The Light Has Come

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NIV) 

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV) 

Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways – He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, VOICE) 

 

This declaration in Isaiah occurred centuries prior to Christ’s arrival. God’s faithful followers were quite familiar with this passage, as they understood that one day, the Christ would come. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds all knew that this was to come to pass, and suddenly, here they were, in the midst of God’s promised miracle. No wonder Mary pondered these things and treasured them in her heart, and likewise, it is no surprise that the shepherds were overwhelmed with praise for the newborn King. All that they had been waiting for was unfolding before them.  What a wonder to behold! Today, we are equally blessed to be the bearers of this news. For the baby that was so long promised, came, grew, and made the way for us to know Him, leading us to a place of knowing the Prince of Peace for ourselves. Throughout time, Christ has shown himself in each of the roles, again and again. He is the Wonderful Counselor who is faithful to lead us and guide us; Powerful God, greater than any circumstance we may face; Everlasting Father, who is the same yesterday, today and forever; and the Prince of Peace, who reminds us that He is present in powerful ways, as He came to be the Light of the world. May we all find a quiet moment to reflect on how our Heavenly Father has fulfilled all of these roles in our lives this year, and look forward in faith, knowing that He will remain present as we walk forward without fear of the future – for God with us, shall endure forever. 

 

The Light of the world, The Hope of the World

Most surely has come; 

Born in a stable, 

Omnipotent One. 

Though but a baby, 

The Savior, He grew; 

To bless with new life, 

Both for me and you. 

Our great Counselor, 

Most Powerful One; 

Who reigns forever, 

The Lord’s only Son. 

Now and for always, 

The great Prince of Peace; 

The Light of the world, 

Whose reign will not cease. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to us, so that we could be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for not recognizing the remarkable roles that You are willing and available to fill for all who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would allow You reign in our hearts and lives forever. Show us how love those around us in a way that illuminates darkness with the hope and help of Your holy light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your power and Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

Wile I am in the world, I am the light of the world. – John 9:5

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

A Heritage of Faithfulness

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

 

Just after the Israelites had passed through the parted Red Sea to safety, and watched the seas cover the Egyptian army that pursued them, these words were theirs, as they recognized, celebrated and honored God for His faithfulness to lead them out of the space of slavery where they had been bound for far too long. God does the same for us today. He comes close and provides what we need as it is needed, and will be our strength to lead us to safety from the places that we have been stuck. For me, I am blessed to have a rich heritage of faithful followers of Christ. I specifically remember both my paternal great-grandmother and her gentle, kindness to all, and my maternal grandmother, who at ninety-six, is still light, life and love to all whom she meets. She is the one whom I most admire, and if I live my life half as well as she has and still is living hers, the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” will surely be heard when my days are done. For all of these things and more, I sing and give God all of my praise. No matter what comes, He is the reason to give thanks. My hope lies not in the here and now, but in that which is yet to come. I know that I only see in part, the fullness of what lies before me. God has purpose and plans for all who love and follow Him. May we rise up and remember who is our source of strength, giving Him all honor and praise as we pursue His ways.

 

The Lord is my strength,Compassion in Confrontations

my reason to sing;

my Savior and hope,

all help, He does bring.

For He is my God,

I give Him my praise;

for His faithfulness,

throughout all my days.

A rich heritage,

of following Christ;

granted unto me,

His grace has sufficed.

May I do the same,

for my next of kin;

show them God’s great love,

so faith enters in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that You save us and give us reason to sing praise unto You. Thank You that You are our God. Thank You for those who have gone before us and set an example of faithfully following You, for it is through their faithfulness that we have found our way unto You. Forgive us for not giving You the praise and honor that You deserve, and help us to honor and praise You with every word we speak and everything we do. Let our very lives give glory unto You. Show us how to love others as You have loved us, so that future generations will have a solid example through us, of what it is to live a life devoted to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength to do Your will, and give You all praise as we go. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

 

Exaltation in Everything

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – (Acts 16:25) Their choice to persevere, even in the face of difficulty, opposition and discouragement, ultimately led to the salvation of the jailer and his entire household.

 

As we act in obedience to the Lord, people take notice. Some may take offense. Others may even oppose us, creating difficulty and becoming a discouragement. However, there are others still, who observe what we do in spite of difficulty. They are acutely aware of our faithfulness in the face of adversity, and begin to ask questions. Those very questions are the same sort that lead the jailer and his household into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Regardless of what obstacles or challenges come our way, may we maintain an attitude as Paul and Silas did – hearts that pray and sing praise, in spite of what we face.

 

May we choose to pray,Exaltation in Everything

and sing songs of praise;

no matter what comes,

for all of our days.

The choice that we choose,

is noticed and seen;

we are a witness,

to our God unseen.

In opposition,

challenge and trial;

let us still seek Him,

His peace is worthwhile.

May our place of hope,

be clearly displayed;

for in Christ alone,

there shall be a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, how You love and encourage and remain present, even in the face of difficulties. Thank You that though You do not remove all trials and obstacles, You remain present, and You use our experiences to strengthen us and to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our shortsightedness, and help us to recognize that You will use all things for Your ultimate good, in due time, if only we trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the throes of adversity. Grant us strength to persevere, so that we may praise You in spite of what we are going through. May many come to know the glorious gift that You are, as we trust You in the trials. Help us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere with praise. Amen.

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

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

A Purpose and Part in the Body

                   “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – I Corinthians  12:27                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       As believers, each of us are a part of the body of Christ.  Being His body, is uniting as a collective gathering of followers who come together as His church (His body of believers), to do as He did, so that those who know Him may be encouraged, and those who do not yet know His deity in their own lives, might be drawn unto Him.

image by A God-Man in Christ

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” – Romans 12:4-5 God places us together in families by faith, to form His body of believers.  The quirky collection of Christ-followers who sit beside us on Sundays, are intentionally and brilliantly placed.  For in each of us, He has designed different strengths and giftings that He intends us to use to strengthen the body, serve the community, and in all things, give glory to Him.  The members that prepare the places where we gather, are equally important in His eyes, to the pastor that is presenting the message.  God values each of us equally, and so we ought to also follow our Father’s example.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that not only do we have the privilege to be considered Your body, but You have planted a purpose and a plan for each one of us who enter into Your family by faith.  Forgive us for seeing ourselves as either too lofty or too lowly, and help us to remember that our eternal value is in and through You alone.  Lead us in love to be united in purpose as we form a fellowship as Your followers.  Teach us to trust You and to honor and admonish each member equally, as Your blessed and beloved children.  May our unity and solidarity through Your Son, summon those who do not yet know You, unto Yourself.  May our every gathering, be it for worship or service, give all glory unto You.  Amen.

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

Fuel for Our Faith

“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.” – Acts 3:16

 
“Faith in Jesus’ name put this man, whose condition you know so well, on his feet – yes, faith and nothing but faith put this man healed and whole right before your eyes.” – (The Message)
The healing of the crippled beggar happened a short time after Jesus had ascended into heaven and had sent His Holy Spirit to reside in His faithful followers.  It was by faith, fueled by the Spirit dwelling within them, that Peter and John were confidently able to come close to the broken and call out for him to be healed.  As Peter took his hand to help him up, the healing happened instantly.  Faith to action, to amazement.  The makings of this miracle were not because of some mystical powers present in Peter or John, but rather it was made possible by faith; the believing in He who had called them to do as He had done.  Peter was able to speak boldly and trust completely, knowing that God had healing in mind for the broken man.
Imagine the sight as they walked together down the street toward the temple courts.  This man, the very one who had been crippled and set by the temple gates to beg each day, was now approaching the temple as he was “walking and jumping, and praising God”!  I can only imagine the joy and the giddy grin worn on the face of this grown man as he leapt and jumped and shouted out in joy for the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.  Free at last from that which had held him captive in his own body, now gone, and nothing was holding him back!
All of us have our areas where we feel crippled or bound.  It is only through faith in He who will make us free, that we are able to find the sort of faith that fuels forward momentum.  Faith calls for movement.  Movement results in action.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same faith that fueled the healing of the crippled beggar is available and active to heal the brokenness of our own human frailty for each of us who finds faith to believe.  Thank You that our faith is not something that we must muster, but rather it is readily supplied by Your Spirit as we ask.  Thank You that You heal our hearts and provide the hope of wholeness both for today, and in the life that is yet to come.  Regardless of our reality and/or limitations here on earth, that which is yet to come holds total health and wholeness in Your heavenly presence forever!  Forgive us for our fear that holds us back, and form in us Your faith that fuels the realization of impossibilities, and makes mountains move in Your mighty Name.  Grow our faith, Father, that we might walk in Your good and perfect will that leads the lost to Your loving and healing hands.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present