Open

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise. – (Psalm 51:15, NIV) 

Yet He gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens. – (Psalm 78:23, NIV) 

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – (Psalm 119:18, NIV) 

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. – (Psalm 118:19, NIV) 

You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. – (Psalm 145:16, NIV) 

 

Last evening, my husband and I went to a New Year’s prayer service at our church. It provided opportunity to be intentional in a sort of resetting as we journey into 2019. As we spent some time in worship and prayer, I wondered if there was a word that would lead as we walk forward into the new that God has for us. The word that kept coming to my mind and heart was “Open”. At that time, I had a sense that it was for me to be intentionally open to what God has for me, and to be open to others so that He can work through me. That being said, my thought this morning was to do a bit of a word study in His word. The verses above stood out to me as guiding principles as to how to be “open”. As I open my eyes and my mouth, I shall see and speak of His wonders. Additionally, God wants me to be open to receive and walk into the new that He has for me. May our hearts and eyes be open to all that God has, and our mouths ready to reveal the love and grace that He has granted, so that we too, may pour out to those around us. 

 

Open my eyes, Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

So, I ever see; 

All of the blessings, 

And Your great beauty. 

Open my mouth, Lord, 

So that I may speak; 

Of infinite good, 

And point to Your peace. 

Open hands and heart, 

So that I may share; 

All that You’ve given, 

Make clear that You care. 

Open up the way, 

And level the trails; 

So, Your way is clear, 

Your love never fails. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are open to us, we too, can be open to You and all that You have for us. Thank You that You are intentional with Your plans and purposes for our lives. Thank You that we get to participate in Your goodness and grace, as Your abundance is poured out as we run well our race. Forgive us for the times that we have not been open to all that You have for us or to those around us. Show us how to love others with open hearts and hands, granting You room to move in us and through us in a way that blesses all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be open to You and allow You room to move through our open hands and hearts. Amen. 

 

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

 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8

Blessings to the Seeking

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and living righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. – (Matthew 6:33, MSG)

 

As we pursue God and the path He has placed before us, He provides all that we need. We may not acquire everything we want, yet so often what we receive in His time, is a far greater gift than anything that we could ever ask or imagine. In my life, I was content in my season of singleness, and set my sight on loving God and my children well. All that we needed, His hand provided. Incredibly, He did so much more. New love took root where any thought or hope of such love had been long since lost. It was nurtured to grow as never before, and the longing to be loved as God intended that had been buried in the depths of my heart, has become a true tangible. All of this to say, as we seek our Savior and pursue the path that is upright, He provides all that we need and more. May we seek the Lord above all else, doing what He asks of us, and we will know the bounty of His provision, personally.

 

Seek first our Savior,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

And pursue what’s right;

He honors each heart,

In Him who delights.

With grace, He meets us,

In goodness He gives;

All that is needed,

As by faith we live.

Incredible still,

He goes on to bless;

His kids who seek Him,

Despite our life’s mess.

Kindness in chaos,

Peace throughout our storms;

Ongoing goodness,

As His love transforms.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, we find You. Thank You that when we pursue the path You place before us You provide all that we need to navigate. Forgive us for the times we have attempted to go our own direction and lacked the faith to trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever and have great things in store as we walk in Your way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pursue what is right in Your eyes. Amen.

 

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

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Clothed in Love

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. – (Colossians 3:14, NLT)

Together with those things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG)

 

Some families are casual and some are formal as they gather for the holidays. However, the most lasting and lovely garment we can don on any given occasion, is that of love. Love breaks down barriers and brings people together in peace. Where tension once reigned, kindness comes in and conveys the calm that Christ intended. For some, the garment of love that we choose to wear, may be the only glimpse of goodness that exists in their environment. As one receives such love, they too are equipped to go and do likewise. May we begin each day by clothing ourselves with the love of Christ, so that we may go forth and love others as we have been loved.

 

The greatest garment, Clothed in Love

That we can choose wear;

Is that of God’s love,

He intends we share.

As we choose share love,

His peace enters in;

For harmony comes,

Where love is given.

No matter the day,

Event or reason;

Let’s dress up in love,

This lovely season.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your goodness and grace, You clothe us in Your love. Thank You that as we go forth in Your love, we are bound together in unity in You. Forgive us for not clothing ourselves in the love You give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to fill us and equip us so that we can love as You love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clothe ourselves in Your everlasting love. 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

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

Help and Hope Realized

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

Every time I call to You, God, You answer me. So listen to me now, and hear what I say. – (Psalm 17:6, ERV)

I am crying aloud to You, O True God, for I long to know Your answer. Hear me, O God. Hear my plea. Hear my prayer for help. – (Psalm 17:6, VOICE)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles with Saul, cried out to God, asking to be heard as he remembered and trusted in His faithfulness. Though I am not in a season of struggle, and am standing in the dawn of a new day that marks the beginning of a brand-new school year, I cannot help but have a heavy heart for so many that surround us with fires blazing throughout my state and those that surround us, as well as the devastation that has befallen those in the path of Hurricane Harvey and those threatened by the impending landfall of Irma. May we pray as David did, and call on the Lord for help, trusting that He hears our cries and will show us what we are meant to do.

 

O Lord, we cry out, Fire Map

Trusting that You hear;

We know You’ll answer,

Your love for us, clear.

Bend down and listen,

O God, hear our cries;

So many in need,

Bring help to these lives.

Show us what to do,

To see through Your eyes;

So help and Your hope,

Are soon realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You and be heard. Thank You that You bend down from heaven to hear our prayer and listen to our cries. Thank You that You are our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Forgive us for doing nothing when we are overwhelmed with the weight of the need that surrounds us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would step up and do one small thing at a time, as even the small things matter to the one who receives. Show us how to love well, all those around us in practical ways, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You, trusting You to hear and answer us. Amen.

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

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

Asking, Seeking, Knocking, Finding

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” – (Matthew 7:7-8, NLT)

 

Our prayers can only be heard and answered if we actually pray them. Hope and desire are good things, yet it is only in the asking, seeking and actively pursuing God, that we find Him. God hears our prayers and is ready to answer if we are willing to come before Him. Though He may not answer in the way we anticipate, our prayers never fall on deaf ears. He always hears. When we earnestly seek Him, we find God. His peace and His presence are readily available everywhere – we have to be willing to slow down and seek, in order to find. To keep moving the direction He has called, we have to keep pressing forward. Though God calls us in a direction, it does not mean that the path will be easy or that every door will be open along the way. Our charge and our challenge is to remain dependent on Him, so that we will knock on closed doors to discover if we are meant to go through, or find another way around. He is faithful to show us the way, if we are willing to ask Him for direction. May we seek the Lord, asking Him for the answers we need to know. May we find courage to knock on closed doors, and discover the doors we are meant to walk through. Amen.

 

When we choose to ask,

’tis how we receive;Asking for Amazing Answers

we find in the seeking,

in Christ we believe.

For knocking on doors,

is how we shall find;

where we need walk through,

and from where to hide.

Doors will not open,

if we never knock;

prayers go unanswered,

if we never talk.

May voices be raised,

in faith, let us pray;

seek, knock, ask and find,

He’ll show us the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Thank You that when we ask of You, You hear our prayers and You answer. Thank You that as we knock on doors before us, You open the ones that we are meant to walk through. Forgive us for not presenting our prayers before You, or for lacking persistence in our seeking and knocking, even when we know that You hold the answers that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down, seek, ask and knock, wherever we need to hear from You. Show us the way to completely rely on You, so that we go forth and love others in a way that points people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and ask You for answers, trusting You to show us the direction that we are meant to go. 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

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

Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

In Galatians four, Paul was presenting his concerns to the believers of Galatia. Those who had initially embraced the gift of grace given by Christ Jesus, were setting it aside so that they could turn back to observing the laws. Clearly, full of great concern, Paul pleaded with his fellow followers of the faith. What has happened to all your joy?… – (Galatians 4:15a) Paul perceived that the Galatians had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism.

 

Legalism is a dangerous and slippery slope, and a thief of joy. It can take away joy because:

(1) It makes people feel guilty rather than loved.

(2) It produces self-hatred rather than humility.

(3) It stresses performance over relationship.

(4) It points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. – (NIV footnotes)

 

If guilt, self-hatred, need to perform, or inadequacy are ruling our lives, we need to check our focus. Is faith reigning in our hearts, or have the reigns of legalism somehow crept into the corners and began to steal our joy? Let us throw off every burden that hinders us and allow Christ’s grace to cover us. May we walk by faith, and leave the links of legalism that try to bind us, far behind.

 

Joy that is complete,Legalism Loots Lasting Joy

must learn to let go;

walk away from chains,

and by faith, follow.

Faith receives His grace,

and lets go of guilt;

embraces His love,

where His peace is built.

It knows not self-hate,

shows humility;

needs not to perform,

is secure, set free.

It does not point out,

how far we fall short;

but rather looks up,

to Him who supports.

May we walk by faith,

embracing what’s true;

it’s all about Him,

not how much we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all grace and joy. Thank You that You came as the fulfillment of the law, as not one of us could ever truly follow the law. Thank You that Your grace is a gift that You give freely, and not something that we can somehow earn. Forgive us for any area of our lives where we may have fallen into the trap of legalism. Illuminate the truth and lead us out of the spaces and mindsets You never intended for us. Teach us to trust You and Your glorious gift of grace with all that we are. Lead us to live and love in the fullness of Your grace as You intended, and may many come to know You as a result. Be glorified, O God, as we walk in the freedom that Your forgiveness and grace have granted. 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

Knowing the “No”

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12)

 

The grace that God has given, is the gift of His Son. Jesus died so that we might live – His life ransomed for ours. After He rose and ascended into Heaven, He sent His Holy Spirit to be our Counselor and Comforter, so that we would have help in an uncertain world. That still small voice within us that whispers “No“, to the things that we know we ought not do, is His voice, teaching and protecting us so that we might live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. May we each choose to receive what He freely offers, so that we are able to live the lives He has for us.

 

Abundant grace,Knowing the No

poured out for mankind;

to open hearts,

give sight to the blind.

His Spirit shows,

the way we’re to go;

when it’s a “Yes”,

and where it’s a “No”.

No to the things,

ungodly and wrong;

and yes to those,

that make our walk strong.

All by His grace,

His love, it abounds;

receives the lost,

His power, profound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much that You made way for us to brought back into a relationship with You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son, and for the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Jesus, for laying Your life down for mine, so that I could truly live. Thank You for Your still small voice that teaches us to say “No” to that which we ought not do, and compels us to move forward in those things to which You are calling. Forgive us for ignoring the “No“, or for standing stuck when we were meant to move forward. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will move either forward toward that which You are calling, or flee from that which You are warning us away from. May our life of obedience be an example to those around us, and may many come to know who You are and how much You love them as a result. Let the lost be found in You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we receive Your grace and obey all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

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