Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

The Waste in Worry

Can all of your worries add a single moment to your life? – (Luke 12:25, NLT)

None of you can any time to your life by worrying about it. – (Luke 12:25, ERV)

And besides, what’s the use of worrying? What good does it do? Will it add a single day to your life? Of course not! – (Luke 12:25, TLB)

 

I am not a huge worrier, yet there are some things, based on previous experience, where I struggle to find faith. This month I have to have oral surgery for gum grafting. In my numerous prior experiences with dental visits requiring Novocain, I find reason for dread, as dentists cannot seem to keep my mouth numb throughout an entire procedure. Though I have tried to not even give the upcoming appointment much thought, as I have had plenty of wonderful distractions, it is clearly a point of concern when I wake to disturbing dreams about the process. My prayer is that by voicing my concerns to the surgeon at my consultation, my mind and heart will be put at peace and worry will not enter my thoughts again. Worry steals rest rather than returning remedy for what lies ahead. Instead, I have to place it in His hands and trust. May we release worry and fear into His hands, find peace and comfort in His care.

 

Worry’s a challenge, We Need Not Worry

To choose to release;

Yet holding to it,

No good is increased.

Instead, we need give,

Our concerns to God;

Who’s greater than all,

His grace knows no flaws.

So, bring God all fears,

Place each in His hands;

He meets us with love,

Strength from Him to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry in You. Forgive us for allowing worry to remain in our hearts and minds, as no benefit is brought in through worry. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces where we have known discomfort or pain in the past, as each day and experience is new in You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that worry is released and peace is found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to place our worries in Your capable hands in exchange for the peace found in You alone. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

The Endowment of Early Mornings

Every morning, Lord, I lay my gifts before You and look to You for help. And every morning You hear my prayers. – (Psalm 5:3, ERV)

Lord, in the morning You hear my voice. In the morning I lay it all out before You. Then I wait expectantly. – (Psalm 5:3, CEB)

In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice; in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to You and watch expectantly for Your answer. – (Psalm 5:3, VOICE)

 

Being up in the early hours to usher in the first morning’s light reminds me of the greatness of God and kicks off my day in awe and appreciation of all that lies ahead. We are called to present our requests before God, and He wants all that we are in exchange for all that He is and all that He desires to do in and through us. God sees and He hears everything that we freely offer unto Him. In doing so, we ought to wait in anticipation of all that He will do. The Lord is faithful to meet us each morning and will move mightily in and through us as we present all unto Him. May we rise each morning and lay our gifts – our prayers, our hearts and our offerings to the Lord and trust that He will see and hear and move on our behalf.

 

Early each morning, The Endowment of Early Mornings

I choose wake and rise;

To draw near to God,

His grace realized.

For each day I come,

And bring Him my best;

He grants me His strength,

And extends His rest.

I cannot but help,

Of Him stand in awe;

For He is faithful,

As near Him I draw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us each morning as we rise and present our all unto You. Thank You that You see and hear and move on our behalf. Thank You that we can wait expectantly, assured that You will answer in Your faithfulness. Forgive us for doubting when answers take longer than we would anticipate. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, for Your timing is perfect. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives ear to every word spoken, so that they may gain a glimpse of how You listen to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise each morning and present our all unto You, anticipating the wonderful ways that You move on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Great is His faithfulness; His loving-kindness begins afresh each day. – Lamentations 3:23

 

 

 

Rendering Reconciliation

Kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, NLT)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Pleasant words are flowing honey, sweet to the taste and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, CEB)

 

Yesterday, as I met with a student who often struggles to make good choices behaviorally and academically in the classroom for our one-on-one reading conference, I was reminded of how much truth lies in the words of this verse. As we began, he did an excellent job of explaining what he had learned in the book he had read, and then easily defined words from the vocabulary list. Throughout our meeting together, I praised and encouraged him, as I let him know how impressed I was with his hard work and reminded him how much I believed in his ability to do well each time he invested himself in whatever task the class was being asked to take on. Seemingly out of nowhere, his gaze dropped to the floor, and tears silently began to slide down his cheeks. In disbelief, I sat there for a moment, unsure of what I was meant to do. After taking a moment, I encouraged him a bit more and then asked him if there was anything that I could do to help. He shook his head “no”, so I followed with the question, “I can see that things are pretty tough right now. Do you have hope that they will get better?” He nodded his head up and down and accepted the tissue I offered. Our brief exchange reminded me yet again, just how much kind words matter. May we ever seek the Lord for His guidance to fill us with the words that others need to hear most that are sweet to hear and bring healing to places that are hurting.

 

Kind words do matter, Patient Acceptance

Far more than we know;

They heal the hurting,

And help goodness grow.

Sweet, just like honey,

Such help to the soul;

A salve for our wounds,

As His mercy flows.

Let us choose kindness,

With words that we say;

Healing can happen,

When Love leads the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the truth of Your word that You continue to show us again and again in tangible ways. Thank You that kind words are sweet to the soul and healing to the body. Forgive me for the times that kind words were not the first thought to come to mind or that which escaped my lips. Teach me to trust You more, so that I would listen to Your leading and speak the words that You would have me say. Show me how to love others well with my words, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend kind words to others in such a way, that healing comes to the recipient. Amen.

 

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

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

Trust by Faith

Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. – (John 4:50, NLT)

Jesus answered, “Go. Your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus told him and went home. – (John 4:50, ERV)

Go home. Your son will live. When he heard the voice of Jesus, faith took hold of him and he turned to go home. – (John 4:50, VOICE)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and a government official. The man who came before Jesus on behalf of his son, was a leader among men, and accustomed to people following his orders the moment he spoke them into being. Despite the powerful position of this government official, he approached Jesus with humility and faith. Perhaps desperation was a motivation, as he more than anything, wanted his son to live. Rather than Jesus traveling with the man to his son, He simply told him that his boy would live. Something arose within the heart of the official, and he took Jesus at His word. He believed and began his journey home. I wonder if he had to keep reminding himself that Jesus had spoken the words that his son would live, so believe, believe, believe… At some point as the man neared home, one of his servants ran to him to let him know that his son would live and was well again. When the man asked when his son had shown the improvement, they discovered that it had occurred at the same time the previous day when Jesus had spoken the words that his son would live. How often do we receive and believe His promises with such faith? It is easy when we see tangible evidence that He is moving on our behalf yet it can be a battle when what we have heard does not align with that which we see in the here and now. May we have faith in the promises that He has spoken and keep walking forward in trust; for what He has promised He is faithful to do.

 

What Jesus tells us,wp-1522933972687995522303.jpg

He’s faithful to do;

Whatever He says,

He will follow through.

Despite what we see,

God is on the move;

We must choose believe,

Let doubt be removed.

We must trust by faith,

And not count on sight;

Let God lead the way,

For His ways are right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You that You are forever faithful to fulfill that which You promise. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for thinking that You might change Your mind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk boldly in faith in that which You have promised, trusting that You will fulfill all that You have spoken. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage and build one another up with faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your word to be true and allow You to grow our faith within us. 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

Persistent Pursuit

“What do you want Me to do for you?” “Lord,” he said, “I want to see!” And Jesus said, “All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you.” – (Luke 18:41-42, NLT)

 

“What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, I want to see again.” Jesus said to him, “You can see now. You are healed because you believed.” – (Luke 18:41-42, ERV)

 

Jesus: What do you want Me to do for you?

Blind Man: Lord, let me receive my sight.

Jesus: Receive your sight; your faith has made you well. – (Luke 18:41-42, VOICE)

 

I so appreciate this story about the blind beggar and his exchange with Jesus that led to his healing. The blind man could have sat in silence and kept to himself, yet, he had heard word of this man, Jesus, who had healed others. Somehow, in the depth of his heart, the blind man realized that he had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Hope gave him strength of heart and voice to keep calling out to Jesus from the side of the road, despite the disciples and passersby attempt to keep him quiet. When Jesus saw the persistence of the blind man, He stopped and gave him His undivided attention. In a brief, but intentional exchange, Jesus asked the man what he wanted, and healed him because he had believed. Imagine if we called out to Jesus in the same way… May we go to God without hesitation, trusting that He has the power to do insurmountably more than we could ever hope or imagine as we surrender ourselves and our need to Him.

 

When we go to God, How Impossible Becomes Possible

And choose to believe;

He moves mightily,

As grace is received.

For if we ask not,

How can we receive?

It is by our faith,

We learn to believe.

All that is required,

Is but a small seed;

For hope to grow faith,

God grants what we need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our cries for Your help, and You are ready to meet our needs. Thank You that all that is required of us is faithful pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing what we see or think we know about our circumstances or those around us to get in the way of our asking in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than anything that we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope and strength, so that they too see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persistently pursue You with unflappable faith. 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

Rediscovering Dreams

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

Put your hope in the Lord. Travel steadily along His path. – (Psalm 37:34a, NLT)

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NLT)

 

For the past few months, there is a part of me that has been stirring and not able to settle at rest. Though I would pray, and look for answers, I could not figure out what I was meant to do next. A little over a week ago, I had an exchange with someone that at first, felt offensive. Perhaps it was, but really, it matters not, as God used it to propel my heart in a direction that I would never have explored, if not for that brief conversation. What was discovered as a result of the consequential agitation, was a dream that had all but died. Possibility presented itself before me, and I am now pursuing something that I never thought obtainable. Whether it comes to fruition or not, the excitement of imagining and hoping is enough to remind me that God has more than what I see. He is reminding me that He has wired me with gifts and talents, dreams and desires, that He longs to honor just as much as I hold hope to use them for His glory. May we rise up and remember that God has handcrafted each of us with gifts and talents, plans and purpose, and what we see now is not all that there is. Let us hold fast to the hope we have in Him, and be willing to take steps of faith forward as He leads.

 

Be not discouraged,Rediscovering Dreams

By all that you see;

Often there’s movement,

Waiting within reach.

For what seems unkind,

Horrible, unfair;

Could be the movement,

That leads us from there.

Remember to hope,

Not in what is seen;

But rather in God,

Who as we trust, leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope who leads us where we are meant to go. Thank You that despite what we see, You have so much more for each of us. Thank You that You take the seemingly horrible things and use them to propel us in the direction that You intend for us to move. Thank You that You have good things for Your children. Forgive us for our lack of hope and for allowing our dreams to die or lie dormant. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and pursue the path You place before us to utilize the very things that You have created within us to share with those around us. Show us how to love well, everyone whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You and travel along the path You place before us. Amen.

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

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

The One Who is Willing

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if You are willing, You can heal me and make me clean.”  Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” He said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. – (Luke 5:12-13, NLT)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and the man with leprosy for several reasons. First, the man who was suffering had more faith in the One who stood before him, than fear of the repercussions for being out among people as a leper. Second, he recognized the authority of Christ as he bowed before Him, and asked if He might be willing to heal him. Jesus met the man’s faith and humility with mercy and grace, as He did the unthinkable. Jesus touched the untouchable as He healed him. No one was allowed near lepers, let alone to touch them, so it had likely been a very long time since the man who was suffering had experienced direct human contact. Not only was he extended kindness and listened to as he made his request before Jesus, but he was answered in a way that was meant to help his heart as well as his body. Jesus knows our needs far better than we do. When we come before Him with our requests, He often answers in ways we would not have ever imagined. His goodness and grace are far greater than every need we bring before Him. May we ever seek the Lord, and let Him know our places of need, for He is faithful to answer as we ask.

 

The God of all grace,Healed Hands Reach Out

Says, “Come unto me,”

“Seek Me with your needs,

And I’ll set you free.”

Faithful to answer,

The Lord always hears;

He grants us His strength,

And chases off fears.

For He is willing,

To draw near, to touch;

Let us seek in faith,

And watch Him move much.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are willing to hear our requests and bring Your answers. Thank You that Your answers go beyond what we could hope or imagine. Thank You that You attend to our hearts as well as our physical needs. Forgive us for making You too small, as the very God who created the Universe, has the ability to see and answer our needs where we are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first; always. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for solutions in our spaces of need, as You are the One who hears and helps. 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

Called to be Family

When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27, NLT)

 

As Jesus was hanging on the cross, weighed down by the weight of the world’s sin, He still took notice of the growing grief on the faces of those He dearly loved. A further example of how Jesus loved people, even as He hung in agony, is revealed to us in this short exchange between Jesus, His mother, and John. Knowing that both Mary and John would need comfort and care from another who had shared in the entire experience of the life and death of Jesus, He presented them to each other in new familial roles so that they could help one another in Jesus’ absence. Clearly Christ’s words were taken to heart, as John took Mary into his home from that day forward. Jesus is all about relationship. He cares about our heart and wants our grieving hearts to be comforted. The people around us are not in place by mistake. He sets the lonely in families, and loves us to life when our light has grown dim. May we ever fix our eyes on Christ, and allow Him to move in us and through us in ways that bring comfort and care to all in need, as we look to the hope that is held forever in Him.Called to be Family 1

 

Jesus sees our hearts,

And knows all our needs;

Surrounds the lonely,

And hungry, He feeds.

Wherever we are,

He sees and He knows;

His heart is to love,Called to be Family 2

So our faith might grow.

Even in anguish,

Christ spoke how to be;

Support each other,

We’re now family.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that family is not only those related by blood, but rather they are those whom You surround us with to be our safety and support. Thank You that Jesus showed us how important it is to be in ongoing relationship with one another, as it was one of the last things He pointed out before He drew His last breath on the cross. Forgive us for withdrawing or not investing ourselves into those that You have placed in our lives to be family – whether they are related by blood or not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace and invest in those around us, just as we are called to do. 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

Living and Loving Well

This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave His life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 3:16, ERV)

 

As I spent much of yesterday with my mom, moving the belongings of my dearly departed grandmother, I recognized how much this rang true in her life. It was because she gave her love, her encouragement, her help and her hope, that my Gram’s life so impacted everyone around her. Daily, she gave her life away. She did not cling closely to things, but rather was generous with all. Gram, in her lifetime had experienced times of very little during the Great Depression; and a time of plenty, after years of being wise with what she had. Throughout my entire existence, she always lavishly gave of herself. Whenever we would meet, a strong squeeze of a hug would embrace me, despite her dainty size. Her words and kindness did the very same for my heart, and whatever exchange we would have during a visit, always lasted long after our seemingly short time together. Even now, I can imagine her laughter and way with words, as they were so readily given away. She was my truest tangible example of real love, outside of my own household growing up. If I can emulate but a fraction of her love and generosity to those around me, then I will have lived my life very well. May we each seek to give away, the greatest gifts that we have been given.

 

The beauty that’s seen,With Gram2

When we realize;

The look of real love,

Hope before our eyes.

As we give away,

All we’re meant to be;

People see the hope,

That Jesus sets free.

Because Jesus gave,

We also can give;

All that we’ve become,

So all might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, what real love is all about. Thank You too, for the beautiful, tangible examples of the faithful that You have placed in our lives, that show us again and again, what it means to give our lives away. Thank You for the lifelong gift of my Gram, and the role model that she was for all who knew her. Forgive us for withholding the very things that You have placed in us to share with those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly and generously give all that we are to all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are to living and loving well. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78