Forward without Fear

But He said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take Him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading. – (John 6:20-21, NIV)

But He said to them, “Don’t be afraid. It’s Me.” When He said this, they were glad to take Him into the boat. And then the boat reached the shore at the place they wanted to go. – (John 6:20-21, ERV)

Jesus (to the disciples): I am the One. Don’t be afraid. They welcomed Jesus aboard their small vessel; and when He stepped into the boat, the next thing they knew, they were ashore at their destination. – (John 6:20-21, VOICE)

 

Seriously? Why have I never caught the significance in this passage prior to this morning? Perhaps that is why this whole journey for me is called Revelations in Writing… I guess He shows me what I need to know, when I need to know it most.

Anyway, my giant aha this morning is that in the verses prior to the ones listed above, John (the Apostle), mentions that the disciples were three or four miles out from shore, in a storm. Previously, what had stood out to me, was that Jesus calmed the storm when He stepped into the boat; however, it goes far beyond the sudden stillness. Jesus miraculously moved them from three or four miles out in the middle of the tumultuous lake, to the specific spot on the shore that they had intended to go. For me, this is a tremendous reminder of God’s power to move us miraculously in His timing. Jesus was well aware of where the disciples were rowing on the lake; He knew where they were headed and where they needed to go. In the same way, Jesus knows exactly where my mom is heading next from her current acute care facility; He sees and is fully aware of the work she is doing to propel herself to the next step, and He is with her and able to move her however He sees best, according to His miraculous timing. What He does between now and her projected transition to home date is in His hands. He sees and He knows her needs. The same greeting of “Don’t be afraid”, resonates today, as He is with us, every step of the way.

Mom is gaining new strength and confidence every day, as the “awakening” of her muscles continues. She is still waiting, desperately for it to work its way down to her hand and foot, but her perseverance and commitment to the challenging work is inspiring and full of hope. May we ever rely on the same God who can meet us stranded at sea in the midst of a storm, and in an instant, move us to the safety of the shore.

 

No matter the space,quiet-hope-e1516279596955.jpg

You find yourself in;

Jesus is nearby,

He knows where and when.

The very same God,

Who calmed stormy seas;

Can take us ashore,

Bring peace within me.

God sees all our needs,

And hears ev’ry prayer;

He’s faithful always,

Present to show care.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You reveal Yourself to us in new ways through Your word, when we need it most. Thank You that when You walked on water in the midst of a storm, You not only calmed the storm, but You took the disciples from the middle of a space that was far from the safety of the shore, and instantly moved them to the place that they were headed. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust beyond what our eyes can see and our hearts can understand. God, we are trusting and believing for the miraculous. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that we are ever aware of the miracles that are made new every morning that we rise and draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk by faith and not by sight, for You are a faithful and loving God forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Ready for Rest

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

Weariness is worn on the faces of myself and my colleagues, as we press in and power through this final week prior to spring break. Though there were a few snow days sprinkled in, the stretch between winter break and this well-timed rest in the spring, feels like a marathon. Between escalating behaviors, time commitments that extend the already busy hours of each day, and the plague of viruses that have made their way around, finally arriving at today, the last day prior to break, feels miraculous. God knows what we need. Next week is a provided opportunity to lay down burdens and be refreshed. I love The Passions Translation, as the imagery of God being our oasis is outstanding. An oasis in the desert of exhaustion is exactly where I am ready to go. May we all run to our Redeemer, who is ready to receive our burdens and exchange them for real rest and refreshment.

 

When heavy burdens, img_2019-03-03_09-00-141537211458818783495.jpg

Overwhelm our hearts;

We need seek the Lord,

In Whom rest shall start.

God is our sweet space,

Where true rest is found;

Strength when we’re weary,

And grace to slow down.

Slow in His presence,

Renewal shall come;

Our Great Provider,

Where true peace is from.

Rest for the body,

And peace for our minds;

The love of Jesus,

Is gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to bring You our heavy burdens. Thank You that as we give all to You, You grant us rest in Your love. Thank You that You are our oasis in the desert of weariness. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to remain on our shoulders when You did not design us to carry so much. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, allowing You room to grant us reprieve and true rest. Show us how to lay all things down and find rest in You. Help us to love those around us in such a way, that they too, may know real rest in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run to You for rest and lay our burdens before You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Charged to Choose

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, NIV)

Now, brothers and sisters, be filled with joy. Try to make everything right, and do what I have asked you to do. Agree with each other, and live in peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, keep rejoicing and repair whatever is broken. Encourage each other, think as one, and live at peace; and God, the Author of love and peace, will remain with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11, VOICE)

 

This charge, given by Paul to the church of Corinth in the closing of his second letter, is also for all of us today. As we determine to rejoice despite our circumstances, seek to be at peace with those around us, encourage each other, make amends where there is brokenness, and strive to be united in purpose, God, who is the source of all love and peace, will be present. Though at times it seems impossible to reach such a place of peace with particular people, God is capable of the miraculous and can make a way where there seems to be no way. It is not up to us to change hard hearts, but rather to continue to encourage, love and seek peace as we are called to do. The heart change is in His hands, our part is to love and do what we can to make things right. May we ever seek our Savior to equip us to love, encourage, seek peace, repair what is broken and choose to rejoice; always.

 

Let us choose rejoice,Charged to Choose

In each circumstance;

God goes before us,

He knows in advance.

The Source of all love,

The Bearer of peace;

He creates a way,

As grace is released.

Called to encourage,

And make all things right;

Choose lift others up,

In purpose, unite.

Brothers and sisters,

Be filled with His joy;

His presence remains,

As Love’s given voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to rejoice, restore, encourage, unite and be at peace with the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked the love to do these things with those who challenge us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the God of all, and You love each of Your created, fiercely. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, unites, restores, and brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in all things and seek You to empower us to do all that You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Lift My Eyes

I lift my eyes up to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

 

While driving my Mom back to her home on the eastern side of our state, I was reminded anew that I never grow weary of taking in the view. I am in awe as I see the sight of the snow-capped peaks, the trees that are nearly new again – despite serious devastation due to fire, and it is impossible not to recognize the hand of God in all of the beauty that surrounds along the journey. The very same God that made all that we see, is close and personal, as He protects and provides for us. His hand has been abundantly evident over this past week, as my Mom is recovering from a horrific car accident that could have been far worse. Though her car was a total loss, she sustained only bruises and soreness, which is miraculous, considering the speed at which the other driver was doing when he barreled into her lane on a sharp corner. Our help comes from Him – the very same One who created all; as He helps and protects. May we ever keep our eyes looking up, so that we do not miss all of the mighty works of His hands.

 

As I lift my eyes,Lift My Eyes

Such sights to behold;

Beauty created,

His glory is told.

The very same strength,

That made mountains rise;

Comes alongside us,

Our hope realized.

Let’s lift up our eyes,

In awe, see the view;

As our Creator,

Will be our strength too.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and help. Thank You that You, who made the heavens and earth, see each of us where we are and are willing to help us and grant us strength. Forgive us for looking to anything or anyone other than You for strength, as You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You often send people alongside us to encourage and walk with us too. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for the strength we need in all circumstances. Show us how to love well those around us, so that we might strengthen and encourage as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our eyes up to You and seek You for strength and help. Amen.

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

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

Come Close

Come close to God, and God will come close to you… – (James 4:8a, NLT)

 

Everyone has heard stories of receiving that dreaded phone call – the one that announces unfortunate news of a loved one, causing an immediate emotional response, and a quick call to action. Yesterday morning, that phone call came to me. At the start of my second period class, I received a frantic phone call from my Mom. It was miraculous that I was at my computer taking attendance when she called, otherwise I would not have even seen her photo pop up on my phone screen, as I keep my ringer off during class. She never calls during school hours, so on a whim, I answered. On the other end of the line, I heard a voice that I barely recognized as hers, telling me that she’d been in a horrible accident. When I asked if she was okay, her response was simply, “no.” She was able to tell me her location, and I knew in that moment, that nothing mattered more than my getting to where she was to be present. My quick, internal, “Oh God, help me!” was followed by my class quickly being covered, a rapid exit from my room, and my arrival on the scene of the accident before the first responders had my mom loaded in the ambulance. Seeing her face and talking to her in person as I held her hand when I arrived at the accident site, brought a bit of peace, despite the destroyed car in front of me. The hardest span of time throughout the entire ordeal, was the time between leaving the scene and arriving at the hospital. Though I could see she had no lacerations visible, the internal and skeletal damage was unknown. All I could do was breathe and pray as I made my way, trusting that He had her in His hands. Thankfully, after two CT Scans, two x-rays, hours of waiting, blood draws and routine checking, Mom was given the all-clear (and the last few hours of her care were provided by a friend of mine who happened to be the nurse on shift in the ER), and walked away from an accident that could have taken her life. God protected and preserved the life of my Mom, and I am forever grateful. Though it is only the morning after, in hindsight, I already can look back and see how He covered and protected my Mom, surrounded and provided for me, as a way was made for me to get to her so quickly, as well as the loving community of friends and family that called, made themselves available, and sent messages to check on Mom as soon as they heard the news. Much of the time I spent waiting for Mom during her scans and x-rays, was utilized to reply to dear ones who were desiring updates on her well-being. I was back and forth between two phones, as the notes kept coming in. Last evening, two of my beloved favorites came to help with both the care of my Mom and to go and check on the status of her car, while another pair of dear former neighbors came to call on Mom to see that she was okay for themselves. God is so good, and He has provided and placed us both in kind and caring communities that are family. More than anything, this continues to show me how near God is in all things and at all times, and how He uses people to be His hands and heart when we hurt. May we ever draw close to God, for He will be near to us.

 

When that call comes in,ambulance

And hearts are dismayed;

Call upon the Lord,

He will not delay.

His presence made clear,

In tangible ways;

Hope and help to us,

As we seek and pray.

Choose draw closer still,

For God will be near;

He calms anxious hearts,

His love covers fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we draw near to You, You are right here, waiting. Thank You that You are faithful to bring peace to our anxious hearts, and surround us with support and encouragement when it is needed most. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we walk into the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in times of peace and in times of turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever nearer to You. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Belief Brings Blessing

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her! – (Luke 1:45, NIV)

Great blessings are yours because you believed what the Lord said to you! You believed this would happen. – (Luke 1:45, ERV)

 

Though this was a conversation between Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elizabeth her cousin, in reference to the miraculous that God was doing through Mary to bring about the birth of Jesus, it is a principle that is applicable to all. If God has promised, He will fulfill. Our responsibility is to believe the Lord is faithful to bring forth His promises and walk in obedience, trusting that what He says, He will do. Blessings are ours as we witness the wonder of God’s ways of working to bring what He has promised to fulfillment. May we choose to hold fast to faith and believe the promises of God and trust the Lord at His word.

 

Blessings are granted,hope-overflowing

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

In word, thought and deed.

What He has promised,

The Lord will fulfill;

Forever faithful,

Believe, and He will.

The Lord is so good,

His love shall endure;

Now and forever,

Our hope is secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that blessings are ours when we believe that You will do what You say You will do. Thank You that You are faithful to fulfill Your promises. Forgive us for our unbelief, and teach us to trust You more. Help our hearts to find security in the truth of who You are, and the hope that is held in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they too may come to know the blessings found in believing. May many choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe Your promises and trust Your word. 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

 

He Climbs in the Boat

Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. – (Mark 6:51)

When the disciples were rowing across the lake, having left a miraculous evening in which Jesus had fed a multitude with a mere five loaves and two fish, they somehow lost sight of their story when a storm set in. Waves were crashing around them, and then, as if an apparition, Jesus was walking beside these men on the water. To say they were frightened, would likely be an understatement. Jesus reassured them, and then, what really brought about comfort and peace to each stirred up soul, was when He climbed into the boat beside them. As He did, the wind and waves were calmed, and so too, were the hearts of those who He came near.

As storms rage around us, do we look up from our oars? If even for a moment, I imagine we’d find similar shock at just how near the Lord is to us, and how willing He is to climb in beside us and still the storm in our soul. Our charge is to look for Him in the midst of both the calm and the storm, as He stays beside us in each. His miracles are available and He moves on our behalf, more often than we realize. When we really look, we too, will be completely amazed at how the Lord is moving among us.

As storms are raging,

we strain at the oar;
crying to the Lord,
“Dear Jesus, no more.”
But do we look up,
and bother to see;
how near the Lord is,
on standby, waiting?
For He never leaves,
He’s promised to stay;
through calm and through storms,
both now and always.
He’s gentle and kind,
will come close beside;
if we only ask,
trust Him and abide.
There’s no storm too strong,
nor crisis too great;
He always shows up,
and is never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when storms rage around us, You don’t just look down on us from afar, but You come close and climb in the boat beside us, commanding the chaos within us to become calm. Even if the storm that surrounds us continues for a season, You bring stillness to our soul. Thank You that You are our comfort and our peace, and that You do amazing things when we look to You. Forgive us for focusing our attention on surviving the storm, rather than on You, the One who can still the storm with a word or Your presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look for You, and discover just how often You are seated beside us in the boat. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may discover Your nearness for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You who draws near to us and calms the storms within us, and help us to stand amazed at the mighty ways in which You move. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Peace in Times of Trouble

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33)  

Jesus spoke plainly to the disciples about what was going to happen on the night He was to be betrayed, and let them know why He was leaving and to Whom He was being sent. Despite the darkness that was about to befall the disciples as they would watch their Savior and friend walk the long and agonizing road to the cross alone; Jesus assured them that it would not be the end. His assurance was played out in the most miraculous way ever recorded. Jesus defeated death, after bearing the brunt of all of our sin and shame. He rose again, appeared to many, and then returned to the Father so that He could send His Holy Spirit to be our Counselor. Jesus truly overcame the world, and in Him, we too, can overcome any obstacle that comes our way. His peace is available for us, and His strength in steady supply. To take heart is to place our trust in Him and allow Him to lead us, no matter what season we are walking through. He is faithful and He has already overcome all that lies before us. May we rise up in faith and take heart, for our Heavenly Father is holding us in the hollow of His hand.

Jesus has told us,His Mighty Power

a number of things;

so we may find peace,

that only He brings.

Though we’ll have trouble,

He won’t let us fall;

the Lord’s overcome,

He’s conquered it all.

Let’s rise up in faith,

in Christ, take a stand;

for the Lord is good,

we’re held in His hand.

Strength for the weary,

so we won’t grow faint;

His Spirit in us,

let’s trust in His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us Your word that tells us what is good and true and lovely. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You and come to know Your peace. Thank You that despite the trouble that we all face, we have the blessed assurance that ultimately, in You, we will overcome. Thank You that we are more than conquerors in You. Forgive us for forgetting how near and powerful You are when the waves begin to overwhelm us. Teach us to slow down, and fix our eyes on You, rather than the storm that surrounds us, so that we may see what really is the truth. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may come to know Your peace and provision in such a way, that they turn to You forever. Be glorified O God, as we take heart in You, learning to lean into Your peace as You lead us to overcome all that comes against us. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Watchful, Prayerful, Thankful

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – (Colossians 4:2)

 

To devote ourselves to prayer, is to set apart, dedicate and commit our hearts to press on in consistent conversations with our Creator. This requires an ongoing awareness of what He is doing in us, through us, and around us. Consequently, in our cognizance, we become increasingly thankful for all that God has done and continues to do in our lives each and every day. May we begin each day anew, devoted wholly to Him who is worthy, as we are diligent to be watchful, prompt to offer praise, and operate in ongoing conversations with Christ.

 

To be devoted,To Reflect His Radiance

to Jesus our Lord;

a choice to invest,

life lived in accord.

Be ever watchful,

to see what He’s done;

and quick to thank Him,

for the battles won.

In all things, prayerful,

give the Lord all trust;

for He’s the answer,

all His ways are just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we devote ourselves to prayer, and are watchful and thankful, we become aware of the miraculous all around us. Thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we cannot see it. Forgive us for not being fully devoted to pray, even when You are clearly the answer that we need to seek. Teach us to trust You more, so that You are the first One we seek in both suffering and celebration. Help us to be ever watchful and thankful, so that we may share of all the wonders You have done both around us, in us and through us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we devote ourselves to prayer, and are watchful and thankful in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11