Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Choose a Life of Love

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, NLT)

Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, ERV)

Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:2, MSG)

 

When we choose to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us, we are a pleasing aroma to God. The idea of our offering being a sweet scent before our Maker is a remarkable reminder that our choice to love matters. Likewise, as we love others as Christ loves us, we are a pleasing aroma to people. When we observe or are the recipients of words or deeds that are not done in love, often the way we describe the situation is that it stinks. I imagine that before God, there is a stench when we are not acting according to His love. We have been given the greatest example that ever was to follow, and He equips us to go and do the same. The decision to choose to live out a life of love is ours, and the choice we make matters. May we each opt to live the life of love that God has prepared for us, and go forth as a sweet scent before both the Lord and those whom He places on our path.

 

The sweet scent of Christ, Love Made Known

Is one full of love;

For His sacrifice,

Grace, His true motive.

Christ’s own sacrifice,

Created the way;

For us to receive,

And give love away.

He did not withhold,

But chose to give all;

So we too could love,

And answer His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life lived out in love is a pleasing aroma before You. Thank You Jesus, for being the ultimate example of how to love without limits. Forgive us for the times that we opt to withhold love when we are called to extend that which we have been given. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love anyway, even when it is difficult. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have placed on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of love. 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

Imitate Who We Appreciate

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. – (Ephesians 5:1, NLT)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. – (Ephesians 5:1, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. – (Ephesians 5:1, MSG)

 

Imitation is a form of admiration. As small children, we imitated those whom we most appreciated and the traits and strengths most desired to be duplicated. Once a person comes to know Jesus, a more defined set of ideals come into our consciousness. He who loved with His life and lived without sin, is the ultimate example of whom we ought to aspire to imitate. Through seeing and experiencing His love first hand, we learn how to love as we are loved. May we ever seek to imitate God in all that we do, so that our every word and deed is done in love, according to His good and perfect will.

 

In all that we do, Imitate What We Appreciate

Let’s imitate God;

The love that He gives,

To broken and flawed.

It is by His grace,

That we know He’s good;

It’s not what’s deserved,

Yet kindness withstood.

So let us go forth,

And love just like Him;

Imitate His grace,

Again and again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to imitate You as Your children, but You sent Your Son to show us the way and equip us to go forth to do as You do for us. Forgive us for attempting to imitate anyone other than You, as You alone are the only example that is free from all sin and without flaw. Teach us to look to Your example in all that we do, so that we may be tangible examples of Your goodness and love. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might see Your light that burns within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to imitate You in all that we do, so that others may come to know Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Learn to Live a Life of Love

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

 

As God’s children, we are called to go forth and love others as we are loved. The love that we are shown is patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, perseverant and will never fail. Though we are human, and our capacity to carry this out perfectly will fall flat, in Christ, we are equipped and empowered to love like He loves us. We become like the company we keep, so if we are keeping company with Christ, our capacity to love as He loves grows greater. Our hearts become aligned with His, and we more readily recognize His will and how to walk in the light of His love. May we aspire to imitate God our Father, and live our lives filled with love in a way that is pleasing before Him.

 

To learn to love well,Enter With Thanksgiving

We need only seek;

Our Lord God above,

Love is how He speaks.

As His dear children,

He shows us the way;

To love with our lives,

For all of our days.

As we look to Christ,

Who made love so clear;

May we do likewise,

So all know He’s near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do as You have done for us, so that others too, may come to know the power of Your great love. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You show us how to follow the example that Christ set before us, and You equip us to go and do likewise. Forgive us for not living a life of love as You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would imitate You and Your love in EVERYTHING that we do, because we are Your children. Let our lives speak volumes without our lips having to speak a single word. Show us how to love those around us in a way that pleases You and draws them unto Yourself. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we imitate You in all that we do, through living a life filled with love. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Loved Without Limits

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and a sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

 

When we give our lives to Christ, we are His children. Our calling is to be a reflection of His radiance to all whom we encounter. His brilliance is best seen and understood through a life of love. Consistent care and kindness with no expectation in return, is the very sort of love that Jesus gave to us. He sacrificed all to create the opportunity for us to come to freely know Him. We too, can give up our own selfish desires to love without limits, and present opportunity for those around us to truly see the light of His love through us. May we embrace that which God has so generously given unto us, and go forth and love others with the very same love that draws people unto Him.

 

We are Your children,

beheld as Your own;

loved without limit,

so Your heart be known.

May we do likewise,

our very lives be;

A sweet sacrifice,

of love unto Thee.

May Your heart be clear,

to all whom we meet;

as we love like You,

may love be complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your children whom You loved so much, that You sent Your One and only Son for us. Thank You that Christ came and showed us what it is to truly live a life of love. Forgive us for our selfishness that withholds love when we ought to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will love freely and generously in all situations and circumstances, despite how we feel – allowing You to move in and through us. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that they may come to know You, personally. Be exalted O God, as we live lives of love, just as Christ loved us. Amen.

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

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

 

 

Live a Life of Love

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. – (Ephesians 5:2, NLT)

 

Living a life filled with love that follows Christ’s example, can be demonstrated in a vast array of ways. This morning, after having slept in far later than I normally ever do, I found two demonstrations of such Christ-like love extended toward me through others. Two separate friends, extended exhortations of gratitude with their words. For one who treasures words and takes them to heart, I feel full to overflowing from the acts of love that each of these daughters of the King, put forth. (Love you Cara Olsen and Ruthie Lamb!) Last night, another friend had four hockey tickets that she was not going to use today and she offered them to me, knowing that it might be something fun to do with my boys. (You are amazing Julie Black! <3) Thanks to yet another act of one who is living her life in Christ and freely extends what she has been given, my boys and one of their best buddies will get to experience their very first hockey game this evening! Not only are they excited, but I am too, just anticipating the awe of the new that the evening will hold. I am blown away how He loves us even in the little things, that really add up to be big things in our hearts. Words that bless us and remind us that we are loved, actions that demonstrate that we are seen and known – I can only imagine the sweet scent that rises before Him, as we choose to extend ourselves to one another. May we look for ways to offer ourselves – through our words and our actions, in such a way that others may see Christ in us, and that our offering be received as a pleasing aroma before God.

 

Let us live our lives,Enter With Thanksgiving

filled up with Christ’s love;

doing as He did,

setting hearts above.

As we offer self,

in word and in deed;

as a pleasing scent,

help us to meet needs.

Let our words lift up,

and our actions too;

demonstrate kindness,

and point hearts to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us what it is to live a life filled with love. Thank You Jesus, that You offered Yourself as a sacrifice for us as a pleasing aroma before God, so that we could be found acceptable and worthy before Him. Forgive us for not extending the love that we have been given, or for not clearly following the example that we have been shown. Teach us how to do as You have done, and to trust You enough to choose to live a life of love regardless of what comes our way. Show us how to love others well, right where they are, so that they may see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we live lives filled with love, choosing to following the example set before us by Christ. 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

 

Encourage with His Sweet Songs

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. – (Ephesians 5:19, ERV)

Music is a miraculous gift that breaks down even the bulkiest of barriers. Though there is always music in my day while I travel from place to place in my car, it has been largely absent in my regular routine. About a week ago, on my way into Fred Meyer to buy groceries, something made me take pause at the small display outside of the electronics section. There before me, were small blue tooth speakers that were affordably priced. As I pondered the prices and products, the sales associate wandered my direction. He had helpful suggestions, and I decided to go ahead and make a reasonable purchase, as I had no other source to play music out loud in my home for myself, other than my phone.

Since that day, I have utilized this fantastic little speaker to blare worship music while I prepare for my day. It is remarkable how much better equipped I feel when I have been singing along with reckless abandon, and soaking in the sweet sound that floods my space as I ready myself for what lies ahead.

Interestingly enough, the first portion of the verse has also come to fruition over this week as well. A friend and I have been sending one another links back and forth for our favorite or most encouraging worship songs. It has been such a sweet exchange to be reminded of lyrics long forgotten, that speak truth that my heart needed to hear. My hope is that the same has held true for her. May we find ways to encourage one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as we go about our day, and may we allow our hearts to sing and make music unto the Lord.

Encourage with songs,

Kari Jobe  - Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

Kari Jobe – Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

as the tunes give rise;

for spirits shall soar,

with truth, come alive.

Sing and make music,

from our hearts to His;

may we choose make known,

how worthy He is.

Share of psalms and hymns,

that speak what is true;

so hurting hearts hear,

Who will make them new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gifts of Your word, music, and the ability to combine the two. Thank You for Your sweet presence that is made tangible when we choose to worship. Forgive us for neglecting the need within us to sing and make music in our hearts unto You, and the call to encourage others with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Thank You for showing me a new way that this can be done, practically. TeachJust Be Held us to trust You more, so that we would set aside the stuff that weighs us down and choose to allow our hearts to soar in song before You. Lead us to love and encourage others with Your words that meet them where they are and speak to their heart in a way that only You can do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other with songs that reflect Your truth, and as we sing and make music in our hearts unto You. Amen.

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

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; …my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

A few more favorites:

Casting Crowns – Just Be Held

Amanda Cook & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

Reflecting His Radiance

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. – (Ephesians 5:1, ERV)

Though few words, this verse speaks volumes. We are God’s children – dear to His heart. As His kids, we ought to do our best to follow and obey Him, so that we may reflect clearly, His likeness through who we are and all that we opt to do and say. May our decisions delight His heart and place His love on display.

Lord, what an honor,

photo by Joan Davis

photo by Joan Davis

to be called Your child;

to know and be loved,

whether tame or wild.

You count us as dear,

not for what we do;

but because we are,

created by You.

Because we’re Your kids,

help us ever try;

to do as You do,

loving with our lives.

Help our hearts to hear,

what You call us to;

and let each day start,

with mercies anew.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us Your children. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You delight in us because we are Yours. Thank You that the better we know You, the more clearly we begin to reflect who You are to those around us. Forgive us for not seeking to know You more, or for allowing our hearts to stray from staying the course set before us by You. Teach us to trust You more as Your dearly loved children, so that we in turn, might reflect more clearly, who You are to those who know You not. Lead us to love others well, so that they too, may come to know the glory of being known as Your children. May many choose to follow You forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and try to live out our lives in such a way, that others may see You through us. 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

Careful and Wise Living

Be careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16)

 

How we choose to live, matters. Our lives affect more than just ourselves. People who do not know Christ, see us, and often form their opinion of who Jesus might be, based on who we are, and how we walk out our faith. Do our words and actions align? We only have one opportunity to make a first impression. What do we want the world to see? If we are living one life on Sunday, and an entirely different life the rest of the week, people may question the why. However, if our words and what we walk out each day of the week align with what we claim to value most, people will notice a difference. Making the most of every opportunity to do good, is a wonderful way for wisdom to be made tangible. People don’t want to hear eloquent words; rather they want to see a life that is truly touched by the love and grace of God. May we go forth this day, in wisdom, being careful to make the most of every opportunity to do good, so that Christ may be made tangible to many.

 

With care, let us live,Glory to God

with wisdom and grace;

making Christ’s love known,

to all in our space.

Not through speaking out,

but rather by how;

we choose to live life,

in the here and now.

Let each chance we have,

to do good, be kind;

be the choice we make,

so seeking shall find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us instructions as to how we ought to live. Thank You too, that You do not simply say “do this” and then expect us to do things on our own. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit, who equips and empowers us to do all that You call us to do. Forgive us for not making the most of every opportunity that You present before us, and help us to trust You more, so that we will be wise and careful in how we live, and make the most of every opportunity that You bring our way. Lead us to love others just as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our heads and hearts to You for wisdom and strength to do as You ask us to do. Amen.

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

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

Live Life Awake

“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:14-16)

 

“Every day, there are situations in our normal routines that require us to be the light of Christ in darkness. Waking up spiritually is not just about participating in life-changing efforts of worldwide importance, such as stopping genocide. It is walking through our lives wide awake. It is rising ready where we are, with what we have. It is seeing people where they are and meeting their need.” – (Christine Caine, Undaunted)

 

How often is someone standing beside us in the grocery checkout, discouraged and simply in need of a listening ear? Perhaps a neighbor down the street has suffered a loss and needs help finding the strength to prepare a meal? If we live our lives awake and aware of our surroundings, and choose to be ever listening to the still small voice of the Lord, we may find opportunities to extend His hands and heart to a hurting world in ways we would have never imagined possible. Our charge is not to do everything; it is to do something. When we are willing and available to utilize what we’ve been given, lives are touched and hearts are transformed. Nothing we do is in vain, and God works wonders through our faithful acts of obedience. May we rise up from our slumber and allow Christ to shine through us, as we go forth as His hands and heart to the world.

 

Wake up O sleeper,Live Life Awake

the day has now come;

the Lord is calling,

there’s work to be done.

People in darkness,

stuck in their despair;

if we don’t reach out,

then who will go there?

A neighbor, a friend,

someone down the street;

we must be willing,

to love those we meet.

For as we reach out,

the Lord works through us;

touches hurting hearts,

our mighty Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love so much that You sent Your only Son, so that we could have life in You. Jesus, thank You that You make new life possible because of the sacrifice that You made on our behalf. Thank You that You showed us how to live and love, and that You speak to us still, granting us wisdom as to how we are to make the most of every opportunity to reach out and love as You loved us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us stagnant in our own four walls, and teach us to trust You more, so that we may live our lives wide awake, open to every opportunity that You would invite us to reach out. Lead us to love like You love, and may many be led unto You. Be glorified as we live our lives fully awake in You. Amen.

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

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