Even in This

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, NIV)

The Lord will lead you. He Himself is with you. He will not fail you or leave you. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, ERV)

And He will be leading you. He’ll be with you, and He’ll never fail you or abandon you. So don’t be afraid. – (Deuteronomy 31:8, VOICE)

 

Last weekend, Mom spent Easter with us. She let me know when she arrived safely home as promised on Tuesday, but I had not been able to reach her since. At first, I thought nothing of it, as she is a busy, social, love of a lady, who easily gets caught up in her wonderful community at home. On Saturday, my nephew, her grandson, had prom. My sister posted great photos, and normally, no matter how busy, Mom would be first to jump in and rave about how fantastic they were. However, we did not see nor hear a single response. By Sunday, both my sister and I were becoming a bit frantic, and I contacted some of her friends who live nearby. The most recent contact any of them had made, was Thursday. My sister contacted the police to make a non-emergent wellness check. To our horror, they found our mom, unresponsive. Thankfully, they had her sitting up and speaking a little before they had paramedics rushing her to the emergency room. What is known, is that she had a stroke. She is currently unable to move her right arm and right leg. Speaking is possible, but slow and difficult. Mom knows the answers to important questions, but after yesterday’s ordeal, was completely exhausted. This verse is what I will cling to, as we don’t know what this week, month or coming year will hold. What we do know, is that God is with us and will not abandon us, just as we will not be leaving Wenatchee while our mom is in the hospital. Fear is a liar, be it a loud one. Please pray with us for miraculous healing and full and complete recovery for our mom. She is more than any description I could write, and the only consistent grandparent that my boys know. To know her is to love her, as she loves with all that she is. As we were leaving the hospital so she could sleep last evening, she was listing food in the fridge that we might enjoy for dinner…

 

The Lord will lead us, img_2019-04-29_06-56-462555965120756472194.jpg

Despite how things look;

When storms come our way,

And our world is shook.

He’ll steady our hearts,

And show us the way;

To trust He is good,

And get through today.

When we’re feeling lost,

God will take our hand;

He’ll show us the way,

To walk out His plan.

And when we’ve no strength,

His is all the more;

Our God lifts us up,

As hope He restores.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Great Physician and that You love our Mom even more than we do. Thank You that You knit her together in her mother’s womb, and You know how ever synapse and connection works best. Thank You that You are a God who heals and restores, strengthens and leads. Father, we are trusting You. Forgive us for allowing fear to creep in. Show us Your strength and power and provision in ways we have never known before. Turn this trial into an incredible testimony, and bring beauty from these ashes as only You can do. Show us how to love Mom and all who are caring for her in the ways that bless and encourage best. May those who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, even in this. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

The Unlikely Chosen

Then he told me, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NLT)

Ananias told me, “The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV)

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE)

 

Paul, who was previously known as Saul, had a divine encounter with God on the road to Damascus. His experience interrupted his entire system of belief. Where Paul had been persecuting people who were claiming this new Way, rather than living by a strict code of rules and rituals, he now too, had a first-hand encounter with the living God, and could not go back to what he formerly had known. God chooses seemingly unlikely people to interrupt in their tracks and touch hearts and lives. The incredible thing is, no one can dispute our own personal experiences. I imagine that is what made Paul’s testimony so powerful. People knew who Paul had been, were seeing a man transformed, speaking of grace and forgiveness, where he had once likely spoken of following the law or else. The remainder of his life was used to do exactly that – to tell the whole world of what he had seen and heard. Paul traveled far and wide for the times, and recorded much of God’s faithfulness in the New Testament. May we walk out our days with hearts wide open, ever willing to share our own story of God’s faithfulness to us.

 

With eyes wide open, Chosen With Purpose

May we walk along;

Trusting our Savior,

As He makes us strong.

When chances arise,

Share His faithfulness;

So others may know,

There’s help in the mess.

Help us to love well,

Be Your heart and hands;

Extend hope to those,

Who need see Your plan.

For You are so good,

No matter what comes;

Let us rest in You,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but You equip the called. Thank You that we do not have to measure up to serve and honor You, but rather You transform us from the inside out as we pursue a life in You. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of walking out that which You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we tell our own stories of Your faithfulness in our lives so that people may know of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Sharing Scars

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

Regardless of her shameful past, the Samaritan woman had a powerful encounter with the living Christ as she had gone to draw water from the well. She was so moved by what she saw and heard, that she lost herself in the enormity of what was being offered to her, and went into town and told everyone she could find about what Jesus had spoken to her, despite the public potential for her to be further ostracized. Jesus moved, and she was forever changed. So too, were many within that town. If we are willing to respond to the invitation that Jesus extends to each of us, not only will we be changed, but so too, will all whom we encounter. May we readily receive all that our Redeemer has to give, and then share our story with those who are willing to hear.

 

Christ Jesus, our Lord,One to Many

what wonder is He;

Who looks past our sin,

to what we can be.

No matter our scars,

sin, guilt and our stains;

He washes us clean,

so just love remains.

It is by that love,

that we are compelled;

to share the great news,

how Christ loves so well.

May we rise and go,

without fear of past;

for what we can share,

will forever last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our testimony is irrefutable, as it is our story that You have redeemed and made beautiful. Thank You that You have always loved us, and that Your love does not change nor fade. Thank You that You deposit in us, that very same love for others. Forgive us for allowing fear to keep us from moving out where we are being called. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will go without concern for where we have been, but will look forward with anticipation to all that You will do. Lead us to love others with the same sort of zeal that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share the story of how You have touched our hearts and lives. 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

To Reflect His Radiance

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. – (Exodus 34:29)

 

Moses was returning from spending forty days and nights alone in God’s presence. There were no distractions, no agendas; it was just Moses in the Lord’s presence, gaining wisdom and insight as to how God wanted the people to follow Him. God’s radiance was evident on the face of Moses, because he had spent time alone in His presence. Though we may not light up a room reflecting the very glory of God, we should appear different, changed somehow – through the time we spend in prayer, in the Word, and in the intentional presence of our Savior. God out there, is now God with us, so we have all the more opportunity to reflect the radiance of the living Lord. May we invest our hearts and minds in time alone with Christ, so that we too, may reflect His radiance wherever we go.

 

Time alone with God,To Reflect His Radiance

is our space to grow;

gain understanding,

so His truth we’ll know.

As insight is gained,

His love light will show;

a tangible change,

sets our hearts aglow.

So seek time alone,

the Lord shall bestow;

His grace and mercy,

all goodness to sow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that time with You is well spent. Thank You that the more time we spend in Your presence, the more we reflect Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for our lack of investment in our relationship with You, or for covering the countenance that You crafted within us to reflect Your glory. Teach us to trust You more, so that others may see and know that there is a difference in us, through You. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we reflect Your radiance to those around 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

Staying Salty

“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other.” – (Mark 9:50)

 

Jesus used salt to illustrate three qualities that should be found in His people: (1) We should remember God’s faithfulness, just as salt when used with a sacrifice recalled God’s covenant with His people. (2) We should make a difference in the “flavor” of the world we live in, just as salt changes the flavor of food. (3) We should counteract the moral decay in society, just a salt preserves food from decay. If we lose the desire to “salt” the earth with the love and message of God, how can we possible be effective in all that we are called to do? – (NIV footnotes for Mark 9:50)

 

How can we have salt in ourselves, and be at peace with each other? The best way to remember God’s faithfulness, is to spend time in His word. As we read story after story of how God has been faithful throughout the ages, our own faith is built up, and we cannot help but recall God’s faithfulness in our own lives as well. When His word and our own testimony are fresh in our minds, they come out in the words that we speak. People notice the flavor of our words, and desire to taste and see for themselves. As peace permeates in places where chaos reigns, the desire for the difference is discernable. Opportunities for His hope to be heard abound. May we go forth as salt, being at peace with one another today.

 

Holy faithfulness,To Season the Earth

like salt of the earth;

covenant promise,

through Jesus’ birth.

Because Jesus came,

and made way for us;

we now can go forth,

with truth to discuss.

May each of our words,

bring salt and bring life;

Christ’s message of love,

peace where there was strife.

Let us each go forth,

as salt of the earth;

extending His hope,

so all find new birth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are salt and light, and that when we come to You, You equip us to be as salt unto those around us. Thank You that You help us remember Your faithfulness, because You are indeed faithful, and You use us to make a difference in the “flavor” of the world that we live in. Thank You that in You, we are able to counteract the moral decay that is happening around us. Forgive us for not seeking to stay “salty”, and help us to never lose our desire to “salt” the earth with love and Your message. Grow our faith, God, so that we may season those around us in such a way, that they too, seek You with their whole hearts. May many come to know You as their Savior and King as we love others as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we allow our salt to spread around us while we remain at peace with each other. Amen.

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

Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

From Sorrow to Songs of Joy

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. – (Psalm 126:5)

 

“Grief is not a permanent condition. Our tears can be seeds that will grow into a harvest of joy because God is able to bring good out of tragedy. When burdened by sorrow, know that your times of grief will end and that you will again find joy. We must be patient as we wait. God’s great harvest of joy is coming!” – (NIV footnotes for Psalm 126:5,6)

 

With all of the tragedy taking place on the planet, it seems hard to imagine a space without sorrow. However, just as we experience seasons where the weather and the world around us continue to transform, so too, are there seasons that we walk through during our lifetime. Though the times of greatest loss and grief feel as if they will never end, God’s grace is far greater, and gradually His gift of good in the midst of the horrible, rises up. Often, He uses our greatest heartache to touch the hearts of those who are hurting in a similar space, bringing new life where all had felt lost. Joy will come again, and sweet songs of His faithfulness will flood hearts and minds to overflowing. Take heart, dear ones who are hurting, for He will restore your joy.

 

When sorrow surrounds,From Sorrow to Songs of Joy

and grief overwhelms;

the tears seem endless,

in destruction’s realm –

hope is not yet lost,

for joy will be found;

good from the sorrow,

God’s love shall abound.

He sees all our tears,

each of them that falls;

none go unnoticed,

He catches them all.

The grief will be grown,

into something good;

a testimony,

of grace understood.

His love unto us,

shall then be passed on;

restoring some joy,

despite what is gone.

Take heart, dear hurting,

for He truly sees;

all of the anguish,

He wants to relieve.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our sorrows and turn them into joy. Thank You that though we may walk through seasons of grief that seem as if they will never end, You are with us, and they do, eventually, roll into seasons of joy, as You somehow bring good out of tragedy. Forgive us for our fear and sense of hopelessness, and help us to hold fast to our hope in You. May we trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Teach us to allow You to use our sorrows and struggles to speak life into those who are stuck in similar spaces. Help us to offer Your hope, as You have given us a story of new life as You have and continue to faithfully walked us through each season. Let the lost and the hurting find forever help and hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your joy to radiate from the places where sorrows once stood. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Character Testifies Truth

Our faithfulness where we are planted, matters. People notice consistency over time. When our character testifies truth through our ongoing actions, Christ is seen through us. Daniel was an incredible example of this. He was an exile in a foreign land, torn from all that he knew. Though he entered the land under less than ideal circumstances, he was honorable to complete every task assigned to him, and faithful to honor God first, in all that he said and did. Never did he compromise his beliefs for what was asked of him. Daniel found favor before God and men, through his ongoing commitment to the Lord. Ultimately, after a series of unfortunate events and some jealous satraps seeking to destroy him, King Darius was so moved by what he witnessed in and through Daniel that he commanded his kingdom follow God.

 

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.  For He is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end.  He rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” – (Daniel 6:26-27)

 

How do we impact those around us? Do our words and actions align in a way that is a positive witness for Christ? Our faithfulness in even the smallest of circumstances, can speak volumes to those who do not yet know Him. May we walk in His truth, as our words and deeds align with all that He would ask of us.

 

May we stay true,Character Testifies Truth

to You, O Lord;

in word and deed,

Your love outpoured.

Let love and light,

both freely flow;

so all we meet,

may come to know.

Allow Your grace,

be evident;

and all desire,

You be present.

For You endure,

our Holy One;

forevermore,

O Three-in-One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, and that You remain present with those who are faithful to follow You. Thank You that even in the most dire of circumstances, You remain present. Thank You that You can use our faithfulness to follow You, in all things at all times, as a testimony before those around us. Forgive us for the times when we have been inconsistent, and help us to remain steadfast in Your strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love and light to all whom we encounter. May many come to know and revere You as their Savior and King. Be exalted, O God, as we are faithful to You in our words and deeds. Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Love Him More than Life

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. – (Revelation 12:11)

 

The “they” in this passage is referring to all whom believe. “Him” who they overcame, is Satan. The blood of the Lamb, is the power of Christ that set us free from sin, as He sacrificed Himself in our place on the cross at Calvary, and declared that it is done. Our testimony is a powerful thing. No one can refute the truth of what we have experienced first hand. As we share what Christ has done for us, with those who do not yet know Him, the devil is defeated, as he cannot contest the truth. Both early and some present day believers have been placed in a position of life and death decision, as a result of their faith. Our charge is to stand strong, regardless of what we face, for our future is assured for all eternity with Christ. It is far better to lose our life on earth with heaven’s gain, than to waiver with the security of our souls. May we stand strong in Christ, placing Him first, above all else.

 

Our soul’s enemy,Love Him More than Life

has been overcome;

the blood of the Lamb,

the battle’s been won.

We need not love life,

more than we love Him;

our future’s assured,

all else appears dim.

Fear not death on earth,

but spiritual loss;

invest in the truth,

we’re saved by the cross.

May we each stand strong,

placing the Lord first;

sharing the good news,

with those who still thirst.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we have all that we need to overcome the enemy of our soul. By Your blood that covers us, Your Spirit who dwells within us, Your Word that is in our heart, and our testimony that is the collection of experiences of You alive and active in our lives, we are more than conquerors in You. Thank You that You grant us Your strength and courage to face and overcome whatever lies before us. Forgive us for our fearfulness or for forgetting the powerful weapons that we have to wield in You, against the enemy. Teach us to be bold on Your behalf, and may many come to know the truth. Let the lost be found in Your love, and may we love others as we are so lavishly loved by You. Be glorified, O God, as we stand strong in You. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Hidden No More

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

This verse from the often told story of the woman at the well, struck me anew this morning. Not only was she powerfully impacted by her encounter personally, but she found a new boldness where she had previously remained hidden, and that boldness in stepping out to speak of what she had experienced compelled many from her town to go and see Jesus for themselves. She was so dramatically different, that those who had shunned her, gave ear to her words. What a powerful testimony indeed! God used her transformation to tell others of Christ’s goodness and grace. Imagine the interactions at the well after the town’s two days with Jesus!

 

In isolation,Hidden No More

alone and afraid;

there is a Savior,

Who will come your way.

He’ll always draw near,

no matter your past;

He’ll wash you anew,

grant peace that will last.

The Granter of hope,

the Giver of grace;

Restorer of life,

He’s present always.

All that is hidden,

is already known;

He’ll use it for good,

story of your own.

The glorious thing,

as you choose to share;

others will seek Him,

trade hope for despair.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and allow You to move in our lives, You do a deep transformational work that others can see. Thank You that even the ugliest part of our past can become the most triumphant part of our testimony, by You grace. Thank You that when others see change in us, they want to know why. Forgive us for not being quick to answer, or for not always modeling the internal transformation that has taken place. Teach us to trust You in the transformation, and grant us strength to stand strong in all things and at all times so that Your will be done. Help us to love as You love us, and may many come to seek You as a result. Let the lost be found, and testimonies of transformations abound. Be glorified as we go forth boldly as You have made us to do. 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