The Seeming Lunacy of Lavish Love

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV)

The teaching about the cross seems foolish to those who are lost. But to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, ERV)

To preach the message of the cross seems like sheer nonsense to those who are on their way to destruction, but to us who are on our way to salvation, it is the mighty power of God released within us. – (1 Corinthians 1:18, TPT)

 

Without the cross, we would have a lengthy laundry list of laws that we would be required to follow to find way to heaven. The cross changed all that. Laws show us our sinfulness, yet Christ went to the cross to bear the burden of our every failure to follow. Rather than rules and rituals requiring strict adherence to look to the Lord, we now have hope in a Savior who calls us to love. The saving power that was presented at the cross, provides the desire and strength to look to the Lord and be in relationship with Him. Before, there was a veil that separated people from God. Torn in two, as Jesus took His last breath, His decision to die for us all destroyed the barrier between God and mankind, and made the way for us to know Him, personally. The more we know the Lord, the more we are compelled to let go of our former foolishness and follow after Him. He who knew no sin, wore all of our sin upon Himself so that we could come to know His power, individually. His mercy and grace provided us with a fresh start and a call to two things: love God and love people. When we do the two, we reflect the goodness of God to the world, and make salvation tangible for those who do not know Him. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that was granted at the cross, and receive His power that is presented to us as we come to Him in faith.

 

Seemingly foolish,Live Right by His Light

God sent His own Son;

To take away sin,

This Most Holy One.

Bearing our burdens,

In love, chose to die;

So we might know Him,

All sins rectified.

Such power and love,

Laid bare on that cross;

All to offer life,

Horrifying cost.

Yet freely He chose,

So we could know grace;

Receive and believe,

Daily, seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the radical and unfathomable love that You have for us. Thank You for making the way for us to come to know You, personally. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that led You to choose the cross so that we might live. Teach us to trust You more, ever coming before You with gratitude and eyes to see the depth and breadth of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your goodness and grace visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for who You are and how You love, trusting our very lives into Your holy hands.  Amen.

 

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

 

When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. – Psalm 65:3

To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

Considering a Couple’s Calling

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, NIV) 

During those days, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, ordered that the first census be taken throughout his empire. So, Joseph and his fiancé, Mary, left Nazareth, a village in Galilee, and journeyed to their hometown in Judea, to the village of Bethlehem, King David’s ancient home. They were required to register there, since they were both direct descendants of David. Mary was pregnant and nearly ready to give birth. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, TPT) 

 

At the time of Caesar Augustus, if a decree was issued, the people followed. Though a seemingly chaos inducing order, I imagine a four-day, eighty-some mile journey on foot, would likely be a better option than dealing with the Roman guard. Furthermore, Mary was nearing the time that Jesus was due. There was probably some honor in being connected to the lineage of David, yet this young couple was about to enter town, unwed and very obviously expecting. Back then, such a predicament would be scandalous, and may have been the cause of their difficulty in finding a place to stay upon arrival in Bethlehem. Being that it was the town both Mary and Joseph were expected to register, it is odd that there were no family members that could offer them room. And, what about each of their families? These are my ponderings as I read through this particular passage this morning and picture their journey and struggles as they traveled. Did they travel alone as a couple, or were they part of a caravan? Did they have family that turned them away, or had their living ancestors all moved to Nazareth too? What I do know is that God was with them. Though it was a long and arduous journey, they were faithful to that which they had been called. At times, we too find ourselves in strange and seemingly desolate spaces, yet when we persevere in that which we have been asked to do, we discover that God uses our circumstances to grow, equip and transform us for that which lies ahead. Perhaps the four-day walk was an opportunity for Mary and Joseph to get to know one another and share their joys and fears about what had been spoken. Whatever transpired on their journey, God was with them, and He provided what they needed when it was needed most. May we seek and trust the Lord, even when we find ourselves on paths that have not yet been made plain. God is faithful and will remain with us, no matter our circumstances. 

 

No matter the road, Considering a Couples Calling

We find we need trod; 

The Lord is faithful, 

Ever-present God. 

Through trials and joys, 

No matter what comes; 

He grants what we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

So, seek the Lord’s grace, 

Choose trust in His Name; 

He grants strength and peace, 

Does what the word claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to walk among us and experience the same sort of struggles and joys that we do. Thank You for the faithfulness of Mary and Joseph, as they demonstrate what it is to truly trust You with all. Forgive us for our faltering faith when things do not make sense. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your grace, peace and presence known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You rather than what we see or think we know, for You are the answer to our every need. Amen.

 

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Trust Over Worry

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

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. – (Philippians 4:6, TLB)

 

Yesterday, as I quickly grabbed the mail between errands and thumbed through it, one envelope captured my curiosity. There was something from the IRS, and I could not figure out for the life of me, why. Upon opening said envelope, my stress level and anxiety shot through the roof. Inside was a letter informing me that there had been an error in my 2016 filing, and that I owe a large sum of money. As I walked into the house, attempting to make sense of what I was reading, I was greeted by two teenage boys who were yelling at one another about who spilled rice on the floor and who had to finish cleaning it up. The noise only added to my anxiousness, and I quickly let them know that I needed them to chill out so that I could process what I was reading. Their arguing continued, and I had to get out of the chaos. I let them know that I was going to the new house to take care of some things and entered the quiet of the car by myself. Once seated, with the key in the ignition, the verse above tumbled about my brain. There was nothing eloquent about my words, but I simply let God know that I needed His help and could not afford this, especially by the date given on the letterhead, and I really don’t understand how they came up with the numbers that they did. As I neared my turn, I saw a familiar vehicle and took a second glance at the driver. It happened to be a sweet friend of mine, so I called out her name. She had just taken her youngest daughter to the park across the street from our new home, had a bit of time and wanted to come take a tour. Gladly, I invited the distraction and showed the two lovely ladies our soon-to-be dwelling. I was encouraged by her kindness and shared with her what had just happened prior to my drive over. She is a prayer warrior, and on the spot, stopped and prayed the things that my heart held but could not yet give words. As they left, I felt far less anxious and more at peace, knowing that God is in control and I have a fiancé who will walk beside me and a community that has my back in prayer. What it did is remind me how grateful I am for the people whom God has placed in my life and that He will lead me in the way in which I am meant to go in all things. May we remember to not worry about anything, and instead, choose to pray and ask God for help, giving Him thanks for the answers that He will and has already provided.

 

Do not be anxious, wp-15296764255929217887386200022319.jpg

About anything;

Instead, choose to pray,

To God, our fears bring.

He’s faithful to hear,

All that we present;

And He’ll show the way,

Answers Heaven sent.

So, trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’s faithful always,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to let go of worry and anxiety and to present our prayers and petitions before You. Thank You that You are faithful to hear us and to provide solutions. Thank You that You answer in ways that we would never dream up on our own, yet they are always what we need, when we need it most. Forgive us for allowing unknowns to dominate our thoughts and cause anxiousness, rather than bring our fears and concerns to You right away. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our every request before You, knowing that You will meet us and never leave us. Show us how to love and walk beside those around us, so that they know Your comfort and Your peace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and give You praise for Your faithfulness always. 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