Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2

Promises Seen

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV) 

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. “Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE) 

 

When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to dedicate Him to God, they met a man named Simeon, who had been waiting for a promise to come to pass. God had spoken to Simeon that he would see with his own eyes, the promised salvation for all people. For Simeon, this was the fulfillment of a promise long awaited; for Mary and Joseph, it was more to ponder in awe and wonder as they sought the Lord to raise this precious gift properly. This passage is a powerful reminder that what God promises, He will do. Simeon had been waiting and trusting that what God had said, He would do. His faith was met by him holding the Son of God in his own arms, as He dedicated Jesus to the Father. Not only did Simeon see the Savior, but he held Him and faithfully fulfilled his role in the temple as he dedicated Jesus to the Lord. God followed through on His promise to Simeon in an extraordinary way. Not only did Simeon see Him with his own eyes, but he held the Son of God, and proclaimed truth about Jesus and what was yet to come. A long-awaited promise was answered faithfully, and in a way that went beyond simply seeing. May we ever trust the Lord that His promises are true, and wait patiently for the fulfillment, as it is always worth the wait.  

 

When the time had come, Simeons Story

His parents, they knew; 

Go to the temple, 

To give God what’s due. 

Dedicate this child, 

To the Lord on High; 

And trust in His grace, 

For all of their lives. 

When the three arrived, 

They set to the task; 

Of honoring God, 

Just as He had asked. 

Simeon met them, 

And burst into praise; 

For soon in his arms, 

The Savior was laid. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise fulfiller and faithful Father to all who seek You. Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask of us, and that Your promises are true. Forgive us for our impatience in the wait between a promise and its fulfillment. Teach us to trust that what You say, You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort in chaos and peace in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our faithful Father forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

Trust to be Led

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

God is and was and will always be the One who is ready to teach us and lead us the direction that we are meant to go. At times, we cannot see how the direction we are being led could possibly lead to good, and then, at just the right time, we begin to discover the purpose. Often the journey leads to discoveries about who God is and how He loves, that we would not have otherwise known. There are times that we do not understand the good until we reach the other side of the mountain that He led us to climb. Despite the struggle on the way up, the view when we reach the other side is even more glorious than we could have dreamed or imagined. He is good, and He will lead us the way we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him for direction. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading, for He is good and takes us to places we would never attempt to traverse on our own.

 

The Lord, He is good,

dsc085178740783907006225248.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He’ll show us the way;

The paths we’re to take,

And when we’re to stay.

He grants us the strength,

To go where He leads;

And shows us the way,

In Him, to succeed.

So, seek to live right,

Follow the Lord’s will;

He’ll take us places,

Where hopes are fulfilled.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a good and loving God. Thank You that You lead us and teach us the ways in which we are meant to go. Thank You that You have good in store for us, no matter how things appear along the way. Forgive us for our doubts when the road becomes rough. Teach us to trust You more, no matter the condition of the path we are called to travel, as You are faithful to go before us, beside us, and behind us, and equip us to get where we’re meant to go. Show us how to love, encourage and strengthen those around us, so that they would stay the course to which they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead and teach us the ways we are meant to go forth. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Home Among Us

I will make My home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. -(Ezekiel 37:27, NLT)


Though this promise was given to Ezekiel for the people of Israel, it remains true and valid for those who follow Him today. When we invite Christ to be The Lord of our lives, He comes and dwells among us. We are His, bought at a price that not one of us could afford. May we embrace this amazing grace and go forth in love, as we have been loved.

 

Where dry bones once lay, 

New life has been breathed;

There’s purpose and hope, 

For all who believe. 

When we make the choice,

To serve God alone;

The Lord comes and dwells,

Makes our heart His home. 

He is our great God,

And we are called His;

No more a dry land,

We’ve a call to live. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You make Your home among us.  Thank You that You are our God and we are Your people. Thank You that You breathe life where none could be found, and You call us each to more. Forgive us for getting comfortable in places that are dark and lacking life. Teach us to trust and rely on You to know how to be light and life, and to know when to walk away. Show us how to love as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace Your presence among us. Amen.
May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14


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

What He Requires

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases Him, and love Him and serve Him with all your heart and soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, NLT)

Now, Israelites, listen! What does the Lord your God really want from you? The Lord your God wants you to respect Him and do what He says. He wants you to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, ERV)

And now, Israel, what is the Eternal your God asking of you? Only that you fear Him, live as He wants you to, and love Him; serve Him with every part of you, heart and soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, VOICE)

 

What God asked of Israel, is still what He asks of us today. He desires our hearts and souls to be committed to Him in all of our ways. When we come to know God, and who He is, we cannot help but stand in awe of His power and majesty – for He is God and we are not. If we live in a way that places the Lord on His rightful throne in our lives, then we will be living in a way that is pleasing to Him. God gives us a free will. We must choose to either follow Him, or walk away. Unless we are purposefully pursuing the Lord, we are moving further away from Him and His will in our lives. May we seek the Lord in awe and reverence, giving Him all of our heart and all of our soul as we love and serve Him for all of our days.

 

More than anything,What is in a Name

God longs for our hearts;

to seek and to trust,

in ALL, not just part.

For the Lord is good,

in all of His ways;

worthy of our awe,

throughout all our days.

May we live our lives,

pleasing to the Lord;

loving and serving,

through grace He affords.

With all of our heart,

and all of our soul;

may we stand in awe,

and yield our control.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is a remarkable exchange when we choose to follow You. Thank You that when we choose to submit to Your will and way, we gain Your presence and promises forever. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to empower us to do. Thank You that You give us Your Spirit to love and serve as You ask of us. Forgive us for not having a healthy fear and reverence of You, as You are God and we are not. Teach us to have a proper perspective, so that we will seek to love and honor You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live, love and serve in a way that is pleasing unto You. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Displaying His Splendor

He has sent me to comfort those who are sad, those in Zion who mourn. I will take away the ashes on their head, and I will give them a crown. I will take away their sadness, and I will give them the oil of happiness. I will take away their sorrow, and I will give them celebration clothes. He sent me to name them ‘Good Trees’ and ‘The Lord’s Wonderful Plant.’ – (Isaiah 61:3, ERV)

 

To provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. – (Isaiah 61:3, NIV)

 

Though these were the words of Isaiah to the people of Israel, Jesus quoted these words in Luke as He read to the people in the synagogue. When we receive Jesus personally, His Spirit in us fulfills these promises for us. Only Christ can turn our ashes into something beautiful, and replace our mourning and despair with songs of praise. Despite what we go through, when we have Christ in us, we can be seen as righteous and pillars of strength in Him. His splendor is displayed through His Spirit in us. May we allow the Lord to be our comfort, our crown and our reason to celebrate as we go forth on this new day that He has made. Let His Spirit within us, display His splendor, as we operate in His righteousness in all that we say and do.

 

Our comfort in sorrow,The Reason for Reverence

our glory in grief;

the Lord’s our provision,

and place of relief.

He takes all our ashes,

and gives us a crown;

pours the oil of gladness,

when our hearts are down.

As despair overwhelms,

He comes alongside;

gives us garments of praise,

hope from the inside.

His Spirit within us,

will rise and stand tall;

righteous in His splendor,

a witness to all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You comfort those who mourn. Thank You that You bestow beauty for ashes and give hope in place of despair. Thank You that You give gladness and reason to praise. Thank You that Your Spirit within us rises up, and You call us righteous; allowing Your splendor to be seen through us. Forgive us for forgetting how very near You are in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look to You in our sorrow and grief, and will celebrate You in our seasons of joy. Lead us to love others in such a way, that Your righteousness and splendor may be seen through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer, and go forth in all that we have been given. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Revere, Return and Remember

In Samuel’s farewell speech to Israel, his words were ones of wise instruction as to how to follow after the Lord so that they would remain in the space of His favor.

 

“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.” – (1 Samuel 12:24)

 

After reading several translations of the same verse, the charge to be sure to fear the Lord was translated a few different ways. To fear the Lord in this sense, is to revere, trust and honor Him. We are able to do that if we serve Him faithfully with all of our heart. Additionally, that reverence, trust, honor and holy fear comes naturally, as we consider and meditate on all of the great things that He has done for us throughout our lives. The Lord is faithful and true, and He has great plans for each of us. Despite what we see in the here and now, as we trust His faithfulness and continue to forge forward, we discover all that He has for us, both now and into eternity. May we rise up in reverence and trust in Him, as we serve Him faithfully with our whole heart. Let us continue to consider all of the great things that He has done.

 

The fear of the Lord,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

is a space of trust;

standing in reverence,

to serve Him, we must.

Let us consider,

all of the great things;

our faithful Father,

through His love, He brings.

With all that we are,

let us trust and serve;

for a life of praise,

is what God deserves.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all of our reverence, trust and honor. Thank You that we can trust You completely, and serve You faithfully with our whole heart. Thank You that we have much to consider, when we think of all of the great things that You have done for us. Thank You that we need only recognize our next heartbeat, next breath, next sight or next sound, to understand how much You love us and bless us through life and light and all that is around us. Forgive us for not giving You proper praise or reverence, or for not giving You our whole heart. Teach us to trust You more, as we recognize who You are and all that You have done for each of us. Lead us to love others with the very same love that You have poured out upon us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, serve You faithfully with our whole heart, and consider all that You have done for us. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

To Stay the Course

As Joshua’s life was drawing to a close, he gathered together the leaders of Israel and admonished them with words of warning and wisdom. He reminded them of God’s faithfulness to them, and of the promises that were present if they would continue to walk in all of the Lord’s ways. “Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.” – (Joshua 23:6)

 

For us, Jesus fulfilled the Law, yet we are still charged with much of the same. We are called to be strong in the Lord, and to not turn away from His will for our lives. Our strength to stay the course is not innately ours, but rather comes from Christ when we seek Him as our help and our hope. May we go forth this day encouraged in the Lord’s strength, to stay the course to which we are called.

 

Be strong in the Lord,To Stay the Course

and choose to obey;

no turning aside,

from His path, don’t stray.

For we have been called,

equipped and made strong;

to do all He asks,

for our whole life long.

May we ever seek,

the God of all grace;

and serve the Lord well,

’til we see His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our strength comes from You alone. Thank You that our ability to stay the course to which we are called is not our own, but rather a gift that is given by You when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through things on our own, and help us to completely depend on You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Source that is safe and secure. Lead us to love well, so that many may be encouraged to follow after You. Be exalted O God, as we stay the course to which we are called in the strength that You provide. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19