All Praise is Due

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, NIV) 

Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help His people and has given them freedom. He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of his servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, ERV) 

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. And the Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David. – (Luke 1:68-69, VOICE) 

 

These verses are a portion of Zechariah’s song, which are sung in a praise-filled celebration of sorts, following the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). As a faithful follower of God, Zechariah understood the significance of all that was taking place, as it had long before been foretold. The birth of his son was the prelude to the coming of Christ, the long-awaited Redeemer and Savior. Zechariah’s stretch of silence, after his holy visitation that left him mute, ended with the faithful obedience of writing down the name he was told to give his son. The first thing he did with his reopened lips was give glory and honor to God for His faithfulness. May we each embrace the incomprehensible grace that came to us through a virgin birth, and praise the Lord for being faithful to fulfill His promises forever. 

 

All praise to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

For all praise is due; 

For what He promised, 

Was provided true. 

A Savior to come, 

The Light for mankind; 

Entered a baby, 

Yet fully divine. 

The hope of the world, 

Had come down to earth; 

To set captives free, 

And grant us rebirth. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You for those who set the example of recognizing who You are and how You love. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same God who set aside His throne to be God-with-us, still dwells within the hearts of those who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You for all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for Your faithfulness, and conveys Your heart and character to all those with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wonderful things that You have done to extend Your grace and send us Your Son. 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

May We Marvel Like the Magi

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time! They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, His mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped Him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left that territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. – (Matthew 2:9-12, MSG)

 

As I continue on my journey to dig deeper into the stories of those who first were mentioned in the Christmas story, this morning I did some searching about the Magi. What I had already learned, is that the wise men who visited bearing gifts, did not actually visit Mary, Joseph and Jesus as He lay in the manger. It was likely a year or two later. As mentioned, the wise men entered their home, not an animal shelter of sorts with Jesus in a manger. My new discovery however, is that according to what I found, the Magi were a priesthood of the Medes, known for their exceptional religious knowledge, and some proved to be experts at interpretation of dreams. This was the very same group of wise men and advisors to whom Daniel had been appointed Chief of the Magi, several generations prior. The gifts that these priestly people brought had prophetic and powerful meaning in religious realms. Gold spoke of His kingship, frankincense was a spice used in priestly duties, and myrrh was an embalming ointment anticipating His death. The wise men followed a star, knowing of the significance of Who they would find if they followed where it led. Based on the gifts that they had prepared to take, I imagine that they had already been given some dreams and insight about what had been foretold long before. It is awe-inspiring to envision what the moment must have been like for the Magi. A lifetime of studying and seeking, and then suddenly these wise men found themselves standing before the Savior of the world.  May we each have Magi-like moments this Christmas, where we recognize in awe and wonder, His powerful presence, because He chose to come and be God with us.

 

A star of wonder, May We Live Like the Magi

Led wise men afar;

Check in with a king,

Then follow the star.

The Magi arrived,

In Bethlehem town;

The way clearly shown,

As the star shined down.

With awe and wonder,

The wise men took knee;

They gave Him their gifts,

All praise unto Thee.

May we too behold,

A similar awe;

At the Gift given,

What the wise men saw.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly show us more and more of Who You are and all that You have done, as we seek You and ask for Your insight. Thank You for the faithfulness and obedience of the Magi, and a bit more of the story behind them. Forgive us for taking everything at face value, or for becoming numb to the depth and life that come from beholding the truth and the treasure that is found in the story of Jesus’ arrival. Teach us to seek to see it through fresh eyes, so that we never lose our awe and wonder at the glory of the Gift that You gave. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You, the ultimate Giver of all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of all that You have done for us, and the very reason we celebrate this season. Amen.

 

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

 

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

(link to Magi research)

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

One to Many

We never quite know the far-reaching impact that one act of obedience may have. For Paul, when he had arrived on Malta via shipwreck and snakebite, he was invited into the home of a chief official on the island. Upon arrival, Paul learned that the father of Publius, the chief official, was sick in bed and suffering. Paul went to him and prayed for him and he was healed. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. – (Acts 28:9) Paul’s following of the Holy Spirit’s prompting to touch one who had fallen ill, resulted in the healing of many, and consequently, the further spreading of the good news of Jesus, throughout the island.

 

What potential impact do our acts of obedience have on others? Kindness to a stranger, a touch to the hurting, encouraging words to one who is discouraged? We need not know the outcome to act as Christ calls us to move. For each of us, have also been the recipient of another’s faithful obedience. May we go forth this day in obedience to all that the Lord asks.

 

A moment in time,One to Many

responding in faith;

to what God has asked,

most memorable wraith.

All who are open,

ready to go forth;

will be granted word,

sent out by the Lord.

He looks for the heart,

that’s ready to serve;

does tremendous things,

His strength to observe.

May we be ready,

with yes and amen;

to go where He asks,

and do as He says.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You show us that You use hearts that are willing and faithful to follow what You ask, regardless of circumstances or appearances. Thank You that Your ultimate good will come, even out of the most ugly of circumstances. Forgive us for our lack of faith in the midst of trials, or for our lack of movement when You are asking us to move. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may move mightily in all things and at all times, as You ask us to move. Let us love and encourage and be Your hands and heart to those around us, as You so clearly make You love evident to each of us. May many come to know You as their Savior and King, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. Be exalted, O God, as we follow Your leading today. Amen.

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

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. – 2 Corinthians 3:5

Holding His Hand

How can one capture,

essence of a soul?

So clearly held up,

a heart to extol.

Though seemingly tough,

there was tender side;

that loved children well,

where peace did reside.

Passion for dancing,

love of horses too;

music filled her heart,

faith and hope pursued.

Generous and kind,

loyalty so true;

heart easily hurt,

then silence ensued.

Yet always with time,

with Him holding hearts;

amends would be made,

provided fresh starts.

Irish eyes that smiled,

with a glint of sass;

infectious laughter,

how I miss this lass.

Now she is dancing,

upon streets of gold;

fight no more needed,

as His hand she holds.

“With a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.” – (Psalm 136:12)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us are planned with a purpose, and the number of our days are known by You. Please teach us how to make each moment matter, and help our hearts to clearly reflect Your love. Forgive us for our fears and insecurities, and help us to step out boldly into what we are becoming. May our faithful obedience move the mountains that keep longing hearts from receiving. Let all who are lost and looking, be found in You. Amen.

God is so very gracious and kind. He prepares our hearts for that which our head and hands cannot hold. It is a very strange space, and I am feeling a little lost, after so many days of arranging to spend as many moments with Anne as possible. Now that it is no longer, I find myself restless. Weariness has found a home here, and I know that both my body and mind need rest. He has continually held me up, even in the moments that I barely knew how to breathe. My task is to now prepare words to share at Aine’s memorial on the 28th. Public speaking terrifies me, yet the love for my sister in Christ, propels me to trust and power through. Please pray that He will grant me the words to honor Aine and glorify Him. As always, thank you for being such a treasured community in Christ. – Shannon

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

His Ways

His WaysMy thoughts are not your thoughts,

nor are your ways My ways;

the Lord’s declaration,

to hear all of our days.

For just as the heavens,

are higher than the earth;

so are the ways of God,

in Whom we find new birth.

As His thoughts aren’t our thoughts,

like the fast falling rain;

His words offer new life,

remove blemish and stain.

No word goes out empty,

all accomplish His plans;

for this purpose He spoke,

and proclaimed His commands.

If we go out in joy,

He will lead us in peace;

all creation will sing,

and worship at His feet.

An everlasting sign,

is the Lord’s great renown;

it will not be destroyed,

in Him, our hearts are found.

(Responding to Isaiah 55:8-13)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are far greater than our thoughts, and Your ways are much higher than our ways. Thank You that our salvation is not dependent on our abilities, but rather is secured through Your faithfulness. Forgive us for doubting what has been declared, and for dismissing Your deity. Please help us to remember that You hold all in the palm of Your hand, and nothing is too difficult for You. Grow our faith God, and help us to passionately pursue You with all of our days. May many come to know Your joy and peace that surpasses all understanding, as we walk in faithful obedience unto You. Amen.

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

Praise for His Promises

image by Christopher Wilson

image by Christopher Wilson

Teach me Your way, O Lord,

in You, I will abide;

may I fear Your great Name,

a heart none can divide.

I will ever praise You,

O Lord with all my heart;

I’ll praise Your Name always,

the Granter of new starts.

Great is Your love for me,

delivered from the grave;

powerful, Your promise,

so plain the path You pave.

Though arrogant surround,

You are my gracious Lord;

slow to become angry,

lavish love You afford.

Turn to me, have mercy,

and grant to me Your strength;

demonstrate Your goodness,

keep me in Your arm’s length.

 

(Responding to Psalm 86:11-17)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we abide in You, You instruct and strengthen, protect and provide grace.  Thank You that You are slow to anger and abound in love.  Forgive us for taking grace for granted, and help us to ever praise You.  Teach us Your ways, and make plain the path You have set before us.  Strengthen us so that we may have undivided hearts, and forever abide in You.  As we walk in faithful obedience, may many come to know of Your great love, so that they too, will abide in You.  Great are You, our gracious and loving God!  Amen.

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

Remaining Resolute in Our Redeemer

image by bibleabc.net

image by bibleabc.net

Our Lord God sits on high,

seated upon the throne;

one day all will appear,

our every deed made known.

We all are called to share,

the truth found in His word;

correct and encourage,

’til every ear has heard.

Be prepared at all times,

convenient or if not;

be patient and careful,

’til every soul is sought.

For the time has now come,

all doctrine is not sound;

words have become twisted,

turning from truth they’d found.

In all situations,

endure and work for Him;

stay true to Christ the Lord,

choose not to sink, but swim.

Always fight the good fight,

keep faith to finish strong;

for heaven is waiting,

to all in Him belong.

(Responding to 2 Timothy 4:1-8)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite how things may appear, You are securely seated upon Your throne.  Thank You that You are above all things, and in You, all may be overcome.  Forgive us for the times that our faith waivers due to the seemingly impossible situations set before us, and grant us Your eyes to see and Your strength to endure until the end.  Teach us to trust You even more, and equip us to be ready to share what You place upon our hearts.  May many come to call You King, as a result of our faithful obedience to whatever You ask.  All glory and honor to You, God.  Amen.

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

Be Adorned in Armor

image by Share Faith

image by Share Faith

Be strong in the Lord,

and stand in His might;

put on full armor,

be ready to fight.

For our fight’s not seen,

flesh and blood it’s not;

spiritual battle,

all hell’s ugly lot.

On with the armor,

that God does provide;

faithful protection,

to take all in stride.

Fasten the belt of truth,

safe around the waist;

let no lie enter,

nor bring on disgrace.

Breastplate that’s righteous,

secure over heart;

protects emotions,

from hell’s fiery darts.

Feet fitted, ready,

with gospel of peace,

to share with others,

and offer release.

Hold onto the shield,

for by faith we’re strong;

extinguishing flames,

intended for wrong.

Place on the helmet,

of your salvation;

protector of mind,

brings revelation.

Sword of the Spirit,

it’s the word of God;

for by it we’ll know,

where to safely trod.

Be ever alert,

and be quick to pray;

for self and others,

in love, don’t delay.

(Responding to Ephesians 6:10-18)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our defense against all that comes against us.  Help us to remember that despite what we see around us, the real battle is beyond what we can see, and is raging in the spiritual realm.  Forgive us for forgetting not only that there is an enemy of our soul, but that You are the Savior of all.  Teach us to arm ourselves with Your spiritual armor each day, so that we may go forth equipped to seek and serve You, undeterred.  May our faithful obedience and seeming resilience, supplied by Your strength, lead those who need to know You, into a lasting relationship with You, our Redeemer.  Amen.

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