Coming to a Crossroad

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. – (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

Turn to the Lord for help in everything you do, and you will be successful. – (Proverbs 16:3, ERV)

Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success. – (Proverbs 16:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we came to a crossroad. Mom’s insurance company was adamantly denying her move to Good Sam’s Acute Rehab Facility in Puyallup. After have spent the previous two days attempting two appeals, we reached a point of recognizing that time was far more important than location. Additionally, we had been praying that God would open the doors we were meant to walk through, and close the ones we were not. Though Good Sam welcomed her, insurance slammed that door shut. At first, it did not make sense. Anger gave way to acceptance. Mom has lived in Wenatchee for nearly twenty years. She has an incredible community here. She is loved deeply, and her home will accommodate those I am comfortable sharing space with from home, who have known her since I was very young. As it turns out, between FMLA and twenty-two years of teaching in the same school, I have plenty of leave to be in Wenatchee as long as I am needed. Megan too, has FMLA benefits, flexibility of working remotely, and a dear friend who can aid in ease of travel on occasion. We are surrounded and loved in the Wenatchee Valley. No, this is not what we thought things would look like, but then again, this whole nightmare is nothing we ever envisioned for our mom; EVER. Just as we are grieving, so too is she. Mom is fully aware of her current circumstances, and she recognizes the road ahead. It is discouraging when people place expectations on her to “get to her old self in no time”, as no one knows what the future holds. By faith, her body will be fully restored and she will regain EVERYTHING. However, we do not know when. She may not be independent for quite a while, and consequently, may not be ready for visitors for just as long. Yesterday was the first day that she expressed any interest in seeing her phone. I will take it to her and all of her cards. The outpouring of cards, texts and calls has been incredible, as we know her family, friends and church community love her very well.

The what next is that she will be moved on Monday to an acute care facility in Wenatchee. Right now, we are not wanting people to take the liberty to just “drop by” to say “hi” and see her, even though that was normal for her before. Acute care will be extremely intense, and she will likely be exhausted and needing far more rest than she has ever needed before. An important part of healing from a stroke is sleep, so we do not want anything to hinder the process. We do not yet know what it all will look like, nor how she will feel, until we arrive and go through the paces. As she settles in, I will continue to update and let people know. I imagine there will come a point where some sort of visiting schedule could be established. However, that is a stay tuned situation. In the meantime, please, please, continue to pray. Your prayers are felt and we do have light-hearted moments in the midst of the difficult. We smile and laugh, talk and remember, share and listen, and pray. God is good, even when life is hard. May we turn to Him to lead us in all things.

 

When a door opens, 0503192119a6743790846154114741.jpg

Then slams in your face;

Do not stop running,

Rather adjust pace.

Keep moving forward,

Ever seeking Him;

He’ll show the right way,

And usher us in.

Give all to the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

For He knows the way,

And will meet each need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we commit our plans to You, You lead us in the way that we are meant to go, even if it is not the way that we thought it was supposed to be. Thank You that You already know the outcome and what is the very best place for our mom to thrive and heal. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations as we navigate all of this uncharted territory. Teach us to trust You more, as trust is all that we have. Show us Your ongoing miracles through the healing of our mom, as we are already seeing small steps of Your faithful forward momentum. Show us how to love and encourage mom and all who help care for and work with her. May those who do not know You yet, see Jesus through us and come into a lasting relationship with You. Be our light and strength and love that leads us every minute of every day, Lord God, so that You may be glorified. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

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

Faithful the Shepherds

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. Amen.

 

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

 

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

How Can We Be Holy?

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” – (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT)

 

When I read this verse I am at a loss as to how I could ever even begin to measure up. The teacher in me decided to start at the beginning, and determine what exactly it means for me to be “holy“. According to the various definitions that I could find, holy is: dedicated or devoted service to God; having a spiritually pure quality; to be declared sacred. Though on my own, this explanation make holiness even further out of reach, I know that in Christ, I am washed clean and declared His, by which Christ calls me sacred before Him, and spiritually pure in His eyes. Knowing that He has done these things for me, draws my heart to devotion unto Him. This does not mean that I will get it right every single time, nor will I “arrive” at some super holy status, but I will pursue His will as I walk out my days, and trust that I have been cleansed and declared His, which makes me wholly His. When God looks at us, He views us through the holy lens of Christ, not through our brokenness. May we embrace the grace that we have been granted that cleanses us and declares us holy and pure before the living God.

 

Because He’s holy,Clean Inside Out

We must be the same;

Not for what we do,

Rather by His Name.

When we’re His children,

He calls us His own;

Cleansed and made holy,

Made right, we are known.

This tremendous grace,

He gives unto us;

Makes hearts long to serve,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are holy and You cover and cleanse us from our sin, we too can be called holy before You. Thank You that Your goodness and grace draw our hearts to devotion unto You. Forgive us for not walking in Your ways or listening for Your voice. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your ways in everything that we do. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates Your holiness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be dedicated and devoted unto You in all that we do because You are good. 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

Help to Build

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT)

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?” – (Romans 15:2, MSG)

 

When we grow in strength and maturity in our walk with the Lord, it is not just for our benefit. We are charged to love God AND love people. To love people is to meet them in their need, and do what we can, as we are able, to help them grow and build them up. If our words and deeds are not life-giving, they are a waste of time and energy. That is not to say that in tough times we do not need a safe outlet, but rather when it is well with our soul, we ought to be light and life to those around us. May we rise up in the strength that we have been given, and seek to serve those in need around us for His glory.

 

When we grow in strength,The Power of the Tongue

And our faith does rise;

Our charge is to serve,

Be hope realized.

For people in need,

Need hope so they’ll grow;

A hand that’s offered,

Is God’s grace that’s shown.

Help us to rise up,

To see those in need;

Offer what we have,

To Him, let us lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that you strengthen and grow us in You when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You do so not just for our benefit, but also for those around us. Forgive us for not helping and building up those for whom we are charged to love well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek to serve, even when it is inconvenient. Show us how to love others to life through loving and serving, just as You so love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to serve and help those around us, so that they may grow stronger in faith. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

 

My Strength and Shield

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise Him. – (Psalm 28:7, NIV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises up as song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

 

When we slow down and give way to trust – that space where we truly rest in Him – this is the place where we recognize His grace, and how He has strengthened and protected us through the storms. As we recognize who He is and all that He has done, gratitude rises up, and joy goes forth from our hearts in song. Sometimes our song is spoken, sometimes it is through service, and still other times it is with voices raised, we join the heavenly choir in singing out about the greatness and faithfulness of our glorious God. May our hearts leap for joy as we recognize that the Lord is indeed our source of strength and our shield, and choose to let songs of gratitude rise up and go forth from our entire being.

 

My strength and my shield,Who Wants to Fight

I’ll trust in You, Lord;

for You are my help,

Your grace is outpoured.

My heart leaps for joy,

for all that You are;

I sing songs of praise,

O bright Morning Star.

So much gratitude,

that I can’t contain;

the hope that I have,

in knowing Your Name.

Teach me to choose rest,

and trust in Your grace;

it‘s where I am safe,

Your tender embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are my strength and my shield. Thank You that I can trust in You to be my help. Thank You that it is in that space of where I settle in and rest in You, and truly trust, that You help me and comfort me with Your love. Thank You that my heart knows great joy and cannot help but sing praise for who You are and all that You do. Forgive me for not slowing down to give You the reigns when things seem crazy. Teach me to trust You more, so that in all things and at all times, I will give all to You – as everything is better in Your hands. Show me how to love others so that they may see a heart of gratitude unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You are my strength and shield, and I trust You to be my help, and ever sing songs of praise to You. 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

Sanctified As We Seek Truth

Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. – (John 17:17, NIV)

Make them ready for Your service through Your truth. Your teaching is truth. – (John 17:17, ERV)

To sanctify is to be set apart for sacred use, cleansed and made holy. In terms of following Christ, that is the very thing that He does, when we choose to trust and invest in God and His word. The Lord prepares our hearts and minds to do the good that He has called us to do, and equips our hearts and minds with truth. As we trust in Him, we are made ready to reach out and love God and love others, as we have been loved by Him. May we invest our hearts wisely to walk in His truth, as we equip our hearts and minds with His word.

We must seek the truth,The Bread of Life

that’s found in His word;

and not just alone,

depend on what’s heard.

For wisdom does come,

to hearts that invest;

in knowing what’s true,

in all that’s professed.

We are set apart,

made holy and cleansed;

by God’s righteous word,

His calls us His friends.

It is by His truth,

we’re ready, prepared;

to go forth in love,

and willingly share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are set apart, cleansed and made holy by Your truth. Thank You that Your word is truth. Thank You that we so readily have access to Your word, and that we are without excuse to discover more and more of You. Forgive us for not seeking the truth that is available right in front of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would reach for You in all things at all times, seeking You in prayer and looking to Your word for answers to our questions. Show us how to love others in the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are sanctified by You as we continue to seek truth in Your word. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Resolve in His Strength

The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” – (Luke 4:3)

 

“Often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. The devil tempted Jesus where He was strong. Jesus had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world, and even angels, and Satan wanted Him to use that power without regard to His mission. When we give in to the devil and wrongly use our strengths, we become proud and self-reliant. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need of God. To avoid this trap, we must realize that all our strengths are God’s gift to us, and we must dedicate those strengths to His service.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 4:3)

 

For me, this is a timely reminder. Even when we desire to do good things, if we attempt to overbook ourselves, rather than rely on His leading, we end up overextending ourselves and going in our own strength, rather than in His. Though I seem to require less sleep than most, exhaustion will catch me if I do not listen to His leading, and learn to say no when He says, “Not now.” The desires to do good and gifts to utilize that He grants us are wonderful, however, it is critical that we listen to His leading so that we do not become self-reliant nor proud. Christ extends His grace and grows in us His wisdom, so each time that we encounter opportunities, we better learn to listen to Him for clear direction. May we go forth in His strength, so that we overcome every temptation that is placed before us, and learn to clearly listen to His leading.

 

Temptations shall come,MSH35

where they don’t belong;

they hit where we’re weak,

and too, where we’re strong.

Often the greatest,

temptations of all;

are where we are strong,

pride will bring a fall.

Let us remember,

our true Source of strength;

and trust in His might,

that covers great lengths.

Every good gift,

that we have to give;

was given to us,

so others might live.

May we honor Christ,

go forth and obey;

listen well and serve,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to show us how to live. Thank You Jesus, that You died in our place and defeated death, and sent Your Spirit to live in us, so that we would be strengthened and equipped to stand firm and walk in Your truth. Forgive us for our self-reliance and foolish pride, and help us to listen to Your leading as to what we should and should not do, even when the options before us are all good things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will stand firm, no matter what comes our way. Help us to love others as You so completely care for us, and may many come to know You as their Savior and King as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we overcome temptations in Your strength today. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Running With Purpose

This morning will not be a typical Sunday morning for me. It will be strange to gather with a different group, for a different purpose; yet ultimately, in my heart, to Him, all glory is given. Normally, I would be gathering with my church family for our Sunday worship service. However, today, I will be running the You Go Girl Half-Marathon with a dear friend, and countless other women who have signed on.

 

People have vastly different reasons for running, yet there is a sense of community and a bond between runners, as we brave the elements, and tackle the miles, together. For some, weight loss or weight maintenance is the only motivation for running. For others, it is to set and achieve goals. Others still, are in it for the endorphins, while some see it as an opportunity to connect with our Creator and with friends. Honestly, there is no better place to pound out frustrations, fears, and failures, than on the pavement. Every step forward is distancing oneself further away from the former, and closer to the future. When I run, I feel His pleasure. I am aware of His presence with every breath, His nearness with each step, and His awesome power as I take in the magnificent views all around me, that He has created.

 

Today as I run, I will be running for those who cannot; for the dear ones who have been called home too soon for my liking, yet can now run freely – unhindered by what burdened them here. Though we are not all runners on the pavement, we are all runners in the race of life. Let us run the race that is set before us with endurance. – (Hebrews 12:1) He equips us for all that He is calling us to do, we simply must start stepping forward. At times, the series of steps are exhausting, yet He remains, and His presence is ALWAYS enough. May we each go forth in His strength, as we run the race He sets before us.

 

Let us run the race,Running With Purpose

laid out by the Lord;

run with endurance,

to know the reward.

For those who persist,

even when it’s tough;

will find that His strength,

is more than enough.

Keep moving forward,

no matter the height;

one step at a time,

His way that is right.

And on that great day,

when our race is run;

a crown we’ll receive,

from the Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us to run our own race – whatever that may look like. Thank You that You prepare, strengthen and equip us, so that we are properly trained to take on the race You call us to run. Thank You that You do not ask us to run alone, but rather You remain present beside us, every step of the way. Forgive us for our lack of fortitude when we grow weary and for our fear when we cannot see the end in sight. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will lean on You to be our strength in the struggle and our safety in the storm. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love us. May many come to know who Your personally, as we faithfully run the race to which we are called. Be glorified, O God, as we run our race with purpose and endurance. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:9