Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

img_2018-12-16_07-22-314214295878380063031.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

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

The Power of Praise and Worship

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NIV)

Let the teaching of Christ live inside you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – (Colossians 3:16, ERV)

Remember what Christ taught, and let His words enrich your lives and make you wise; teach them to each other and sing them out in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, TLB)

 

On Sunday, a friend of mine, who happens to be our worship pastor, appropriately spoke about the power of praise and worship. She gave several examples in scripture where it specifically calls us to praise and worship. Next, she defined praise as the expression of admiration, thanks, appreciation and approval for all that God has done. Worship, she explained was an attitude of the heart that should be reserved for God alone; the surrendering of every part of our lives to God’s control. As I went about my day yesterday, I mulled over the words she had spoken. I was intentional in my music selection as I went about my day, both driving and when I slowed down to work on a seated task. The three main benefits found in worship and praise are: 1) It realigns our focus on God. 2) It increases our awareness of God’s presence. 3) It pushes back darkness.

For me, I found all three to be true, as I had discovered myself frustrated and in a less than stellar space having spent the morning cleaning, only to happen upon sugar ants in my kitchen cupboards. After having cleaned out and throwing away many things, I left to spend time in our new home. While seated on the couch writing thank you notes, I selected some of my favorite praise and worship music to listen to. In the process of writing out notes of gratitude and hearing lyrics that gave God glory, my irritation was erased and I found thankfulness overflowing from my heart. The simple act of writing out thanks with music that set my heart right, realigned my focus on the blessings that God has granted, made me aware of His love for me, and pushed back the darkness that had attempted make way through my frustration. God is good and He is faithful to meet us and set our hearts right as we seek Him. May we ever offer our praise to He alone who is worthy, allowing our every breath and heartbeat to worship our Maker.

 

Let all that we know, The Power of Praise and Worship

Of Christ come and dwell;

In our hearts and minds,

As our lives shall tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Sing of His great grace;

With thanks, choose worship,

Both now and always.

For songs sung to God,

With hearts fixed on Him;

Chase away darkness,

And let His light in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of praise and worship. Thank You that we are called to do both. Thank You that as we do, our hearts are realigned and we become more aware of You. Thank You that worship and praise push back darkness and allow Your light to fill us again. Forgive us for allowing the chaos and challenges to avert our focus from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rise with a song in our hearts, reminding us of the goodness of Your love and Your power within us as we praise You. Show us how to love those around us as we walk out our days as an offering of praise and worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our praise with hearts set to worship You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

 

 

He Hears the Seeking

O Lord my God, I cried to You for help, and You restored my health. – (Psalm 30:2, NLT)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

 

David, in his lifetime, experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows as he walked with God. He understood God’s faithfulness, as he had drawn very near, and had run just as far. Through it all, God loved him and drew David back unto Himself. So many of the Psalms demonstrate the depth of David’s understanding of God’s goodness and grace. As David was in trouble or was sick, he cried out to the Lord and trusted Him for help or for healing. Answers did not always come quickly by our standards, just as His answers come in His time still today. I have been watching a dear friend walk through an unusual medical dilemma, and in my own limited understanding, wonder why God didn’t just heal her. However, as I watch her walk out the steps towards resolution and recovery, I see His faithful hand at every turn, and the community that He has placed her in to love and care for her well. Perhaps He is completing a healing that goes far beyond what we can see, and as the doctors work out the physical piece, He is orchestrating the work of His hands for her heart and mind by His abundant and unending love. May we ever call on the Lord to be our Help and our Healer, and trust Him to bring us to a place of restoration.

 

O God we cry out,Shackles No More

To You in our need;

For You are our help,

The place where fear’s freed.

In You, we’re restored,

When broken or weak;

For You hear the cries,

Of all those who seek.

So Father, we come,

And humbly pray;

Bring healing and health,

Where needed today.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You and pray to You for help and for healing, and that You hear our prayers and restore us. Thank You that though Your answers come in Your time and Your way, Your ways are higher than our ways, and Your timing is perfect. Forgive us for our lack of patience and our frustration, when we want immediate answers, despite the work that You may be doing in the process as we wait. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love well, each person we know who is in the midst of the wait, without speaking foolishly, but rather meeting needs and being present in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and thank You for the restoration that You provide. 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

Let Our Hearts Listen

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. – (Colossians 3:16, NLT)

 

We are called to pursue the Lord and all that He has to offer. The truth of His word fills our hearts and lives if we give room to allow it in. Even more, Christ calls us to share what we learn with those around us. As we choose to allow the richness of life rooted in our Redeemer to take hold, we learn and grow, plant and sow, with wisdom that comes from the Lord. In growth, comes gratitude. May we pursue the Lord and all He brings to our lives, and respond to His goodness and grace with songs of gratitude that flow from a thankful heart.

 

May God’s holy word,grasping-the-greatness-of-love

Fill our hearts and lives;

So we can offer,

The hope that He gives.

As we are filled up,

May we do the same;

Share of God’s goodness,

With truth we proclaim.

Let us sing out songs,

To God, give our praise;

May gratitude flow,

To Christ all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word fills our lives and gives us the capacity to share of Your goodness and wisdom with those around us. Forgive us for not allowing the truth of Your word to sink in and take root. Teach us to slow down and listen to all that You have to say, so that we might be filled with all that You have to offer. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they may recognize Your redemption through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek You and allow Your word to fill us to overflowing. 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

Come with Thanksgiving

Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, NLT)

 

I love how God knows what we need far better than we do. Yesterday, what I thought I would be doing, turned into something entirely different, yet the difference was a wonderful day filled with laughter and fun with two of my very dearly treasured friends. We spent the day going to our favorite Thai food lunch, shopping for baking supplies, and then ended up back at their house for a baking extravaganza as we were serenaded by Christmas music. There was laughter, singing, terrific tastes, and my heart was full. It is that very sort of space that reminds me of Who gives me reason to sing, and my heart cannot help but give Him thanks for His goodness to me. May we all raise our voices in thanksgiving, to offer praise to Him who gives us reason to sing.

 

Come all, let us sing,come-with-thanksgiving

With joy to the Lord;

For in Him, we’re saved,

As grace is outpoured.

Let our thanksgiving,

Rise unto His ear;

As we sing His praise,

May our hope be clear.

All thanks unto You,

O Lord God of all;

In all things let praise,

Be that which enthralls.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Rock of our salvation. Thank You that we can come to You with thanksgiving, as You are faithful; always. Thank You that You receive our offerings of songs of praise as acceptable before You. Forgive us for not bringing our gratitude before You nearly often enough. Teach us to joyfully sing praise and thanks to You for who You are, as You are always good. Show us how to love others well, so that we might spread joy and love and light with those who may not otherwise have reason to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanksgiving, singing praise unto You. Amen.

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

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Even Greater Things

You will help me do even greater things. You will comfort me again! – (Psalm 71:21, ERV)

 

Yesterday, I participated in my first Tactical Strength Challenge. A TSC is a three-event competition that tests brut strength on the deadlift, muscular control on the pull up/chin hang, and lastly, muscular endurance with the five-minute kettlebell snatch test. The entire event was an incredible experience, as each competitor, officiant and spectator was positive and encouraging to all others. After months of training, I was hopeful to accomplish personal records in each event, as I felt ready. Sadly, on my third deadlift, I somehow injured my back as I was attempting to pull 300 pounds.  The pain impacted how I did on the bar hang, as I did not do as well as I had hoped. However, my teammates did amazing things, and the excitement of their success was a great encouragement and comfort to me. Somehow, on the final event, His strength was granted and I did PR on my kettlebell snatch test, in spite of how my back was feeling. This morning, as I ice the injury, I am encouraged and comforted through both reading the Psalms and reflecting on all that God has done. He has done great things in me and my teammates, and greater things are yet to come. His comfort is with me, and last evening I was receiving text messages from each of these friends who have become family, offering to help if there was anything that I might need. I love how God uses everything that we do and all that we go through, to encourage us and deepen our circles of community. He is always good. May we invest well in His word and His created, for loving Him and loving people are where all good is found.

 

Do not be troubled,IMG_2174

When things go awry;

For greater shall come,

Continue to try.

Let not a setback,

Turn our hearts away;

Instead seek the Lord,

For His strength each day.

He is our comfort,

No matter what comes;

Don‘t let a struggle,

Mean your story’s done.

Press into the truth,

Where comfort is found;

Rise up and press on,

For His grace abounds.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our comfort, and that You grant us strength and hope. Thank You that regardless of what happens today, You give us new grace and strength for what shall follow. Thank You that You create us for community, and for the blessing of people that You place in our lives. I am overwhelmed by not only the people with whom I train, but by other dear friends that knew what I was doing who checked in to see how it went. Thank You for blessing me with such an amazing circle. Forgive us for doubting You when we feel disappointed or defeated, and teach us to rise up and trust in You. Show us how to lean into You to receive the comfort and grace that You give, that renews our strength and propels us to persevere. Lead us to love others in such a way that we might be a comfort and encouragement to them, just as You are to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our help and our comfort. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

Let Our Hearts Sing Thanks

Let us come to Him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:2, NLT)

May we come before the Lord and give Him thanks. Let us sing and praise Him with the gratitude that rises in our hearts when we consider who He is, and all that He has done. Even when our present day is not our banner day, there is always reason to praise.

Yesterday did not end up as I would have hoped nor imagined. I spent much of the day and night seeking medical attention for one of my tender-hearted teens. They had been away on retreat with their youth group for the weekend, and upon returning, Adventurous was struggling with his asthma. Knowing the previous patterns that this sort of incident had taken in the past, a trip to Urgent Care up front, would likely prevent a trip to the ER later. We went to an Urgent Care that was new to us, and were seen right away. The entire staff was helpful and kind, and we were in and out in a bit over an hour. There was reason for our hearts to give praise as we parted, for the x-rays showed that his lungs were clear, indicating no sign of pneumonia or the like. He did, however, have an ear infection. Upon returning home, Adventurous laid down and took a nap for several hours. As he slept, I would do periodic check-ins to listen to his breathing. Unfortunately, that was growing steadily worse. After having prepared dinner for he and his brother, and having no success in waking him to come and eat, I realized that what I had hoped to avoid was going to need to happen.

I roused the sleeping cherub, and we were off for the ER. Due to the nature of our visit, we were taken back fairly quickly, as breathing is rather important. On our way back to a room, all I could do is give God thanks, as we passed by several very sick kiddos. Though Adventurous was struggling, the process of restoration was fairly routine. There was some waiting, and my sweet boy did not respond to the medication as quickly as he usually does, but he did respond, and we avoided being admitted. Three and a half hours after arrival, we were on our way home.

Let our hearts sing psalms,Let Our Hearts Sing Thanks

with all thanks and praise;

to our mighty God,

may our voices raise.

Despite our trials,

there’s reason to give;

thanks to the Father,

who loves and lets live.

We thank You, Lord God,

for love, life and breath;

for grace, forgiveness,

Your conquering death.

Let us not forget,

the wonder of You;

as we sing all praise,

and speak of Your truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You with thanksgiving and sing psalms of praise to You. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks and praise. Forgive us for not recognizing our reason to give thanks in all things is You, regardless of what goes on around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can see clearly with our heart, what our eyes cannot perceive. Lead us to love others with Your love and grace, so that they too may long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanksgiving, and sing psalms of praise unto You. Amen.

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

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

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

Faithful to Move the Fallen Forward

David is remembered as a man after God’s own heart. This is not because he always did everything right in the eyes of the Lord, but rather it was his relentless pursuit of redemption and restoration, even when he had done wrong in the sight of the Lord. He knew that all that he had was a gift from God, and was not at all what he deserved. David’s attitude of gratitude is expressed over and over in the Psalms, and his willingness to praise publicly and put aside his position of prestige, proved to the people that God alone, was deserving of all worship and praise.

 

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord, and he said:

“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?” – (1 Chronicles 17:16)

 

David approached God from a position of humility, despite being king. His beginnings as a shepherd boy were not forgotten, nor was the Lord’s faithfulness that had brought him through the trials and tribulations that led to his long before predicted position of leadership. Just as David took time to reflect on all that the Lord had done in his life thus far, so too we ought to do likewise. When we look back and reflect upon all that the Lord has done, we cannot help but stand in awe of His love and faithfulness granted unto us. Even if we are in the midst of messiness, we have previous examples and present provisions, that prove to us that He is for us, and that His promises shall stand the test of time. May we remember the Lord’s faithfulness forever, and look forward with faith in the Lord’s goodness and grace that He grants to all who call on His Name.

 

Lord, help us recall,External Appearance

all that You have done;

to bring us this far,

O Great Holy One.

For You Lord, are good,

Your love will endure;

despite that which comes,

Your faithfulness sure.

Help us move forward,

with trust that’s secure;

thank You for Your grace,

and presence so near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter where we are in our journey with You right now, we can look back and see that You have brought us a great distance from where we once were. Thank You that You are faithful to transform, renew and restore us, as You lead us forward into the promise of all that You have planned for us. Forgive us for our fearfulness that keeps us from moving forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may quickly recall all that You have done for us before, raising up in our hearts, a renewed strength and sense of purpose that will propel us forward toward who You are calling us to become. Lead us to love others with the same tender and relentless love that You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember how far You have brought us, and lead us to move boldly forward into what we are to become. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15