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.

Let It Be Yes

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying – I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. – (Matthew 26:74, NLT)

 

Peter, who had been one of the three who was closest to Jesus, ultimately betrayed Him in His darkest hour. This must have been particularly painful, as Peter was the only disciple who was mentioned as having followed where Jesus was taken after His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Rather than extending support or testifying on His behalf, Peter stood outside at a distance – watching and waiting to see what would happen. In his wait, he was asked three times if he was associated with Jesus. Three times, he denied even knowing Him. After Peter’s third denial, the weight of his words overwhelmed him, and he ran off weeping bitterly at his own weakness in the face of adversity. However, the beauty of Peter’s story is that he does not live the remainder of his life as a broken and remorseful man, but rather Jesus forgives and redeems him, and he goes on to become the rock on which the church is built. Peter’s failure later became the way in which he was restored, as Jesus asked him three times, “Peter, do you love me?” Each time Peter responded with a resounding “Yes“, and Jesus followed his “yes” with the call to go out into all the earth and share the good news. Peter went from mess to minister, through the power presented in the forgiveness Jesus provided. May we each seek the redeeming power that Jesus provides as we are willing to say “yes” to Him as He forgives our every sin and shortcoming.

 

Oh Lord as we come,Beside Still Waters

Broken in our sin;

I stand in such awe,

As we’re forgiven.

Your grace overwhelms,

Restores and renews;

Gives rise and purpose,

To all who come choose.

Lord take all our sin,

And wash it away;

Show us how to rise,

To walk well, Your way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who forgives, heals and restores us and raises us up so that we can do mighty things for You. Thank You that our past does not determine our future. Thank You that You can bring beauty from ashes, and testimonies from trials. Forgive us for wallowing in our own failures, rather than seeking Your forgiveness and redemption. Teach us to trust You more, as Your hand is what moves us in mighty ways. Show us how to love as You love us, so that many may come to know and understand the power of Your forgiveness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for forgiveness, and rely on You to be our strength and guide wherever we are meant to go. Amen.

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

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

Listen, Learn and Follow His Lead

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the path you should follow.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NLT)

“I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

 

God is for us, and His instruction is to help us go in the direction that we are meant to go. He knows the outcome before we know the first step, so it is always best to listen and learn from all that He speaks into our lives. May we seek the Lord with our whole heart, and trust in Him to lead us where we are meant to go.

 

Let us turn to God,IMG_2491

For He teaches us;

The way we should go,

He’s worthy of trust.

He leads us along,

The path we’re to take;

He protects, provides,

Redeems our mistakes.

May we choose listen,

So our hearts will learn;

The ways we’re to go,

And where we’re to turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God who teaches us and leads us in the way we are meant to go. Thank You that You love us to life, so that we can learn and grow. Forgive us for neglecting to listen and attempting to pave our own path. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would follow Your leading, no matter where You call us to go. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too long to learn from One so faithful and worthy of all of our trust. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen, learn and follow Your lead. 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

 

Forget Not His Benefits

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 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 103:2-5, NIV)

 

My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! He forgives all our sins and heals all our sicknesses. He saves us from the grave, and He gives us love and compassion. He gives us plenty of good things. He makes us young again, like an eagle that grows new feathers. – (Psalm 103:2-5, ERV)

 

No matter what our present lot in life, we have reason to praise the Lord. If we have given our life to Him, we are forgiven and set free from eternal death and darkness, and have been welcomed into God’s own fold, as He calls us His own sons and daughters. As His children, we have a blessed inheritance of joy and faithfulness forever, as well as the assurance of where all of our eternity will be spent. He renews us when we are weary, He heals us when we are hurting, and He satisfies the deepest longings of our soul. God is so very good, and worthy of all of our praise. May we rise up and remember all of His benefits, giving Him thanks and praise for who He is both now and forevermore.

 

All praise to the Lord,It is Grace that Saves

may we not forget;

how our God forgives,

all Love’s benefits.

He heals diseases,

rescues us from hell;

gives love and kindness,

in Him, it is well.

Restores the broken,

and Soother of pain;

fulfills our longings,

and cleanses our stains.

When we’ve grown weary,

He comes to renew;

with wings like eagles,

we’re equipped to do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us, heal us, redeem us, and crown us with Your love and compassion. Thank You that You satisfy our desires with good things, and You renew us so that we can soar. All praise to You! Forgive us for not giving You proper praise and thanks, as no matter our situation or circumstance, we ALWAYS have reason to give You praise. Teach us to trust You more, so that our focus will be on You and Your benefits, rather than the challenges that surround us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that that too can come to know the benefits beheld in knowing You. May many come to trust in You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are in all that we do. 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

Watch in Hope

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. – (Micah 7:7)

 

Micah was a man of great faith, in the midst of terrible turmoil. Despite the destruction and decay that surrounded him, he held fast to his hope in God, and trusted that the Lord would be true to His word. His hope was in the prophetic promise of Christ who was yet to come. We have the blessed benefit of knowing that Christ has come as the perfect sacrifice, once and for all, and is our hope and Savior, if only we will trust in Him. Today, no matter what surrounds us, we can watch in hope for the Lord, ever waiting on Him – for our Savior and our God, hear our every prayer.

 

Despite what is seen,Bold in Battle

with hope, look to God;

for He is faithful,

when His path we trod.

Wait for the Savior,

for our prayers He hears;

all that leaves our lips,

straight unto His ears.

Our God is faithful,

He loves us to life;

He saves and redeems,

brings an end to strife.

So be not afraid,

to hope in the Lord;

He hears and He sees,

we’re never ignored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can watch in hope for You, and wait for You; for You hear our every prayer and heart’s cry. Thank You that You are faithful and loving and kind, and that You want good things for Your children. Forgive us for our lack of faith in the fire, and help us to cling to You and Your promises when the seas are stormy. Lead us to love others with perseverance, just as You love us with a love that never ends. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we watch and wait in hope, and trust that You hear our every prayer. Amen.

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

The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Hope Brings Renewal

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31)

 

Those who look to the Lord with trust and belief that He is who He says He is, will be renewed, as He is our Source of strength when we grow weary. This is a promise that I can hold onto; for just as I think that I cannot possibly complete that to which I am called, the Lord provides the strength that is needed, and I am able to do immeasurably more than I ever thought possible.

 

To soar on wings like eagles is such beautiful and vivid imagery. It is not to fly like a small sparrow or tiny hummingbird, where continual wing flapping is necessary to fly, but rather, Christ’s love allows us to do some hard work, then to soar and take in the beauty of what He has done. He grants us moments, days, and even seasons of rest, in spite of what is required. We may have to flap, but when we get to soar…

 

To run and not grow weary is the best feeling ever! As a runner, when a distance that once left me winded and weary is now easily run, I am in awe of how the human body is designed. Our life is often compared to a race in scripture, and God does not intend for us to sprint ahead and burn out, but rather to run at a reasonable pace so that we might continue for the entirety of the race to which we are called.

 

Imagine the miles that Jesus and the disciples covered as they went from village to village to share the good news. They walked everywhere, yet scripture never speaks of them growing faint. Because God had called them, He also equipped them to carry out that which He was asking them to do. The same still holds true for us. He will never ask us to do anything He will not also equip us to do. He provides what we need to accomplish that which He is asking. May we hope in the Lord who renews our strength, soaring on the wings He has provided, as we run without growing weary, and walk without growing faint.

 

May we hold all hope,Bald Eagle flying and hunting

in the Lord who will;

renew all our strength,

by His Spirit fill.

He’ll teach us to soar,

where struggles once stood;

like eagles we’ll fly,

because God is good.

We’ll not grow weary,

as we run in Him;

nor will we grow faint,

when fueled from within.

So trust in the Lord,

the granter of dreams;

and seek after Him,

our God who redeems.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we hope in You, You renew our strength. Thank You that You grant us not only the strength to stand, but the strength to soar. Thank You that in You, we will run the race to which we have been called without growing weary, and walk where You call us to go, without growing faint. Thank You that though we may tire, You sustain us. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we feel worn or struggle to see the hope in the situation before us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and strength; and all that we need comes from You alone. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know that You are the Source of all hope and strength that gives and sustains life. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You all of our days. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Grace and Redemption to Go

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24)

 

The size of our sin does not determine our outcome. No matter where we have been, we can still come to Christ and be covered by the cleansing of the cross. The grace of God is far greater than the weight of our former ways. When we come to Christ and receive all that He has to offer by inviting Him to be Lord of our lives, He enters in and washes away the shame and stains of what we once were, so that we may become who He is calling us to be. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross redeems all who choose to believe. In Him, we are set free from all that formerly enslaved us to the ways of the world, so that we may walk in the freedom of His love and grace. May we remember the enormity of God’s grace and redemption that was granted to us when we first believed, so that we too, may offer more grace than we think we ought to, to all those around us.

 

Everyone has sinned,Doing Good Mutes Malicious Talk

broken, fallen short;

not done as we should,

unrighteous consort.

Yet Christ entered in,

by His grace He came;

to redeem sinners,

set free in His Name.

O Wonderful One,

we come seek Your face;

lead us in Your ways,

as we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though all of us have sinned and fallen short of Your glory, that You justify us freely by Your grace and redeem us through Christ, when we choose to place our trust in You. Thank You for this overwhelming gift of love that is so much more than we can even begin to fathom. Forgive us for taking Your grace for granted, or for forgetting all that You have forgiven. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be fully aware of both the magnitude of the grace and redemption that we have been granted, and Your power and strength that You offer now so that we may walk in the light of Your truth. Lead us to love others as You so graciously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, as they come to understand not only their need for a Savior, but the security that is found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we operate fully aware of the grace and redemption that we have been granted, and move forward in Your power and strength to do all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

Praise the Lord, O My Soul

Praise the Lord O My SoulPraise the Lord, O my soul,

all my inmost being;

yes, praise His holy Name,

He who makes blind seeing.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

never forget His love;

He forgives and He heals,

gains strength to rise above.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

who redeems sinful lives;

He crowns us with His love,

our purpose He will drive.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

He alone satisfies;

granting our desires,

like eagle’s wings, we rise.

Praise the Lord, O my soul,

who works all righteousness;

grants justice where there’s need,

freedom for the oppressed.

God is compassionate,

by His grace, makes us whole;

for He abounds in love,

praise the Lord, O my soul.

(Responding to Psalm 103:1-9)

Dear Heavenly Father, may my whole soul ever praise You. Thank You that You accept our offering, though we deserve it not. Thank You that Your love forgives, heals, and redeems us. Forgive us for attempting to satisfy our souls with anything other than You. Teach us to praise You with all that we are, and may many come to know who You are and how great Your love is for each of us, individually. May many come to know You amazing love. Amen.

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