Do Away With Distractions to Seek

“Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, NIV)

“I want you to know, I will not drink this wine again until that day when I drink it in God’s kingdom and the wine is new.” – (Matthew 14:25, ERV)

“I’ll not be drinking wine again until the new day when I drink it in the kingdom of God.” – (Matthew 14:25, MSG)

 

Jesus spoke these words to the disciples as they were seated and partaking in the last supper, prior to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane and then ultimately, His crucifixion. He knew that it was an evening of lasts, and let the others know, accordingly. When Jesus told them that He would be betrayed by one among them, they seemed to grasp that message in disbelief, yet did not demonstrate a reaction (in writing) to the words Jesus spoke about the timing of His death. It would only be after His death, resurrection and ascension that the significance of Jesus’ statements would really register in the minds and hearts of the disciples. From what I can observe, Jesus did not have anything to eat or drink between the last supper and the crucifixion. Based on the burden that He was choosing to bear, I imagine it was intentional, as Jesus went to the garden to seek time with God, to pray for what was yet to come. We know, according to scripture, that part of what He prayed was for the cup He was meant to carry to be taken from Him if it was possible; yet if not, let it be so. I imagine too, that there were petitions made for strength and help, as Jesus had to endure the weight of the world upon His shoulders. God is faithful, always, and it is difficult to envision the how, when we know what Jesus endured. However, after three days down, He rose again and then ultimately ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father. I imagine that the rise and reward for all eternity made the suffering seem but a brief nightmare, in comparison. That being said, it was a burden that not one of us could have carried. In order to carry the weight, we would have had to be without sin. Only Jesus… All that to say, that when the pressure was overwhelming, Jesus set aside physical needs to go and spend time with the Father. Though it was late and had likely been a long day, He cared not about sleep either, as He was intentional to go and pray. Jesus is our ultimate example of what to do. If we have a need, a decision, a challenge, a burden or the like, we ought to set aside our physical desires for a time, so that we may go and pursue the Lord; for our spiritual needs supersede the physical into eternity. May we seek the Lord in all things, for He is our strength and our supply.

 

Set aside the things, The Mirror of the Heart

That get in the way;

For a time to seek,

Intent to choose pray.

The Lord is faithful,

He hears all we ask;

He’ll show us the way,

To wait or take task.

Do not grow weary,

As we ask and wait;

For God’s not early,

And He’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us how to seek You with our whole hearts. Thank You that You are faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that Your answers come in Your time and not ours. Forgive us for our impatience and desire to see immediate answers, when sometimes the wait is part of the healing process. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be persistent in prayer, and set aside the things that distract us from fixing our eyes on You. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside distractions and seek You with our whole heart. 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

 

 

Step Out of the Boat

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV) 

Peter said, “Lord, if that is really You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come, Peter.” Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, ERV) 

Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really You, then have me join You on the water!” “Come and join me,” Jesus replied. So, Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, TPT) 

 

Peter’s desire to know the truth about Jesus was tremendous. After just having been caught in treacherous wind and waves, and out of seemingly nowhere, witnessing Jesus walking up to the boat on the water, Peter called out to Jesus and asked to join Him where He was. As a fisherman, Peter knew the danger in the midst of the storm, and the risk of drowning in the depths of the sea. However, with his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter’s desire to be with Jesus, where He was, despite having to step out of the safety of the boat that actually floated, he called to Jesus and asked to be where He was. Jesus told him to “come”. Incredibly, Peter chose to step out of the security of sitting in the boat and set both feet on the water, trusting that Jesus, who called him, could empower him to do what Jesus was doing. Though we know how the story goes, and that Peter, as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, began to sink; yet Peter is the only one other than Jesus to ever experience walking on water. Both his faith and desire to be where Jesus was, empowered him to do what Jesus was doing. Peter asked, Jesus answered, and Peter stepped out of the boat. What does it take for us to step out of our “boat”? We ask, He answers and we have to choose to take that first few steps. Often, we never set foot out of the boat. Additionally, when we feel ourselves sinking, do we call out to Christ, or dive back in the boat? Jesus is trustworthy and will not let us sink. Just as He did for Peter, He will take our hand and keep us afloat. May we seek the Lord for the ways in which He wants us to draw ever nearer to Him, and be willing to step out of our space of comfort and safety, so that we too, may experience the wonder of walking with Him in ways we never thought possible. 

 

Lord, help us to trust, step out of the boat

Despite what we see; 

Help us move to You, 

Our place of safety. 

May we choose step out, 

Of that which we know; 

With eyes on You, Lord, 

So our faith may grow. 

No matter the wind, 

Nor waves that surround; 

To place trust in You, 

Is hope that is sound. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You answer and are present with us. Thank You that You show Yourself faithful each time we trust and move toward You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, and allowing our circumstances to cloud our sight line. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on You, no matter the storms that come our way, and ever press on toward You and where You call us closer to You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know the security that is in Your presence, rather than the space they are in right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we step out of what we know to move ever closer to You. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Compassion in Confrontations

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14)

 

Despite having just learned of the death of His dear cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus set aside the solitude He was seeking to mourn, and chose to heal the hurts of others instead. Christ’s compassion is so great, that He chose to set aside His own sorrow, and allow His light and life to flow into those who had not yet come to know what true love looks like. When we are suffering or stuck in a sorrowful space, we need not stand alone. For Christ, who came and experienced loss and pain and suffering far greater than our own grief, is loving and kind, and will be compassionate and close, if we call on His Name. May we remember to reach out to our Redeemer in all thing at all times, for He is compassionate and has wholeness in store for all who call on Him.

 

For Jesus has known,Compassion in Confrontations

the darkness of grief;

the anguish of loss,

the need to retreat.

Yet in His sorrow,

He kept His eyes up;

healing the hurting,

with His tender touch.

May we do likewise,

no matter what comes;

allow Christ to move,

so His will is done.

Christ calls us to love,

as He has loved us;

in kindness be near,

let Him fill each cup.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of compassion and the Healer of our souls. Thank You that You came and showed us that even in You own season of sorrow, You set aside Your space to withdraw when You saw needs that You could meet in the moment. Thank You that You modeled compassion that was not limited by circumstance. Forgive us for being blinded by our own sorrow or pain, and help us to see the needs surrounding us that You can meet through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will be willing and available in all things and at all times, despite what we are going through. Lead us to love with kindness and compassion, just as You so tenderly and completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the hope that is held in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we choose to convey compassion and kindness, even in the midst of our greatest confrontations. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Our Provider

We are currently in the midst of a series at church, where my pastor is unpacking the roles of Jesus. Yesterday, the topic of study was Jesus is Our Provider. Among the many names known for the Lord, Jehovah Jirah means, our provider.

 

During Jesus’ time on earth, He proved to be a provider to many. Just after Jesus had learned that His cousin, John, had been beheaded by Herod and was setting out by boat to a solitary place, the crowds followed Him on foot, and in their zeal to see Him, arrived before Him. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick. – (Matthew 14:14) More than that, it was on that same occasion that Jesus fed the multitude from five small loaves and two fish. Again, the Lord saw the need of the people, and He provided.

 

God wants us to trust Him with our time, talent and treasure. In return, He gives us enough to sustain us and to give away. Even when it feels like we don’t have what we will need, the Lord wants us to ask Him to provide for each day, and He is faithful to meet us accordingly. When Jesus taught us how to pray, He said to say: “Give us today our daily bread.” – (Matthew 6:11) We are to ask for what is needed today, and let tomorrow worry about itself. For as our day is, so too shall our strength be.

 

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:19)

 

May we ask of the Lord what is needed for this day, and go forth in faith, trusting that He will provide all that we need, according to His glorious riches.

 

Jehovah Jirah,Finding Freedoms Flight

our great Provider;

full of compassion,

true hope decider.

For He has taught us,

to choose ask each day;

for what is needed,

come to Him and pray.

Our needs shall be met,

one day at a time;

enough to sustain,

His power divine.

Let’s bring to the Lord,

time, talent, treasure;

and He will pour out,

with lavish measure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider. Thank You that as we pour out, You provide. Thank You as we trust You with our time, talent and treasure, You meet us where we are at, and grant us the strength and supply as each day comes. Thank You that You even taught us how to pray – to ask You each day for that which is needed, one day at a time. Forgive us for worrying about things too far down the road, or for spaces where we are short supplied. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will seek You first, and ask for that which is needed for this day, as we go forth and sow generously with our time, talent and treasure. Lead us to love well all those whom we encounter, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we trust all of our time, talent and treasure in Your hands, and seek You for what is needed each day. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Seeking in Solitude

After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone. – (Matthew 14:23)

 

Times of ministry, of reaching out to others, time to gather together, corporate worship, community – all are important and necessary, yet in order to pour out our whole hearts and be properly equipped to do as God has for us in each scenario, we must make time to invest individually, in our walk with Him. Just as Jesus withdrew by Himself to pray and spend time with His Father, we too, need to prioritize time invested in seeking our Savior. Every worthwhile relationship takes work, and our most important relationship is no exception. No, we do not need to “work” to be saved, yet our relationship with our Redeemer is far richer when we invest time and attention in Him. Our understanding and insight grows, and our ability to hear His voice becomes fine-tuned, making us more effective as we seek to serve Him in all that we do. May we each open opportunities to set aside time to seek our Savior.

 

In the quiet space,Seeking in Solitude

of seeking alone;

when our hearts are still,

You make Yourself known.

Your strength is granted,

and truth is made known;

our hope is restored,

as Your grace is shown.

May we all draw near,

in a space alone;

to pray and to seek,

so Your will is known.

Grant us ears to hear,

as Your way is shown;

and courage to move,

where seeds need be sown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to model for us how to have a right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come into Your presence without stain or blemish, and to be received as righteous before You. Thank You that You long for us to spend time with You, alone in prayer, deepening our relationship with You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the “doing” without prioritizing our time with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may run to You first, as we greet each new day with thanksgiving. Help us to live in such a way, that we seek You first, then pour out the plenty that You place in us to all those who are around us. May many come to know the love and life that is available through You alone, as we go forth in the grace that You grant us. Be glorified, O God, as we seek You in solitude before we serve. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

Stepping Out of the Boat

“Lord if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.”

“Come,” He said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29)

 

So often, the story of when Jesus walked on water seems to highlight how Peter began to sink as he took his eyes off Christ. However, I find it quite remarkable that Peter was the only one to recognize and respond so radically to the Lord, that he asked Him if he could come to Him. Peter did not want to wait for Jesus to reach the boat, he wanted to be where Jesus was. His exuberance led to an experience that Peter would likely never forget. Not only had he walked on water towards Jesus, but when he allowed his gaze to avert from Jesus to that which was surrounding him and began to sink, Jesus did not let Peter go under. He took his hand and rescued him. Peter’s experience was a powerful demonstration of how important it is to fix our eyes securely on Christ, yet if we discover we have allowed our focus to shift and call out to Him, He will be our help and our hope.

 

When we hear His call, are we willing to get out of the boat? If we fix our eyes on Him, we are able to do surpassingly more that we ever thought possible. On the other hand, if we avert our eyes to the challenges and obstacles that stand in our way, we become overwhelmed and feel defeated; ready to jump back in the boat, despite our distance from the directed destination. When our eyes engage with the obstacles, we can call on Christ to help us refocus. He is our Source of safety, and the One who will lead us where we are meant to go.

 

When wind and waves come,Stepping Out of the Boat

and violent the sea;

Christ calls us by name,

says, “Come unto Me.”

Though scary the step,

from idle in boat;

with eyes fixed on Him,

we will stay afloat.

If we look away,

and start to go down;

His presence is there,

His faithfulness found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are present and faithful to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You call us to get out of our spaces of security and comfort, and trust You to walk into the new and remarkable that You have for us. Thank You that it is always beyond what we could ever even imagine we could carry out on our own, yet in You, mountains are moved and miracles happen. Forgive us for shifting our gaze from You to that which gets in our way from accomplishing that which You are asking, and help us to continue to call on You to be our Help and our Hope in all things and at all times. May we fix our eyes securely on You, and love others as we are loved by You. May many come to know the security found in You alone, as lives are changed and made new. Be glorified in everything that we say and do. 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. – I Peter 2:19