Heard in Silence

You who answer prayer, to You all people will come. – (Psalm 65:2, NIV)

Anyone can come to You, and You will listen to their prayers. – (Psalm 65:2, ERV)

You hear us pray in words and silence; all humanity comes into Your presence. – (Psalm 65:2, VOICE)

 

For me, The Voice translation is such a comforting reminder of the character of our Creator. He hears the words that we can give a voice, and those that are trapped in the chambers of our heart, pleading for His hand to hold them. God sees and He knows, and He listens to the prayers of all who set their mind and heart on Him. May we ever remember that the Lord is near, ready to listen to our prayers – whether our words unto Him have volume or are uttered in the silent spaces of our hearts and minds – He hears.

 

The Lord is faithful,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

He sees and He hears;

Each time that we pray,

He listens, comes near.

God hears more than words,

He knows each heart cry;

Prayed in the stillness,

Where His hope stands by.

God always listens,

When people choose pray;

He loves and forgives,

And shows us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer, no matter if we give them an audible voice or hold them in our hearts for You. Thank You that You love all of creation so much that You are always ready to listen to anyone who desires to speak to You. Forgive us for making prayer more complicated than it ought to be, as You desire our heart, not a stream of eloquent words. Teach us to be real with You in relationship, rather than “pray” out of obligation. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and willingness to listen and love, without prerequisites. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, sharing the things of our heart with You; always. Amen.

 

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

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

Owe Only Love

Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. – (Romans 13:8, NLT)

You should own nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. – (Romans 13:8, MSG)

 

God calls us to love one another as we have been loved. If we seek to love in the same way that God loves us, it will require a lifetime of loving those around us to carry out that to which we have been called. Love is a rare commodity – for the more we give, the more we discover we are filled and ready to pour out again and again. Every other sort of debt leaves us empty and lacking, yet love fills, restores, and propels us to pour out more. May we allow the only debt that we owe, be that of love to one another.

 

For we have been called, Tether Our Hearts

To fulfill a debt;

The space where love lacks,

Hope where it’s not yet.

Choose not to borrow,

What can’t be paid back;

Unless it is love,

For God can do that.

Never stop loving,

Each other by grace;

This fulfills the law,

To walk in God’s way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us the ways in which we are meant to live according to Your will. Thank You that the only thing we should owe one another is love. Thank You that as we seek to love one another according to Your will, You fill us and equip us to love as You love. Forgive us for not choosing to love like You, or for running up debts that we cannot repay. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be wise in our ways and follow You all of our days. Show us how to love one another according to Your good and perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we opt to owe nothing to anyone except for love. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

Put Into Practice

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – (Philippians 4:9, NIV)

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies. – (Philippians 4:9, MSG)

 

I had two incredibly proud mom moments last evening, as I recognized the reality of this verse lived out in the lives of both of my boys. First, the orchestra teacher began to speak of a student who had overcome the struggle of learning his music as he had gone on and memorized nearly every piece they played. His perseverance and positivity were commended as he received one of the most-improved musician awards. After watching my eldest progeny go forward to receive his award, the same instructor began speaking of a young man who worked hard everyday, greeted her with kindness daily, and always offered a helping hand. He too was being recognized for the same such award, with no sense of obligation to reward the second son because he was in the family, rather it was all because of the merit of his character. I was blown away… Both boys had left a mark in a space that they have loved throughout their middle school careers. Each one chose to commit to their craft and care well for those around them in the process, and as a result, were being seen as the upstanding young men that they have become. Both boys were blown away by being seen, and I imagine the moment will be forever marked in their memories.

A take-away from the evening was the reminder of how important it is to let kids know that we see their hard work. Acknowledging them in their struggle to persevere can make all of the difference, and when they have seen a challenge through to completion – celebrate! May we see the success stories all around us in this season of graduations and new beginnings. Let our lives mirror that of our Maker, so that we may put into practice, His ways, allowing our words and deeds to deliver peace in places that need it most.

 

Let all that’s been learned,photo (6)

Received from the Lord;

Be set in practice,

Honor the Adored.

For as we obey,

Operate in peace;

God’s glory and grace,

Are through Him, released.

May His love be known,

By all who draw near;

Together we come,

As He removes fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us, teach us, and speak to us, the things that You want us to learn from You. Thank You that when we put these things into practice, we discover Your peace. Forgive us for not acting on the things that You have shown us, and ending up unsettled, wondering why we can’t find Your peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and find You in every situation and circumstance, no matter how challenging. Thank You that You are far greater than anything we face. Lead us to love others well, especially those who are in a space of transition or on the cusp of new beginnings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we put into practice that which we have learned, received or heard from You. 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

To Choose to Be Still

“Be still, and know that I am God!…” – (Psalm 46:10a, NLT)

“Be still, be calm, see, and understand that I am the True God…” – (Psalm 46:10a, VOICE)

 

Life can get extraordinarily busy. I am no exception. This is by far, my busiest season, as I am on the go from 3:30am to 8:00pm or later most weekdays. The reason for such early rising is to provide myself the opportunity to do just as this verse instructs. Beginning my day in silent stillness before the Lord, offers calm and clarity to take on each new day. It can be easy to get caught up in the busy, and forget Who has equipped us to do the things that we do, and as we make way through the midst of it all, how deeply we are loved by Him. Our reason to be still is to come into a space of understanding of who God is, and how He loves. As we learn and grow, we are compelled to go forth and do likewise – not out of obligation nor selfish ambition, but simply because we are loved we and want to do the same. May we take pause and be still before the Lord, so that we may hear His heart for us, and understand the greatness of our God.

 

We are invited,Hope in What is Unseen

to come before Christ;

in quiet stillness,

where hope’s realized.

As we choose be still,

our hearts come to know;

the greatness of God,

and how His love flows.

True understanding,

place of clarity;

is found in stillness,

solidarity.

Let our hearts be calm,

come into His rest;

know He is the Lord,

and He loves us best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we quiet ourselves before You, we come to understand more of who You are, and how You love. Thank You that You are the True God who knows us and loves us, in spite of ourselves. Forgive us for not slowing down to be still before You, as we miss out on all that You have for us. Teach us to be still and set our hearts on You, as we further discover who You are and how You love. Show us how to demonstrate the love and grace that You give to us and to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be still and recognize the greatness of You. Amen.

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

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

Believe Instead of Striving

Jesus answered, “The work God wants you to do is this: to believe in the One He sent.” – (John 6:29, ERV)

God wants us to trust and believe in His one and only Son with all that we are, rather than complete some check list of accomplishments. When we are fully invested in faith in Christ, we are compelled to love and serve as He did. Our motivation for what we do, matters. If we are working to somehow try to earn God’s favor, we are toiling in vain. Anything God wants accomplished, He can do with a thought or a word. His ways are so much higher than our ways. However, if we believe in Him with our whole being, and love Him with all that we are, we cannot help but long to serve Him and do whatever He calls us to do. Acting in love is a far different scenario than obligation or fear. May we rise up and take inventory of what we are doing today. If our to do list is merely to appease or earn favor, let our hearts be changed so that we are motivated purely by His love, and a heart to serve Him and all whom He has created.

O Lord make my heart,Believe Instead of Striving

prepared to serve;

not to please others,

of love undeserved.

For what matters most,

is in Whom I trust;

hope everlasting,

in Christ is a must.

Show us the way, Lord,

to fully invest;

our hearts unto You,

in the way that’s best.

From that space of faith,

teach us to love well;

so others may know,

Your grace for themselves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You want from us is our whole heart – our trust and our belief. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make Yourself tangible and approachable, to a world lost and desperately in need of Your grace. Thank You that You love us in spite of ourselves, and raise us up to who You call us to be, if we choose to seek and trust in You. Forgive us for our attempting to do enough or be enough, rather than investing all that we are in You. Teach us to trust in You, and allow You to do the transforming of us, so that we can go forth and be used by You to touch lives and transform communities. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe with all that we are, in the One You sent. Amen.

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

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

The Power of Praise

Though much of Psalm 69 is spent crying out to God about the troubles that David is facing, and how he longs for God to intervene, there is a verse that is pivotal, as David turns and points out the power of praise and how God receives it. I will praise God’s Name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. – (Psalm 69:30) He goes on to speak of how God is more pleased with praise than with sacrifice, and that our hearts are changed in the process.

 

Praise and thanksgiving are powerful tools to turn our hearts and minds away from our troubles, and onto He who is our solution. It never ceases to amaze me at how different my circumstances appear, when I begin looking through the lens of gratitude to God. Though I may not appreciate my circumstance, there are always things to be grateful for in the midst of them. His blessings are present, even when the storms are raging. Shelter, a life boat, our anchor in Him – all things for which we can give Him thanks and praise. Each breath that we breathe and the moments we are given are gifts to be utilized for His glory. May we praise His Name with our life song, and glorify Him as we give Him thanks for who He is and all that He has done and will do in our lives.

 

When storms are raging,The Power of Praise

and the waters rise;

may we give God praise,

never compromise.

Let thanksgiving flow,

from our grateful hearts;

as we speak the truth,

for love He imparts.

Though the trials come,

His glory shall last;

Christ’s power within,

our strength to move past.

Glorify the Lord,

praise His Name in song;

He lifts up the weak,

and helps us be strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You alone are worthy of all praise and thanksgiving. Thank You that You are more pleased by our songs of praise and thanksgiving that come from a heart of gratitude for You, than You are for mere offerings given out of ritual or obligation. Forgive us for doing anything out of obligation rather than from a place of praise. Help our hearts to be right before You, so that when we think of You, we cannot help but pour out praise and thanksgiving for who You are and all that You have done in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may slow down enough to see You in the midst of the storms. Lead us to love others, just as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in song and glorify You with thanksgiving. Amen.

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

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

The Works Required

Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – (John 6:28-29)

 

God does not have a laundry list of works that we must perform in order to qualify to come to Him. The only “requirement” that He has, is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be saved. When we know Christ, we invest in our relationship with Him. As we grow in His wisdom and grace, we are compelled to serve Him. More than anything else, God wants our hearts. He longs for us to seek Him with all that we are, trusting that He is who He says He is. When we believe, we are doing the work that He requires. May we go forth in boldness, confident in the truth that our lives profess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

Oh Lord, here I am,Confidence in Christ

I humbly ask;

what do You require?

Lead me to the task.

All that the Lord wants,

a heart that is true;

that believes in Him,

faithful to pursue.

One that seeks His face,

all throughout the day;

who trusts He is Lord,

the Truth, Light and Way.

Help me be faithful,

in all that I do;

with my heart and mind,

fixed wholly on You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not require us to do enough nor be enough to somehow qualify for Your kingdom. Thank You that You receive us as we come, when we believe. Thank You that faith is not something that we can muster on our own, but rather is a gift that You grow within us as we pursue You and trust You more. Forgive us for attempting to earn Your favor, or feeling like we somehow need to work for that which You freely give. Help set our hearts right so that the works we do are out of a heart of gratitude, not out of obligation. Lead us to love well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship this season with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our gifts of gratitude unto You. Amen.

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

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

A Debt to Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8)

 

“We are permanently in debt to Christ for the lavish love He has poured out on us. The only way we can even begin to repay this debt is by loving others in turn. Because Christ’s love will always be infinitely greater than ours, we will always have the obligation to love our neighbors.” – (NIV footnotes for Romans 13:8)

 

Though we cannot earn nor repay His overwhelming love for us, we can demonstrate our gratitude by extending the same love given to us, to all whom we encounter. As we do, we fulfill what He asks of us – to love our neighbors as ourselves. Practically, this will look different for each person. However, the basic foundation is the same. If we see a known need, do we actively pursue a path to provide assistance? Are we being His hands, heart and voice to those who desperately need to have Him made tangible, practically?

 

When a heart is low,A Debt to Love

or someone’s in need;

do we offer help,

follow the Lord’s lead?

As we opt listen,

His voice we shall hear;

leading and guiding,

His directions clear.

If we move in love,

all honor is His;

answering His call,

to love like Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You paid a price we can never repay, yet You receive us, despite our inadequacies. Thank You that You receive us as we are, and are pleased when we choose to love others, as You love us. Forgive us for not loving others well, or for neglecting the needs of those around us. Help make us more aware of both needs and what we are meant to do to love. May many come to know You as the Lord and Savior of their lives, and may they too, commit their lives to loving as You love us all. Be glorified, O God, in our every word, thought and deed. 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

Pouring of Plenty

“God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done.” – (2 Corinthians 9:8, The Message)

 

Paul was speaking to the people of Corinth about being generous with what God had given them. He asked them not to give out of obligation, but cheerfully, from a heart that had determined to give, because God had so graciously given unto them. We are meant to give what we determine in our hearts, cheerfully. This is not just of our wealth, but of our time and our talents – the very gifts of God that He has placed in us for His purposes, to bless others for His glory. What is such a divine mystery to me, is that each time we step out in faith and offer our time, talents and/or resources, we seem to be the recipients of His blessing. The joy in knowing His pleasure, is beyond a reward one could measure. Additionally, I find that when I give anyway, my own needs somehow are met, regardless of the seeming lack of time, energy or resources. God has a way of multiplying the miniscule, when we are faithful with what we do have.

 

God pours out His grace,Pouring of Plenty

abundant to us;

when we call on Him,

our Savior, Jesus.

As we choose to give,

from all that is ours;

God uses our gifts,

to reach near and far.

When others are blessed,

we become blessed too;

for we see Him work,

as lives are made new.

Generously give,

as He’s given us;

all unto the Lord,

our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have given us the ultimate gift – Your Son, so that we may have eternal life with You. Thank You that You are generous and kind, never withholding anything from us, as You supply our every need. Forgive us for our reluctance to give – be it of our time, talents or resources. Please show us how we are meant to give unto You, and help us to do so with cheerful hearts. May many be moved toward a relationship with You, as a result of the giving unto which we are called. Help us to love others as You so generously love us. Be glorified through our generosity today. 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