Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Promises Seen

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV) 

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. “Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE) 

 

When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to dedicate Him to God, they met a man named Simeon, who had been waiting for a promise to come to pass. God had spoken to Simeon that he would see with his own eyes, the promised salvation for all people. For Simeon, this was the fulfillment of a promise long awaited; for Mary and Joseph, it was more to ponder in awe and wonder as they sought the Lord to raise this precious gift properly. This passage is a powerful reminder that what God promises, He will do. Simeon had been waiting and trusting that what God had said, He would do. His faith was met by him holding the Son of God in his own arms, as He dedicated Jesus to the Father. Not only did Simeon see the Savior, but he held Him and faithfully fulfilled his role in the temple as he dedicated Jesus to the Lord. God followed through on His promise to Simeon in an extraordinary way. Not only did Simeon see Him with his own eyes, but he held the Son of God, and proclaimed truth about Jesus and what was yet to come. A long-awaited promise was answered faithfully, and in a way that went beyond simply seeing. May we ever trust the Lord that His promises are true, and wait patiently for the fulfillment, as it is always worth the wait.  

 

When the time had come, Simeons Story

His parents, they knew; 

Go to the temple, 

To give God what’s due. 

Dedicate this child, 

To the Lord on High; 

And trust in His grace, 

For all of their lives. 

When the three arrived, 

They set to the task; 

Of honoring God, 

Just as He had asked. 

Simeon met them, 

And burst into praise; 

For soon in his arms, 

The Savior was laid. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise fulfiller and faithful Father to all who seek You. Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask of us, and that Your promises are true. Forgive us for our impatience in the wait between a promise and its fulfillment. Teach us to trust that what You say, You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort in chaos and peace in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our faithful Father forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

Called to Task

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. – (Luke 1:76-77, NIV) 

Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. You will make His people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. – (Luke 1:76-77, ERV) 

 

As Zechariah’s song of praise continued, he proclaimed words of truth, as God revealed the role that his son, John, would play in preparing the hearts of people for all that Christ had to offer. John was a faithful proclaimer of truth, and he spent his life, even unto his own death, speaking of the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the parents of John, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew their son was called to a task that was beyond their own human understanding. Both, likely spent John’s formative years, educating and raising him close to God, guiding him in the direction that he was meant to go. I imagine it took tremendous faith and dependence on God, to lead a child who was called to such specific work for the Lord. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Raising children who have been set apart from infancy, or even earlier, would be a task that takes trust beyond measure. In my own experience, simply being responsible for two tiny humans at the same time, took formidable faith, as premature twins in the care of a first-time parent was slightly terrifying. God’s grace, mercy and strength made the unknown and unyielding, manageable and marvelous. May we seek the Lord and His strength, as we recognize that He is our help and our hope in raising up the next generation of faithful followers of Him. 

 

O Lord, let our faith, 0119180406679500301.jpg

Be rooted in You; 

Our strength and our hope, 

For Your love is true. 

However You call, 

Whatever our way; 

Your help, grace and hope, 

Will lead us each day. 

Faithful forever, 

O Lord God, You reign; 

Please show us each day, 

The path we’re to take. 

  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness forever. Thank You that You never call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the call seems far beyond our ability to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than any seeming impossibility that lies before us. Show us how to faithfully navigate the roles to which we are called. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things at all times, and faithfully walk wherever You lead. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – Psalm 138:3

Love to Sea

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

This morning I will be taking my boys to the harbor to drop them off for their long cruise with Sea Scouts. This adventure will take them all over the San Juan islands on their 128-foot vessel. The unique and exciting thing about this cruise is that the ship will be run by the scouts. I have one boy who works primarily in the engine room, and the other who tends to the duties on deck. They will venture to places that few people are blessed to see, as they are only reachable by boat or by seaplane. As I send them, it is my hope that they will feel loved in this way as they go, and at the same time, extend love accordingly. The group will be in close quarters, so choosing love will likely be required. Some of their best buddies will be with them, so it is my prayer that they feel safe, protected, trusted, hopeful and determined to persevere. May we each seek the Lord in His loving kindness, to grow in us such a love.

 

May God’s protection, wp-15339963685833737060002924945712.jpg

And unending grace;

Be granted to each,

Who choose seek His face.

For His love persists,

It does not give up;

May we do likewise,

As He fills our cup.

Let us choose to trust,

Have hope in His Name;

He’s faithful always,

May peace be proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and loving and protective; always. Thank You that we can turn to You in trust and ask of You, all that is needed. Forgive us for not seeking You to lead us and guide us in all things. Teach us to trust You more each new day. Please protect and infuse Your love over my boys and their entire crew as they set off on this wonderful adventure. Show us all how to love in a way that protects, hopes, trusts and perseveres forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all in Your hands, knowing that we can trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Refreshment When Rest is Required

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV)

“I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

“I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

When we are tired and weary and in need of rest and refreshment, God is faithful to meet us and grant us what we need most. Sometimes, it is our minds that are overloaded, and we simply need His peace. Other times, we have been going nonstop and our bodies are in desperate need of rest. When we are intentional to seek the Lord and His grace, He provides opportunities for refreshment and grants us the strength that is needed to navigate each new day. In this beautiful and busy season, I am in awe of the ways that He provides rest. Conversations with old friends, grace to make the main things the main things, and consistent sleep have been among the ways that I have recently been refreshed and restored. God is good and is ready to supply the strength that is required when we call on His Name. May we ever run to our Redeemer for rest, refreshment and restoration, as He alone gives the gifts of His goodness that we need most.

 

When weariness comes,

img_20180319_053106_8698689459079794566266.jpg

Photo by Open Door Photography ❤

The Lord is our Source;

Where we are refreshed,

To press on; go forth.

He grants us the strength,

To rise and run well;

His love satisfies,

Infuses each cell.

So, when I feel tired,

To weary to run;

I seek the Lord’s strength,

Our great, faithful One.

Each time that I call,

On His Holy Name;

He’s faithful to hear,

As love is proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You refresh and satisfy us when we are weary and weak. Thank You that You grant us rest and strength as it is needed when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to “power through” when we are weary, rather than slowing down to seek You for strength and rest and refreshment. Teach us to turn to You to be our strength, as You alone satisfy our every need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers refreshment, rest and strength to those who are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to supply what we need to navigate our days well, and give You praise for Your faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

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

No More Darkness

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark. – (John 12:46, NLT)

I came into this world as a light. I came so that everyone who believes in Me will not stay in darkness. – (John 12:46, ERV)

I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him. – (John 12:46, VOICE)

 

In the Pacific Northwest, we often have a long, dreary season of darkness. Days are grey and rainy, and the hours of available daylight after work are seemingly non-existent. Yesterday, as we sprung our clocks forward to daylight savings time, we were greeted with an unusually warm and sunny day for our area. Days like that remind me that we have the Light who shines forever, and no darkness truly remains when we are in Him. Though days, circumstances, situations and moments may seem dim, there is light and hope and help in Christ. As we place our trust in Him, darkness disappears and light illuminates our path. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, as He is the light of the world; in Him, no darkness remains.

 

Into the darkness,

dsc04349684340120.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Our Savior did come;

To bring light and life,

To everyone.

For all who choose trust,

In His precious Name;

Will leave dark behind,

Find true what’s proclaimed.

There is no darkness,

Where His love light shines;

Safe space forever,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came as a light shining in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in You will no longer remain in the dark. Thank You that You are trustworthy and true. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be the light and life and hope when all seems dim. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects You light and love in places that seem overwhelmingly dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our light forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

 

From the Heart Our Words Flow

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from a treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. – (Luke 6:45, NLT)

Good people have good things saved in their hearts. That’s why they say good things. But those who are evil have hearts full of evil, and that’s why they say things that are evil. What people say with their mouths comes from what fills their hearts. – (Luke 6:45, ERV)

 

Most of the time, the filter that I was taught from a very early age, is quite effective – “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” However, every so often, in a moment of frustration, I catch myself speaking words that do not edify anyone. It is in those moments that I am reminded anew, just how desperately I need Him to rule and reign in every part of my life. If I do not allow His grace to touch the places where my heart has been grieved, the desire to dispel defensive and unsavory dialogue runs great. Even if the words are never uttered, they lay hidden in my heart. Good can only reign if I allow God to run the ruin out. I must choose to give Him access to all, so that He can remove the sting and stain of that which renders me defensive, and allow Him to soften my heart so that I might see through His lens. May the words that leave our mouths be a reflection of our good and loving God, who fills our hearts and minds with every good and perfect gift.

 

May that which we hold,Internal Investments Exceed External

our treasury be;

the good things of God,

shown through words we speak.

The things in our hearts,

both evil and good;

are evidenced by,

our words understood.

For good comes from good,

and evil the same;

let our words be sweet,

so good is proclaimed.

Lord, come cleanse our hearts,

so all may be good;

let our treasure be,

Your hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a good heart is not something that we can somehow work hard enough to earn, but rather when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives, You come and transform the content of our character and chase away that which was once in darkness. Thank You that only good comes from You. Thank You that when we set our sights on the things of You, those are the very things that flow out of us. Forgive us for entertaining ugly thoughts long enough to give them words. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You when the struggle comes, and allow You to shine Your light in those dark spaces, so that darkness will disappear. Show us how to love others as You so tenderly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as people desire the good they see in You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that is good from You, and allow that to be what flows from our mouths. 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

Christ Came Down

For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

 

Jesus came in a way that was relatable and approachable. There was no fanfare, nor kingly setting. Born in a lowly stable on a quiet night in an overcrowded town, He arrived with the weight of the world on His shoulders. Christ stepped down from heaven to become like us, so that we would know who He is, and how much He loves. How He lived as He was among us, demonstrated what love looks like. He touched the untouchable, healed the bruised and broken, dined with the despicable and gave His very life for ours. Today, many of us participate in candlelight services where we pause to celebrate and declare the goodness of Christ and who He is. That child born to us, grew, lived, loved, died, rose, ascended and sent His Spirit to us, so that we could have everlasting life. Because of His love and His life, we can confidently call Him: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. May this day be filled with reminders of His goodness and grace, and may we give proper praise to He who is all of these things and so much more.

 

For born unto us,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

a Son is given;

in still quietness,

He came from heaven.

Though angels proclaimed,

to shepherds at night;

most were unaware,

of this baby bright.

For though just a babe,

the weight of the world;

would rest upon Him,

as His life unfurled.

The way that He loved,

and gave all away;

brought hope to the world,

and light for our way.

Wonderful Counsel,

our great Mighty God;

Everlasting One,

creation applauds.

The sweet Prince of Peace,

delight of our days;

may we offer Him,

all honor and praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to us. Thank You, Jesus for taking it all upon Yourself, so that we could be set free. Thank You for Your grace and goodness, for light and life. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and our Prince of Peace. Forgive us for forgetting just how powerful You are. You are no longer a baby in a manger, but the mighty, risen Lord, seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You are so much more than what the world sees. Show us how to love in such a way, that others too, may see Your majesty through our love. May many come to know You as their Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we gather to give You glory. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

 

Sing – For Joy Rises

I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. – (Psalm 9:2, NLT)

 

Though there is much joy to be found in the reason for this blessed season, often there are sorrows that surround people, and the holidays are a struggle. Finding joy despite our circumstances, comes not when we fake it ’til we make it, but rather when we turn our eyes and attention on He who is our Source of all joy. No matter what surrounds me, when I begin to sing praises to His Name, joy begins to bubble up and fill my heart again, as I am reminded of what is eternal. There are times that what is weighing us down seems so heavy and long lasting, yet when we take pause, we know that there will be an end. Hope of better days, better seasons, better times, is held fast in our hearts, as we know that in Christ, this is not our end. What is yet to come is beyond what we can even begin to imagine, and because of that hope, we can hold onto His joy. May we allow our hearts and voices to sing praises to His Most Holy Name, as He fills us with joy once again.

 

We’re filled with all joy,Child like Contributions

because of our King;

not by circumstance,

but through truth He brings.

Let our hearts sing praise,

our thank offerings;

let‘s honor His Name,

our great Holy King.

May His joy rise up,

as voices are raised;

His truth be proclaimed,

and Holy Name praised.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your joy, not because of our circumstances, but because You are good and You are loving. Thank You that we can sing praises to Your Name, no matter what we are going through, and as we do, joy rises up in us again. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal the joy that You have given us, and help us to hold fast to You and Your promises so that we would have joy in spite of what is happening around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would sing praise even when it doesn’t make sense. Show us how to love others well, and to spread joy wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we sing praises to Your Name and are filled with Your unending joy. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19