How God Provides

They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. – (Luke 9:17, NIV)

They all ate until they were full. And there was a lot of food left. Twelve baskets were filled with the pieces of food that were not eaten. – (Luke 9:17, ERV)

They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! – (Luke 9:17, NLT)

 

This passage of scripture in Luke is an excellent reminder of how God provides. The disciples presented their need to Jesus, and He took the little that they had and multiplied it miraculously. God works the same way with us today. If we are willing to bring before Him, what we have as we present our need, He multiplies our offering to provide more than enough of whatever is essential to do what needs to be done. I have known His faithful provision in countless ways. His multiplication is not limited to food and finances. God has done the same with faith, hope, love, sleep, strength, peace and more. He hears and knows our need, and is faithful to meet us with more than enough to navigate the course to which we are called. Right now, I am reveling in the remarkable room to rest that He has granted at just the right time. May we ever seek the Lord in our need, knowing that He is able to multiply whatever we bring before Him.

 

The God of all grace,

img_2019-04-06_07-15-265858398548787657530.jpg

Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Knows and sees our need;

He meets us in love,

His strength to proceed.

Move forward in faith,

Despite what we see;

The Lord is able,

Miraculously.

Where there’s too little,

God can make much more;

Provide what’s needed,

There’s so much in store.

His storehouse is full,

He’s generous to give;

All that is needed,

To completely live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that meets us in our need and multiplies whatever we offer before You. Thank You that this is not limited to food, but rather You utilize the same power with every sort of need we encounter as we pursue in faith, the path You have placed before us. Forgive us for our fear of not having or being enough when we cannot see how the lack can ever possibly be fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always more than enough, and love us in tangible ways. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your grace and abundant provision discernible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all that we have and all that we are before You, trusting that Your Spirit within us will always make a way. Amen.

 

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

 

It is the Lord who provides the sun to light the day and the moon and stars to light the night, and who stirs the sea into roaring waves. His Name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. – Jeremiah 31:35

The Treasures of Christmas

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. – (Luke 2:19, NLT)

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, NIV)

 

Mary, the one whom God chose to bear the Savior of the world, experienced wonders and miracles both before Jesus was born, and throughout His lifetime. I love how Luke points out that Mary made a point to treasure each event in her heart and remember what the Lord had done, as this is how a mama’s heart is wired. As my own children have transitioned from baby, to toddler, to children and now into teenagers, I too, have treasured the moments of significance in my heart, and likewise, I think of the moments and movements of God often. Christmas is the gift of God with us. Heaven came to earth so that we would know the wonder of Christ’s nearness, rather that God out there. Though we may not all be mamas, we all have moments and miracles to keep in our hearts and think about often. May we take time today to celebrate God with us, and the glorious gift that came to us so that we could have life everlasting as we remember the reason for this sacred season. Merry Christmas, and may your heart ponder the treasures He has given and continues to give.

 

When Love made way down,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

From heaven to earth;

Such glory beheld,

In Christ’s sacred birth.

Though in modest scene,

No crib for a bed;

Jesus came to save,

And peace and love spread.

Just as His mother,

Held dear in her heart;

May we hold moments,

Of Love from the start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that Love could come close. Thank You that Mary modeled the importance of keeping close to our hearts, all that You have done in us and for us and through us. Forgive us for not paying attention or for not recognizing the significance of all that You do. Teach us how to treasure each moment that You give us. Show us how every movement and moment matters to You. Help us to love as You love, so that people may see Your heart through the way that we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that You have done, and think about these things often. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

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

Stand Firm

“By standing firm you will gain life.” – (Luke 21:19)  When I hear the words “stand firm“, I picture one setting their feet in ready position, knees bent, eyes forward, and their entire demeanor ready and at attention – set to take on anything that would come their way.  In the same way, we are meant to set ourselves securely in Christ, by faith, believing He is who He says He is, and taking on a posture that demonstrates we are convinced that it is the truth.  As we ready ourselves for whatever He asks, we “stand firm” in faith, and ultimately, gain eternal life with Christ.

Stand firm” is a phrase that is repeated again and again throughout His word.  Some examples that further solidified my mental picture of what it is to “stand firm“, are as follow:  STAND FIRM

Exodus 14:13, 2 Chronicles 20:17 – to see deliverance

Psalm 20:8 – to rise up

Proverbs 10:25 – to weather the storm

Proverbs 12:7 – to withstand judgment

Isaiah 7:9 – to remain

Ezekiel 13:5 – in the battle

Matthew 10:22, 24:13, and Mark 13:13 – to be saved

So how are we to do this?  Seek.  Ask.  Listen.  Do.  However, in the meantime, there are scriptures that give us instruction.  These are a few:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.  Let nothing move you.  Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” – (I Corinthians 15:58)

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – (I Corinthians 16:13)

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – (Galatians 5:1)

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place…” – (Ephesians 6:14)

Stand firm in the faith,Stand Firm

let life not dismay;

for in Him, is strength,

He’ll show us the way.

Let’s be on our guard,

so we can stand firm;

courageous and strong,

in His truth we’ve learned.

Work unto the Lord,

don’t give into sin;

in storms, be not moved,

God’s greater within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not just tell us to stand firm, but You instruct us, equip us, and walk beside us – holding us up when we are unable to stand steady.  Thank You that the reward for standing firm, far outweighs the cost.  Forgive us for attempting to stand in our own strength, or for stepping back because it all seems too difficult.  Teach us how to trust You more, and help us live out our days standing firm in our faith.  May many be moved to trust in You, as they see Your love and light in us.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

Persist in Prayer

“Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” – (Luke 18:1)

“To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions.  Always praying means keeping our requests constantly before God as we live for Him day by day, believing He will answer.  When we live by faith, we are not to give up.  God may delay answering, but His delays always have good reasons.  As we persist in prayer we grow in character, faith and hope.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 18:1)

According to dictionary.com, persist means to continue firmly in purpose, especially in spite of opposition.  In my experience, this is how faith is further formed, and hope is given way to rise up.  As we face opposition or difficulty, what we choose to do in response, determines the development of our character.  If Jesus instructs us to pray and not give up, then regardless of how things appear, that is what we are meant to do.  Faith requires action.  First and foremost, our petitions ought to be presented before Him.  However, that is rarely the end, but instead, just the beginning.  As we seek Him earnestly, He often gives instruction as to how we are to move further in faith; the what we are meant to do as we wait.

Never give up,Persist in Prayer

persistently pray;

trusting He hears,

despite seen delay.

He is faithful,

and always, He’s good;

let faith rise up,

our hope, understood.

When He says move,

do all that He asks;

answers await,

we grow in new tasks.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful, always.  Thank You that regardless of what is going on around us, You have our heart in Your hands, and You remain present.  Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and that You instruct us to be persistent as we pray.  Forgive us for our lack of fortitude in the fight, and grant us Your strength and endurance in all things and at all times.  Teach us how to be persistent in prayer, without endless repetition or whining.  Thank You that You are a patient and loving Father, Who loves us, and continues to help us grow in character, faith and hope as we seek You.  May we honor You in all that we say and do, and may many come to know You through our love and persistent petitions before You.  Be exalted, Lord.  Amen.

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

For Faith to Flourish

By faith, ordinary people have done extraordinary things throughout human history.  The size of their faith as each individual began, did not matter nearly as much as in Whom their faith was held.  As each one took the next obedient step, His faithfulness was there to meet them, encouraging them to press on and continue to forge forward and further move in faith.  “Faith is total dependence on God and a willingness to do His will.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 17:5,6)

In Luke 17, Jesus and the disciples are having a discussion about forgiveness.  When Jesus informed them of how often we are meant to forgive if a person repents and asks to be forgiven, the disciples then recognized their own need for more faith to do just that.  “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’  He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – (vs. 5-6) 

Though a mustard seed is tiny, it grows into one of the largest among plants, with deep roots and vast, far-reaching branches.  The same holds true with faith.  God will take a small speck of genuine faith in Him, and help it take root and grow.  We too, will gain deep roots and be far-reaching, if we whole-heartedly invest in Him.  As we allow Him to prune, water, and tend to the soil of our heart, we grow and take shape that becomes something beyond what we could have envisioned.  Before we even realize our own capacity to reach, He will utilize our faith to touch lives around us.  May we each choose to depend on Him and be willing to do His will.

For faith to grow,For Faith to Flourish

it is not on us;

but by His grace,

as we trust Jesus.

Lean into Him,

and not on our own;

He’ll show the way,

and make the path known.

Spend time with God,

and He will refine;

He shall increase,

so through us, He’ll shine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something we somehow must summon, but rather is what You grow and increase in us as we invest our time getting to know You more.  Thank You that as we depend on You and are willing to do Your will, You meet us where we are, and do far more than we could have imagined.  Forgive us for placing human parameters on You, as You are the God of ALL creation and are capable of ALL things.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to walk confidently in our faith in You.  Help us to love well, even those who are difficult to love; and may many come to see You, as we walk out our days in faithful surrender to You.  Be glorified, our faithful and loving Lord.  Amen.

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

The Parable of the Lost Son

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

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

Stuck in the mud,The Parable of the Lost Son

our own sinful mess;

seems no escape,

until we confess.

Our God forgives,

fresh start He shall bring;

draws hearts to Him,

our Savior and King.

He wipes away,

our mud and our mess;

grants us His grace,

His great faithfulness.

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

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

Love Over Law

Often, it seems, Jesus spent the Sabbath teaching in synagogues.  Word of His teaching, must have been spreading like wildfire, for everywhere He went, there were both those in need, and those who hoped to trap Him in some sort of violation of the law.  In Luke chapter thirteen, verses ten through seventeen, there is an account of Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen long years.  “When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’  Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” – (vs. 12-13) 

The synagogue ruler had his undergarments in a bunch, and was outraged that Jesus would dare to heal on the Sabbath.  “The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites!  Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” – (vs. 15-16) His opponents were left without words to respond, for there was no arguing with such profound truth.  All who had seen the miraculous, marveled at the wonderful things that He was doing.

When we see someone in need, do we respond immediately, or do we rationalize reason to not respond?

Though there are times and places that genuinely prevent us from physically getting out of the car and moving in the direction of the need, can’t we at the very least, lift up a prayer on their behalf?  We cannot always do something tangible to be of help, but we can always pray.  God knows each need far better than we do, and when we pause to pray, we give Him opportunity to speak to us as well.  Perhaps there is something specific that we are meant to do, but unless we stop to listen, we miss the miraculous that He had intended.  Sometimes the miracle is meant for another, yet, at times, it may be something new, moving within our hearts.

When we see a need,Love Over Law

let us stop and pray;

show us what to do,

Lord, You lead the way.

A touch or a gift,

a smile, or prayer;

every need known,

God, You are aware.

Please make known to us,

what we’re meant to do;

to show Your great love,

so we honor You.

Let hearts found in need,

know their needs are met;

by You alone, God,

not one You’d forget.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to prioritize people.  Thank You Jesus, that touching lives trumped man-made rules and regulations every time.  Thank You that above all – You loved, and continue to love.  Forgive us for having hearts that resemble the synagogue ruler, who set limits as to when and what could be done.  Help us to recognize that with You, there is no limit – for You are our Source and Supply.  Whatever You call us to do, You will also equip and empower us to complete.  Our part, is to step forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more.  May we live and move and do all things out of our love for You, and may many come to see Your heart for them as a result.  Let lives be changed and hearts turned toward You.  Be glorified God.  Amen.

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

Give Us Each Day

“Give us each day our daily bread.” – (Luke 11:3)  Though a familiar portion of the Lord’s Prayer, I imagine the depth of the meaning is rarely considered.  Jesus was not simply speaking of physical bread, but He was referring to the daily supplication of all that we need – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Also, He does not say give us this year, a fortune; but rather He tells us to seek Him daily, asking for the provision of what is needed for this day – not tomorrow nor beyond.  He wants us in constant communion with Him, not to store up treasures, become self-satisfied and then cut off our communication with God.  Our Heavenly Father cares for us, and will hear our every prayer.  It is up to us to press in and continue to keep the lines of communication open at our end.  He is always listening; are we?

A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus  says, “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – (Luke 11:9-10) These verses reiterate that He wants us to be in relationship with Him.  He is generous and kind, ever ready to hear our requests, if only we are willing to come to Him and ask.  God does not care if we are eloquent in speech as we pray, but rather wants sincere hearts that seek Him.  Conditions are not placed upon us in order to come before Him; He tells us that EVERYONE who asks, seeks and knocks, shall receive, find and have the door opened unto them.  What a comforting reminder to recognize that He daily, wants us to come before Him.  He longs for us to desire to be aware of His nearness.  This happens, the more that we get to know Him through intentional seeking, knocking,  asking in prayer, worship, and the study of His word.

Give us today,Give Us Each Day

all that we need;

strength and supply,

to You, may we heed.

Daily, let’s seek,

our Savior, King;

bringing Him praise,

of faithfulness sing.

Knock on the door,

He’ll be right there;

always ready,

to hear our prayer.

Ask of the Lord,

make your request;

He is faithful,

and loves us the best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply, and that You are always present and prepared to hear our prayer and answer what we ask.  Thank You for Your unending faithfulness as our Father and King.  Forgive us for not asking, seeking, or knocking when we need to come to You first in all things.  Teach us to prioritize our time so that we may daily invest in our relationship with You.  Teach us how we are to ask, seek and knock for that which You would have be our daily bread.  May we be ever grateful for the good gifts that You provide us each day, and for the life and breath that we have in this very moment.  May our attitude of gratitude lead those who are looking to ask, seek and knock – so that they too, may come to be in a lasting relationship with You.  All praise and glory to You, our great and mighty God!  Amen.

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

Love Looks to Act

Luke 10:27-37, is an account of the parable of the Good Samaritan.  The story, is of a man who was traveling toward his destination, when he encountered a band of bad guys who “stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.” (vs. 30)  A priest, one who should have rushed to his aid, being the very nature of his calling; but alas, this man of the cloth, saw the man lying in the road in his horrible state, and crossed the road away from him, and kept walking.  Another man, one whom had been trained in the ways of the law, and again ought to have rushed to the aid of the hurting man, quickly crossed the road and avoided him, hurrying on his way as well.  Finally, a Samaritan, one whom was considered a half-blood, a despised people among the Jews, not only stopped, but came to the rescue of the wounded man, and cared for him beyond just the moment along the side of the road.  He took him to an inn in town, and paid for his care from his own pocket.  Beyond that, he promised to cover any additional expenses that were necessary, all for the sake of an injured stranger.

The question an expert of the law had asked Jesus prior to the telling of the parable, was “And who is my neighbor?” (vs. 29)  After Jesus had told him all of this, Jesus asked the man, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”  The expert in the law replied, “the one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (vs. 36-37)

Three principles about loving our neighbor are highlighted in this passage:

1) Lack of love is often easy to justify, even though it is never right.

2) Our neighbor is anyone of any race, creed, or social background who is in need.

3) Love means acting to meet the person’s need.  Wherever you live, there are needy people close by.  There is no good reason for refusing help.  (taken from NIV footnotes)

Love looks at the pain,Who is My Neighbor 2

straight in the hurt face;

it meets it head on,

comes and extends grace.

Love looks at the need,

and offers a hand;

it shares what we have,

and does what it can.

Love makes no excuse,

turns not a blind eye;

it points to the One,

for whom all sin, died.

Love sees through His eyes,

the value of each;

all His created,

our reason to reach.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love and value each and every one of Your created, equally.  Thank You Jesus, for showing us what Love should look like.  For You loved without limits – You touched the untouchable, You spoke to those whom society deemed socially unacceptable, You dined with sinners, and traveled with fishermen – You did not place value on power nor position nor wealth, but rather on those who were willing to set aside their own agendas and choose to follow You.  Forgive us for thinking we are too busy to help, or that we have too little to make a difference.  Help us to know what we are to do, and how we are to help, in all things and at all times.  Thank You that if we slow down and listen, You will whisper what we are to do.  Help us to hear You.  Teach us to listen and love, as You so lavishly love us.  May we be Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting, and may many come to know You through practical presentations of Your provision.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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