It is for Peace

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a strange day for me at school. My heart was heavy off and on, all day, yet my classes went fairly well, so His peace was present within me. Strangely, a few of my toughest students were absent too, so I had a bit of reprieve from random rogue rebellion. During my last class of the day, one student displayed concerning behaviors. He is not the same kiddo that began my class a few short weeks ago, and I am desperately attempting to figure out why. I spoke with him, but it felt fruitless. After school I sought another pair of his teachers to find out if the same behaviors were manifesting in their rooms. One was witnessing similar to me, whereas the other was not. The mystery of this student’s switch in behavior added to the heaviness I was already carrying. With little resolve, I trudged to the office to check my box before returning to my classroom to clear out for the day. On the way back, I had to pause and turn my face toward the sunshine. The warmth on the cool day, was a blessing that I could not pass by. Then, as I rounded the corner to enter the back door to my classroom, I was buzzed by a beautiful blue dragonfly. In that moment, I stopped and thanked God, as I was reminded of His care and presence, even in my heaviness. When I loaded into my car and was all set to go, Anchor, by Skillet, filled my vehicle. Again, I gave thanks for the kind reminder of God’s nearness, and for the peace that settled over me as I made my way home. As a result of God’s goodness and faithfulness to me, individually, I was equipped and able to go and serve as part of the body with our small group at an event at our local elementary school. His peace was with me, and it was a sweet evening watching families participate in a school’s family event. May we ever seek the Lord to be the peace that rules our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth with thanksgiving, in peace, as we operate as part His body.

Yesterday, I was able to visit with mom while she was eating breakfast. As always, it was great to hear her voice and her resolve, as she announced the day’s agenda to me. On the schedule, she had a physical therapy evaluation and speech therapy. Mom was determined to work hard, and I will be eager to hear how it all went. My prayer is that peace and gratitude continue to reign in her heart as she works tirelessly on this journey to recovery.

 

May the peace of Christ, Made With Purpose

Rule both heart and mind;

As we seek the Lord,

Peace is what we’ll find.

When we have His peace,

Far better we give;

Unto the body,

Help to truly live.

And with thankful hearts,

May we give God praise;

For life, hope and peace,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and know us, individually. Thank You that You see our needs and You extend Your peace in ways that make Your presence known. Thank You that You call us to peace as part of the body. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things feel heavy. Teach us to recognize Your peace and Your presence, even when the weight of the world is resting upon our hearts. Show us how to love those around us in ways that passes along Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise forever; for You are our perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – Psalm 62:1

The Hope that Upholds

Don’t forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer. – (Romans 12:12, VOICE)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

 

This is a timely reminder, as this particular stretch of the school year is the longest and most difficult season. Students struggle to stay focused, and stress out over the impending state testing. Furthermore, I think they begin to realize that the year is drawing to a close, and the sense of security that has been established at school, will be gone in six short weeks. As the benefactor of the bad behaviors, it is often difficult to remember that there is reason for the rebellion. I am called to pray and be patient, as I have hope in knowing that there is so much more than the difficult days that I feel stuck in at times, in the right now. God has promised so much more. Despite what I see or experience in the present, I can be happy and rejoice in the knowledge that there is hope that lies in what is yet to come. The incredible thing that I find, is that often when I am able to fix my eyes on the joy that lies before me, rather than the rough that I am in, those around me seem to grab hold of the joy as well, and something changes – even if it is only a glimmer of good in what had seemingly gone horribly wrong. May we ever remember our reason to rejoice and have patience in our times of trouble. Let our first response be to pray, as hope in Him will light our way.

 

When hard times come near,Enter With Thanksgiving

Forget not rejoice;

For in Christ there’s hope,

Our happiest choice.

Let us ever pray,

In good times and bad;

For He’s the answer,

And makes our hearts glad.

No matter what’s seen,

In Him we shall know;

Hope that’s forever,

As love and grace flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have joy and rejoice in You, because of the hope that You alone provide. No matter what we see or what we are living in, there is always better that will come through You. Thank You that when we pray to You, You hear our prayers. Thank You that You give us patience when we are in the midst of the difficult. Forgive us for our lack of hope and joy, as we forget to set our hearts to pray in all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would devote ourselves to pray in all things and at all times, so that we would be patient in times of trouble, and have hope no matter what we see. Show us how to love others, so that we would offer Your goodness and grace in such a way that they too would 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 rejoice in the hope we have in You, and choose to pray at all times. 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

Our Answer in Times of Trouble

I was in very bad trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me. I was deep in the grave. I cried to You, and You heard my voice. – (Jonah 2:2, ERV)

He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called to You from the land of the dead, and Lord, You heard me!” – (Jonah 2:2, NLT)

 

God is overwhelmingly patient and full of grace. Despite Jonah’s rebellion and refusal to go where God was calling him to go, He met Jonah in the middle of his mess and showed His mercy. Most of us have heard the story. Jonah is called to Ninevah and doesn’t want to go. Instead, he hops a boat the opposite direction for Tarshish to escape dealing with people whom he did not believe deserved God’s grace. Fast-forward to the middle of trip, and a horrendous storm stirs the seas and spins the ship so violently, that the crew believes that God has to be mad at someone onboard. They cast lots and determine that it is Jonah, and throw him overboard. As Jonah is sinking in the sea, he cries out to the Lord for help, and is swallowed by an enormous fish. There, in the middle of the ocean, in the belly of a whale (or comparably large fish), Jonah discovers the grace and mercy of God, and the wrong of running from God and the call He had on his life. Long story short, the great fish spit Jonah out, and he went and did what he had been called to do. God heard his cries and answered his pleas for help. The very same God who rescued Jonah from his own path of destruction, can do the same for you and me. When we call on the Lord and ask for His help, He hears and He answers us. May we ever seek our Savior, as He hears our cries and makes way where there seems to be no way.

 

In calm and in storms,

Wielding Words Wisely

The Lord’s ever near;

If we call on Him,

Our cries, He will hear.

Ever He listens,

As we seek and pray;

He’s willing to make,

Way where seems no way.

So trust in the Lord,

Choose call on His Name;

He hears and He helps,

Our hope to proclaim.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our help in times of trouble. Thank You that we can always come to You, no matter what we’ve done, and You will hear us and love us the same. Forgive us for the times that we run the opposite direction of that which You are calling. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You lead, even when it does not make sense, or it is terrifying. Give us Your strength and power to do and be all that You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us fearlessly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call to You in times of trouble, and trust You to be our answer. Amen.

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

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

Forever Faithful

image by Holly Kempe

image by Holly Kempe

Give thanks to the Lord,

for His love is good.

Forever endures;

it always has stood.

Through trials and tests,

rebellion and shame,

no one can compare,

to His Holy Name.

Disobedience,

again and again;

provision of grace,

forgiveness from sin.

Always the faithful,

would rise up and pray.

God, in His kindness,

would grant a new day.

Because of His Son,

He has made the way,

to break free from sin,

and offer our praise.

All worship to God,

for now and always.

Give thanks to His Name;

forever sing praise.

(Responding to Psalm 106)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your great love that endures forever.  Thank You for Your mercy and grace, that You give generously, though we do not deserve it.  Thank You that Your faithfulness has no end.  Forgive us for our every word, thought, and deed, that has not clearly reflected Your love to those around us.  Please equip and empower us to love as You love, so that those in need will come to know how deeply they are loved by You.  Use us as Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting.  May many come to know You, as they recognize the depth of Your love and the breadth of Your mercy and grace for them, individually.  All praise and honor to You.  Amen.

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