Step Out of the Boat

“Lord, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, NIV) 

Peter said, “Lord, if that is really You, tell me to come to You on the water.” Jesus said, “Come, Peter.” Then Peter left the boat and walked on the water to Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, ERV) 

Peter shouted out, “Lord, if it’s really You, then have me join You on the water!” “Come and join me,” Jesus replied. So, Peter stepped out onto the water and began to walk toward Jesus. – (Matthew 14:28-29, TPT) 

 

Peter’s desire to know the truth about Jesus was tremendous. After just having been caught in treacherous wind and waves, and out of seemingly nowhere, witnessing Jesus walking up to the boat on the water, Peter called out to Jesus and asked to join Him where He was. As a fisherman, Peter knew the danger in the midst of the storm, and the risk of drowning in the depths of the sea. However, with his eyes fixed on Jesus, Peter’s desire to be with Jesus, where He was, despite having to step out of the safety of the boat that actually floated, he called to Jesus and asked to be where He was. Jesus told him to “come”. Incredibly, Peter chose to step out of the security of sitting in the boat and set both feet on the water, trusting that Jesus, who called him, could empower him to do what Jesus was doing. Though we know how the story goes, and that Peter, as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus, began to sink; yet Peter is the only one other than Jesus to ever experience walking on water. Both his faith and desire to be where Jesus was, empowered him to do what Jesus was doing. Peter asked, Jesus answered, and Peter stepped out of the boat. What does it take for us to step out of our “boat”? We ask, He answers and we have to choose to take that first few steps. Often, we never set foot out of the boat. Additionally, when we feel ourselves sinking, do we call out to Christ, or dive back in the boat? Jesus is trustworthy and will not let us sink. Just as He did for Peter, He will take our hand and keep us afloat. May we seek the Lord for the ways in which He wants us to draw ever nearer to Him, and be willing to step out of our space of comfort and safety, so that we too, may experience the wonder of walking with Him in ways we never thought possible. 

 

Lord, help us to trust, step out of the boat

Despite what we see; 

Help us move to You, 

Our place of safety. 

May we choose step out, 

Of that which we know; 

With eyes on You, Lord, 

So our faith may grow. 

No matter the wind, 

Nor waves that surround; 

To place trust in You, 

Is hope that is sound. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You answer and are present with us. Thank You that You show Yourself faithful each time we trust and move toward You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, and allowing our circumstances to cloud our sight line. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would fix our eyes on You, no matter the storms that come our way, and ever press on toward You and where You call us closer to You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know the security that is in Your presence, rather than the space they are in right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we step out of what we know to move ever closer to You. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Let It Be Yes

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying – I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. – (Matthew 26:74, NLT)

 

Peter, who had been one of the three who was closest to Jesus, ultimately betrayed Him in His darkest hour. This must have been particularly painful, as Peter was the only disciple who was mentioned as having followed where Jesus was taken after His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Rather than extending support or testifying on His behalf, Peter stood outside at a distance – watching and waiting to see what would happen. In his wait, he was asked three times if he was associated with Jesus. Three times, he denied even knowing Him. After Peter’s third denial, the weight of his words overwhelmed him, and he ran off weeping bitterly at his own weakness in the face of adversity. However, the beauty of Peter’s story is that he does not live the remainder of his life as a broken and remorseful man, but rather Jesus forgives and redeems him, and he goes on to become the rock on which the church is built. Peter’s failure later became the way in which he was restored, as Jesus asked him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter responded with a resounding “Yes“, and Jesus followed his “yes” with the call to go out into all the earth and share the good news. Peter went from mess to minister, through the power presented in the forgiveness Jesus provided. May we each seek the redeeming power that Jesus provides as we are willing to say “yes” to Him as He forgives our every sin and shortcoming.

 

Oh Lord as we come,Beside Still Waters

Broken in our sin;

I stand in such awe,

As we’re forgiven.

Your grace overwhelms,

Restores and renews;

Gives rise and purpose,

To all who come choose.

Lord take all our sin,

And wash it away;

Show us how to rise,

To walk well, Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who forgives, heals and restores us and raises us up so that we can do mighty things for You. Thank You that our past does not determine our future. Thank You that You can bring beauty from ashes, and testimonies from trials. Forgive us for wallowing in our own failures, rather than seeking Your forgiveness and redemption. Teach us to trust You more, as Your hand is what moves us in mighty ways. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may come to know and understand the power of Your forgiveness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for forgiveness, and rely on You to be our strength and guide wherever we are meant to go. Amen.

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

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

New Life from What Appears Empty

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. Se the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.'” – (Mark 16:6-7)

These two verses are packed full of significance. They demonstrate just how personal Jesus is to people, and how specifically He cares for us, individually. He knew to have the waiting messenger first tell those who found the empty tomb to not be afraid. Jesus knew their hearts and knew that fear would be their first response. Next, he showed them where the Savior had been laid, so they could see for themselves that He had risen, just as He had said He would do. After that, the ladies were charged with the task of going to tell the disciples, (with specific mention of Peter who had just denied Jesus three times) that Christ had risen! Finally, they were assured that Jesus had gone ahead of them to Galilee, and that they would get to see Him there, just as He had promised.

Jesus knows us. He knows our hearts and our needs. He knows what we need to see and hear to understand and to fend off fear. Jesus takes our circumstances and places people in our path whom convey hope that He is good and His word is true. Christ remains present with us, and does not leave us, despite how things appear. Though the ladies approached an empty tomb, what they discovered was the risen Lord. May we approach our empty tombs with hopeful hearts, trusting that the Lord knows our needs and will lead us and stay beside us, to the place where we too, witness the wonder of what He has planned.

Our Savior Jesus,Hope in an Empty Tomb

knows us each by name;

His heart is for us,

and His truth remains.

No matter what comes,

or stands in our way;

the Lord is our help,

our peace each new day.

Seek Christ in triumph,

and when troubles come;

He’s ever ready,

where our hope is from.

Dear heart, hold not fear,

for Jesus made way;

to overcome all,

as we trust and pray.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us, individually and personally. Thank You that You know our needs before we even express them, and You love us where we are at. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we encounter the seemingly empty tombs in our lives, and teach us to trust You, and Your plan to bring life and hope and redemption from what seems like an end. Teach us to trust You more, so that we eagerly await each new thing that You bring, regardless of how it appears. Lead us to love others with the same gentleness and compassion that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to bring new life out of our empty tombs. 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

Jesus is the Fulfillment

The Gospel of Mark paints a clear picture of who Jesus truly is. When Peter, James and John went up on a high mountain with Him for six days, Jesus was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking to Jesus. – (Mark 9:3-4) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to Him!” – (Mark 9:7)

 

As Jesus was transfigured, His divine nature was revealed to His disciples. The voice of God spoke the truth of whom Jesus truly was, and of by what authority He was given to operate. Through the appearance of Elijah and Moses, Jesus was clearly shown as the fulfillment of both the Old Testament Laws, and the prophetic promises. Jesus is.. the fulfillment. In Christ, we are no longer left to attempt to make atonement for our indiscretions, but rather we may rely on the redemption that Jesus has provided through His power that bore all of our sin and shame on the cross. When we seek Him and place our lives in His hands, we are both instructed and equipped in the ways in which we are meant to go. May we embrace the fulfillment that is found through faith in Christ alone.

 

On a mountaintop,Breaking Free from Barriers

Christ became transformed;

and God made it known,

just whom they adored.

For Jesus was more,

than the law had been;

promises fulfilled,

our Savior and friend.

May we each embrace,

all that Jesus brings;

and give Him our best,

our true offering.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Jesus, thank You for being both the fulfillment of the Old Testament Laws and of the prophetic promises. Thank You that You are our example to look upon, and our help and our hope to depend on for all of our days. Forgive us for trying to make reparations for our wrongs rather than coming before You in confession, and help us to seek Your face and receive Your grace, so that we may operate in the fullness of all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will know in both our head and our hearts that every promise You have made is for us too. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted Lord God, as we embrace the fulfillment that is found through faith in You. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

It is Grace that Saves

In this fast-paced world with its ever growing demands, it is easy to lose perspective. Within almost every avenue we navigate, there are performance expectations attached to each step of the way. At times, the pressure is so great, motivation to perform is entirely fear-based. Thankfully, we serve a God who is nothing like that. Our salvation is a gift that is given to ALL who believe and choose to receive. We do not have to achieve a certain level of holiness to be considered righteous before Him, but rather it is His grace alone that saves us.

 

This point had to be driven home by Peter before the council in Jerusalem, as the Jewish believers were arguing that Gentile believers needed to do certain things to be saved. His response was with words that ought to still resonate with us today: No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are. – (Acts 15:11) May we embrace the grace that has set us free from sin and shame, and walk forward in obedience to Him who has called us according to His purpose.

 

Though pressure is great,It is Grace that Saves

to always perform;

in Christ we need not,

let fear be the norm.

We are saved by grace,

gift granted in love;

with no strings attached,

salvation for us.

The strength of His love,

compels us to rise;

to love others well,

and serve with our lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are saved by Your loving and generous grace, and not by our ability to follow a series of rules and regulations. Thank You that when we believe and receive new life in You, You grant us Your Holy Spirit to lead and guide us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for trying to earn favor or perform somehow, rather than simply being obedient to all that You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will do all that You ask without hesitation. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in the grace that You so generously have given. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Who Wants to Fight?

After Peter and the other apostles had been arrested for sharing the good news of Jesus in the temple courts, an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and set them free to return to sharing the message of hope. The next day, the religious leaders were up in arms, as they found the cell still locked and guarded, yet the men were free and back to preaching, once again. Brought before the Sanhedrin and high priest for questioning, the apostles answered with wisdom and courage. Religious leaders were so infuriated with their response, that they wanted to put them to death at once. However, one Pharisee, Gamaliel, who was greatly honored and admired by all, stood up and spoke. “…Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” – (Acts 5:38-39)

 

There is much to be gleaned from this particular passage. Three things stand out to me the most.

(1) What God calls us to do, He will make a way, even in the face of great adversity.

(2) If we are doing God’s work, He will be with us.

(3) We ought not get in the way of anyone pursuing what they feel God has called them to do. If it is of their own origin, it will likely fail. If it is from God, why on earth would we stand in the way?

 

The call of the Lord,Who Wants to Fight

not for faint of heart;

it takes all our trust,

to each do our part.

The path we’re to walk,

won’t always be smooth;

yet God is faithful,

His goodness He’ll prove.

Stand not in the way,

of those who pursue;

what they feel that God,

has asked them to do.

If what they pursue,

is their origin;

then it’s sure to fail,

before they begin.

Yet if it’s from God,

stand not in their way;

for who wants to fight,

the Lord any day?

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue the path You have placed before us, You are present and walk beside us. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, who speaks to our hearts and minds, leading and guiding us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Forgive us for not listening well, or for questioning the calling of others. Grant us Your wisdom to discern that which is from You, and that which is not. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Lead us to love well, just as You so completely love each of us. May many eyes be opened to the light of Your truth, and hearts tender to receive all that You have to offer. Be exalted O God, as we pursue the path You have placed before us, trusting You no matter the terrain. 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

Bestowing the Best of News

What is the best news you have heard in recent months? For me, a recurring theme is new lives are on the way. I have several friends who are expecting. The anticipation and preparation paired with dear ones readying their hearts and homes to welcome new tiny wonders, is some of my favorite sort of news.

 

The great news of hope in Christ, should carry even more enthusiasm. Not only does coming into a relationship with Him bring new life, but it is a life that is everlasting in Christ’s presence! Jesus takes our brokenness and sinfulness, and heals and restores so that we are whole and considered righteous before Him. Christ’s love is so transformational, it should be a struggle to stay silent about all the wonders He has done. Just as Peter and John replied to the Sanhedrin when ordered to stop speaking and teaching about Christ, so too should our response be the same. “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – (Acts 4:20) May we go forth in wonder, sharing of all that He has done.

 

The great news of Christ,

My own tiny blessings a few years ago... <3

My own tiny blessings a few years ago… ❤

a message of hope;

He removes our stains,

and leads as we lope.

A wondrous exchange,

our sin for His grace;

His love that transforms,

bright light in dark space.

How can we not speak,

of what we have heard;

in Him we have hope,

our future, secured.

Let us all go forth,

with great joy, speak out;

point all to the Lord,

the One secure route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the best news we have ever received. Thank You that in You, we have forgiveness, grace, love, joy, peace, hope, and so much more! Thank You that You welcome all who come with repentant hearts seeking after You. Forgive us for staying silent when Your truth needed to be told. Grant us boldness, so that we will speak of what we have seen and heard as You call us to share, and give us wisdom to know how much or how little You would have for us to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be still before You, listening intently for Your voice to whisper words to our heart. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they cannot help but see You in us. May many come into a saving relationship with You as we love and serve those around us. Be glorified O God, as we speak of the great news we have in You. Amen.

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

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

Refreshment Through Repentance

After Peter and John had been used to heal a beggar in Jesus’ Name, they suddenly had a captive audience that was ready to hear what they had to say. Peter capitalized on the opportunity, as he unpacked all that had recently taken place with Jesus, before the open onlookers. As he did so, Peter pointed out (1) who Jesus was, (2) how they had rejected Him, (3) why their rejection was fatal, and (4) what they needed to do to change the situation. (NIV footnotes for Acts 3:11) The solution Peter presented was delivered a few verses later. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. – (Acts 3:19)

 

Restoration and refreshment from God, come when we repent and turn in trust to Him. In doing so, He wipes away all of our sin and shame, and refreshes our hearts and minds in Him. To repent, we must turn away from our own unrighteousness, and turn toward Christ. Repentance is both an act of our will and an exercise of His power within us. We cannot turn away from what entangles us if we do not trust that He will set us free. God is far greater than anything that attempts to attack or create anxiety – we however, must trust that God is who He says He is. May we turn to God, repent, and receive His refreshment.

 

The Name above all,Refreshment Through Repentance

rejected and killed;

a fatal mistake,

change need be instilled.

The solution clear,

presented quite plain;

repent before God,

Who wipes away stains.

Refreshing shall come,

when God has been sought;

for He sets us free,

our redemption bought.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You with repentant hearts, and You receive us as we come. Thank You that You forgive us, refresh and renew us, so that we are made right before You again. Forgive us for our reluctance to repent, or for keeping hidden that which is seen by You anyway. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might keep short accounts before You, quick to confess and rapid to receive, all that You have for each of us. Lead us to love one another with the same sort of mercy and grace that You extend to each of us. May many come to know You personally, as we live and love according to Your purpose. Be glorified O God, as we repent and receive Your refreshment. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Purposeful Petition

The prayers of the people who gather together united in purpose, change things as they earnestly seek Christ. In Acts 12, the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison is told, as King Herod had him arrested with the intent to publicly place him on trial, after just having put James to death with the sword.

 

So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. – (Acts 12:5)

 

That very night, the people’s prayers were answered, and an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and led him out of the prison without so much as waking a single one of the sixteen men who were charged with guarding him. Peter went out of the prison, directly to where the believers were gathered in prayer, to show them what the Lord had done. Overwhelmed, it took a few trips to the door, before those gathered could grasp that the man standing at the door was actually Peter in the flesh.

 

When people gather to purposefully pray, there is power in their prayers. We need to be people of faith, trusting that God hears our prayers and will be faithful to answer that which we ask in His Name. When answers come, we ought to give Him all the glory!

 

There is power found,Purposeful Petition

when gathered to pray;

united purpose,

seeking the Lord’s way.

Asking together,

for captives set free;

for weary and ill,

to gather near Thee.

Present petitions,

with faith in the Lord;

for He is faithful,

answers to afford.

Pray too, with purpose,

seek Him and we’ll find;

He hears our prayers,

all glory Divine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You assure us that where two or more are gathered, You are present in the midst of us. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, be it alone, or gathered together with a body of believers. Thank You that there is power in the prayers of Your people who gather together to pray, united in purpose. Forgive us for failing to gather, for lacking unity, or for anything else that hinders us from earnestly seeking You with all that we are. Teach us to trust and believe, so that we may know more completely the power present when we pray. Help us to love others as You so completely love each of us, and let those who are looking, find a forever faith in You. Be glorified, O God, as we gather together and purposefully pray. Amen.

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

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

Watching for Wisdom

In Acts 11, just after Peter had gone into the home of Cornelius – the generous, God-seeking, Roman centurion, and had witnessed the mighty move of the Holy Spirit among Gentiles, he faced Jewish believers and their countless questions as to why on earth he had gone into the presence of those considered unclean. Peter unpacked all that had transpired prior to his encounter with Cornelius and company, followed by all that God had done while he had been with them in obedience. When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” – (Acts 11:18)

 

The example set by the early church models how we ought to handle disagreements today. Though they were shocked at the very idea that Peter had done something so counter cultural, they asked questions, then listened to his answers before going off the deep end. In fact, once they heard the entire story, they praised God. Rather than judging behaviors of fellow believers, it is critical that we hear one another out. We never know what the Holy Spirit is doing in and through others, until we ask and listen. May we listen well so that we learn all that He is trying to teach us through others.

 

Often the way things,Watching for Wisdom

seemingly appear;

are not what we think,

but God’s new frontier.

The way that He moves,

is not to be mapped;

instead His power,

should be sought and tapped.

When we are confused,

unsure of what’s seen;

He calls us to ask,

find out what things mean.

If we then listen,

He will make it known;

if the move is His,

or one on their own.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and all-inclusive God. Thank You that no one is excluded from Your love. Thank You that You desire to reach everyone – people from every nation and walk of life, regardless of where we have been. Forgive us for being judgmental or leery of the new or unknown, rather than asking questions and truly listening to hear what You have to say. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may ask and listen for answers. Help us to love as You so graciously love each of us. Let those who are looking, be found forever in You. Be exalted, O God, as we seek to hear Your will, even in the new. Amen.

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

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