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

 

 

Advertisements

From Heart to Mouth

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NIV)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, TLB)

 

As I continue to ponder the power of words, I am reminded that what is in our heart, quickly becomes made known through our mouth. If we are meditating on the Word of God and on things of Him, that which leaves our lips ought to closely correlate. I have seen and known in my own life, the power that words have. In a moment of thoughtlessness, I have responded harshly, causing pain that required an apology and rebuilding of trust, and have likewise had moments where my words of encouragement were utilized by God in ways that I was unable to understand as they were spoken. The more we learn to love God and receive that which He has for us, the better equipped we are to love people well. The beauty in fixing our eyes on Him is that we take on His traits – His loving ways and the words that He places in our hearts to speak, lead us to do and say that which is pleasing unto the Lord. May the words that we speak and the thoughts that we don’t, be pleasing to the Lord who loves us to life everlasting.

 

May the words we speak, unseal-my-lips

And each thought we hold;

Be pleasing to You,

As You are extolled.

For where our thoughts rest,

Soon become quite clear;

As thoughts become words,

That others can hear.

Let us fix our hearts,

Securely on You;

So our thoughts and words,

Are loving and true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we fix our minds and hearts on You, our words and thoughts are pleasing unto You. Thank You that every thought and word are shaped by where we set our hearts and minds. Forgive us for allowing external influences to jade our thoughts in a way that make our words less than pleasing before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would set our hearts on what is true and allow You to fill our minds and mouths with Your thoughts and words that build others up in Your love. Show us how to love those around us with the words that overflow from the meditations of our heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to set our hearts on You, our Rock and our Redeemer, whom we desire to please with our every thought and word. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

In Sweet Certainty

My heart is confident in You, O God; no wonder I can sing Your praises with all my heart! – (Psalm 108:1, NLT)

God, I am ready, heart and soul, to sing songs of praise. Wake up, my soul! – (Psalm 108:1, ERV)

My heart, O God, is quiet and confident, all because of You. Now I can sing my song with passionate praises! – (Psalm 108:1, TPT)

 

Praise is the outpouring of gratitude that comes from knowing in our hearts and minds, the Source of our help and hope. The more I know God, the more confident I am in His presence and the hope that I hold in Him. It is from a space of knowing His nearness, that I find my soul full of both peace and praise. May we rest in quiet confidence in the One who holds us in the palm of His hands, and sing praise with grateful hearts for the goodness found in Him.

 

In sweet certainty, Be Full of Joy

My heart and my soul;

Lift praises to You,

Your love makes us whole.

With all of my heart,

I can’t help but sing;

So much gratitude,

For blessings You bring.

You’re my strength and help,

When life seems too tough;

Your love and Your grace,

Are always enough.

In quiet retreat,

I’ll lift praise-filled song;

To offer my thanks,

To Whom I belong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You, as You are our strength, our help and our hope. Thank You that because of this, our souls cannot help but sing praise unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have overlooked the goodness in our lives that You have given and focused on the struggles. Teach us to offer praise for who You are and how You love, regardless of our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize their reasons to sing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become confident in who You are and how You love and offer our whole-hearted praises unto You. 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

Rooted in What is Real

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! – (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for the final full week of the school year, I must fix my eyes on He who is my Source of peace. If I allow my mind to be ruled by the all that the week requires, I will be exhausted before I begin. It is in this space that I am called to run my race well. To do so, I must be firmly rooted in what is real and lasting, rather than permit my checklist to overwhelm. God gives us the strength that we need, as it is needed, and His perfect peace as we trust in Him. May we dedicate our hearts and minds to You, Lord, so that we may walk in peace and navigate this week very well.

 

May we seek the peace, Rooted in What is Real

That never runs out;

For all who choose trust,

And push aside doubt.

For God, by His grace,

Meets us where we are;

Brings calm in chaos,

And peace to our hearts.

So, let us each choose,

Depend on the Lord;

With heart, soul and mind,

As peace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You keep us in perfect peace as we trust in You and fix our thoughts on You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts and minds to focus on the chaos and challenges rather than on You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our calm in the chaos and our anchor in the storms. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend Your peace to the places of unrest in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we dedicate our hearts and minds to You and go forth in Your perfect peace. 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

A Final Act of Love

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. The men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” – (Luke 24:1-5, NLT) 

 

Though Jesus had told those who followed Him that He would rise again, I imagine it was still difficult to conceive, as the very idea was a seeming impossibility. As I attempt to place myself in the position of one of the women who went to the tomb that morning, I picture women overwhelmed with grief as they walked toward the resting place of their Redeemer. This Savior whom they loved, was now three days in the grave, and they were prepared to interact with His broken body as a final act of love and a way to say goodbye. The tomb had been sealed by a giant boulder, immovable, even by a malicious act of will. Imagine the shock that flooded their hearts and minds as they approached the tomb when they saw that the stone had been rolled away. Fear? Anger? Concern? What could have happened to the body of their beloved? Then, as they stood there puzzling over what was missing, two men in dazzling robes appeared out of nowhere. Clearly the women recognized that the men were messengers from God, as they bowed their faces to the ground in terror. From sorrow to confusion to frustration to fear, these ladies must have been flooded as heaven came near. And then, after all of that, to hear that Jesus was alive… The women navigated the roller coaster quite gracefully, as the very next thing they did was go and tell the disciples what they had seen and heard.  

This is the very day that we celebrate and remember the miracle of the resurrection. The grave could not hold Him, and He is alive and moving on our behalf. May we remember our Risen Savior as we go about this day and know that His sacrifice saved us while His resurrection reminds us that we are no longer dead in sin.  

 

Early Sunday morn, Hope in an Empty Tomb

They went to the tomb; 

Grieving act of love, 

No hope yet assumed. 

Imagine their hearts, 

With Jesus not there; 

Distraught and confused, 

The Lord is gone. Where? 

Angelic visit, 

In dazzling light; 

The women bowed low, 

Faced the ground in fright. 

The men then asked them, 

“Why did you come here? 

Don’t look among dead, 

For live to appear.” 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross for all of our sin and shame. Thank You that the grave could not hold You, and that You rose again and are seated at the right hand of the Father, moving on our behalf. Thank You that in You we can have life and light and love forever. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice and the glory of Your resurrection. Help us to grasp the enormity of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to extend love and goodness to those around us as an outpouring of our gratitude to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise and give You glory for Your love that defeated death and gives life to all who receive You as Lord. 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

The Wisdom We Seek

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. – (James 1:5, CEB)

If you don’t have all the wisdom needed for this journey, then all you have to do is ask God for it and God will grant all that you need. He gives lavishly and never scolds you for asking. – (James 1:5, VOICE)

 

I am so grateful that God does not grow weary of us asking for answers when we are uncertain, as life requires much wisdom to navigate well. There are so many areas of new that come along in our daily lives, that without Him, we would be walking in the dark. However, when God is with us, His Spirit leads and guides us, as we so often know which way we are meant to go, as our hearts and minds know that which aligns with His good and perfect will. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and direction where we need His navigation, and trust His heart within us when we already know the way that He is calling us to go.

 

We all need wisdom, The Wisdom We Seek

To live this life well;

And as we choose ask,

His way, God shall tell.

He does not withhold,

The wisdom we seek;

But gives lavishly,

He’s faithful to speak.

He speaks to our hearts,

And to us makes known;

The answers we need,

As His love is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to answer as we ask for wisdom. Thank You that You do not withhold nor keep score, but rather You lavishly give as we ask. Forgive us for not seeking You in spaces where we need Your wisdom the most, and teach us to trust You more so that we would turn to You for the wisdom to navigate according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is wise and encourages each person we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom in all things, as You are the answer we need to navigate our days in strength and love. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

No Room for Them

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:4-7, NIV)

 

This portion of the Christmas story seemed to strike a new chord within my heart this past week, as my pastor pointed out the scandal and outrage that would have been associated with an unwed woman expecting a child who was engaged to a man with whom she had no intimate relations. Joseph came from the house of David. His heritage was quite significant, and his family name was likely known. Everyone was expected to return to the place of their familial ties for the census, so it is quite conceivable that Joseph had numerous relatives who were also traveling to Bethlehem at the same time. Under normal circumstances, a family would have traveled and stayed together, yet Mary and Joseph made the journey alone. Their isolation leads me to believe that they were being shunned by the family, and left to their own devices to survive. Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, they were unable to find a proper place to stay. What I found intriguing is that each version of scripture that I read, says that “there was no room for them. This leads me to believe that perhaps there was room, but they were turned away because of societal standards, and left stranded and a bit desperate. Who was the inn keeper who did at last show some compassion, and at least allow the pair shelter as the time drew near for Mary to give birth? It is both incredible and admirable to think of Mary and Joseph and all that they must have gone though, just to get to the stable birth. Additionally, the thought of the two of them having to deliver the Son of God in their surroundings is overwhelming. She was quite young and he was a carpenter; nothing in their life experience had likely prepared them for what they endured, other than the very presence of God with them. May we continue to ponder with awe and wonder, the miracle of God with us, this most holy season.

 

Hard was the journey, No Room for Them

To travel alone;

This chosen couple,

So far from their home.

Upon arrival,

No room granted them;

Just a small stable,

In old Bethlehem.

The time had arrived,

For the babe be born;

Courage delivered,

Wrapped Him in cloths torn.

No isolation,

Could stand in God’s way;

Strength to them granted,

Right there in the hay.

Though they’d been alone,

It did not last long;

For angelic hosts,

Announced this with song.

The shepherds they came,

They followed the light;

In awe and wonder,

On that holy night.

The baby swaddled,

God’s very own Son;

The faith of this pair,

God’s will had been done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the miracle and wonder that surrounds the story of You sending Your Son to us as a baby, in humble beginnings, to make Him approachable to all. Thank You for showing us Your faithfulness through the hearts of the people that were part of Your story, and modeled what it is to trust in You. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love that sent Your Only Son to us so that we could have life in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pause and ponder in wonder, the miracle and the majesty of all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives insight and understanding to Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your story to fill our hearts and minds this Christmas. 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

Transformed from the Inside Out

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – (Romans 12:2, NLT)

Don’t change yourself to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

This is such an important message for all of us to remember. The media floods us with images of how we should look, popular culture tries to dictate what is acceptable and what is not, and those with whom we surround ourselves, have their own ideas as well. God made each of us with a plan and a purpose. Individually, we are hand-crafted with different talents and gifts to utilize for His glory. The only way to know God’s will and what is good and pleasing and complete according to Him, is to seek Him and pursue the path which He has planned for us. If we allow the world to shape our thoughts, ideals and identity, we will never realize what it is to be transformed from the inside out to live a life that fulfills the purposes of our Heavenly Father. Where the world tells us that we are not enough, Christ tells us that we can do all things in Him, as He will give us strength. May we turn a deaf ear to the shouts of the world’s wooing, and instead listen to the gentle whisper of the voice of the living God, who transforms our hearts and minds and leads us to know all that is good and pleasing and complete.

 

Allow not the world,

Transformed from the Inside Out

Image from favim.com

A place or a voice;

For all that is good,

Comes when God’s our choice.

If we choose listen,

Allow God transform;

Our hearts and our minds,

Hope and strength are born.

It’s in Christ alone,

That we come to know;

The path that is good,

Where completion grows.

So, bend not to things,

The world has to say;

Instead seek the Lord,

And walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not have to change ourselves to be like what the world expects, but rather we are called to allow You to transform us from the inside out, so that we will know what is good and pleasing and complete according to Your will. Forgive us for allowing what we see or hear to influence how we see ourselves, rather than listening to what You say about who we are and how You see us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would worry not about the world’s approval, but instead that we would continue to further discover our infinite worth in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them to feel valued for who they are, just as they are, rather than if they were a certain way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the patterns of the world that seek to draw us in, and turn to You to transform us from the inside out. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

Our Source of Peace

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You! – (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

When we place our trust in God, despite what we see, hear or feel, His peace is present and carries us through whatever lies before us. So often in times of unrest, if I slow down and look to the Lord, even if it is as simple as, “Oh God, please help.” He comes and provides His peace, where peace does not make sense. God is gentle and kind, and does not push His way into our circumstances. Yes, He is with us when our heart is His, but it is only when we seek Him, that we truly find His peace that surpasses understanding and brings calm to our hearts and minds. May we ever trust in the Lord and depend on Him, as He is our true Source of perfect peace.

 

The perfect peace, It is Well

Of the Lord is found;

As we seek Him,

His way is made sound.

In choosing trust,

We become aware;

Of the Lord’s grace,

And His tender care.

Seek Him for peace,

When it seems so far;

Trust that He’s near,

Wherever you are.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the perfect peace that You give to all who place their trust in You. Thank You that You are trustworthy, and that we can depend on You in all things and at all times. Forgive us for trusting in our own wisdom and strength, rather than seeking You. Teach us how to trust in You, as You provide what we need, and grant us Your peace, regardless of what we face. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend Your peace into the places where it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and depend on You, as You are our Source of peace. Amen.

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

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

So Much More

Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. – (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. – (Ephesians 3:20, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. – (Ephesians 3:20, MSG)

 

When we are willing to invest our hearts and lives in the Lord and His plans, He takes us places we would have never imagined we’d go, and does so much more than we ever believed was possible. In my own life, I am in awe of the things He has done and the places He has taken me. Because I have been willing to go places that I have not known, He has shown me things that I never even dreamed that I might be able to one day see. The glorious gift in it all is that the journey is far from over. In a few weeks, I will be traveling with a team to Belize, to serve in whatever capacity He asks of me. Though I am going with a medical team, I am NOT a medically trained (nor equipped) person. As I go, I will be leaving simply with a heart to serve; whatever that looks like. God has given me a strong body and a capable mind. If I am being called to move heavy equipment to set up clinics – great. If my job is to file paperwork to help organize what is being established – I’m in. Whatever He is asking, I am willing. So often when He takes us out of our comfort zone, it is more about the work that He does in us, than what He is going to do through us. It ought to be quite an adventure! No matter what He has in store, I know that He is gentle and kind, and will do more than any of us can even hope or imagine as we prepare to go, even now. May we ever trust in God, who is able, through His mighty power, to work within us to accomplish infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.

 

To God, all glory, So Much More

Who’s able to do;

Infinitely more,

To carry us through.

More than we can dream,

Imagine or ask;

God can accomplish,

Impossible tasks.

He will never force,

Nor push us around;

But by His Spirit,

Gives strength to gain ground.

So rise up in faith,

Follow where He leads;

Watch what He will do,

As His plans succeed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to accomplish infinitely more than we could ask or imagine through us by Your power within in, when we trust and follow You. Thank You that it has nothing to do with us or our strength, but rather with our willingness to listen to Your leading and follow where You call us to go. Forgive us for neglecting to do as You ask, or for staying stuck when we are meant to move forward from where we are now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way, and give You room to move in us and through us to accomplish the things that You have in mind. Show us how to love well, all those whom You have intended for our hands and hearts to help, hold or heal. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory for the incredible things You do in us and through us. 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