Lifting Up Those Who Lead

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. It is pleasing to our Savior to pray for them. – (1 Timothy 2:1-3, TPT)

 

The charge we are given in this passage is clear, we are meant to pray for people – for blessings, provisions, and with gratitude; especially for those who are in leadership positions. It does not qualify the call to pray based on whether or not we like or agree with the person in the position. Rather, we are called to pray with purpose so that we might live quiet and peaceful lives. In the wake of being flooded by campaigns that brought out the worst in people, I cannot think of a more important call. Our political views ought not determine our obedience to that which we are asked. Every person who has been placed in a position of authority will need wisdom and grace to lead well. Whether I agree with elected officials or not, I am called to pray. Imagine what the nation could be like if our first thought was to pray for our leaders, rather than to criticize? This is not to say that we ought to stand idly by when there is injustice or wrong-doing, but in the day-to-day, we need to pray for each person who is in a position that represents the people for the people. May we look to the Lord and present our petitions before Him, seeking Him for wisdom and blessing so that we may live in peace.

 

We are called to pray, All Together for Good

For everyone;

The people who lead,

Let us seek the Son.

His wisdom and grace,

Are needed by all;

And provide the peace,

His love does install.

Let us choose to pray,

For all those who lead;

May wisdom find way,

And fulfill each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for people not only around us, but those who are chosen to represent us in leadership – be it in our city, state or our nation. Forgive us for forgetting the very thing that we are called to do, as prayer leads to peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would lift up our leaders, asking You to bless them with wisdom to lead well. Show us how to love those around us well, so that those who are in positions of authority over us feel supported and encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Please bless those who rise to lead with Your wisdom and strength. Be glorified O God, as we lift up people and leaders before You, asking that You bless them with wisdom and strength, trusting that You will answer and grant us peace. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

To Keep the Peace

They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. – (Titus 3:2, NLT)

They shouldn’t speak disrespectfully about anyone, but they should be peaceful, kind, and show complete courtesy toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, CEB)

Don’t tear down another person with your words. Instead, keep the peace, and be considerate. Be truly humble toward everyone. – (Titus 3:2, VOICE)

 

These words are still completely applicable to us all. Can you imagine our schools, our work places, our cities, and our nation, if people chose to be considerate and humble toward everyone, refusing to tear others down with their words? If we treated each other the way God intended, peace would reign, and we would no longer witness wars of words as a “that’s just how they communicate” situation. Though the high road takes more work, it always leads to a more worthwhile destination. The result of peace, patience, kindness, humility and self-control, far outweigh the momentary satisfaction of a curt reply. May we seek the Lord and His grace so that we may respond to others according to His ways.

 

 

A gentle answer, Made With Purpose

Can turn away wrath;

Bring peace in chaos,

Point to the right path.

For where we choose love,

God’s grace is made plain;

Through humility,

Our life is our claim.

So, let us choose love,

Kindness and His grace;

Ways that point people,

To seek the Lord’s face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peaceful and considerate, so that we might choose to walk humbly in love, just as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have been less than loving in our response to people. Teach us to trust You to give us the grace to be humble and kind, acting in love to all people at all times. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and Your unfailing love to lead us well. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

Hope in Discouragement

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! – (Psalm 42:5, NLT)

Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again praise Him, your God, the One who will save you.” – (Psalm 42:5, ERV)

Why are you so down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. – (Psalm 42:5, MSG)

 

It is difficult to take in the recent events in our nation, and not feel sad and discouraged. Yet, even in the darkness of such ugliness, good has been burning bright in incredible ways. When the need for blood donations was presented to the people of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, generous hearts lined up in droves. Help is being provided in a place where it is typically lacking, as it is needed most. Additionally, there have been numerous stories of individuals placing themselves in harm’s way to help those in need in the midst of this tragic event. When I see the good that rose up in people who helped because they knew that they could not just standby and do nothing – I am encouraged and remember that God is our hope and our reason to praise. He moves hearts to act with love and compassion, and despite the darkness that is in the world, God is always good. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, as He is the One who saves and is worthy of all of our praise.

 

When I’m discouraged, Hope in Discouragement

And my heart is sad;

Help me hope again,

Lord, make my heart glad.

Glad for Your goodness,

For Your light and grace;

Praise for salvation,

Our hope in this place.

Lord, help us to see,

Where to fix our eyes;

As we look to You,

All hope’s realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the darkness that befalls us and our nation, You are always good. Thank You that You demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness through the grace and love of people. Father, please be with the first responders, the officers, the medical teams and all those impacted by what took place in Las Vegas. Your healing hands are needed more than ever. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to that which overwhelms us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask of You what we are meant to do – be it to give, pray, or go do more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, especially in the places where Your light seems to be lacking. 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. – 1 Peter 2:19

Show the Love

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not only be words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

 

If ever there has been a time in our nation to show love with action and in truth, the time is now. Between the natural disasters and devastation that have taken place to the racial tension that is being highlighted through the actions of our top paid athletes, people desperately need to know that there is hope and that they are loved. To look at the big picture before us seems insurmountable. How on earth do we go about meeting the needs of so many impacted by fires and floods? How can we honor our dedicated police officers and military personnel who serve, and work to see change in the discrepancies of how people of color are treated by the few law enforcement officers that are not acting with honor? There is no easy answer, nor can any one person do everything. However, we all can do something. Each of us can demonstrate truth as we choose to love. Words are lost in the wind if they are not backed up by action. Rather, if we are consistently demonstrating the love of God to all as we are called, imagine the change that the world would see. May we let our love be shown in truth by our actions, rather than merely spoken in words.

 

Our love should not be, Show the Love

Just words that we say;

Instead, let us show,

With actions each day.

It’s truth over time,

That truly will show;

The great love of God,

So others might know.

Love not just with words,

But back them with deeds;

Show truth over time,

As true love meets needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your love with actions, again and again. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Father, You see and know the need in our nation – please show us how to love best, so that hearts may be healed and truth may be made tangible by Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for speaking rather than listening, and for our inaction when we need to move to demonstrate Your love through tangible movement. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and do whatever You ask to love with our lives. Show us how to love others with the things that we do, so that they might see Your heart in our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not merely say that we love each other, but we show the that we do through our actions in truth. 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

Success Through Commitment

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. – (Proverbs 16:3, CEB)

Turn to the Lord for help in everything you do, and you will be successful. – (Proverbs 16:3, ERV)

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish you plans. – (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

 

This is an interesting verse to have stand out to me this morning, as I am following the unfolding story of my dear friend, Ashley, as she is dealing with the distraction of being bitten by a botfly while in Belize in the midst of being there with her three kids, and participating in important contact meetings as she continues to further establish relationships within the nation for sending medical missions teams. She has completely committed all that she does to the Lord, and His favor has been upon her every step of the way. Remarkable doors have been opened where it did not seem possible, and He has developed and rerouted plans beyond what she would have ever imagined. So why this botfly bite? It is a horrible and strange happenstance, however, I know that God will use this to give Ashley further wisdom and understanding as she leads teams into parts of the nation that nearly never receive medical attention. Somehow, this present experience will give her more wisdom when treating those in need as she goes. For me, it has suddenly increased my passion to pray not only for Ashley and her kiddos right now, but for the team that I will be joining in the jungle of Belize at the end of July. I do not want to go in fear, but rather I need to choose to commit the trip to Him and trust that what He plans, will be accomplished. May we ever trust in the Lord and His goodness, despite distractions that attempt to derail us.

 

Commit to the Lord,Success Through Commitment

All that you choose do;

When given to Him,

He will lead us through.

If we allow plans,

Of ours to be His;

His will established,

Our hearts will not miss.

In all that we do,

Father, You we need;

As we choose to trust,

In You, we succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit everything that we do to You, You meet us and establish success according to Your plan. Thank You for the faithful who are walking out their commitment to You in mighty ways. Please protect and heal those in spaces where they are exposed to risk factors that are outside our realm of reality. Please bring healing and relief to Ashley, and protect she and her kids in every way. Forgive us for not committing all that we do unto You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, and commit all that we are and all that we do unto You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we commit all that we do unto You, and trust You to establish success in the plans that You have for 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

The Weight He Bore

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Peace and Justice Made Plain

Let there be peace and justice throughout the land, known on every mountain and hill. – (Psalm 72:3, ERV)

 

Though these words were part of a prayer for King Solomon, they still remain true as the hope for each generation that has followed. When we seek the Lord and His will for our lives, our homes, our neighborhoods and our nation, His peace and justice become made plain. The more who seek Him, the more His ways and His will are made evident everywhere we go. May we ever pursue our Provider, as His peace and justice are made clear through all who cling to Christ.

 

May the peace of God,Compassion in Confrontations

And His justice too;

Be made evident,

Through hearts that pursue.

As we seek the Lord,

May His heart be known;

From mountains to seas,

Let His ways be shown.

For none can compare,

To the Lord, our God;

Brings peace to chaos,

Justice where it’s not.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring Your peace and justice throughout the land, and make Yourself known on every mountain and hill. Thank You that even when we cannot see the evidence of Your hand at work, You are moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our lack of faith when chaos and injustice seem to reign. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and cling to You by faith, knowing that You are doing far more than we know, even when we are unaware of how You are working in our midst. Help us to hold fast to the peace that You provide, as it is our reminder that You will do what You promise. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and presence in places of pain. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your peace and justice, for You are always good. Amen.

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

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

Light in Loss

I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. – (Lamentations 3:20-22, NLT)

 

Yesterday evening, in our neighboring city, a police officer’s life was senselessly taken. While the officer was responding to a domestic dispute call, he was shot and killed. My heart aches for the family of the slain officer, and for the families of all those who serve and protect our nation. Each time one of our officers in blue is shot, more fear finds way into the hearts of families who anxiously wait for their loved ones to return home at the conclusion of each shift. Grief cannot help but grip our hearts at the brokenness of humanity. When a hero falls, it is indeed a time to grieve. However, we must still dare to hope. Even in the darkness, light finds way to shine. The faithful love of the Lord does not end, and His mercies never cease. Though there were children holed up in the hiding place with the shooter, other officers were able to safely remove them from the scene. Despite the devastation of the situation, there were innocent lives that were spared that could have been lost. May we remember those who have been lost, yet continue to hold hope in the One who loves without limits and is merciful forever.

 

Let us not forget,light-in-loss

Those who serve us well;

With honor, protect,

As crime they dispel.

For far too often,

Lives of these are lost;

As they seek to serve,

The ultimate cost.

May we remember,

Those who serve in blue;

Let mercy and hope,

Surround and renew.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in times of grief, You are our hope. Thank You that Your faithful love never ends and Your mercies continue forever. Forgive us for losing sight of these truths in the throes of devastation and heartache. Teach us to trust in You more, so that we would cling to You regardless of what is happening around us. Show us how to love those around us, particularly officers and families of officers in light of recent events. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

 

From Whom We Draw Our Strength

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NLT)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

 

Though these were Paul’s words of exhortation to the church in Ephesus as they were facing opposition, they still resonate for us today, as we all need to draw strength from the Lord in the face of uncertain times. Regardless of political preferences, it seems there is much fear across our nation. So much is uncertain and unknown. Our reality is that the only thing that is certain and secure, is that God is good, and His love never fails. We need to remember from Whom we draw our strength, and continue to walk in faith according to His call. May we rise up in faith with new resolve, ready and equipped to love well. For if God is for us, who can stand against us?

 

In uncertainty,Healed Hands Reach Out

Let’s look to the Lord;

For He is our strength,

All grace He affords.

His power He grants,

To all who draw near;

His love is greater,

So we need not fear.

May we choose to rise,

Go forth with resolve;

Love as we are loved,

As He asks us all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength in uncertainty, and that we can come before You in Your mighty power and ask for help. Forgive us for placing too much faith in any one person, and instead help us look to You to lead us well. Teach us to trust You more, no matter what we see, and show us how to love all those around us, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged, easing the fears that fight for footing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are thankful that You are our Mighty God from whom we draw our strength. 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. – 1 Peter 2:19

To Be At Peace

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

 

Yesterday, as we returned to school for the first day that followed the 15th anniversary of 9/11, I spent the day informing my students about the events that unfolded, and then discussing questions that came up in conversation. One particular conversation that stood out to me, was the one about who was responsible for the terrorist attacks. An article that we read mentioned that the al-Qaeda were Islamic extremists. It was a terrific teachable moment, as one student started to make a statement about all people who followed Islam. What I was able to unpack for this kiddo, was that there is a vast difference between people who are living out their lives following their particular faith, and those who are among extremist groups. Though we don’t all believe the same things, the intent of most, is to live well. I was able to convey how despite the tragedy on that fateful day, our nation banded together during that time, as it has never done before or since. In light of the state of unrest in our country today, the very same sort of mindset toward one another is needed. We need to sympathize with one another. It is only when we choose to try to understand each other, that we are able to love each other as brothers and sisters. May we be kind and humble in all things and at all times.

 

Let us be at peace,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Wherever we go;

Seek to understand,

Don’t think that we know.

All have a story,

That needs to be told;

Storms they are facing,

A hand we can hold.

When we choose listen,

Our choice to love grows;

For the heart can love,

Only what it knows.

Be kind and humble,

For there we find peace;

When we love as Christ,

Tensions are released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You only ask of us that which You are willing to equip and empower us to do. Thank You that You showed us how to live together in peace and seek to understand one another through Your Son, and through those who have gone before us. Thank You that You give us Your heart to love one another as brothers and sisters, and in You, we can be kind and humble to those whom we encounter. Forgive us for not being aligned with Your will and choosing to walk in our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be of one mind with You. Show us how to love each other as brothers and sisters, so that You may be evident in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to understand and love well, all those whom we come across each day. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3