Beholding New Blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV) 

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

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

 

This morning, after perusing Facebook while my coffee was brewing, I discovered the story I have watched unfold over the last five years through countless runs (that we affectionately call therapy sessions), poured out with complete honesty and zero ill intent, as my dear friend commemorated in writing, her journey to freedom through faith and forgiveness. Her story and my own, though different, had some common threads that ultimately led to a similar outcome. This story tells of one dream being destroyed, while tremendous blessings of God’s faithfulness tenderly delivered she and her children into an incredible new chapter, with many more blessings yet to unfold. These verses, written by David, are amazingly appropriate as my heart responds with joy and praise for all of His faithfulness and blessings poured out over the past several years. The freedom, goodness and grace received are remarkably evident. Though the story seems to be one of extreme heartache, the other side of it holds dreams realized and hopes restored and made far greater than one could begin to imagine. God is faithful, even on our darkest nights, as His light comes and reveals the truth, hope and good that are meant to remain. May we hold fast to God and His grace, ever praising Him for every blessing He pours out upon us as we choose to allow Him room to lead. 

 

With all of my heart, 385ace51-24e7-416b-8430-0515506705ec7822422687448967530.jpg

I choose bless Your name; 

For You are the One, 

Who does what He claims. 

You take our heartache, 

Darkness and despair; 

And lead to freedom, 

In Your tender care. 

Where hope seems but dashed, 

You mend and renew; 

Your blessings poured out, 

As we trust in You. 

All thanks be to God, 

Whose faithful indeed; 

He loves us to life, 

And meets all our need. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You turn stories of darkness and despair into ones of healing and hope and beautiful blessings. Thank You that You turn our ashes into beautiful stories of Your redemption and grace. Forgive us for our times of fear and doubt, as You alone are the One to work all things out. Teach us to trust You in every season and circumstance, as You have a far greater plan that our limited understanding can grasp. Show us how to love those around us well, as You use our stories of struggle to illuminate, encourage and bless those who are in their own spaces of darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bless You with all of our being for the hope, goodness and promise that You have for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

(God) who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. – Psalm 103:4-5

 

*Click on “This story” as highlighted in the text to read the story to which I am referring.

Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

Seek His Steadiness

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 15:5-6, NIV)

May God who gives patience, steadiness, and encouragement help you to live in complete harmony with each other – each with the attitude of Christ toward the other. And then all of us can praise the Lord together with one voice, giving glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 15:5-6, TLB)

Now may God, the Source of great endurance and comfort, grace you with unity among yourselves, which flows from your relationship with Jesus, the Anointed One. Then, with a unanimous rush of passion, you will with one voice glorify God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 15:5-6, TPT)

 

As we seek God to be our Source of endurance, encouragement and comfort, we are able to in turn, do the same for others in His strength. The incredible design in this is that as we give as we have been given, our lives give glory to God. We are praising our Provider as we practice passing on the patience, steadiness and encouragement that we have been given so that we may live in harmony with one another. May we ever seek the Lord and the endurance and encouragement that He provides, so that we may do the same with those around us. When we do, our lives united glorify God.

 

God grants endurance, Seek His Steadiness

Encouragement too;

The heart of Jesus,

Passed to me and you.

For as we’re given,

We can also give;

With one mind and voice,

We praise as we live.

So let us choose love,

On the Lord rely;

Together unite,

So God’s glorified.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us patience, endurance and encouragement to help us live in complete harmony with each other. Thank You that as we do, we are giving praise to You. Forgive us for the times that we have not had an attitude that reflects Your heart toward others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend the same comfort, encouragement and grace that we have been given to those around us. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend the patience, comfort and encouragement that is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help the very things that You give us be that which flow from us. 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

Praise Even When

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. 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

Hope in Discouragement

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again – my Savior and my God! – (Psalm 42:5, NLT)

Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I tell myself, “Wait for God’s help! You will again praise Him, your God, the One who will save you.” – (Psalm 42:5, ERV)

Why are you so down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God. – (Psalm 42:5, MSG)

 

It is difficult to take in the recent events in our nation, and not feel sad and discouraged. Yet, even in the darkness of such ugliness, good has been burning bright in incredible ways. When the need for blood donations was presented to the people of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas, generous hearts lined up in droves. Help is being provided in a place where it is typically lacking, as it is needed most. Additionally, there have been numerous stories of individuals placing themselves in harm’s way to help those in need in the midst of this tragic event. When I see the good that rose up in people who helped because they knew that they could not just standby and do nothing – I am encouraged and remember that God is our hope and our reason to praise. He moves hearts to act with love and compassion, and despite the darkness that is in the world, God is always good. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, as He is the One who saves and is worthy of all of our praise.

 

When I’m discouraged, Hope in Discouragement

And my heart is sad;

Help me hope again,

Lord, make my heart glad.

Glad for Your goodness,

For Your light and grace;

Praise for salvation,

Our hope in this place.

Lord, help us to see,

Where to fix our eyes;

As we look to You,

All hope’s realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the darkness that befalls us and our nation, You are always good. Thank You that You demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness through the grace and love of people. Father, please be with the first responders, the officers, the medical teams and all those impacted by what took place in Las Vegas. Your healing hands are needed more than ever. Forgive us for turning a blind eye to that which overwhelms us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask of You what we are meant to do – be it to give, pray, or go do more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides comfort and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, especially in the places where Your light seems to be lacking. Amen.

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

You Are Strength

I love You, Lord; You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NLT)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

 

Whether it is strength of heart, strength of mind, or physical strength, God provides what we need when we need it most. This past weekend, I both experienced His provision of strength, and watched others dig deep and find strength they did not realize that they had. As a visual learner, I so love concepts to be made tangible before me. There is a quote about running that really can parallel to our walk of faith as well:

“When you can no longer run with your legs, run with your heart.”

It is a reminder that when we come to the end of ourselves, we begin to rely on the One who created us with purpose and equipped us to run whatever race He sets before us. When we lean into Him, we find strength we did not know we had, and accomplish far more than we ever thought possible. Whatever that next step is, He will provide the strength that is needed to get from here to there. May we trust in the Lord who is our strength, and love as we are loved.

 

O Lord, You are good,

You Are Strength

Both of these ladies discovered strength they did not realize they had. ❤

 

With love, make me strong;

All praise unto You,

Throughout my life long.

I love You, my God,

Unto You, I’ll run;

Wherever You call,

’til my days are done.

You Lord, are my strength,

O Father, I sing;

Your grace sustains me,

Through everything.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength. Thank You that the strength You provide is not just physical, but strength of heart and mind as well. Forgive us for not depending on You when things are difficult, or for not praising You when they are easy. Teach us to give You glory in all things and at all times. We love You, Lord and want to honor You in all. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the strength that You provide us as it is needed. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

Public Praise

But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising Him to everyone. – (Psalm 109:30, NLT)

I give thanks to the Lord. I praise Him in front of everyone. – (Psalm 109:30, ERV)

I will continually give thanks to the Eternal with the praises of my mouth; I will praise Him in the company of many. – (Psalm 109:30, VOICE)

 

In Psalm 109, David is pouring out his heart to the Lord about the harsh treatment that he is receiving at the hands of wicked people. His very first words are words of praise, followed by a call for help. As David presents the pains inflicted upon him at the hands of others, he adds how he has tried to pray. As he continues to unpack the unpleasantries unveiled at the hands of those around him, he calls on the Lord for His faithful love and help. Ultimately, at the end of the Psalm, David gives God his gratitude, and presents praise before all of the people around him. Again, David speaks of the faithful character of God, and how He saves. At the end of the day, David knew that God is good, faithful and loving, and that not only could he call on Him for help, but that the Lord was worthy of praise wherever he went. May we too, share the same sentiment of praise for our God, no matter what comes our way. When we recognize how loving and faithful our Father is for us, we cannot help but present our praise before Him.

 

To the Lord I bring,Believe Instead of Striving

All thanks and all praise;

For He is faithful,

For all of our days.

Before we unpack,

Each place we’re in need;

May we give honor,

To Him who sets free.

Let each heart that’s near,

Hear praise we profess;

So they too may know,

Of His faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You, no matter what is happening in our lives, and ask for Your help and Your hope. Thank You Lord, that You are faithful and loving, and that You hear our every heart cry. Forgive us for not presenting the praise that is due before You, as You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Teach us how to trust You more, so that we would seek You and find You in triumph and in tragedy. Show us how to love with faithfulness and grace, so that those around us see the light of Your love through all that we say and do. Let our very lives bring praise unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give thanks to You and praise You before all people. 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

Praise for the Path Made Plain

May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:171, NIV)

Praise will pour from my lips because You help me learn what You require. – (Psalm 119:171, Voice)

In order to live the life that God has for us, we need to know and understand what He is asking of us. By His Spirit within us, God reveals the truth of His word. His guidance leads us to the fullness of all that He has for us. Thanks and praise should be ever present, as He shows us His ongoing mercy and grace. May the overflow of our hearts be heard in our words, as we give the Lord all of our praise, and may we be ever mindful of all that He offers as He continues to reveal more and more of who He is and what He desires for us and through us through the truth of His word.

Let every word,When We Call

that parts from these lips;

be seasoned with praise,

as You have equipped.

For by Your great grace,

You teach me Your ways;

show me what’s required,

for all of my days.

Lord, let my whole life,

be spent in pursuit;

of learning Your truth,

giving praise to You.

And Lord as I go,

may others too see;

Your goodness and grace,

established in me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and for the gift of Your Holy Spirit within us. Thank You that You reveal to us, the truth of what is required. Thank You that all honor, glory and praise belong to You. Forgive us for not seeking You or praising You as we ought to do, and teach us to do so in all things and at all times. Lead our hearts to look to You to guide and direct us as we go. Show us how to love others so that they too, may come to know the truth of who You are, and what You require. May many choose to live for You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue more of You, and give You all of our praise. Amen.

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

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

Persistently Pursue in Praise

A blind beggar on the side of the road was calling out to Jesus. People tried to silence him, but he shouted all the louder. His persistence captured the attention of Jesus, and the following exchange took place:

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. – (Luke 18:40-42)

When we know what we need from the Lord, and we persist in our pursuit of Him, He moves mightily and miracles take place. The challenge is that we not give up when our circumstances or surroundings tell us to be silent. Faith requires us to keep calling out, even when all seems impossible in our own eyes. As we are willing to keep pressing in, we make room for God to move. The moment we are aware of His touch, or His acting on our behalf, we ought to respond with thanks and praise. When we do, others too, have the opportunity to become aware of His faithfulness, and express their gratitude as well. May we have a persistent faith that refuses to be silenced, even when the world around us would tell us there is no hope; for in Christ, our hope brings healing and health and wholeness.

When we are but blind,The Splendor of Salvation

and needing to see;

our charge is to call,

on Christ to be free.

For only through Him,

will we truly find;

freedom for body,

heart, spirit and mind.

We must choose press in,

no matter what’s said;

let faith fill our hearts,

chase doubt from our heads.

With all that we are,

let us offer praise;

so others may know,

the Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us with Your love as we call on You in faith. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that You are merciful and kind, and that You love us back to life, despite how we come before You. Forgive us for our lack of faith or persistence, and teach us to trust You more, so that we would have the faith of the blind beggar that is relentless, regardless of what those around us might say. Lead us to love others generously and faithfully, so that they might see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persist in our pursuit of You, and give You all of our praise. Amen.

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

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. – Genesis 21:6

He Answers Our Call

This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord formed it and established it – the Lord is His Name: Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:2-3)

 

The promises of God are the same yesterday, today and forever. He who formed all that is out of nothing, is willing to hear our requests, and will show us what we need to know. God is faithful to answer when we seek Him and listen for His voice. Not limited by our human understanding, the Lord will answer in His way, not ours. When we ask for understanding and answers, we can be certain that He will be faithful to answer, but almost equally certain that it will not necessarily be in the way in which we envision. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and so too are His ways, higher than our ways. When we learn what the Lord has to say, we must have faith to act according to what He has spoken. May we trust in His unfailing love, as we call on the Lord for answers and He teaches us the unsearchable things that we do not know.

 

He who made the earth,

image from quotespictures.com

image from quotespictures.com

established all things;

is willing to hear,

the questions we bring.

As we choose to ask,

God’s faithful to show;

unsearchable things,

that we don’t yet know.

A matter of trust,

in our choice to seek;

He remains the same,

each day of the week.

Let us go to Him,

as we need to know;

His love never fails,

and the truth He’ll show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful and available always. Thank You that we can seek You and ask You for answers to that which we need to know, and You will reveal to us, great and unsearchable things. Thank You that the more we spend time seeking You and praising You, the more we grow to understand who You are and how much You love us. Forgive us for not seeking You in our stuck spaces, and teach us to trust You more, so that we seek Your wisdom in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others so that they too may come to know Your unfailing love for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we ask You for the answers to that which we do not know, that keep us from moving forward to where You are calling us to go. Amen.

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

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19