In Strength, Choose Love

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, ERV)

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, MSG)

 

This is something that we are all called to live out, in every area of our lives. It is both rare and wonderful, when there are public figures who live by this principle in a way that is seen, heard and known. Last night, my husband and I went to a concert that featured my favorite band, Skillet. Their lead vocalist, John Cooper, is completely clear in his convictions as he performs, and is courageous and strong as he shares his music and message in love. After more than twenty-three years as a Christian band that tours with bands that typically are not, and it is evident that they are careful to be on their guard and hold firm to their faith. Each time I have seen them in concert, the other bands touring with them have raved about the kindness extended to them by Skillet. What that speaks to me is that they are living out loud, the very message that they follow in faith. If a rock band can cling to their convictions and love well, why can’t we? May we each be aware of the things that distract us from what is true, and with courage and strength, hold fast to the faith that anchors us secure. And in all that we do, may we let love be our motivation.

 

Help us guard our hearts, img_2019-08-29_06-26-021861362932488398857.jpg

To our faith, hold fast;

Have courage, be strong,

With the love that lasts.

For each time we choose,

In strength, to love well;

We are showing Christ,

His story we tell.

Not with our speaking,

So much as our deeds;

People remember,

Those who met their needs.

Let us choose to love,

In all that we do;

Rely on His grace,

He’ll carry us through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You warn us to be careful of that which distracts us from the truth, and You call us to stand firm in Your strength to the truth so that we may do all things in love. Forgive us for the times that we allowed the things around us to pull us off course. Teach us to stay anchored in You. Show us how to love those around us in all things and at all times, just as we are loved relentlessly by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand strong in the truth, ever aware of what surrounds us, and choose to love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

Stand firm , and you will win life. – Luke 21:19

Sing Praise

I will praise God’s Name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. – (Psalm 69:30, NIV)

I will praise God’s Name in song. I will honor Him by giving Him thanks. – (Psalm 69:30, ERV)

Then I will praise God with my singing! My thanks will be His praise. – (Psalm 69:30, TLB)

 

During my quick turn-around at home, I was able to spend time with my boys and attend early service at my church prior to driving back to Wenatchee yesterday. During worship, there were moments that the words would be stuck behind the lump in my throat, yet my heart was still singing His praise. Fast-forward to my drive, and I had plenty of time to reflect on my own. Anyone in my close circle who has road-tripped with me, knows that I actually enjoy blasting a variety of music and singing at the top of my lungs. At first, the heaviness in my heart needed a little… hmm… let’s just say Skillet fit the bill best. (They also happen to be my favorite jam for running) Anyway, the heaviness began to give way to hope, and I switched gears and began to listen to worship music. There was something powerful about singing praise. A calm came over me, and all I could think about was how different this drive to Wenatchee was than my drive had been one week prior. One week ago, Mark was driving me into the unknown. We had received devastating news after investigating the prompting within us, and did not have any idea of the condition mom would be in when we arrived. This time, I had so much to be thankful for: we are so grateful to still have mom (we know that so often people in similar circumstances do not have such a fortunate fate), she is able to understand everything, she can communicate clearly, she has feeling in her right side (which is hopeful, even with the current paralysis of the right arm and leg), we have an incredible army supporting us all – in Wenatchee, Federal Way, Albany, across the country, and around the world (we are overwhelmed in the very best way by the outpouring of love and support!), and we, above all else, have a God in heaven who loves and heals, holds and moves, and has us all in the palm of His hands.

Last evening, after I had returned and spent several hours at the hospital with Meg and Mom, my sister and I went to the acute care facility on a scouting mission. We managed to talk our way in, and were very pleased with both the people that we met and the facility and how it is set up. Our biggest prayer now is that the move actually occurs today, as scheduled, and that there are no insurance or medical obstacles to prevent the move. Mom is more than ready to get out of the hospital and begin being far more active than the hospital setting allows. She is still not ready to have visitors outside of family or those we consider “framily” (friends so close that they have become an extension of the family). For those who love her dearly and are eager to visit, please be patient and know that waiting is best for her healing. In the meantime, you are welcome to download Marco Polo and send her a video message, send a card, a text message, etc. She still is not interested in her phone, but we will take it each day to show videos or read messages that are encouraging.

May we praise Him with songs of thanksgiving, for He is worthy of all of our thanks and praise.

 

When I’m lost for words,

0506190538a_hdr986984744164652228.jpg

View from Mom’s back deck. ❤

Or sound won’t give way;

My hearts still shall sing,

Lord, ever I’ll praise.

No matter what comes,

You always are good;

When my world’s shattered,

Beside me, You’ve stood.

You never leave me,

Ever You stay near;

You point me to hope,

And silence my fear.

Each morning I rise,

And greet the new day;

I give all to You,

O Lord, lead the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness to us, even in this. Thank You that You love us in tangible ways, as You have surrounded us with an army of warriors, ready to serve. Thank You for making Your presence and Your blessings so abundantly clear, even in the midst of the hardest circumstances. Forgive us for our spaces of fear and doubt. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than anything that stands in the way of Your will being done. Remind our hearts to sing when our voices cannot find the words. Continue to place Your song in our hearts, as Your song is truth and life and light. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares Your tune. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as our lives sing Your song of praise each day that we draw breath. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

 

 

 

 

 

Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Living Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in You with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Lord your God is in your midst – a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with His love; He will rejoice over you with singing. – (Zephaniah 3:17, CEB)

 

This is the exact sort of reminder that many of us need this time of year. In the midst of the busy, crazy, seemingly endless push to the finish, we are not alone. More than that, God is with us and He delights in us. He will bring calm and He rejoices over us with singing. Just as a lullaby soothes the restless soul of a little one, so do the joyful songs of our Heavenly Father as He sings over us. Music can change our entire countenance, and I imagine that when that perfect song comes to mind to lift our mood, it did not drift in on its own. May we ever be open to the One who is among us, as His love brings calm in our chaos while He delights in us with gladness.

 

God is in our midst, Forgiveness is Free

He’s mighty to save;

He delights in us,

And makes our hearts brave.

He calms all our fears,

And sings joyfully;

Victory in love,

To eternity.

So, trust in the Lord,

He is ever near;

Delighting with joy,

And calming each fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not God out there, but You are God living among us, right here. Thank You that You are a Mighty Savior who brings victory. Thank You that You delight in us and show us how much You love us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm us with Your love. Thank You that You are the ultimate example of a good Father. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust in our trials. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings calm, comfort and joy, so that they may see Your light within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days for Your presence, help and joy among us. 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

Practice As His Poetry

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

 

This week, I had the pleasure as a parent, of watching my children do some of what they were designed to do, as they each took part in their fall concert. Both boys have always loved music; it is part of their design. Watching my eldest (by one minute) sing with the concert choir, and his twin brother play the viola with the concert orchestra, filled my heart with joy. God has given each of us talents and gifts, dreams and desires – all of which can be used for His good. When we utilize what we’ve been given with gratitude, God receives the glory. As we seek Him and join our hearts with His, good works can come in every avenue of our lives. Encouragement, kindness, gratitude, generosity and love, all demonstrate His heart for people, and provide opportunity for those who may not know Him, to see the light of His goodness and grace through those around them. May we ever remember that we are God’s poetry, His very masterpiece – created to delight those around us by doing good.

 

For we have been made, Practice As His Poetry

To be who we are;

God’s own masterpiece,

To shine like the stars.

We’re meant to do good,

Fulfill what God planned;

Love as God loves us,

By His grace, choose stand.

Stand for the hurting,

Encourage, lift up;

Answer His calling,

In all things, choose love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and a purpose, and that You consider each of us Your poetry – Your masterpiece. Thank You that we have been designed to do good things that You planned for us long ago. Forgive us for not recognizing the masterpiece in others, or for choosing to walk away from the good to which we are called to carry out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would see all whom we encounter through Your eyes, and treat them accordingly. Help us to do good works and walk out our purpose in all that we do. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up all whom we encounter, so that Your light might shine bright before everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate who You are by being who You have made us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

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

A Homecoming to Celebrate

How does one adequately express the essence of a ninety-eight year life lived well? I thought about speaking of my Gram’s faithfulness to God, her unwavering love for her family, friends and church, or perhaps the way that she utilized the gifts that God gave her of music and writing and art to touch the hearts of those around her for Him. For a few weeks I allowed my thoughts to simply settle, and just waited for words to come. As I was driving home from work a few weeks ago, and the lines I knew I was to record and share began playing over and over in my mind, I discovered that my portion to share was not about what Gram had done, but rather where her faith and hope had taken her. Those who knew Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner, knew that she was certain of her eternity. Her hope was not in earthly treasures, but rather in her heavenly home. Gram reminded us always that we were precious in her sight, just as we are in Christ’s. May we all rejoice in the hope of our eternity, and celebrate her incredible homecoming together.

 

Precious OnesWith Gram2

Weep not precious ones,

For I am now home;

The view before me,

Is like none I’ve known.

I walk on gold streets,

With angels, I sing;

Each breath full of life,Praise in Mourning

Love’s sweet offerings.

And O when my eyes,

At last saw His face;

So tender and kind,

His welcome embrace.

Gentle were His words,

As He said to me,

“Well done, precious child!”

I fell to my knees…

Though strong were His hands,Strength in the Sorrow

My Savior knelt down;

He placed on my head,

My very own crown.

I could not contain,

The tears in my eyes;

As loved ones appeared,

This hope – realized.

Oh sweet beloveds,

Do not weep for me;

It’s but a moment,

To your setting free.

©Shannon E. Moreno 2017

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of my Gram that I have known for my entire life. Thank You that my children have had the privilege and the pleasure of knowing her too. Thank You for the example and blessing that Rosemary Elizabeth Steiner has been to so many. Forgive us for not recognizing nor appreciating the treasures we have in those around us nearly enough. Teach us to honor and give thanks for all those whom You have placed in our lives. Show us how to love well, just as she loved like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the blessed homecoming of those who faithfully follow You. 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

Encourage with His Sweet Songs

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. – (Ephesians 5:19, ERV)

Music is a miraculous gift that breaks down even the bulkiest of barriers. Though there is always music in my day while I travel from place to place in my car, it has been largely absent in my regular routine. About a week ago, on my way into Fred Meyer to buy groceries, something made me take pause at the small display outside of the electronics section. There before me, were small blue tooth speakers that were affordably priced. As I pondered the prices and products, the sales associate wandered my direction. He had helpful suggestions, and I decided to go ahead and make a reasonable purchase, as I had no other source to play music out loud in my home for myself, other than my phone.

Since that day, I have utilized this fantastic little speaker to blare worship music while I prepare for my day. It is remarkable how much better equipped I feel when I have been singing along with reckless abandon, and soaking in the sweet sound that floods my space as I ready myself for what lies ahead.

Interestingly enough, the first portion of the verse has also come to fruition over this week as well. A friend and I have been sending one another links back and forth for our favorite or most encouraging worship songs. It has been such a sweet exchange to be reminded of lyrics long forgotten, that speak truth that my heart needed to hear. My hope is that the same has held true for her. May we find ways to encourage one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as we go about our day, and may we allow our hearts to sing and make music unto the Lord.

Encourage with songs,

Kari Jobe  - Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

Kari Jobe – Click to listen to I Am Not Alone.

as the tunes give rise;

for spirits shall soar,

with truth, come alive.

Sing and make music,

from our hearts to His;

may we choose make known,

how worthy He is.

Share of psalms and hymns,

that speak what is true;

so hurting hearts hear,

Who will make them new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the gifts of Your word, music, and the ability to combine the two. Thank You for Your sweet presence that is made tangible when we choose to worship. Forgive us for neglecting the need within us to sing and make music in our hearts unto You, and the call to encourage others with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Thank You for showing me a new way that this can be done, practically. TeachJust Be Held us to trust You more, so that we would set aside the stuff that weighs us down and choose to allow our hearts to soar in song before You. Lead us to love and encourage others with Your words that meet them where they are and speak to their heart in a way that only You can do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we encourage each other with songs that reflect Your truth, and as we sing and make music in our hearts unto You. 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

A few more favorites:

Casting Crowns – Just Be Held

Amanda Cook & Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave

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

He Makes Me Brave

Music has a way of touching spaces deep within us, and every so often, a song comes along and every word seems to hit home as if it were written just for you, individually. Sunday, as we sang a song that we have sung before, I had this very experience. I don’t consider myself to be a fearful individual, yet anxiety tends to rise when I am overwhelmed with too many unknowns or uncertainties. A place that always brings peace to my soul, is any space that is near water, so the song You Make Me Brave, by Amanda Cook, (click highlighted to listen and view lyrics) struck home on multiple levels.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         After a very full last day of school, as I was leaving a retirement celebration for our fabulous school finance secretary, a kind friend, and former teacher and colleague, reminded me of a favorite verse of mine in casual conversation. He had no way of knowing what uncertainties are standing before me, yet what he spoke, was clearly a reminder from God. When I am afraid, I will trust in You. – (Psalm 56:3) This will be my life verse, imprinted on the tender and tremulous places in my mind and heart, to remind me that I do not have to know what is coming nor what I am to do, I just have to choose to trust in Him.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       When I stand on shore,OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
in awe of the sea;
as mighty waves crash,
You stand, holding me.
Your love lifts me up,
replacing the fear;
I will choose to trust,
for I know You’re near.
Let Your waves of grace,
come wash over me;
remove all the fear,
of what I can’t see.
May I give to You,
all that is unknown;
and trust that You will,
take care of Your own.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are afraid, we can trust in You. Thank You that Your waves of grace wash over us, and make us brave beyond what we could ever be without You. Thank You that You call us to so much more than just standing at the shore. Thank You that You want us to go far beyond what we could ever imagine on our own. Forgive us for the fear that hinders us, and help us to hold fast to the promises that You have made. May we go forth boldly in Your love and Your grace, and may many come to know the safety of Your eternal embrace. Be glorified as we trust in You. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – I Chronicles 16:31

Unto You

Life seems to come in waves. Some waves are gentle, as they move us closer to where we are meant to be. However, sometimes we find ourselves in a strong set of the raging rollers, that would be wonderful if equipped and trained as a professional surfer, but for the rest of us, they seem to inspire a hold-on-for-dear-life sort of response, and require trust and perseverance to paddle through, until they at last pass. Fortunately, no matter what condition we find the sea we are sailing, we have One who can help us safely navigate. “For He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care.” – (Psalm 95:7)

Please make some sense,Unto You
of what isn’t mine;
show me your hand,
as I give you mine.
Help me see light,
when darkness surrounds;
be my lifeline,
please don’t let me drown.
These pounding waves,
seem will not relent,
yet gratitude,
restores joy again.
Help me to hold,
that which remains true;
You are still God,
making all things new.

 

Come let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. – (Psalm 95:1-2)

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety in the stormy seas, and that You are our anchor, keeping us from drifting away from where You call us to be. Thank You that You remain present, and that Your presence is our reason to give You all of our worship and praise. Thank You that You are our God, and that we are Your people. Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix on the waves that are coming toward us, and instead, help us to look to You to keep our head above water and ride the wave as You call us. May our obedience and perseverance demonstrate Your heart and hands to those who are seeking, and may many come to find You as the Lord of their lives. Let our love be a reflection of Your love toward us. Be glorified in all that we say and do. 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