Refreshing Reign

Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. – (Joel 2:23, NIV)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

 

This verse is a great reminder of not only the faithfulness of God, but of the heart we ought to have for His goodness. Autumn rains represent a refreshing for dry and weary land. God is faithful to do the same for us and in us, as He brings refreshment when we are weary and abundance where we are lacking. I am especially encouraged by this today, as yesterday was an extraordinarily long day, and discover I am feeling a bit weary as my fingers falter in finding keys as I type. He is faithful, and I know He will provide the refreshment needed to navigate today. May we ever rejoice in the Lord and His faithfulness, for He sends us refreshing rain in due season.

 

When weary and dry, No Matter What Comes

Refreshment shall come;

Our God is faithful,

As shown by His Son.

Let us give Him praise,

Choose ever rejoice;

For He sends His rain,

As we lift our voice.

All thanks be to God,

Who is ever near;

Brings His refreshing,

Makes His goodness clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that sends refreshing rain down upon us to lift us up when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for forgetting where our strength truly lies. Teach us to trust and rejoice in You; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends refreshment and strength in dry and weary spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the remarkable faithfulness found as Your pour out Your refreshment upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right path for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Finding New Strength

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not grow faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NLT)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

 

Today is the first day that I did not have to set an alarm since last August. I first woke at 1:30, as I had already slept nearly four hours and my body thought it was time to wake. After reminding myself that no alarm was needed and that I could sleep as long as my body would allow, I drifted off again until 6:15 a.m. In one night, I nearly doubled my average number of hours slept. This is the season in which my strength is restored, and my body and mind are renewed. Though I am sustained and strengthened for all that God calls me to do during the school year, I am so grateful for this season of refreshing, where I actually find myself being made new. May we each trust in the Lord to be our strength, as He grants us wings to soar. As we fly where He calls, we will run and not grow weary; walk and not grow faint.

 

As I give my trust, strength-in-waiting

To the Lord of all;

He takes me to heights,

On my own, I’d fall.

But God in His grace,

Grants us strength to soar;

To rise and press on,

In Him, so much more.

Like eagles, we’ll rise,

With feathers anew;

We’ll walk, run and fly,

God will lead us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, You renew our strength and help us to soar. Thank You that You strengthen us so that we can run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. Thank You that You equip us to do whatever You call us to do. Forgive us for folding in our weariness, or for lacking faith in spaces where we need to trust You more. Teach us to trust You with all that we are, so that we will come to know the capacity of Your grace and strength and goodness that is given when we place our lives in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that refreshes and renews the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to find our strength and soar to new spaces, as we are refreshed and renewed in You. 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

No Sweeter Season

When my eyes fluttered gently open to the light that still remained on from last night, I felt something I haven’t felt in quite a while – rested. I realized that I had laid down for a moment, still in my workout attire, just to warm up under the weight and warmth of my blankets. Fast forward eight hours and twenty-five minutes later, and the arrival of morning had come…

Many friends have asked what I intend to do with my summer, as yesterday was the final day of the school year. (I am a teacher.) I know there are some that have well-laid plans, and schedule each day with an itinerary and to-do list. For me, I think summer is meant to be a time of rest, refreshing and healing. My body is worn, and I am still trying to heal from a fracture in my low back. Sleep deprivation has been my normal for the past nine plus months, so actually sleeping until my body wakes will be novel.

As for writing, this is part of my daily practice. I wake. I make coffee and grab something to eat, and I sit down to pray, read the word, and then reflect. This is the routine in my day, as it sets my heart and mind for wherever the Lord leads. If I am running errands, I find I have patience and kindness to extend to others, regardless of what is going on around me. When adventure awaits, energy and enthusiasm overflow, and my guys join in for the journey.

Fitness too, is a part of my daily doings. When my body is active, my mind does not get hung up on the little things of life. It gives me reason to be grateful for health and His creation, and the ability to move and be active is something that I will never take for granted.

This morning’s scheduled reading was from John 11:17-37, and tells the story of Jesus going to Mary and Martha after Lazarus had died. Everyone was glad to see Jesus, but each questioned His timing, with the statement of faith that Lazarus would not have died had Jesus arrived sooner. There was sorrow and regret that seeped out from the family and friends of Lazarus to the Lord. He was compassionate, and as He cared for them, He cried. The story does not end there. In the last few verses of this part of the passage, Jesus asks, “Where have you put him?” One question that would change their world, in a very short span of time.

The connection? We may have hopes and expectations for how things will occur in a certain season, but as we wait on the Lord, we may feel disappointment or sorrow in what we see as delay or a no way, only to be blown away by what He will ultimately do. May this summer be a season of faithful movement as we anticipate and watch for the things that the Lord will do in us and through us, and we prioritize earnest pursuit of Him.

 

I looked to the Lord,Enter With Thanksgiving

And called on His Name;

No word went unheard,

To God of all grace.

Though I have set hopes,

And dreams for this time;

In Your faithfulness,

Please, Your will, not mine.

In each new season,

May I see Your grace;

No matter what comes,

Keep running Your race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more that we could hope or imagine in Your time. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on how we perceive things or how we feel. Forgive us for our lack of faith and fearfulness when things that we long for seem to have died. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would remember that You see beyond today, and Your timing and plan is always best. Show us how to love others with Your goodness 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 pursue You and Your best for us in all things. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Sustained by Our Shepherd

The Lord is my Shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, NLT)

The Eternal is my Shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, VOICE)

 

For more than two weeks now, I have had a vicious run of migraines. Each morning, as I have been up and beginning the new day, the pressing pain that begins at the base of my skull and travels upward, would greet me as I began to get ready. I mention this only to tie in the application of how the Lord has shown me the above truths made tangible over the past few weeks, as well as just yesterday. Regardless of the way that I felt, He sustained me and gave me the strength to keep working anyway. The breaks in my day are spaced just right, so that I am able to have a bit of solace in a dark room to regroup, before tackling the next several hours of teaching. On a day when I had grown weary of enduring, a friend encouraged me to go to a chiropractic appointment that she helped facilitate, by watching a few minutes of my class. That particular bit of help provided ten hours of relief, which made coaching through an entire gymnastics meet without a migraine, far more pleasant. Yesterday, as I was again weary from pressing through the pain, I met with a friend to check in. Where I had imagined there would be some intense conversation, there was instead, laughter and light and life. There was peace and rest in that place, despite how I was feeling, and it was clearly by His leading. From there, I had an acupuncture appointment. The moment I walked in, she was quick to identify the need, and worked specifically to alleviate the source of the prolonged pain. When I left, my head felt far better than when I had arrived. She instructed me to go home, eat, and then go to bed. Though not my typical M.O., I listened, and this morning, I have renewed hope that this crummy cycle has been stopped. He is good and provides rest and peace and strength as we need it. May we place our trust in Him, and seek the Lord to lead us to the places where He will provide refreshment, strength and wholeness all of the days of our lives.

 

We have a Shepherd,Masterd by Our Maker No Longer Slaves to Sin

Who’s all that we need;

He leads us to rest,

when to Him, we plead.

He knows where we’re weak,

as strength He does give;

not just to survive,

but to truly live.

He brings us to peace,

when the storms surround;

He soothes all our fears,

He’s where hope is found.

Let us choose to trust,

in the Lord above;

for peace, rest and strength,

all given in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Shepherd and that You give us all that we need. Thank You that You give us rest, and that You lead us to peaceful places, despite the turmoil we may be facing. Thank You that You renew our strength, even when we are beyond weary. Forgive us for becoming fearful in our weariness or unrest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You in all things, trusting You to lead us to the places where You will provide rest and peace and renewal. Show us how to offer peace and strength and rest to those who are weary around us. May they see You in us, and choose to pursue a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You as our good Shepherd who provides all that we need. Amen.

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

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

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

A Champion for Every Child

Today is the first day of a brand new school year. Much like my students, I am nervous and excited, in anticipation of what the year may hold. Every year, I embrace the kids who enter my classroom as my kids, and think of each one as my own. My job is to love, protect, honor and respect each one, as if they were my own child. This year, two of the students that will walk into my classroom during the course of the day, are my own flesh and blood. Adventurous and Cautious were given the choice between the two seventh grade teams of teachers, and they both chose to be with me. I am both delighted and terrified, and have forewarned them that there would be absolutely no slack given, and that the high standard I hold for all of my students, would be securely in place for them as well.

 

Yesterday, for the first time in my eighteen years of first day preparations, the district for which I teach, held a rally for all employees in the entire district. Our new superintendant spoke in an enormous auditorium, before a sea of educators and champions for children. It was one of the most positive and powerful gatherings that I can ever recall attending as an educator. After our superintendant, a guest speaker, spoke to encourage and motivate the entire room. His charge was for each of us to be a champion for our children. “Every child needs a champion.” He referred to his students as his babies, and I found his love and passion to connect with kids, both refreshing and validating. Students learn best when they feel safe and known.

 

So, how do I begin well? Today, I chose to wake extra early so that I would have more time to pray and to prepare, prior to waking my boys, and then going on to greet my new “babies” for the very first time. God’s grace is greater than my lack. He is faithful to meet me in each moment, if I am willing to submit my moments to Him. Not only do I want to start well, but I want each and every one of our 180 days together, to go well, so that when we arrive at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, every student can look back and see how far they have traveled, and know that they have journeyed well; together, supported, and loved.

 

Lord grant me Your grace,IMG_0187

to love children well;

to lift each one up,

all darkness dispel.

May my words grant life,

extend each child hope;

may Your peace be felt,

be their safety rope.

Let every child,

have a champion;

one who listens well,

and praises each win.

Let love be the guide,

of correction brought;

and walking beside,

how the battle’s fought.

God, hold each student,

in Your tender hand;

protect and connect,

with each You have planned.

May we be ready,

and open to hear;

all that You ask us,

to bless a child’s year.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for new beginning and for the gift of children. Thank You for the blessings that each one brings, and for the countless lessons that kids can teach us, if we are only willing to listen. Thank You for the privilege of spending my days instructing and coaching middle schoolers, and for Your grace and mercy that is made new every morning. Thank You for every child that is preparing for the first day of school. Please bless them and protect them, provide for them, and grant them Your hope, as they get ready to take on a new year. Forgive us for forgetting those who are silent or who rub us the wrong way, and help us to see every child through Your eyes, so that we may love each one, as You love us. May many come to know You, as we extend our hearts to be champions for children. Be exalted O God, as we love children well. 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

To Find Rest

As Jesus and His disciples reconvened after being sent out in pairs to share of the hope that is held in Him, Jesus recognized that these men were in need of nourishment and rest. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – (Mark 6:31) 

Though the work they had done was very important and invaluable to the spreading of the Gospel, Jesus valued each of them individually, and was more concerned with their well-being, than how much they could accomplish.  He still sees each of us the same way.  God’s work is good and necessary, yet all of us need times of rest and refreshing in order to be effective.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28)

Let not pursuit,To Find Rest

of service to God;

take away rest,

on this path we trod.

For we’re not called,

to toil in vain;

but to honor,

the Lord’s holy Name.

How can we bring,

God our very best;

if we are worn,

and choose not to rest?

In His great strength,

may balance be found;

to serve and rest,

let His joy abound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and care for us personally and individually.  Thank You that You are more concerned with who we are in You than with what we can accomplish.  Thank You that You are the One who will call, equip and empower us to do what is asked, when we are asked, and that You will provide the rest that we need.  Forgive us for trying to power through when we are meant to rest, or for not slowing down long enough to truly listen to all that You have for us to hear.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You lovingly guide us in the way that we are meant to go.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may depend on You for everything, even rest for our weariness.  May we love well, as we are loved by You, and may many come to know the rest and renewal that is available to all who seek You.  Be exalted through our every word and deed, and may we find rest in You.  Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Impossible Provision

John just beheaded,

image by Tony Felich

image by Tony Felich

the loss of great friend.

Men seeking comfort

and rest at days end.

As they gathered round,

reported to Him,

people kept coming;

energy grew dim.

Jesus said, “Let’s go.”

So, off they all went.

Seeking solitude,

refreshing time spent.

The crowd, however,

did not get the news,

and ran on ahead,

as the eager do.

When Jesus landed

and saw the large crowd,

He said, “feed my sheep,

let go of your doubt.”

We have not the funds

to feed so many,

five loaves and two fish –

few would get any.

He had them sit down

in groups on the ground.

He raised what they had,

abundance abounds.

All who were present,

ate ’til satisfied.

With much left over,

God’s grace did provide.

(Responding to Mark 6:30-44)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible for You.  Thank You that though we look and see our lack, You see the possibilities.  Teach us to see through Your eyes, so that we too, might be ever seeing that which is possible in You.  Forgive us for our doubt, and help us to trust You alone as our Source, our Strength and our Supply.  Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You.  May the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart, be an ongoing testimony of our trust in You and Your faithfulness.  May many come to know You through all that we say and do.  Be glorified through our words, actions and attitudes today.  Amen.

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