Delight to Sing Praise

Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! – (Psalm 147:1, NLT)

 

Indeed this is a fitting day to give praise to the Lord, as we celebrate His blessed arrival all those years ago. Having participated in the candlelight service at my church last night, the image of glowing faces singing praises together to the rightful King, still linger this morning in my mind. It is such a treasure to have the freedom to gather with friends that have become family, and worship the One who came to save. Each one of us has a story, and not one of the stories has been without difficulty. In fact, so many have had a really trying year. In spite of that, God’s faithfulness has been made evident again and again, and each showed up, ready to sing praise, knowing that He is good. May we praise Him as we gather, give gifts, live and love out this day, remembering that all that is good, all that is lovely, all that is worthy to be praised – is because of Christ who came to us. Merry Christmas!

 

More than packages,Christmas star

wrapped up with delight;

is the treasure found,

in that holy night.

The greatest of gifts,

we’ve ever received;

when Christ chose come down,

to meet all our need.

Need for forgiveness,

He took all our sin;

though He was sinless,

they crucified Him.

He willingly went,

upon that old cross;

for us, He chose bear,

the ultimate cost.

Death was not the end,

for after three days;

Christ rose as He’d said,

He conquered the grave.

When back on His throne,

at God’s great right hand;

He sent His Spirit,

to fulfill His plan.

How fitting indeed,

that we give Him praise;

for love and for life,

all thanks all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that we could be restored to a right relationship with You. Thank You that You are pleased when Your people praise You. Forgive us for not focusing our attention on the real reason for the season, and help us fix our minds and hearts on You as we go about this day. Teach us how to sing praise to You, and how to delight in all that You have done, and all that You are. Show us how to love others as You have so completely loved each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praises unto You, and keep our hearts focused on who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Proclaim with Praise to All People

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (Psalm 105:1, NLT)

For His unfailing love, let us give thanks. As benefactors of life and breath and our very being, we have reason to proclaim the greatness of our God. There is only One who willingly bore the weight of our sin and shame, so that we could have new life in Him. Our cleansing through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, is reason that we ought to go forth and freely share of the love that we have been given. May the whole world come to know what He has done, as we give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness.

Give thanks to the Lord,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

as we share His love;

proclaiming how great,

is our God above.

May the whole world know,

what the Lord has done;

to make way for us,

through His precious Son.

All that we’ve done wrong,

the Lord wipes away;

as He took our place,

in punishment’s stay.

Yet not even death,

could defeat our King;

He rose from the grave,

by power He brings.

The very same strength,

that brought Love to life;

dwells within our hearts,

as we let faith rise.

Dear Heavenly Father, we give all thanks to You and proclaim Your greatness. Help us to let the whole world know what You have done, for in You, we have life and breath and hope and a future. Forgive us for not giving thanks often enough, and for not speaking of just how great You are to all whom we encounter. Teach us to trust You more, so that our every word and deed would speak the truth of Your greatness before them. Lead us to love others with Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You and proclaim Your greatness and the wonder of all that You have done before all the world. 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

Showing Real Love

My children, our love should not be only words and talk.  No, our love must be real.  We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

If what we say and what we do are not in alignment, our love is not real.  Love is made evident through our ongoing actions and attitudes toward others.  We can talk the talk, but unless we walk the walk also, it is meaningless chatter, and we are not truly children of the King.  God calls us to a higher standard.  His expectation is that we love as He loved.  This is not something He expects of us in our own strength – for we would surely fail if that were so.  However, Christ in us, equips and empowers us to demonstrate the very love that Christ has poured so generously into us, by doing the same for others.  It is not merely something for us to talk about, but rather to go and do.  Love is a verb that requires forward momentum.  Sometimes love sits silently beside the hurting.  At other times, love reaches out to those stuck in their own space and says, “You are seen.”  Love sees a need and acts.  It is not a matter of whether or not we are called to do this or that, but rather if we see it, we ought to do what we can.  If what we have to do is offer a silent prayer, then do so in love.  May we go forth this day showing our love through the things that we do.

Love is not merely,Faith and Hope in Action

a mixture of words;

for though they’re spoken,

only action’s heard.

For just talk alone,

does nothing to touch;

those hurting, in need,

yet actions do much.

Love chooses to reach,

when we want to run;

for that’s what God did,

when He sent His Son.

Lord, help us to love,

in word and in deed;

be Your hands and heart,

to all those in need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that love is more than words or talk.  Thank You that real love is shown in what we do.  Thank You that You have shown us the greatest love ever known, when You sent Your only Son to die in our place, so that we could have eternal life with You.  Thank You Jesus, that the grave could not keep You, and that You returned to the Father to send Your Spirit to indwell us so that we could do as You did.  Forgive us for not loving with our actions.  Teach us to trust You more so that our words and actions align with all that You are calling us to do to love others well.  Lead us to love each person that You place on our path, just as You call us to do.  May many come into a lasting relationship with You as a result.  Be glorified O God, as we demonstrate Your love through not only our words, but our actions too.  Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

The Presence of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27)

 

Jesus willingly went to the cross, rose from the grave and returned to the Father so that He could send us His Spirit to grant us His peace. His peace is not the sort of peace the world envisions, where there is merely an absence of conflict. The peace of Christ, our Comforter in chaos, grants us a supernatural settling in knowing He is God and we are not, even in the midst of chaos. His peace removes our need for fear of the future, and sends stress back where it belongs. The Lord does not long for our hearts to be troubled nor afraid, but He wants us to lean on Him and allow His strength, grace, goodness and love to move in the midst of whatever we face. He is far greater than anything that we are enduring, and His peace is available and present if we only slow down and seek Him. Let us look to the Lord who grants us true peace that will last forever, as He takes away the fear of whatever we are facing and supplies us the strength and endurance required to press on.

 

Peace is so much more,No Matter What Comes

than a state of calm;

it’s Christ in chaos,

our true healing balm.

When facing trouble,

His presence is near;

He answers our call,

each whisper He hears.

Hearts be not troubled,

and don’t be afraid;

for the peace of Christ,

is present each day.

It takes but a look,

to slow down and see;

how near that He is,

to you and to me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and carry our troubles and fears to the cross, and rise again to return to You, sending Your Holy Spirit to be our Help and our Comfort in all things and at all times. Forgive us for seeking peace as the world might search, and teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, even when peace seems beyond attainable in our storms. Lead us to lean into You, so that we would know Your peace no matter what is going on around us. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know Your perfect peace, regardless of the storm they may be facing. Be glorified O God, as we receive the peace that You alone give, and allow not our hearts to be troubled nor fearful. Amen.

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

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Praise All of Our Days

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your Name forever. For great is Your love toward me; You have delivered me from the depths of the grave. – (Psalm 86:12-13)

 

Fire has always frightened me to my core, ever since I was a little girl. In fact, when the fire department did a fire safety talk at my elementary school, I would not sleep at night until my parents installed smoke detectors in our home. Right now, we are experiencing an unusually hot and dry summer in Washington State. On the eastern side of the state, in Wenatchee where my Mom resides, their first big fires of the season just hit yesterday. Typically, they are far from where my mom lives, so all that is observed is the constant flying of helicopters to the river to fill giant containers that are then flown over the flames, and poured out to douse them with water. Unfortunately, yesterday evening the fires were crawling closer and closer to where my mother lives. Her neighborhood was on voluntary evacuation, but she and her neighbors decided to stay and be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Late into the evening, flames burst forth from the ravine on the far side of her vacant lot. Suddenly her home was surrounded by firefighters and her exit blocked by fire trucks. Even if she had wanted to leave, there was no way out, as the fire was burning too near the only road out. For hours, I watched, waited, and prayed. I imagine she did much of the same.

 

This morning’s Psalm really resonates as to how I feel on behalf of my Mom and the many in her housing development whom are dearly loved friends. His love has been great as He has delivered and protected them from what could have been catastrophic. My heart is overflowing with praise, for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

No matter what comes,

Image from my Mom's driveway...

Image from my Mom’s driveway…

I will give You praise;

for You are my God,

help all of my days.

With all of my heart,

to You, glorify;

forever, always,

hope to testify.

You have delivered,

me from the great depths;

and spared me the grave,

of unrighteousness.

Though we walk through fire,

You lovingly keep;

us in Your safe hands,

as You tend Your sheep.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love for us is so great, that You sent Your Son to deliver us from the depth of an eternal grave. Thank You that You are worthy of our praise, with all of our heart, for all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth when storms rage or fires burn. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will glorify You in every circumstance, as You are worthy of our praise forever. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see Your heart for them through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our praise until the end of our days. 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

Intentionally and Purposefully Designed

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10)

Each one of us has been intentionally and purposefully designed.  The gifts and talents that God gives to us, individually, are intended to be used for His glory.  As we live, love, work and play as the people whom God created us to be, we cannot help but have an impact on the world around us.  Lives are changed as Christ’s purpose for our path is walked out.  May we recognize the transformation that takes place in us and through us as we go forth in obedience, and do what we’ve been created to do.

Made with a purpose,Courage for Change

Hand-crafted by grace;

With work to be done,

While home is this place.

Each one granted gifts,

In love, the Lord chose;

To place within us,

Works that show He rose.

As He came to life,

Walked out of the grave;

He gives His Spirit,

So lives may be saved.

For some it’s to teach,

And others to serve;

All are called to love,

Give what’s not deserved.

We have been given,

Christ’s love and His grace;

To answer His call,

For all of our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each one of us is Your handiwork, created in Christ to do good works that You prepared for us to do.  Thank You that You give good gifts that are meant to be shared, so that the body may benefit from the beauty that You place in Your beloved.  Thank You that You love all, no matter where we have been, and embrace us and welcome us with Your goodness and grace.  Forgive us for not utilizing the gifts that You have placed in us, or for sitting idly by, when we are called to go forth.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may go forth boldly wherever You call, and above all, love as You have loved us.  May many come into a saving relationship with You.  Be glorified O God, as we do the good that You have prepared for us.  Amen.

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

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

Love One Another Well

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are My followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

 

Christ has commanded us to live differently than the world. People should know there is something different about us, before we have even so much as whispered a single word. We are called to love. How we love each other, speaks volumes. When we are truly walking according to the calling of Christ, His love for others ought to be evident through us, in all that we say and do. May we love well, just as He has loved us.

 

The Lord, He commands,The Look of Love 2

us love each other;

sister to sister,

brother to brother.

We are called to love,

just as Jesus gave;

Who spent His whole life,

from cradle to grave.

Words that encourage,

feet willing to go;

hands ready to serve,

heart learning to grow.

May we each be known,

not for accolades;

instead by the love,

that we freely gave.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t just command us to love one another, but You love us, and show us how to love. Thank You that when we love, You allow Your light to shine through us, so that others may see You in us. Forgive us for the times that we do not love others well, nor reflect You through what we say and do. Help us to trust You more, so that we may depend on You in all things and at all times, so that our response is rooted in Your love. May many come to know the glorious gift of Your lavish love this Holy season. Be glorified Lord God, as we seek to love one another, just as You have loved us. Amen.

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

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

Joy

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11)

The great joy the angel was declaring, was both the first and greatest joy ever known.  The gift of God, sending His Son to earth to take on the sins of all, is the provision of joy found in the promise of hope, that is secure in our Savior.  “Joy is a sense of well-being and delight that comes from knowing and serving God.” (Pastor Jon MacIntosh

Joy was further defined by Pastor Jon as follows:

1) Joy is not an emotion.  Joy is not dependent on our circumstances.

2) Joy is sourced in God Himself.  This is why our joy cannot be shaken.

3) Joy is both a present reality and a future hope.  Though we know joy now, it is only in part of what will one day be fully known.

We can know joy despite our circumstances, when we are deeply invested in Christ.  Joy is rooted in love, tied to obedience, and is a gift of God that is found in the person of God.  We may know His joy more fully, as we walk in His will.  We discover a deeper joy when our focus extends beyond ourselves, and we pursue the purpose that He has placed before us.  (see Psalm 16:11, 19:8, and John 15:9-13)

Go forth in His light,Joy to the World

declaring great joy;

found in a stable,

born an infant boy.

Announced by angels,

proclaimed by a star;

followed by strangers,

who’d come from afar.

The infant, He grew,

into God, the man;

taught of salvation,

lived redemptive plan.

His death on the cross,

our sinfulness bore;

so we might be found,

come, let us adore.

The grave could not keep,

Jesus in the ground;

God’s power at work,

our joy in Him found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of joy.  Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on how we feel, nor on that which is going on around us.  Thank You that You are our Joy, and in You, we find joy as we come to know and serve You, our Savior.  Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix too closely on the troubles of this world, rather than on You, whom all troubles are subject to.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know more completely, the joy that is found in You alone.  Help us to love and serve as You are asking, and may many see Your joy in us.  May those who do not yet know You, come to know the joy that is found in You alone.  Joy to the world, the Savior has come!  Amen.

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

Praise Him

Praise HimI will praise the Lord,

with my heart and soul;

praise Him with my life,

to Christ I extol.

Trust not in princes,

mortals cannot save;

for their lives will end,

all land in the grave.

But blessed are those,

whose help is from God;

the Maker of all,

to Whom we applaud.

Faithful forever,

He upholds the oppressed;

He feeds the hungry,

helps the poor, distressed.

Grants sight to the blind,

lifts up those bowed down;

loves well the righteous,

helps lost become found.

Keeps close the displaced,

sustains those without;

frustrates the wicked,

protects the devout.

He reigns forever,

generations, all;

give praise to the Lord,

on bended knee fall.

(Responding to Psalm 146)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our worship and praise. Thank You that no matter our circumstance, songs of praise unto Your rise up in our hearts as we fix our eyes on You. Thank You that our hope is held in You, not in mere men and women around us. Forgive us for placing our trust anywhere other than in You. Please show us how to pray for those You have placed in leadership positions, and grant each one the strength and courage to do what You are calling them to do. Help us to love one another in such a way, that those who know You not, might come to ask for answers that ultimately lead to a lasting relationship with You. May all that I do and say bring praise to You today. Amen.

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

Life for Lazarus

Life for LazarusMartha and Mary,

sent word to the Lord;

their brother was ill,

no time to afford.

Despite His great love,

for friend, Lazarus;

He focused on God,

His glory through this.

Disciples questioned,

“Shall we not now go?”

Yet Jesus, He knew,

’twas a chance to grow.

“He is now asleep,”

He said to His men;

they understood not,

so He spoke again.

Then He spoke plainly,

“Lazarus has died.”

“A chance now to show,

in whom I reside.”

The sisters, they wept,

thought He had denied;

healing their brother,

then Jesus, He cried.

His visible care,

compassion for them;

reminded them all,

He’s Savior and friend.

Off to the grave site,

with Jesus they went;

Powerful Savior,

showed why He was sent.

Four days in the tomb,

yet Jesus gave a shout,

“Come forth Lazarus,

rise up and come out.”

Still wrapped in grave cloth,

the dead now appeared;

Lazarus, he lived,

joy replaced their fears.

(Responding to John 11:1-44)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power that raised Lazarus, is still present and available today. Thank You Jesus, that You are the same – yesterday, today, and forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, and help us to trust You in all things and at all times. Though Your ways are not our ways, and Your plan does not always provide the path we’d hoped for, You are still good, and You have a higher purpose in all things. Teach us to trust You more, even when answers do not align with our desires. May our faith in Your goodness guide those who are seeking, straight into Your loving care. Amen.

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