A Longing Fulfilled

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” – (Luke 1:24-25, NIV) 

Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So, she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” – (Luke 1:24-25, ERV) 

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!” – (Luke 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

God’s miracle for Elizabeth and Zechariah, through granting them a son after many years of being barren, was a magnificent prelude to the miracle arrival of the soon-to-follow birth of Jesus. Elizabeth had gone from years of longing and hoping and waiting, to a space of hope fulfilled, when she likely no longer thought it possible. Though I have not experienced the heartache of infertility personally, I have had several friends walk through a similar season of waiting and hoping and longing. Like Elizabeth, some received their own miraculous blessing through conception, others discovered their miracle through adoption, whereas others, still remain in a space of waiting. My heart cannot help but celebrate at the thought of Elizabeth’s joy, at such a longing fulfilled. May we give thanks for the gifts all around us, and for those that are yet to come.  

 

A longing fulfilled, The Mirror of the Heart

Such wonder indeed; 

A hope that’s answered, 

God’s grace meeting needs. 

Needs birthed within us, 

Desires of the heart; 

Treasured reflections, 

Of where His grace starts. 

Seek Him in longing, 

Place hope in His Name; 

Wait and choose trust Him, 

He does what He claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real-life heartache and hope that You give us in Your word. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that You are the same God who has done countless miracles throughout the ages, and are present to make the impossible possible still. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that You are moving, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope, despite the way that things may appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness, grace and presence that remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45

Consider Greater Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was an “off” day at school. A few of my students who have the propensity to struggle with everyday expectations, each had a difficult day. I am not sure whether it can be attributed to the full moon, the numerous guest teachers on campus, the changing seasons, or perhaps an off day due to a wrench in their normal routine, but whatever the cause, the challenge remained and I was extraordinarily grateful for colleagues who are kind and encouraging. Thankfully, I learned long ago to not take a student’s display of distress, personally. Rather, it sets me on a path of seeking to discover more of what motivates and helps calm the child best, so that I might better anticipate and diffuse potential outbursts on a day that they are struggling. Both the presence of para-educators and an interpreter, and later that of administrators who were looking for students, became a source of help that inspired me to greater love, despite my temporary frustration. Sometimes, just knowing that someone else sees the reality of what has taken place, is enough to feel validated in the moment and motivation to let go and move on. There is no “perfect” in humanity. We will always irritate and frustrate, as we as become irritated and frustrated by others. What we do with it matters most. When we choose to love and extend grace, even when it is seemingly undeserved, we are offering the very thing that we have been given through life in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we may choose to love and do good works, always.

 

Help us consider, Show the Love

How to choose to love;

To do the good works,

We’re called to get done.

Love is not about,

How much it’s deserved;

But rather a choice,

We choose as we serve.

At our very worst,

God still loves with grace;

So too, we should love,

The whole human race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us no matter how we come or what we have done. Thank You that Your grace covers our shortcomings. Forgive us for the times that we do not choose love or good works, despite the clear call that You have given. Teach us to trust and rely on You for the strength and endurance to love even when it is challenging. Show us how to love those who are struggling in practical ways that help them understand goodness and grace, and to encourage others to do the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and do good, encouraging one another as we are encouraged by You, according to Your perfect plan to which we are called. Amen.

 

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

The second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No other commandment is greater than these. – Mark 12:31

In Strength, She Smiles

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, NLT)

She is a strong person, and people respect her. She looks to the future with confidence. – (Proverbs 31:25, ERV)

Clothed in strength and dignity, with nothing to fear, she smiles when she thinks about the future. – (Proverbs 31:25, VOICE)

 

Strong people strengthen people. I have been overwhelmingly blessed throughout my life to be surrounded by strong and loving women who have modeled strength, dignity and courage through active faith in their daily lives, no matter what their circumstances. From my phenomenal mom and her mom, to aunts, dear friends, pastors and colleagues, I have seen such lives lived out, and have been encouraged when my own strength, courage or confidence was lacking. Though there is no “arriving”, I am in a space where I look forward to the future with confidence, trusting that God has good things in store for me and my loved ones. I know that trials will come and go, yet He is faithful through all things, so I need not fear what lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and confidence, so that we can look to the future and smile.

 

He’ll clothe us in strength,

dsc045071369451189.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And His dignity;

As we trust in Him,

In faith, choose believe.

We’ll laugh without fear,

At what lies ahead;

Knowing God’s with us,

By grace, we’ll be led.

Others will respect,

The strength that they see;

As we walk beside,

And help those in need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You clothe us with strength and dignity and give us reason to look confidently to the future. Thank You for the women that You have placed in our lives that have supported and modeled these attributes for us and in us. Forgive us for the times that we have remained in our fearfulness or attempted to navigate things on our own. Teach us to trust You more, and to embrace those whom You have intentionally placed in our lives for mutual encouragement. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grows strength and dignity and removes fear of the future. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the strength and dignity that You are growing in us and look forward to the future without fear. 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

Bold Faith in the Face of Fire

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king. But even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, MSG)

 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had incredible faith as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar. They had been commanded to worship an inanimate object, when they knew the only one deserving their worship was the one true God. Because they refused, they faced a fiery death, yet they had faith that God could save them. Their bold declaration that initially infuriated Nebuchadnezzar was met by the faithfulness of God who saves and ended up so impressing the king that he created a new command protecting those who worshiped the living God, and promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to higher positions in his court. We never know who we will influence when we choose to remain faithful to what we know is true. Our faith and trust in God speaks volumes when we live it out practically. Though we likely do not face fiery furnaces nor such dramatic decisions, when we choose to be faithful in the small things, people notice and wonder why. May we ever remain true to God whom we can always trust, knowing that He is faithful and the ultimate outcome is greater than we could ever hope or imagine.

 

May we choose be bold, Fire Flames 1

With our trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

Beside us, He’s in.

He’ll make plain our path,

Show us where to go;

Raise up faith in us,

So truth shall be known.

Each giant we face,

Is small in His hands;

As we trust in Him,

He shows us His plan.

Walk forward in faith,

Despite what is seen;

Even so, choose trust,

On the Lord, choose lean.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible examples of faithfulness found in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Thank You that through them, You show us how You meet those who are faithful to You, even in the fire. Forgive us for the times that we have not remained faithful to the truth we know. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would stay strong in You and that in great and small things we would remain true to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength to trust in You in all things and at all times. 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

Blessings through Honor

“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on earth.” – (Ephesians 6:2-3, NLT) 

Honor your father and mother. This is the first of God’s Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise: that if you honor your father and mother, yours will be a long life, full of blessing. – (Ephesians 6:2-3, TLB) 

For the commandment, “Honor your father and your mother,” was the first of the Ten Commandments with a promise attached: “You will prosper and live a long, full life if you honor your parents.” – (Ephesians 6:2-3, TPT) 

 

I am watching the fruit of this very principle unfold before me, as we have traveled to Minnesota to spend time with my Viking’s father. Cancer has invaded his body, and he was given an expiration date that seems quite bleak. Despite the span of nearly twenty-five years since he last saw his father, and only a handful of phone conversations in-between, witnessing the two of them (as well as my sister-to-be, and soon-to-be bonus son) interact with this man in grace and love, honoring him as their father, blessed my heart beyond what I could have imagined. It was as if all of the time, distance and disappointments disappeared, and only good and grace and love remained. It is evident that walking in forgiveness and grace blesses not only the transgressor, but sets free, the very one who has been hurt. May we ever go forth in grace and forgiveness, honoring our parents, regardless of their shortcomings. We all fall short and are in need of grace, and the beauty that comes is worth the release. Let us honor our parents as the people who granted us this glorious gift of life.  

 

The Bible commands, img_2018-01-27_08-43-45418161434.jpg

That we honor well; 

Fathers and mothers, 

Of love and grace tell. 

For with the command, 

There’s a promise too; 

That blessings will come, 

As we follow through. 

So, ever give good, 

Honor and choose love; 

There will be blessings, 

Of grace from above. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the parents that You give to us. Thank You for those whom we know well and see often, and thank You for those whom we see rarely. Father forgive us for not walking this out according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to honor our parents as You call us to honor them. Lead us in Your love and grace, so that we would be a blessing as we are blessed by You. Teach us to love like You, so that all may come to know the truth of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to honor those You have given us according to Your love and grace. 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 Hope and Confidence

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NLT)

 

Yesterday, was bittersweet. I was blessed with the opportunity to take a day away from work to go and visit my ninety-seven-year-old grandmother, who has been a constant source of encouragement my entire life. Despite her deteriorating condition caused by colon cancer, and the evident pain that she was fighting against, she remained pleasant and in good cheer, as she shared wisdom, history and humor laced in love, as only she does. Her ability to smile through the pain is a direct result of her trust and hope in the Lord. She knows where she is going, so fear is far from her. The treasures I will hold from our time are her confidence and countenance that come from Christ. Her example to me continues, even in these late days of life. Though there is joy in knowing that she will be set free from pain and disease, there is also some sorrow in the idea that this amazing matriarch will no longer be present to love and laugh with here on earth. May we each place our trust in the Lord, so that our hope and confidence can come from Him alone. For it is in this space of trust, that freedom is truly found.

 

Most blessed are those,our-hope-and-confidence

Who trust in the Lord;

Whose hope is in Him,

Let each heart adore.

For confidence comes,

From the Lord alone;

Future is certain,

As His love’s made known.

May we choose to place,

Our entire lives;

In Christ’s loving hands,

’til our end arrives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious examples of people whom You place in our lives to show us what it is to truly trust in You. Thank You for the beautiful blessing of my Grandmother. Thank You that her hope and confidence is in You. Please keep suffering far from her, and Your peace and presence tangible. Forgive us for not trusting You with everything, as You alone are the One whom determines the outcome of all of our days. Teach us to trust You more, so that our hope and confidence will be held in You. Show us how to love others in a way that makes hope tangible and attainable to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, and make You our hope and confidence for all of our days. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Power Made Perfect in Weakness

Paul lived a phenomenal life of obedient faith. Often, we fail to remember that he had some sort of affliction that tormented him throughout many of his years of ministry. Despite his asking the Lord repeatedly to remove it, he remained faithful to continue in that which he was called, even when the Lord’s answer was not what Paul had hoped.

 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – (2 Corinthians 12:9)

 

The Lord spoke to Paul, and Paul listened. Though he could have had a pity party and complained about having to live with his affliction, instead, Paul came to recognize that the very point of pain and weakness was a perfect opportunity for God’s power to be magnified. Where we are weak, it becomes obvious that anything we do well, is done in the Lord’s strength. Additionally, when we are aware of our own shortcomings, we are more likely to seek our Savior to be our source of strength, help and hope, as we know fully that without Him, we will fall on our faces. May we choose to embrace His grace this day, in our places of weakness, allowing His power to be made perfect in us. Let the Lord lead us, so that many may witness His mighty strength where our own is not.

 

Grace that’s sufficient,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

it’s more than enough;

despite what we face,

the Lord’s strength is tough.

For when we are weak,

we choose to seek Him;

make way for His strength,

to come enter in.

Therefore let us boast,

of where our strength lacks;

so Christ’s power comes,

to keep us on track.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your grace is sufficient for us, and that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You that our spaces of weakness are not something to be ashamed of, but rather they are opportunities for Your power to shine. Forgive us for stubborn independence or our fear of exposing our weaknesses. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are willing to be transparent in our weakness and allow Your strength to shine. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as Your strength is made perfect in our weakness. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Intended for Good

Joseph’s story is one of great faithfulness and forgiveness. Despite Joseph having been sold into slavery by his brothers, he chose to trust God, and remained faithful in each situation he found himself in. It was evident each time injustice or false accusations befell him, that Joseph did not get angry, bitter, nor hold a grudge. Each time, he opted to forgive and focus on what God was asking of him in his present circumstance, no matter how dismal it appeared. Ultimately, Joseph’s faithfulness resulted in his rise to second only to the Pharaoh, and what God had taught him through his trials,ended up preserving not only he and his extended family, but an entire nation.

 

After Joseph had reestablished relationship with his brothers and his father, his brothers became fearful once Jacob, their father died. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly. – (Genesis 50:19-21)

 

Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery, but he reassured and spoke to them with kindness. Joseph modeled the very same sort of grace and forgiveness that God affords us, though we deserve it not. May we receive what Christ freely gives, and go forth and offer the very same grace to all those who surround us.

 

Despite harm’s intent,MSH29

God used it for good;

by trusting the Lord,

his heart understood.

Though likely unknown,

the number of tests;

his faith still remained,

in He who grants rest.

For Joseph, he knew,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

through times of trials,

and seasons of rest.

His faith remained strong,

no matter what came;

for He knew that God,

would triumph and reign.

May each one of us,

have faith as he had;

no matter what comes,

trust our Holy Dad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of unwavering faithfulness presented through Joseph, despite the many trials that he endured. Thank You that it is obvious to see Your faithfulness as he was faithful. Thank You too for such a remarkable story of forgiveness and redemption. Forgive us for our unforgiveness or our lack of faithfulness when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most dire of circumstances. Lead us to love others as Joseph loved his brothers – with kindness and graciousness, no matter what has been done unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord, as they come to understand who You are, and how You love and forgive by Your glorious grace. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to love and forgive as You love and forgive each of us. Amen.

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

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