The Hope In So Much More

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him. – (2 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

 

In the ebb and flow of life, it currently feels like a season of loss. Yesterday, I learned of the passing of one of my classmates from high school. We were friends on Facebook, and I was aware that she had some health challenges, but none so great that they would be life-ending. She leaves behind a husband and two children, and I am heartbroken for their loss. Additionally, I heard this past week, that the mother of a very dear lifelong friend had a massive stroke. The prognosis is grim, and my heart hurts for her kids, and her husband and best friend of more than fifty years. Two weeks ago, I attended the memorial for a wonderful lady from our church, who was about my age and lost her long battle with cancer. Her husband and four children, as well as her parents and siblings, are left with the ache of missing her. This morning, reading this verse, I am reminded anew of the hope for those who have passed or are on the verge. Each of these ladies know/knew Jesus, and I am comforted in the fact that where they are going is beautiful beyond what I can imagine – so much more than I have ever seen or heard. The same God who hung the stars, formed the majestic mountains, determined how far the sea can roll into the land, causes the sun to rise and set each day, has prepared a place far greater still. Though there is heartache and hurt for those left behind, there is great hope for those who have gone on to their eternal home. May we hold fast to the hope we know in the One who is holding us in His hands, and extend help, hope and love to those left behind in their space of great loss.

 

When I see such loss, Filled Each Morning

I find myself torn;

Between hurting hearts,

And hope in much more.

For my eye has seen,

Such beauty indeed;

Incredible views,

And heaven, exceeds.

Imagine the sights,

The angelic sound;

In the Lord’s presence,

Where all hope is found.

Embraced by Jesus,

As He ushers in;

All who have sought Him,

True glory begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessed hope that we have in You. Thank You that You have prepared a place for us that far exceeds anything that we could ever hope or imagine. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as our eternal hope in You outweighs all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear our end on earth, but rather look forward with anticipation to our heavenly homecoming. Show us how to love those who are in hurting in the midst of great loss. Lead us to show Your heart in tangible ways, extending comfort and support. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the homecoming of those entering Your kingdom, and comfort all who are grieving loss. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. – 1 Peter 1:3-4

Proof Through Pursuit

Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, “We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.” – (Luke 3:8, NLT)

 

Though few would likely utilize the “descendants of Abraham” claim today, many believe that their salvation is secure because they either grew up going to church or have Christian parents. The point that Luke is making is that we must own our faith for ourselves. It is essential that we repent from our former ways and turn to God in trust, believing that He is who He says He is, as we trust Him to be Lord of our lives. There is no automatic “in” because of our bloodlines. It is only by the blood of Jesus that any of us are made clean and acceptable before God. We must believe and receive what He has done on our behalf, and then pursue the path of a life lived in faith following Him. May we each turn in trust to Christ to repent and receive all that He offers to those who earnestly seek Him. It is through our receiving, that we are adopted as sons and daughters of the living God, and granted an inheritance in Him that never ends.

 

Let our lives make clear,Generous Giving

The choice that we’ve made;

To turn from our sins,

And walk in His ways.

There’s no auto in,

For family and friends;

All must make the choice,

On whom they’ll depend.

The only true way,

To know hope’s assured;

Is to trust in Christ,

In Whom we’re secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You desire for us to be in relationship with You individually and personally. Thank You that You made the way for us to turn away from our sin and be forgiven, so that we could enter into a lasting relationship with You. Forgive us for our lack of repentance or for not actively pursuing the deepening of our relationship with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would keep short accounts with You, and seek You in all of our ways. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might come to know the goodness of Your love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we demonstrate our dedication to You by living lives in constant pursuit of You and Your ways. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Our Good, Good Father

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

 

Our inheritance from our Heavenly Father is the only inheritance that lasts. Though our earthly fathers may pass on good things – be it morals, life lessons, or monetary treasures – not one compares to that of the salvation and eternal hope that is held in the hands of our Heavenly Father. As so many rightly celebrate earthly fathers today, may we not forget our Heavenly Father, as it is through Him that we have light and life and hope forever. May we worship the Lord with all that we are, and give Him thanks for the men that He has placed on our path to father us well. May the fatherless know of His love, and men of faith rise up and fill in the gaps in tangible ways.

 

All thanks be to God,Compassion in Confrontations

Our Father indeed;

He sees where we are,

And meets all our need.

Hope for the hopeless,

And light for the lost;

Freedom from our sin,

For He paid the cost.

We give You thanks too,

For the men You’ve raised;

To father us well,

O Lord, we sing praise.

God, You are so good,

And I stand in awe;

Such a good father,

Perfect, without flaw.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our perfect Father, and You love us without limits. Thank You that no matter what sort of earthly father we have experienced – good, bad or anything in between – You are the only One who is perfect in all of Your ways and worthy of all of our praise. Forgive us for not seeing You as the ultimate Father, when earthly fathers fall short. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize that all are a work in progress, and You are the one whom we are to worship in all things and at all times. Help us to love and support well, the fathers that are around us. May they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You as our good, good Father. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

For a listen to a great song, Good Good Father, by Housefires, click the highlighted title. 🙂

A Pattern for Prayer

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. – (Colossians 1:9-12)

 

In this passage, Paul provides a marvelous model of how we can pray for leaders and missionaries. Even if we do not know the individuals for which we are praying, the basic needs to serve well are the same. Each of us needs to: understand God’s will, gain spiritual wisdom, please and honor God, bear good fruit, grow in the knowledge of God, be filled with His strength, have great endurance and patience, remain full of Christ’s joy, and give thanks always. (NIV footnotes) May our hearts be prompted to pray for those in positions of power and influence, both in the church and out on the mission field.

 

Help me remember,A Pattern for Prayer

to constantly pray;

for all those serving,

faithful in Your way.

May each know Your will,

gain wisdom in You;

to You, be pleasing,

as they bear good fruit.

Let their knowledge grow,

fill them with Your strength;

grant them endurance,

to go the whole length.

Fill them with Your joy,

and deep gratitude;

so many may see,

Your love they exude.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of godly leaders. Thank You for Your word and the wisdom You provide. Thank You that even when we do not know how we ought to pray, You provide parameters to guide us. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who will speak to our hearts, if we simply will be still and listen. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness in supporting those You have called to lead and to go out to the ends of the earth, both prayerfully and financially. Show us what we are meant to do, individually, and grant us the courage and the faithfulness to do as You ask. Lead us to love others as You so practically and readily love each of us. May many come into a saving knowledge of You this season. Be glorified Lord God, as we pray for those whom You have called to lead. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

Committed Care

As Paul was parting company with the Ephesian elders for what he knew would be the last time, he spoke words of warning, comfort, and exhortation. After all of the time and energy invested in Ephesus, Paul simply had to continue to where he was called, trusting that the Ephesians would be covered in Christ’s tender care. “Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” – (Acts 20:32, NIV) Another version states, “Now I am putting you in God’s care. I am depending on the message about His grace to make you strong. That message is able to give you the blessing that God gives to all His holy people.” – (Acts 20:32, ERV)

 

Just as Paul so diligently invested in those he was given charge over, so we ought to do likewise. Though we may not part company in such a dramatic fashion, it is essential for me to be certain that my charges are properly equipped in the ways in which they are meant to go, even in the short span of time that we part ways while they are at school, or are out with friends. As they go, I must commit them to God, and trust that they are in His care (using wisdom in what and where I allow them to go). His word is rooted and established within them, thus His grace will make them strong. May we each invest in God and His word of grace, so we may be built up and receive the inheritance that He gives to those He calls His own.

 

Invested in Christ,Committed Care

deep-rooted in grace;

immersed in His care,

by seeking His face.

He grants us the strength,

to do right by Him;

His blessings given,

His presence within.

As company parts,

let leaders not fear;

for those invested,

His Spirit, can hear.

Father, please protect,

both leader and charge;

in Your tender care,

wherever we are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and protect us, and grant us Your strength and grace when we choose invest in You. Thank You that we have an inheritance of eternal life in You, which is far more valuable than anything we could pursue on earth. Thank You that You value people, not possessions, and You want us to do likewise. Forgive us for not investing enough in those around us, or for not trusting You completely with those in whom we invest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may commit all into Your care, as Your hands are far stronger and more capable of holding those whom we love, than we are. Give us Your heart to love, as You so lavishly love each of us, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we invest in others and commit them to Your care. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Work With All Your Heart

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for man, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. – (Colossians 3:23-24)

 

Today marks the close of one season, and the beginning of another. This is the final day of the 2013-2014 school year. Though I have various trainings and responsibilities throughout the summer that tie to my position as an educator, my primary concern for the next two months will be to care for my growing boys, and attempt to organize and manage the household far better than I am able during the school year. The people-pleaser in me, finds this task to be a bit daunting. I want to have everything done well now, and begin the summer fun. However, I realize that everything that is worthwhile, takes work. If I press in, and remember that all I am doing is ultimately to honor the Lord, not man, then I will be far better off. He is well-pleased when we seek to serve Him, even in the mundane. He is glorified, as we love and care for our kids, and all those around us. As we commit to serve others, we are ultimately serving Him.  May we each choose to do all things unto Him, with our whole heart.

 

Whatever we do,Work With All Your Heart

let hearts seek to serve;

all unto Jesus,

our praise He deserves.

Each task we tackle,

and job we take on;

may Christ be our strength,

our hope and our song.

When our heart is right,

and we work for Him;

there’s joy in the task,

and peace from within.

Great is our reward,

when our days are done;

to forever dwell,

with the Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called to work as unto You, not man. Thank You that whether or not we receive earthly rewards, our ultimate reward is found in our eternal hope in You. Thank You that Your salvation is a gift that is given freely as we come and choose to receive it. Thank You that our choice to work as unto You, to serve and honor You, is an outpouring of our gratitude for all that You have given unto us. Forgive us for poor attitudes about work, or for hearts that seek to please people rather than You. Help us to find proper perspective as we recognize that the only reward that really matters is that which we find in You. Let us live, love, work and serve as unto You, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified as we go about our work, and lifted high as we live each day for You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

The Parable of the Lost Son

In The Parable of the Lost Son, found in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a tale of a selfish son who arrogantly asks for his share of his inheritance while his father is still living, and then goes off and squanders every last cent with wild living.  After his spending frenzy, the foolish son was in desperate need in the midst of a severe famine.  He finally found a job feeding pigs in the fields.  As a Jewish male, he had hit rock bottom.  Not only was he interacting – touching swine – which were considered completely unclean, but he was so hungry that he found himself envious of the food that he was feeding to those very pigs.  In a moment of clarity, the son came to his senses and realized that his father’s hired men had food to spare, and that perhaps if he went back to him with a repentant heart, his dad might be so kind as to hire him on as one of his laborers.  So, off he went to face his father.  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (vs20b)  After the son’s confession and plea for forgiveness, the father abundantly gave.  He restored the son to his position in the family, despite the contemptuous behavior he had previously displayed through his departure and wild living.  Not only did the father embrace the son, but he called for a feast to celebrate his son’s return.

Our God in heaven celebrates us in the same way.  No matter how horrible we have been, He waits.  When He sees our hearts turn toward Him, He runs to meet us while we are still far from Him.  As we repent, He restores us to right relationship with Him, and recognizes us as His heirs – His sons and daughters.  Though we too, have stooped so low as to be muddied and hungry and hurting, He has always been watching and waiting – and when we at last recognize our need for cleansing and His care, He is right there.  May we both embrace the grace that we have been given and extend the same to those who are still stuck in a muddy space.

Stuck in the mud,The Parable of the Lost Son

our own sinful mess;

seems no escape,

until we confess.

Our God forgives,

fresh start He shall bring;

draws hearts to Him,

our Savior and King.

He wipes away,

our mud and our mess;

grants us His grace,

His great faithfulness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Father, and we are Your lost sons and daughters, whom You are ready and able to save.  Thank You that You waited and watched for us, even when we were still far off.  Thank You that You are willing to woo us unto You, and show us how great Your love truly is.  Forgive us for wallowing in our own filth, or for somehow thinking that You would not receive us in our wretched condition.  Thank You that You accept us and love us far beyond what we can even begin to understand.  Teach us to receive all that You offer, and in turn, to extend the same love and grace to all whom we encounter.  May Your love in us, draw others unto You as well.  Let the lost be found, and those who are searching, find the security that is held in the safety of Your loving embrace.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Beheld as His Beloved

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord.  I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  I will be their God, and they will be my people.” – Hebrews 8:10

image by Esoteric Quotes

image by Esoteric Quotes

“This new plan I’m making with Israel (all who choose to believe) isn’t going to be written on paper, it isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; this time I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.  I’ll be their God, they’ll be My people.” – (The Message)

The new covenant is ours to behold, because of the blessed birth of Jesus.  His entry into earthly existence, provided a permanent path for us to seek and find our Savior.  Jesus’ arrival made way for the impossible to fulfill old covenant, to be replaced with one that is attainable and accessible, as we are instructed and empowered by His Holy Spirit.  As Jesus hung on the cross, carrying all of our sin and shame, He broke down the barrier and tore the temple veil in two, making way for each of us to enter the inner courts and soak in the sweet and permanent presence of our Savior.

His death, resurrection and ascension to the Almighty’s right hand, made possible the sending of His Spirit to not only lead and guide us as He dwells in us, but to write the promises of our Provider on our hearts and in our minds.  In doing so, He has provided the new covenant, the new agreement between we and He, that He is our God, and we are His people.  This covenant is not earned, but instead is a gift that has been freely given, and is ready for each of us to access and accept.  The most important take away that we are meant to lay hold of, is that we are His!  He not only calls us friends, but He, the God of the whole universe, who is and was and will always be, calls us His kids.  He claims each of us as His beloved sons and daughters.  What a remarkable inheritance we have in Him!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son and made the way for the new covenant that calls us Your kids – not because it is our birthright or because we have somehow earned it, but because You have chosen and created each one of us as Your dearly beloved children.  Forgive us for trying to revert to the old covenant by which we might try to earn our inheritance through doing or being enough, and instead, please lead us and guide us to receive what You have given by Your Spirit, so that we might be confident in the new covenant that You have granted every heart that believes.  As we cherish the new covenant this Christmas season, please teach us to lay hold of our inheritance so that we might clearly hear what You are writing in the hollows of our hearts.  Help us to act according to that which You ask, and may we represent You, our loving Father, well.  May our words and deeds clearly reflect Your redeeming love and lead the lost into Your eternal embrace.  Amen.

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

Lose the Law, Grab the Grace

photo by Cian Rhys

“For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.” – Galatians 3:18

If our salvation depends on our following of religious laws, rituals and customs, then it does not come from Jesus, who is our promised path to perfection in Him.  Because God, in His great grace, gave His Son to die in our place, we may receive the promise of our permanent inheritance to enter into eternity with Him, if we are willing to walk by faith.

Living by the law, under the notion that we need to do and be “enough” to inherit that which has been promised, would be missing the point.  When we turn to trust and receive His grace, He delivers deep within us, our heavenly hope in Him.  As we live and love in that place of His goodness and grace, we are compelled to consider one another, and become eager to bless and share of our inheritance with those around us.

It is by faith and not by living under religious law that we are redeemed and rendered worthy to receive our redemption in Christ.  His covering, our cloak that came by the cross, creates the way to bridge the chasm between us and our Beloved.  In Him, we are called clean.  In Him, we are deemed deserving of our destiny, designed to be delivered in fullness upon our earthly end.  It is promised, that even now, He is preparing that place for us to enter His eternal presence.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that it is only by faith, not works, that we are saved.  Thank You that You sent Your Son to take our place so that we are no longer subject to religious laws, but rather are released in redemption to run the race that You have placed before us.  Forgive us for falling for the farce that we somehow must earn that which You freely give.  May we learn to live in Your loving place of grace, and be compelled to live and love like You so that all may come to know of Your precious promise, presented to all who believe.  Amen.

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