Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

The Hope of the World

And His Name will be the hope of all the world. – (Matthew 12:21, NLT)

The mere sound of His Name will signal hope, even among far-off unbelievers. – (Matthew 12:21, MSG)

All the world will find its hope in His Name. – (Matthew 12:21, VOICE)

 

So often we use the word hope with little thought of where our true hope lies. We use the word as: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. (dictionary.com) However, our true hope lies not in things nor upcoming events, but rather in the One in whom and through whom all things were made. This is our true hope: The One in which expectations, longing and trust belong. May we enjoy the present for the gift that has been given, and keep our hope held in The One who is our Hope.

 

The Light of the world, The Hope of the World

Our hope for all times;

The One we can trust,

Most Holy, Divine.

For He is the gift,

That showed us the way;

To have peace right now,

And faith for always.

Let all our longing,

Be placed in His hands;

And trust in His Name,

As He understands.

For all near and far,

Will one day come know;

The light of His love,

And how His grace grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the hope of all the world. Thank You that You are our hope, the very One in whom we can place all our trust. Forgive us for placing our hope in people or things, as all else will fall short of You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your hope where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find all of our hope in Your Name. 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

Value Everyone

Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NLT)

Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers. – (1 Peter 2:17, TPT)

Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. – (1 Peter 2:17, MSG)

 

Considering the climate within our country right now, this is a very timely verse. If we each could recognize the value of one another, regardless of what is perceived, there would be far less tension and more movement toward solutions. The church is not exempt from the struggle. The body of believers is called to love one another. If we all choose to love, then our primary mode of operation should be to seek to understand first. In all things, we are called to live in reverence of God. When we remember Who ultimately is in control, our priorities and perspectives begin to align with His, and love flavors all that we say and do. Finally, we are called to respect the governing body. How do we do this? There are so many conflicting views and opposing opinions, how are we supposed to honor and respect that which seems so unreal? For me, the best way I know to do this is to choose to pray. Pray for wisdom and insight for those who are in positions of leadership. I do not have to agree with who is in position, nor what their position is to pray for them to lead well and make decisions that are best for our city, state, or country. May we ever rise up and recognize the value of every person on this planet that has been placed here by the most holy God. Let us live in reverence of Him as we treat others with dignity and choose to love.

 

For we each are called, Show the Love

look and recognize;

The value of all,

To see through God’s eyes.

Among believers,

We’re meant to love well;

To be family,

God’s story to tell.

To honor rulers,

Let us choose to pray;

For wisdom to lead,

The very best way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to give us the strength and grace to do. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You loved us. Thank You that when we choose to respect and love those around us, You break down barriers and make a way for Your light to shine where darkness once reigned. Thank You too, that You work in ways that we cannot see and can use leaders that we don’t understand to do things for eventual good. Forgive us for not choosing love and respect for others when that is what we are called to do, regardless of what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend Your love and grace to all whom we encounter, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love like You, so that barriers are broken down and Your peace may prevail. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to value everyone and love as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Nearness Fends Off Fear

You came near when I called You, and You said, “Do not fear.” – (Lamentations 3:57)

Why is our default fear or panic, despite the ongoing faithfulness of God? Every time I call on the Lord, He is faithful to answer, and reminds me that I need not fear. His presence is tangible, and His heart for me is made evident. Though His answers are rarely what we expect, and His timing is not our own, the Lord listens to every whisper of our heart, and every prayer raised in faith before Him. Each time fear, anxiousness or panic begins to press in, I have to remember that His words to us are, “Do not fear.” Greater is He that is in us, than anything that is in the world. That includes every struggle, situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, as He knows the outcome before we even face the challenge. Our charge is to call on Him and to trust. He will meet us every moment, and carry us when we are no longer able to keep moving. He is good, and His heart is always for us, no matter how things appear. May we draw near to our faithful Father, as He holds our hands and hearts, and says to us, “Do not fear.”

When we call on Christ,ç€À

He hears every word;

faithful to answer,

as our voice is heard.

From our heart to His,

He’s faithful and kind;

worthy of our trust,

Most Holy, Divine.

He says, “Do not fear,”

for He is enough;

no challenge too great,

nor trial too tough.

Greater is the One,

dwelling within me;

than all that we face,

or ever will be.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call on You, and that You remind us to fear not. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are greater than anything that attempts to come against us. Forgive us for forgetting how near and powerful You are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not fear when storms rage around us, but rather would cling to You, the anchor of our soul. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too might see the strength and nearness found in You, and recognize that with You, there is no need to fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust Your presence to keep fear far from us. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41