To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Peace that Passes Perception

Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:7, NLT)

And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:7, ERV)

Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:7, CEB)

 

Part of the perks in partaking in life with Christ, include protection over our hearts and minds, and participation in His perfect peace. He imparts in us, His peace, and covers us with His protection, as we live out our lives with the Lord. The way in which God loves, is far beyond what our minds can conceive. In Him, we come to know peace that should not exist in the midst of raging storms, and despite what we see, our thoughts and feelings are kept from despair, as Christ guards our minds and hearts. May we trust in Him to whom we belong, as He will guard our hearts and minds and provide His perfect peace.

 

Because we belong,Setting Our Sails

to the gracious Lord;

we experience peace,

as love is outpoured.

For He guards our hearts,

and minds in the storms;

brings peace in chaos,

as lives He transforms.

The Lord’s peace exceeds,

what we understand;

as He holds us up,

by His tender hand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we find peace that goes far beyond our human understanding. Thank You that You guard our hearts and minds, and You love us to life, even when the storms rage around us. Thank You that though a life in You is not free of trials and troubles, we have the promise of Your protection, presence and peace, regardless of what comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal Your peace, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You and Your strength to protect and provide in all things and at all times. Show us how to love in such a way, that we too may be presenters of Your peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to guard our hearts and minds, and provide Your perfect peace. 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

Ragnar Review

After a three-day hiatus from this wonderful community of friends and family near and far, I thought it might be good to share with you, the reason for my absence. Though I have mentioned previously that I would be participating in the Ragnar Relay, prior to actual participation, that was but a glimpse of what was yet to come. So, without further ado, I will attempt to unpack some of the experience.

 

Meg Ragnar 2013One year ago, yesterday, I was on Whidbey Island with my boys, with the intention of watching my sister finish some crazy, long relay race, called the Ragnar Relay. As I stood beside her husband, watching the team of twelve running together in unison across the finish line, I wondered what could have transpired to bring a group of twelve friends and strangers together to stretch themselves to run 200 miles round the clock, until they had finished. Watching the exchanges between teammates as they snapped photos, hugged one another, high-fived, and shared laughs, I found myself drawn into the community of a close-knit team, wondering if I too, should take on such an endeavor.

 

In December, I decided that I was ready to really commit to running again. The process was a slow and painful one, as I had always beEncourage Each Otheren accustomed to being able to run far without my lungs complaining because they had not properly prepared for this. As the months went by, I slowly built momentum, ever improving as I found friends who were able to run too. In the late spring, I discovered a sweet friend from church was a perfect running partner. She and I not only logged miles together, but became fast friends. Our runs have been times to comfort and care for one another, each knowing that the other will be lifting the needs of the other up to the Lord, long after the run is done.

 

Ragnar nailsLast week, leading up to our race, there was running gear to organize, safety gear to purchase, nails to be painted, bags to be packed, and a plethora of other preparations to be made. At long last, Thursday arrived. After seeing my boys off on the ferry solo for the first time, and waiting for the arrival of my sister and brother-in-law, we three then made our way to the meet up for dinner with our van’s portion of our team. The relay teams are typically twelve members, so it was strange to meet up with only two others, and recognize that our five was it in our van, as one of our original teammates had to drop out unexpectedly. That being said, it meant that over dinner, we discussed our strategy as to how we would cover the three legs that were now vacant and needed to be run. It was a small and compatible group, so all was off to a great start.

 

We called it a night and returned to our hotel, where we would try to get a few hours of sleep. Our scheduled meet up time with the other halfRagnar Van Decorating of our team was 3:45 am, as we had to drive together up the Canadian border, where the race was to begin. The two vans made a necessary Starbucks stop at the halfway point, and it was the first time that many of us met one another. My dear friend and her friend were in the other van, and my sister and brother-in-law were in the same van as me. Everyone was a bit groggy, yet kind and optimistic. We were able to mingle and decorate the van windows before finishing our drive to the start line.

 

Van 2.

Van 2.

The two vans leap frog each other throughout the course. Runners 1-6 are in van one, and runners 7-12 are in van two. There are a total of 36 legs to be run, and they are all run sequentially and continuously, until the entire course is run. While van one runners are running, van two is resting, getting a meal, and moving ahead to the next major exchange in preparation for handoff.

 

Each leg of the race, presented its only challenges and rewards. The region where the race was run is very hilly, so hills could be counted on,Our team.

in EVERY leg. If you pass a runner while you are running your leg, it is called a “kill”, and “kills” are tallied on van windows. There is a sweet sense of accomplishment to mark “kills” when you are exhausted from running a leg. Each van follows and provides support to their runner along the course as they run. As a van, it is determined prior to running, how much support the runner thinks they might want (water, etc.) and the cheering van shows up, offering the words of encouragement needed, usually right when it is most needed.

Shan Ragnar 2014

Every step I took, I was aware of God’s goodness and His grace, as He so clearly was covering me and my teammates. Despite the lack of sleep and one less team member, we were able to do abundantly more than we thought we could. As I ran, I felt His presence and His strength, especially when I knew I should have had none. So often the song in my heart was “You Make Me Brave“, the lyrics in particular, “You make me brave, You make me brave, No fear can hinder now the promises You made.” In moments that I feared I could not take another step, I would breathe deeply in the truth of God, the fear would pass, and strength was renewed.

Ragnar tired 2014

After four legs run, very little sleep, only two proper meals, and countless stories of God’s faithfulness, grace and goodness, I am ready to sign up to be a repeat Ragnarian again next year!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, Your grace, and for Your protection over each one of us. Thank You for helping us do abundantly more than we ever thought we could on our own. Thank You that in You, we find our strength. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. May our faith in You lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come to know the hope that is held in You alone. Let us glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

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

 

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Me, My SIs, Bro-in-law

Love this lady!

Love this lady!