Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2

Clothed in Love

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. – (Colossians 3:14, NLT)

Together with those things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG)

 

Some families are casual and some are formal as they gather for the holidays. However, the most lasting and lovely garment we can don on any given occasion, is that of love. Love breaks down barriers and brings people together in peace. Where tension once reigned, kindness comes in and conveys the calm that Christ intended. For some, the garment of love that we choose to wear, may be the only glimpse of goodness that exists in their environment. As one receives such love, they too are equipped to go and do likewise. May we begin each day by clothing ourselves with the love of Christ, so that we may go forth and love others as we have been loved.

 

The greatest garment, Clothed in Love

That we can choose wear;

Is that of God’s love,

He intends we share.

As we choose share love,

His peace enters in;

For harmony comes,

Where love is given.

No matter the day,

Event or reason;

Let’s dress up in love,

This lovely season.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your goodness and grace, You clothe us in Your love. Thank You that as we go forth in Your love, we are bound together in unity in You. Forgive us for not clothing ourselves in the love You give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to fill us and equip us so that we can love as You love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clothe ourselves in Your everlasting love. 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

Value Everyone

Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king. – (1 Peter 2:17, NLT)

Recognize the value of every person and continually show love to every believer. Live your lives with great reverence and in holy awe of God. Honor your rulers. – (1 Peter 2:17, TPT)

Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government. – (1 Peter 2:17, MSG)

 

Considering the climate within our country right now, this is a very timely verse. If we each could recognize the value of one another, regardless of what is perceived, there would be far less tension and more movement toward solutions. The church is not exempt from the struggle. The body of believers is called to love one another. If we all choose to love, then our primary mode of operation should be to seek to understand first. In all things, we are called to live in reverence of God. When we remember Who ultimately is in control, our priorities and perspectives begin to align with His, and love flavors all that we say and do. Finally, we are called to respect the governing body. How do we do this? There are so many conflicting views and opposing opinions, how are we supposed to honor and respect that which seems so unreal? For me, the best way I know to do this is to choose to pray. Pray for wisdom and insight for those who are in positions of leadership. I do not have to agree with who is in position, nor what their position is to pray for them to lead well and make decisions that are best for our city, state, or country. May we ever rise up and recognize the value of every person on this planet that has been placed here by the most holy God. Let us live in reverence of Him as we treat others with dignity and choose to love.

 

For we each are called, Show the Love

look and recognize;

The value of all,

To see through God’s eyes.

Among believers,

We’re meant to love well;

To be family,

God’s story to tell.

To honor rulers,

Let us choose to pray;

For wisdom to lead,

The very best way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to give us the strength and grace to do. Thank You that while we were yet Your enemies, You loved us. Thank You that when we choose to respect and love those around us, You break down barriers and make a way for Your light to shine where darkness once reigned. Thank You too, that You work in ways that we cannot see and can use leaders that we don’t understand to do things for eventual good. Forgive us for not choosing love and respect for others when that is what we are called to do, regardless of what we receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend Your love and grace to all whom we encounter, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love like You, so that barriers are broken down and Your peace may prevail. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to value everyone and love as You love us. 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

Our Great Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. – (Psalm 23:1-3a)

 

A shepherd leads, loves, cares for and protects his sheep, and knows them each by name. How much more does our Heavenly Father do this for us, as He is our Great Shepherd? As we trust in the Lord to lead us, His path and provision are more than enough to supply all that we need.

 

Green pastures and still waters invoke soothing spaces, as I imagine places that are plentiful in His peace. It is these very spaces that He calls our hearts to come, so that He may restore in us the very peace He intended for our hearts, minds and souls. Regardless of the chaos around us, in Him, there is peace. May we allow the Lord to lead us to lie down in green pastures and sit beside quiet waters, as He restores our souls.

 

Despite the chaos,Our Great Shepherd

He calls us to come;

rest in His pastures,

as tension is unstrung.

Beside still waters,

He restores each soul;

healing what’s broken,

He refreshes, makes whole.

He’s the Good Shepherd,

who knows all our needs;

the Lord will provide,

so that we shall succeed.

Succeed in His ways,

as we trust in Him;

fearless, undaunted,

through the Spirit within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Shepherd who leads us, loves us, guides and protects us, as You take us to places of peace when the world around us is in turmoil, and You restore our souls. Thank You that You are always present, even when we are unaware. Forgive us for not relying on You right away when trials come, or for seeking rest and refreshment anywhere other than where You lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know the fullness of Your rest and restoration, as we then go forth and give back to a world in need. Lead us to love others well, just as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we fearlessly follow the path You place before us, and rest and recharge when You ask. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Go in Grace

Dysfunctional dynamics seem to grace the tables of families as they gather together to celebrate the holidays.  There are always quirks and past hurts that flavor relationships, and how individuals interact with one another.  Every family has their “stuff“, be it external or internal – and it impacts the ebb and flow of how we do life together.  When God’s grace is understood, received, and in turn, extended to others, holiday gatherings are a blessing.  However, without grace, tension runs high and eggshell walking wields weariness as its weapon of war.

Today, as many of us go forth and gather, we have a choice – will we extend grace and love all as they are, or will we hold onto past hurts or our own concept of what ought to be?  How would we respond if Jesus, in the flesh, were seated beside us at the table?  If He is in us, He will be present in an equally tangible way.  It is our responsibility to allow His heart to be seen through our attitudes and actions.

May the God of all grace,Go in Grace

hold onto your hand;

may we truly receive,

trust all He has planned.

May we allow Your heart,

to be what is shown;

let our loving kindness,

make Your heart be known.

“May God our Father Himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you!  And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.  May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all His followers.” – (I Thessalonians 3:12 – The Message)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for family.  Thank You for the blessings and love that You pour out on us.  Thank You that You are the reason we may gather and give thanks.  Forgive us for any attitude toward others that is not one of love and of grace.  Lead us and guide us as we go forth today, so that we are Your ambassadors to our families and friends.  May Your heart be made known, and Your love be clearly shown through all that we say and do.  Please provide places for those without family to gather and be loved, and show us how we too, are to be Your hands and heart to all those around us.  May many come to know the real reason for giving thanks on this day and always.  Be magnified, our Mighty God.  Amen.

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