A Priestly Blessing

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. – (Numbers 6:24-26, NLT)

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord smile down on you and show you His kindness. May the Lord answer your prayers and give you peace. – (Numbers 6:24-26, ERV)

God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper. – (Numbers 6:24-26, MSG)

 

This is the priestly blessing that God told Moses to use to bless the people of Israel. I love the word choice, as it paints such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. To be blessed and protected are two things that I pray for my family, daily. To feel the Lord’s pleasure and experience His kindness are incredible additions to the blessing. The very idea of God smiling down on us is so encouraging. Additionally, it is a reminder that He hears our prayers and provides us His peace. May we seek the Lord and pray this blessing for all those around us.

 

May the Lord’s blessings, 02091908168948984113211604272.jpg

Be poured upon you;

May His protection,

Refresh and renew.

May His love be clear,

For You’re His treasure;

Know He smiles at you,

As you bring pleasure.

May you know He hears,

Each prayer that you pray;

He’s offering peace,

As we choose His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the blessings that You pour upon us – Your presence, protection, pleasure, and peace. Thank You that You hear our every prayer. Forgive us for forgetting how blessed we are to know You. Teach us to trust You more, so, that we would recognize Your blessings and beautiful peace that are so lavishly given. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your blessings being provided in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your blessings and extend them to others. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

A Fountain of Life and Light

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. – (Psalm 36:9, NIV) 

The fountain of life flows from You. Your light lets us see light. – (Psalm 36:9, ERV) 

You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst. Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our souls. – (Psalm 36:9, VOICE) 

 

Spending time in a major city seems to open my eyes to where there is light and where it is lacking. Though that may be an alarmingly obvious statement, given the sizable homeless population that tends to reside in the downtown area of all major cities, I am actually speaking of the individuals with whom I had direct interaction – be it a cashier or a server or concierge, not just a smile, nod or “hello” on the street. Incidentally, I had several different conversations with a variety of folks, many of which were students from the nearby university. One seemed to be a bit distraught, as I asked her how her day was going. Between a late arrival to work, upcoming finals, and concern about making it home for the holidays, she was stressed and short on hope. I extended encouragement and wished her well throughout our brief conversation, and I now pray for the peace of God to be present as she navigates the next few weeks. When the light of the Lord is lacking, we are called to be His light, as His light within us, is made to illuminate the darkness. May we ever seek and depend on the Lord, who is the fountain of life that quenches our thirst and the light that opens our eyes and awakens our souls. 

 

God is a fountain, A Fountain of Life and Light

For each thirsty soul; 

He’ll fill and refresh, 

Restore and make whole. 

The light of the Lord, 

Opens eyes to see; 

Awakens the soul, 

To grace that sets free. 

Where there is no hope, 

God’s light makes hope known; 

Run to the Fountain, 

Where true love is shown. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of light and life and hope. Thank You that we can come to You and be filled, so that we can truly see. Forgive us for our tunnel vision that keeps us from seeing what surrounds us. Teach us to see the world through Your eyes, so that we would be ever aware of where Your light is lacking and shine Your love in such spaces. Show us how to love those around us who are hopeless or hurting or stuck in dark spots. Help us to extend light and life and hope in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our fountain of life and light, and seek You to show us life through the light of Your loving lens. Amen.

 

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

 

In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. – John 1:5

Blooms from Burdens

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that testing of your faith produces perseverance. – (James 1:2-3, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, you will have many kinds of trouble. But this gives you reason to be very happy. You know that when your faith is tested, you learn to be patient in suffering. – (James 1:2-3, ERV)

Don’t run from tests and hardships, brothers and sisters. As difficult as they are, you will ultimately find joy in them; if you embrace them, your faith will blossom under pressure and teach you true patience as you endure. – (James 1:2-3, VOICE)

 

As the school day had come to a close yesterday, and I was preparing to head home, I had a quick conversation with a colleague whom I greatly respect and admire, as she does some of the most difficult work on campus. It had been a particularly rough week with students, and yesterday, many of the manifestations of the worst of it, came to a head. She said something that at first, I found to be sad, but as I thought about it a bit more, I found how closely tied to the above verse it actually held true. The gist of what she had said, was that the trials that she had endured last year, had prepared her for what she faced yesterday. What might have formerly frazzled and unnerved her, did not, as she had been prepared with the trials from the previous year, and discovered that she was calm and felt equipped to tackle each challenge that was presented with patience and perseverance. The smile I am accustomed to seeing on her face was still prominent, and despite the weariness of the week, there was joy. May we all face the trials that test our faith in trust, for God uses every difficulty to grow us and for ultimate good.

 

 

Each trial we face, Chosen With Purpose

A chance to try trust;

For as we press on,

God remains with us.

The things that we learn,

Through challenges faced;

Grow patience in us,

To run well our race.

Though trials aren’t fun,

In Christ, they’ll bring good;

Our faith will blossom,

His love understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we go through trials and difficulties, You use them to grow our faith and produce perseverance within us. Forgive us for our disdain for the difficult as it comes our way, and help us to turn in trust to You for strength and stamina to rise up and persevere, knowing that You will use our every trial for ultimate good. Show us how to love others well, so that we may share Your joy, even in the midst of trials. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the faith and patience that You grow in us through the challenges that come our way. 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

Love Each Other

This is my command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, NIV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

This is My command to you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, VOICE)

So this is My parting command: Love one another deeply! – (John 15:17, TPT)

 

In each translation, the message remains nearly identical, as there is no substitution nor synonym for loving one another. This is a command and a calling. Jesus gave this charge to His disciples (and to us) shortly prior to His sacrifice on the cross. He modeled how to love through His life, death, resurrection and ascension, and empowers us to go and love like Him. It takes little effort to discover the deep need for love all around us. So many are broken and hurting and in need. Though we cannot solve all of the world’s ills, we can choose to love wherever we are. Often, a smile, a friendly greeting or a simple, kind exchange of conversation extends love in ways that reach far beyond what we might imagine, and remind the recipient that they are valued and worth our while. Jesus will use our willingness far more than we could hope or imagine, if only we choose to love. May we rise up in obedience to what God requires of us, as He calls us to love in word and deed, just as we are so lavishly loved by the Lord.

 

The Lord, He commands, Love Made Known

We love each other;

He values us all,

Sisters and brothers.

The light of His grace,

Is meant shine through us;

As we choose to love,

Show the world Jesus.

So much of our love,

Is not simply words;

But through what we do,

That God’s love is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, as You demonstrate Your love to us so often through the words and deeds of others. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions did not show Your love, and teach us to do better each time we have the opportunity to love. Show us how to love those around in a way that demonstrates Your loving kindness and faithfulness through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to obey what You are asking, and go forth and love one another as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Hope in Discouragement

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! – (Psalm 42:5, NLT)

Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again praise Him, your God, the One who will save you.” – (Psalm 42:5, ERV)

Why are you so down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. – (Psalm 42:5, MSG)

 

It is difficult to take in the recent events in our nation, and not feel sad and discouraged. Yet, even in the darkness of such ugliness, good has been burning bright in incredible ways. When the need for blood donations was presented to the people of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, generous hearts lined up in droves. Help is being provided in a place where it is typically lacking, as it is needed most. Additionally, there have been numerous stories of individuals placing themselves in harm’s way to help those in need in the midst of this tragic event. When I see the good that rose up in people who helped because they knew that they could not just standby and do nothing – I am encouraged and remember that God is our hope and our reason to praise. He moves hearts to act with love and compassion, and despite the darkness that is in the world, God is always good. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, as He is the One who saves and is worthy of all of our praise.

 

When I’m discouraged, Hope in Discouragement

And my heart is sad;

Help me hope again,

Lord, make my heart glad.

Glad for Your goodness,

For Your light and grace;

Praise for salvation,

Our hope in this place.

Lord, help us to see,

Where to fix our eyes;

As we look to You,

All hope’s realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the darkness that befalls us and our nation, You are always good. Thank You that You demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness through the grace and love of people. Father, please be with the first responders, the officers, the medical teams and all those impacted by what took place in Las Vegas. Your healing hands are needed more than ever. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to that which overwhelms us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask of You what we are meant to do – be it to give, pray, or go do more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, especially in the places where Your light seems to be lacking. 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

Always…

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NLT)

 

My heart is full, and there is joy despite the sorrow of loss. After hearing more stories of the incredible life that my Gram led, I am even more convinced than I was before that she did exactly what we are called to do in the verses above. Her heart was lined with joy that poured out to all who had the blessing to be near. Gram prayed unwaveringly for each of us, and the words that left her lips were laced with gratitude. Even in the final few months of her life, when she was ill and in agony, she found joy in the nearness of family and friends, and would still love and live and laugh in spite of the pain. Though I will miss her terribly, the lilt of her laughter, the warmth of her smile, the kindness of her encouraging words – the essence of who she was in Christ, will forever live in my heart and mind until we again embrace in eternity. Her example is one that continues to challenge me to seek the Lord in all things. In all circumstances, I can find His joy and express gratitude for who He is, simply because I am loved well. May we never stop praying, as it is in our space of communing with Christ that we find joy and gratitude rises up within us.

 

Such fullness of joy,Always

Shall rise and find way;

When we seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

No matter what comes,

Let thanks leave our lips;

For God who is love,

He strengthens, equips.

To pray and be full,

Of thanks and His joy;

God’s own will for us,

Through grace He’ll employ.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and pray to You, we always have reason to be thankful and full of joy. Thank You that this is Your will for us, as You have designed us to have Your joy dwelling within us all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal our joy or to keep us from giving thanks for the good that exists in spite of the difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would never stop praying and praising You. Thank You for the incredible example of my Grandmother, who prayed without ceasing and was overflowing with thankfulness and joy. Show us how to love others in a way that demonstrates our gratitude and allows the joy that You give to overflow and bless every life we are near. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are filled with Your joy, pray always, and give thanks in all things. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

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

Good Wherever You Go

Do good wherever you go. After a while, the good you do will come back to you. – (Ecclesiastes 11:1, ERV)

 

We don’t give to get, for doing so would result in bitter disappointment. However, what I have discovered is that when I go forth in kindness, most often, kindness is returned. This is not because I expect to be treated kindly, but I think that people cannot help but to respond gently when they are treated in the manner in which they hope to be treated. So often a kind word or a smile disarms even the hardest of hearts. In light of recent events that have gone on in our nation, it is evident that we need to do more good wherever we go. No matter how we are viewed, we must offer kindness and do whatever good we have the capacity to offer. For communities that are typically neglected, outcast, or disregarded, good needs to be extended all the more. May we rise up at the ready, and go forth doing good wherever we go.

 

In a world where hate,The Power of the Tongue

Too often abounds;

May we offer good,

Let kindness resound.

For hate begets hate,

But love, it disarms;

Kind and gentle words,

Bring an end to harm.

Let us each choose love,

It’s where hope resides;

Each act of kindness,

A positive stride.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, and that Your Son set the example of doing good wherever He went. He loved the “unlovable“, approached the “unapproachable“, and did good everywhere He went. Forgive us for our apathy when we have the capacity to do good. Teach us to trust You more, so that we rise up and do good wherever we go. Show us where we can act on Your behalf as agents of Your goodness and grace to someone in need. Help us to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do good wherever we go, just as You have done so much good for us and in us. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Mindful of Miracles

Though this morning’s reading includes chapters in Genesis, a Psalm and Luke 19, I find it difficult to get past my own gratitude on this day, as I remember twelve years ago.  Part of what I’m meant to do this year, is to look for the miracles all around me; and twelve years ago, on this very day, a most marvelous miracle occurred.  Our beautiful baby boys were born.  Five weeks ahead of schedule, so their debut was quite unexpected so soon, yet arrive, they did.

Baby Adventurous

Baby Adventurous

The first miracle was that my water broke, despite the time being so early.  As it turned out, there was twin-to-twin transfusion, or as I explain to the boys – Cautious was hogging the goods, and Adventurous was going hungry.  Had I gone full-term, my beautiful, insightful, tender-hearted Adventurous, would not likely have lived.

Baby Cautious

Baby Cautious

Upon their blessed arrival, I barely caught a glimpse of either boy, as they were quickly whisked away to be assessed and cared for.  The second miracle, that despite the myriad of possible complications, each boy only needed oxygen and time to grow.  Wee little lads they were, as Adventurous was 3 lbs 15 oz, and Cautious was not quite as tiny at 5 lbs 5.5 oz.

Spending nearly five weeks in the hospital, turned out to be another miracle in and of itself, as the boys and I were able to room together in Pediatrics after week two.  I was given round-the-clock assistance and training as to how to care for and manage twins, and help in how to best mother my premature babies.

Boys get to go home

Most twins who are born prematurely and on oxygen, don’t go home at the same time.  My prayer from the get go, was that they would.  Yet another miracle, my tiny wonders were weaned from their oxygen within hours of one another!  And, believe it or not, my little firstborn, Adventurous, was the first one weaned.

Despite their small start, today, this delightful duo is anything but small.  Our magnificent miracles are now larger than me, and are projected to pass even their father (who is not a dainty man).  Happy Birthday Boys!  I am so very proud of the young men that you have become!

Miracles are found,Birthday Boys then and now

wherever you are;

just take in the view,

you’ll need not look far.

The eyes of a child,

the touch of a hand;

the warmth of a smile,

all God’s loving plan.

Give thanks to the Lord,

He who gives us all;

Miracle Maker,

He hears every call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracles all around us.  Thank You for the blessings that You provide us through family.  Thank You for allowing me to be the mother of our boys, and for trusting them in my care.  Thank You for the miracles that You continue to provide, as we live life.  Forgive us for our shortcomings in the roles that You have placed us in, and please show us how to live and love as You are calling us to do.  Help us to be ever aware of the miraculous around us, and may our gratitude be evident in all that we say and do.  May we love others as we are loved by You, and may many come to know You as their personal Savior, soon.  Thank You is not nearly enough for all of the ways that You love and bless us so well.  May we honor You in all.  Amen.

“We will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” – Psalm 145:7

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

Love Over Law

Often, it seems, Jesus spent the Sabbath teaching in synagogues.  Word of His teaching, must have been spreading like wildfire, for everywhere He went, there were both those in need, and those who hoped to trap Him in some sort of violation of the law.  In Luke chapter thirteen, verses ten through seventeen, there is an account of Jesus healing a woman who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen long years.  “When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’  Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” – (vs. 12-13) 

The synagogue ruler had his undergarments in a bunch, and was outraged that Jesus would dare to heal on the Sabbath.  “The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites!  Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?  then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” – (vs. 15-16) His opponents were left without words to respond, for there was no arguing with such profound truth.  All who had seen the miraculous, marveled at the wonderful things that He was doing.

When we see someone in need, do we respond immediately, or do we rationalize reason to not respond?

Though there are times and places that genuinely prevent us from physically getting out of the car and moving in the direction of the need, can’t we at the very least, lift up a prayer on their behalf?  We cannot always do something tangible to be of help, but we can always pray.  God knows each need far better than we do, and when we pause to pray, we give Him opportunity to speak to us as well.  Perhaps there is something specific that we are meant to do, but unless we stop to listen, we miss the miraculous that He had intended.  Sometimes the miracle is meant for another, yet, at times, it may be something new, moving within our hearts.

When we see a need,Love Over Law

let us stop and pray;

show us what to do,

Lord, You lead the way.

A touch or a gift,

a smile, or prayer;

every need known,

God, You are aware.

Please make known to us,

what we’re meant to do;

to show Your great love,

so we honor You.

Let hearts found in need,

know their needs are met;

by You alone, God,

not one You’d forget.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to prioritize people.  Thank You Jesus, that touching lives trumped man-made rules and regulations every time.  Thank You that above all – You loved, and continue to love.  Forgive us for having hearts that resemble the synagogue ruler, who set limits as to when and what could be done.  Help us to recognize that with You, there is no limit – for You are our Source and Supply.  Whatever You call us to do, You will also equip and empower us to complete.  Our part, is to step forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more.  May we live and move and do all things out of our love for You, and may many come to see Your heart for them as a result.  Let lives be changed and hearts turned toward You.  Be glorified God.  Amen.

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