Where Praise is Due

O Lord, I will honor and praise Your Name, for You are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now You have accomplished them. – (Isaiah 25:1, NLT)

Lord, You are my God. I honor and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonders marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

 

The Lord deserves all of our honor and praise. Not only has He done amazing things, but He has shown us, again and again, that what He says, He will do, and His word is ever true. It is incredible that the same God who made way in the desert and parted the sea, is still alive and active today. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and equips us to overcome obstacles that are far beyond us. May we ever praise Him, for God is good and faithful to fulfill His promises.

 

O God, Holy Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

I’ll ever praise You;

For Your faithfulness,

And Your word that’s true.

All wonderful things,

Blessings that ensue;

Strength that overcomes,

Each because of You.

Before all there is,

Could ever be seen;

You Lord were present,

The future foreseen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are faithful to fulfill all that You say You will do. Thank You that Your word is true. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of Your moving on our behalf. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that You are present and for us, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust that Your word is true, and that You will always do what You say You will do. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

Out of the Desert

Give thanks to Him who led His people through the wilderness. His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:16, NLT)

He led His people through the desert. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:16, ERV)

 

Being a teacher towards the end of the school year can be tough. Middle school seems to be particularly brutal once all of the state testing has concluded. Students have endured all that they feel they are capable of learning, and many begin to check out. The final six-week stretch has felt especially long this year, as certain classes had clusters of kids together that fed off of one another, making the task of teaching all the more a challenge. That being said, God sustained me with His strength and grace, and surrounded me with stellar colleagues who were in the very same fight. Daily, we were able to encourage and support each other, and today, we have reached the end. There have been students that have stayed strong throughout the duration of the year, and have brought light and laughter to our days. Even the difficult students, when on their own, have provided glimpses of good that can be recognized today as we gather for our final few hours to celebrate and send them off to high school. May we ever give God thanks for His faithfulness in the wilderness, and His love that lasts forever.

 

In the wilderness,Out of the Desert

God’s faithful to be;

Present and loving,

He stays close to me.

Through the hardest times,

Strength and love He gives;

Endurance to fight,

Proof that our God lives.

Ever He’s faithful,

He loves for all time;

No matter what comes,

Hope in Him is mine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us through the dry and difficult seasons. Thank You that even in the desert, You make Your love, faithfulness and presence known. Thank You for the people that You place in our lives to walk beside us. Forgive us for losing faith in the fight when we become overwhelmed with what we see in front of us. Thank You that Your faithfulness is not dependent on our faith. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not lose heart, but rather press forward in faith; always. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens in their spaces of wilderness and lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your faithful love and go forth and give as we have been given. Amen.

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

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

Equipped for Desert Seasons

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert. – (Luke 4:1)

Jesus was not tempted and put through trials in the desert until after He had been equipped with the filling of the Holy Spirit. God is loving and kind, and prepares protection for His children. Just as He placed His Spirit in Jesus at the Jordan so that He’d be able to obey all that was asked of Him despite the distractions and temptations, God does the same for us. He doesn’t allow us into “desert seasons” without first equipping us to stand strong, regardless of how things appear. God fills us and leads us, so that we may be ready to withstand whatever comes our way. May we seek His strength in our desert spaces, and trust that He has equipped and empowered us for such a time as this.

In every heart,

that calls on His Name;

the Spirit comes dwell,

for all of our days.

He’ll lead and He’ll guide,

and strength He will give;

so we can stand strong,

in His power, live.

No matter what comes,

a trial or storm;

when we trust in Him,

our heart shall transform.

Where defeat once stood,

our faith shall give rise;

for by God’s great grace,

hope opens our eyes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t allow us to walk through desert seasons without first equipping us to withstand whatever lies ahead. Thank You that You are faithful to never leave us nor forsake us, and that we can always trust in You. Forgive us for our lack of faith and perseverance, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to rise up and recognize that far greater are You who is in us, than anything that comes against us. Lead us to love others through their desert places, and help us point to You – the only water that refreshes our souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your Spirit in us when we are in the desert or being tempted in ways that seem too difficult to withstand. 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

But On Every Word

Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4)

 

These words were spoken by Jesus in the desert after His forty days of fasting in the wilderness. The devil was tempting Him to turn stones into bread, but Jesus knew the value in what God had called Him to do. The word of God gives life eternal, where as bread is only nourishment for the here and now. We are meant to balance our priorities and feed both our body and our spirit, so that we have strength for today and hope everlasting. May we make meditating on the word of God as much of a priority in our lives as the nourishing of our bodies.

 

Bread may satisfy,The Bread of Life

but just for a day;

yet the word of God,

comes in and remains.

We need to pursue,

both bread and His word;

nourish our body,

God’s wisdom incurred.

Let what our hearts hold,

be found in God’s word;

so that which we yield,

are God’s blessings heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from Your mouth. Thank You that though food nourishes our bodies, Your word gives us life everlasting. Forgive us for not keeping our priorities in order; for forgetting how critical Your word is to the nourishment of our souls. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will hunger and thirst for Your righteousness and seek daily, answers in Your word. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we feed our souls with the bread of life that is found in Your word alone. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Unfailing Love Leads

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – (Exodus 15:13)

 

Just as God led the Israelites, whom He had set free from captivity out of Egypt, and ultimately brought them into the Promise Land, He will still do the same for us today. It is the Lord’s unfailing love that leads us, as He is patient and kind, despite our grumbling and lack of faith along the way. Any of us who are in Christ, have been redeemed. He has paid the penalty for our sin, and is leading us away from where we once were, into a new space of freedom in Him. The holy dwelling to which He is leading, is not a temporary stop along our path, but rather is our final destination, which will be our eternal home with Christ forever. May we receive His unfailing love, and allow His strength to guide us to the holy dwelling that He has prepared for us all.

 

It’s unfailing love,Unfailing Love Leads

that leads us all home;

that sets our hearts right,

draws back when we roam.

Those who have sought Christ,

have become redeemed;

considered His own,

in love, He shall lead.

His strength will guide us,

His ways He will tell;

He’ll grow and guide us,

’til heaven we dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us in Your unfailing love. Thank You that You redeem all who call on Your Name. Thank You that by Your strength You guide us to Your heavenly home. Forgive us for our fear and grumbling that lead us to wander aimlessly in the desert, rather that follow the path that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may listen to Your leading, and obey all that You are asking. Help us to love others as You so patiently love each of us. May many come into a new space of freedom forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we are led by Your unfailing love. 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

Temptation and Trials

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry. – (Luke 4:1)

 

Jesus, who was full of the Holy Spirit, was led by the Holy Spirit into a long and difficult space of temptation. He had done no wrong, but was led into this trial in the desert so that He would know and understand what we go through in our broken humanity. The very same Spirit that dwelled in Jesus and gave Him strength to overcome the temptations presented before Him in the desert, dwells within us, granting us the strength to stand against that which we know we are not meant to do. Just as Jesus was led into a time of trial by the Spirit, we too, may be led into seasons of testing to further strengthen our reliance on Christ. The better we know and obey God and His word, the more effective our fight against temptation will be. May we stand firm in His promises, and listen well to the word of the Lord in all things and at all times.

 

Tempting and trials,Temptations and Trials

most surely shall come;

let the Spirit lead,

righteous Holy One.

Though we may be led,

to seasons of test;

relying on Christ,

will serve us the best.

For just as Jesus,

overcame all sin;

when we look to Christ,

our battles, we’ll win.

Stand firm in His word,

His promises keep;

obey in all things,

His strength we shall reap.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to withstand trials and temptations of every kind. Thank You Jesus, for dying for our sins and sending Your Spirit, so that we too, can withstand every temptation and trial that comes our way in Your strength. Thank You that Your Spirit leads us and guides us if we are willing to listen. Forgive us for attempting to overcome temptations and trials in our own strength, and help us to completely depend on You. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as we utilize the gifts and strengths You have granted to face every trial and temptation that comes our way. Show us every sinful way in us, so that we may confess and allow Your correction for that which does not bring glory unto You. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You in this brand new year. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading when trials or temptations are placed before us. 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

Don’t Dwell on the Past

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

 

I am so thankful that God does not leave us stagnant and stuck in whatever situation we are in. Our walk with the Lord is a journey. As we traverse this often rocky road, we are not meant to keep our eyes fixed on the rearview mirror, but rather we are to set our sights on what lies before us, assured of Who is with us as we go. Though we may not be able to see what lies just around the bend or over the crest of the mountainous miles ahead, God knows, and His plans for us are good. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and stretches and strengthens us beyond what we ever thought possible. New in Him, though unknown and unseen, is secure in the sense that He will always remain present, and His provision is promised along our path of obedience. A glimpse of the past to recognize and remember His faithfulness is good, but we must be present to lay hold of the new He has for us today. May we perceive the path You have prepared for us, O Lord; and may we move forward with unwavering faith in You.

 

Let go of the past,

image from lessonslearnedinlife.com

image from lessonslearnedinlife.com

the trials gone by;

instead look ahead,

He hears our heart’s cry.

A new thing to come,

it is springing up;

can you perceive it?

He’s filling your cup.

He’s making a way,

where all seemed but dead;

He’s bringing new life,

to both heart and head.

His streams shall soon flow,

where all things were dry;

hope, life and love grow,

on Christ, let’s rely.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can release the former things, and anticipate the new in You. Thank You that You are continually leading us into the new in You. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and that You provide all that we need. Thank You that You make the impossible possible by Your strength. Forgive us for focusing on the obstacles, or on the former things that have hurt us or held us back, and help us to look to You in all things and at all times, knowing that we can do all things through You who give us strength. May we move forward faithfully in trust, as we love as You love us. Let those who are looking find a forever faith in You. Be glorified as we trust You in each step of the new You are calling us to. 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

Taking Possession of Promises

Is the promise really the promise, when the glorious reality is in full view, yet there are giants between where we now stand and where we must go to enter into what God has spoken?  Ultimately, it becomes an issue of whether or not we trust that God is greater than the giants, and do we trust Him to be true to His word.

In the desert, as Moses and the masses were on the move, spies had been sent ahead into the land that God had promised them.  The men had seen that the land was indeed, flowing with milk and honey, and had even brought back evidence of its fruitfulness.  Despite the plentiful promise land before them, they allowed their fear of the powerful people living in the land to stand in their way.  One man spoke up in faith. “Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’  But the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We can’t attack those people, they are stronger than us.” – (Numbers 13:30-31) 

Caleb chose trust over fear, and stood strong despite popular opinion.  He had seen the land for himself, and trusted that God was greater than anything that stood between the people and laying hold of the promise.  Sadly, the people chose not to listen to Caleb, and ended up wandering for forty years in the desert as a result.

What promises can we lay hold of through faith, if only we choose to trust Him, in spite of how things appear?  I don’t want to miss out on all that He has for me, only to be left wandering in the desert, aimless and longing for what could have been.

Promises made,Taking Possession of Promises

from the heart of God;

don’t ever change,

despite path to trod.

What the Lord says,

He will indeed, do;

God is faithful,

His word’s always true.

We must choose trust,

despite what’s seen;

God is greater,

on Him, we must lean.

God is with us,

the giants, fear not;

He’s far greater,

than the darkest plot.

Rise up in faith,

claim promise in Him;

dispel all fears,

our God always wins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the promises You have spoken are “YES” and “AMEN”, and what You say is what shall be.  Thank You that neither giants, nor mountains, nor seas, nor anything else in all creation can stand in the way of the fulfillment of Your promises spoken.  Forgive us for allowing fear to deter us from moving forward in faith.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we might boldly take each next step that You are calling us to take, despite the appearance of giants or obstacles that seem to be standing in our way.  May we boldly move in obedience unto You, and may our faith be unwavering in Your truth.  Lead us by Your love, to love others well, and may many come to know You personally, as a result.  Be honored in all that we say and do.  Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10