Sing for Joy

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – (Psalm 95:1, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. – (Psalm 95:1, ERV)

Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord! Give a joyous shout in honor of the Rock of our salvation! – (Psalm 95:1, TLB)

 

There is something about singing that elevates our entire being. It is no wonder that throughout God’s word, there are numerous references to singing and giving praise, from Genesis to Revelation. Likewise, it is only fitting that the songs we sing and the praise we offer, are to the very One who places songs in our heart and grants us words to express all that dwells within us. Recently, one of the new songs released by my favorite band, seems to be on repeat in my heart and mind. I find myself humming the tune or singing the lyrics as I move around, even in the most mundane of tasks. Each time I think of the song that celebrates who God is to me, I am encouraged and filled with gratitude. May we ever choose to sing praise to God with joy, honoring He who is our salvation.

This morning, for the first time since mom’s stroke, I received a text message from her. For me, this was a reason to sing for joy to the Lord, as I know how labor-intensive texting is with only her left hand. The fact that she chose to invest the time and energy to do so, was very much a labor of love, and spoke volumes beyond the content of the message. I was able to text her back while in line at Dutch Bros after my run, and let her know that I would call as soon as I was through the line. It is always comforting to actually hear her voice, and I think that we are both feeling the weight of separation, after having spent all of our time together for three and a half months. She is doing well, and she and my sister were enjoying the ordinary of a Saturday morning together. We continue to pray for healing and provision as mom perseveres on the journey to restoration.

 

May we sing for joy, Give Rise to the Songs

To the Lord above;

All thanks unto Him,

For His endless love.

With all that we are,

Throughout creation;

Let us give God praise,

For our salvation.

Always He is good,

In all things, always;

Let us sing to Him,

With joy, lift our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music and song and the way that the combination of the two can so beautifully capture our heart of gratitude for You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to sing the songs our hearts are holding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find the joy and reason to praise You, in all times and circumstances. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may spread joy in a way that shines Your light to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy to You, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Far More than Satisfied

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – (Psalm 90:14, NIV)

Fill us with Your love every morning. Let us be happy and enjoy our lives. – (Psalm 90:14, ERV)

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE)

 

Being an early riser and one who loves the outdoors, the setting I am in serves me well. Mom’s home is secured on a hill, overlooking the river, surrounded by foothills, with orchards below. The sunrise each morning glows on the hills across from us, and daily, I am reminded of new hope and a fresh start that come with the unfailing love of the Lord. With every sun’s rising, I am surprised with God’s handiwork; as no two sunrises are the same. He varies the cloud formations and color patterns, mixing His palette and providing my eyes and heart with fresh delight daily. In the same way that each new sunrise brings delight, so too does each new day on this journey with mom in her recovery and rehabilitation. The kindness of God grants of reason to celebrate each new day of life that we are given. There is joy in the journey, and new gains each step that we take. Yesterday, mom learned some new exercises in occupational therapy that she can do on her own (which she is thrilled about) and during her speech therapy session, she could do things yesterday that she was unable to do two days earlier! My heart is satisfied with His kindness, even in the moments when I struggle. He reminds me that I am not alone, and that He has us in His hands. Mom is a living miracle, and I have the privilege of watching her miraculous awakening each day.  Additionally, we laugh often, as there are some seriously silly statements that occur when exhaustion hits, and words become difficult to recall. Because I know mom so well, I typically know what she is trying to say, and we just giggle together about the “substitute” word and continue moving forward.

May we recognize Your love with every new rising of the sun, and be satisfied with Your kindness. Help us to celebrate with joy, every day that we are alive.

 

May the break of dawn,0607190510a_hdr6867141396644053477.jpg

The first light of morn;

Remind us of grace,

Hope when we’re forlorn.

With each brand-new day,

The rise of the sun;

Shows God’s faithfulness,

Before we’ve begun.

His kindness endures,

As we make our way;

Sweet satisfaction,

When covered by grace.

There’s no greater joy,

Love held in His hands;

Our lives a great gift,

To walk out His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us and renew us each morning with Your unfailing love, and that You are our reason to be glad for all of our days. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy or hide our hope, as both hope and joy are found in You alone. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we never miss a sunrise or a miraculous moment that You intend for us to see, that is meant to remind us of Your incredible, infallible love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that celebrates the gift of each new day, and marvels at each minute miracle that You place before us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing for joy at the wonders of Your love, and marvel at the miraculous ways in which You move. Amen.

 

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

 

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

Love Never Stops

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

 

As I continue to study what the Word says about love, I am reminded of the endurance that love requires. Love rejoices with honesty and wants the very best for others. It trusts, hopes, believes, and refuses to give up. Additionally, love is a space of safety. Though we may not see eye-to-eye, love looks at each person as valued and lovable, regardless of how they interpret the world. When evil or ugliness happen, love is not happy with the hurts, even when the recipient may seem to deserve it. Rather, love delights in truth and never stops believing the best for others. Even when a toxic person is removed from our lives, we are meant to pray for them and trust that God will bring breakthrough on their behalf. To love is to choose to protect, trust, hope and persevere. The road is not always easy, but to love and be loved is always worth the investment. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, to choose love; always.

 

Love does not delight,

dsc062128968373152916220376.jpg

Love always protects…❤ *Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

In evil displayed;

But delights in truth,

Walking in God’s way.

The way of God’s love,

Trust, hope and belief;

Protects, perseveres,

Grace-granting relief.

Though it’s not easy,

Love’s always worthwhile;

To love and be loved,

As the Lord’s own child.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in all of these ways to show us how we are meant to love others. Thank You that choosing to love is an act of our will, and not based on feelings. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, and neglected to trust, hope, believe, protect or persevere. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You to equip us to love well. Show us how to love others in a way that helps them know that they are trusted, hoped for, believed in, protected, and that they will not stop being loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love completely, as we are completely loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Recognizing and Responding to Good

Mary responded, “Oh how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy, and He has done great things for me.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, NLT)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy.” – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, ERV)

My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46-47 & 49, VOICE)

 

Mary both recognized and responded to the glory of God and the good gifts that He gave. This morning, as I rose long before it was necessary, I find myself in a similar space of gratitude. Though Mary’s circumstances were far different than my own, I share the very same God, and He comes closer still, because of what was done so long ago through the willingness of His faithful. I am regularly in awe of His grace and mercy, and can see how His hand has carried me through the times of trial. He is good, and my whole heart celebrates His loving kindness. May we look to the Lord in awe and praise, for His love and goodness granted all of our days.

 

Let us set our hearts, Believe Instead of Striving

In a poise of praise;

Because the Lord saves,

For all of our days.

The Lord is our help,

May spirits rejoice;

Celebrate our God,

With mind, heart and voice.

Praise for what He’s done,

And who the Lord is;

Our life, love and song,

Why all praise is His.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, whom You sent to us to save us. Thank You for the great things that You have done for us, in us and through us. Thank You that we can call You our Savior. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and praise for all that You have done throughout all of our days. Teach us to take time to look around and see the work and wonder of Your hand, help and great love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and points people to Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in all that You have done; for You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. 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

Blessing Our Boys

Though not intended to be read in isolation, the portion of the passage that stands out to me the most this morning, is a verse from Jacob’s blessing to Joseph’s sons. The Angel who has delivered me from all harm – may he bless these boys. May they be called by my name and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, and may they increase greatly upon the earth. – (Genesis 48:16)

 

Today, our household celebrates the coming of age of our two boys, as they traverse into the trials and triumphs of their teen years. Cautious and Adventurous made their debut into the world thirteen years ago. It is my ongoing prayer that they be protected from all harm, that they walk in the way of the Lord, and follow Him all the days of their lives. Both are tender-hearted young men, who love the Lord and are seeking to serve Him. God’s grace and an army of faithful family and friends have brought them from premature newborns to the bright and kind young lads that they are today. May Christ continue to grow them into the men they are called to become, and may they serve Him all of their days.

 

Double the blessing,Blessing Our Boys

two times as much grace;

so lavished in love,

in seeking Your face.

For given to us,

our duo of joy;

far more than we’d hoped,

from our little boys.

God keep them from harm,

in Your tender care;

may they bear Your light,

O Lord, hear my prayer.

Grow them in Your grace,

and strong in Your love;

proud to praise You, Lord,

our Father above.

Let their life purpose,

be known early on;

grow them and lead them,

in You, make them strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings that my boys have been. Every single day I am in awe of how You grow and use them to show me more of Yourself. Thank You for the gift of children. Forgive me for my frustration and lack of patience at times, and grant me wisdom and grace to grow them ever closer to You and Your purpose for their lives. Lead me to love them as You love me. May we together, love others, so that they might see You. Let many come to know You as Savior and King, as we each pursue the fulfillment of our purpose. Be glorified O God, as we love our children as You love us. 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

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the dream that has come so far, enjoy a previously written poem by clicking the highlighted link. Let Freedom Ring.

Love Sees

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. – (John 19:26-27)

 

The command that we are given to love one another, is powerfully modeled by Jesus as He hung on the cross. Even in anguish, He recognized the needs of His mother that would have to be filled, and asked His dear friend to see to it that she would be cared for in His parting. John, Jesus’ disciple loved enough to be present and to say yes, and Jesus had loved so completely, that each knew what it was to love and be loved as Jesus was asking. Soon after that significant moment, John, Mary and the rest of the disciples, came to understand just how great His sacrifice truly was. Jesus’ act of love and sacrifice made way for all mankind to come to know Him, personally; individually; eternally. May we go forth and care well for our families and all whom are in need around us, just as Jesus did.

 

Even in anguish,The Look of Love 2

love sees other’s needs;

it moves and it acts,

love touches and feeds.

Love comes alongside,

when struggles are real;

love extends a hand,

or prepares a meal.

Love chooses silence,

to listen, not speak;

to hear what’s broken,

give strength to the weak.

When there is sorrow,

love still chooses stay;

reminds there is hope,

for Love makes a way.

When joy is present,

love celebrates too;

for we’re hand-crafted,

Love’s making us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us so much that You made the way for us to be brought back into right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for coming and living, loving, sacrificing and demonstrating Your overwhelming power and presence, all because You love us. Thank You that You modeled what it is to love others. Forgive us for not loving others well. Give us Your eyes to see everyone whom we encounter – from friends and family to strangers on the street. May we love each one, as You would. Grant us wisdom and insight as to how You would have us love, individually, and let us not grow weary in doing good. Let Your love flow freely through us, and may many come to know You as the Lord of their life, as a result. Be exalted, O God, as we look to love others as You love us. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Reinstating Radiance

This morning, the reading plan I follow had me reading the account of David numbering the fighting men in Israel, (found in both 2 Samuel 24 & 1 Chronicles 21). The gist of the story is that David was incited by Satan to take a census of Israel of all his fighting men. Rather than listen to Joab, his commander, who tried to dissuade him, David sent Joab on his way. Upon his return, David recognized the reality of his sin, (for he was looking to trust more in military power than in God) and confessed to the Lord the error in his ways. God was gracious and gave him a choice as to which of three consequences should befall the nation of Israel. David selected the shortest of the three, and an angel of the Lord began to carry it out. As the people of the nation of Israel were falling, David cried out to the Lord’s grieved heart. God was merciful, and had the angel withdraw. David went on to purchase a field, build an altar, and sacrifice burnt offerings to the Lord.

 

Psalm 30, also accompanies today’s read. This particular passage is one of David’s, in which he celebrates God’s deliverance. It is bookended in the following verses: “I will exalt you, O Lord, for You lift me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. – vs. 1 “You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever.” – vs. 11-12

 

God is gracious and hears our prayers, no matter what situation we find ourselves in. Be it in the sludge of our own sin, the anguish of a loss, fear, defeat, despair – He is able to remove the wreckage and reinstate joy and hope and peace. May our hearts cry out to Him, as we allow the Lord to fill the spaces once occupied by sorrow, with sweet songs of praise.

 

No matter what state,Reinstating Radiance

our hearts when we come;

His arms are open,

where all peace is from.

He’ll take our sorrow,

the wreckage of loss;

and love us to life,

no matter the cost.

He already paid,

the ultimate price;

so we could find hope,

Love’s true sacrifice.

He will grant us joy,

where sorrow once stood;

and plant in us, peace;

all from Him is good.

May praises rise up,

all thanks to the Lord;

true freedom is found,

hearts in one accord.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and ready to receive us, no matter how we come. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to come unto You with repentant hearts, knowing that as we do, we are forgiven and set free from the stains of our sin. Thank You that You hold our hearts in Your hands, and that You turn our mourning into joy, and raise up songs of praise as You continue to show us Your faithfulness, even in the difficult and painful places. Forgive us for losing sight of Your hand in the hard places, and help us to trust You, regardless of the trials we face. Grant us strength and peace and joy and hope, as You are the reason we sing. May we love others as we are loved by You, and may we encourage and lift up those who are hurting. Let those who are looking, find the peace that is held in You alone. Be exalted, O God, in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

 

 

The Parable of the Lost Son

In The Parable of the Lost Son, found in Luke 15:11-32, Jesus tells a tale of a selfish son who arrogantly asks for his share of his inheritance while his father is still living, and then goes off and squanders every last cent with wild living.  After his spending frenzy, the foolish son was in desperate need in the midst of a severe famine.  He finally found a job feeding pigs in the fields.  As a Jewish male, he had hit rock bottom.  Not only was he interacting – touching swine – which were considered completely unclean, but he was so hungry that he found himself envious of the food that he was feeding to those very pigs.  In a moment of clarity, the son came to his senses and realized that his father’s hired men had food to spare, and that perhaps if he went back to him with a repentant heart, his dad might be so kind as to hire him on as one of his laborers.  So, off he went to face his father.  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” – (vs20b)  After the son’s confession and plea for forgiveness, the father abundantly gave.  He restored the son to his position in the family, despite the contemptuous behavior he had previously displayed through his departure and wild living.  Not only did the father embrace the son, but he called for a feast to celebrate his son’s return.

Our God in heaven celebrates us in the same way.  No matter how horrible we have been, He waits.  When He sees our hearts turn toward Him, He runs to meet us while we are still far from Him.  As we repent, He restores us to right relationship with Him, and recognizes us as His heirs – His sons and daughters.  Though we too, have stooped so low as to be muddied and hungry and hurting, He has always been watching and waiting – and when we at last recognize our need for cleansing and His care, He is right there.  May we both embrace the grace that we have been given and extend the same to those who are still stuck in a muddy space.

Stuck in the mud,The Parable of the Lost Son

our own sinful mess;

seems no escape,

until we confess.

Our God forgives,

fresh start He shall bring;

draws hearts to Him,

our Savior and King.

He wipes away,

our mud and our mess;

grants us His grace,

His great faithfulness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Father, and we are Your lost sons and daughters, whom You are ready and able to save.  Thank You that You waited and watched for us, even when we were still far off.  Thank You that You are willing to woo us unto You, and show us how great Your love truly is.  Forgive us for wallowing in our own filth, or for somehow thinking that You would not receive us in our wretched condition.  Thank You that You accept us and love us far beyond what we can even begin to understand.  Teach us to receive all that You offer, and in turn, to extend the same love and grace to all whom we encounter.  May Your love in us, draw others unto You as well.  Let the lost be found, and those who are searching, find the security that is held in the safety of Your loving embrace.  Be glorified in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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