Sing for Joy

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. – (Psalm 95:1, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. – (Psalm 95:1, ERV)

Oh, come, let us sing to the Lord! Give a joyous shout in honor of the Rock of our salvation! – (Psalm 95:1, TLB)

 

There is something about singing that elevates our entire being. It is no wonder that throughout God’s word, there are numerous references to singing and giving praise, from Genesis to Revelation. Likewise, it is only fitting that the songs we sing and the praise we offer, are to the very One who places songs in our heart and grants us words to express all that dwells within us. Recently, one of the new songs released by my favorite band, seems to be on repeat in my heart and mind. I find myself humming the tune or singing the lyrics as I move around, even in the most mundane of tasks. Each time I think of the song that celebrates who God is to me, I am encouraged and filled with gratitude. May we ever choose to sing praise to God with joy, honoring He who is our salvation.

This morning, for the first time since mom’s stroke, I received a text message from her. For me, this was a reason to sing for joy to the Lord, as I know how labor-intensive texting is with only her left hand. The fact that she chose to invest the time and energy to do so, was very much a labor of love, and spoke volumes beyond the content of the message. I was able to text her back while in line at Dutch Bros after my run, and let her know that I would call as soon as I was through the line. It is always comforting to actually hear her voice, and I think that we are both feeling the weight of separation, after having spent all of our time together for three and a half months. She is doing well, and she and my sister were enjoying the ordinary of a Saturday morning together. We continue to pray for healing and provision as mom perseveres on the journey to restoration.

 

May we sing for joy, Give Rise to the Songs

To the Lord above;

All thanks unto Him,

For His endless love.

With all that we are,

Throughout creation;

Let us give God praise,

For our salvation.

Always He is good,

In all things, always;

Let us sing to Him,

With joy, lift our praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music and song and the way that the combination of the two can so beautifully capture our heart of gratitude for You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to sing the songs our hearts are holding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would find the joy and reason to praise You, in all times and circumstances. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may spread joy in a way that shines Your light to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing with joy to You, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

The Solution for Stress

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NLT)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

Every Friday afternoon, I make a point to ask my boys what homework they need to accomplish before returning to school on Monday, and then give them a run-down of what is on the agenda for the weekend so that they can pace themselves accordingly. At times, there is an unrealistic assessment of what must be done, and the workload come Sunday afternoon, is far greater than it ought to be. Sadly, for one of my sweet sons, that was the case last evening. He had underestimated the number of tasks to be completed by school’s start this morning and began to get himself so worked up and stressed, that he had wasted an hour of precious work time pacing and wandering, rather than actually working. At first, I had a moment of serious frustration, followed by the recognition that my irritation would only worsen the situation rather than help bring resolution. We talked about what needed to be done and then came up with a strategy and manageable plan. Next, I simply placed my hand on his shoulder and prayed for peace, strength and clear thinking. From there, it was up to him to complete the task at hand, and I needed to go to bed and get some sleep. This morning, I woke to a note by my computer where I write each morning, expressing his gratitude with a request for an early wake up. God provided the strength and peace that he needed to get things done, and the resolve to rise early and continue to work to complete what remains to be finished. With only two and a half school days remaining, I trust that His strength and peace with continue to be provided so that we may finish strong. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times, as He is faithful to meet us each time we ask.

 

When life overwhelms, wp-15293227850142624927069206169917.jpg

And things seem all wrong;

Seek the Lord for peace,

As He makes us strong.

He calms our wild hearts,

And grants us His peace;

Deposits His hope,

As grace is released.

No matter what comes,

Trust God who is near;

Our Grantor of peace,

And Calmer of fears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and peace, as You provide what we need as we need it most. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to send us in a stress spiral rather than running to You in trust. Teach us to seek You in all things and at all times, as You are our Provider of peace and strength. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and peace in their spaces that feel unsettled. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength and peace that You alone provide and go forth seeking to share the same with those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Delight to Walk Upright

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey. – (Psalm 51:12, NLT)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Give back to me the deep delight of being saved by You; let Your willing Spirit sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, VOICE) 

By Friday, many of us simply need a reminder of our real reason for joy. If we are willing to start our day seeking the Savior, who is our salvation and our Source of strength, joy rises up and the desire to do what is right before God gains renewed resolve. He is good, and His unending love will lead us and fill us as we choose to depend on Him to direct our path. May we delight in the Lord, who is our Source of joy and strength, and depend on Him to lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go.

 

Lord, return to me,Delight to Walk Upright

The sense of delight;

That entered my heart,

Made heavy things light.

Restore the pure joy,

Found in knowing You;

For You make us strong,

To walk Your way true.

Please make me willing,

To seek and obey;

For true joy is found,

As we walk Your way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You willingly and lovingly restore the joy of our salvation and strengthen our spirits to walk in Your way as we seek You. Forgive us for wandering aimlessly without Your direction, or for forgetting to pursue the One who provides our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would begin each day anew, fixing our eyes on You. Remind us afresh of the joy we know, simply through time in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads joy and helps sustain the weary. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and refresh our joy when we grow weary, and give us a willingness to walk in Your way. Amen.

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

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

Imitate Who We Appreciate

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. – (Ephesians 5:1, NLT)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. – (Ephesians 5:1, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. – (Ephesians 5:1, MSG)

 

Imitation is a form of admiration. As small children, we imitated those whom we most appreciated and the traits and strengths most desired to be duplicated. Once a person comes to know Jesus, a more defined set of ideals come into our consciousness. He who loved with His life and lived without sin, is the ultimate example of whom we ought to aspire to imitate. Through seeing and experiencing His love first hand, we learn how to love as we are loved. May we ever seek to imitate God in all that we do, so that our every word and deed is done in love, according to His good and perfect will.

 

In all that we do, Imitate What We Appreciate

Let’s imitate God;

The love that He gives,

To broken and flawed.

It is by His grace,

That we know He’s good;

It’s not what’s deserved,

Yet kindness withstood.

So let us go forth,

And love just like Him;

Imitate His grace,

Again and again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to imitate You as Your children, but You sent Your Son to show us the way and equip us to go forth to do as You do for us. Forgive us for attempting to imitate anyone other than You, as You alone are the only example that is free from all sin and without flaw. Teach us to look to Your example in all that we do, so that we may be tangible examples of Your goodness and love. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might see Your light that burns within us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to imitate You in all that we do, so that others may come to know Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

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

Begin and End with Faith

God’s way of making people right begins and ends with faith. – (Romans 1:17b, ERV)

 

God calls us righteous before Him when we seek Him and trust that He is who He says He is. It is not through our doing enough nor being enough, but rather it is only by faith that we are saved. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

 

Though there may be times that faith seems difficult to find, when we choose to trust in spite of what we see, God moves in ways we would never have imagined. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and grants strength where strength is all but gone. He sees our hearts, despite how we feel in a fleeting moment. May we trust in the Lord and His unfailing love, as He will take even the smallest seed of faith and grow it into one that can move mountains on His behalf.

 

Let us choose to trust,butterfly vida

The Lord who is good;

For in Him abounds,

Grace not understood.

He takes our small faith,

And begins to move;

The reward of peace,

As His presence proves.

By faith we’re made right,

In the Lord’s own eyes;

He’s pleased when we seek,

Our hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are made right before You by faith. Thank You that You are pleased when we trust in who You are and how You love. Forgive us for making You too small when the obstacles before us are overwhelming. Teach us to trust in You, no matter what we see. Lead us to love others with a love that moves mountains and grows faith all the more. May many choose to place their trust in You, and enter into an eternal relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to place our faith in You alone. Amen.

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

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

Trust in Consistency

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. – (Hebrews 13:8, NLT)

 

Knowing that Christ is consistent provides peace and comfort, regardless of what we are going through. Though our circumstances will change, Jesus will not. We can trust in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father, as His presence is not conditional and grace is not given based on our goodness. Once we place our trust in the Lord, He comes and dwells in us, and lovingly leads us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Christ is not fickle and will not say one thing and do another, nor will He change His mind. We can trust that what He says, He will do, and the places we’re called He will help us break through. May we trust completely in He who is faithful forever, who loves relentlessly and without wavering, regardless of how we come before Him.

 

True and unchanging,Honoring the Temple

how great is our God;

faithful forever,

let all hearts applaud.

The love of Jesus,

that was yesterday;

remains forever,

it‘s the same always.

His love – relentless,

kind, faithful and true;

draws us unto Him,

in all that we do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not change – that You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Thank You that when we come to You and place our trust in You, we are Yours. Thank You that our adoption as Your children cannot be revoked because we don’t do enough or aren’t somehow good enough, but rather we are enough, because we are Yours. Forgive us for forgetting just how consistent and faithful You are. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, as You are always present and available to all who call on Your Name. Show us how to faithfully extend Your loving kindness and grace to all those around us, so that many may choose to follow after You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the consistency and faithfulness that is found in You forever, and share the same with all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

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

Believe Instead of Striving

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

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

O Lord make my heart,Believe Instead of Striving

prepared to serve;

not to please others,

of love undeserved.

For what matters most,

is in Whom I trust;

hope everlasting,

in Christ is a must.

Show us the way, Lord,

to fully invest;

our hearts unto You,

in the way that’s best.

From that space of faith,

teach us to love well;

so others may know,

Your grace for themselves.

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

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

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

Away with Anxiety’s Hold

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7)

 

To give all of our worry, distress and uneasiness of mind to Christ, is easier said than done. It has a way of sneaking into the sinews of our soul, and creating claws, that grab hold and grip tightly so that we find ourselves tense without even realizing why. In Philippians 4:6, we are instructed as to how to cast our cares on Christ, so that we can actually allow Him to care for us. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. In other words, when worry or uneasiness come, pray – tell God about it. We are not meant to carry the burden by ourselves, but rather we are to make our request known before He who is abundantly able to carry the load that we cannot. Yesterday, in my Pastor’s Intensive class, we were covering some deep and difficult material. One of our instructors had a great bit of advice. She said that when we come to a crossroads where we want an answer to be black and white, but there clearly isn’t one for us to find, we are to hit our knees and worship. God is so much greater than our struggles, that our dependence on Him is what matters most. He cares for us and will meet us in our space of need; however, we must choose to trust.

 

To cast far away,

ishareimage.com

ishareimage.com

anxiety’s hold;

place in the Lord’s hand,

whatever unfolds.

For He’s much greater,

than all that may come;

and He cares for us,

as shown through His Son.

Through all of our days,

with much thanksgiving;

present unto God,

the hope lacking things.

Wherever there’s lack,

our God can come fill;

for He’s so much more,

than trials or ills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast all of our anxiety on You, because You care for us, and You do not want us to stay stuck in that space. Thank You that we can come to You, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, and present our requests before You. Thank You that You meet us in that space with Your peace and Your comfort and Your care. Forgive us for allowing fear and anxiousness to reign in silence, rather than calling on You out loud, and allowing You into the darkness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will remember that where Your light shines, darkness cannot be found. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may come to know the peace and presence that are found forever in You. Be glorified O God, as we cast all of our anxiety on You, and move forward boldly in all that You have called us to become. Amen.

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

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

For His Glory and Honor

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, He will give eternal life. – (Romans 2:7, NIV)

 

Some people live for God’s glory, for honor, and for life that cannot be destroyed. They live for those things by always continuing to do good. God will give eternal life to them. – (Romans 2:7, ERV)

 

When we live a life invested in Christ, we are compelled to do good. God grants us eternal life for our choosing to live for Him, and allowing Him to lead and guide us. It is not something we earn, but when we are continually seeking Him, we cannot help but respond according to His good and perfect will. May we persist in doing good, as all glory and honor belong to Him who grants us life eternal.

 

A life invested,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAin the will of God,

shall illuminate,

which path we’re to trod.

Seek the Lord’s glory,

let honor be shown;

Christ the eternal,

who sits on the throne.

For His ways are good,

we’ll not be destroyed;

when we live His way,

all hope is employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a life of persistence in doing good for Your honor and glory will not be destroyed. Thank You that we are assured of life everlasting in You. Thank You that our eternity was set in place from the moment we first received Your grace, rather than through our doing a set amount of good. Thank You that doing good is our response to Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for allowing our perspective to become askew, and give us clear vision as to how we can honor You with our life, as You have given unto us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will answer Your every leading. Help us to love and do good to others, even when they are not good to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we persist in doing good to bring glory and honor to Your Name. Amen.

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

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

Worth More

Despite how we feel, or how we are received by others, we are highly valued by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. – (Luke 12:7)

Jesus was speaking to His disciples to beware of the Pharisees, but not to fear. He pointed out that even the sparrows that were sold for mere coins, were not forgotten by God. God intimately knows each of us. He knit us and formed us in our mother’s womb. For each of us, the Lord has plans to prosper and not to harm us – a hope and a future. Though people can cause bodily harm, they cannot steal our soul. When we commit our hearts to Christ, we have the security and assurance of His presence now, and all of eternity in heaven. May we rest assured in the security of being intimately known by our loving Savior, who values each one of us, individually.

 

Intimately known,Sparrow2

and loved just the same;

by the Lord of all,

give praise to His Name.

Let’s not be afraid,

to Him we have worth;

He knew us before,

the day of our birth.

The number of hairs,

on our heads are known;

for Christ truly loves,

and calls us His own.

Let each heart rise up,

and give God all praise;

each day unto Him,

for all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are intimately known by You, and loved anyway. Thank You that in You, we have nothing to fear, as You do not forget any of Your created. Thank You that You value each one of us, not for what we have accomplished, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for our feelings that we are somehow forgotten or not covered and cared for. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might slow down and be still, giving our hearts opportunity to hear and acknowledge all that You are, and just how much You love us. Lead us to love others, as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You. Be glorified Lord God, as we rise up in recognition of who You are, and the wonder of Your love for all. Amen.

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

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