Unity in Jesus

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. – (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people all come together as one! It is like the sweet-smelling oil that is poured over the high priest’s head… It is there that the Lord has promised His blessing of eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, ERV)

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head… Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, MSG)

God calls us to live in community with unity. His intent and purpose are for us to get along and work together as one body. When we do, it is like a fragrant anointing, as those around us can see and experience the goodness of God. His blessings are bestowed upon us as we do, for in such space we are continually reminded of His goodness now, and the glorious hope of all that is yet to come. Yesterday, amid mourning and heartache with a beautiful young couple from our church, we witnessed this in a very real and tangible way. Many gathered to celebrate the short life of their baby, who died a few days before his due date in the womb. Despite devastating heartache, there was joy in celebrating together the hope of being reunited one day in heaven. Though the precious boy never was able to experience life with his family, he will never know heartache, sickness, or pain, for he is already in the arms of Jesus where there is perfect peace. The love and support of their family and community was overwhelmingly evident. Together, we gathered as one to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of the precious baby boy. Incredibly, the blessings and joy were more evident than the sorrow. Only in Jesus, is such hope possible. My heart was blessed, despite the tears, in witnessing and supporting the beauty that is found in a community that comes together as one. (For more of Luca’s story, click here) May we ever seek the Lord and His purposes for us, as we rely on Him to help us be in communities that are united, not divided in His perfect love.

Oh, how wonderful,

Is community;

That stands side-by-side,

In true unity.

United purpose,

Love is what is seen;

Brothers and sisters,

Choosing live in peace.

This is the calling,

God give to us all;

Love one another,

Help up those who fall.

When the trials come,

To stand side-by-side;

Love well and support,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united in community. Thank You that You lead us and equip us to love one another and to encourage and support each other as sisters and brothers. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differences to divide us rather than unite us, for each of us have strengths and gifts to share that make our community stronger. Show us how to see You in all those whom we encounter. Lead us to love and be in community as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another, together as one. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

You Gave

photo by The Exalted Truth

“You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10:12

“You gave me life itself, and incredible love.  You watched and guarded every breath I took.” – (The Message)

In the midst of His suffering and crying out to God, Job takes a moment and remember the kindness and covering that the King of Kings had provided.  Though in latter verses he continues his laments, Job’s momentary memory of God’s majesty grants a glimmer of hope that is hidden in the ashes of his heart.  As Job’s story goes on, he eventually does rise from the rubble and our remarkable Redeemer restored unto him, all that had been lost.

To me, this presents both an encouragement and a promise.  The encouragement and at times, the challenge, is that I am meant to remember His faithfulness and kindness that He has shown me, even when I am in the throws of turbulent times, knowing fully well that my present circumstance is not how my story will end.  Regardless of the outcome on earth, my promise (and the promise for ALL who believe and receive God’s glorious gift of grace) is held in my ultimate destination, which will be eternity with the Everlasting One in the paradise that He has prepared for His beloved to enjoy in His permanent presence.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us Your kindness and protection, as each of us is still drawing breath.  Help us to believe in the blessings to behold that are found in You alone.  May our hearts hold fast to the eternal hope and the promise we have been granted that we will one day enter Your permanent presence.  Forgive us for our fears, and grant us the courage and guidance to share the space where we hold the hope of heaven in our hearts, with all who still need to know.  May many move toward You, even in the midst of messes.  Amen.

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

He Holds Our Hearts

“But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him.” – Acts 2:24

Just as we cannot cause the sun to stop rising, the very hand of hell could not keep the perfect Prince of Peace from rising from the dead.  What God foretold, He was faithful to finish, and provided the path for our permanent peace in His perfect presence.
As I gaze upon the glory of His creation, I am in awe of how much He has done to save me from the sentence of death that I do, indeed deserve.  Where I see wickedness or wavering faith within me, He sees the sinless shroud of His Son, and calls me clean.  In Him, I am made worthy to be declared His daughter.  His heart for me is that I would come close, cast my cares upon Him, and allow Him to carry me as He cradles me close.
Who would not want such wonder as well?
That longing, that deep down need for something more, begins as a God-sized hole until we know Him.  It then becomes an ache for our heavenly home.  We are granted a finite number of days to seek Him and follow His ways, before the day will come when we are each called to cross over to our eternal existence.  With Christ, that promised place in His eternal presence is far beyond what we could even begin to imagine.  The alternative to paradise – I have no desire to dwell on that one…
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing, not even the hand of hell, can separate us from Your love when we are in Christ.  As Your Spirit dwells within us, we are seen as clean, despite the depths from which we have come.  Forgive us for our falters in faith, and lead us always back to the sweet space where we may stay in Your holy presence and be embraced by Your loving arms.  Teach us to trust in the safety of the space that You provide, regardless of the appearance of that which surrounds us.  May we be Your hands, heart and voice to those whose hearts the hand of hell is trying to hold.  Unfurl the ugly fingers, and replace them with Your glorious grip of grace that holds hearts from here to heaven.  Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Rightful Rejoicing

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” – Luke 10:20

photo by God’s Daily Word

In this passage, Jesus was speaking to the seventy-two disciples who had been equipped and sent out to share the good news of His Name.  Upon their return, they were overjoyed that even the demons submitted to them in Jesus’ name.  Despite His joy in their enthusiasm, He reminded them that what mattered more than anything that they had seen or experienced, was the assurance that they had been granted the gift of eternal life, by the grace of God, when they had chosen to follow Him.

To each of us, a measure of gifts are given so that we might glorify God and guide others to Him, through our faithful obedience to utilize what we have been granted.  That being said, our focus ought to be on the Giver and not on the gift.  Our greatest “possession” is the peace that passes all understanding by the hope that is presented through the promise of our ultimate destination, when we give our hearts to God and learn to live for Him.

Some will reap and others sow, and still others will witness the harvest.  Rather than revel in the glory we see today, we are to fix our eyes on our eternal prize that is found in He alone, who is our heavenly hope.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You empower and equip us to accomplish things in Your Name.  Keep us from losing sight of You, our Source, and may we always rejoice as we remember that we have been redeemed.  Teach us, lead us and love us, so that we too might love one another as You have called us to do.  Help us to always keep a heavenly perspective as we press on in all that You have prepared for us.  May our faithful obedience fulfill the great commission so that we may soon see You, our great and coming King.  Amen.

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

Healing Happens as Fear Flees

“Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe and she will be healed.” – Luke 8:50

These words were spoken to Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue who had asked Jesus to come and heal his dying daughter.  In the chaos of the crowd, he received word that she had died.  Jesus, despite the seeming impossibility, instructed Jairus to not be afraid and to believe that she would indeed be healed.  Though he was likely swimming in a sea of emotions, Jairus turned to trust and believed that Jesus would do what He had said He would do.

God is a God of making what is seemingly impossible in the natural, entirely possible in His supernatural strength and grace.  He is willing to take our tiny traces of faith and hope, and turn them into something miraculous.  Not by anything that we do or don’t do, rather when we seek Him instead of self, we provide a place for our Heavenly Father to move in His might.

This whole faith and healing pairing can easily become muddied when He does not do what we want Him to do.  It can be difficult to see the miraculous, when we feel that it all has missed the mark.  Sometimes, the healing does not happen until the afflicted are held in His loving arms in Heaven.  It is challenging to understand the “why” when we do not witness His wonder in the natural.  This is where hope and faith and trust in He alone who is trustworthy, must become our lifeline.  Our prayers never go unnoticed.  However, we see but a glimpse of His grand plan for people and how He can best use lives (and sometimes deaths) of His beloved, to bless and lead others unto Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help our hearts to hold all hope in You, and keep fear far from us.  Help us to believe for the unbelievable, and give glory to You through our every circumstance.  Teach us to trust You at all times, that Your good and perfect plan is present, despite what we may see.  Grow our faith God, so that we may be prayerful people who present Your perfect peace to all who need to know that You are near.  Amen.

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

Beholding What Will Become

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men(and women), and He will live with them.  They will be His people, and God Himself will be their God.” – Revelation 21:3

photo by Lenon Honor

Our hope, the promises provided by God, tell us that one day – be it the end of our days or the actual end of days – we will have so much more than we could ever hope for.  Our Father in heaven will reside with us, among us, as not just a spiritual presence, but a physical one as well.  We will be His, and He will be ours.  We will belong to one another for all time.

Right now, we have His Holy Spirit, who is alive and active in all who ask, and is ever available to lead, guide, correct and encourage, as we walk out our purpose in this place.  Can you imagine His holy presence where we could clearly see and touch our Creator?  The very though of running into the actual arms of the Almighty, is beyond amazing!  Can you begin to sense how quickly all of our sorrow, suffering and shame would be set to flight, as we stand in the holy light of God, our Heavenly Father?

This place of perfect peace in the presence of our powerful and protective Papa, will be ours forever!  I want to walk in this world with my heart holding fast to my hope for the next.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that we might glimpse the grace and greatness of You, God.  Thank You that through His death and resurrection, You made way to send Your Spirit so that we would have an ongoing Guide to lead us from this life into the life with You, everlasting.  Teach us to trust Your voice and to hold heaven in our hearts, so that others too, may be joined with You, as You write their names in the Book of Life.  Amen.

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

Strength in the Suffering

photo by Karen Holden

“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” – I Peter 5:10

Though we may suffer for some time, our Heavenly Father, who is full of grace, sent His Son so that we might be restored in strength, in faith, and firmly established in our purpose; unwavering in our adherence to the Almighty.

Often, our seasons of suffering seem that they will sink our soul, yet it is in that very place of desperation, that His deity becomes most clearly displayed.  When we reach the end of ourselves, we begin to discover just how much more we have in Him.  His grace guides us and His goodness grants hope, even in the most dismal of circumstance.  Our purpose becomes plain, and He provides His help to remain on the path that is placed before us.

The greatest gift is in knowing that no matter how long our suffering lasts here, it is but a moment when compared to eternity in His glory.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in Your glorious grace, You promise to restore us and strengthen us so that we may stand firm and steadfast in You.  Please strengthen and encourage all who are in the midst of suffering, and grant them hope.  Teach us Lord, to tether our hearts to You in times of trial and in times of blessing.  May we stand steadfast and secure in You through every season, and may our strength in You encourage others to find the only hope that can truly be held, in You.  Let our light shine before men (and women), even in our seasons of suffering.  Amen.

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