Immersed in Grace

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. – (Philippians 2:14-15, NIV) 

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG) 

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. For then you will be seen as innocent, faultless, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture. For you will appear among them as shining lights in the universe. – (Philippians 2:14-15, TPT) 

It seems that this is particularly timely, as there is much grumbling and arguing going on everywhere. With the limitations set in place as we crawl forward in stages of reopening, there is complaining and arguing on both sides. The crazy thing is that everyone is ultimately desiring the same thing; as life in a lockdown of sorts, has grown exhausting. We cannot please all people, all of the time. However, we can live cheerfully, without complaining, to keep division at bay. I don’t know about you, but I would certainly prefer to be thought of as a light or a breath of fresh air, rather than one who bickers and causes division. Yes, there is a time and a place to take a stand, yet there are small, simple things that we can all do to be without blame and bring light and life to those around us. Wear the mask, give people grace, check in on loved ones and the lonely, and be kind and generous in all things. Each of us has the power within us to live as light, as we intentionally seek and follow what God asks of us. In all things, if we are prioritizing loving God and loving people, we cannot help but be cheerful and kind, shining His light before all those around us. No, none of us will get it right all the time, but we can choose to not complain or argue over things that eternally, will not matter. May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, so that we can live as light and grace before all, without grumbling or arguing. 

Choose not to grumble, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Argue or complain; 

Instead, love purely, 

Lift high, Jesus’ Name. 

Let words and actions, 

Be immersed in grace; 

Choose love like Jesus, 

Throughout all our days. 

For as we choose love, 

Give grace and refrain; 

We reflect God’s light, 

And honor His Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us what it is to love like You. Forgive us for our complaining or arguing over things that have no eternal value. Show us how to be light and a breath of fresh air to all, despite the turmoil and ugliness that transpires all around us. Show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to walk blamelessly and lovingly. Amen. 

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

And this brings praise to God because of His wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely. He gave us that grace in Christ, the One He loves. – Ephesians 1:6

Born As Blessed News

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” – (Luke 2:11-12, NIV)

“Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. This is how you will know Him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” – (Luke 2:11-12, ERV)

“Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.” – (Luke 2:11-12, VOICE)

 

The good news announced more than two-thousand years ago, is still the good news that we celebrate today. That baby, announced the Messiah and Lord at birth, grew and made His power known. He did this not be demanding reverence and obedience, but rather through living and loving in a way that made His peace, power and provision visible and tangible, so that we might understand His heart for us. Being a visual learner, I try to imagine what it might have been like to take in such an incredible announcement from an enormous angel, hear praise from the angelic hosts, and then attempt to find a swaddled baby, lying in a manger. Were there many families with farm animals and feed boxes in Nazareth? How did the shepherds know where to go? I know there was a star, but I imagine that is what made the way to Nazareth clear for the wise men, not so much the final details once in town. Maybe it was small enough that the shepherds (and later the wise men) could simply ask where the couple was that were staying out with the animals and just birthed a baby. No matter how the minute details of history unfolded, I am forever grateful that they did. May we all look at the truth told so many centuries ago, that transformed hearts and lives in such a way, that we may all access the holy, living God, personally.

 

The Light of the world, And the Word Became Flesh

Entered our darkness;

Humbly He was born,

To make right our mess.

His love restores hope,

Grants strength to the weak;

Brings peace where it’s not,

As we choose to seek.

Holy announcement,

By grace, entered in;

Born Lord and Savior,

To take away sin.

Willingly He died,

So we’d come to know;

Salvation, free life,

Love that nurtures growth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that sent Your one and only Son to earth as an infant, so that we would see what it is to live and love and grow in You without sin. Thank You that Jesus modeled the sort of life that we are called to lead, as He loved people without limits. Forgive us for the times that we do not live or love like You. Teach us to trust You more, as we recall the sacrifices made on our behalf to bring us life everlasting. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the gift of Your presence this most holy season. Amen.

 

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

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Called to Communicate

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. – (Colossians 4:2, NLT)

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. – (Colossians 4:2, CEB)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

 

Prayer is our petition and praise presented to our Provider. We are called to be in constant communication with our Creator. God designed us with relationship in mind. Like any relationship, if there is not ongoing communication of some sort, a divide of distance, time and disconnect begins to grow. Being devoted to prayer is an ongoing commitment to communicate with Christ. As we choose to be intentional to pray, we become more aware of reasons to give thanks and come to value our ability to speak to the living God whenever and however we wish. He is good and He hears our every prayer. Each word whispered in the hollows of our heart to those which we cry out aloud. May we keep on praying, ever aware of the One to whom we pray, with our hearts overflowing with praise.

 

Help us keep praying,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Guard our heart and mind;

May we ever seek,

For in You, we find.

Reason to give praise,

For Your faithfulness;

The more we know You,

More we know we’re blessed.

Blessed with Your courage,

Presence as You stay;

Wisdom to choose well,

And walk in Your way.

Faithful forever,

Unending, Your grace;

Peace ever present,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray, and to protect our prayer with praise. Thank You that there is always reason to give You praise, even on our darkest days. Forgive us for our lack of communication with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You first, being mindful that You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude that springs forth from our constant communication with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give You praise, protecting the power that we find in Your presence as we are faithful to be in an ongoing, invested relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Fresh Hope Reconciled

He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, NLT) 

He came to the world that was His own. And His own people did not accept Him. But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:11-12, ERV) 

He came to His own people, but they didn’t want Him. But whoever did want Him, who believed He was who He claimed and would do what He said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. – (John 1:11-12, MSG) 

 

Under the law, God was One to be approached from a distance, rather than One whom we could draw near and be in relationship with personally. Jesus came to break the barrier that separated us from God and give us access to our Heavenly Father as dearly loved children. Our part is to believe and trust in Him. As we do, we are adopted as daughters and sons of the living God. The reality that we are considered children of God when we believe and accept Him as our own, is overwhelming. He sees and knows everything about us, and yet He loves us more than we can even begin to grasp. My role as a mom likely only begins to give a glimpse of the depth and breadth of His love for us. The love I have for my children feels limitless. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are doing well, I am full of joy. How much greater is the capacity to love of He who created all that is and ever was, as He knit us together and breathed life into our being? May we embrace the glorious grace that we have been given, as we receive the gift of being called daughters and sons of the living God through believing in Him and accepting His word is true. 

 

Often rejected, Risk to Reward

Jesus, He still came; 

To offer His love, 

As we call His Name. 

For all who believe, 

Accept His word’s true; 

Become His own kids, 

As we are made new. 

No longer from far, 

But we can draw near; 

Speak to Mighty God, 

We have Daddy’s ear. 

Just as a parent, 

Loves deeply their child; 

We’re loved by the Lord, 

Fresh hope reconciled. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that when we believe and accept Your word, You call us Your own. Forgive us for rejecting the truth that You make known to us, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to walk in Your way and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us so that they might gain glimpses of You through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept, believe and receive all that You show us of Yourself and Your word. 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

Cut Complaints to Give Glimpses of Good

Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you will be blameless and pure, children of God without any fault. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, ERV)

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God. – (Philippians 2:14-15a, NLT)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG)

 

In a world where it is commonplace for people to complain and argue, we have the opportunity to be different. When we choose to love and extend kindness, rather than argue, we offer a glimpse of God’s goodness. Likewise, when things are challenging or overwhelming, if we opt to seek answers or assistance rather than complain, a clear anomaly is observed. God calls us to be love and light to the world, and one of the ways in which we are asked to do so, is to be a breath of fresh air in places where perhaps the normal mode of operation is less than kind and often full of conflict. May we choose to do everything without arguing or complaining, recognizing that our Redeemer calls us to be love and light to grant glimpses of Him in spaces where He otherwise might not be seen.

 

Strong Heart

 

Lord, help us to choose,

Do everything;

Without complaining,

And trust grace You bring.

Try not to argue,

Be ready with cheer;

For our attitude,

Can show God is near.

Let Your love light shine,

A breath of fresh air;

As we choose live right,

And show that we care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a blameless life without complaining or arguing. Thank You that when we choose to do things readily and cheerfully without bickering or second-guessing, we give glimpses of Your goodness to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen otherwise. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our concerns to You, and trust You to show us how to navigate, rather than complain or argue. Show us how to love those around us so that they would gain glimpses of Your heart for them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do everything readily and cheerfully, according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

The Unlikely Chosen

Then he told me, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NLT)

Ananias told me, “The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV)

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE)

 

Paul, who was previously known as Saul, had a divine encounter with God on the road to Damascus. His experience interrupted his entire system of belief. Where Paul had been persecuting people who were claiming this new Way, rather than living by a strict code of rules and rituals, he now too, had a first-hand encounter with the living God, and could not go back to what he formerly had known. God chooses seemingly unlikely people to interrupt in their tracks and touch hearts and lives. The incredible thing is, no one can dispute our own personal experiences. I imagine that is what made Paul’s testimony so powerful. People knew who Paul had been, were seeing a man transformed, speaking of grace and forgiveness, where he had once likely spoken of following the law or else. The remainder of his life was used to do exactly that – to tell the whole world of what he had seen and heard. Paul traveled far and wide for the times, and recorded much of God’s faithfulness in the New Testament. May we walk out our days with hearts wide open, ever willing to share our own story of God’s faithfulness to us.

 

With eyes wide open, Chosen With Purpose

May we walk along;

Trusting our Savior,

As He makes us strong.

When chances arise,

Share His faithfulness;

So others may know,

There’s help in the mess.

Help us to love well,

Be Your heart and hands;

Extend hope to those,

Who need see Your plan.

For You are so good,

No matter what comes;

Let us rest in You,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but You equip the called. Thank You that we do not have to measure up to serve and honor You, but rather You transform us from the inside out as we pursue a life in You. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of walking out that which You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we tell our own stories of Your faithfulness in our lives so that people may know of Your goodness and grace. 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

The Sincere Seeker

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NLT)

 

God does not preface this verse with how much faith we must have to come to Him, but rather we must have enough to seek Him. In other parts of His Holy Word, it speaks of the power of faith even as small as a mustard seed. Faith is not something that we somehow muster on our own, but rather as we pursue the presence of the living God, our faith grows. Part of the reward for those who sincerely seek the Lord, is a deeper understanding of His existence. He is pleased with our faithful pursuit of Him, and honors our seeking with His lavish love and greater insight to who He is and how He loves. May we begin each day with the faithful pursuit of God, as He is our Source and Supply in all things, and is well-pleased with those who choose sincerely seek Him.

 

May we all choose rise,

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Artwork by Sylvia Carlton

Have faith and believe;

As we seek the Lord,

His love we’ll receive.

For the Lord is pleased,

When by faith, we seek;

Drawing near in faith,

To hear what He speaks.

The Lord will reward,

A heart that is true;

The sincere seeker,

In Him is made new.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You with sincere hearts, seeking You, trusting that You exist, You are pleased with us and reward us with more of You. Thank You that it takes only a small seed of faith for You to move mountains on our behalf. Forgive us for our doubts and lack of faith. Teach us to trust You more, and to have a confident trust in You in all things and at all times, as You are far greater than everything that we face. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may find faith and follow after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sincerely seek You with a child-like faith, as You are our loving Father who meets us however we are when we choose to seek You. 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

 

His Righteousness

As I watched the world seem to wake up on this beautiful Easter morning, I am once again in awe, as I consider all that was covered on the cross, and the significance of the stone that was rolled away. He is risen! These three words are the game changer for all of eternity.

 

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)

 

Jesus took it all. Every. Single. Sin. Our every shortcoming, mess-up, and malicious malfunction, He bore on the cross so that we could be called clean before Him. More than that, in Christ, we become the righteousness of God. That is a weighty responsibility. Thankfully, Jesus does not leave us to our own devices to attempt to be righteous. We are given His Spirit to dwell within us, so that we are led, comforted, and corrected by the Spirit of the living God, Himself. As we choose listen to His leading, we have the privilege to represent our Redeemer through how we live our lives. May we go forth this sacred day as His righteous representatives, living and loving as He first loved us.

 

He who had not sinned,A House of Hope

took up all of ours;

for our salvation,

He bore the scars.

In Him we become,

the Lord’s righteousness;

not for what we’ve done,

but Jesus in us.

Let us each go forth,

in His holiness;

so others may see,

the love of Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You does not begin to express the gratitude for what You have done for us. The gift You poured out to offer hope and life for all who choose to believe, is beyond comprehension. Thank You that You love so much. Forgive us for not standing amazed at all that You have done for us, and for not giving You proper thanks and praise. Teach us to trust You completely, and to honor You well in all that we say and do. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we worship and honor You on this most sacred day. Amen.

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

 

 

Forge Forward in Faith

The story of the woman who had been suffering and subject to bleeding for twelve long years, is one of my favorite stories of faith in action. She had exhausted her options with doctors, and spent all that she had, financially. When she heard about Jesus, something in her rose up, and faith took flight. She somehow knew that if she could only touch, even so much as the corner of His cloak, that she would be healed. Her hope for healing fueled the faith to move forward and pursue the power of God, through an act of reaching out. With one touch to His cloak, she felt her body stop bleeding, and knew that she had been healed. However, Jesus felt the power go out of Him and asked who had touched Him. I imagine she had a moment of fear, followed by a sense of obligation to speak truth, as she bravely fell at His feet and told Jesus what had happened. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

 

Jesus told her that her faith had caused her cure. True faith requires action. She had to risk public humiliation as an unclean woman, in order to reach out and touch He who could heal her. Though she did not ask, she believed, and she trusted that if she could only touch the fabric, the mere fiber of His garment, that the healing power of the living God would flow, and she would be healed. What steps of surrender or risk is the Redeemer asking of us as we follow in faith? Whatever movement is required, the reward is well worth the risk. His healing, His heart, His wisdom, His truth and His way, all come forth and are revealed to us, if we are only willing to follow where He leads. May we go forth this day with faith that compels us to move forward where He is asking.

 

It is only faith,Forge Forward in Faith

when we choose to act;

forward momentum,

our trust is intact.

Trust, not in ourselves,

but in He who reigns;

our Lord, Jesus Christ,

sets free from our chains.

May hands be outstretched,

as hearts wholly trust;

and faith fans the flames,

for Christ is enough.

He will hold our hands,

and equip our hearts;

to do all He asks,

His peace He imparts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow faith within us. Thank You that as we take small steps forward in faith, You meet us where we are and honor our pursuit of You. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving forward where You call us to move, and teach us to trust You more so that we go forth in faith, without hesitation. May many come to know the peace and power that is presented in a life lived in Your love, as we love those around us as You call us to. Be exalted, O God, as we move forward in faith. Amen.

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

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