Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 

 

When Righteousness Reigns

The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effects will be quietness and confidence forever. – (Isaiah 32:17, NIV)

The fruit of righteousness will be peace, and the outcome of righteousness, calm and security forever. – (Isaiah 32:17, CEB)

Then righteousness will yield peace, and the quiet confidence that attend righteousness will be present forever. – (Isaiah 32:17, VOICE)

 

When we allow righteousness to reign, peace is plainly present. Our decision to live right, results in the calm comfort of Christ’s presence and confidence in knowing that He will lead, guide and provide as we seek Him. God is faithful forever and honors those who pursue His path and purposes for their lives by living right. May we seek our Savior to help us live right and recognize with praise, the fruit of His wonderful ways.

 

When we choose live right, The Endowment of Early Mornings

There’s peace within us;

Evidence of grace,

Granted by Jesus.

In such quietness,

There comes a sweet calm;

To soothe weary hearts,

Love’s great healing balm.

And what’s better still,

This good knows no end;

For God is faithful,

On Him, let’s depend.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us to life, and leading us to live right. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to walk in Your ways or love as You love us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever and You provide all that we need to follow after You. Show us how to love in a way that brings peace where peace has not been present, and the quiet calm that comes through Your loving grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run after righteousness and praise You for the peace that You provide. Amen.

 

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

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

We Belong to Each Other

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Both my Viking and I sat in awe and wonder as we reflected on the variety of friends and family that had joined us to gather to celebrate our new life together yesterday. There were educators and police officers, medical professionals, business people, football friends and childhood treasures, church family and those that have been family since birth – it was wonderful to see the evidence of how each has touched our lives and helped us become together, what we could not be on our own. God is good, and He blesses us with a body of people who have a variety of gifts and talents, so that together, we are able to become what He intends for us. May we ever embrace those whom God places in our lives and give Him praise for the gift that they are to us.

 

Just as we’ve a body, wp-15352968608005978420073665084020.jpg

That has many parts;

So too, we have people,

With strengths and great hearts.

Each with different gifts,

Talents meant to share;

Love and laughter to give,

Not things to compare.

All thanks unto the Lord,

Who grants by His grace;

Treasured variety,

By His loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us community that is varied in people who have different gifts, talents and life experience to speak into our lives. Forgive us for not treasuring the gifts in others as much as You do. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we would recognize and appreciate the strengths, talents and gifts that You have given to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we too, may utilize the strengths and talents You have placed in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to see and appreciate others through Your eyes, and to utilize what You have given to us for Your purposes. Amen.

 

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

 

One who loves a pure heart and speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. – Proverbs 22:11

You Make Me Strong

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

I love You, Eternal One, Source of my power. – (Psalm 18:1, VOICE)

 

This morning, waking up was a bit painful. I did not get nearly enough sleep, and my mind and body were challenged in new ways last evening that left me exhausted beyond what a normal workout would. Though I am weary, I am grateful, for I know where my strength will come from, despite the lack I am currently feeling. Just as we are able to dig deep and ask far more of our bodies than we realize as we take on new physical challenges, we can do the same in life as we press into Jesus, and seek His strength to do all that He calls us to do. May we turn in trust to our loving Lord, and seek the One who is our Source of strength each time we call on Him.

 

The Lord is our strength, You Make Me Strong

Power when we’re weak;

In love, He listens,

To all those who seek.

Let’s trust in the One,

Who always will hear;

Us calling for help,

By grace, He draws near.

Seek the Lord’s comfort,

Trust strength by His grace;

Love without limits,

In faith, run your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are approachable and present as we seek You. Thank You that we can love and be loved by You. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness, and that You equip us with power for the purposes to which we are called. Forgive us for not turning in trust to You when we feel weak. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You as our Source of power and strength to persevere on the path to which we have been called. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may find their strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for making us strong, so that we are able run the race to which we have been called to run. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Worship in All that We Do

So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him – an offering that is only for God and pleasing to Him. Considering what He has done, it is only right that you should worship Him in this way. – (Romans 12:1, ERV)

Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. – (Romans 12:1, AMP)

 

As someone who thrives on movement, I am acutely aware of the blessing I have been given to have a healthy body that can be challenged and pushed to do extraordinary things. When we use our bodies to fulfill the purposes and callings that have been placed upon our lives, whatever we do can be an act of worship to God. Something that has stuck out to me for many years is the line from Chariots of Fire, “…when I run I feel His pleasure.” -(Eric Liddell) This is an encouragement to me, as I pursue new athletic endeavors, knowing that each one presents opportunity to love as I am called to love, and to utilize what I have been given to its full potential. My hope is that each time I take to the field this season, I will remember the One who gives me strength, and consider every moment an act of worship that will be pleasing unto Him. May we dedicate all that we do unto the Lord, and allow our every deed to be an act of worship to the One who gives us life.

 

I urge you, dear friends, Worship in All that We Do

In all that you do;

To give all to God,

In worship and truth.

All that we offer,

Is pleasing to Him;

From hearts of worship,

Praise flows from within.

Let all that we do,

Be an offering;

Though we can’t repay,

God finds this pleasing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the ability to dedicate ourselves to You in whatever we do. Thank You that it is pleasing to You when we choose to offer that which we do as a sacrifice to You. Forgive us for neglecting to give You praise for that which You make possible. Teach us to recognize Your hand in every detail of our lives, so that we will give You all of the glory for the good that You bring. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in a way that sets us apart by Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate all that we are and all that we do as an act of worship unto You. Amen.

 

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

 

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Plans that Stand

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

But the Lord’s decisions are good forever. His plans are good for generation after generation. – (Psalm 33:11, ERV)

God’s plan for the world stands up, all His designs are made to last. – (Psalm 33:11, MSG)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time, the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

There is great reassurance in these words, as so often we hear a promise, and wonder how it could ever possibly come to pass. What God says, He will do, for His word endures forever. Though disruptions and detours often come along the way, we learn and grow as we discover how to find our footing back on the path where the Lord is leading. Additionally, God’s timing is not our own. His plans stand firm and cannot be shaken, and they are good throughout all generations. Most of us want to see the fulfillment of a promise spoken within the hour, day, week or at least month in which it was heard. Things that last take time, and the Lord does not operate on our time table. His ways are higher than ours, so we have to trust that His timing is far better than our own, despite our desire to see the fulfillment unfold right now. May we ever trust the Lord and His plans, for His decisions are good and His plans cannot be shaken over time.

 

The Lord’s plans shall stand,Rediscovering Dreams

Firm forevermore;

They can’t be shaken,

Always, they’ll endure.

For His plans are good,

They are made to last;

Awakening hearts,

To do as we’re asked.

As we choose to go,

Wherever He calls;

We see faithfulness,

As hope He installs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever. Thank You that Your intentions cannot be shaken, despite our lack of faith or patience in the process. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You are patient with us as You lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for where we lack, and attempt to go our own way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay the course to which we have been called by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that stirs hearts and minds to seek You, as they see Your faithfulness in action. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your plans that stand firm forever, and Your intentions that cannot be shaken. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Start to Finish by Faith

The Good News shows how God makes people right with Himself. God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. As the Scriptures say, “The one who is right with God by faith will live forever.” – (Romans 1:17, ERV)

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” – (Romans 1:17, NLT)

 

We are only made right before God through faith in Christ. It is in that space of trust that we are redeemed and made righteous before Him, and granted life everlasting in the Lord. The Good News is that it is God at work in us, rather than us somehow having to measure up on our own. Our part is to seek Him and trust Him, and allow His Spirit to reign and rule in our lives. As we do, we are transformed more and more into His likeness, and His plans and purposes are accomplished both in us and through us. May we choose to seek and trust the Lord, as He is the One who makes us right in His sight by faith.

 

The Good News of God,No Matter What Comes

Is that we’re made right;

When we seek the Lord,

Redeemed in His sight.

It’s only by faith,

That new life is ours;

All is accomplished,

Trust Him where we are.

Life everlasting,

Is granted to all;

Who choose to seek Him,

He answers each call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us right in Your sight by faith. Thank You that when we seek You and trust in You, You supply what is needed to further fuel our faith. Thank You that You are the Author and Finisher of our faith. Forgive us for not seeking You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are who You say You are. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and goodness through our kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our faith in You, trusting You to accomplish all that You promise that You will do in us and through us. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Without Rival

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Incredibly, God is the answer to that desire for every man, woman and child. His plans and purposes for us are good, and He will provide all that we need to become who He has created us to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

The quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson is the opening line in Without Rival, by Lisa Bevere, which is the book which the ladies in my church have selected for a book study. So far, some of the most impactful lines of the first chapter include:

“Godliness is the ability to adopt God’s vantage point.” – This one is particularly poignant, as so often I pray to see things from God’s perspective rather than my own.

“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.” – His love for us is unique, not equal. Equal implies measurable, and the love of God is infinite! Being loved uniquely means that we are loved individually, just as we are – for His love knows no end.

“Knowing who you are is vastly more important than knowing where you are going or even what you can do.” – Because we are His created, He has much to say about who we are, and what we could become in Him.

 

We all hold the hope,lisa-bevere-without-rival

Internal desire;

To be all we can,

Find one who inspires.

We’re each loved and known,

We find as we seek;

Shows us through His eyes,

A love that’s unique.

For the Lord has made,

Each of us designed;

With plan and purpose,

A future in mind.

What matters the most,

Is we come to know;

Who we truly are,

Not places we’ll go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word and the treasure of the communities to which we are called. Thank You for the those whom You have placed in my own community at Grace. Thank You for the freedom to study and discuss the truth of Your word without fear. Forgive us for taking our freedom for granted, or for not fully investing in the opportunities that You place before us. Teach us to trust You with our hearts and minds, so that we would be open to hear what You have to say through Your word and through those around us. Show us how to listen intently, speak boldly, and love relentlessly, so that Your love may be expressed without fear to all those who cross our paths. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to live and love without rival as we are called. Amen.

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

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

His Plans Are Firm Forever

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; His intentions can never be shaken. – (Psalm 33:11, NLT)

The Eternal’s purposes will last to the end of time; the thoughts of His heart will awaken and stir all generations. – (Psalm 33:11, VOICE)

 

The plans and purposes of God cannot be altered nor changed by human persuasion. Just because we think we know what may be best, God’s ways are always higher than our ways, and His plans higher than ours. God wants the very best for us, His created, so He will not allow our short-sightedness to shake His plans for our ultimate good. Instead, He stirs in us, a desire to seek Him and His will. As we follow after Him, He draws us unto Himself, and points us to the path that leads us on to life everlasting. May we choose to give ear to His leading, so that we might walk in the light of His love where He is calling. Let every heart seek the Lord, and answer that which He is asking.

 

The plans of the Lord,Faith for Forever

Stand firm for all time;

They can’t be shaken,

Holy and divine.

What He is asking,

Draws us to His side;

Where hearts awaken,

Cross faithful divide.

Let us choose to seek,

Pursue the Lord’s will;

Fulfill what He asks,

By faith, pray, be still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans stand firm forever, no matter what goes on in the world around us. Thank You that Your intentions can never be shaken. Forgive us for the lack of security in our stance at times, as we are easily shaken when things around us fall apart or go sideways. Teach us to trust You more, so that no matter what goes on in or around us, we know that Your ultimate plan remains. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they might see You through what we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to follow the plan that You place before us, and to trust in the way You call us to walk. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

Good and Just, We Can Trust

Everything He does is good and fair. All His commands can be trusted. – (Psalm 111:7, ERV)

Though we often do not understand the direction that the Lord leads us, His purposes are good and His ways can be trusted. What may seem to be terrible turmoil, often turns out to be a space of refining, where wrong thinking is removed and our hearts are made right before Him. In our space of uncertainty, we learn that in Him, we can truly trust. His ways are good and just, and He is for us, despite how things appear. May we recognize the truth that the Lord is good and fair in all of His ways, and the His commands can be trusted, no matter how things around us appear.

Our hope is not held,

image from quotespictures.com

image from quotespictures.com

in that which is seen;

but rather in Christ,

and what that shall mean.

For the Lord is good,

and His ways are just;

His commands are truth,

we can always trust.

He will only lead,

where He will go too;

His presence remains,

to help get us through.

Sometimes things are tough,

and we wonder why;

we must trust and know,

on Whom we rely.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and fair, and that all Your commands can be trusted. Thank You that You are for us and not against us, no matter how things appear. Thank You that even when things seem upside down and sideways, You are present, and often are using our circumstances to refine us and teach us to trust You more. Forgive us for fleeing difficultly, or loathing that which is a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace our obstacles, knowing that You are beside us, and will see us through – granting us all that is needed to overcome. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they might see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize that You are good and fair in all of Your ways, and that Your commands can be trusted, always. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8