A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

Let Us Choose Kindness

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NLT)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

 

We are called to be kind, loving and forgiving, just as Christ is unto us. While we were yet sinners, He chose to love us. In the same way, He asks that we choose to love others so that they might see Him through us, and come to know that there is so much more available to all who choose to trust in Christ. May we love, forgive and extend kindness, just as each are given unto us, so that others too, might choose to enter into a relationship with our Redeemer for all eternity.

 

In this crazy world,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where anything goes;

Let us choose kindness,

So Christ in us shows.

May we choose to love,

Where others might not;

We’ve been forgiven,

Make known what we’ve got.

As we offer grace,

Though it’s not deserved;

May the truth be known,

In Christ, hope’s preserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be kind and loving to one another, just as You are unto us. Thank You that You forgive us, and in turn grant us the grace to forgive others. Thank You that when we do, Your light shines through us, making the truth known to those who might not yet know You. Forgive us for our lack of kindness and grace toward those around us, and for any lack of forgiveness that we harbor in our hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend to others, the very same kindness, love and forgiveness that You give unto us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we choose to be kind and tenderhearted to those whom we encounter, forgiving one another as we have been forgiven by You. 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

 

Willing Presence

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Filled with compassion, Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cured. – (Mark 1:40-42)

So much is spoken in such a short passage. Anyone with an illness was considered unclean and untouchable, particularly those with leprosy. Jesus gave a man who had been outcast from society, value, by being willing to hear his request and touch him when all others considered him completely untouchable. Jesus healed the man’s physical condition, but more importantly, He healed his heart. Jesus had told the man to keep the story to himself and only go and show the priests, but the man could not help but go forth and spread the great news – for he had been healed!

The very same God who met the leper in his space of need, is available to touch us in ours. “The Lord gives you the experience of enjoying His presence. He touches you, and His touch is so delightful that, more than ever, you are drawn inwardly to Him.” – (Madame Jeanne Guyon) When we are touched by God, personally, we cannot help but want even more of Him. Once we have encountered a glimpse of who He is, we desire to see and know more. May we go forth this day with our eyes and hearts wide open, ready to observe our Savior in action. For He is alive and active, ready to move in our hearts and lives, always.

The touch of the Lord,Healed Hands Reach Out

to none can compare;

a life ever changed,

once we are aware.

To draw near to Him,

and know that He’s near;

grows in us great strength,

and removes our fears.

There is no delight,

as nearly as sweet;

as coming before,

the Lord’s righteous seat.

He invites us near,

to come closer still;

to taste and to see,

feel His gracious fill.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gift of Your presence. Thank You that You touch us individually, and through Your touch, we are drawn closer still to You. Forgive us for not bringing both our needs and our praises before You, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every response leads us to You. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we enjoy the experience of Your presence and are drawn ever closer unto You. 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

Give Thanks, Tell and Sing

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! Sing to Him; sing praises to Him. Tell about the amazing things He has done. – (Psalm 105:1-2, ERV)

As I prepare for my final day of the first week of this brand new school year, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My anxiousness has been turned to enthusiasm, and my fear transformed to fuel for further learning and growing to better the experience for my students and myself. Each of these young lives who have walked into my classroom, have found a place in my heart. Their stories are only beginning to unfold, and I cannot wait to discover more and more of who they are, and what drives them to do their very best. Additionally, my own children have encountered the same sentiment from their teachers too. My colleagues are loving my boys well, and they feel safe and secure in each space. This, this is my reason to sing praise today. Among many other monumental things that He has done to care for my family and love us well, the blessings of a great beginning create a comfort in the hope of all that is yet to come. May we give God thanks and call on Him, telling of all the great things that He has done. May our very lives sing praise to Him, as we recognize the remarkable He continues to do in our lives.

May our hearts give thanks,Aquiring Armor

to the Lord most high;

for how He has loved,

all throughout our lives.

Tell all of the world,

of what He has done;

so they too may know,

the Most Holy One.

Let our praises ring,

as we lift our voice;

for the songs we sing,

should in Him, rejoice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and love, and for the amazing things that You do in and through our lives. Thank You that we can call out to You, and You hear our every call. Forgive us for not giving You the glory that You deserve, as every good and perfect gift comes from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response would be to give You thanks and to tell others of the great things that You have done in our lives. May our very lives sing continual praise unto You. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know Your faithfulness and love for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise, and tell of all that You have done. 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

Be the Hope

The twentieth-century American educator and author Loren Eiseley wrote a short piece titled “The Starfish Story” or “The Starfish Thrower,” which has been told and retold in many versions through the years. In this classic tale, we learn a simple lesson about the difference one person can make. Here’s the gist of the story:

A man walking along an otherwise deserted beach came upon another man throwing into the sea a starfish that had been deposited on the sand by the tide. When the man asked the star thrower his purpose, the thrower explained that the starfish left untended, would be dried by the sun and eventually die. But how, wondered the first man, given that there were thousands of starfish scattered for miles along the the beach. The thrower bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean with all his might. He smiled as he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” – (excerpt from Undaunted, Christine Caine)

 

When we look at the world around us, it is easy to see that there are a multitude of starfish lying on the sand, desperate for someone to come along and extend a hand. At first glance, it may seem too overwhelming to even know where to begin, when there is so much need that surrounds us. We can either choose to turn and walk away, or we can walk toward the need, and pick up one starfish at a time. It may not seem like much in the moment, yet to that one starfish, it is a chance to live.

 

Paul was an ongoing example of a starfish thrower, as he extended hope to all whom he encountered. His circumstances mattered not, for he chose to speak truth and shine the light of Christ wherever his journey took him. When Paul was summoned to appear before King Agrippa, he worried not about his own safety, but rather about sharing the truth that would bring freedom and salvation to all who might hear. Clearly Paul had captured Agrippa’s attention.

Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”

Paul replied, “Short time or long – I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.” – (Acts 26:28-29)

May we rise up and be the change that sees not the multitude and becomes overwhelmed, but rather that we look to each need, individually, and do what we can to offer hope where hope is not.

 

Scattered on the sand,Be the Hope

a vast sea of need;

what am I to do,

to rescue, to feed?

We’re not called to meet,

every need seen;

but to offer hope,

step in, intervene.

Often so simple,

a word or a touch;

an acknowledgement,

can matter so much.

Oh Lord I’m ready,

to offer Your hope;

may Your love and light,

be the safety rope.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us so many examples of “Starfish Throwers” throughout both Your word and history. Thank You that though the need in our world is great, one life touched at a time, can make all the difference. Thank You that You can use us, individually, to offer hope to a hurting world. Forgive us for seeing the need and turning a blind eye because we are overwhelmed or think that we cannot make a difference. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may rise up and take each next step of obedience that touches lives as You ask of us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth to be the hope, one life at a time. 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

Recognizing the Glory

Imagine the shock of an empty tomb, only to be greeted by giant men in gleaming white…  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary encountered this very greeting when they went to the tomb in hope of seeing where the Savior lay.  An angel went on to inform the faithful women that Jesus had risen and was not there, and that He was going ahead of them into Galilee.  “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell His disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them.  ‘Greetings’, He said.  They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him.” – (Matthew 28:8-9)

 

 

From fear to joy, to shock, then at last, overwhelmed with adoration for the Savior upon seeing Him face-to-face, the Marys’ had quite an eventful set of encounters.  How do we respond when we find ourselves in the presence of His greatness and His grace?  God with us, is everywhere.  In the eyes of a new baby, in the kindness of a stranger, in the heart of our worship when we gather together; He is easy to recognize if we simply slow down and allow our hearts to gaze upon all of the good that He has provided around us.  His glory radiates from His creation.  May we take time to pause and recognize the glory of God that surrounds us, and give proper praise to He who deserves all of our worship today.

 

 

The glory of God,He Seeks to Save

so much to behold;

may hearts recognize,

the good that unfolds.

All of creation,

speaks of His glory;

and each of us have,

part in the story.

May we each respond,

in worshipful praise;

to the heart of Christ,

for all of our days.

Let our hearts embrace,

and our minds receive;

all that He has done,

by faith, we believe.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come to know and understand who You are.  Thank You that we may embrace all that You are, as we are welcomed and received by You, as we are viewed through the filter of Your Son.  Thank You Jesus, for living, loving, dying and rising so that we may live victoriously in You.  Forgive us for not recognizing the remarkable evidence of Your presence that is all around us, and help us to embrace all that You provide.  Teach us to trust You more so that we may live and love as You did.  Help us to love all those whom surround us, and may many come into a saving relationship with You as they recognize Your goodness and grace.  Be glorified O God, as we give You glory and praise for all of our days.  Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5