All Praise is Due

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

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

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

 

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

 

All praise to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

For all praise is due; 

For what He promised, 

Was provided true. 

A Savior to come, 

The Light for mankind; 

Entered a baby, 

Yet fully divine. 

The hope of the world, 

Had come down to earth; 

To set captives free, 

And grant us rebirth. 

 

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

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Setting Our Sight

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

 

In light of recent events in the news, there is much temptation to allow our thoughts to fix on things that are entirely opposite of that to which we are called.  Demoralizing or demonizing an entire group of people based on the actions of a few, is not focusing on what is honorable, right or lovely at all. As an individual who has a varied circle of people whom I love, opinions and affiliations among them lie on both sides of the argument. Both camps feel as if the media/popular opinion is making their side out to be something it is not. The name calling and judgments passed from both camps bring out the worst in people, rather than the best. It is my hope that rather than focusing on the bad, we all might fill our minds with beauty and truth.  Let us fix our hearts and minds on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy.

 

For we are all called,

dsc059097914322808950888301.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To set our hearts right;

Love as the Lord loves,

In Him take delight.

As we choose to set,

Our hearts and our minds;

On the things of God,

There’s hope for mankind.

Hope’s found in choosing,

To set our soul right;

To love and be kind,

In good things delight.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with the capacity to love and be loved. Thank You that You do not have a political agenda nor affiliation. Forgive us for allowing our opinions, emotions or personal experiences to taint how we view others. Help us to fix our eyes on that which is good, lovely, honorable, right, true and above all, that which brings glory to You. Show us how to love those around us well, regardless of differing opinions and views of the world. May many come to know You through our love. Be glorified O God, as we set our souls on the good that You give to us daily, as we choose with intention to open our eyes and hearts to notice. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Peace With All People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

If it is within your power, make peace with all people. – (Romans 12:18, VOICE)

We are called to live at peace with all people as much as humanly possible. If we operate as promoters of peace, extending mercy and grace, goodness and love, just as God gives to us, peace is possible far more often than not. Yes, there are always exceptions who will not receive and will continue to cause unrest, but with all that we are in all that we do, we are called to seek His peace. May we ever depend on the Prince of Peace to fill our hearts and minds, so that we may go forth and live at peace with everyone around us.

 

Peace is not a place,
Joining Together

But a state of mind;

Granted by the Lord,

For all of mankind.

It’s meant to be shared,

One to another;

From neighbor to friend,

Sister to brother.

Let us do our best,

With all, be at peace;

So God’s grace may flow,

And hope be increased.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your peace when we seek You. Thank You that You equip us to be ambassadors of peace to the people around us. Forgive us for not attempting to live at peace with everyone around us when people become difficult to take. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we are filled again with Your grace and compassion and power to promote peace in places where it seems impossible. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace to the unsettled places in their hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to live at peace with everyone. 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

True Eternal Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. – (Proverbs 31:30, MSG)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

 

The persona and package we present may matter to mankind, but what matters into eternity is our relationship with God. Incredibly, some of the most beautiful and charming women I know are those who love the Lord with all of their heart, soul and strength. The beauty within radiates to the external and draws others unto themselves. Their charm is not something that they manufacture, but rather it is an outpouring of the inward work that God is doing that overflows to all those who are near. Loving kindness and compassion that is poured out through their words and actions is attractive and tends to transform the way in which we perceive people as a whole. May we seek to prioritize our relationship with the Lord above all else, as He is the One who does the work within us that draws others near.

 

Seek not to make charm, given-to-show-goodness

Nor beauty the aim;

Instead seek the Lord,

Choose trust in His Name.

For growth in the Lord,

Is lovely to see;

As the overflow,

Lasts eternally.

So, let us choose God,

Love Him and others;

That’s where beauty lies,

Like loving mothers.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what matters into eternity is our relationship with You. Thank You that as we grow in You, there is an overflow of the good that You are cultivating within us. Thank You that the thing within us that draws others near is You. Forgive us for focusing too much on the things that do not last. Teach us to trust You more so that our eyes would focus on You above all else. Show us how to love those around us well. Please bless mothers and those who play a maternal role in the lives of those around them today. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to grow in You above all else. Amen.

 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5

No More Darkness

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in Me will no longer remain in the dark. – (John 12:46, NLT)

I came into this world as a light. I came so that everyone who believes in Me will not stay in darkness. – (John 12:46, ERV)

I am here to bring light in this world, freeing everyone who believes in Me from the darkness that blinds him. – (John 12:46, VOICE)

 

In the Pacific Northwest, we often have a long, dreary season of darkness. Days are grey and rainy, and the hours of available daylight after work are seemingly non-existent. Yesterday, as we sprung our clocks forward to daylight savings time, we were greeted with an unusually warm and sunny day for our area. Days like that remind me that we have the Light who shines forever, and no darkness truly remains when we are in Him. Though days, circumstances, situations and moments may seem dim, there is light and hope and help in Christ. As we place our trust in Him, darkness disappears and light illuminates our path. May we ever place our trust in the Lord, as He is the light of the world; in Him, no darkness remains.

 

Into the darkness,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Our Savior did come;

To bring light and life,

To everyone.

For all who choose trust,

In His precious Name;

Will leave dark behind,

Find true what’s proclaimed.

There is no darkness,

Where His love light shines;

Safe space forever,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came as a light shining in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in You will no longer remain in the dark. Thank You that You are trustworthy and true. Forgive us for not seeking Your light in dark spaces. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be the light and life and hope when all seems dim. Show us how to love others in a way that reflects You light and love in places that seem overwhelmingly dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our light forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

 

Known and Loved

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and the stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do You even think about them? Why do You care about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – (Psalm 8:3-4, NIV)

 

God, the Creator of the entire Universe, cares for us, individually. That is an astounding and overwhelming thought. Our mere mortal minds can hardly fathom such care and concern from One so great. Fortunately, there are examples throughout scripture that make this love a bit more conceivable. His great love rescues, is good, is merciful, is unfailing, works all things together for good, is gracious, surpasses all understanding, and endures forever. He is our Father and we are His children. Just as we love our own children fiercely, so too does the Father love each of us. We are flawed and sinful, and yet we still love our children with our whole heart. Imagine the depth and breadth of the Father’s love, as He is perfect, and who He is, is love. May we go forth this day seeking to soak in a bit more of the lavish love of the Lord. As we continue to gain greater glimpses of who He is and how He loves, may we go forth and love likewise.

 

Oh what love is this,Delivering Dreams

That considers me?

The very same God,

Who called all to be.

When I see the moon,

The stars in the sky;

I gaze up in awe,

He love me, but why?

God loves His children,

All created ones;

His heart is for us,

May Thy will be done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, the Creator of all things, love each of us, individually. Thank You that not one of us goes unnoticed nor unloved. Forgive us for not recognizing the depth and breadth of Your care for each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would hold fast to the truth of Your word, and trust You to lead us and guide us all of our days in Your love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know their significance to You and the world around them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of Your lavish love, and receive all that You give so that we may give likewise. 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

It’s Not About Appearances

My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine”, but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I am not going back on that. – (Galatians 2:20-21, MSG)

 

This is a tricky one. As one with people-pleasing tendencies, I have to check myself regularly. What is my motivation? Am I doing what I am doing to please people, or to honor God? There is nothing that we could do to make God love us more, nor impress Him. He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us, individually. The more I know and understand the depth and breadth of His love, the more I desire to love as I am loved. Each act of obedience is a setting aside of self, and simply seeking to serve He who is worthy of all that we are. Nothing He asks of us is about appearances, and all is aimed at loving Him and loving people well. May we set aside every semblance of self, and seek to serve our Savior in all that we say and do.

 

There’s nothing on earth,When My Soul Waits

That we could choose do;

To impress the Lord,

For nothing is new.

None of us are called,

To try to please men;

But rather to serve,

Honor God again.

For my very life,

Is not at all mine;

So I shall choose live,

By faith in Devine.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we do not need to appear righteous before You or mankind, but rather it is You in us that matters. Thank You that our lives are not our own, but it is You, dwelling in us that compels us to live and to love as You designed us to do. Forgive us for allowing our egos to get in the way, where we worry about pleasing more than doing what we know we are called to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would live by faith in a way that honors You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love others in such a way that they too may come to know the goodness and grace that comes from a life in You alone. May many choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live by faith, rather than try to impress. Amen.

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

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

He Won’t Take It Back

For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn. – (Romans 11:29, NLT)

God never changes His mind about the people He calls. He never decides to take back the blessings He has given them. – (Romans 11:29, ERV)

You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. – (Romans 11:29, VOICE)

 

When God calls us and equips us to do that which we are designed to do, He does not change His mind and ask us to change direction. As broken and fallible humans, we often interpret difficulties we face as either a change in His plan, or a removal of His equipping us to do that which we thought we had been called to do. God is not like man that He changes His mind. What He calls us to, He empowers and equips us to do – despite hardship and adversity. Our charge is to persevere and continue to trust Him, even when all that surrounds us no longer seems to make sense. His plans and His ways are far higher and greater than our own, so it doesn’t matter what we see, but rather what we believe that is essential. May we rise up and trust the Lord in all that He has called us to do; for He is for us and He will not remove the gifts that He has given to go forward, nor will He change His mind about us being a part of His plan.

 

The Lord is gracious,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Gifts given are good;

Granted for purpose,

His call, understood.

To all we are called,

He also equips;

Gives us what we need,

Trust relationship.

He’ll never take back,

Nor choose change His mind;

For what the Lord gives,

We always shall find.

Blessings flow freely,

Of His love and grace;

As we keep moving,

In this lifelong race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not like mankind – for You are not fickle nor foolish, and You do not change Your mind. Thank You that when You call us, You equip us, and You do not withdraw either the call nor the gifts granted to move forward, regardless of our decision to stand. Forgive us for our foolishness that would doubt You and the calling and gifts that You place in each of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continue to move confidently in the direction to which You have called, trusting that You will walk beside us, lead and guide us, no matter what surrounds us or stands before us. Show us how to love others in the same way that we are loved by You, as Your loving kindness grants us the courage and strength necessary to keep moving in the direction to which we have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the steadfastness of all that You are and all that You give, as You remain the same both now and forever. Amen.

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

 

To Offer Obedience and Reverence

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. – (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NIV)

That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands, for this is everyone’s duty. – (Ecclesiastes 12:13, NLT)

Now, what should we learn from everything that is written in this book? The most important thing a person can do is respect God and obey His commands, because He knows about everything people do – even the secret things. – (Ecclesiastes 12:13, ERV)

 

Regardless of which version of the text we take in, the bottom line remains. We are called to give God the honor and respect that is due, and obey that which He asks of us. On our own, we would fail miserably, as we are all flawed and broken vessels. However, when we choose to seek first His kingdom, His righteousness is added unto us, and we are led and empowered by His Spirit to do that which we are called to do. His strength is made perfect where we are weak, and His grace abounds where we have none. All that is needed He shall supply, if we are dependent on Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Let us have a proper perspective of who God is, as the King who reigns, and allow His Spirit to lead and guide us so that we will walk in obedience to all that He is asking.

 

Our great God, Most High,Refreshment Through Repentance

sits upon His throne;

He loves and equips,

so truth may be known.

We’re called to uphold,

reverence and awe;

obey His commands,

not self-imposed law.

For the Lord, He reigns,

with mercy and grace;

He opened the way,

eternal embrace.

Let our lives be lived,

as an offering;

all praise unto Him,

may each heart choose sing.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You are God and the Creator and King of all, You chose to love each of us, individually. Thank You that You have given us Your instructions for how we ought to live, and help us, by Your Spirit, to live accordingly. Forgive us for not viewing You with proper reverence and awe, or for taking lightly, the expectations that You have set before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your will in all things, resulting in our willing obedience to what You are asking. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they would see Your heart through ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we view You with respect and reverence, and seek to walk in obedience to all that You are asking. Amen.

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

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Wait Quietly in Hope

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5)

 

Now that the final days of school have passed, and our big community outreach event for church has happened, I look ahead to Christmas week and have a choice to make – do I fill every free moment, or will I allow myself to sit in the silence and quietly wait before God, remembering the real reason for this season? My natural inclination is to fill every moment of every day with movement. Run here, visit friends there, last minute shopping, appointments, workouts, activities for the boys… Though each of these things are good, when my days are without pause, they tend to pass me by. If I have built in spaces of silence, I am more reflective, and remember how remarkable my Savior is, and how all of my hope is held in Him. He brings to heart and mind the ways in which He has been my help and my hope, and shows me how I can encourage, love and care for others. If I don’t take pause, I may miss all that He has for me during this most wonderful time of the year. May we all make time to wait quietly before God, and recognize that our hope is found in Him.

 

On a silent night,

Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

image by Diana Lovegrove

in a stable bare;

came the still small cry,

as hope filled the air.

For the baby born,

came to save the lost;

little did they know,

what our sin would cost.

This Love that came down,

hope for all mankind;

that would save the lost,

give sight to the blind.

May we choose to wait,

quietly before;

the Lord of all hope,

Christ, whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make Yourself known to us in quiet stillness, and that we can place our hope in You. Thank You that You are present when we draw near, and You remind us of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for getting caught up in the chaos that can come this time of year, and for not making time to wait quietly before You. Teach us to slow down and sit in Your presence, so that we might recognize the hope that we have in You. Show us how to love, encourage and bless all whom we encounter as we go about each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

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