Even in This

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Last weekend, Mom spent Easter with us. She let me know when she arrived safely home as promised on Tuesday, but I had not been able to reach her since. At first, I thought nothing of it, as she is a busy, social, love of a lady, who easily gets caught up in her wonderful community at home. On Saturday, my nephew, her grandson, had prom. My sister posted great photos, and normally, no matter how busy, Mom would be first to jump in and rave about how fantastic they were. However, we did not see nor hear a single response. By Sunday, both my sister and I were becoming a bit frantic, and I contacted some of her friends who live nearby. The most recent contact any of them had made, was Thursday. My sister contacted the police to make a non-emergent wellness check. To our horror, they found our mom, unresponsive. Thankfully, they had her sitting up and speaking a little before they had paramedics rushing her to the emergency room. What is known, is that she had a stroke. She is currently unable to move her right arm and right leg. Speaking is possible, but slow and difficult. Mom knows the answers to important questions, but after yesterday’s ordeal, was completely exhausted. This verse is what I will cling to, as we don’t know what this week, month or coming year will hold. What we do know, is that God is with us and will not abandon us, just as we will not be leaving Wenatchee while our mom is in the hospital. Fear is a liar, be it a loud one. Please pray with us for miraculous healing and full and complete recovery for our mom. She is more than any description I could write, and the only consistent grandparent that my boys know. To know her is to love her, as she loves with all that she is. As we were leaving the hospital so she could sleep last evening, she was listing food in the fridge that we might enjoy for dinner…

 

The Lord will lead us, img_2019-04-29_06-56-462555965120756472194.jpg

Despite how things look;

When storms come our way,

And our world is shook.

He’ll steady our hearts,

And show us the way;

To trust He is good,

And get through today.

When we’re feeling lost,

God will take our hand;

He’ll show us the way,

To walk out His plan.

And when we’ve no strength,

His is all the more;

Our God lifts us up,

As hope He restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Physician and that You love our Mom even more than we do. Thank You that You knit her together in her mother’s womb, and You know how ever synapse and connection works best. Thank You that You are a God who heals and restores, strengthens and leads. Father, we are trusting You. Forgive us for allowing fear to creep in. Show us Your strength and power and provision in ways we have never known before. Turn this trial into an incredible testimony, and bring beauty from these ashes as only You can do. Show us how to love Mom and all who are caring for her in the ways that bless and encourage best. May those who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

Ongoing Grace

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

This is the One who – imprinted with God’s image, shimmering with His glory – sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins. – (Hebrews 1:3, VOICE)

 

As we approach Easter, it is important to remember who Jesus is and all that He does for us. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, the only one who has ever been a perfect copy of God’s nature. Though we all have been created in God’s image, Jesus is the only one to have ever been without sin. Because He was without sin, He made Himself the perfect offering that purified us from all of our sin. After Jesus had come to do all that He was called to do, He returned to His rightful throne in heaven, seated at the right hand of God. The Holy One, seated beside the Majesty of heaven, is not just sitting there to reign, as He continually moves on our behalf, so that we may be seen as righteous before God. It is not by anything that we do, but rather by what Jesus did for all. Our portion is to believe and receive, so that we may walk in His way and do His will. May we ever remember the weight of the sacrifice and the depth of His love, that led our Lord to bear our every burden of sin, that provides the path for us to join Him for all of eternity in heaven.

 

The true radiance, Ongoing Grace

Of the Lord on high;

Rested on Jesus,

As He chose to die.

Death for all our sin,

So we’d be made clean;

Cleansed and forgiven,

Showing what grace means.

The love didn’t stop there,

As ongoing grace;

Is granted by Him,

Seated in His place.

At Lord God’s right hand,

Love is ever shown;

He covers our sin,

And makes mercy known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You – cleansed and set free from sin, so that we are seen as worthy. Jesus, thank You for Your eternal sacrifice that bore the weight of all of the world’s sin for all time, and returning to Your rightful throne to continually demonstrate Your mercy and grace and love to us all. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice. Teach us to stand in awe of the incredible way that You loved all of us so much, that You bore the brunt of all our sin to provide forgiveness for each of us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness, mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember in awe, the incredible gift given through the sacrifice of Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Live Right by His Light

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, NLT)

Christ carried our sins in His body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you were healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, ERV)

 

As I continue to contemplate the cross and Easter, and everything that this week means, a portion of this morning’s read reminds us why Jesus did what He did. He chose to bear the weight of the world’s sin, so that all might have the choice to live for what is right. No excuses, no burdens of the bad that we have been – Jesus bore them all on the cross so that we could be healed and set free. It is in our discovering of this freedom from the weight of our own unworthiness, that we begin to grasp the greatness of our Savior’s sacrifice and the depth of His decision to love. May we each embrace the gift of grace that God has given, and walk forward in the freedom found through the sacrifice the Savior made on our behalf.

 

Christ carried our sins,Live Right by His Light

On His body, bore;

The weight of the world,

To be veiled, no more.

No longer removed,

By our sin and shame;

For Christ took it all,

Truth we can now claim.

By His very wounds,

We each have been healed;

So we can live right,

As truth is revealed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfathomable gift that You gave as You sent Your Son to carry the cross for our sin. Thank You Jesus for showing us what a life of love looks like first, and then going on and bearing the burden of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we could have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for continuing to sink into sin, and help us to seek You to show us the way to live right. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love in a way that brings light into darkness, so that all might see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the gift of grace that we have been given, and look to You to live right. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

A Tangible Display

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display – the Anointed One died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, VOICE)

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. – (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)

 

As we draw ever nearer to Easter, it is good to set our sights on what this season is all about. Each time I take pause and read anything related to what Christ came and did for me, I am in awe of the greatness of His goodness and His grace. Who willingly lays down their life to save another, when the very one being saved is against them? Before we knew Christ, He loved us. Prior to making a choice to invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He laid His down for us. While we were yet sinners, He came and bore the weight of all of our sin and shame so that we could be forgiven and free, and have life everlasting in Him. There is no greater love than He who willingly gave everything so that we could be made right before God and have eternal life. May the power of Christ’s life-raising love fill our hearts and minds, and lead us as we consider the weight of this wonderful week.

 

Stuck in the darkness,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Still shrouded in sin;

Christ came and He gave,

Love made the way in.

Though few might choose die,

For those who are good;

Only Christ the Lord,

In our place, He stood.

He bore such a weight,

Sin and shame of all;

So we could be free,

And on His Name call.

What powerful love,

Such wonder He is;

The truth and the life,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, while we were still sinners, far from You, to give His life for ours. Forgive us for not recognizing the weight of what You did for us so that we could have life everlasting in You. Help us to grasp the magnitude of Your mercy and the greatness of Your grace as we walk out this week leading to Easter. Show us how to love those around us with the very same mercy and grace that we have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You have freely given, and go forth in freedom to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

Reminders Anew

They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again. – (Matthew 20:19, ERV)

 

As Easter approaches, we are reminded anew of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He willingly bore the agony of the cross on our behalf, so that we could be raised to new life in Him. This season is a reminder of the awakening that occurred as life was breathed into His body in the tomb. Though there are dark days, when the sun returns and the flowers bloom, we see the hope of the longer, sweeter days of summer on the horizon. In the same way, on the third day, after much darkness and despair, those closest to Jesus went to visit His body, only to discover that He was alive again! Our hope is held in the One who defeated death so that we could find life in Him forever. May we always remember that the darkness is but for a season, and His light dwells within us, holding the hope of all that is yet to come.

 

When darkness and death,Embracing Grace

Seem to dominate;

Remember to seek,

Him who can relate.

For Jesus, He knows,

The weight of our pain;

As we seek His help,

He makes His grace plain.

We’re granted His hope,

His love and His peace;

Life everlasting,

Grace that will not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly endured the scorn and shame of the cross, and overcame the grave to give us new life in You. Thank You that even when darkness and death seem to surround us, there is always light and life in You. Forgive us for making You too small, as You are the Overcoming King. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in such a way, that we offer hope, light and life where they fear there is none. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and celebrate the power held in Your presence as You alone bring hope and new life. 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 Righteousness

As I watched the world seem to wake up on this beautiful Easter morning, I am once again in awe, as I consider all that was covered on the cross, and the significance of the stone that was rolled away. He is risen! These three words are the game changer for all of eternity.

 

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21)

 

Jesus took it all. Every. Single. Sin. Our every shortcoming, mess-up, and malicious malfunction, He bore on the cross so that we could be called clean before Him. More than that, in Christ, we become the righteousness of God. That is a weighty responsibility. Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us to our own devices to attempt to be righteous. We are given His Spirit to dwell within us, so that we are led, comforted, and corrected by the Spirit of the living God, Himself. As we choose listen to His leading, we have the privilege to represent our Redeemer through how we live our lives. May we go forth this sacred day as His righteous representatives, living and loving as He first loved us.

 

He who had not sinned,A House of Hope

took up all of ours;

for our salvation,

He bore the scars.

In Him we become,

the Lord’s righteousness;

not for what we’ve done,

but Jesus in us.

Let us each go forth,

in His holiness;

so others may see,

the love of Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You does not begin to express the gratitude for what You have done for us. The gift You poured out to offer hope and life for all who choose to believe, is beyond comprehension. Thank You that You love so much. Forgive us for not standing amazed at all that You have done for us, and for not giving You proper thanks and praise. Teach us to trust You completely, and to honor You well in all that we say and do. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we worship and honor You on this most sacred day. Amen.

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

 

 

Worry Versus Concern

Though my daily reading plan does not coincide with the events surrounding our celebration of Easter, I cannot help but recognize within each reading, how the words must have moved the hearts of the various men and women who were present at the events leading up to the cross, and beyond. This morning is no exception.

 

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” – (Matthew 6:27)

 

The NIV footnotes explain that “worry immobilizes, but concern moves you to action.” Clearly Christ was concerned for our well-being, as He moved forward to suffer for our sake. Additionally, I think of the disciples who deserted Him in His hour of need. Clearly they worried about their well-being, as each of them scattered in the face of adversity. However, there were those who were clearly concerned, rather than worried. Concern compelled Joseph of Arimathea to risk his reputation and ask to take Jesus’ body to the tomb. Likewise, concern moved Mary Magdalene and many other faithful women to be present at the foot of the cross.

 

Worry kept Pilate from standing strong in his convictions that Christ was indeed innocent. Though he knew Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, Pilate allowed the worry of his reputation to dictate death for One undeserving, simply because the crowd was calling for it. Can you imagine what the remainder of Pilate’s days must have been like, after the events that occurred from the cross to the empty tomb?  Surely Pilate heard the news…

 

Let not worry,Worry Versus Concern

seize your heart with fear;

for no good comes,

when panic is near.

Concern compels,

wills us to action;

trusts Christ to lead,

faithful transaction.

Don’t let worry,

come immobilize;

instead, let faith,

sink in, globalize.

Rise up, dear ones,

release pending doom;

on that third day,

stood the empty tomb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry when our trust is in You. Thank You that You who provide for the grass of the fields and the birds of the air, even more abundantly provide for Your people. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for allowing fear to seep in and freeze us up from moving forward. Grow in us an unshakable faith, that is compelled to action by concerns, and that carries out Your will rather than our own. May we love others as You love us, and honor You in all that we say and do. May many come to know the help and hope available in You, because of what You did for us during this Easter season. All glory and honor unto You, our perfect Prince of Peace. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

His Help Sustains

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the One who sustains me.” – (Psalm 54:4)

 

As I read this morning’s passages, this verse in Psalm 54, commanded my attention. Though they were David’s words in reference to his own struggles with Saul and his insanity that was constantly trying to kill him, (among other challenges), I could not help but relate it to Jesus and what He must have been going through on this day, so many years ago. He knew the horrors He would willingly have to endure to make the way for mankind to become reconciled back to right relationship with the Father. Jesus also knew that He would be betrayed and abandoned by His dearest friends in His greatest hour of need. After time in the upper room with the disciples, Jesus knew He needed to go to the garden to pray, to commune with God, His help and the One who sustained Him when all others were unable to so much as stay awake and keep watch.

 

People are flawed, and cannot nor should not be our ultimate source of help and hope. Yes, God gives us amazing people in our lives to help, encourage, lift up, and walk beside – but ultimately, our help comes from Him. He is the One who sustains us, and the Lord is our help and our hope. Because of what He willingly went through all those years ago, first in the garden, then before Pilot and Herod and the rest, what He endured on both the ground and while He hung on that cross – was all for us – for you and me, individually, so that we could come to Him and trust Him to be our help and our hope. If not even death can defeat Christ, how can we not trust Him to be our help in all things?

 

Surely You are,His Help Sustains

my help and my strength;

sustaining One,

Who goes to great lengths.

You bore my sin,

and all of my shame;

so I might know,

the hope in Your Name.

O Lord, my God,

again I’m amazed;

at Your great love,

I give You all praise.

I place my trust,

in Your mighty hands;

Your will be done,

by Your grace, I stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and the One who sustains us. Thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to have access to You and know You as our personal Savior. Thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God right here, dwelling in the hearts of all who believe. Forgive us for not turning to You when troubles come, or for attempting to take on trials in our own strength. Thank You that You love us so much that You provide Your help and strength, and often, You provide people too. Help us to be available to those around us, so that You may use us to encourage and build up the body. May we love others as You love us, and may many come to know You as their help and their hope this Easter weekend. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence.

– Acts 2:28

 

 

 

Prepare the Way

Preparations in advance make the way anywhere more easy to navigate. John the Baptist fulfilled his calling, as he faithfully went out into the Desert of Judea and preached repentance to prepare the hearts and minds of all who would hear him for the message that Jesus would soon deliver. “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.” – (Matthew 3:3)

 

John helped prepare the way for Jesus. With Easter mere days away, how can we “prepare the way for the Lord” and “make straight paths for Him“? Our charge as followers of Christ is to do just that. Our lives ought to speak volumes, without a single word. Do people see a difference in how we live? If our conduct demonstrates kindness and grace, opportunities are opened to share what He has done for us, personally, and “paths may be made straight” as we can correct misconceptions that people may be holding in their hearts about their own capacity to come to Christ. May His good news be made known as grace is lovingly shown.

 

Prepare the way,Prepare the Way

for our loving Lord;

make His heart known,

live in one accord.

Make straight the paths,

that lead unto Him;

offer His hope,

so His light shines in.

Give others grace,

as we have received;

Love drew us in,

when we first believed.

May that same love,

given lavishly;

draw others in,

so they too believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You. Thank You that He prepared the way and made the path straight for our minds and hearts to hold all hope in You. Thank You that we too, can be a part of preparing the way for others to come to know You. Forgive us for neglecting to do what You call us to, and for doing that which You ask us to not do. Thank You for Your forgiveness and grace, and may it compel us to depend on You more in all times and in each place. Help us to love and extend grace as You do unto us, and may many come to understand the eternal significance of Your death and resurrection this Easter. Let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.

– Genesis 21:6

Watching in Wonder

My favorite New Year’s Eve tradition is attending our New Year’s Eve drop-in service.  It is not like a typical church service.  Rather, it is a time to reflect, anticipate, and allow Him to speak, while hearts are quiet and ready to listen.  The first thing to do upon entry, is grab an envelope, blank piece of paper and a pen.  Our charge is to write down our reflections about where we have been, and where we hope to go with God, in the coming year.  There is a bit more to it than that, but that is the gist.  Our pastoral staff then holds our self-addressed, sealed letters, and mails them back to us around Easter.  It is truly remarkable to be reminded again of what He has done, and to observe what has come of the new year, thus far.  After writing and sealing our note to self, we go forward to a pair that is prepared to pray for us.  They wait on Him, and share what the Lord places on their hearts.

As I read the first two chapters of Genesis this morning, what stood out to me, is that after each new thing that God created and called into being, it is followed by the sentence: “And God saw that it was good.”  God saw that every single thing that He formed and gave life and breath to, was good.  We are His created.  He sees us, and calls us good – not because of our behavior, but rather because we are His creation.  He loves us with an everlasting love.  The very same God who saw that all He had created was good, moves mountains and does the miraculous still today.  One of the words that was given to me last evening, was to “look for the miraculous; not necessarily even where I’ve been asking, but to watch for unexpected miracles.”  For me, this is a reminder to be full of hope and anticipation, for God is indeed, good.  The miraculous takes places all around us every day, but so often it goes unnoticed.  I want to embrace this new year with my head up, eyes open, and my heart ready to receive all that He has prepared for me.

With head held high,Watching in Wonder

eyes ready to see;

all that He has,

miracles for me.

Peace in places,

it’s rarely been found;

silent stillness,

to hear heaven’s sound.

What will await,

in this coming year?

Courage to fight,

in the face of fear?

I look ahead,

with heart open wide;

may I receive,

more of You inside.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and kind, and that You love us with an everlasting love.  Thank You that when we call on You, You answer, and that You have good things for Your created, whom You love.  Forgive us for being unaware of how mighty You are all around us, and may we be ever aware of the unexpected miracles that are taking place.  Help us to embrace Your goodness and grace, so that we may love others, as You love us.  May many come to know new life in You.  Let Your light shine bright through us, before all.  Amen.

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