our eternal lot.

When the trials come,

His presence is clear;

if we’ve invested,

we’ll know He is near.

No matter the ache,

how great or how small;

He sees and He knows,

upholds us through all.

For the Lord is good,

His love shall remain;

both now and always,

let Christ come and reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of struggles and suffering, You remain present – helping, holding, loving and granting Your hope. Thank You that no matter what comes, our hope is held in You. Thank You that what awaits in eternity is well worth the temporary trials that we endure on earth. Forgive us for our lack of endurance and faith when struggles seem unending, and teach us how to persevere in Your promises and Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always good. Lead us to love and be faithful to You, no matter what comes, just as You so clearly demonstrated through the life of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, draw many unto Yourself, so that those who are lost, may be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we stand strong in You, even in the struggles. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Faith Assured

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

 

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

 

The sure and certain hope recorded here are foundational in our faith. They are both the beginning and the end of what we believe. First, to be sure of what we hope for requires that we believe in God’s character – that we trust He is who He says He is. Our certainty comes as we discover His promises, and realize that He will do what He says He will do. God is faithful, and will fulfill and follow through, even when we do not see evidence that is tangible in the here and now. May we allow hope to fill our hearts and minds, as we grant Christ access to further grow our faith.

 

In the dark of night,Faith Assured

we see no evidence;

of new morning’s light,

with faith, reassurance.

So it is with Christ,

though our hearts may not see;

He has paid the price,

for all hearts to be free.

A promise of hope,

His presence for today;

our answer to cope,

the only faithful way.

Allow faith to grow,

may it rise up in you;

as you come to know,

all He’s promised to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something that we are expected to somehow muster on our own, but rather when we seek You, we find You, and You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we invest our hearts in You, we come to know both Your character and Your promises, which assure us of our hope for both today and forever with You. Forgive us for thinking that we could somehow grow our faith on our own, and help us to trust You to increase our understanding and deepen our dependence on You as we seek You. May we shine Your light and extend Your love to all those whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. Be glorified, O God. 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