A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

Who Do You See?

“But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” – (Matthew 16:15)

 

Though this was a question presented to the disciples by Jesus, it aligns with where my mind still lingers after Sunday’s message. During the sermon, Surprised by Hope – The Ascension, my pastor posed a very poignant question, as he had us participate in the following exercise. Close your eyes. Picture Jesus. What do you see? Do you see a baby lying in a manger? A boy, learning and growing in the temple? Perhaps a teen, learning carpentry? Or do you see Jesus as He began His ministry, touching the untouchables, healing the hurting, and teaching all who would hear? Perhaps an image of Christ on the cross comes to mind? An empty tomb? Maybe you imagine Jesus appearing to the disciples in the upper room after He had risen. Though all of the aforementioned images are part of who Jesus is, none portray Jesus now. For after He had commissioned the disciples to go out into all the earth, He ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of God. Jesus is on His throne, and is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, where He is worshipped continually, and has reclaimed all power and authority that belong to Him. He holds all in His hands, and there is NOTHING that He cannot overcome. How we picture Jesus, impacts how we think He can move.

 

Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter six, verses one through nine, was given a glimpse of God seated on the throne. He became very aware of his own sinfulness, and as a result, asked for forgiveness. As he was forgiven, he was then commissioned to be the mouthpiece to a sinful people that surrounded him.

 

Today, we have access to both the Bible and the Holy Spirit. Our hearts are continually being drawn unto Him. It is up to us to accept all that He has done with a repentant heart, and then go forth as He calls. May we hold fast to the truth of who He is, and allow Him to update the image we hold in our heart.

 

When I close my eyes,Who Do You See

whom does my heart see?

An infant in hay,

looking up at me?

Or perhaps a boy,

seeking all that’s true;

a young man growing,

preparing for new?

Could it be the man,

who went out to touch;

He healed hurting hearts,

as He loved so much?

Is it the Savior,

hanging on the cross;

or the empty grave,

that dealt death its loss?

Do I see the One,

who walked through the wall;

showed His nail-scarred hands,

to answer a call?

What I ought to see,

is Christ on His throne;

all power is His,

and I’m called His own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to come to know You, personally. Thank You Jesus, for dying, rising, and ascending to take Your rightful place. Thank You that as You are seated on Your throne, You intercede on our behalf. Thank You that Your ascension affirms all blessings and promises that were previously made, for You are good and faithful. Thank You that You sent Your Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and that You are preparing a place for us. Forgive us for our warped view of You, and help us to begin to picture You properly. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You have given, and help us to go forth in love, just as You have loved us. May many come to know You as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as they allow You to come rule and reign in their lives too. Be magnified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

 

 

 

Hope in an Empty Tomb

On a morning much like this, as darkness gave way to the promised light of the dawn of a new day, the mourning Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, made their way toward the tomb. Imagine their initial thoughts as they found the colossal stone rolled away. Who had disturbed their Savior’s final resting space? Why would someone do such a thing? Then, to be greeted by an angel that looked like lightning, with clothes shining as white as snow… First, fear, followed by pure elation at the joy in knowing that Jesus had risen from the grave. Not even death could hold Him!

 

Today, we remember our Savior’s sacrifice and His mighty power that could not be defeated, even by death on a cross. That very same power that raised Jesus from the dead, is alive and available for all who believe. If we come to HIm and place our trust in the King of Kings, we too, can overcome eternal death, and will have hope for today and life everlasting.

 

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” – (Psalm 31:24)

 

When all was still,Hope in an Empty Tomb

light began to dawn;

the earth did shake,

at the morning’s song.

The stone was rolled,

the guards froze in fear;

angels appeared,

and faithful drew near.

Though He foretold,

that He’d third day rise;

they were amazed,

at this Hope alive.

Not even death,

could defeat the Lord;

He’d overcome,

showed how true His word.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son into the world to offer the way for us to be saved. Jesus, thank You for suffering for our sake, and conquering what we never could, so that we can have life in You. Forgive us for taking lightly the magnitude of Your sacrifice, and help us to reflect and recognize just how great Your love is for each of us, individually. May we receive what You are offering, and extend Your love and grace to all those around us. Let our words and deeds speak volumes of Who You are, and show many the way to a relationship with You. May those who are looking come to find You today. Be exalted in everything, Lord Jesus! He is risen, indeed. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

 

 

 

This is Amazing Grace

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,This is Amazing Grace

the world, and all who live in it;

for He founded it upon the seas

and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?

Who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not lift up his soul to an idol

or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the Lord

and vindication from God his Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek Him,

who seek Your face, O God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;

be lifted up, you ancient doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?

The Lord is strong and mighty,

the Lord mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;

lift them up, you ancient doors,

that the King of glory may come in.

Who is He, this King of glory?

The Lord Almighty –

He is the King of glory.”

– (Psalm 24)

Some days, the process of selecting just one verse or a small passage of scripture, seems to come easily.  However, today, my heart seemed to hold onto the entire Psalm.  As I read and reread this passage, wondering what I was meant to take away for today, a song that we sing in church, kept going through my mind.  After a few minutes of a rather frustrating search on Youtube, I remembered enough of the lyrics to come up with the actual title and a link.  (This is Amazing Grace, by Phil Wickham)  The following are the lyrics to This Is Amazing Grace:

Who breaks the power of sin and darknessThis is Amazing Grace 2

Whose love is mighty and so much stronger

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who shakes the whole earth with holy thunder

Who leaves us breathless in awe and wonder

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

This is amazing grace

This is unfailing love

That You would take my place

That You would bear my cross

You would lay down Your life

That I would be set free

Jesus, I sing for

All that You’ve done for me

Who brings our chaos back into order

Who makes the orphan a son and daughter

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Who rules the nations with truth and justice

Shines like the sun in all of its brilliance

The King of Glory, the King above all kings

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Worthy is the King who conquered the grave

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Worthy is the King who conquered the grave

Amazing grace,This is Amazing Grace 3

unfailing love;

He took our place,

the Lord above.

No greater gift,

we’ll ever know;

our praise to lift,

each heart aglow.

Let on this day,

declared for love;

our life point way,

to God above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is unfailing, and Your grace – amazing.  Thank You that You created such beauty in the world around us, and provided the way for all who come to You, to dwell with You forever.  Forgive us for not giving proper praise where all praise unto You, is due.  Help us to recognize the magnitude of Your glory, so that we might live accordingly.  Teach us to trust You completely, and to love as we are loved by You.  May we reach out and care for the lost and the lonely, as You so tenderly care for us.  May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we walk in obedience unto You.  Let all that we say and do, bring glory and honor 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

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