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

Expectant Hope

So, prepare your minds for service. With complete self-control put all your hope in the grace that will be yours when Jesus Christ comes. – (1 Peter 1:13, ERV)

So, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the glorious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. – (1 Peter 1:13, NLT)

So, get yourselves ready, prepare your minds to act, control yourselves, and look forward in hope as you focus on the grace that comes when Jesus the Anointed returns and is completely revealed to you. – (1 Peter 1:13, VOICE)

 

Each new day that we draw breath, we are meant to be ready to live out our faith with expectant hope. To do so, we ought to exercise self-control and ready our minds to serve, remembering not only the grace that we have been given, but all of the hope that is yet to come. Though God gives great gifts in the here and now, the best is yet to come through that which will be eternal – our promised presence with our Provider forever. Imagine a place where there is always peace and never pain, surrounded by His love and light, the true King shall reign. This, this is reason to prepare our minds and exercise self-control, for our hope is held in that which is eternal. May we rise each day with expectant hope, and ready our hearts and minds to walk out our day according to His way.

 

Let’s prepare our minds, Enter With Thanksgiving

To rise up and serve;

Give as we’ve received,

Though much undeserved.

Use all self-control,

Granted by His grace;

So we may love well,

In every place.

May all of our hope,

Be held in the gift;

Of His saving grace,

Where forever is.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our eternal hope through the salvation that You offer. Thank You that we can trust our forever in You. Forgive us for not setting our sights on the eternal, as so often what lies before us seems so overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may have an eternal perspective, keeping our hope fixed on our forever with You. Show us how to prepare our minds for service, and grant us the strength to have self-control. Help us to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they too, might see the hope that is found in You forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put all of our hope in You and accept the gift of Your gracious salvation that is available for all who choose to receive. Amen.

 

 

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

 

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Freely Given

When God our Savior revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5a, NLT)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (Titus 3:4-5a, ERV)

But then something happened: God our Savior and His overpowering love and kindness for humankind entered our world; He came to save us. It’s not that we earned it by doing good works or righteous deeds; He came because He is merciful. – (Titus 3:4-5a, VOICE)

 

Our hope and our help come not as a result of what we have done, but rather that of which God has done. In His kindness and love, He made the way for us to be saved. Salvation is not dependent on our qualifications, but rather on our reception of that which is freely given. If we choose to believe and receive the new life that He offers, our hearts are changed and minds are made new. While we were yet sinners, He loved. Most of us are able to extend mercy to friends and loved ones, but to those who are against us? The Lord demonstrates the depth and breadth of His love through how He loves and offers salvation to ALL. There are no exceptions nor exclusions from His offer; His mercy is available to everyone. May we both receive and extend that which we have been given freely, so that others too, may come to know the loving kindness and mercy of our Maker.

 

It’s kindness and love, Hands of Grace

Through mercy He brings;

That we can be saved,

Freed from sinful things.

Salvation’s not earned,

By good that we do;

But given by grace,

That shows His love true.

What it takes from us,

Is choice to receive;

To place trust in Him,

Allow God to lead.

As we give God reign,

Our eyes start to see;

Others with His grace,

Kindness and mercy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came to save us, not because of anything that we did that made us good enough, but rather because of Your kindness and love. Thank You that You are merciful and full of grace, ready to receive all who seek Your face. Forgive us for thinking we have to measure up, rather than freely receiving that which You have to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to lead us and change us from the inside out. Show us how to love others with the same kindness, love and mercy that You extend to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely give so that we can give likewise. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Revealed Glory

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. – (Psalm 19:1-2, NLT)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. Each new day tells more of the story, and each night reveals more about God’s power. – (Psalm 19:1-2, ERV)

 

Regardless of whether or not we are looking or listening, God’s glory is continually being revealed. All around us there is evidence of His handiwork. From the rising and setting of the sun, to the ocean’s tide only coming so far – each powerfully displaying the mighty work of our Creator’s hands. At night, we need only escape the distraction of the city lights to look up and discover the dizzying design mapped out by our Maker. More stars than our eyes can count, His creation reveals glimpses of His power that are greater than we can fathom. May we ever recognize God’s majesty and might as we observe the glory of His creation all around us. All praise, honor and glory unto You Lord, now and forevermore.

 

All heaven declares,Hope for Eternity

The glory of God;

Powerful display,

May each heart applaud.

Give praise for the skies,

That speak of His hands;

And night after night,

Show His heart to man.

So speak of His love,

And show well His grace;

Help others see too,

His glorious ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your glory is displayed throughout the earth, and Your majesty is announced in the skies. Thank You that You are for us, and that You long to be in relationship with us, if only we choose to seek You. Forgive us for not recognizing the incredible craftsmanship of Your creation that is all around us, or for neglecting to be grateful for Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize all of Your glory that surrounds us, and go forth giving You praise for Your precious presence. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we give You our praise for the glory of all that You have made, and go forth in gratitude as we love like You. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Relentless Love

No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:39, NLT)

I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:39, ERV)

 

By the end of the evening yesterday, I was seriously grumpy. Fortunately, no one was home, nor near me, to need deal with my less-than-stellar state of mind. Perhaps the weight of the weekend had caught up to me and I was just really exhausted. Whatever the case, God’s love for me did not waver based on my foul mood. In fact, He utilized people to encourage and bless me in spite of myself. Two different people sent messages to me that were uplifting and kind, reminding me that His love is not dependent on the condition of my countenance. There is nothing that can separate us from His love for us. No matter where we go or what we do, He still loves. God’s love is not reliant on us doing or being enough, but rather it is something He does freely and fiercely because we are His children. Nothing in us or around us can stand in the way of Christ having loved us with His life. It is that love that overcomes all that cannot be hidden, harmed, nor removed, no matter what comes. May we each embrace the gracious gift of love that God gives, knowing that there is nothing in all of creation that will ever be able to separate us from His love for us.

 

Wherever we go,Enter With Thanksgiving

Whatever we do;

The love of the Lord,

Is present and true.

There’s nothing on earth,

Above nor below;

That can take away,

Or make His love go.

I am certain now,

Of this truth I claim;

None can separate,

From love in His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your good and gracious love. Thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that You love relentlessly so that we may know the peace of Your perfect love. Forgive us for not seeking You in our struggles or somehow thinking that Your love cannot reach us in our space of uncertainty. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as we are loved by You, so that they too, may come to know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your relentless love, and go forth and love likewise. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Called to be Family

When Jesus saw His mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And He said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27, NLT)

 

As Jesus was hanging on the cross, weighed down by the weight of the world’s sin, He still took notice of the growing grief on the faces of those He dearly loved. A further example of how Jesus loved people, even as He hung in agony, is revealed to us in this short exchange between Jesus, His mother, and John. Knowing that both Mary and John would need comfort and care from another who had shared in the entire experience of the life and death of Jesus, He presented them to each other in new familial roles so that they could help one another in Jesus’ absence. Clearly Christ’s words were taken to heart, as John took Mary into his home from that day forward. Jesus is all about relationship. He cares about our heart and wants our grieving hearts to be comforted. The people around us are not in place by mistake. He sets the lonely in families, and loves us to life when our light has grown dim. May we ever fix our eyes on Christ, and allow Him to move in us and through us in ways that bring comfort and care to all in need, as we look to the hope that is held forever in Him.Called to be Family 1

 

Jesus sees our hearts,

And knows all our needs;

Surrounds the lonely,

And hungry, He feeds.

Wherever we are,

He sees and He knows;

His heart is to love,Called to be Family 2

So our faith might grow.

Even in anguish,

Christ spoke how to be;

Support each other,

We’re now family.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that family is not only those related by blood, but rather they are those whom You surround us with to be our safety and support. Thank You that Jesus showed us how important it is to be in ongoing relationship with one another, as it was one of the last things He pointed out before He drew His last breath on the cross. Forgive us for withdrawing or not investing ourselves into those that You have placed in our lives to be family – whether they are related by blood or not. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace and invest in those around us, just as we are called to do. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Live Right by His Light

He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you are healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, NLT)

Christ carried our sins in His body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By His wounds you were healed. – (1 Peter 2:24, ERV)

 

As I continue to contemplate the cross and Easter, and everything that this week means, a portion of this morning’s read reminds us why Jesus did what He did. He chose to bear the weight of the world’s sin, so that all might have the choice to live for what is right. No excuses, no burdens of the bad that we have been – Jesus bore them all on the cross so that we could be healed and set free. It is in our discovering of this freedom from the weight of our own unworthiness, that we begin to grasp the greatness of our Savior’s sacrifice and the depth of His decision to love. May we each embrace the gift of grace that God has given, and walk forward in the freedom found through the sacrifice the Savior made on our behalf.

 

Christ carried our sins,Live Right by His Light

On His body, bore;

The weight of the world,

To be veiled, no more.

No longer removed,

By our sin and shame;

For Christ took it all,

Truth we can now claim.

By His very wounds,

We each have been healed;

So we can live right,

As truth is revealed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfathomable gift that You gave as You sent Your Son to carry the cross for our sin. Thank You Jesus for showing us what a life of love looks like first, and then going on and bearing the burden of all of our sin and shame on the cross so that we could have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for continuing to sink into sin, and help us to seek You to show us the way to live right. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love in a way that brings light into darkness, so that all might see the hope that is held in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the gift of grace that we have been given, and look to You to live right. 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

A Tangible Display

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display – the Anointed One died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, VOICE)

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. – (Romans 5:6-8, NLT)

 

As we draw ever nearer to Easter, it is good to set our sights on what this season is all about. Each time I take pause and read anything related to what Christ came and did for me, I am in awe of the greatness of His goodness and His grace. Who willingly lays down their life to save another, when the very one being saved is against them? Before we knew Christ, He loved us. Prior to making a choice to invite Him to be Lord of our lives, He laid His down for us. While we were yet sinners, He came and bore the weight of all of our sin and shame so that we could be forgiven and free, and have life everlasting in Him. There is no greater love than He who willingly gave everything so that we could be made right before God and have eternal life. May the power of Christ’s life-raising love fill our hearts and minds, and lead us as we consider the weight of this wonderful week.

 

Stuck in the darkness,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Still shrouded in sin;

Christ came and He gave,

Love made the way in.

Though few might choose die,

For those who are good;

Only Christ the Lord,

In our place, He stood.

He bore such a weight,

Sin and shame of all;

So we could be free,

And on His Name call.

What powerful love,

Such wonder He is;

The truth and the life,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, while we were still sinners, far from You, to give His life for ours. Forgive us for not recognizing the weight of what You did for us so that we could have life everlasting in You. Help us to grasp the magnitude of Your mercy and the greatness of Your grace as we walk out this week leading to Easter. Show us how to love those around us with the very same mercy and grace that we have been given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You have freely given, and go forth in freedom to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

 

Outward Pressure Inward Transformation

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world. – (1 Peter 4:12-13, NLT)

 

“Outward pressure works inward transformation. Rivals reveal the destiny that God has prepared for us.” – (Without Rival, Lisa Bevere) As my book study continues, not only are there fantastic foundational truths that are being reinforced, but there are these great little nuggets that resonate as relevant reminders that whatever we go through – can all be used to further refine us into whom God is calling us to become. We do not grow and change when we are comfortable. It is in the times of trial that we are forced to rise up and cling to Christ, and discover the true strength that He alone can provide. Though we might not enjoy the trying times, they are the very spaces that show us who He is, and how much more we can have of Him. May we seek the Lord in times of trial and of blessing, and recognize that rivals are real ways for God to reveal more of Himself to us and through us as He works within us.

 

Fear not the trials, God Within Her

That happen our way;

For God uses them,

To show us He’ll stay.

Every rival,

God can use for good;

To grow and refine,

His strength understood.

For outward pressure,

Causes change within;

As we lean on Christ,

Glory’s ushered in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that trials transform us into more of who You are calling us to become. Thank You that though we don’t want to endure trials or rivals of any kind, You use them to grow us and raise us up according to Your plan. Forgive us for wanting to run and hide when trials come. Teach us to trust You completely, so that we would seek You and Your strength, to forge forward and face whatever obstacle comes our way, knowing that You will provide whatever we need to continue in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us, so that they too would keep moving towards all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to transform us when the pressure is placed upon us. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Wisdom is the Path to Peace

She (wisdom) will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. – (Proverbs 3:17-18, NLT)

Her ways are pleasant; all her paths are peaceful. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold her tight are happy. – (Proverbs 3:17-18, CEB)

 

Solomon was speaking of the wisdom that comes from God. When we seek Him and ask for His wisdom and understanding, He provides insight and the path to peace. As we pursue His ways and hold fast to His leading, light and life are revealed to us according to His perfect plan, and the peace of God becomes known as we follow the way He has shown. True satisfaction is found in knowing that we are holding fast to that which we have been called to do, and walking in the way in which He is leading. May we seek the Lord’s wisdom all of our days, and hold tightly to the path which He provides.

 

When we seek the Lord,Hope in What is Unseen

He’s faithfully found;

He’ll answer requests,

Grant wisdom that’s sound.

Wisdom from the Lord,

Is life to all who;

Choose to embrace her,

Obey, follow through.

Happy are all those,

Who hold tight to these;

And follow His paths,

As they lead to peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and Your wisdom, You show us Your ways and grant us Your wisdom. Thank You that Your ways are pleasant and Your paths are peaceful. Thank You that Your wisdom is life to all who embrace that which You provide. Thank You that happiness is found in listening to the wisdom that You provide. Forgive us for not seeking Your wisdom to know which way we are meant to go, or for choosing to go our own way despite Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey, regardless of what You say, as all Your ways are good and lead us on the path to Your perfect peace. Show us how to love those around us with Your wisdom, so that we share light and life in places that are dark and lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to lead us in all Your ways. Amen.

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

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