Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

Jesus has taught us, img_2019-10-18_04-57-472496001443635161835.jpg

The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Selected to Serve

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. – (Philippians 2:5-7, NIV)

In your life together, think the way Christ Jesus thought. He was like God in every way, but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He accepted the role of a servant, appearing in human form. – (Philippians 2:5-7, ERV)

And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let His mindset become your motivation. He existed in the form of God, yet He gave no thought to seizing equality with God as His supreme prize. Instead He emptied Himself of His outward glory by reducing Himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! – (Philippians 2:5-7, TPT)

 

Jesus was the ultimate example of how we ought to relate to one another. He let go of who He was so that He could love all in a way that was tangible and approachable. Heaven came to earth and walked among us. The Creator of all that is and was and ever will be, set down His deity to become like us, so that we might understand what love means. Jesus did not come as a king demanding to rule, but rather as one who served and loved, helped and healed, touched and taught. By serving in love, Jesus influenced the hearts of humans for all of eternity. We are called to do the same. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may love and serve with the same mindset that Christ has for us.

 

How vast is the love, Healed Hands Reach Out

That set throne aside;

To be made like man,

Deity denied?

And O so much more,

Jesus came and gave;

He taught, lived and loved

Healed, sacrificed, saved.

O how the Lord loves,

Still unto this day;

Contending for us,

To walk in His way.

We are also called,

To choose do the same;

To love and to serve,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Jesus. Thank You Jesus for the example You lived, and for Your ongoing help through Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that You showed us what it looks like to serve and love. Forgive us for not following the example that You are calling us to walk out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose loving kindness, regardless of what we receive. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to walk in Your ways and do Your will, all of the days of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. – Ephesians 6:7

The Good in Good Friday

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us! – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TLB)

For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, TPT)

 

This. This is the good that we celebrate on Good Friday. Jesus Christ, who had lived and served and loved without sin, willingly took all sin upon Himself and bore it on the cross, so that we would have a way to be right with God. Our sinfulness was exchanged for Christ’s righteousness. His sacrifice made the way for all who seek Him to become righteous before God. This holy exchange is the very thing that empowers God’s goodness to be evident in us. Christ’s love that made the way for us all to be restored unto God, is the good in Good Friday. May we each recognize with reverent awe, the enormity of the exchange that took place on our behalf.

 

One horrific day, The Good in Good Friday

A long time ago;

Christ went to the cross,

To make goodness known.

Upon that old cross,

Jesus bore all sin;

The wrongs of the world,

Were nailed upon Him.

The weight that He bore,

Was for you and I;

Though we were sinners,

He still chose to die.

Such a painful death,

So we could be free;

Covered with goodness,

Righteousness to see.

This is what is good,

On this dreadful day;

Death of our Savior,

Cause for Good Friday.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to take our place upon the cross. Thank You that His goodness covers all of our ugliness in Your eyes. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of the burden You bore on our behalf. Help us to see just how good, Good Friday is because of Your incredible love. Show us how to embrace the goodness You have given to us and empower us to love well, all those whom with we cross paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become aware of the incredible exchange of our sinfulness for Your righteousness, that make Good Friday so good. Amen.

 

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

 

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8

Provision of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way that the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

 

Jesus came to us, lived, loved, taught, modeled and performed miracles to show us His love and peace that last forever. When He returned to the Father, He sent His Spirit to be our peace, present in all things and at all times. God’s peace conquers fear and concern, and grants courage and strength where there seemingly should be none. The peace He left is present always, we need only seek Him to be made aware of what is already there. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what stands before us, for He is greater than all. 

 

Provision of peace, Provision of Peace

The Lord God, He gives; 

To all who choose seek, 

Among us, He lives. 

Peace comes in knowing, 

The strength of our Source; 

The power of love, 

Infallible force. 

All trust we can give, 

To our God, Most High; 

He answers in love, 

Every heart cry. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make peace possible, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You for Your presence that provides perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances or surroundings to steal our peace, when You are ever-present to provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You when chaos seems to surround us, and praise You when we are aware of Your nearness that is providing our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to places of unrest, as You alone help us to love best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times to be our Provider of Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Remember With Wonder

But then I recall all You have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. – (Psalm 77:11, NLT)

Lord, I remember what You have done. I remember the amazing things you did long ago. – (Psalm 77:11, ERV)

Yet I could never forget all Your miracles, my God, as I remember all Your wonders of old. – (Psalm 77:11, TPT)

 

This weekend my husband and I are attending several events to celebrate his 30th high school reunion. It is amusing to watch he and his buddies from so long ago, catch up and reminisce. As I observe and take in their stories and various accounts, I am in awe of the protection that was provided to keep them alive, the grace to carry them from adolescence to adulthood unscathed, and the goodness that has grown them into wonderful parents, spouses, community members and human beings. Looking back is a fantastic way to remember all of the amazing things that God has done – the obstacles that He has helped us traverse, the challenges we have overcome, and the wonders His hands have provided throughout the years. As we take the time to recall and recognize the Lord’s faithfulness before, our capacity to forge forward in faith grows stronger. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and recounting personally, our experiences of His faithfulness, renews our fortitude to trust more deeply. May we never forget all that God has done to bring us from where we were to today.

 

May we not forget, Remember With Wonder

The wonders and grace;

That God’s given us,

As we’ve sought His face.

For throughout our lives,

His love has been shown;

As He’s carried us,

From hardships to home.

The more we recall,

The more that trust grows;

Just as He has done,

He’ll continue show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that has protected, carried and provided for us throughout our lives thus far. Thank You that as we remember Your hand and how You provided, it grows easier to trust that You will continue. Forgive us for our lack of trust and for neglecting to recall Your incredible faithfulness. Teach us to stop and remember all that You have done, giving You glory as Your grace grows our faith all the more. Show us how to love those around us as we remain consistent and constant in the lives of those whom You have called us to touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember Your faithfulness forever and forge forward with hearts full of faith. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

The Season Between

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. – (Hebrews 10:36, NIV)

You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:36, ERV)

You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full. – (Hebrews 10:36, TPT)

 

God is faithful forever and His promises are true. The challenge for humanity is that our sense of timing is not the same as He who is the very Creator of time. When we are called to begin to move in a certain direction, as an act of faith, most of us anticipate that after we take the first step, things will suddenly fall into place and become easy. Clearly this is not the case, for the terms persevere, patience, strength and endurance would not be used to describe what it takes to complete the very thing to which we have been called if it was a simple “one-and-done” sort of journey from the promise to its fulfillment. God is faithful to provide the strength that we need to persevere, yet we are the ones who have to make the choice to keep moving in patient persistence in the direction to which we are called. May we choose to persevere in His patient power provided, as the Lord leads us the way that He intends for us to go. For in His time, the fulfillment is well worth the struggle along the way.

 

We must be patient, Present With Me

Choose follow the Lord;

Rise up and do right,

Move in one accord.

For in His good time,

The Lord shall fulfill;

His promises made,

As we do His will.

In patient pursuit,

Let us choose endure;

The trials life brings,

For our hope’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to fulfill Your promises in Your perfect timing. Thank You that You are patient with us, even though we desire instant gratification as we step out in the direction to which we are called. Forgive us for our lack of faith and trust in spaces that You have spoken promises. Teach us to trust You more, even when we cannot yet see the evidence of Your hand. Show us how to love those around us with faithful endurance, so that they may recognize Your consistent love in and through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to provide the patience, endurance and strength that we need to persevere in the season between a promise and its fulfillment. Amen.

 

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

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Humility and Wisdom Go Hand in Hand

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

If you consider yourself to be wise and one who understands the ways of God, advertise it with a beautiful, fruitful life guided by wisdom’s gentleness. Never brag or boast about what you’ve done and you’ll prove that you’re truly wise. – (James 3:13, TPT)

 

Humility and wisdom go hand in hand. Jesus is our ultimate example as to how to walk out a life that is lived accordingly. He loved people as a priority, and was passionate about being in His Father’s presence. As we prioritize time with God, we gain wisdom that comes from Him alone. It is through Him that we are equipped to live and love well, in humility and gentleness, according to His good and perfect will. Talking about living such a life and actually walking it out, are two entirely different things. Wisdom is witnessed in those whose lives model God’s loving kindness and gentleness. Actions always speak louder than words alone. May we ever seek solitude with our Savior, so that we may gain a deeper understanding of who He is and how we are called to love. As we do, we are better equipped to live well, live wisely and live humbly.

 

We’re called to wisdom, Hope in Discouragement

And humility;

To live our lives well,

Compassionately.

A life of this sort,

Is grounded in grace;

Given by Jesus,

As we seek His face.

A life that’s lived well,

In humility;

Occur when we make,

Love priority.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live well, live wisely and live humbly. Thank You that this is not something that You simply expect us to know how to carry out on our own, but rather You give us wisdom and strength to follow that which You call us to do as we seek You and invest in knowing You more. Forgive us for not seeking You for wisdom when we need it most, or for not walking in humility and taking credit where the credit due is Yours. Teach us to lead lives that demonstrate Your wisdom through our every action, as we seek to humbly do Your will in love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants them eyes to see You through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You for wisdom, love and direction, so that we may live wisely and humbly, walking out Your will. Amen.

 

 

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

 

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

To Honor the Dream

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV)

Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV)

You shall not take revenge nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor (acquaintance, associate, companion) as yourself… – (Leviticus 19:18, AMP)

 

Historically, there have been many groups of people that have had reason to hold a grudge for the wrongs done against them, yet for change to occur, the right to revenge had to be released, and love had to prevail. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a phenomenal example of choosing love, despite his circumstances. Dr. King found ways to bring truth in love, and fight for change through peace. Hate was not his motivation, but rather a heart of love. As a husband, father, minister, leader and spokesperson for civil rights, he let his faith shape the way in which he lived and loved. His words, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”, still remind us of the way in which we ought to choose to live. Be it an acquaintance, an associate, or a companion, may we choose to stick with love; for it is the very way in which we are called to live.

 

The only true way, mlk

To find peace at last;

Is to stick with love,

Let go of the past.

When we choose forgive,

Our hearts are set free;

The burden of hate,

Is far too heavy.

May we stick with love,

And choose to redeem;

Value all people,

And honor the dream.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to rise up and stick with love, despite the barriers and difficulties that have stood before them. Thank You that when we choose love, You move mightily among us. Forgive us for the times that we have held grudges rather than chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stick with love, and not allow the weight of hate to destroy that which You intend for good. Show us how to love every acquaintance, associate and companion as You would have us love ourselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. May your peace prevail, and love win where hate has tried to reign. Be glorified O God, as we choose love again and again, knowing that You will use every decision of love to bring the dream to further fulfillment. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

An Act of Praise

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His Holy Name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NLT)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

 

After digging deeper into the Christmas story, and the stories of those involved, my heart is flooded with gratitude – both for all that God has done for us to make Himself accessible to us, and also the numerous ways in which I see and know His tangible blessings in my life. God is good, no matter what goes on around us, and when we seek Him, we become acutely aware of His hand in the help and blessings that He bestows upon us every day. May our lives be lived as an act of praise to He who gives us life and breath and our very being.

 

With all that I am, Be Full of Joy

My heart gives God praise;

For love, life and health,

Provision each day.

So many blessings,

Fill my heart and soul;

His goodness and grace,

End each day so full.

Let me not forget,

The good that You bring;

All praise unto You,

Each song that I sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You have given me to give You praise. Thank You for the help and hope and blessings that You have bestowed upon me. Forgive me for not giving enough gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Teach me to praise You throughout all of my days. Show me how to love others with my life, just as You have done for all of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with our whole heart with thanks for all that You are and all that You have done. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16