Blessed

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, NIV)

Her children bless her; her husband praises her. – (Proverbs 31:28, CEB)

Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise. – (Proverbs 31:28, MSG)

 

Though I cannot even begin to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman, I am beyond blessed by both my children and my husband. God has granted me the greatest gift I’ve ever known through the lives of my boys, and a love I never knew was possible through the loving union of marriage to my husband, partner and friend. I am blessed and praised by these guys, even when I am least deserving, and each one of them is fiercely protective and willing to help whenever I ask. Perhaps it is a recognition of the blessings that He has bestowed upon us, far more than a living up to a certain standard or expectation. Because I am loved well, I desperately desire and am driven to do the same. I imagine that is God’s intention for all of us. As we realize the depth and breadth of His love for us, we are inspired to go and love likewise. May we seek our Savior who loves us more than we can comprehend, so that we too, can go and love those around us without reservation.

 

Such wonder indeed,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Is love we receive;

The blessings bestowed,

When we are in need.

The gift of children,

The love of a spouse;

Love made tangible,

Within my own house.

Let’s freely receive,

God’s love and His grace;

So we too can love,

In His tender ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of the loved ones whom You bring into our lives – be it children, spouses, family or friends. Thank You that You make Your pleasure known through the words of others in a way that inspires us to ever pursue You and Your ways. Forgive us for taking Your love or that of those whom You have blessed us with for granted. Teach us to appreciate and value the goodness and grace that You generously give in tangible ways. Show us how to lavishly love those whom You place in our path, so that they too, may come to know the greatness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the love and the grace, and the tender embrace, that You wrap around us through the people whom You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely You have granted him/(her) unending blessings and made him/(her) glad with the joy of Your presence. – Psalm 21:6

Faithful the Shepherds

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 that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10, NIV)

 

For many of us, this is a very familiar passage in scripture. Every Christmas, for as far back as I can remember, I have heard this passage in Luke, and imagined the angel appearing to the shepherds at night, and then the shepherds making their way to see the newborn Jesus after standing in the splendor of the choir of heavenly hosts. However, I had never really wondered why the shepherd? Yesterday, my pastor unpacked the history of this passage in a way that made me ponder the message long beyond the time seated in service. Why would God make such an important announcement to those whom society considered the lowly and unclean? Additionally, how intriguing that the space where our Savior lay, was familiar and comfortable to the shepherds, rather than some palace or huge house that they would be too intimidated to approach… God does not call the equipped, but rather He equips the called. The shepherds were faithful and fearless to do the job in their fields at night, so why not use those very same traits for more? There is so much more to the story, and I am barely scratching the surface. (Click here for the link to the podcast) My greatest take-away was the gift of more – a glimpse at more of the story, more insight, more understanding, and even more to be grateful for as we celebrate this most holy season. May the God of all peace reveal more of Himself to us all this blessed Christmas season.

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

Watching flocks by night;

When an angel showed,

Gave them a good fright.

The first words spoken,

“Do not be afraid,

For good news I bring;

Of where Jesus lay.”

The babe long promised,

Had at last arrived;

Hope for all people,

Salvation alive.

Faithful the shepherds,

Who went on their way;

To see this baby,

In a manger lay.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but rather You equip the called. Thank You that You use the most unlikely of us to do incredible things, simply because we are willing. Thank You for Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for our fearfulness and stubbornness when things before us seem impossible. Teach us to trust You more, as You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shines Your goodness and grace in a way that makes love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the greatest gift ever given. 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

Wages vs. Gifts

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 6:23, NIV)

The payoff for a life of sin is death, but God is offering us a free gift – eternal life through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 6:23, VOICE)

 

In our natural state of sinfulness, we deserve death. Not even the kindest and most gentle of individuals is without sin. The consequence for such, is death. However, God sent His Son to extend to us, the opportunity to choose life – life everlasting in Him. There is nothing that we can do to earn this gift that He gives, but rather we must choose to receive what is being freely offered. When we choose Christ, we choose life. We are not promised pain-free pleasantries each day of our lives in the here and now, but in Him, we have the glorious hope of our future freedom from all such things, for all of eternity with Christ. There is no greater gift than He who laid down His life for our sin and shame, so that we could have life abundant in Him. May we receive all that He is offering, as we walk into this weekend of remembering not only His death on our behalf, but Christ’s resurrection from the grave that could not contain Him, so that we could enter eternity with Him.

 

Though we deserve death,Good Gifts

He’s given to us;

the gift of His Son,

life in Christ Jesus.

When we choose receive,

new life becomes ours;

where hope is our truth,

and Love empowers.

Let us choose embrace,

this gift given free;

so all may come know,

Christ dwelling in me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we deserve death for our sinfulness, You made way for our lives to be redeemed through the gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for dying in my place, so that I might come to know the truth of who You are, and how You love. Thank You for the hope that we hold forever in You. Forgive us for not living with an eternal perspective, as all in the here and now will one day fade away. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we will see things through Your lens. Show us how to love others well, so that they too may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the gift of life that You freely give. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

God Delights to Give

This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, NLT)

True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. He sent His Son as the way to take away our sins. – (1 John 4:10, ERV)

 

God loves us; not because we are lovable but because He is love, not because He needs to receive but because He delights to give. – C.S. Lewis

 

God has shown us what real love looks like through the gift of His Son. His sacrifice that paid the price for all of our sin and shame, is the greatest gift of love that we have ever be given. Life, when we deserved death. Hope, when we had none. Though we have done nothing to deserve this love, the Lord delights to love us anyway. Because He loves us, we can go and do likewise. May we receive the greatest gift of love that has ever been given, and go forth in love as we are loved.

 

The truest of love,

God Delights to Give

Two of my greatest gifts, as I delight to celebrate their 14th birthday today!

 

that ever has been;

when God sent His Son,

so we might repent.

For it is by grace,

that we’ve been given;

the chance to be free,

all sin, forgiven.

God chose to love us,

not for what we’ve done;

but for the delight,

of calling us sons.

For we are His own,

when we choose receive;

not by what we do,

but when we believe.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us real love. Thank You that You loved us and sent Your Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Thank You that You did this not because we deserve Your mercy and grace, but because You are love, and You delight in calling us Your sons and daughters. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do enough or be enough to somehow earn Your favor, rather than receiving the love that You freely give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace the forgiveness and grace that You have given, allowing Your love to transform our hearts and minds, so that we too, would go and love likewise. Show us how to love others with the same delight that You find in loving each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love so that we may go and love like You. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

 

 

Use It or Lose It

“Consider carefully what you hear,” He continued, “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” – (Mark 4:24-25)

God gives us His grace, mercy and insight, so that we might in turn, give it away. If we receive and believe all that He has done for us, yet do nothing with the truth, we are wasting our greatest gift that was meant to be given away. Incredibly, as we give of ourselves, we are given more. Christ meets us and moves in us, so that we gain greater insight, love more deeply, and desire all the more to display His heart to all whom we encounter. Conversely, if we do nothing, we begin to lose the power and passion that once stirred so strongly within. May we consider carefully all that we hear, and carry the truth He grows within us, to all whom we encounter.

With care consider,Tether Our Hearts

each word that we hear;

from the heart of God,

to our waiting ear.

May His sweet Spirit,

give wisdom and grace;

so that we may grow,

let the truth be raised.

Wherever we go,

whatever we do;

let us choose depend,

on Christ see us through.

As we keep seeking,

choose trust and believe;

He keeps giving more,

of His heart, receive.

Not just for ourselves,

but to touch others;

so all enter in,

sisters and brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we consider carefully what we hear, and we use what You give to us, You in turn, continue to give and refill our hearts and minds with more to give away. Forgive us for keeping the truth that You have planted within us to ourselves, and teach us to trust You more, so that our every word and deed would be a reflection of the truth that dwells within us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, might come to receive all that You have to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take all that You give unto us, and give ourselves away. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

What Gift Shall I Give?

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – (Matthew 2:11)

 

This verse is from Matthew’s account of when the Magi traveled to Bethlehem to see the child to whom the star had led them. Their journey had been long, yet they were overjoyed upon their arrival. Despite Jesus still being but a very small child, they bowed down before Him in worship. As wise men, it had been revealed to them, just how significant this toddler would become. Additionally, the treasures that were given, had symbolic significance that likely funded the family’s flight to Egypt and back. Gold was a gift for a king; incense, a gift for deity; and myrrh, a spice for a person who was going to die. – (NIV footnotes)

 

Though the Magi were men of great wisdom, they did not yet know the whole story. We have an advantage, as we have the greatest gift that has ever been given. That toddler, the baby Jesus whom the wise men worshiped and presented gifts to, grew into a man who paid the penalty for all of our sin. He lived a life that was without sin, yet clothed Himself with all the world’s sin and suffered on our behalf upon the cross, then rose again in power so that we too, could overcome the snares of sin. Because Jesus took our place, we have the hope of life everlasting with Him. When we come before Him, what gift can we give? Though He needs nothing from us, He longs for our hearts to seek after His. Our worship, our praise, our adoration, our days – these are the gifts that we can give… May we go forth this day as an offering unto Him, as He has already given us the greatest gift of all.

 

The greatest of gifts,What Gift Shall I Give

we’ve ever received;

was granted to us,

the day we believed.

For as we embraced,

the truth of Your grace;

You freed us from sin,

and removed disgrace.

How can we repay,

such a blessed gift?

There’s nothing You need,

all praises we lift.

Honor and glory,

and hearts that are true;

may we bring You praise,

in all that we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to come and make the way for us to be set free from sin and restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing all of our sin and shame upon the cross, and demonstrating Your power and glory so that we might receive the gift of Your grace and Your presence as we choose to believe. Forgive us for taking the greatest gift that we have ever been given for granted, and help us to seek to give You the gift of ourselves in return – our hearts, our hopes, our time, our worship – all unto You. Lead us to love people as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come to embrace the grace that You so lovingly and generously pour out upon all who are willing to receive. Be glorified, Lord God, as we give all of ourselves unto You. 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

My Soul Finds Rest

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:1)

 

As I sat in my comfy chair eating breakfast and sipping coffee, I was again in awe, as I gazed upon a glimpse of the sunrise.

 

I am an early riser. People wonder how I wake as early as I do. This verse in the sixty-second Psalm, answers the question perfectly. My soul finds rest in Him. As I choose to rise early each morning to begin my day in the still silence of the dawn, my soul finds rest. He reminds me again and again that my salvation comes from Him, and that every promise presented in His word for us, is for me too. Jesus loves us without limits and touches the tender places as only our Savior can. In Him alone, my soul finds rest. Through Christ, I am saved. May the truth of His word and the reality of who He is, permeate every pour of your being today.

 

O weary soul,My Soul Finds Rest

in God find rest;

He hears your cry,

and loves you best.

He is the One,

Who’ll save your soul;

if you ask Him,

He’ll make you whole.

You won’t look far,

to find His peace;

for each heartbeat,

is His release.

The brokenness,

that’s full of ache;

with tender touch,

His love replace.

Find rest, sweet soul,

in Christ alone;

the greatest gift,

man’s ever known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, our souls find rest. Thank You that our salvation comes from You as a gift when we come to You and invite You in. Thank You that we cannot somehow earn either one. Thank You that You love us without limits, and You wait patiently for us to call on Your Name. Thank You that when we do, You come. Forgive us for our stubborn self-sufficiency, and help us to recognize our desperate need for You in all things and at all times. Teach us to seek Your rest, rather than our own; for only Your rest satisfies our soul. May we go forth in love as we are loved by You, and may many come to know Your salvation for themselves, and find their rest in You. Be glorified, O God, in all that we say and do. 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

Giving Gifts

As we enter this season of gift exchanging, it is easy to allow thoughts of what we are going to give those we love most, to overwhelm us.  It is a natural desire to want to bless those who bless us.  That being said, what gift can we give to Him who has given us the greatest gifts of all – our very life, and breath, hope, and future?

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” – (Ephesians 2:8-9)  His gift to us is one that is freely given, that we do not deserve.  We cannot earn it, nor can we somehow repay the blessing He has provided.  All that we can do is receive what we have been given, and respond with gratitude, praise and joy.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – (Ephesians 2:10)  Because we are created, hand-crafted works of art, His intent is that we share ourselves with the world.  Not in our own efforts, but by His grace, as He presents opportunities – we ought to be open and willing to share of the great things that He has done in us.  The gifts that we give best, are those that He has created in us, that we choose to use as He intended for us all along.

What gift shall I give,Giving Gifts

to my God and King?

For He has made all,

He’s everything.

A heart that is true,

and willing to give;

my time, my talents,

unto Him, I live.

The grace He’s given,

I will too, extend;

for without mercy,

our lives would all end.

I’ll give You my more,

so I become less;

may You be Who’s seen,

so many are blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You gave, and continue giving, not because we have earned it or deserve it somehow, but rather because You are a gracious and merciful God, who loves us with an everlasting love.  Thank You that You made the way for us to enter into an eternal relationship with You, through the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus.  Thank You for sending Your Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of all who believe, to lead, guide and equip us to do Your will.  Thank You that we are Your hand-crafted works of art, created with a purpose.  Forgive us for disregarding Your power that dwells within us, when we feel that we have nothing to offer.  Thank You that in You, we always have You to extend – Your grace, Your love, Your mercy, Your hope.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to hear You clearly, so that we may move confidently as we navigate this Christmas season.  May many come to know the greatest gift of all this season, as they choose eternal life in You.  Let our light shine brightly before all.  Amen.

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