From Dawn to Dusk

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. – (Psalm 113:3, NIV)

May the Lord’s name be praised from where the sun rises to where it goes down. – (Psalm 113:3, ERV)

From the sunrise brilliance to sunset beauty, lift up His praise from dawn to dusk! – (Psalm 113:3, TPT)

 

When I see a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, I cannot help but be reminded of the One who is painting such perfection in the sky. Yesterday, in the early morning hours as we made our way to my Viking’s brother’s house, we viewed the beginning color shift of the early shades of sunrise. Watching my love and my brother-in-love enjoy time together filled my heart, as I know how wonderful it is for both of them to have time with one another. Additionally, I was blessed to have time with Bibi, the love of Donnie’s life, to get to know her better, and to begin planning ideas for a time that we can all get together again. The visiting, exchanging of stories and reminiscing continued until after sunset, and once everyone had gone home from their house-warming barbecue, the four of us were quietly seated in the living room, just soaking in the blessing of a fantastic day. This morning, as I woke and began the coffee, a gorgeous orange glow began to fill the kitchen. I glanced to my left out of the porch windows, and was blown away by the brilliance of the rising sun. God is so very good to us, and I love how He grants us reminders of His goodness all throughout the day. May we ever praise Him, from dawn to dusk.

Yesterday, I primarily put my phone away to be present and engaged in the here and now. However, I did take a moment to send mom a text to let her know that I was thinking of her and loved her, and that I was missing her. When I checked my phone a bit later, I found a return message from Mom, and enjoyed sending more back to her. My sister has been working with her on utilizing the voice to text feature, so I am hopeful that the process is growing easier. It is a strange space of separation to be so far away from Mom, especially for so long. I am looking forward to talking to her later today, and hopefully catching up with my sister too, as that is also long overdue. Prayers for Mom, Megan and the entire family are very welcome, as they all continue to navigate the juggling act of work, school, sports schedules, coordinating medical appointments, dealing with insurance, and loving each other well. Thank you so much, to those who have been faithfully praying and loving Mom and the entire family throughout this season; you are appreciated more than any of us can ever express.

 

With each brand-new day,

09081906491610574190408875469.jpg

This morning’s sunrise in Reno. ❤

Comes a fresh sunrise;

Faithful evidence,

Where hope’s realized.

All throughout the day,

And ‘til the sun sets;

God shows us His grace,

Through nature’s palettes.

The reasons to praise,

Are endless, indeed;

How great the Lord loves,

Faithful, He meets needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful from the rising to the setting of the sun. Thank You that we have reason to praise You all day long. Thank You for the abundant blessings that You place in our lives, if we only stop and look around. Forgive us for the times that we fix our eyes on what is wrong, rather than on that which is right. Teach us to trust You with the trials and to praise You for Your faithfulness in all things. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us, so that they may be lifted up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You throughout the day for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

That’s why I will speak of Your righteousness and sing praises to You all day long. – Psalm 35:28

We Must Love

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. – (1 John 4:20-21)

Our “brother” includes all people that God places on our path.  It is not merely family members,  but ALL whom God has created in His image.  Some people are easier to love than others, but we are not called to love on our own.  If we love God and place our trust in Him, He equips and supplies us with the strength we need to do that which He calls us to do.  It is only when we neglect to extend the love that He has placed in us for others, and withhold from those who need it most, that we are living our lives as liars.  People before us can be seen with our own eyes and touched with our hands and hearts.  If we cannot choose to love those standing before us, how will we ever choose to love God, whom we cannot see, nor touch in a tangible way?  So often it is through our choice to love others, that God makes Himself tangible to both us and those whom we are loving.  May we allow the Lord to lead us today, as we go forth and love well, all whom He places on our path.

To truly love God,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

we must love others;

love those who are seen,

sisters and brothers.

Not just those by blood,

but all on the earth;

all God created,

have tremendous worth.

If we love not those,

whom God gives to us;

then we don’t love Him,

our actions express.

Lord help us to love,

all whom we are near;

to love as You love,

without any fear.

God, be glorified,

as we answer You;

and make tangible,

Your love as we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us, even though we are sinful and broken.  Thank You that You call us to love all whom You place on our path.  Thank You that You do not expect us to do this on our own, but You equip and empower us to love others as You love us.  Forgive us for not loving those who are difficult to love, as this makes us liars.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be quick to extend the very same love that You give to us, to everyone around us.  May many come into a saving relationship with You, through the mercy and grace that they have been shown.  Be glorified O God, as we choose to love as You call us to love.  Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Intended for Good

Joseph’s story is one of great faithfulness and forgiveness. Despite Joseph having been sold into slavery by his brothers, he chose to trust God, and remained faithful in each situation he found himself in. It was evident each time injustice or false accusations befell him, that Joseph did not get angry, bitter, nor hold a grudge. Each time, he opted to forgive and focus on what God was asking of him in his present circumstance, no matter how dismal it appeared. Ultimately, Joseph’s faithfulness resulted in his rise to second only to the Pharaoh, and what God had taught him through his trials,ended up preserving not only he and his extended family, but an entire nation.

 

After Joseph had reestablished relationship with his brothers and his father, his brothers became fearful once Jacob, their father died. But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly. – (Genesis 50:19-21)

 

Not only did Joseph forgive his brothers who had sold him into slavery, but he reassured and spoke to them with kindness. Joseph modeled the very same sort of grace and forgiveness that God affords us, though we deserve it not. May we receive what Christ freely gives, and go forth and offer the very same grace to all those who surround us.

 

Despite harm’s intent,MSH29

God used it for good;

by trusting the Lord,

his heart understood.

Though likely unknown,

the number of tests;

his faith still remained,

in He who grants rest.

For Joseph, he knew,

the Lord’s faithfulness;

through times of trials,

and seasons of rest.

His faith remained strong,

no matter what came;

for He knew that God,

would triumph and reign.

May each one of us,

have faith as he had;

no matter what comes,

trust our Holy Dad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of unwavering faithfulness presented through Joseph, despite the many trials that he endured. Thank You that it is obvious to see Your faithfulness as he was faithful. Thank You too for such a remarkable story of forgiveness and redemption. Forgive us for our unforgiveness or our lack of faithfulness when things get difficult. Teach us to trust You more, even in the most dire of circumstances. Lead us to love others as Joseph loved his brothers – with kindness and graciousness, no matter what has been done unto us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord, as they come to understand who You are, and how You love and forgive by Your glorious grace. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to love and forgive as You love and forgive each of us. 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

No Matter What Comes

What began as a vengeful act of jealousy by his brothers, led to thirteen years of training and preparation for Joseph to become second in command over all of Egypt. His brothers sold him into slavery, he was purchased and made a servant, honored, falsely accused, imprisoned, honored as a model prisoner, recognized as a faithful servant of God, and finally, was given opportunity to put his faith into action, which resulted in Joseph being elevated to second in command of the whole country. Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” – (Genesis 31:39-40)

 

Despite the dismal and dire circumstances, Joseph chose to rise up and represent God as a faithful servant in each situation. He worked not unto himself nor for mere man, but worked as though he were serving God Himself. Joseph was faithful with little, and faithful with much. He listened to the Lord in all things, and walked in obedience, even in through the toughest of trials. In God’s perfect timing, Joseph was brought into the position that the Lord had prepared for him. May we patiently persevere as Joseph did, trusting the Lord will use our every trial as training. Let our hearts be prepared, so that we may hear His every word, and be ever ready for His next step for our lives.

 

No matter what comes,No Matter What Comes

choose to seek the Lord;

even in trials,

His grace He’ll afford.

For the hardest times,

are often the source;

that the Lord uses,

to direct our course.

The things that we learn,

while storms around rage;

stretch us and grow us,

a coming of age.

We learn how to trust,

to cling to the Lord;

to hear and obey,

walk in one accord.

With patience hold fast,

have faith in His word;

may our lives make clear,

the truth we have heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and present, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that though we may not enjoy times of trial and testing, they are seasons that You use for growing us closer to You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and perseverance when times are tough, and grant us Your strength and stamina to rise up in every circumstance, so that our faithfulness unto You is evident. Teach us to trust You more, so that our attitude will be like Joseph’s, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others, just as You choose to completely love each of us, right where we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord God, as the truth of who You are is made known. Be glorified, as we are faithful unto You in all things and at all times, by Your strength. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Love One Another Well

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are My followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

 

Christ has commanded us to live differently than the world. People should know there is something different about us, before we have even so much as whispered a single word. We are called to love. How we love each other, speaks volumes. When we are truly walking according to the calling of Christ, His love for others ought to be evident through us, in all that we say and do. May we love well, just as He has loved us.

 

The Lord, He commands,The Look of Love 2

us love each other;

sister to sister,

brother to brother.

We are called to love,

just as Jesus gave;

Who spent His whole life,

from cradle to grave.

Words that encourage,

feet willing to go;

hands ready to serve,

heart learning to grow.

May we each be known,

not for accolades;

instead by the love,

that we freely gave.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t just command us to love one another, but You love us, and show us how to love. Thank You that when we love, You allow Your light to shine through us, so that others may see You in us. Forgive us for the times that we do not love others well, nor reflect You through what we say and do. Help us to trust You more, so that we may depend on You in all things and at all times, so that our response is rooted in Your love. May many come to know the glorious gift of Your lavish love this Holy season. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to love one another, just as You have loved us. Amen.

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

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

Where Joy Resides

“Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.” – (Philippians forward in NIV Study Bible)

 

Paul had plenty of reasons to be unhappy. He wrote Philippians while imprisoned in Rome, yet the concept of rejoicing or joy appear sixteen times in this four chapter letter he had written to the church in Philippi. At a time when most would have been miserable, Paul was proudly preaching boldly before anyone who would give ear to what he had to say. Paul recognized that his purpose was far more important than his comfort, and he embraced every opportunity to speak truth before those who were around him.

 

Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. – (Philippians 1:14)

 

Local believers were challenged and encouraged by Paul’s faithfulness, (even while he was imprisoned and in less than ideal circumstances), and compelled to rise up and reach out to share the good new with courage and fearlessness that they had not previously known.

 

When life presses down,

My beautiful Gram - Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. <3

My beautiful Gram – Always joy, regardless of her circumstances. ❤

hope seems far away;

do we reach for Christ,

to show us the way?

For in Christ alone,

true freedom is found;

where joy shall reside,

even when we’re bound.

Happiness happens,

only when life’s good;

but joy’s eternal,

when Christ’s understood.

Let’s run to the Lord,

whether free or chained;

so His joy may dwell,

and His hope sustain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our joy is not dependant on what happens around us, but rather joy depends on You alone. Thank You that we may have joy, despite the most desperate of circumstances, when we are rooted and established in You. Thank You that You utilize our faithfulness in the trials to touch hearts and minds of others. Thank You for those You have placed in our path who have encouraged us, and for the opportunities You provide for us to do the same. Forgive us for our search for happiness, or for depending on our circumstances to bring us joy. Thank You that You are our Source, and NOTHING can separate us from You. Help us to be courageous, as we move fearlessly where You call us to go. Let the lost be found in You, as they come to know You personally, as their Lord and Savior. Be glorified, O God, as we encourage others, even in the midst of our unfavorable circumstances. Let us bring Your love and light to dark spaces that are desperate for Your touch. Amen.

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

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me.

– Psalm 69:16

 

 

When Love Came Close

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” – (I John 3:16-18)

“Real love is an action, not a feeling.  It produces selfless, sacrificial giving.  The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others.  How can we lay down our lives?  By serving others with no thought of receiving anything in return.” – (NIV footnotes)

The greatest example ever given, was born to us, and is remembered each Christmas. Jesus was the ultimate example of what love is, for He loved with His very life. He stepped down from heaven, and became God with us – demonstrating again and again how to love with actions and in truth. As the only One who was fully God and fully man, there were so many “could have done’s” along the way, yet He chose instead, each time, to model love.  He drew near to those whom society deemed undesirable, and He touched the untouchables.  His love broke down social, racial and religious barriers, and encouraged all who came near, to love as He loved.

Though this blessed day of remembering is nearing an end, our command to love will remain.  How can we carry Christmas with us as we approach the coming year?  What can we give of ourselves to others, as He has given unto us?

What can I give?

What gift shall I bring?The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

Unto You Lord,

my great, mighty King.

My heart, You have,

and likewise, my life;

what of my time,

resource and supply?

Anew I ask,

how might I show love;

to honor You,

so You’re known above?

Lead me, I pray,

show me how to move;

let Your love shine,

so people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to come close – to draw near to us and show us that You are love.  Thank You that You loved so much, that You sent Your One and Only Son, so that we may receive all that You are offering.  Forgive us for giving with expectations, or for withholding, where You would have us to give more of ourselves.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may more clearly hear Your voice and Your instructions for the coming year.  May we love as we are loved by You, and may many come into a lasting relationship with You.  All glory to You, our great and mighty King.  Amen.

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

When Love Came Down

As we have traveled through the season of Advent, my pastor has taught a series on the attributes of God, which He imparts to us, as a gift through the sending of His Son.  The four weeks have covered, peace, hope, joy, and finally yesterday, love.

Jesus, is God’s gift of love to us, as He sent us His one and only Son.  (1 John 4:9-10)  The love of God is so great, that it covers us with the commitment of His very life.  His love is agape – love that genuinely and exclusively seeks the good of others, rather than one that might expect something in return.  Christ’s love was so vast, that He set aside the robes of majesty, and took on the role of a man, so that we might know love. (paraphrasing Pastor Jon McIntosh)

In John 13:1-12, Jesus shows the full extent of His love for the disciples, as He takes on the role of the lowliest of servants, and kneels to wash the filth from the feet of His friends.  The washing of another’s feet, would have made the one who was washing, completely unclean.  Feet were filthy, and to touch them, would have been a wretched violation of plenty of purity laws.  Jesus was modeling to the men that it matters not what it takes, when we love, we must be willing to set aside ourselves, and serve.  His serving, left the disciples cleansed and refreshed, despite personal cost.

Philippians 2:5-8  encourages us to have the attitude of a servant, just as was seen through Christ.  The love described in Philippians, is humble and obedient to God, willing to love with His very life.  Such love is unshakeable, and will remain forever.  (See also: Isaiah 54:10, Romans 8:38-39)

And Love came down,When Love Came Down

so the world might know;

the height and depth,

of love truly shown.

Love seeks not self,

records not the wrongs;

is patient, kind,

fills hearts with sweet songs.

Where there is Love,

peace too, shall be found;

for where Christ dwells,

all goodness abounds.

Love seeks to serve,

do unto others;

cares for each one,

as sisters, brothers.

Love will endure,

forever, always;

none can remove,

the Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son, Jesus, whom You sent to us so that we might know Love.  Thank You that we set aside this season to remember the blessed birth, the arrival of God with us.  Forgive us for allowing anything to distract or taint the significance of this season, and help us to hold fast to that which truly matters.  May we learn to love as You loved, and be Your hands and heart to those who are hurting this Christmas.  May many come to know the limitlessness of Your everlasting love this season.  May our every attitude and action be as You would have us do, and may our every offering be pleasing unto You.  We love You, Lord.  Amen.

*Scripture references taken from yesterdays sermon at http://www.gcfw.org

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