Giving God Room

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

This is the season where it seems that everyone begins to feel a bit weary and burdened with life. Perhaps it is due to shorter days with less light, colder weather, more demands as the year draws to a close; whatever the case may be, the blessing of time off that covers Christmas and into the New Year, is both welcome and needed. Currently, I am in Oregon, spending time with Mom, as my sister and her family were able to get away for a much-needed family vacation. Rest comes in various forms, and despite being wide awake before five this morning, I slept well and feel rested. My sister and her family had a bit of a debacle with their plane departing and a missed connecting flight, so they arrived to their destination less than an hour ago, when they were scheduled to arrive late last evening. Today, at noon, they will attend my brother-in-love’s alma mater’s bowl game. Perhaps the rest and refreshment for them will come in the form of love, laughter and shared stories, after having successfully navigated the crazy frustration of last evening. Sometimes the rest we need for our lives is more for our heart and soul, than for our body. Often, I am most refreshed after a long run or a vigorous hike, despite that seeming counter-intuitive to rest. Rest is really a matter of being aware of God’s presence, wherever we are, and allowing His peace to permeate our entire being. It is a laying down of the weight we are carrying and giving God room to take over and be the One in charge, as He is far better at it than we are. We are all wired differently, and He grants rest to each of us, individually, as we seek Him. May we each go to God in our weariness, and allow Him room to grant us His rest.

As for Mom, it is wonderful to be with her! She is amazing me with her resilience and willingness to do the hard work. Yesterday afternoon we needed to look for a cane for her next step in physical therapy, and Mom was ready to go. I anticipated taking her in her wheelchair, as that is what I have known for outings that required potential long walks with many people around, but Mom said, “no, the walker is fine.” By golly, she totally did it too! We made our way into the store, found what we needed, paid in the pharmacy (no lines!) and returned to the car without incident. We were not fast, but she did it well. After dinner we worked on her speech homework together, and giggled quite a bit. Before long, we were wiped out and ready to call it a day. Both of us slept well, and I actually woke up before Mom.

 

When you are weary, wp-15775437741204257769910717152582.jpg

And in need of rest;

Pursue the Lord God,

For He provides best.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

Our heart, soul and mind,

His grace helps adjust.

Where things are heavy,

He’ll carry the load;

Take us by the hand,

On challenging roads.

For things of the heart,

He blesses with peace;

Grants love and laughter,

Ease burden’s release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You, no matter what shape we are in. Thank You that when we are weary, You grant us Your rest. When we are burdened, You lighten our load or grant us the strength needed to sustain us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder heaviness on our own, or power through when we need rest. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our great Provider. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may experience rest and a lightening of their burdens when we draw near. Help them to see that it is You in us that loves well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of rest and relief when we are weary and burdened. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Every Good Gift

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

 

God is always good. Though life takes twists and turns that are not; He forever remains the same. In the darkness, we can trust in His light. There is no place that we can go to depart from God’s presence, and there is nothing that we can do that will take away His love for us. Such consistency is reassuring in seasons of uncertainty. It matters not what we face, for God remains good, and present, and for us. He gives good gifts and brings light to the darkness; His love is always the same. May we trust in the Lord in all things and at all times, and recognize every good and perfect gift that comes from our Father above, for He is faithful and true and remains the same forever.

Today will be mom’s first day of out-patient occupational therapy, which is the therapy she is most eager to get started on, as O.T. focuses on upper body, and for mom, that is especially significant for her right arm. We are praying that new pathways begin firing to her right arm, and that movement and mobility begin to be reestablished where it has been lacking the most. Mom is hopeful and ready to work hard, and we are trusting in faith beside her.

 

All good that exists, The Holiday of Hope

Comes down from above;

Gifted from the Lord,

Full of His great love.

Light in the darkness,

Hope when there’s despair;

Love in low spaces,

His grace, everywhere.

All thanks be to God,

For each good gift known;

It’s given in love,

As His heart is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that in You there are no shadows and that You do not change. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness remain the same forever, so we can always trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when life takes unanticipated turns. Teach us to trust You more, for You bless us with Your presence and Your peace as You love us through all things. Show us how to love those around us at all times, so that they may know the beauty of Your light, hope and love in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and praise You for every good and perfect gift that comes from You, and for Your unchanging nature. Amen.

 

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

 

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

Come with Confidence

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – (Ephesians 3:12, NIV)

In Christ we come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this because of our faith in Christ. – (Ephesians 3:12, ERV)

Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in Him. – (Ephesians 3:12, TLB)

 

Though we fall short and are fallible, when we are rooted and established in Christ, we can approach God with freedom and confidence, knowing that He will welcome us; not because we are worthy, but because we are covered and made clean as we come with His Son. There is such comfort in knowing that we may approach our Maker, no matter how we come, and we will be heard and accepted by Him. Christ bridged the great divide between heaven and earth, and because of Him, there is no prayer too great or small to miss the ear of God. He hears and He cares, and we can be confident that He is moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what is being done. May we hold fast to our faith and trust in the freedom and confidence that we have been granted through Christ.

It has been a strange couple of days with a lack of communication between mom and myself, as my days have been filled with back-to-school meetings and planning time with my colleagues, and my evenings booked with concerts and a football game. Not at all our usual, and it put a wrench in timing for talking. What I did happily observe, however, is that my brother-in-love took mom out for a walk in the sunshine. They made it to a park nearby, and watched a helicopter take off as they traveled. I know how much she loves and needs to be outdoors, so it was a blessing to see that she was out and enjoying the weather. We are still waiting and praying for all of the details to be coordinated for her in-home therapies, and continuing to fearlessly enter His presence with these requests.

 

Unworthy alone,

Yet covered in Christ;

Granted confidence,

As He paid the price.

His goodness and grace,

Covers all our sin;

Makes the way for us,

To pray, enter in.

For God, the Father,

Does not see our flaws; 

He sees Christ in us,

Not what our heart was.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can confidently and fearlessly come before You, because of Christ. Thank You that rather than our flaws, You see the perfection of Your Son. Forgive us for forgetting the enormity of the price that was paid for us to freely enter Your presence, or for somehow discounting the fact that it has been done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our requests before You and praise You for the work You are doing, and that which You have already done. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be acutely aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently come to You, trusting You to hear our every prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Our Words Are Heard

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

The Anointed One did not enter into handcrafted sacred spaces – imperfect copies of heavenly originals – but into heaven itself, where He stands in the presence of God on our behalf. – (Hebrews 9:24, VOICE)

When we pray, be it a praise, a petition, a confession or a cry for help, our words make way to the very throne room of God. Because Jesus came and made way for us once and for all, we can approach His throne of grace, knowing that He hears and is moving on our behalf. I am so thankful that there is no go-between, nor series of rituals or requirements necessary to come to Christ whenever we need. So often I find myself offering up a quick prayer, unaware of the power and majesty present in the gift of grace to freely speak to the Creator of the Universe with the closeness of a loving father and faithful friend. May we appreciate in awe, the blessed gift granted through Christ, that endows unto us the opportunity to come before God for help, knowing that Christ is for us, moving on our behalf.

 

We need not worry,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The way has been made;

Free to approach God,

The price has been paid.

Christ went before us,

And sees us with love;

So now without fear,

We seek God above.

Let us not forget,

This grace we have found;

All thanks be to God,

Who makes love abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to approach Your throne of grace. Thank You that You hear every word uttered, both in our hearts and with our voices. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our need, or have neglected to give You gratitude for Your unending faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and give You thanks for all that You have done, are doing, and shall do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know of Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

 

 

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

The Letter of the Law is Love

Prior to the life, death, resurrection, ascension and anointing provided by and through Christ, access to God took hours of preparation, and very limited interaction was granted.  Only the chosen were allowed into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain, which was where God’s presence would appear.  Today, through the gift of grace we’ve been given through Christ, we may approach God, anytime.

Before Christ, the high priest would have to sacrifice specific animals in certain clothing, worn in a particular way, after cleansing himself, followed by more offerings of animals, then incense, then blood, then animals, then blood, then the release an animal into the desert, then change clothing, bathe again, sacrifice more animals, and finally, burn the fat of them.  If any of the aforementioned procedures were done incorrectly, death would surely come. (See Leviticus 16)

Jesus has provided the way for us to come before God, covered.  He was the ultimate sacrifice – once and for all.  Never again do we need to make a blood offering of an animal on behalf of our sins, for Christ has covered EVERY LAST SIN.  We are free to come and call on the name of the Lord, anytime, day or night, and He will hear our call.  Our position and training are irrelevant, as He looks only at our heart.  When we seek Him with all of our heart, we will find Him.  It is, however, still wise to prepare our hearts to enter into His presence.  In fact, the biblical examples of how we ought to pray, teach us to praise Him, ask for forgiveness, make known our needs, ask for help, praise Him some more, and be sure to listen.  If our heart is set on seeking Him, He is faithful to answer.

Gone are the days,The Letter of the Law is Love

of blood sacrifice;

for Jesus came,

paid the final price.

Never again,

to be bound by law;

instead by love,

price paid without flaw.

May our hearts hold,

such great gratitude;

for all He’s done,

thankful attitude.

Come to the Lord,

He’s ready to hear;

our heart’s prayer,

His presence is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You made the way for us to come close to You without having to go through a series of rituals and regulations, done just right, in order to seek You.  Thank You for Your grace, and for the covering provided by the sacrifice that Jesus made for each of us on the cross.  Thank You that because of Him, You see us as clean, covered and cleansed by His righteousness.  Forgive us for thinking that we have to have it all together to come before You, or for being too flippant in our approach.  Help us to come to You with grateful hearts, reverent in awe of Your glory and grace.  May our attitude of thanks be expressed in how we love You, and love people.  May many come to know You as a result.  Be glorified through all that we say and do.  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

Invited to Stay

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for Him and when they came to where He was, they tried to keep Him from leaving them.” – Luke 4:42

photo by Julia Boston Antiques

As I read through the passage found in Luke four, verse forty-two seemed to shed some new light on the character of Jesus, and the desire of people.

Every time scripture speaks of Jesus going off to a solitary place, His purpose is to pray – to spend intentional time with God the Father.

My second observation is that the people were looking for Him.  This alone, presents plainly that people longed to be in His presence.  It goes on to say, “they tried to keep Him from leaving them.”  In other words, they desperately desired that the Divine stay near.  I imagine that they were well aware of their own desperate need, and had become cognizant of the care and concern that Christ offered.  They did not want to miss a minute of this man, Jesus, and likely pleaded with our Provider to stay present.

Don’t we all do this at one time or another?  When we are at long last in the company of a close companion and the time nears for parting, do we immediately stand up and say goodbye, or do we stay seated, keep speaking, and secretly hope that we can somehow stretch out our time together?

I am so thankful that with our Savior, we no longer have to say goodbye and part ways.  For through His death and resurrection, Jesus provided a way for His Presence to always remain not only with us, but in us, by His Holy Spirit.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus modeled how we are meant to seek solitude with You so that life’s distractions will not disrupt the words You want us to hear.  Thank You too, for Your glorious gift of Your Son and of Your Holy Spirit.  Teach us to be intentional with our time as we turn to You, and help us to clearly hear Your heart as we listen.  May we always remember that we don’t have to convince You to stay.  Once You have been invited in, You remain forever faithfully with us.  Supply our spirits with Your strength and grace, so that we may do all that You ask of us.  Amen.

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

Results Received As We Respond

“You came near when I called You, and You said, ‘Do not fear.” – Lamentations 3:5

When we call on the Lord, He is faithful to answer, and wants us to overcome our fears through faith in Him.

I despise public speaking.  Really, the very thought of it sends terror straight to my heart, and the press and palpitations begin…

photo by Phobia List

In high school, the minute we were asked to begin reading our writing aloud, particularly our poetry in my AP English class, I marched myself over to the office and dropped AP English and switched to “regular” English, where I could remain quietly anonymous.

I entered university with the intention of becoming an educator, but briskly changed my major when I discovered that a speech class was required.  Four years were spent hiding in the art and English departments in classes that did not include presentations.

Fast forward a few years after graduation, and I found myself standing before a sea of students, staring straight at me as I spoke through a translator, throughout several schools across Asia.  I was terrified every time I had to talk to share some of my testimony, yet each time, Jesus made His presence known, and presented me with the words to speak, and sustained me so that I did not spew all over the stage.

Upon my return home, I registered for a Master’s in Teaching/Teaching Certification program.  By God’s grace, I got through it and have now been gainfully employed in education for more than fifteen years.

Yesterday, I was asked if I might be willing to read some of my writing in front of a group of women.  My immediate response was, “I NEVER read my own writing aloud!”  As I was driving home, He began to gently whisper to my heart, “Do not fear, for I will be with you.”

The message I had just heard that morning, included much wisdom, with a few things in particular that watered what has long been planted firmly in my foundation:

– God sees what is in us, far more clearly than we do

– We must respond to the request, to see the results

– We will miss the miracles if we aren’t willing to move

I promptly proceeded home and changed my reply from “I never” to “I am willing, despite the desperation of my fear.”

It will be a bit of an adventure to see just how His Spirit will move in all of this…

Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You that in You, we have nothing to fear.  Thank You that as we ask, You equip and empower each of us to do far more than we could ever even imagine.  Thank You that You see completely, what we only see in part.  Forgive me for speaking out of fear, and help my immediate response to more readily be, “Yes Lord, I am willing.”  Teach us to trust You more, even in the terrifying.  May we not miss the miraculous, as we are willing to move.  Use us Lord as Your hands, heart, and voice, to touch lives and lead the lost straight to Your loving arms.  Amen.

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