Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Chosen to Love

Love means doing what God has commanded us, and He has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, NLT)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This is love: that we live according to His commands. This is the command that you heard from the beginning: live in love. – (2 John 1:6, CEB)

 

We are commanded to love one another. It is not a suggestion. When days seem dark and the rubber meets the road, this is the time that we must dig deep and choose to love one another, just as we are loved by God. As we opt to offer kindness, encouragement and the benefit of the doubt to others, remarkably, the same is returned our way. Even in the moments when it is not, we can rest easy in knowing that we walked our road according to His will. May we choose love as we are commanded, and extend patience, kindness, protection, trust, hope and choose to persevere.

 

Commanded to love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

It’s what we have heard;

To choose live in love,

It is the Lord’s word.

Though we were unkind,

Unworthy of grace;

God chose to love us,

As we sought His face.

Thanks to His mercy,

We can do the same;

Live a life of love,

That honors His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved us with Your life. Thank You that because You love us, we can go and love one another according to Your command. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend love to those around us as You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live a life of love that fulfills what You expect of Your children. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends patience and kindness, that chooses to protect and trust, that offers hope and always perseveres. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live a life of love according to Your command. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Love Made Known

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

 

John, who had walked with Jesus closely as His disciple, was both reminding and reassuring those who followed Christ, that our ultimate call is to love. This charge has not changed throughout the ages. All of the wisdom and wonder that is packed in the Bible can be best explained as: we are called to love God and love people. To do so, it cannot simply be something that we theorize and discuss, but rather we must act upon it and live it out in our daily lives. Love must be evident in not only what we say, but also in the things that we do. May our lives display a pattern of faithfully living a life of love, consistent with that which we are called to do.

 

Our love shouldn’t be talk, Love Made Known

It’s much more than words;

It must be sincere,

Beyond what is heard.

For love is made known,

Through what we choose show;

May all that we do,

Be lit by love’s glow.

When all that we do,

And all that we say;

Demonstrate His love,

His heart’s on display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love. Thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us through our words and deeds. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You are not also willing to equip us to do. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds do not align with Your gracious love. Teach us to trust You more so that we would show Your love through all that we say and do. Help us to love those around us with goodness and grace, even when the word or deeds extended toward us are kind nor warranting a gentle response. May our love turn away wrath and lead many to Your loving arms. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show love through all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23

Joining Together

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, as I attended the memorial service for little Eli, the four-year-old grandson of my mom’s best friend, I was not sure what to expect, other than the weight of grief as we walked into the church. What I observed, was really this verse being made tangible. There were those who were greeting people in their shock and grief as they walked in, (and wisely, the ones who handed out the program for the memorial were the cousins of Eli, so we were greeted by sweet, smiling children), family members were mingling among those waiting to go inside to be seated, friends who had gathered from near and far, an auntie and uncle who spoke from the heart and demonstrated the depth of love that the family shared for Eli, and a pastor who beautifully balanced the celebration of who Eli was and the reality of how much missing and mourning would take place. Even after the service, different people operated in their various strengths. Some were in the kitchen preparing and serving, others were greeting people as they came into the reception area, still others were engaging in sweet conversation about how Eli had touched and blessed their lives, personally. Because they were surrounded and supported, I imagine that together, the family was able to get through far more than they would have thought possible, than had they been on their own. Though it was an agonizing reason to gather, there were tender moments of laughter and smiles at the memory of the incredible life this little boy lived in his four years. May we ever remember that we are each a part of the body, and what we contribute, helps the whole become more than it would be without us. We need each other; that is the way we have been designed.

 

No matter the why, Joining Together

We are meant to join;

Together as one,

As God does anoint.

For as a body,

With so many parts;

Together there’s strength,

To encourage hearts.

Each of us alone,

Find there is a lack;

But joined together,

We rise and come back.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as a body has many different parts with different functions, that we too, as the body of believers do as well. Thank You that You created us this way with intention. Thank You that when we come together and support one another with the gifts that You have granted, the entire body becomes stronger. Forgive us for not rising up and joining in to offer what You have given us to contribute. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would naturally extend Your heart and hand through who You have made us to be. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we join with each other to become what we cannot be alone. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

He Hears the Seeking

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

David, in his lifetime, experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows as he walked with God. He understood God’s faithfulness, as he had drawn very near, and had run just as far. Through it all, God loved him and drew David back unto Himself. So many of the Psalms demonstrate the depth of David’s understanding of God’s goodness and grace. As David was in trouble or was sick, he cried out to the Lord and trusted Him for help or for healing. Answers did not always come quickly by our standards, just as His answers come in His time still today. I have been watching a dear friend walk through an unusual medical dilemma, and in my own limited understanding, wonder why God didn’t just heal her. However, as I watch her walk out the steps towards resolution and recovery, I see His faithful hand at every turn, and the community that He has placed her in to love and care for her well. Perhaps He is completing a healing that goes far beyond what we can see, and as the doctors work out the physical piece, He is orchestrating the work of His hands for her heart and mind by His abundant and unending love. May we ever call on the Lord to be our Help and our Healer, and trust Him to bring us to a place of restoration.

 

O God we cry out,Shackles No More

To You in our need;

For You are our help,

The place where fear’s freed.

In You, we’re restored,

When broken or weak;

For You hear the cries,

Of all those who seek.

So Father, we come,

And humbly pray;

Bring healing and health,

Where needed today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You and pray to You for help and for healing, and that You hear our prayers and restore us. Thank You that though Your answers come in Your time and Your way, Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is perfect. Forgive us for our lack of patience and our frustration, when we want immediate answers, despite the work that You may be doing in the process as we wait. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love well, each person we know who is in the midst of the wait, without speaking foolishly, but rather meeting needs and being present in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and thank You for the restoration that You provide. 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

Just Believe

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Hand-Crafted for Good

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

 

As I am preparing to go to high school camp as the girls’ cabin leader next week, this verse is a great reminder for my heart. I want to do and be all that God desires, yet in Him, I already am. My job is to show up and be available. He prepared the way, long before I even knew that I would be going. Some of the details that have come to light this week have been mind-blowing. The way that God has orchestrated the pairing of the person whom I will co-lead with is unbelievable. She and I have walked parallel roads, and share stories that are so similar, it is almost eerie. Just knowing that, I cannot even begin to fathom the other details that He has prepared for the benefit of the campers and fellow leaders. It is going to be a phenomenal week. When we are mindful of who we are in Him, and allow Him to be God and we choose to show up and walk where He leads – the possibilities are endless. May we choose to embrace the grace of being His handiwork, and move forward in faith where He calls.

 

Hand-crafted, we’re His,Ragnar2016.cheeringrunners

Created in Christ;

Made to do good works,

Our Father’s delight.

Prepared in advance,

The Lord makes a way;

For us to follow,

So we can obey.

It is from this space,

Of obedience;

That lives can be changed,

And hope can advance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your workmanship, created in You to do good works that You prepared in advance for us to do. Thank You that You equip us and walk beside us in the process. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do anything in our own strength or of our own accord. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to do the things You have prepared in advance for us to do. Lead us to love others in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do that which You have prepared for us to do. Amen.

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

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Where Boasting Belongs

“Whoever boasts should boast only about the Lord.” What people say about themselves means nothing. What counts is whether the Lord says they have done well. – (2 Corinthians 10:17-18, ERV)

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. – (2 Corinthians 10:17-18, NIV)

Anything good that we happen to accomplish, is only done because of Christ in us. For us to boast about our accomplishments, is to take credit for what God has done in and through us. It is far better to give credit where credit is due. All glory and honor go to God for every good and perfect gift. If we have walked in obedience to what He has called us to do, then it is the Lord who will let us know we have done well. We need not seek the approval of men, for that is how pride begins. May we seek to serve the Lord with a pure heart, and give God the glory for any good that comes from the grace that He has given us to go and do that which we have been asked to do.

Boast not of oneself,Presenting Our Praise

but point to the Lord;

for anything good,

through grace He affords.

Let us choose instead,

to walk out our days;

in obedience,

giving God the praise.

For a day will come,

when we stand before;

the Lord God on high,

we’re welcomed to more.

Our God wants our hearts,

and our praises too;

may we point to Him,

give credit where due.

We could do nothing,

without the Lord’s grace;

so let’s boast of Him,

may love come embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One in whom we ought to boast; for anything good that is accomplished in or through us, is done by You. Thank You for all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Forgive us for not giving You the glory for things that You have done, or for boasting of what we somehow think that we have accomplished on our own. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize the remarkable grace, strength and supply that You provide us, daily, to do all that You call us to accomplish. Lead us to love others as You so selflessly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give proper credit due, as all praise and glory belong to You. Amen.

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

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

Our Source in the Struggles

Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18)

 

Christ suffered pain and faced temptations and trials. He knows our struggles, as He too, faced them when He walked the earth. Because He knows what we endure, He also knows what we need to overcome that which stands before us. When hardships and temptations come, Christ is the one who is able to provide the strength and endurance necessary to navigate, as He understands and is able to help. May we run to Jesus, our strength and our supply, whenever struggles come our way; for He is our help and our hope.

 

Through trials on earth,Healed Hands Reach Out

He was tempted, scorned;

yet He overcame,

His righteousness worn.

Because He has faced,

all kinds of trials;

He’s our source of help,

through life’s many miles.

So run to Jesus,

our strength and supply;

our help and our hope,

He’ll never deny.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly sent Your Son to suffer and die on our behalf, so that we would not only be able to endure temptations and trials, but have life eternal in You. Jesus, thank You for enduring all things so that You would know how to be our strength and supply, loving us as You laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for attempting to stand strong on our own, or for forgetting all that You endured so that You would truly know and understand what we are facing. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will run to You in all things and at all times. Lead us to lean on You. May we love others as You love us, and let those who are looking, come into a lasting relationship with You as a result. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your help in every circumstance that we endure. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41

Hold My Hand

Just as many of us were blessed with mothers who took us by the hand when we were afraid as little children and walked us into the new and the unknown that was frightening, so too, will God do for us now.

 

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. – (Isaiah 41:13)

 

Though my mom is a mighty woman in whom Christ dwells, my God is far greater. He sees me as His daughter, and will not hesitate to take hold of my hand and lead me through the scary spaces that I am called to walk.

 

When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3)

 

The Lord is our help and our hope, and His intent for us is not to stay stuck in fear. He calls us to look to Him, and allow Him to hold our hand and lead us in His strength into the trials where terror once reigned. God is greater than anything that we face, and His strength is mightier than any weapons formed against us. We need not be afraid, when we place our trust in Christ. May we go forth this day celebrating the strength that God has placed in His daughters; as birth mothers, adoptive mothers, spiritual mothers, and those ladies who love others well, as they have released fear, and simply chosen to love, just as the Lord has called them to do.

 

Take me by the hand,mother and child

when I am afraid;

for You are my help,

I’ll not be dismayed.

I will choose to trust,

in Your strength, not mine;

for You are the Lord,

most holy, divine.

Thank You for the ones,

whom You’ve given us;

the mothers who’ve shown,

the heart of Jesus.

Help me too, to walk,

with a heart like Yours;

so fear melts away,

and Your strength endures.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God who takes hold of our hand and tells us to not be afraid. Thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that when we trust in You, we need not fear. Thank You for the precious gift of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and wonderful women that You have blessed us with to demonstrate Your strength in action. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to stay stuck in fear, and help us to extend our hearts and hands to You, as You are our help and our hope. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response is to reach for You. Lead us to love others well, just as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we take hold of Your hand and trust Your help to walk us through the fearful places, in Your strength. 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