Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

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Anxious for Answers

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

 

God hears our prayers. He knows our heart and is concerned about our every need. The Lord is our provider, yet much of the time, we must move forward toward God in an act of faith, presenting our needs before Him, before we see the blessings of God released. In the book of Matthew, a leper had heard about Jesus and His ability to heal. His desire to be whole was great enough that he was willing to walk forward in faith, risking rejection, because the reward was well worth the potential risk.

 

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. – (Matthew 8:2-3)

 

What known need should we present before Christ? He is willing, we simply must come. Jesus goes beyond the hearing and healing, He comes close and touches those who are deemed untouchable, and calls us clean. May we release anxiousness and fear unto Him, and with prayer, petition and thanksgiving, present our every request unto the Lord.

 

Do not be anxious,Anxious for Answers

in spaces of lack;

but call on the Lord,

who will have our back.

He hears each request,

presented in prayer;

He sees and He knows,

our God always cares.

He knows what is best,

and willingly moves;

to help and to heal,

His faithfulness proves.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite how things appear, we need never be anxious nor fearful in You. Thank You that we need only come before You and present our requests unto You. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and You move on our behalf in the way that You see best. Forgive us for our fearfulness when things don’t go the way we think they ought to, despite Your promised presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will believe You are working things out for the best, even when the evidence we see, seems to speak otherwise. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we release our anxieties to You, and present our requests by prayer and petition with thanksgiving before You, trusting that You will move on our behalf in the way that You deem best. 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

Invited to Follow

After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi (also known as Matthew) sitting at his tax booth. “Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed Him. – (Luke 5:27-28)

 

There are several really remarkable steps to Matthew’s story. First, he was a tax collector, and therefore, no friend to the Jews. Additionally, his position had likely been a very lucrative one for him, yet at Jesus’ invitation, he willingly walked away from it all, to faithfully follow Him. Even more than Matthew’s willingness to leave his life of luxury behind, He desperately wanted others to discover what he had found in Christ, so he held a great banquet, inviting all his friends, so that they too, might meet Jesus and choose to follow Him. Matthew laid down his material possessions to gain spiritual wealth, as he was overjoyed to be associated with Jesus.

 

Each of us has a story; a moment in time when we heard Him whisper an invitation to come and follow Him. What have we set aside to serve Him? Do we go out of our way to share the joy that we have found with those whom we care most about? May our stories each include passion, promise, and pride in He who grants us new life, as we willingly set aside whatever He asks, and choose to follow Him with all that we are.

 

When Christ comes along,MSH29

and calls us by name;

what will we lay down?

Money? Fortune? Fame?

Where He asks we go,

requires us move;

giant steps of faith,

our fears He’ll remove.

All trust is needed,

as are faithful steps;

when we go in peace,

we’re His righteous reps.

Help our hearts let go,

of temporal things;

and to You, Lord God,

we forever cling.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the remarkable examples of men and women that have gone before us, that willingly walked away from what was comfortable and known, into the unknown, as they trusted in You. Thank You that the benefits far outweigh the burdens for all of eternity, no matter what the cost seems to be in the here and now. Forgive us for our hesitation when we hear You call, and help us to move immediately, just as Matthew did. May our willing obedience be a blessing to all whom we encounter, and may many come to know of Your loving kindness as a result. Help us to love as You love us, and keep our hearts tender to hear from You. Be glorified, O God, as we faithfully follow You. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

An Attitude Adjustment

Though the story of Peter being called to go and share the good news in the home of Cornelius has an overarching theme that the gospel is for everyone, the thing that struck me as I read the account in Acts this morning, was Peter’s attitude adjustment, in such a short time.

Back in Matthew 18:1-6, as the disciples were traveling with Jesus, and learning and growing beside Him as He led them, they were arguing one day, about which among them would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Somehow, in all of the attention, their priorities had become askew.  Jesus quickly set the record straight, “And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child will be greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -(Matthew 18:3-4)

Fast forward past Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and the impartation of the Holy Spirit.  While in Joppa, Peter had been assured in a vision that he was to go to the home of Cornelius, to share the good news of Christ.  He willingly went with the men Cornelius had sent, when they had arrived to lead him.  “As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence.  But Peter made him get up.  ‘Stand up,’ he said, ‘I am only a man myself.” – (Acts 10:25-26) Peter was quick to humble himself and point Cornelius to Christ.  Despite the potential draw of being adored by such a powerful person, Peter prioritized the presentation of truth, and maintained his position of humility as a servant of Christ.  Because of Peter’s willing submission to God’s call, Cornelius and his entire household came to Christ.  Being a man of high position, I imagine Cornelius had a tremendous impact on many people.

Be humble and kind,An Attitude Adjustment

allow the Lord lead;

be willing to give,

as we see a need.

Trust Him to show us,

what we’re meant to do;

listen to His voice,

faithfully pursue.

Seek not position,

of honor, nor fame;

and if it’s given,

point straight to His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply, and the reason we are able to do anything good in this life.  Thank You for such great examples of change, as You show us how to be more like Christ in what we say and do.  Forgive us for not walking in humility, or for not giving credit where credit is due.  Thank You that all good that we do, is done in Your strength, and that the life You are calling us to, is only possible in You.  May we be invested in You, so that Your light shines through us.  May many come to see Your light through our love, and ultimately, come into a lasting relationship with You.  Be exalted, our great and mighty God.  Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; … my hope is in You all day long.

– Psalm 25:4-5