The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

Sent to Save

God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NLT)

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. – (John 3:17, MSG)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

 

Mercy and grace are such crazy concepts to grasp at times, especially when we are our own worst critics. The times when we have messed up the most and someone comes along and extends grace or forgiveness, though we do not deserve it, become the most memorable and tangible examples of God’s intentions for us. Though we are all sinners and fall short of His glory, He loves us just the same. He sent His Son so that we could be covered once and for all and be called righteous in His eyes, no matter what we have done. Knowing this reminds me how important it is that I extend mercy and grace to those around me. Yes, there are actions and behaviors that have to have consequences so that learning takes place, however, I have to separate the action from the individual. Just as my children at times make choices that require redirection and consequences, my love and care for them does not and will not change. God views us in the very same light. Though there are at times, natural consequences for our decisions, His love is ever-present to pick us up, dust us off, and love us to life again. May we ever look to the Lord for forgiveness and grace, trusting that He has come to save us.

 

With mercy and grace, Sent to Save

God sent His own Son;

To forgive our faults,

All wrongs that we’ve done.

He came to restore,

What we had broken;

With His dying breath,

Forgiveness spoken.

And when He was raised,

He reclaimed His throne;

Where He covers us,

With love He’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You for Your amazing mercy and grace, though we deserve it not. Forgive us for the times that we resist receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in the light of Your love, forgiven and free, extending the same grace to others that we have been given by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates mercy and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for coming to save us and go forth extending to others what You have given to us. Amen.

 

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

For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost. – Luke 19:10

An Honorable Life

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NLT)

Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast. – (James 3:13, ERV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

 

Wisdom is gained and grown through the faithful pursuit of the heart of God. Those who are wise and understand the ways of God, do not go around boasting about what they know, but rather they demonstrate what they have gained through the lives they lead. Wise women and men live right, and do the good that God has given them to do. They do not speak of all that they know, but rather go forth and do right with humility. It is through the consistent actions of a life lived well, that we are made aware of those who are wise. May we ever pursue the heart of God and the wisdom that comes from Him alone, so that we are equipped to go forth and live an honorable life according to His will.

 

For us to be wise, When the Sun Shines In

And walk in His ways;

We must pursue God,

For all of our days.

As we learn His will,

We’re meant to do good;

To live right by Him,

Do the things we should.

For wisdom is seen,

Through humility;

A life that does well,

In Christ, faithfully.

 
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom comes from You. Thank You that we can identify the wise through the lives they lead, and follow the examples that are set before us. Thank You that it is our actions that demonstrate wisdom, not our words. Forgive us for thinking that we know more than we do, or for neglecting to act on that which You have shown us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would consistently pursue You to grow in our insight and understanding, and walk out the ways in which You show us how we are meant to live. Help us to love those around us in the same way that You so consistently and graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live honorable lives according to Your will, and allow our actions to do the talking. 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

 

True Blessings Through Obedience

And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – all because you have obeyed Me. – (Genesis 22:18, NLT)

Every nation on the earth will be blessed through your descendants. I will do this because you obeyed Me. – (Genesis 22:18, ERV)

And from your descendants all the people of the earth will discover true blessing. All this because you have obeyed My voice. – (Genesis 22:18, VOICE)

 

This verse is God’s promise to Abraham after his faithful obedience to God. Not only did he leave the land and home that he knew to go where God was calling, but he was willing to give up his only son, the one that was the fulfillment of a very long awaited promise. God saw Abraham’s unwavering obedience, and made a promise to bless his descendants as a result. The very same God who blessed Abraham for being obedient, blesses us when we do the same. When we go where He calls and do what He asks, we see the goodness of God and power of His might as He moves in ways we could not have imagined on our own. Though obedience at times is difficult or simply does not make sense to our human understanding, the true blessings that He pours out on His people as we listen to His leading, make the risk worth the reward. May we choose to listen to the voice of God and walk in the way to which we are being called, so we too may see the blessings of the Lord released all around us.

 

True blessings made known,The Reason for Reverence

Through obedience;

No matter the call,

Nor strange circumstance.

Often He calls us,

To things we can’t see;

So we have to trust,

Just choose to believe.

God in His goodness,

Sees our faithfulness;

For those who obey,

Find that they are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us countless examples in Your word of those who have faithfully obeyed Your call, and as a result, those around them were blessed. Thank You that obedience is not something that we have to do in our own strength alone, but You will equip and empower us if we are willing. Forgive us for our lack of willingness or for the fear that holds us back. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would go where You call and do as You ask, regardless of what we see or think we know. Show us how to love well, all those whom You place around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You completely and walk forward in obedience to all that You ask. 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

Known and Loved

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and the stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do You even think about them? Why do You care about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – (Psalm 8:3-4, NIV)

 

God, the Creator of the entire Universe, cares for us, individually. That is an astounding and overwhelming thought. Our mere mortal minds can hardly fathom such care and concern from One so great. Fortunately, there are examples throughout scripture that make this love a bit more conceivable. His great love rescues, is good, is merciful, is unfailing, works all things together for good, is gracious, surpasses all understanding, and endures forever. He is our Father and we are His children. Just as we love our own children fiercely, so too does the Father love each of us. We are flawed and sinful, and yet we still love our children with our whole heart. Imagine the depth and breadth of the Father’s love, as He is perfect, and who He is, is love. May we go forth this day seeking to soak in a bit more of the lavish love of the Lord. As we continue to gain greater glimpses of who He is and how He loves, may we go forth and love likewise.

 

Oh what love is this,Delivering Dreams

That considers me?

The very same God,

Who called all to be.

When I see the moon,

The stars in the sky;

I gaze up in awe,

He love me, but why?

God loves His children,

All created ones;

His heart is for us,

May Thy will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, the Creator of all things, love each of us, individually. Thank You that not one of us goes unnoticed nor unloved. Forgive us for not recognizing the depth and breadth of Your care for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth of Your word, and trust You to lead us and guide us all of our days in Your love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know their significance to You and the world around them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your lavish love, and receive all that You give so that we may give likewise. Amen.

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

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

Fathering Well

Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. – (Ephesians 6:4, MSG)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. – (Ephesians 6:4, NLT)

 

I know that this is a tough topic for so many. Fathers are placed in our lives to fill such a significant role, yet without the grace and help of God, there is little chance of them measuring up to the expectation presented in the title alone. That being said, some of the best fathers that I know, did not have the most stellar examples in their own lives. God’s grace covered them as they grew, and He provided men of integrity to walk beside them and show them what it is to love well as a dad. There is no one who always gets it right, except our Heavenly Father, but the men who seek to lead their kids by the hand and show them by example, correcting and redirecting with love, are setting the standard for our future generations of fathers. May we celebrate the fathers we know, and encourage them as they help their kids grow.

 

Thank You, dear Father, Be strong and courageous

Despite what we’ve had;

You shall always be,

Our Heavenly Dad.

Thanks too for the men,

Who take by the hand;

Each child to love,

And shows them Your plan.

Not by being harsh,

Instead, they choose lead;

Lovingly guiding,

Direct to succeed.

Instruct with wisdom,

Discipline with grace;

Do all things in love,

So they seek Your face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our ultimate Father. Thank You for the fathers that You have placed in our lives to teach us, grow us, and bless us. Forgive us for not recognizing and encouraging the fathers that are all around us, seeking to do things according to Your will. Teach us to have Your eyes to see and Your heart to bless and encourage our brothers who are seeking after You. Show us how to love well, all the people whom You place in our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for being the best Father of all, and praise You for the gift of fantastic fathers that You place in our lives and the lives of our children. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Living and Loving Well

This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave His life for us. So we should give our lives for each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 3:16, ERV)

 

As I spent much of yesterday with my mom, moving the belongings of my dearly departed grandmother, I recognized how much this rang true in her life. It was because she gave her love, her encouragement, her help and her hope, that my Gram’s life so impacted everyone around her. Daily, she gave her life away. She did not cling closely to things, but rather was generous with all. Gram, in her lifetime had experienced times of very little during the Great Depression; and a time of plenty, after years of being wise with what she had. Throughout my entire existence, she always lavishly gave of herself. Whenever we would meet, a strong squeeze of a hug would embrace me, despite her dainty size. Her words and kindness did the very same for my heart, and whatever exchange we would have during a visit, always lasted long after our seemingly short time together. Even now, I can imagine her laughter and way with words, as they were so readily given away. She was my truest tangible example of real love, outside of my own household growing up. If I can emulate but a fraction of her love and generosity to those around me, then I will have lived my life very well. May we each seek to give away, the greatest gifts that we have been given.

 

The beauty that’s seen,With Gram2

When we realize;

The look of real love,

Hope before our eyes.

As we give away,

All we’re meant to be;

People see the hope,

That Jesus sets free.

Because Jesus gave,

We also can give;

All that we’ve become,

So all might choose live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, what real love is all about. Thank You too, for the beautiful, tangible examples of the faithful that You have placed in our lives, that show us again and again, what it means to give our lives away. Thank You for the lifelong gift of my Gram, and the role model that she was for all who knew her. Forgive us for withholding the very things that You have placed in us to share with those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would willingly and generously give all that we are to all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all that we are to living and loving well. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Trust in His Words

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. – (Romans 4:20-22, NLT)

He never doubted that God would do what He promised. He never stopped believing. In fact, he grew stronger in his faith and just praised God. Abraham felt sure that God was able to do what He promised. So that’s why “he was accepted as one who is right with God.” – (Romans 4:20-22, ERV)

 

Abraham’s righteousness before God was not based on his following the letter of the law, but rather by his faith in the Father. God looks at us the very same way that He looked upon Abraham. He is not looking for people who cross their “t’s” and dot their “I’s” just so, but rather He wants people who place their trust in Him and believe that He will do what He says He will do. Our faith is both challenged and grown in the wait between the promise and its fulfillment. Few of us have to hold out for seventy-some years to see God’s promises realized, but how we choose to trust in the interim matters just as much. Thankfully, we have countless examples that have gone before us to show that faith is worth the wait. Additionally, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, to encourage our hearts and remind us who He is and how He loves. May we ever trust in our Heavenly Father, as He is faithful to fulfill every promise that He provides.

 

By faith we are seen,hope-overflowing

As right before God;

Our trust in His words,

Triumph over flaws.

For righteous to Him,

Belief that He’ll do;

All He has promised,

That His word is true.

Let go of the law,

And focus on Him;

By faith we’ll do right,

As we enter in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You promise, You are faithful to fulfill. Thank You that You count all who trust in You as righteous before You. Forgive us for not believing that You will do what You have promised, and grow in us an unwavering faith that always trusts. Show us how to love others well as we walk forward in the faith that You loving give to us as we seek You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your words and believe Your promises will be provided. Amen.

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

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

Love With All You’ve Got

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

You should love Him, your true God, with all your heart and soul, with every ounce of your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, VOICE)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all that you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

 

When we give God all that we’ve got, He meets us where we are. For whatever reason, God seems to show me tangible examples of this through running. This morning, I had a 15k race to run. I have not really been training, and the longest run I’ve gone on in recent months, was just under seven miles. That being said, it was one of those times where it was not about running a certain pace, but rather about running to finish. My friend and I were in the same position, and both determined that we were going to prioritize having fun while we run, rather than achieving a certain pace. As we ran, we discovered that we were able to enjoy the process, and were provided the stamina and strength necessary to run our own race. We both walked away from the event recognizing the parallels to how God shows up when we give things to Him, rather than attempt to force our own agenda. When we love Him and the life that He has given us, He does incredible things in us and through us. May we be ever willing to love the Lord with all that we are, and give Him all that we’ve got!

 

The Lord, He is good,hot-chocolate-run-2017-pic-1

Worthy of our love;

Our heart, soul and strength,

To God up above.

Let all that’s within,

Be given to God;

He takes what we bring,

Though broken and flawed.

So let all we are,

Give love unto Him;

Our strength and our songs,

Both outward and in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding us to love You with all that we are, as when we do, we are filled to overflowing with Your goodness anew. Forgive us for not trusting or seeking You with our whole heart, and teach us to trust You more, so that all that we are would seek You – heart and soul; loving You with all that we are. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may come to know the blessing of Your goodness and faithfulness in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You with all that we are, and seek to do the same with those around 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

Love As We Are Loved

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. – (John 13:34, NLT)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

As Jesus and His disciples shared their last meal together, these were among His parting words to them. In the same way that Jesus called the disciples to love one another, He calls us to do likewise. It is an odd time in society, as many people are impacted by the loss of great icons in the entertainment industry. With each new announcement of another passing, people are forced to face their own mortality. In the midst of such a space of uncertainty, love needs to enter in. Perfect love casts out fear. When we love one another well, we are better able to fix our eyes and hearts on hope, rather than fear, and can move forward in the direction to which we are called. May we each rise up and answer in obedience the command that Jesus has given us to love one another as He has loved us.

 

In uncertainty,not-defined-by-a-day

We need not choose fear;

For we’re called to love,

Show truth, remain near.

Jesus commanded,

That we make the choice;

To love as He loved,

With heart, soul and voice.

Help us to love, Lord,

As You have loved us;

So all may come know,

The hope in Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave us a new command to love one another as we are loved by You. Thank You that You do not just tell us to love, but You model it to us again and again and again. Thank You that we have countless examples of how You love, so that we know how to go forth and love others in the same way. Forgive us for not loving others well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to love, regardless of what we are given in return. Show us how to love as You have loved us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to help us love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

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