Why We Gather

“For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

“Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

“And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – (Matthew 18:20, MSG)

 

This verse is a reminder of why it is so important to gather with other believers. Church is not about religion and rules, it is an opportunity to join together and recognize the presence of God. Yes, God is with us, always, but there is something powerful that transpires when a group of people gathers to seek the heart of God. His presence is made known, and those in the midst of it are strengthened, encouraged and equipped to go out in His power. We were created for relationship. Isolation for too long, causes the heart to grow weary, and faith to become frail. God is faithful and loving no matter what, but He invites us to lay hold of the power of His presence through gathering together with others who seek Him. May we ever pursue opportunities to gather with others who are seeking the Lord, so as to mutually encourage and edify one another as He makes His presence known.

 

Let us seek gather,

Peace Through Understanding

With others, pursue;

The heart of the Lord,

As His word is true.

When people choose join,

Their hearts and their minds;

To seek our Savior,

His presence, they find.

Our God is faithful,

His word ever true;

He makes Himself known,

Collective pursuit.

Let’s seek with intent,

And join together;

For God will be found,

Most gracious treasure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to join together to seek You. Thank You that You are faithful to make Your presence known, each time we gather to pursue You. Forgive us for thinking that we can handle life on our own, rather than joining with others to seek and find Your faithful presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest in relationships that support and encourage a life lived in pursuit of You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, would want to pursue Your heart with others to experience the power made known as we gather. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather in Your Name, recognizing the power of Your presence that comes when we join together to seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise. – Psalm 106:47

Refreshment When Rest is Required

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV)

“I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

“I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.” – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

When we are tired and weary and in need of rest and refreshment, God is faithful to meet us and grant us what we need most. Sometimes, it is our minds that are overloaded, and we simply need His peace. Other times, we have been going nonstop and our bodies are in desperate need of rest. When we are intentional to seek the Lord and His grace, He provides opportunities for refreshment and grants us the strength that is needed to navigate each new day. In this beautiful and busy season, I am in awe of the ways that He provides rest. Conversations with old friends, grace to make the main things the main things, and consistent sleep have been among the ways that I have recently been refreshed and restored. God is good and is ready to supply the strength that is required when we call on His Name. May we ever run to our Redeemer for rest, refreshment and restoration, as He alone gives the gifts of His goodness that we need most.

 

When weariness comes,

img_20180319_053106_8698689459079794566266.jpg

Photo by Open Door Photography ❤

The Lord is our Source;

Where we are refreshed,

To press on; go forth.

He grants us the strength,

To rise and run well;

His love satisfies,

Infuses each cell.

So, when I feel tired,

To weary to run;

I seek the Lord’s strength,

Our great, faithful One.

Each time that I call,

On His Holy Name;

He’s faithful to hear,

As love is proclaimed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You refresh and satisfy us when we are weary and weak. Thank You that You grant us rest and strength as it is needed when we seek You. Forgive us for attempting to “power through” when we are weary, rather than slowing down to seek You for strength and rest and refreshment. Teach us to turn to You to be our strength, as You alone satisfy our every need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers refreshment, rest and strength to those who are weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to supply what we need to navigate our days well, and give You praise for Your faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

An Act of Praise

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise His Holy Name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NLT)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

 

After digging deeper into the Christmas story, and the stories of those involved, my heart is flooded with gratitude – both for all that God has done for us to make Himself accessible to us, and also the numerous ways in which I see and know His tangible blessings in my life. God is good, no matter what goes on around us, and when we seek Him, we become acutely aware of His hand in the help and blessings that He bestows upon us every day. May our lives be lived as an act of praise to He who gives us life and breath and our very being.

 

With all that I am, Be Full of Joy

My heart gives God praise;

For love, life and health,

Provision each day.

So many blessings,

Fill my heart and soul;

His goodness and grace,

End each day so full.

Let me not forget,

The good that You bring;

All praise unto You,

Each song that I sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You have given me to give You praise. Thank You for the help and hope and blessings that You have bestowed upon me. Forgive me for not giving enough gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Teach me to praise You throughout all of my days. Show me how to love others with my life, just as You have done for all of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with our whole heart with thanks for all that You are and all that You have done. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

His Kindness in Little Things

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

 

God knows what we need, and in His kindness, gives unto us. For whatever reason, I just did not sleep well last night. Normally, when I wake, I get up and get moving. This morning, I opted to lay there for an extra moment or two. Those moments ended up being hours, and my total sleep resulted in a full eight hours. Because I will be driving over a snow-covered mountain pass this afternoon, being rested is certainly a helpful blessing. At first I was a bit dumbstruck about getting out of bed so late, but then realized how kind God had been to me to grant my body the rest it really needed, in order to be alert for my drive. My head, my heart and my now rested body, can give Him praise as I go love toddlers in the nursery at church and then travel over the pass with my family. Let every part of us praise the Lord, for He is kind and cares about even the smallest things.

 

Let my soul give praise,Purposeful Prayer

mind, heart and my soul;

lift praise to the Lord,

His Name, let’s extol.

Help me not forget,

His kindness and love;

all grace that He gives,

our great God above.

Sing out to the One,

with all that we are;

Who remains with us,

the bright Morning Star.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are holy and kind and loving. Thank You that all praise and honor belong to You. Thank You that You see and care about even the little things in our lives, because You love. Forgive us for forgetting how personal and near You are. Teach us to trust all to You, and show us how to place everything in Your hands. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly and practically love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are, and never forget Your kindness to us. 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

Where Hope and Help are Held

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy Name. – (Psalm 33:20-21)

 

To wait in hope, is to look forward with expectation and confidence, patient that He who has promised will do what He says He will do. Having the Lord as our help and our shield means that He is our Provider and Protector in all things and at all times. As we learn to hope in Him, our hearts cannot help but rejoice, knowing that He is worthy of our trust; for He is Holy. Regardless of how things appear in the here and now, may we wait in hope for the Lord; for He is our help and our shield. Let our hearts rejoice, for we can trust in His Holy Name.

 

Let us look forward,Bold and Unhindered

with expectation;

confidence in Christ,

due exaltation.

He’s our help and shield,

may our hearts rejoice;

because we can trust,

the Lord as our choice.

He’ll never leave us,

all hope is assured;

God our Redeemer,

where each prayer is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait in hope, You are our help and our protection. Thank You that You are our Source of joy, despite our circumstances. Thank You that we can always trust in Your Holy Name. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of hope in You, and help us to trust You more, so that our hope will forever be secure in who You are. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may find a forever hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with expectation and confidence, trusting Your Holy Name. 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

Intimately Known

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than the sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

 

“Our true value is God’s estimate of our worth, not our peers’. Other people evaluate and categorize us according to how we perform, what we achieve, and how we look. but God cares for us, as He does for all of His creatures, because we belong to Him. So we can face life without fear.” – (NIV footnotes for Luke 12:7)

 

We each are valued by God, not for what we have or have not done, but because we are His. He loves us to life, and sent His only Son to conquer death so that we might live. All that we have done, He knows, yet He still loves us the same. May we go forth in His great love, and love too, in His holy Name.

 

Intimately known,Intimately Known

and still loved the same;

of infinite worth,

in Christ’s holy Name.

Of whom shall we fear,

with God on our side;

Spirit ever near,

in us, He resides.

His love isn’t earned,

we can’t do a thing;

to make Him love more,

grace-filled offering.

He wants us to come,

to Him, as we are;

give Him everything,

our soul, mind and heart.

Our small gift of self,

He can truly bless;

beauty from ashes,

glory from our mess.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are known and loved by You. Thank You that with You, we need not be afraid. Forgive us for our fears, and help us to hold fast to the truth of Your power and presence in our lives. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that regardless of what we see, You are present, and You are in control. You have gone before us and You are by our side. Help us to go forth in love, as You so richly love us. May many come to know Your care and covering as we share of all that You have done in our lives. Be glorified, O God, as we seek to serve You in all that we say and do. 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

Rest in His Unfailing Love

We wait in hope for the Lord;

He is our help and our shield.

In Him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust His Holy Name.

May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord,

even as we put our hope in You. – (Psalm 33:20-22)

 

If we were to truly live this way, what might it look like? Perhaps, even in the midst of life’s raging storms, we would do as follows:

 

Press on, continue in expectation, trusting that the Lord is good. He is our Source, Supply, and the Provider of our protection. As we place all trust in Him, joy rises up, even in the darkest of days. His love that never fails, shall remain with us, as we place all of our hope and anticipation of what is yet to come, in Christ.

 

Lord, may we come,Rest in His Unfailing Love

place all hope in You;

for You alone,

are all that is true.

Faithful in hope,

unfailing in love;

our hearts rejoice,

as we look above.

Teach us to trust,

with all of our heart;

for You remain,

from finish to start.

And more than that,

You’re our help and shield;

my heart to You,

my whole life, I yield.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait in hope, regardless of our circumstance, You are with us as our help and our shield. Thank You that whether or not we see the evidence of Your hand, we can rejoice, trusting that You are who You say You are, and that You are faithful forever. Thank You that Your love is unfailing, and that it remains with us, always. Forgive us for our faltering hope when the weight of the world becomes an unbearable burden, and help us to place all of our cares and concerns in Your hands, trusting that You will direct our steps and be our help. May many come to know You, personally, as they see the evidence of Your faithfulness in our lives. Let us love as You love, and rejoice as we trust in You, regardless of our circumstance. We love You, Lord, and long to honor You with all that we are. 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

 

To Find Rest

As Jesus and His disciples reconvened after being sent out in pairs to share of the hope that is held in Him, Jesus recognized that these men were in need of nourishment and rest. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” – (Mark 6:31) 

Though the work they had done was very important and invaluable to the spreading of the Gospel, Jesus valued each of them individually, and was more concerned with their well-being, than how much they could accomplish.  He still sees each of us the same way.  God’s work is good and necessary, yet all of us need times of rest and refreshing in order to be effective.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28)

Let not pursuit,To Find Rest

of service to God;

take away rest,

on this path we trod.

For we’re not called,

to toil in vain;

but to honor,

the Lord’s holy Name.

How can we bring,

God our very best;

if we are worn,

and choose not to rest?

In His great strength,

may balance be found;

to serve and rest,

let His joy abound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and care for us personally and individually.  Thank You that You are more concerned with who we are in You than with what we can accomplish.  Thank You that You are the One who will call, equip and empower us to do what is asked, when we are asked, and that You will provide the rest that we need.  Forgive us for trying to power through when we are meant to rest, or for not slowing down long enough to truly listen to all that You have for us to hear.  Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You lovingly guide us in the way that we are meant to go.  Teach us to trust You more, so that we may depend on You for everything, even rest for our weariness.  May we love well, as we are loved by You, and may many come to know the rest and renewal that is available to all who seek You.  Be exalted through our every word and deed, and may we find rest in You.  Amen.

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

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

Presenting Praise

image from Crista Camps

image from Crista Camps


Blessed the ones,

who come to us,

in God’s holy Name;

from the Lord’s house,

we bless you now,

His truth is proclaimed.

The light of God,

He shines on us,

bathes us with His light;

with joy, give praise,

all of our days,

we are His delight.

You are our God,

and we give thanks,

we lift high Your praise;

our offering,

to You, we bring,

’til the end of days.

For You are good,

it’s understood,

always love endures;

we give You praise,

for all Your ways,

hope in You, secure.

(Responding to Psalm 118:26-29)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good. Thank You that You shine Your light upon us and lead us to live in Your love. Forgive us for not presenting proper praise in places where all praise belongs to You. Help us to understand and embrace more clearly, the greatness of Your grace and the infinite depth of Your love. Lead us to love each other well, and grant us grace as we learn to give You thanks in all things and at all times. May our posture of praise propel people to turn toward You and embrace all that You freely give. Let our love lead those who are looking, directly to You, the holy Holder of all hope. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord, O My Soul

Praise the Lord O My SoulPraise the Lord, O my soul,

all my inmost being;

yes, praise His holy Name,

He who makes blind seeing.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

never forget His love;

He forgives and He heals,

gains strength to rise above.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

who redeems sinful lives;

He crowns us with His love,

our purpose He will drive.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

He alone satisfies;

granting our desires,

like eagle’s wings, we rise.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

who works all righteousness;

grants justice where there’s need,

freedom for the oppressed.

God is compassionate,

by His grace, makes us whole;

for He abounds in love,

praise the Lord, O my soul.

(Responding to Psalm 103:1-9)

Dear Heavenly Father, may my whole soul ever praise You. Thank You that You accept our offering, though we deserve it not. Thank You that Your love forgives, heals, and redeems us. Forgive us for attempting to satisfy our souls with anything other than You. Teach us to praise You with all that we are, and may many come to know who You are and how great Your love is for each of us, individually. May many come to know You amazing love. Amen.

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