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

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Who Are We?

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, ESV)

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, “Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, NLT)

King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that You have brought me to this place in life?” – (2 Samuel 7:18, MSG)

 

David had gone from being a faithful young shepherd boy in his father’s fields, to a good and powerful king, who was blessed and anointed by God. He had to endure many trials in between, yet recognized the faithfulness of God through it all. As he sat before God and prayed, he acknowledged in awe and wonder, how it is that God had granted him such kindness and favor. Though I am not in a seat of public power (nor would I want to be), I am the daughter of the Almighty King. When I look back, even over the last few years, I can ask the very same question that David asked: “Who am I, Lord God, and who is my family that You have brought us this far?” I am in awe at the faithfulness and goodness of God, and how He has provided and blessed and covered my boys and me. He has brought us love and laughter and life in places where such things had grown dim, and has provided all that we have needed and more. Verses like this one are a terrific reminder for us to slow down, take some time, and give thanks for the grace we’ve been given to carry us thus far. May we ever look to the Lord to be our help and hope, and give Him praise for the many blessings throughout our days.

 

O God, who are we, not-defined-by-a-day

That You would show care?

What glorious grace,

You lovingly share.

Lord God, as we seek,

In awe, we are found;

You lead us to life,

Show us to sure ground.

Always You are near,

Through our highs and lows;

Your love surrounds us,

And helps us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see each of us as Your children whom You dearly love. Thank You that though we know we do not deserve it, You give us grace and mercy, and lead us through our trials and bring us to places of blessing. Thank You that no matter where we are on our journey, You are faithful to be present as our Help and our Hope. Forgive us for not seeking You in the seasons we need You the most, or for not giving You glory where glory is due. Teach us to honor and praise You in all seasons and stages of life, as You are the One who gives us strength and hope to persevere and overcome. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others feel blessed and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remain in awe of all that You have done, and ever rely on You for what is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Sustained by Our Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, NLT)

The Eternal is my Shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, VOICE)

 

For more than two weeks now, I have had a vicious run of migraines. Each morning, as I have been up and beginning the new day, the pressing pain that begins at the base of my skull and travels upward, would greet me as I began to get ready. I mention this only to tie in the application of how the Lord has shown me the above truths made tangible over the past few weeks, as well as just yesterday. Regardless of the way that I felt, He sustained me and gave me the strength to keep working anyway. The breaks in my day are spaced just right, so that I am able to have a bit of solace in a dark room to regroup, before tackling the next several hours of teaching. On a day when I had grown weary of enduring, a friend encouraged me to go to a chiropractic appointment that she helped facilitate, by watching a few minutes of my class. That particular bit of help provided ten hours of relief, which made coaching through an entire gymnastics meet without a migraine, far more pleasant. Yesterday, as I was again weary from pressing through the pain, I met with a friend to check in. Where I had imagined there would be some intense conversation, there was instead, laughter and light and life. There was peace and rest in that place, despite how I was feeling, and it was clearly by His leading. From there, I had an acupuncture appointment. The moment I walked in, she was quick to identify the need, and worked specifically to alleviate the source of the prolonged pain. When I left, my head felt far better than when I had arrived. She instructed me to go home, eat, and then go to bed. Though not my typical M.O., I listened, and this morning, I have renewed hope that this crummy cycle has been stopped. He is good and provides rest and peace and strength as we need it. May we place our trust in Him, and seek the Lord to lead us to the places where He will provide refreshment, strength and wholeness all of the days of our lives.

 

We have a Shepherd,Masterd by Our Maker No Longer Slaves to Sin

Who’s all that we need;

He leads us to rest,

when to Him, we plead.

He knows where we’re weak,

as strength He does give;

not just to survive,

but to truly live.

He brings us to peace,

when the storms surround;

He soothes all our fears,

He’s where hope is found.

Let us choose to trust,

in the Lord above;

for peace, rest and strength,

all given in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that You give us all that we need. Thank You that You give us rest, and that You lead us to peaceful places, despite the turmoil we may be facing. Thank You that You renew our strength, even when we are beyond weary. Forgive us for becoming fearful in our weariness or unrest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You in all things, trusting You to lead us to the places where You will provide rest and peace and renewal. Show us how to offer peace and strength and rest to those who are weary around us. May they see You in us, and choose to pursue a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You as our good Shepherd who provides all that we need. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Go Forth in Joy

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. – (Isaiah 55:12)

 

As we grow in our relationship with our Redeemer, we cannot help but praise Him for who He is. He fills our hearts with joy, and covers our countenance with peace, even in the midst of life’s storms. All of creation has been made to praise Him; nothing is excluded. In fact, Jesus spoke these words in Luke 19:40, “I tell you,” He replied, “if they (the people who were wanting to praise Him) keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” Let everything that has breath, praise Him!

 

As we go forth,There is Freedom

our hearts filled with joy;

may songs of praise,

be what we employ.

Let His peace lead,

as we choose invest;

our time, our heart,

into His sweet rest.

All around us,

creation shall sing;

of Christ’s great love,

the freedom He brings.

If we speak not,

truth will still be known;

the trees will clap,

cries will come from stone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your majesty, everywhere. Thank You that we have the privilege of partnering with You in sharing of the great things that You have done, and letting others know Who You are in our lives. Thank You that You are forever faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You grant us joy and peace, even in times of trouble, and that You lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for staying silent when we were meant to speak, and grant us the courage to be bold on Your behalf. Make us brave for Your glory. Let our love for You be evident in all that we say and do, and may many be led unto You through our active faith. Be glorified, Lord Jesus, as we seek to praise You on the path You have placed before us. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13