Called to Task

And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. – (Luke 1:76-77, NIV) 

Now you, little boy, will be called a prophet of the Most High God. You will go first before the Lord to prepare the way for Him. You will make His people understand that they will be saved by having their sins forgiven. – (Luke 1:76-77, ERV) 

 

As Zechariah’s song of praise continued, he proclaimed words of truth, as God revealed the role that his son, John, would play in preparing the hearts of people for all that Christ had to offer. John was a faithful proclaimer of truth, and he spent his life, even unto his own death, speaking of the way to salvation through the forgiveness of sins. As the parents of John, Zechariah and Elizabeth knew their son was called to a task that was beyond their own human understanding. Both, likely spent John’s formative years, educating and raising him close to God, guiding him in the direction that he was meant to go. I imagine it took tremendous faith and dependence on God, to lead a child who was called to such specific work for the Lord. Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Raising children who have been set apart from infancy, or even earlier, would be a task that takes trust beyond measure. In my own experience, simply being responsible for two tiny humans at the same time, took formidable faith, as premature twins in the care of a first-time parent was slightly terrifying. God’s grace, mercy and strength made the unknown and unyielding, manageable and marvelous. May we seek the Lord and His strength, as we recognize that He is our help and our hope in raising up the next generation of faithful followers of Him. 

 

O Lord, let our faith, 0119180406679500301.jpg

Be rooted in You; 

Our strength and our hope, 

For Your love is true. 

However You call, 

Whatever our way; 

Your help, grace and hope, 

Will lead us each day. 

Faithful forever, 

O Lord God, You reign; 

Please show us each day, 

The path we’re to take. 

  

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, grace and faithfulness forever. Thank You that You never call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the call seems far beyond our ability to navigate. Teach us to trust You more, for You are greater than any seeming impossibility that lies before us. Show us how to faithfully navigate the roles to which we are called. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things at all times, and faithfully walk wherever You lead. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called to You for help, You answered me and gave me strength. – Psalm 138:3

To Live in Peace

But all who listen to Me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NLT)

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV)

 

Peace comes not through our own quiet confidence that we can somehow come up with the capacity to cope on our own, but rather through knowing the Prince of Peace and listening to His leading. Fear takes flight as we fix our eyes on He who is far greater than anything that could come against us. As we listen to the Lord and trust in His strength, the situations and circumstances that once seemed terrifying and overwhelming, become interesting opportunities to see the hand of God at work in our lives. May we listen to the Lord and His leading, trusting in His strength, so that we live in the perfect peace that He alone provides.

 

Safety and comfort,butterfly vida

Come through listening;

When rooted in Christ,

Peace His presence brings.

Fear is forced to flee,

When the Lord is near;

For God is greater,

Our safety made clear.

So listen to God,

Sending fear to flight;

Peace in His presence,

The gift of clear sight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we listen to You, we will live in safety and peace, and have nothing to fear. Thank You that You are far greater than anything that will come against us. Forgive us for losing perspective of how much greater You are than that which is in the world. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to You to provide our safety, comfort and peace. Remove our fears and help us to be brave in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace, safety and comfort. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You in all that we do. 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

Peacemakers Plant Seeds of Peace

And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NLT)

 

I teach in a growing community. Three brand new mega-apartment complexes will have opened in our city by this time next year. One of the complexes will house students that will attend the school where I teach. This can be both terrific and terrifying for teachers. On one hand, it provides an opportunity for a whole new group of students to care for and embrace, yet on the other, it can be a nerve-wracking thing, as there are many variables that are unknown, leaving questions unanswered and planners without a proper path to plan. The first housing community opened just prior to the start of the school year, and housed far more students than had been projected. With so many more students than anticipated, schools were scrambling to figure out the best ways to meet student needs, and accommodate numbers in the classrooms.

Thankfully, the first opening taught our district how we might best prepare for the next. With the second community six weeks or so away from opening and sending students to my school, we are working to make the transition to a new place as pleasant as possible. What has been determined, is that if we go as peacemakers and ambassadors to meet the families before they come to register students for school, there will be familiar friendly faces that they know are for them, and ready to help welcome them to their new school community. It is a way of planting seeds of peace. I imagine that an investment of time and care will reap a harvest of right relationships between school and community in the long run.

May we choose to be peacemakers wherever we go, planting seeds of peace. Let the harvest be one of righteousness before the Lord.

 

Let us go in peace,

Forgiveness is Free

wherever we go;

to plant well Your seeds,

of truth that we know.

May what is then reaped,

be Your righteousness;

so all whom we meet,

will come to feel blessed.

Let Your love lead us,

in all that we do;

in word and in deed,

all glory to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever we go. Thank You that as we do, a harvest of righteousness is reaped. Please watch over and bless each family that is preparing to moving into our community – provide protection, direction and all that they need. Forgive us for not sowing peace in places that need it most, and help us to trust You more, so that we would be Your ambassadors of peace, no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to plant seeds of peace everywhere we go, and how to love as You first loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth as peacemakers who plant seeds of peace wherever You direct our steps. 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

Staying the Course

There are times when the Lord leads us to a space of unknowns. It is dark and terrifying and without Him, we know not where to go. However, the Lord is good and His plans for us are good. He leads us to freedom, where we had once been held captive, and strength, where we had previously been with none. Though it may be a long and arduous journey, His path for our lives leads to perfection. Knowing how the story ends is enough to hold fast to the hope that is found in Christ alone. Because the nature of God has been made known, we can respond to these spaces of darkness just as David did.

“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.” – (Psalm 39:7)

May faith rise in us as we face our spaces of unknowns, and the Lord’s strength be ours as we trust in Him.

Lord, in the darkness,A Wondrous Way to Walk

Your hope is my light;

when facing unknown,

Your love fends off fright.

For You are so good,

and You never change;

though obstacles come,

Your path You’ll make plain.

Please lead us, Lord God,

no matter the fears;

remind us again,

that You are so near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are whom we should look for, as You are where our hope is assured. Thank You that though there will be legs of our journey that are long and difficult, You will never leave us nor forsake us, and in the end, perseverance will have been worthwhile. Forgive us for our fears in the face of adversity and unknowns, and help us to fix our eyes on You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will look to You, no matter what lies before us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, will fix their eyes on You. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stay the course to which we are called. 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 25:6

Fear Not the Long Road

Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. – (Deuteronomy 7:21)

 

Though this verse was Moses’ exhortation to the Israelites as they were preparing to enter into the promised place where there were giant men before them that dwelled in the land, the promise of God’s presence is still true for us today. God is a great and awesome God, and He is among us. With Him, we need not be afraid of anything that stands before us.

 

The Lord our God, is Christ with us. When Jesus died, resurrected, and ascended into heaven, He sent His Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who choose to trust in Him. God with us, is His Spirit among and in us, as we make our hearts His home. Great, means high rank; extraordinary powers – and the Lord is the greatest who ever was, is or is yet to come. Additionally, when we hear that He is an awesome God, it is recognizing that God is the One who inspires an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and awe. He is good, and with Him, we need not be afraid of anything that lies ahead.

 

Fear not the long road,Fear Not the Long Road

that’s lying ahead;

for the Lord, our God,

will do what He said.

He’ll remain present,

when the road is rough;

He’ll give us the strength,

that’s more than enough.

For the Lord is great,

awesome in power;

present to lead us,

our safe, Strong Tower.

His promises shall,

forever hold true;

our hope for all time,

as He makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though things before us at times seem terrifying or overwhelming, in You, we have nothing to fear. Thank You that You, our great and awesome God, are with us, always. Forgive us for allowing fear to deter us from the plans that You have for us, and help us to embrace the road You call us to travel, trusting You, each step of the way. Help us to hold fast to Your promises and Your presence, fixing our eyes and hearts securely on You. Lead us to love others well, as You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we forge forward, without fear, in the fold of Your embrace. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Break Camp and Move Out

It is easy to become comfortable in our familiar routine, and settle in the surroundings that we know best. Sometimes, we may even find ourselves in seasons of wandering, yet that too can become so routine, that we become fearful of moving into something new. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for forty years. They had seasons of movement and seasons of staying in place, each with a purpose to hear from the Lord and see the power of His provision and faithfulness in action. When at long last they came to the point where God was calling them forward, fear entered in and prevented the older generation from receiving the promise that the Lord had provided all those years prior.

 

The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev, and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore He would give to your fathers – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – and to their descendants after them.” – (Deuteronomy 1:6-8)

 

Sadly, when Moses sent men to spy out the land to determine WHERE to enter, they came back and began to spread false reports about the conditions, because they were afraid of the risk involved with obeying what God had asked. Only Joshua and Caleb spoke truth and trusted that God would do all that He had promised. The faithful who trusted, saw God’s promises fulfilled, whereas those who chose to live in fear, missed out on all that God had for them.

 

The same principles are in play for us today. Where is God calling us to break camp and move out? What new territory is He asking us to step into, that He has already prepared in advance for us? Movement can be terrifying, especially when there are giants in the midst of plentiful land. If we give fear a foothold, we miss out on the abundance of what the Lord has prepared for us in advance. May we rise up in courage and obedience, break camp and move out into all that He is calling us to do.

 

Let not our comfort,Break Camp and Move Out

keep us from the Lord;

all He has prepared,

the grace He’ll afford.

When we hear Him call,

may we quickly say;

“Oh Lord, here am I,

help me to obey.”

No matter what’s seen,

make us strong in You;

for where You call us,

You will lead us through.

Rise up in courage,

break camp and move out;

embrace His calling,

our Help and safe route.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises and Your presence. Thank You that You lead us to new places of discovering more of You, that go beyond what we would hope for. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we see the obstacles in front of us between here and there, and grant us Your strength and courage to rise up and move out into all that You are asking us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would focus on the promises rather than the obstacles that seem to stand in the way. Thank You that You are far greater than anything that would attempt to keep us from entering into the new You are calling us into. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we break camp and move out into the new things You are calling us to do. 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