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

Sing Praise

I will praise God’s Name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. – (Psalm 69:30, NIV)

I will praise God’s Name in song. I will honor Him by giving Him thanks. – (Psalm 69:30, ERV)

Then I will praise God with my singing! My thanks will be His praise. – (Psalm 69:30, TLB)

 

During my quick turn-around at home, I was able to spend time with my boys and attend early service at my church prior to driving back to Wenatchee yesterday. During worship, there were moments that the words would be stuck behind the lump in my throat, yet my heart was still singing His praise. Fast-forward to my drive, and I had plenty of time to reflect on my own. Anyone in my close circle who has road-tripped with me, knows that I actually enjoy blasting a variety of music and singing at the top of my lungs. At first, the heaviness in my heart needed a little… hmm… let’s just say Skillet fit the bill best. (They also happen to be my favorite jam for running) Anyway, the heaviness began to give way to hope, and I switched gears and began to listen to worship music. There was something powerful about singing praise. A calm came over me, and all I could think about was how different this drive to Wenatchee was than my drive had been one week prior. One week ago, Mark was driving me into the unknown. We had received devastating news after investigating the prompting within us, and did not have any idea of the condition mom would be in when we arrived. This time, I had so much to be thankful for: we are so grateful to still have mom (we know that so often people in similar circumstances do not have such a fortunate fate), she is able to understand everything, she can communicate clearly, she has feeling in her right side (which is hopeful, even with the current paralysis of the right arm and leg), we have an incredible army supporting us all – in Wenatchee, Federal Way, Albany, across the country, and around the world (we are overwhelmed in the very best way by the outpouring of love and support!), and we, above all else, have a God in heaven who loves and heals, holds and moves, and has us all in the palm of His hands.

Last evening, after I had returned and spent several hours at the hospital with Meg and Mom, my sister and I went to the acute care facility on a scouting mission. We managed to talk our way in, and were very pleased with both the people that we met and the facility and how it is set up. Our biggest prayer now is that the move actually occurs today, as scheduled, and that there are no insurance or medical obstacles to prevent the move. Mom is more than ready to get out of the hospital and begin being far more active than the hospital setting allows. She is still not ready to have visitors outside of family or those we consider “framily” (friends so close that they have become an extension of the family). For those who love her dearly and are eager to visit, please be patient and know that waiting is best for her healing. In the meantime, you are welcome to download Marco Polo and send her a video message, send a card, a text message, etc. She still is not interested in her phone, but we will take it each day to show videos or read messages that are encouraging.

May we praise Him with songs of thanksgiving, for He is worthy of all of our thanks and praise.

 

When I’m lost for words,

0506190538a_hdr986984744164652228.jpg

View from Mom’s back deck. ❤

Or sound won’t give way;

My hearts still shall sing,

Lord, ever I’ll praise.

No matter what comes,

You always are good;

When my world’s shattered,

Beside me, You’ve stood.

You never leave me,

Ever You stay near;

You point me to hope,

And silence my fear.

Each morning I rise,

And greet the new day;

I give all to You,

O Lord, lead the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and faithfulness to us, even in this. Thank You that You love us in tangible ways, as You have surrounded us with an army of warriors, ready to serve. Thank You for making Your presence and Your blessings so abundantly clear, even in the midst of the hardest circumstances. Forgive us for our spaces of fear and doubt. Teach us to trust You more, as You are far greater than anything that stands in the way of Your will being done. Remind our hearts to sing when our voices cannot find the words. Continue to place Your song in our hearts, as Your song is truth and life and light. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares Your tune. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as our lives sing Your song of praise each day that we draw breath. 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

 

 

 

 

 

Strength in His Love

I love you, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, NIV)

I love you, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

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

 

My unplanned, unscheduled, meant-to-be-relaxing spring break, has become a project-completing, list-checking, errand-running, constantly on-the-go, sort of week. Even my intent to sleep in a bit, has been thwarted by opportunities to get in early morning runs. Though it is not what I envisioned, I would not have it any other way. God is good, and He knows what we need. Strength has been supplied and each day is surrendered to Him. May we ever seek the Lord in love, as He is our strength and Source of all that we need.

 

The strength of the Lord, img_2019-04-11_08-23-598734058368292211728.jpg

He ever provides;

He meets us each day,

With arms open wide.

His grace is enough,

For all we need do;

As His love surrounds,

Supporting us through.

I love the Lord God,

And ever give praise;

For His strength and love,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength in all things. Thank You for Your unending love that empowers us to love as well. Forgive us for neglecting to give You thanks and praise for the seemingly small things. Show us how to recognize Your ongoing provision throughout each day. Help us to love those around us in a way that strengthens and lifts others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for being the strength to those who surrender to You. Amen.

 

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

 

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – Psalm 59:17

 

 

Ever Sing Praise

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:6, NIV)

I will sing to the Lord because He has blessed me so richly. – (Psalm 13:6, TLB)

I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers. – (Psalm 13:6, MSG)

 

After an amazing day of being celebrated well, I cannot help but overflow with gratitude to God for surrounding me with people who love me as He does. He makes His heart known to me in ways that bless my heart. I am loved as I had always hoped to be loved, and now am six days away from marrying the man whom my heart loves, who gently and fiercely loves me too. God’s timing is perfect, even when we are unaware. I can look back and give thanks for the difficulties that I was carried through, as they have shaped who I have become in Him and make me appreciate the good that has followed all the more. May we ever sing praise to the Lord, for He is good to all who seek Him.

 

Each day my heart sings, wp-15316631004892234831728557638132.jpg

With thanks to the Lord;

For how He blesses,

All grace He affords.

The Lord has been good,

Throughout all my days;

He lifts me with love,

As I seek His face.

Through trial and good,

The Lord’s ever near;

To bless us with joy,

And calm all our fears.

Let grateful hearts sing,

For all of our days;

As goodness and grace,

Are God’s loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your heart for all of creation. Thank You that You are so good to us. Forgive us for not offering proper praise for Your goodness, grace and generous loving ways. Teach us to praise You daily, for You alone are worthy of all of our gratitude. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize the good that we have been given through Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing Your praise for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. – Psalm 146:2

 

 

Thankful for Love that Endures

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. – (Ezra 3:11)

The people during David’s time, had seen the destruction of the former glory of the temple that Solomon had built. Some, had never even known anything except the rubble of the ruins that remained. Finally, fifty years after the destruction, the foundation of a new temple of the Lord had been laid. I imagine there was such power in the recognition of the reality of the promise to rebuild, coming to pass before their very eyes. The people responded with praise and thanksgiving, as they identified His goodness and faithfulness for all time. God had been faithful in the destruction, and continued to remain faithful as they were in the space of rebuilding.

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Lord is present with people in the midst of destruction, and remains present throughout the healing and rebuilding process. May our hearts, though at times are heavy from all of the destruction that we see, be encouraged to sing praise and thanks to God because He is good and His love and faithfulness to people remains for all time. Be our foundation, O God, no matter what we see.

Praise and thanksgiving,

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Vandy Massey Watercolor

sing unto the Lord;

for He is so good,

all grace He affords.

When all seems but lost,

in Him we are found;

the Lord shall restore,

what was shaking ground.

With great shouts of praise,

give God the glory;

for He holds the pen,

to write our story.

Though storms enter in,

our course is assured;

when we trust in Christ,

we’ve strength to endure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and Your love endures forever. Thank You for the foundation that You lay in the hearts of all who choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not giving proper praise and thanksgiving for who You are, despite what we witness around us. Father, we lift up all of those impacted by the tragedy in France, and ask that You would be their Comfort and their Healer, as they find themselves in a place of ruin, needing You to rebuild. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might extend thanks and praise unto You through all that we say and do. Lead us to love others so that they may come to know Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing of Your goodness and enduring love with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

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

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

Sing Out, O My Soul

Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings. – (Psalm 63:7)

 

It never ceases to amaze me when, despite chaos or struggles surrounding me, if I feel safe, songs rise up in my heart. The very space of safety that our hearts are able to hold, even when security does not make sense, is Christ’s presence so close, that we are in the shadow of His wings. It is here that we find rest, release the raw and the real that we are in, and discover His help, giving our hearts reason to rejoice. As we discover Christ’s help and how very near He is, we cannot help but sing praise for who He is and all that He has done. May we recognize His help, and sing praise to Him in the sweet shadow of His protective wings.

 

Sing out, O my soul,Gifts Given to Glorify

for safety is here;

in Christ’s sweet shadow,

He calls us, draw near.

His wings wrap around,

protecting us all;

our help and our hope,

He’ll not let us fall.

Sing out, O my soul,

may songs ever rise;

of Christ’s faithfulness,

and hope realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help, and our safety. Thank You that You keep us close in the shadow of Your wings. Thank You that in that safe space, we can release all of our burdens and fix our eyes and hearts entirely on You, giving You the proper praise that You deserve. Forgive us for not recognizing You nearness, and for not singing out the songs that are ready for release. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will recognize the security we have in Your hands, and know how Your help is available and at the ready when we call on Your Name. May songs of praise be ever on our lips, as we choose to sing of Your faithfulness, even through the difficult. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we sing out to You from the shadow of Your wings, remembering always that You are our help and our hope. 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

O My Strength, I’ll Sing

O my Strength, I watch for You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:9)

O my Strength, I sing praise to You; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. – (Psalm 59:17)

 

Psalm 59 was written by David when Saul had sent men to his home to watch him, in order that they might kill him. Despite the space of being pursued by those who were sent to end his life, David trusted in the Lord and was quick to call on His Name. David knew well, from where his strength and safety could come, and not only did he cry out to the Lord for help, but He praised God for who He is.

 

When we are standing in the storms, or feel as if the enemy is hot on our heels, do we too, watch for the Lord and praise Him? God is faithful and loving, and is our source of strength when we call on His Name. He is our fortress, our strong tower, to whom we can run, whenever we feel afraid. He is good, and we can always trust and call on the Lord. May we rely on the Lord’s strength as we watch for Him and sing praise to Him, because He is our space of safety and our loving God.

 

The Lord is my strength,Sense in Storms

I will watch for You;

safety and fortress,

protection that’s true.

O God, You are love,

my strength and my song;

to whom I can run,

when all things go wrong.

No matter what comes,

I’ll watch and I’ll sing;

for You Lord are good,

my Savior and King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes, You are our Strength, our fortress, and our loving God. Thank You that as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our eyes and hearts are opened to the truth of who You are. Forgive us for not trusting, watching or praising when life’s circumstances become overwhelming. Teach us to trust You more, so that we call on You as David did, even if all seems to be against us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too, may see the strength and safety that is available through You, our loving God. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we watch for You and sing praise to You, our strength, our fortress and our loving Lord. 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 song that kept running through my heart and my head this morning as I wrote was:

Hungry (Falling on My Knees) by Joy Williams.

Exaltation in Everything

Acts 16 unearths yet another story of perseverance in the face of adversity. Paul and Silas had just had an encounter with a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. Through their time with her, Paul commanded the spirit leave her, and thus ended her ability to make money for her owner. The slave owner was so enraged at the two disciples, that he had them dragged to the marketplace to face authorities, then brought them before the magistrates, which resulted in the public stripping and beating of the faithful followers of Christ. After they had been flogged, Paul and Silas were thrown in maximum security prison, despite being peaceful men. Considering the agony they had likely endured, most would have been whimpering in a corner of the cell. However, not the case with these two. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – (Acts 16:25) Their choice to persevere, even in the face of difficulty, opposition and discouragement, ultimately led to the salvation of the jailer and his entire household.

 

As we act in obedience to the Lord, people take notice. Some may take offense. Others may even oppose us, creating difficulty and becoming a discouragement. However, there are others still, who observe what we do in spite of difficulty. They are acutely aware of our faithfulness in the face of adversity, and begin to ask questions. Those very questions are the same sort that lead the jailer and his household into the eternal Kingdom of Christ. Regardless of what obstacles or challenges come our way, may we maintain an attitude as Paul and Silas did – hearts that pray and sing praise, in spite of what we face.

 

May we choose to pray,Exaltation in Everything

and sing songs of praise;

no matter what comes,

for all of our days.

The choice that we choose,

is noticed and seen;

we are a witness,

to our God unseen.

In opposition,

challenge and trial;

let us still seek Him,

His peace is worthwhile.

May our place of hope,

be clearly displayed;

for in Christ alone,

there shall be a way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless examples of the faithful who have gone before us. Thank You that You have so clearly demonstrated time and time again, how You love and encourage and remain present, even in the face of difficulties. Thank You that though You do not remove all trials and obstacles, You remain present, and You use our experiences to strengthen us and to demonstrate Your faithfulness to those around us. Forgive us for our shortsightedness, and help us to recognize that You will use all things for Your ultimate good, in due time, if only we trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, especially in the throes of adversity. Grant us strength to persevere, so that we may praise You in spite of what we are going through. May many come to know the glorious gift that You are, as we trust You in the trials. Help us to love as You so lavishly love each of us. Be glorified, O God, as we persevere with praise. Amen.

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

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

He Hears

This morning, the reading plan I follow, included Psalm 61. Each time I read one of the Psalms written by David, I find myself so encouraged, as he was readily transparent in his calling out to the Lord, be it in strength or in struggle – always knowing his ultimate need for God to intervene.

 

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.” – (Psalm 61:1-4)

 

He closes out the Psalm by saying “Then will I ever sing praise to Your Name and fulfill my vows day after day.” – (Psalm 61:8)

 

David, in the midst of his struggles, cries out to the Lord and asks Him to hear his prayers. He identifies his own feelings of weakness, and knows that in his own strength, he cannot stand. With God, David understands that his feet can be secured, despite what is seen, and the Lord is a space of safety – His very refuge in the midst of the mess. At the end of the day, David identifies the portion of the promises he has made unto the Lord, include offering praise each day, no matter what. We too, are meant to have a heart after God, just as David did. When we seek Him, we will find Him; and all of our praise ought to be offered up each day, regardless of our circumstances. God is good, even when life is not.

 

He is our help,He Hears

wherever we are;

no need to fear,

we’re never too far.

For His hands reach,

the ends of the earth;

His hands protect,

our infinite worth.

A strong tower,

refuge in the storm;

strength when we’re weak,

safety from all harm.

May we honor,

the Lord all our days;

do what He asks,

and give Him all praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our cries and listen to our prayers. Thank You that You are our strength in weakness and our shelter in all of life’s storms. Thank You that You lead us to safe spaces, and hide us in the shadow of Your wings. Forgive us for our fearfulness, as we shift our focus from You to the obstacle we need to overcome. Help us to fix our eyes securely on You, as You are our strength and our help, and the One who makes our path plain. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will more readily follow all that You ask. May we move mightily in Your love, as we are loved, and may many come to know You as their Maker and Mighty King. Lead us and guide us to honor You in all that we say and do, and may we ever sing praises unto You. Be glorified, O God. 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

 

 

Because We Draw Breath

image by David Stehle

image by David Stehle

Great are the blessings,

granted by the Lord.

Unto the righteous,

He’s shield and our sword.

Because I have breath,

my lips will sing praise.

I shall seek and find

Him all of my days.

May my hope in Him,

grant courage to those,

burdened by trials;

caught up in life’s throes.

Search in the scary.

Come to Him with fears.

Mighty Strong Tower,

the Catcher of tears.

In times of trouble,

no need to look far.

In our very hearts,

is right where You are.

Your angels surround,

protect as we pray;

so taste His goodness,

run to Him today!

(Psalm 34:1-8)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because we draw breath, we have reason to give You praise.  Thank You that Your blessings of faithfulness are promised to those who actively seek You.  Forgive us for feeling stuck, rather than actively seeking You.  Help us to relentlessly pursue You and all that You have for us as Your children.  Thank You that though troubles come, Your presence is promised forever, to all who call on Your Name.  May our passion and faithfulness to give You praise in all things and at all times, lead those who are looking, into Your loving embrace.  Amen.

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