His Strength and Peace

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His peoples peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

There is a strange transition in my sister’s and my world, that began late yesterday morning, and will conclude as soon as I arrive back in Wenatchee, early this afternoon. For the first time since mom’s stroke, there is a gap in time, where neither of us is there. Both of us really struggled with the thought in the beginning, as we ordered and aligned our calendars to attempt to best balance time at home and to make certain one of us was always with mom. There was this small gap that we could not seem to reconcile, yet when speaking with both mom and her best friend, we were reassured that all would be well and the time would be covered. After having been with mom every single day since the stroke, I thought I would really struggle to head home for a few days. I was a bit torn to go, however, I knew she was in great hands with my sister, which allowed me to go in peace, and be present with my family, students and friends at home. There were still check-ins with my mom and sister, yet my purpose and focus has been on those who were present with me at home. God gave me the strength to do what I needed to do here, so that I would again feel prepared and eager, to return to Wenatchee this morning. Long before my alarm was to sound, I was wide awake. My entire being knows and is prepared to return to mom, excited to see her.

Yesterday, one of my sister’s and my dearest best friends since childhood, surprised mom and showed up to give mom a manicure. Such a sweet blessing, especially as she was like another sister in our home (and us in hers) throughout our entire growing up years. Mom continues to do the difficult work to prepare to transition home from the acute care facility. Much of her progress in the coming week or so will help us best determine what we need to do to best prepare her home to make the adjustment as smooth as possible. Please join us in continuing to pray for complete healing, and for wisdom to know each next step as it comes. God is faithful, and has clearly been present to make us strong and grant His peace, as only He can do.

 

Lord, grant us Your strength, img_2019-05-19_06-47-261927688208120696309.jpg

As only You do;

For in You, we’re strong,

Our hope is renewed.

You’re our place of peace,

Wherever we go;

As we look to You,

You help us to grow.

Show us Your way, Lord,

Point out each next step;

All thanks unto You,

In Your grace, we’re kept.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that grants us strength and peace, as only You can provide. Thank You that You supply all that we need in ways we might never anticipate. Forgive us for worry and doubt in spaces where we are uncertain or weary. Teach us to trust You more, as You are stronger than our struggles and You are our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens those who are struggling and brings peace to those in turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and rely on You to be our Source of strength and peace in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

A Silent Saturday

Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. – (Mark 15:44-46, NIV)

 

After the devastation of the cross, a faithful few prepared Jesus’ body and buried Him in a tomb. By sun up, it would be the Sabbath, and no one would be going anywhere or doing anything. The disciples and other followers of Jesus likely spent the day in mourning. Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Pharisees were not at all at ease. They went to Pilate because they recalled the words of Jesus, and clearly had concerns about what might transpire in the coming days.

 

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” – (Matthew 27:63-64, NIV)

 

Consequently, Pilate ordered his guards to make the tomb secure and to stand guard at the tomb. That Saturday, all seemed to be silent. Jewish law kept mourners from moving about and doing much of anything, and I imagine that each of the faithful followers of Jesus retreated to their own homes and pondered all that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. It is as if the world stopped spinning, and all were stuck in a silent space of grief and disbelief. For me, knowing the whole story, I am in a space between awe and agony at the weight of all that Jesus bore on my behalf, and the anticipation of celebration, knowing that He conquered death and rose again the very next day.  Today is a space of waiting. Silent reflection and appreciation are what flood my heart and mind. I mourn my own sinfulness, yet overflow with gratitude for the salvation that is granted because He bore it all for me. May we each find our own quiet moments to reflect on the magnitude of what our Maker did for us all as we stay in this space of sacred silence.

 

This day of waiting, A SIlent Saturday

Sabbath long ago;

The Savior, buried,

Seemed hope’s final blow.

The world lay silent,

The Savior was dead;

Where were they to go,

What could have been said?

Silent reflection,

Such grief on that day;

What could have been done,

Unrealized grace.

O painful waiting,

To go to the tomb;

Observe in anguish,

Savior’s seeming doom.

The stillness gave way,

For we know the end;

Death could not hold Him,

As He rose again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin upon Yourself; for we are the ones deserving sanctions of suffering, not You. Forgive us for not fully embracing the weight of what You have done for us, or for questioning whether or not Your sacrifice truly covered it all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the mercy and grace provided at the cross, and demonstrate our gratitude by living a life that ever seeks Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes the promise that joy comes in the morning no matter how dark the night appears, evident. May many come to embrace the grace that You made possible through Your death and resurrection on this holy weekend so long ago. Be glorified O God, as we set our hearts in silent reflection over all that You did to make us acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

 

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

 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22

Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

Faithful Love

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, ERV)

Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, NLT)

Your steadfast love, O Lord, is as great as all the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. – (Psalm 36:5, TLB)

 

It is with great joy and an overflowing heart, that I can testify of God’s great faithfulness in my own life. For far too many years, I existed in a world where “love” had conditions and the price was losing much of who I was, and hiding who I was meant to be. After making the agonizing decision to get out of that which was destroying me and detrimental to my boys, I began to learn just how faithful the Lord’s love is for me, personally. I rediscovered my passion, drive, and my voice, and began to discover the depth and breadth of His love and care, as I sought Him in all things. About a year and a half ago, I was visiting with my best friend out on her deck, when she got a text message back from an old friend in response to a mechanical question that she had asked him earlier. Polite, casual conversation, soon turned to his curiosity as to who I was, and whether or not I was single. Her response was, “Not for you.” The banter back and forth that continued that evening between the three of us led to him asking my permission to message me. I verified with my dear friend the safety of doing so, and the rest is history. Last evening, as we gathered with great friends for a Bunco night, my Viking surprised everyone with his sweet proposal, right there, as we were taking a break between rounds. My heart can hardly contain the joy and excitement for the life that we are learning to build together as we spend as much time as we are able as a to-be family of five. The Lord is faithful beyond what we could hope or imagine and we must choose to trust in the power of His perfect love.

 

The Lord’s faithfulness, img_2018-01-21_08-00-532054400719.jpg

Goes beyond what’s seen;

We must simply trust,

The time in between.

Though trust is scary,

To hold what’s unseen;

Love beyond measure,

As God intervenes.

So great is His love,

And that which He gives;

His faithful blessings,

All trust as we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible faithfulness of Your great love, and how You hold us in Your hands. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and heal the wounded places to prepare us to receive so much more than we ever would have thought possible. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of trust when we cannot see Your hand. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever, and have great things in store for those who follow after You. Thank You for the incredible gift of this man that You brought into my life when I had no intention to risk love again. Thank You for showing me Your heart in new ways through the love that I receive. Show us how to give love that demonstrates Your faithfulness in ways that encourage and touch hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise for Your faithful loving ways forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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

Far Better to Finish

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. 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

To Be At Rest

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7)

 

Though I know God is good, I am always surprised by His goodness to me, personally. When my soul is stirred up, and rest is far from me, He makes His heart for me tangible, through the kindness of the people He has placed around me. Continually, I am in awe of how He cares for us, and does not want dismay to dominate our hearts and minds. Though the road may be rough at times, He does not ask us to travel alone. He is always with us, and often He sends the faithful to walk beside us – acting as His hands, heart and voice, when we need it the most. My soul finds rest, even in the midst of stormy seasons, because He is always good.

 

Be at rest once more,To Be At Rest

O my weary soul;

for the Lord is good,

when life takes it’s toll.

His presence remains,

no matter the storm;

in His sweet embrace,

we’ll stay safe and warm.

The gift of His grace,

often tangible;

as His heart is shown,

to us by faithful.

His hands and His heart,

His voice and His peace;

extended to us,

grant unrest release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our soul finds rest in You. Thank You that You are so very good to us, though we deserve it not. Thank You that Your goodness is not dependent on our faithfulness. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who dwells in the hearts of all who believe, and for Your tender mercy that makes Your love for us tangible through the hands, hearts and voices of those whom You send to walk beside us. Forgive us for our unrest, and help us to fix our eyes and hearts on Your goodness and grace that grant us life everlasting. May we live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know who You are, and how much You love. Let those who are looking, find You. May we honor You as we remain at rest within our souls, seeking to serve You with all that we are. Amen.

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

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

Prepared for Change

Seemingly, one of the things that we can count on in this life, is change. It is a strange phenomena to feel as if you have found your purpose, spent your time, energy, and heart operating in it, and then discover that the time is coming to a close. What I had imagined would be a long-term plan, was really only a season. My new teaching assignment for the coming school year will impact more students, yet provide less opportunity to get to know them as well. In the new, I will have to trust that He has called me and prepared me for what is yet to come, and operate in confidence as His created for the task that lies ahead.

 

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10)

 

Though I was surprised by the sudden change in assignment for the coming year, God was not. I am His, and He has prepared me for what lies ahead. He has a purpose for placing me in a different role, and I have to trust that His good, will be accomplished.

 

Lord, I am Yours,Prepared for Change

I lay down what’s mine;

to You, I give,

my trust and my time.

Though I can’t see,

the reason for change;

I will embrace,

assignment exchange.

You have prepared,

me for this new task;

so, here am I,

to do as You ask.

Prepare my heart,

for what lies ahead;

show me Your will,

let each step be led.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us to do good work that You prepared in advance for us. Thank You that change does not surprise You. Thank You that though we may not see it, each step that we take, prepares us for the next. Forgive us for our fearfulness and resistance to change, and help us to embrace each new assignment. May we be effective in all that we do, as we choose to do all things unto You. Let our life demonstrate Your love and faithfulness to all whom we encounter, and may many come to know You, personally, as a result. May we do good works that glorify You, O God. Amen.

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

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

Acts of Obedience

We are in the middle of a series called Surprised by Hope at the church I call home. Yesterday’s message was centered around “The Death of Jesus”, as we remember what went on during this sacred week so many years ago. The consequence of sin is death, and we are powerless to escape the hold of sin, unless God breaks in and rescues us from ourselves. In order for Him to do so, He requires a faith response on our part.

 

Jesus made His entry during the Passover celebration. This celebration is ultimately a remembrance of God’s faithfulness to the people’s obedience. God told the people that He would bring judgment on every household, unless a lamb was sacrificed and the blood marked on the doorposts. Though it likely made little sense, the people chose obedience to protect their precious families. As a result of their obedience, the angel of death passed over their homes, and they were all safe, while those who had not obeyed, were in the midst of great mourning. God delivered them because He loved them.

 

Christ’s sacrifice was an act of obedience. Because Jesus knew no sin, He could take on our sin and bear all of our burdens so that we could come to know redemption. Jesus knew what He would have to endure on our behalf, yet He was willing anyway.

 

What God asks of us does not always make sense, but He wants our heart, our will, our faith to trust Him, even if what He asks is not what we would expect. “…To obey is better than sacrifice…” (I Samuel 15:22b)

 

The consequence,Acts of Obedience

of sin is death;

without the Lord,

we’re powerless.

As we seek Him,

surrender all;

He’ll hear our heart,

and heed our call.

Prepare to do,

all that He asks;

regardless of,

the bizarre tasks.

For what He wants,

is our whole heart;

obedient,

each precious part.

So seek the Lord,

follow His ways;

redemption ours,

now and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and making the way for us to be considered righteous before You. Thank You Jesus, for enduring the weight and suffering that should have been mine to bear. Thank You for redeeming us from our former ways, and granting us new life in You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to sacrifice enough or do enough to earn Your favor, and help us to receive that which You freely give. May we embrace the grace that You grant us, and respond in faith to whatever You ask. Lead us to live confidently as Your redeemed children. Let us love others as You love us, and may many come to know the blessed deliverance that comes from You alone. Be glorified, Lord God. Amen.

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

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