Sharing Hope

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. – (1 Peter 3:15, NIV)

But keep the Lord Christ holy in your hearts. Always be ready everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have. – (1 Peter 3:15, ERV)

But give reverent honor in your hearts to the Anointed One and treat Him as the holy Master of your lives. And if anyone asks about the hope living within you, always be read to explain your faith with gentleness and respect. – (1 Peter 3:15, TPT)

 

To revere is to view with respect and awe. How often do we truly look at Christ through the proper lens? God is love, hope, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness and self-control for all who call on His Name. The hope we hold is not due in part to anything that we have done, but rather as a result of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He died so that we might live. Few would willingly lay down their life for another, (and typically only for someone whom they dearly love) yet Christ died for us, while we were still sinners. Jesus loved us, even when we knew nothing of His love to return. It is the unconditional love of Christ that grants us hope, not only for today, but for all of eternity. Our story, our own experiences of discovering the hope that is found in Christ, is the most gentle and respectful way to share what we have found with those around us who ask. May we ever maintain a posture of reverence for the Lord, and be ready to tell of His faithfulness and the hope that is ever held in Him.

 

With honor and awe, Sharing Hope

Let’s look to the Lord;

Our hope Provider,

The One we adore.

The hope that we hold,

Dwells deep from within;

As we’ve discovered,

Love time and again.

It is by God’s love,

We come to know grace;

That grants us all hope,

Eternal embrace.

Let’s ever recall,

How we came to know;

Hope that’s forever,

So His grace we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all hope is found forever in You. Thank You that You ask us to partner with You to share what we know with those who are seeking. Forgive us for not maintaining a proper perspective of You, or for neglecting to share the hope we know with those around us. Be glorified O God, as we remember with awe and reverence, the hope that You placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Blessed

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, NIV)

Her children bless her; her husband praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, CEB)

Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise. – (Proverbs 31:28, MSG)

 

Though I cannot even begin to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, I am beyond blessed by both my children and my husband. God has granted me the greatest gift I’ve ever known through the lives of my boys, and a love I never knew was possible through the loving union of marriage to my husband, partner and friend. I am blessed and praised by these guys, even when I am least deserving, and each one of them is fiercely protective and willing to help whenever I ask. Perhaps it is a recognition of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, far more than a living up to a certain standard or expectation. Because I am loved well, I desperately desire and am driven to do the same. I imagine that is God’s intention for all of us. As we realize the depth and breadth of His love for us, we are inspired to go and love likewise. May we seek our Savior who loves us more than we can comprehend, so that we too, can go and love those around us without reservation.

 

Such wonder indeed,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Is love we receive;

The blessings bestowed,

When we are in need.

The gift of children,

The love of a spouse;

Love made tangible,

Within my own house.

Let’s freely receive,

God’s love and His grace;

So we too can love,

In His tender ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the loved ones whom You bring into our lives – be it children, spouses, family or friends. Thank You that You make Your pleasure known through the words of others in a way that inspires us to ever pursue You and Your ways. Forgive us for taking Your love or that of those whom You have blessed us with for granted. Teach us to appreciate and value the goodness and grace that You generously give in tangible ways. Show us how to lavishly love those whom You place in our path, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and the grace, and the tender embrace, that You wrap around us through the people whom You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely You have granted him/(her) unending blessings and made him/(her) glad with the joy of Your presence. – Psalm 21:6

Giving Ourselves Away

Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.” – (Mark 12:43-44)

Jesus looks at our heart as we give of ourselves. Are we giving out of our excess of time, energy and resources, or are we intentionally setting aside some of ourselves to give away, even if it is costly? It takes faith to give in areas where we do not have an abundance, yet it is often in those very spaces of trust, that we see the mighty hand of God, move in ways we could have never began to imagine. Our willingness creates opportunities to see God’s plan unfold before us. Though God is God, and can move mightily whether we partner with Him or not; we have the incredible blessing of being called to walk beside Him, and partake in His plan as He points us along the path that He has placed before us. Often that road includes giving our time, energy and resources beyond what we would choose to do on our own. That being said, it is in that very space, that we witness the wonders of the work of His mighty hand as He moves in us and through us. May we choose to listen to the Lord’s leading, and freely give of ourselves as He calls us to give.

Give not out of wealth,Listen Learn and Love

but where the Lord calls;

for His ways are best,

for one and for all.

Despite how things seem,

the Lord plans to move;

He does not call us,

to Himself remove.

For His way is blessed,

in that space of trust;

as He moves mountains,

He’s faithful and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You so often call us to give more of ourselves than we would freely choose to give, when we walk in obedience, You move in miraculous ways. Thank You that You are faithful and trustworthy, and that we need not fear that which You call us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of obedience, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to be generous with our time, our talents and our resources. Lead us to love others well, so that they might clearly see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give ourselves away, as You have so generously given unto us. Amen.

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

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

Be the Change

Injustices are everywhere, we simply need open our eyes and look around us to see suffering that need not be present. There is homelessness, abuse, hunger and human trafficking, and those are but a few out our own front door. The needs are far beyond what one person could conquer, however, if we do nothing, change will never occur. As I continue my book study, Undaunted, by Christine Caine, one of her passions is to help fight human trafficking. She goes far beyond sympathy for the suffering, as Caine goes into the places of known need, and seeks to save those stuck in the shackles of slavery. Her heart is for healing and restoring the victims to wholeness, and she works tirelessly to help establish safety nets for victims once they have been rescued.

 

27 million are in bondage around the globe. That number is staggering. The average age of trafficking victims is twelve, nearly the same age as my own precious progeny. Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued. That means that 98-99% of those twelve-year-olds, are trapped in bondage until the day they die… (Statistics from www.thea21campaign.org)

 

So what are we to do? When Jesus saw an injustice, He walked toward it, not away from it. When He found out there were merchants misusing the temple and keeping the Gentiles from worshiping, He did not sit idly by. On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – (Mark 11:15-16)

 

If Jesus responded that way to defiling the temple with extortion, imagine how He would respond to human lives being bartered… Our charge is to do something. We are not all called to go into the dark and scary spaces and rescue the captured. However, there are numerous roles to fill. We can pray. We can support. We can educate. We can advocate. We can protect. We can prevent and we can partner with those who are called to go and reach right into the lives that would have otherwise been lost, and be a part of the change. May we each give ear to God’s heart, so that we hear clearly what He would have us do.

 

Change only happens,Be the Change

when people choose rise;

to stand up and fight,

to open blind eyes.

Awareness becomes,

the mightiest sword;

striking injustice,

as lives are restored.

May we be the change,

that sees and then acts;

let’s go forth in love,

our fire to fight back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know all of the injustice in the world, and that not one is lost from Your sight. Thank You that You are greater than the ugliness and evil that permeates society. Thank You that in You, we can be the change that ends injustice for individuals everywhere. Thank You that even one life rescued and restored is reason for rejoicing. Forgive us for shying away from injustices we see, and help us to take things head on, just as Jesus did. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hear Your specific instructions for us, individually, as You have a specific role for each of us to play. Help us to know what we are meant to do, and then grant us the strength and the courage to obey. Lead us to love others more than we ever thought possible, just as You love us. May many who are trapped in captivity – be it physically, emotionally or spiritually – be set free and find life everlasting in You. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to be the change that You are calling us to be. Amen.

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

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

May Compassion Compel Us to Action

During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I have compassion for these people: they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.” – (Mark 8:1-3)

 

Jesus identified a practical need of the people before Him, and went beyond simple concern. Christ’s compassion compelled Him to action, and He carried out another miraculous feeding of the masses. Likewise, the Lord sees and knows our daily needs. He is concerned for us, just as He was for those who had gathered to hear Him. God is never too busy to hear us, nor too callous to not care for our needs. He provides what we need when we need it, though often in ways we would never expect. We are meant to be available vessels, as often He uses us to be His hands and feet to supply what is needed for another. Our hearts ought to be ever open to hear Him, so that we may be ready to reach out however He may ask. Likewise, we need also be willing to receive that which the Lord provides through others, as they may very well be the supply to where we are lacking. May we go forth with open hands and hearts, ready to give and receive all that the Lord has for us.

 

The Lord knows our need,May Compassion Compel Us to Action

far better than us;

that is why He sent,

precious Lord Jesus.

Not one of us could,

live life without sin;

we needed saving,

so Christ entered in.

Beyond the big needs,

Christ cares for the small;

He sees where we lack,

and provides for all.

May hearts be open,

to do as He asks;

to give or receive,

trust Him in each task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our needs before we do. Thank You that You care for us and provide in ways that we could not even fathom. Thank You that You invite us to partner with You as Your instruments of peace, to go forth and be Your hands and feet to a world in need. Forgive us for not going where You call us to go, or for refusing to receive what You are providing through another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may have Your eyes to see what is right before us. Lead us to love others as You love us, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be exalted O God, as we allow compassion to lead us to action wherever You call us to go. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

The Desert Road

As I continue in my study of Acts, I so appreciate the sensitivity of Philip to the Lord’s leading.  He was told to “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” – (Acts 8:26) Despite Philip’s successful ministry in Samaria, he was quick to obey what was asked of him, without even asking why.  He simply got up and went.

Philip’s obedience led to an extraordinary encounter with an Ethiopian eunuch. (an important official in charge of the queen of Ethiopia’s treasury) This man had traveled to Jerusalem to worship, yet had not yet heard the great news of Jesus.  While Philip was walking on his way, he came upon the man as he was reading Isaiah, seated in his chariot, on the side of the road.  Again, Philip followed the Father’s prompting, and went to the man, as he had been told, and ultimately explained how the passage the Ethiopian was reading was speaking of Jesus.  Philip was able to tell him of all that Jesus had done, and all the good new that was available to him.  The eunuch responded right away, and wanted to be baptized.  Right after his baptism, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away.  The eunuch went on his way rejoicing, and was now equipped to share his experience with others.

In my own experience, I know this to be true.  As a teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching Social Studies, U.S. History, Art,  and Language Arts.  I had been stuck in a cycle of teach Mathematics for several years, and was burned out.  Finally, I had returned to Language Arts and U.S. History, and was thrilled.  At year’s end, my principal asked me if I would be willing to teach Reading Intervention the following year.  My first question was, “How am I qualified to teach that?”  His reply encouraged me to go ahead and wander into the desert, despite my inexperience with teaching struggling readers.  (As did the still small voice in my spirit) One step of willing obedience, has led to a position that I would not trade for anything.  I am now in my third year as the Reading Intervention teacher, and I LOVE teaching struggling readers.  I get to see the “a-ha’s” and the successes, regularly.  I get to know and love kids, that typically are difficult to know and love, in the tradition classroom setting.

Often, what we are called to do, does not make sense.  Calls can seem to be a demotion of sorts, or a send-off into the desert.  However, each time the call is answered and obeyed, the result is nothing short of remarkable.  At times, it takes a great deal of walking before we seem to hear the next step, yet the obedient walking is somehow always a preparation for the next leg of the journey.  May we be sensitive to His voice, and quick to make the choice to do as we are asked.

Ready to go,The Desert Road

leaving all behind;

willing to trust,

know we’re on His mind.

Steps to obey,

by faith we shall walk;

let momentum,

be our faith-filled talk.

See not the sand,

but trust in Him more;

He paves the path,

and leads us to shore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much, that You call us to partner with You on this journey.  Thank You that You use us and work in us and through us, when we are willing to answer Your call.  Thank You that You are faithful, always.  Forgive us for questioning Your call, or for fearing that we are not qualified.  Thank You that none of us are ever qualified on our own, but rather You in us, is what qualifies us to be obedient and do as You ask.  May we be tender to trust You more, and may many come to hear Your call, as we live and love as You call us to.  May lives be changed and hearts be moved.  All glory and honor to You, Lord.  Amen.

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

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

Gather Together

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened.  As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them.” – (Luke 24:13-15)

Though these men were confused and upset about what had happened, they were talking together, genuinely seeking answers.  As they were attempting to make sense of that which seemed so unclear, Jesus showed up.  He did not reveal Himself right away, but He spoke to them, giving them insight and understanding as to what had previously been unclear.  Eventually, the men did recognize Him, as He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.

Jesus is still the same today.  When two or more of us gather, and genuinely seek Him for answers, He shows up, and provides wisdom and insight.  Though His presence is never-ending in the hearts of those who believe, there seems to be something powerful about gathering together as His people, to pray and to seek His wisdom and will, for whatever lies before us.  “For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20)

Gather together,Gather Together

partner in prayer;

united in heart,

the Lord will be there.

In unity seek,

ask Him what we need;

trust He is faithful,

our requests, He’ll heed.

As we are seeking,

we must listen too;

to hear God’s own heart,

and know what to do.

Lean not on ourselves,

but fully on Him;

for His way is best,

to find peace within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You.  Thank You that You tell us that gathering together in Your Name is good.  Thank You that as we do, You are faithful to speak to our hearts, as we are willing to listen.  Forgive us for not slowing down to truly listen, and for neglecting our need to gather with other believers to seek You together.  Teach us how to trust one another, and how to pray and commune together in a way that honors You.  Lead us and guide us I pray.  May we love one another as You love us, and may the fullness of Your goodness and grace in us, overflow and pour out to all of those who are around us.  May many come to know of Your great love, and enter into a relationship with You.  Be magnified, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

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

Sharing Ourselves

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” – (Hebrews 13:16)

Community is critical, and I am so thankful that both my school and church community are heavily invested and committed doing good and sharing with others, as these two arenas are the areas where both my boys and I spend the majority of most of our days.  Teaching kids the importance of looking outside of themselves to see that there are needs right here in our own community, and empowering them to rise up and take action, is a common occurrence throughout the year, as my school holds a food drive prior to Thanksgiving, and then sponsors families in need prior to the Christmas break, so that children will have gifts to open and families will have meals to share.  Similarly, our church creates Thanksgiving baskets for families in need in the community, and then holds an incredible evening event where many businesses and the police department partner with our church to turn the sanctuary into a space where parents are able to come in and select several gifts for each of their children, and then have them wrapped and tagged, while their kiddos are being cared for in another area, unaware of the surprises that will soon be theirs to open.

The good and sharing that we do with others, goes beyond big events.  Our time, our resources, and ourselves – these are what He is asking us to share with others, so that they too, may come to call Him King this Christmas.  For the time that you have invested in others, even when it was not convenient, know that He is pleased.  As you chose to give, even when it meant you did not get something that you may have wanted, He is pleased.  Each time you truly listened and heard the heart of another, He has seen you, and with you, He is well pleased.

This is but a fraction of the parent shop... :)

This is but a fraction of the parent shop… 🙂


Forget not to do good,

and give yourself away;

as we extend our hearts,

that’s the choice to obey.

Giving that which we have,

of our talent and time;

God sees and He honors,

each kindness to mankind.

May we go forth and give,

as we have been given;

may His Name be made known,

on earth as in heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have done the ultimate good for us, as You shared Your Son so that we might have the hope of eternal life.  Thank You that this is a season, more than any other, that people are receptive to receive the good and sharing that others extend.  Forgive us for not making the most of the opportunities You provide, and help us to have open hearts, so that we will hear and obey whatever You ask of us.  Teach us to trust You completely, knowing that You are good, and that You are pleased each time we choose to do as You ask of us.  Just as a parent is proud of their child when they share and are kind to others, help us to remember that You too, see us through the eyes of a loving Father.  May we share with others and do good, not only in this sacred season, but throughout the year – as an offering unto You.  May many come to know You as their Savior, as we seek to serve You with our lives.  Be exalted, O God.  Amen.

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