The Greatest Gift

But when the set time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. – (Galatians 4:4-5, NIV)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

When the right time arrived, God sent His Son into the world (born of a woman, subject to the law) to free those who, just like Him, were subject to the law. Ultimately, He wanted us all to be adopted as sons and daughters. – (Galatians 4:4-5, VOICE)

 

God knew that humanity needed a Savior. For most, the law was a list of do and do not from a distance out of fear and reverence, rather than being rooted in relationship. The arrival of Jesus changed everything. God out there, became God is here. Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension gave way for us to be adopted into God’s family as His children. No more are we simply subjects attempting obedience out of fear, but rather we are children of the Most High, saved by grace and dearly loved. From this position of freedom, it is difficult not to desire to do what is pleasing to the very One who set us free. May we rise up and recognize the sacrifice that was given so that we could be free, and walk out our days honoring God with our words, deeds and praise.

 

God saw all our need, The Greatest Gift

And set forth a plan;

Redemption and grace,

By His loving hands.

Hands that chose to send,

His beloved Son;

To bear all the weight,

Of what we have done.

Freely He took on,

All our ugliness;

So we may be called,

His in righteousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You saw mankind’s need for a Savior and sent Your Son to redeem us. Thank You that not only do You forgive us of all of our sin, but You adopt us as sons and daughters of Your own. Thank You that You lovingly receive all who come seeking You. Forgive us for forgetting the magnitude of Your sacrifice to be called sons and daughters. Teach us to treasure the gifts of Your mercy and grace far more than we do. Show us how to love others in a way that extends the same sort of mercy and grace to others, so that they might see glimpses of You through the good we give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the greatest gift ever given through the sending of Your Son. Amen.

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

 

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

Praise

I praise the Lord because He is good. I praise the Name of the Lord Most High. – (Psalm 7:17, ERV)

I’m thanking God, who makes things right. I’m singing the fame of heaven-high God. – (Psalm 7:17, MSG)

 

God deserves our praise, as He is good, and He is the One who makes things right in our lives and hearts. Even when things around us are less than ideal, God is with us, and His presence provides us reason to praise. He brings peace when there should be none, and hope when hope does not make sense. Let us thank and praise the Lord for His goodness and grace, because He is God and He deserves all of our gratitude forever.

 

Oh Lord, may my life,

Praise for His Promises

image by Christopher Wilson

Be filled with all praise;

Unto You, O God,

For all of my days.

Praise for Your goodness,

As You make things right;

Praise for the great grace,

Names us Your delight.

I’ll sing forever,

Because God is good;

Glory to You, Lord,

Where love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good. Thank You that You make things right, even when we cannot begin to fathom how our situation or circumstances could ever improve. Thank You that You are the God of miracles who is mighty to save. Forgive us for not trusting You enough, and for forgetting to give You proper praise for all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love others in a tangible way, that demonstrates Your goodness through what we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that You do and all that You are for all of our days. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Sing – For Joy Rises

I will be filled with joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your Name, O Most High. – (Psalm 9:2, NLT)

 

Though there is much joy to be found in the reason for this blessed season, often there are sorrows that surround people, and the holidays are a struggle. Finding joy despite our circumstances, comes not when we fake it ’til we make it, but rather when we turn our eyes and attention on He who is our Source of all joy. No matter what surrounds me, when I begin to sing praises to His Name, joy begins to bubble up and fill my heart again, as I am reminded of what is eternal. There are times that what is weighing us down seems so heavy and long lasting, yet when we take pause, we know that there will be an end. Hope of better days, better seasons, better times, is held fast in our hearts, as we know that in Christ, this is not our end. What is yet to come is beyond what we can even begin to imagine, and because of that hope, we can hold onto His joy. May we allow our hearts and voices to sing praises to His Most Holy Name, as He fills us with joy once again.

 

We’re filled with all joy,Child like Contributions

because of our King;

not by circumstance,

but through truth He brings.

Let our hearts sing praise,

our thank offerings;

let‘s honor His Name,

our great Holy King.

May His joy rise up,

as voices are raised;

His truth be proclaimed,

and Holy Name praised.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You fill us with Your joy, not because of our circumstances, but because You are good and You are loving. Thank You that we can sing praises to Your Name, no matter what we are going through, and as we do, joy rises up in us again. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to steal the joy that You have given us, and help us to hold fast to You and Your promises so that we would have joy in spite of what is happening around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would sing praise even when it doesn’t make sense. Show us how to love others well, and to spread joy wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we sing praises to Your Name and are filled with Your unending joy. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

 

 

 

 

Thankfulness As A Sacrifice

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. – (Psalm 50:14, NLT)

Set out a sacrifice I can accept; your thankfulness. Be true to your word to the Most High. – (Psalm 50:14, Voice)

At first glance, I wondered how thankfulness would be considered a sacrifice before God, however, when I pondered the passage for a moment, I recognized that the reality in the midst of struggles and suffering is that we must sacrifice some of ourselves (our desire to complain, whine, or wallow) in order to have a thankful heart before the Lord. Additionally, when we present promises to God, He expects us to keep them. None of this is possible in our own strength, yet with Christ in us, we can make thankfulness our sacrifice to God, and be true to the words we commit unto the Lord. May we give up our desire to identify the things that go wrong, and instead sacrifice our self-focus for a God-focus, giving Him all of our thanks and praise. Let us be true to our word to the Lord Most High, as it is by Him and through Him that all moments are measured.

Let a thankful heart,Tether Our Hearts

be our sacrifice;

before the Lord God,

as He paid the price.

For every sin,

has been washed away;

so that we can stand,

and walk in His way.

May we keep the vows,

promises to God;

let’s give our whole heart,

not just a facade.

No matter what comes,

be trial or grace;

may thanks fill our hearts,

and from our lips, praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You receive our thankfulness as a sacrifice before You, and that You are pleased when we are true to our word unto You. Forgive us for not making thankfulness our sacrifice before You, or for not keeping the promises that we have made to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have hearts that are filled to overflowing with gratitude for who You are and all that You have done, as well as an unwillingness to waiver from our word unto You. Show us how to love others from a position of thankfulness, so that they too may see Your goodness through our gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make thankfulness our sacrifice before You, and keep our promises that we make to You. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Thanks Beyond the Scope of Simply Seeing

I will thank the Lord because He is just; I will sing praise to the Name of the Lord Most High. – (Psalm 7:17, NLT)

Yet another reason to thank the Lord is for the nature of His character. He is just; (guided by truth, reason, justice and fairness – dictionary.com) because He is the truth, therefore He determines what is reasonable, grants justice, and provides fairness according to His standards, not our own. The justice that we long to see, often takes place beyond the scope of our simply seeing. The Lord’s justice has eternal consequence, it is not often only a here and now action. Again, our response to God and His Name Most High, ought to be to offer all of our thanks and praise. As we sing praise unto Him, our hearts lay hold of the truth of who He is, and the faithfulness that He provides not only in the here and now, but for all that is yet to come. May we thank the Lord because He is just, and sing praise to His Name Most High.

O Lord, we give thanks,It is Grace that Saves

because You are just;

we choose to sing praise,

unto God with us.

For Your Name is great,

as You are what’s true;

You grant us justice,

and make all things new.

No matter what’s seen,

O God, You provide;

present in battle,

with arms open wide.

We give You all thanks,

and sing You our praise;

ever lift our voice,

for all of our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are just. Thank You that You are worthy of all of our thanks and praise. Forgive us for not trusting that You are at work on our behalf, even when we cannot see the evidence of the movement You are making. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone deserve all of our trust, as You are forever faithful and true. Help our hearts to hold fast to an attitude of thanks and praise, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love others with open arms, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your justice and sing praises unto Your Most Holy Name. 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

Give Thanks, Tell and Sing

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! Sing to Him; sing praises to Him. Tell about the amazing things He has done. – (Psalm 105:1-2, ERV)

As I prepare for my final day of the first week of this brand new school year, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My anxiousness has been turned to enthusiasm, and my fear transformed to fuel for further learning and growing to better the experience for my students and myself. Each of these young lives who have walked into my classroom, have found a place in my heart. Their stories are only beginning to unfold, and I cannot wait to discover more and more of who they are, and what drives them to do their very best. Additionally, my own children have encountered the same sentiment from their teachers too. My colleagues are loving my boys well, and they feel safe and secure in each space. This, this is my reason to sing praise today. Among many other monumental things that He has done to care for my family and love us well, the blessings of a great beginning create a comfort in the hope of all that is yet to come. May we give God thanks and call on Him, telling of all the great things that He has done. May our very lives sing praise to Him, as we recognize the remarkable He continues to do in our lives.

May our hearts give thanks,Aquiring Armor

to the Lord most high;

for how He has loved,

all throughout our lives.

Tell all of the world,

of what He has done;

so they too may know,

the Most Holy One.

Let our praises ring,

as we lift our voice;

for the songs we sing,

should in Him, rejoice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and love, and for the amazing things that You do in and through our lives. Thank You that we can call out to You, and You hear our every call. Forgive us for not giving You the glory that You deserve, as every good and perfect gift comes from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response would be to give You thanks and to tell others of the great things that You have done in our lives. May our very lives sing continual praise unto You. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know Your faithfulness and love for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise, and tell of all that You have done. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

The Love of a Father

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. – (Psalm 91:1)

 

For many, this is an excellent promise to remember, as today can be a day of mixed emotions. Though most of us have had the good fortune to have been blessed with either a father, grandfather, uncle, spouse or some male that has held a positive and encouraging role in our lives, not all have had such a gift. The beauty of this day, Father’s Day, is that we all have a Father in Heaven who is perfect in how He loves. His love never fails, and He will always be ready when we run to Him. When we choose to dwell in Him, we find rest, regardless of what is going on in us, or around us. He provides what we need, despite what we seem to desperately be lacking. May we honor Him who is the greatest Father of all, and encourage the men who are seeking after God’s own heart to do likewise. Let us raise up the next generation of young men to do the same, as we show them how to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, and know for themselves, what it is to find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

 

The love of a father,Be strong and courageous

for what can compare?

All seek such approval,

without it, despair.

No matter the father,

you’re granted on earth;

our Heavenly Father,

claims infinite worth.

He sees us and knows us,

and still chooses love;

no matter our failures,

in Him, rise above.

For all is forgiven,

as we hide in Him;

and rest in His shadow,

made strong from within.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to dwell in You, we find rest in You. Thank You for the men that You have raised up to lead and father well, and thank You for those whom You are refining and restoring so that they may move mountains on Your behalf. Thank You that whether we have had wonderful fathers or not, You have always been our perfect Father; ever present and always available to us. Forgive us for allowing earthly errors to skew our view of You, and teach us to trust and hold fast to the truth of who You are, and how You love. Lead us to love others well, and to aid in the raising up of the next generation of young men who will father according to Your will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, in which their heart is set on serving You. Be glorified O God, as we dwell in Your protective shelter, and rest in the shadow of Your loving kindness. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

It is Good to Praise

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your Name, O Most High, to proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night. – (Psalm 92:1-2)

 

A remarkable thing happens when praise is our priority. The focus is removed from our fears, failures and trials, and comes to rest on He who is our help and hope in all things and at all times. God is always good, even when our circumstances are not; therefore He always deserves our worship and praise. To proclaim His love in the morning, is to prepare our hearts properly for the day. As we set our sights on the Savior, we go forth aligned with Christ, and are better equipped for whatever lies before us. At day’s end, it is indeed good to speak of His faithfulness that has carried us throughout the day. Giving voice to the truth of His provision and presence renews our faith and resolve to further trust in Him. May we indeed praise the Lord, making music to His Name, ever proclaiming His love in the morning and His faithfulness at night.

 

It is always good,Presenting Our Praise

to give the Lord praise;

to sing unto Him,

throughout all our days.

For He is Most High,

so faithful and true;

let’s proclaim His love,

and faithfulness too.

From morning to night,

let our hearts still sing;

of who our God is,

our praise offering.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord Most High, and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness are forever present, giving us reason to offer You continual praise, no matter what our circumstance. Forgive us for not fixing our hearts on You when times are tough, and help us to trust You more, so that we will give You praise, as we proclaim Your love in the morning, and speak of Your faithfulness at the day’s end. Lead us to love others with the very same love that You pour out upon each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and make music to Your Name, proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night. Amen.

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

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

Waves of Wonder

Life seems to happen in waves. As the tides change and the waters encroach and recede, so do sets of challenges and victories as we go about our days. Similar to the sea, both the wonderful and the wearying seem to come in sets. Repeated rollers come our way, seeming to be relentless; followed by complete calm. Our successful navigation throughout our days is not dependant on the waves, but rather on our reliance on the Creator of all things. In His hands, we are able to stay afloat, or ride the waves into the shore without being pulled under. One of the best ways to keep our eyes fixed on Him and our hearts in the proper posture, is through praise.

 

“I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders, I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High.” – (Psalm 9:1-2)

 

Our hearts are not capable of praising and being pulled under simultaneously. As we praise, and speak of His faithfulness, something happens in our spirits that keeps us from sinking into the undertow of self-pity. Whenever the woes of the world begin to drag me down, the most effective thing I can do is jump in my car, turn up tunes that speak of His goodness and faithfulness, and sing along at the top of my lungs. Though it does not make the struggle disappear, it resets my focus on the Father, and creates a proper posture in my heart and mind, to allow God to be God, and recall that I am not. There is much freedom found through worshipful sound…

 

I will praise You, Lord,Waves of Wonder

with all of my heart;

I’ll tell of Your work,

the peace You impart.

I’ll choose to be glad,

I’ll rejoice in You;

I will sing always,

of how You make new.

As each waves rolls in,

I’ll call on Your Name;

in Your mighty hands,

I’ll not be the same.

Strength in my weakness,

chaos into calm;

O Lord, Your goodness,

my hope and my song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your wonders are a source of gladness and reason to rejoice. Thank You that Your Spirit dwells in us, and ministers to our hearts as we focus on You. Forgive us for looking at the size of the waves, rather than You who can create all calm in our hearts, minds and environment. Teach us to trust You more, and to praise You with our whole heart, regardless of what is happening around us. May our awe and wonder inspire others to seek You and find You too, as we live and love as You love us. Be glorified in our praise today, and may our every word and deed speak of Your wonders. 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