Prayer Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. 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 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

As usual, what is part of my scheduled daily reading, is exactly what I needed to remember this morning. Part of the joy and blessing in our new puppy, is the constant companion who joyfully wants to join me in all things. The thing I have been most excited about, has been to have a dog who can run with us. For the last week, Thor (my sweet puppy), has been joining us on jog/walk/carries on weekday mornings. Two dear dog-owning friends privately messaged me to be careful about how far I take a puppy. I thought I was using caution, as I watched his cues, and picked him up to carry him any time he seemed weary or bored of walking. Sadly, unless I know specifics, I just do what seems best until I learn otherwise. One of the friends happened to send me a link about puppies and how much exercise they need, based on age, and all of the justification as to why. That sent me to research further, only to discover that I now need to pump the brakes on our morning sessions until Thor is quite a bit older. This caused two-fold anxiety in me. One, I felt horrible that I had likely overdone the exercise for my poor puppy for four or five days, and second, I was worried about how I would be able to stand staying seated for all of the hours of work that I need to do each day, without getting out and moving first. My prayer was pretty much, “O God, now what?” I paused, took a deep breath, and decided to call my running buddy. She was extremely gracious, and we determined to get back to afternoon running, as it is when I could recruit my boys to puppy sit. I know this is a small and seemingly insignificant concern, but God cares about our every concern, great and small. May we ever present our cares and concerns to Christ, for He hears, He loves, and He brings everything together for good somehow.

 

We need not worry, wp-1588686616242993864274389575531.jpg

Instead, let us pray;

For Christ hears each cry,

All night and all day.

What concerns our hearts,

He’ll carry with peace;

As we turn to Him,

Our fear is released.

So, lift head and heart,

To Him, give all care;

He’s ever-present,

And everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring all of our concerns, cares and anxieties to You, and You care and bring us Your peace. Thank You that You are always ready and available to hear our prayers. Forgive us for fear and doubt that allow anxiousness a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, for You are faithful and kind and care about our concerns, no matter how small. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your peace an obvious presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? – Luke 12:25

 

 

The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

Continue reading

For Beautiful 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)

Eternal One: 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 has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

 

I am not big on resolutions nor bandwagon ideas for the coming year. However, as I sat down to prepare to do my devotions this morning, I pondered the overarching word that could capture the heart of this past year. Right away, the word that came to mind was hope. Hope has been the anchor for my soul through some seriously stormy seas that I never thought I’d need to navigate. God’s grace has been abundant, and His hope – overwhelmingly present. Looking forward, I paused, for only a moment, and prayed, asking what word might be one to look for in the coming year. Right away, the word “new” came to mind. For most, I know that new would make sense for a new year, but as a teacher, the new year falls only halfway through the school year, so it really never feels “new”. It is simply a return, rested and recharged for part two. That being said, as I opened my Bible app to go to the day’s reading, and immediately I was greeted by the verses listed above. I do not think that the verse and the word that came to mind and heart are a coincidence. God is doing something new, and I am going to eagerly anticipate all that awaits in the new year. Growth is always good, and possible where things seem impossible – excellent! May we ever watch closely and take notice, for God is doing new things – making a way where there seems no way, and providing beyond what we thought possible.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying Mom to her therapy appointments. It was incredible to watch all of the “new” that she is doing in occupational, speech and physical therapies. Additionally, Saturday morning, Mom determined to try out her new cane, rather than her walker. Since then, she has not looked back, and is now only using the cane to walk! That includes going out for appointments, quick errands, and even when we went out to dinner last evening. God continues to do the “new” in Mom, and we are anticipating an incredible year ahead for her as well.

 

Behold, there is new, wp-15778113316466110001030105135888.jpg

That is yet to come;

God’s making a way,

He’s only begun.

Where impossible,

Was how it all seemed;

God’s making the way,

Realizing dreams.

We know not the way,

He’s working for us;

But He’s full of love,

And faithful to bless.

So, rise up in trust,

Have faith His word’s true;

God’s making a way,

For beautiful new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and grow us beyond what we ever imagined possible. Thank You that You are always doing something new on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that question the possibility of anything more than where we are right now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view life through Your lens rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that support, encourage, and strengthen all whom we meet with reason to believe there is more in store. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all the new that is yet to come in 2020. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19

Found by the Sound

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. – (Luke 19:10, NIV)

The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them. – (Luke 19:10, ERV)

For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost. – (Luke 19:10, MSG)

 

Years ago, I was hiking in the early spring. We came upon an area that was covered in snow, and kept walking. Soon, we lost the trail, and were uncertain of which direction we were meant to go. In life, it is just as easy to slip away from the right path, once we start stepping beyond the security of the one that has been prepared for us. Thankfully, we stopped wandering and paused to listen. Water flows down, and we heard a stream nearby. We followed the sound, and soon discovered the path we had lost sight of in the snow. Jesus is the same way. If we listen for His voice, He will lead us in the way that we are meant to go. He pulls us out of our darkness and restores us into a right relationship with Him. His life, death, resurrection and ascension all took place so that we could be rescued from our wandering in the wilderness. Jesus will lead us back to the path He intends for us to walk, if we slow down and seek His voice. May we ever be intentional to listen, so that we know the path prepared for us; for this is the way to live eternally with Him.

 

We all are in need, Found by the Sound

God’s grace leads us on;

His love that forgives,

Empowers, makes strong.

Strong for the journey,

To follow the way;

The path He provides,

For all of our days.

He came to save us,

All who were once lost;

To set our feet right,

His love paid the cost.

Listen to His voice,

He’ll make the way clear;

Ever He will lead,

As we seek, draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to seek and save us. Thank You that You bring us out of our wandering in the wilderness, and set our feet secure on the path that You have prepared for us. Forgive us for wandering. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know where every road leads, and have prepared the way for us with purpose. Show us how to love and support those around us as they discover the route that You have prepared for them to best navigate their own journey. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we faithfully follow every step You call us to take, for You path provides an eternal promise. Amen.

 

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

 

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Praising through the Storms

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who love Your salvation always say, “Let God be exalted!” – (Psalm 70:4)

David, despite being in the midst of an urgent prayer for help, paused to praise God for who He is. He knew that though his circumstances may have been hard and horrible, God was still good, and His love and salvation are reason for us to rejoice and be glad. As we walk through our days, we can confidently have the same posture of praise, for His salvation is assured to all who earnestly seek Him. Our circumstances do not dictate whether or not we rejoice and are glad in the Lord. Christ is separate from our panic and our pain. He will come along side us and help and guide us, but He is never the cause nor initiator of our struggling spaces. In fact, it is God with us, that provides reason to rejoice in spite of our circumstances, when we choose to trust in Him. May we seek Him with our whole hearts, regardless of our circumstances, and recognize our reasons to rejoice and be glad.

As we stand seeking,No Matter What Comes

we’ll find in our choice;

Christ ever present,

reason to rejoice.

Hope in salvation,

love soon realized;

God be exalted,

wake up, open eyes.

For He knows our need,

before we come ask;

He stands and He waits,

for trust in the task.

We need simply seek,

give to God, let go;

all glory to Him,

where answers are known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even in the midst of our urgent prayers, we have reason to pause and give You praise. Thank You that You are good, and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that Your love never fails. Forgive us for coming to You only with requests, without remembering to recognize just how remarkable You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will rejoice and be glad in You, despite our circumstances, knowing that You are our help and our salvation. Lead us to love others as You so generously and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember to praise You for who You are, even in the midst of our urgent prayers. Amen.

A great song that comes to mind is Praise You in This Storm, by Casting Crowns.  (Click highlighted title to listen.)

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Walking in Wisdom

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. – (Proverbs 28:26)

 

Though some view the bold individual who soldiers on as a hero, if they are self-reliant – neither asking for nor giving advice, they are living in a way that is contrary to that in which God calls us to live. God surrounds us with His people for a purpose. We are meant to support and protect one another from both foolishness and harm. Yes, ultimately, the Lord is our protection and wisdom, yet as humans, we often need the audible and tangible to really have His will make sense.

 

Just yesterday, I had a task that I was about to “soldier” through. A good run and a clear mind had me in a solid state to enter into what I needed to do. When I paused for a moment and entered into what was before me, I quickly called on a few dear friends to pray. I knew that I needed to be covered and calm, and by allowing them access to the fact that what was before me was more than my heart could handle on its own, God met me in a very real way as I walked through what needed to be done. He is faithful to grant wisdom and safety to all who place their trust in Him. May we allow Him access to all, and place our trust in Christ.

 

Let’s trust not ourselves,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

in strength, soldier on;

for that is foolish,

in God, it is wrong.

For those who are wise,

seek wisdom, advice;

surrounded and safe,

mere folly’s demise.

Let’s trust in the Lord,

and those who surround;

the wise and faithful,

may the lost be found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You are our safe place and where we find wisdom. Thank You that You did not create us to go forth on our own, but rather You created us for relationships that reveal more of Yourself, and challenge and grow our faith further with You. Forgive us for failing to depend on You and those whom You have placed on our path to help and support us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will call on You for wisdom and safety in all situations, and that we will go forth together with those whom You have placed beside us. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, and walk in Your wisdom and safety with those You set beside us. Amen.

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

For the Lord you God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15