Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

Blessing Beyond the Valley

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. – (Psalm 84:6a, ERV)

Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. – (Psalm 84:6a, TPT)

When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of springs where pools of blessing and refreshment collect after rains! – (Psalm 84:6, TLB)

 

The Valley of Weeping is a space I avoid like the plague. I fight and fend off the opportunity for ocular malfunction as if my life depended on it, until I can fight no more. Eventually, the dam breaks and I must succumb to whatever is weighing heavily on my heart. Incredibly, God meets me where I am, and provides comfort and refreshment in ways that go beyond what I would hope or imagine. My most recent source of sorrow has been wrapped up in the injury to my leg and that which it is preventing me from safely doing. The biggest disappointment came when it was determined that it would be dangerous for me to fly to Utah with my team for the game this weekend against our toughest opponent. It was a double hit, as not only did I want to be present to support my team, but I have dearly loved family that live in the same city that I was looking forward to seeing. God in His loving kindness, has blessed me with a man who treasures me and lovingly holds my heart. When he realized how hard this loss was going to be for me, he stepped in and planned a weekend escape to the coast for us. My heart could not have been held more tenderly. The ocean is my sacred space, and there is no place on earth that I feel more at peace nor am as deeply in awe of our Creator, as when I set foot on the sand and watch the waves crash before me.  God knew what I needed and He blessed me with one who loves me as I was designed to be loved. May we ever hold fast to our hope in the Lord through our valleys, for even in our sorrows and disappointments, He makes way to bless our hearts and bring refreshment to remind us of His nearness and care for us, individually.

 

In valleys of tears, wp-15237115979951399911556.jpg

Do not be afraid;

God sees and He hears,

Beside us, He’ll stay.

Where sorrow once reigned,

Refreshment will come;

His presence remains,

’til each day is done.

The place that was dark,

Shall soon see His light;

His love will set spark,

As blessings delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You walk beside us through our valleys, and You bring blessing and refreshment where there has been sorrow and pain. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the darkness that lies before us, rather than the light that You ignite within. Teach us to trust You more when we are in the valleys, as You are always faithful to remain present. Thank You that You bring blessing and refreshment out of spaces where sorrow once reigned. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses and refreshes and holds up those who feel stuck in valleys. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your refreshment and give You praise for all of our days for Your faithful presence, always. 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

Where True Strength Resides

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB) 

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV) 

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE) 

 

When we are in Christ, He is in us as well. The very same power and strength that dwells in the Lord, is available and alive within us as we turn in trust to Him. Even when we feel completely depleted, His strength knows no end. He calls us to seek Him for the strength that we need, as He is ever ready to supply. Personally, I know how true to His word He is, as this week has been non-stop and demanding, with little time for sleep. As I sit and reflect on the blur that this week has been, I am in awe that it is now Thursday. He upheld me, strengthened me, and at times carried me through to get to today. He is good, and His faithfulness never ends. May we trust in the Lord and His strength, remembering that His mighty power lies within the hearts of all who believe. 

 

Let us not forget, strength-in-waiting

Where true strength resides; 

For it is in Christ, 

As we choose abide. 

All strength and all might, 

The power within; 

He grants unto us, 

As we seek, ask Him. 

So, lean not on self, 

But trust in the One; 

Rely on His strength, 

‘Til each day is done. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your strength, might and power to us as we seek You. Thank You that we do not need to navigate this life on our own. Forgive us for trying to power through in our own strength, rather than seeking You to supply that which we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would draw strength from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw our strength from You so that we may stand firm. Amen. 

 

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

 

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

The Work of His Hands

When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers – the moon and the stars You set in place – what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them? – (Psalm 8:3-4, NLT)

 

I so appreciate David’s grasp of the greatness of God. It is easy to get so caught up in our busy lives, that we forget to take pause and look around us. When we do, we cannot help but stand in awe at the mighty work of His hands, and revel in the remarkable that He who created all that is around us, would care for us, individually. The very same God who hung the stars in the sky, knows the number of hairs on our heads… That can only be known by One who is as near as our next breath. Love that sacrifices unto death on a cross, for even those who will never love in return, incomprehensible. May we take time to behold the beauty that surrounds us, and remember that He who created it all, knows and loves us, individually.

 

The moon and the stars,

Remaining Resolute in Our Redeemer

image by bibleabc.net

were hung into place;

the work of God’s hands,

in power and grace.

The very same God,

Who called all to be;

both knows and He loves,

all humanity.

Not just as a whole,

but personally;

He knows minds and hearts,

and longs to set free.

May we stand in awe,

as others have done;

at all that God is,

and hope that’s to come.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the mighty work of Your hands that is both in us and all around us. Thank You that You who created everything, care about us individually and personally. Forgive us for losing sight of Your greatness, and help us to keep a proper perspective of Who You are and how amazing Your love is for each of us. Teach us to see the world and others through Your lens, so that we might continually see the beauty all around us. Show us how to love others, as You so tenderly and intentionally love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause and take in all that You have created around us, and go forth loving all that You have made as You do. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19