Assured By Love

Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. – (Luke 1:30, HCSB)

Then the angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. – (Luke 1:30, ERV)

But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift.” – (Luke 1:30, TPT)

As I continue to ponder the role that Mary played in Christmas, I imagine that she must have been quite startled by the appearance of an angel, and felt fear in the presence of God’s own messenger standing before her. I love that her immediate need was met, as he assured her that she had nothing to fear, for God was pleased with her and she had found His favor. In the present day, we have little understanding of the fear of appearing before a king. Back then, if a person appeared before a king without being summoned, they could be killed if the king was not pleased with them. How much more would they have had a similar fear in being in the presence of the King of the Universe’s messenger? The loving kindness of God was made known through Gabriel as He reassured Mary. To hear that God is delighted with you and has a wonderful gift for you, would likely bring peace in the panicked places. Incredibly, when we seek the Lord and pursue a life of love through Him, He is pleased with us as well. He has good gifts to give us if only we are ready and willing to receive them. Peace, joy, love and hope are the gifts that we celebrate as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s arrival. May we ever look to the Lord to be our peace, for He is our hope and grants us joy through His love as we seek Him.

Imagine the sight,

Before Mary stood;

God’s angelic host,

With news that was good.

To be called favored,

One whom God called blessed;

Quite overwhelming,

Assured in distress.

Little did she know,

The news he would bear;

Lives changed forever,

God would soon be there.

He’d come in the flesh,

Miraculous plan,

A new baby born;

Where hope soon began.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are and meet us in our need. Thank You that You see our heart and show us Your great love and grace that provide hope, peace and joy. Forgive us for not turning to You in both our joy and our times of need, for You hear every prayer and are ever near. Teach us to trust You like Mary, for though she did not know what was ahead, she knew and trusted You. Show us how to be willing to listen and give our best yes to You. Lead us to love one another as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside fears and trust big in You and all that You have for us. Amen.

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

This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. – 1 John 4:13

Our Story, His Glory

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for Him. – (Philippians 1:29, NLT)

God has blessed you in ways that serve Christ. He allowed you to believe in Christ. But that is not all. He has also given you the honor of suffering for Christ. Both of these bring glory to Christ. – (Philippians 1:29, ERV)

 

At first read, this verse does not seem all that encouraging. Who wants to suffer? And suffering as an honor? Eesh… However, the more I think about it, the more I can see present day application in our area. Currently, in the U.S., there are few examples of people suffering for their faith. That being said, there are those who are in the midst of trials and tragedies that cling closely to Christ. The way in which they hold fast to their faith is a witness to all who know their story. I know I stand in awe when I hear stories of Christians who stand their ground in countries where people are persecuted for their faith. Additionally, I am amazed by the resilience and perseverance of people in the midst of personal pain who cling to Christ with all that they have. When we go through trials of any kind and choose to trust in the Lord, and allow our faith to flavor everything we do, people cannot help but notice and wonder why. God uses our circumstances to draw others unto Himself. It is in the throes of trials that we discover how great God is, and the hope we have in Him. As we come to grasp with certainty the hope we hold, others cannot help but desire what we have. May we recognize the privilege we have to walk out our lives in faith, and trust Christ in all things so that we might bring glory unto Him.

 

We have been given,Being Made New

Privilege in Christ;

In times of blessing,

And when it’s not nice.

For how we choose trust,

In good and in pain;

Will show to the world,

The hope in His Name.

So let us hold fast,

And give God glory;

As we choose to trust,

Him for our story.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege to trust You in all things. Thank You for the blessings that You bestow upon us. Thank You for Your grace, strength, presence and peace in times of suffering. Thank You that You can use our suffering for Your glory. Forgive us for wanting to hide away in our suffering, rather than to rise up and move forward in faith. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the ultimate Author of our story, and You have prepared the perfect ending. Show us how to love people well through their seasons of blessing and of suffering, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, allowing You glory for whatever happens in our story. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Let Our Hearts Sing Thanks

Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:2, NLT)

May we come before the Lord and give Him thanks. Let us sing and praise Him with the gratitude that rises in our hearts when we consider who He is, and all that He has done. Even when our present day is not our banner day, there is always reason to praise.

Yesterday did not end up as I would have hoped nor imagined. I spent much of the day and night seeking medical attention for one of my tender-hearted teens. They had been away on retreat with their youth group for the weekend, and upon returning, Adventurous was struggling with his asthma. Knowing the previous patterns that this sort of incident had taken in the past, a trip to Urgent Care up front, would likely prevent a trip to the ER later. We went to an Urgent Care that was new to us, and were seen right away. The entire staff was helpful and kind, and we were in and out in a bit over an hour. There was reason for our hearts to give praise as we parted, for the x-rays showed that his lungs were clear, indicating no sign of pneumonia or the like. He did, however, have an ear infection. Upon returning home, Adventurous laid down and took a nap for several hours. As he slept, I would do periodic check-ins to listen to his breathing. Unfortunately, that was growing steadily worse. After having prepared dinner for he and his brother, and having no success in waking him to come and eat, I realized that what I had hoped to avoid was going to need to happen.

I roused the sleeping cherub, and we were off for the ER. Due to the nature of our visit, we were taken back fairly quickly, as breathing is rather important. On our way back to a room, all I could do is give God thanks, as we passed by several very sick kiddos. Though Adventurous was struggling, the process of restoration was fairly routine. There was some waiting, and my sweet boy did not respond to the medication as quickly as he usually does, but he did respond, and we avoided being admitted. Three and a half hours after arrival, we were on our way home.

Let our hearts sing psalms,Let Our Hearts Sing Thanks

with all thanks and praise;

to our mighty God,

may our voices raise.

Despite our trials,

there’s reason to give;

thanks to the Father,

who loves and lets live.

We thank You, Lord God,

for love, life and breath;

for grace, forgiveness,

Your conquering death.

Let us not forget,

the wonder of You;

as we sing all praise,

and speak of Your truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You with thanksgiving and sing psalms of praise to You. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks and praise. Forgive us for not recognizing our reason to give thanks in all things is You, regardless of what goes on around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can see clearly with our heart, what our eyes cannot perceive. Lead us to love others with Your love and grace, so that they too may long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanksgiving, and sing psalms of praise unto You. 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