To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Do the Good

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

 

When we walk in God’s will and choose to do the good to which we are called, foolish words find no footing, as our unwavering way is our witness to what is true. This is no accident, but rather it is by God’s design. Even the most foolish of folks will not slander good that they see consistently over time. May we rise up in the Lord’s strength and do the good for which we have been called. Let our deeds do the talking so that the foolish are silenced.

 

When we choose do good,

Peace Through Understanding

We silence each voice;

Of ignorant fools,

Who’d make unkind choice.

No word can be said,

Against loving good;

So, let us take rise,

And walk as we should.

We each have purpose,

Designed with intent;

To love and do good,

We’re each heaven sent.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

May we love and serve,

So God’s heart shines through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good, not only to bless those around us, but to protect us as well. Thank You that when we seek You and listen to You, You show us the good that we can do wherever we go. Forgive us for neglecting to either listen or act on that which You ask. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us with our every word and deed, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the good to which we are called in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

O man, He has told you what is good. What does the Lord ask of you but to do what is fair and to love kindness, and to walk without pride with your God? – Micah 6:8

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Love is an Active Choice

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, TLB)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

God’s words to us explain what it truly is to love. Love does not merely speak the words, but it is an ongoing demonstration of actions that support the things we say. Tomorrow, I will have the tremendous joy of joining together in holy matrimony with the one who has shown me love in action, day in and day out, in a way that my heart never knew possible. He demonstrates love from the time I wake to a text each morning, greeting me with words that blanket my heart with blessings, to all of the countless thoughtful little things that show me again and again, he loves me and chooses me as his actions demonstrate what love looks like in a life of choosing to love as we are loved by God. Love truly is a choice, and it requires that we align our deeds with the words that we choose to speak. Though not one of us could do this on our own all the time, with God, we are loved in a way that the overflow shapes the things that we do to reflect His heart for one another. May we all seek the Lord daily, so that we may love in action and truth, just as we are loved by Him.

 

Love is so much more,

dsc045071369451189.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Than mere words spoken;

For true love lifts up,

It heals what’s broken.

In every act,

In all that we do;

When fueled by love,

God’s kindness shines through.

True love will align,

All that’s said and done;

For love always protects,

As trustworthy one.

True love perseveres,

For it is a choice;

To match word and deed,

One heart and one voice.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of love that we are given through those whom You have placed in our lives to show us Your love through actions over and over again. Thank You for the love that You have given me in the one to whom I will soon wed. Thank You that as I am loved well by him, I come to understand more deeply, the love that You have for us all. Forgive us for doubting the sincerity of love that is demonstrated consistently in our lives and for the times that we do not allow Your heart to lead in the words that we speak and actions that we opt to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your loving way each day and be known as people who live lives of love. Show us how to love those around us with our every deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as we are so lavishly loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Trust by Faith

Then Jesus told him, “Go back home. Your son will live!” And the man believed what Jesus said and started home. – (John 4:50, NLT)

Jesus answered, “Go. Your son will live.” The man believed what Jesus told him and went home. – (John 4:50, ERV)

Go home. Your son will live. When he heard the voice of Jesus, faith took hold of him and he turned to go home. – (John 4:50, VOICE)

 

I love this exchange between Jesus and a government official. The man who came before Jesus on behalf of his son, was a leader among men, and accustomed to people following his orders the moment he spoke them into being. Despite the powerful position of this government official, he approached Jesus with humility and faith. Perhaps desperation was a motivation, as he more than anything, wanted his son to live. Rather than Jesus traveling with the man to his son, He simply told him that his boy would live. Something arose within the heart of the official, and he took Jesus at His word. He believed and began his journey home. I wonder if he had to keep reminding himself that Jesus had spoken the words that his son would live, so believe, believe, believe… At some point as the man neared home, one of his servants ran to him to let him know that his son would live and was well again. When the man asked when his son had shown the improvement, they discovered that it had occurred at the same time the previous day when Jesus had spoken the words that his son would live. How often do we receive and believe His promises with such faith? It is easy when we see tangible evidence that He is moving on our behalf yet it can be a battle when what we have heard does not align with that which we see in the here and now. May we have faith in the promises that He has spoken and keep walking forward in trust; for what He has promised He is faithful to do.

 

What Jesus tells us,wp-1522933972687995522303.jpg

He’s faithful to do;

Whatever He says,

He will follow through.

Despite what we see,

God is on the move;

We must choose believe,

Let doubt be removed.

We must trust by faith,

And not count on sight;

Let God lead the way,

For His ways are right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You that You are forever faithful to fulfill that which You promise. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for thinking that You might change Your mind. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk boldly in faith in that which You have promised, trusting that You will fulfill all that You have spoken. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage and build one another up with faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your word to be true and allow You to grow our faith within us. Amen.

 

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

 

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

The Two Greatest Commands

Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, NLT)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” – (Matthew 22:37-40, MSG)

 

I am routinely amazed at how overwhelmingly blessed and loved I feel, as I try to live my life according to these two commands. When we love God and love people, the rewards far outweigh the risks. God’s love is greater than any sort of love that the human heart can hold and choosing to love people is often returned far bigger and better than we could ever hope or imagine. To love others as we love ourselves, requires that we think of others before we speak or act. Will the words that I speak or the actions that I take be ones that would be a blessing to me if I were the recipient? If not, we are likely not acting in love. Though there are times when we choose love and extend kindness to others and what is returned is far from the same, if we truly choose to love as God loves us, we will extend love anyway. We are not called to stay in harm’s way nor withstand abuse, as sometimes love leads us away to safety. Regardless of the circumstances, we can choose love as we lift others up to the Lord. He is far greater than anything or anyone who comes against us, and His love covers all. May we ever seek to follow the two greatest commands that lead to a life of walking in God’s will: Let us love God and love people.

 

With all of our heart, wp-1519570589366472507998.jpg

We are called to love;

God and all people,

Our charge from above.

As we love the Lord,

And choose love others;

We find that we’re blessed,

Sisters and brothers.

In God’s family,

We find love not known;

As through each other,

His goodness is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made it simple for us to follow Your ways and walk in Your will through our own awareness and obedience to the two greatest commands: to love You with all that we are, and love people as we love ourselves. Forgive us for the times that we have not done either. Teach us to turn to You so that we may learn to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us, according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are and choose to love others as we desire to be loved. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Rest to Be Shown

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

Recently, it has felt like a very heavy season. Between the heartbreaking stories of what has happened locally, to the behaviors manifesting in students all over campus, (likely caused by personal trauma) to sorrows reaching those whom are dear to me, it is nearly impossible to not be affected by the weight of it all. This is the space where it is critical that I hand the heaviness to Him who is best able to bear the burdens, as it is through Christ that I find peace and rest, regardless of what surrounds me. No, turning in trust to God does not make our burdens disappear, but rather it reduces the weight as He grants us the strength to rise up and press on, knowing that He is with us and for us in all things. Finding His rest in the throes of the fight supplies us with the fortitude to persevere. May we go to God with our every burden, for He is where we find light and life, when all that surrounds us seems dark.

 

Our precious Savior,Quiet Hope

In love, He says, “Come”;

“Bring Me your burdens,

My daughters and sons.”

Those who are weary,

In Me, You’ll find rest;

I will refresh You,

No matter the mess.

Carry no longer,

The heavy alone;

For God is calling,

With rest to be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring our burdens to You, so that we can find rest. Forgive us for trying to bear the weight of the world on our own. Teach us to turn to You in trust, knowing that Your hands that hold all of creation, can handle whatever lies before us. We lift up those affected by tragedy and trauma, and ask that You would show us how to help walk alongside them and help shoulder the weight in Your strength. Lead us to love well, just as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our heavy burdens and readily receive Your rest. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

 

 

That Precious Baby

Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about Him. – (Luke 2:33, NLT)

Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. – (Luke 2:33, MSG)

Mary and Joseph stood there, awestruck over what was being said about their baby. – (Luke 2:33, TPT)

 

It is difficult to fathom being in Mary and Joseph’s shoes. Though they had both been visited by an angel that told them that she would be with child, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and then they were visited just after Jesus was born by shepherds who worshiped this newborn baby because of an angelic announcement, the significance of their Son likely began to hit home a bit more as Simeon unpacked what God had promised about Him. As parents, we always have great hopes for our children from the moment we know that they have been conceived. For most, we can only imagine and dream of who they might become, and pray that they will grow and live well, according to God’s design. For Mary and Joseph, that design was astounding. Their Son was to be the Savior of the world. However, His position would not be without a painful price. I wonder if the two of them could even fully process the prophetic promise presented before them, as they held their eight-day-old baby boy. What a wonder indeed. Jesus grew and was faithful to fulfill all that to which He had been called. His sacrifice is our salvation. May we ponder in wonder and awe, the incredible sacrifice and willing obedience displayed by Mary and Joseph while Jesus was so young, and the faithfulness of God forever.

 

Imagine hearing, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

Such uncertain words;

Both saving and pain,

The gist of that heard.

A precious baby,

Innocent and new;

Would bear such a weight,

For me and for you.

That precious baby,

Grew into a man;

Who helped, healed and saved,

Faithful to God’s plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Mary and Joseph, as parents who were willing to faithfully follow what God asked of them, no matter the cost. Thank You for sending You one and only Son to save us and restore us to right relationship with You. Forgive us for not embracing the mercy and grace that You freely give, if only we choose to come before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be willing to walk wherever You lead, no matter what risk is required. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your mercy and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever, and trust You to lead us wherever You call us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Simeon’s Story

A man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. He was a good man who was devoted to God. He was waiting for the time when God would come to help Israel. The Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit told him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah from the Lord. The Spirit led Simeon to the Temple. So he was there when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to do what the Jewish law said they must do. Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what Simeon said about Him. – (Luke 2:25-33, ERV)

 

There are so many side stories interwoven within the story of the birth of Jesus. Simeon was a man whom had devoted his whole life to God, and was holding both the hope and the promise that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah with his own eyes. I imagine him to have been an older man, wise in his many years, overwhelmed with both joy and awe to behold this baby, as he recognized exactly Whom he was holding in his very own arms. Additionally, I picture Mary and Joseph, who had been visited by angels multiple times over the previous many months, full of wonder as they are now receiving further insight to the role their son will grow to fulfill. Despite the promised pain, Mary and Joseph took their parental roles seriously, and loved and lead their son, the very Son of God, according to what had been asked of them. May we pause and ponder the intricacies of God’s story, as we approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth. May the magnitude of the sacrifice made on our behalf, resonate in a fresh way as we celebrate this most holy season.

 

Told in a promise, simeons-story.jpg

His own eyes would see;

Coming Messiah,

The Holy baby.

On the chosen day,

When Jesus arrived;

Simeon beheld,

Promise realized.

Imagine the joy,

Awe and wonder too;

This promise fulfilled,

His hope proving true.

May we too behold,

The wonder and awe;

At our Savior’s birth,

That Simeon saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of knowing some of the side stories that occurred around the birth of Jesus. Thank You for showing us the hearts that had long held the hope of seeing the Messiah, and actually saw Him with their own eyes. Thank You that though we did not witness His birth, we have the blessing of Your Holy Spirit with us, always. Forgive us for not taking time to ponder the magnitude of what began in the manger. Teach us to seek You for wisdom and insight, and reveal more and more to us as we study Your word. Show us how to love those around us so that we can make Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas, and all that unfolded surrounding Jesus’ birth. Amen.

 

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

 

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