Tangible Blessings

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

 

This morning, as I slept in nearly three hours more than usual, I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. Hot coffee on my comfy couch, as I soak in His presence and dive into His word. Seeing daylight flood the room, rather than needing to illuminate the typical darkness of the early hours, I give thanks for the blessings in my life. Part of me was wishing that I too, like many of my friends and colleagues, was off for an escape to a warm location for the week. However, the more I thought about it, the more I can see that this week is an opportunity to get some things completed, and to rest and enjoy my family. Time to both connect and explore, and to retreat and rest, at home without an agenda. Each new day is a gift, and the surroundings in our area are clear evidence of God’s incredible goodness and grace. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, as we taste and see the abundance of His blessings when we depend on Him each day.

 

Choose to make the time, img_2019-04-08_07-26-547644472782879619826.jpg

To look ‘round and see;

All of God’s goodness,

His blessings, indeed.

Graced with His presence,

Fresh start each new day;

Strength to choose follow,

To walk in His way.

Rest when we’re weary,

As God we pursue;

Goodness surrounding,

As He makes all new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only open our eyes, to see the blessings all around us. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that provides rest and strength and hope. Forgive us for not slowing down to appreciate all that You have done, are doing, and will continue to do in our lives. Thank You that You are God and we are not. Teach us to bring all before You, and to rest in Your lavish love. Show us how to love those around us, so that they too, might taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all of our days, for the beautiful blessings to behold in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

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

 

 

Ponder the Treasure

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. – (Luke 2:19, NLT)

Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:19, ERV)

Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. – (Luke 2:19, CEB)

Mary, too, pondered all of these events, treasuring each memory in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, VOICE)

 

The chain of events leading to and surrounding the birth of Jesus, must have been more than enough to keep Mary’s mind on constant overload. Angelic visits and prophecies, miraculous pregnancies, having to travel by donkey in the desert, arriving only to be turned away at all of the possible places to stay, giving birth in a stable, having shepherds show up… Mary was now mother to the Son of God. I imagine she vacillated back and forth between bewilderment and amazement at the role that she had been called to fill. Her faithfulness and trust in God was apparent, as she said “yes” to that which she had been called to do by God. Each of these events to treasure, were likely the things that gave her courage and strength in times of uncertainty as Jesus grew. Today, as many of us participate in candlelight services, may we ponder all of the events surrounding the birth of Jesus, and treasure them in our hearts, so that we too, will find courage and strength in times of uncertainty.

 

Joining to gather, Ponder the Treasure

In candlelight glow;

Sing of our Savior,

Arrival we know.

Born in a stable,

Such a humble birth;

Path for us to know,

The depth of our worth.

For God sent His Son,

To show love to all;

Let us each embrace,

Grace to which we’re called.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us how to stop in awe and wonder of all that took place surrounding the birth of Jesus through the example of Mary. Thank You that You did not call the equipped, but rather You equipped the called. Thank You that You used ordinary people to do the extraordinary to change the course of history forever; a young girl, a carpenter, some shepherds, an inn keeper with a bit of compassion – each with a role that led us to why we celebrate this most holy season. Forgive us for breezing through the day as if it is just another holiday. Teach us to stop and ponder the magnitude of what You have done for us, so that we will treasure it all in our hearts. Show us how to love those around us with a love that is tangible and worth treasuring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they are introduced or reminded of Who You are and all that You have done through the glorious gift of Your Son. Be glorified O God, as we ponder and treasure the reason for the season. Amen.

 

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

 

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

 

 

My Source of Hope

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

Hide me and protect me. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:114, ERV)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

There are days where we need, more than ever, a space where we can sink into His arms and trust, as the world around us doesn’t seem to make sense. Between fighting the “crud” and the looming uncertainty that is now surrounding my profession, I need to remember where my hope comes from. Despite how I feel or what I see, God has me in the palm of His hand. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and He is far greater than the things that go on in the world. Today, I will choose to trust His protection and provision, as He is my help and my hope. Already, He has made a way for my day to be shortened with a two-hour delay, so rather than having to power through an entire day of not feeling well, it will be a short day, which is far more doable than daunting. As for the coming days, I need to turn in trust for each new day as it comes, and do that which I can do, remembering that my most important priority is and will always remain, to love well, as I am loved by Him. May we trust in the Lord to be our refuge and shield, and allow His word to be our source of hope when hope seems elusive.

 

My refuge and shield,Gods protection

My hope’s in Your word;

No matter what’s seen,

Or news that is heard.

God, You are greater,

Than chaos and greed;

Your heart’s always kind,

And You know our need.

Lord, be our refuge,

Our hope and our source;

Lead us and guide us,

Keep our hearts on course.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and shield of protection. Thank You that Your word is our source of hope. Thank You that no matter what we see or hear, You are greater, and You hold us in Your hands. Forgive us for our fearfulness when things veer off course. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You for wisdom and grace, to know what we are meant to do while things are awry. Show us how to live and love according to Your will, so that many will come to know Your heart and the hope that is held in You. Be glorified O God, as we trust what You say, and place our hope in You. Amen.

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

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

A Tribe that is True

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

 

Somehow, I am blessed with friends who have become family and family that I truly consider friends. For the past few days, my boys and I had the pleasure of spending sweet time together with my sister and her family. It was a joy to see the cousins carry on as if no time had passed since the last time we gathered, and for me, time face-to-face with my sister and brother-in-law is always a gift to my heart. Today, some of my most dearly treasured tribe of friends will gather for our first annual “Friendsgiving”. The very idea of gathering all together in gratitude fills my heart to overflowing. Each one of us has endured some serious storms over the past year, yet with our circle surrounding whomever was in the throes of the storm, each of us was able to endure and come through stronger, knowing that we were supported and loved. May we all continue through this sacred season surrounding our people with love and support, and giving thanks for the blessings that the Lord has brought our way.

 

May we be the friends,tribe

Who love through the storm;

A place of safety,

Where hearts become warm.

No matter what comes,

May we remain true;

In love and friendship,

Help each other through.

Let’s be family,

In good times and bad;

Through all circumstance,

Reason to be glad.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beautiful blessings of friends and family that You give. Thank You that You use the relationships around us to show us more of Yourself. Thank You that so often, Your heart is made tangible through the encouraging words of the people You place in our lives. Forgive us for not loving the way You call us to love. Teach us to be the kind of friends and family that You have created us to be. Show us how to love and stick together, no matter what comes our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love regardless of circumstances, just as You love us. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Look to the Heart

But The Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by the outward appearance, but The Lord looks at the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT)


I am thoroughly enjoying my time at high school camp. People made all sorts of assumptions about teens, and what it might be like to be surrounded by so many for an entire week. These young people have tender hearts that are earnestly seeking our Savior. Despite the struggles and distractions of their day to day, they are hungry to have more of Him. God sees their hearts and is moving in mighty ways. We can’t ever discount anyone based on what we see or think we know; for The Lord sees and knows the heart – and through the heart, comes the remarkable. May we seek The Lord in all things, expecting Him to move mightily in the hearts of all who believe. 
Do not choose discount, 

 One based on what’s seen;

For God sees the heart,

The calling unseen. 

We’re not meant to judge,

To use what we see;

To decide who God,

Will call royalty. 

So often the heart,

Holds treasures unseen;

We need to give room,

For gifts to be freed. 


Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not judge us by height nor appearance, but rather You look at our heart. Forgive us for determining what we think of others based on what we see, rather than leaving room to really know their hearts. Teach us to trust You more, so we would have Your eyes to see the treasure You have created in everyone around us. Show us how to love people in such a way that they might know they are valued as Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at the heart of Your people in whom You delight. Amen. 
For The Lord your God will bless you, … and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15


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



Live Life

We had a worship night for women last night at my church. Our women’s pastor brought a simple, yet profound word, as she conveyed real examples from her own life to share what the Lord had placed upon her heart for us. The following is what I gleaned from our time together.

Fear and obstacles that stand before us, are the two greatest factors that hold us back from the fullness of all that God has for us. Typically, we are held back in one of two ways. We either refuse to even get out of the boat, despite seeing Jesus walking toward us upon the water through the wind and waves, or we get out of the boat, begin walking, and then suddenly see the wind and waves surrounding us and begin to sink. Either way, we miss out on the miracles our Maker has for us, as we are called to weather the storms, not simply wait for them to pass.

 

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. – (James 1:2, NLT)

 

As we continue to keep walking toward our Savior, despite the wind and the waves – our fears and the obstacles before us – we allow Him opportunity to move mightily in us and through us, and discover joys we would have never known on the journey, because of His great faithfulness to us.

So how the heck do we do this? The words Pastor Wendy heard were simple, yet so significant. Live Life. Live. Continue pressing in and pressing on, in spite of the fears and the obstacles. Do not limit the Lord, nor make Him too small. He can do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, and the joy that awaits us is unfathomable. Our charge is to be available and to move forward in all that He calls us into. We are not meant to be stuck in the boat in fear, nor sinking in the waves as terror overtakes us. May we look to the Lord and consider all trials opportunities for His joy, as He will do abundantly more in us and through us as we choose to keep pressing forward.

 

We must make the choice,

To embrace with joy;

All that comes our way,

Choose faith to employ.

From inside the boat,

We never will know;

How great His power,

Nor give room to grow.

Despite what we face,

The waves and the wind;

The Lord is right there,

To lift us again.

He walks right beside,

Each step of our way;

Provides what we need,

Enough for each day.

The challenging part,

Is we’ll never know;

All that lies ahead,

If we will not go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take our fears and trials and use them as opportunities to grow us and give us greater joy as You demonstrate Your love and care for us as we choose to keep walking forward in spite of what lies before us. Forgive us for allowing fears or obstacles to paralyze us where we are, and keep us from allowing You access to all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would consider even the trials opportunities for great joy, as You give grace and strength that we have not known before. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize trials and obstacles as opportunities for great joy because of who You are. Amen.

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

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. – Galatians 5:25

 

Seek and Surround

During times of great stress, temptation rears its ugly head. Our busyness beckons us to take shortcuts or to skip that which matters most, in order to get things done. Despite a willing spirit, we have weaknesses that require the strength of our Savior to successfully stand in the ways in which we are called. That may seem all well and good, but how are we to do this practically? Jesus gave specific directions to the disciples whom He had called to join Him in the garden at Gethsemane. Jesus said to them: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” – (Mark 14:38)

 

The example that Jesus gave to us in Gethsemane, is one that is still applicable today. For us to successfully resist temptation, we need to: (1) pray to God, (2) seek the support of friends and loved ones, and (3) focus on the purpose God has given us. – (paraphrased from NIV footnotes) Our go to first and foremost, must be to call on the Lord. He is our help and our hope in all things and at all times. Thankfully, God created us to be in community and does not expect us to tackle trials alone. Surrounding ourselves with those whom we can trust and rely on, is something that even Jesus did. Often we need the tangible and audible to be present in order to help us to clearly focus on the very purpose that God has placed before us. Both prayer and people He places in our lives, can point us back to our purpose and keep us on the path that He has planned for us. May we seek Him and surround ourselves with those who do likewise, so that when stress and struggles come, we may not be steered off course.

 

Temptations shall come,Seek and Surround

in times of great stress;

for we are weakest,

in the midst of mess.

We need our Savior,

our strength to stand strong;

to resist tempting,

in truth, carry on.

To stand strong in Christ,

first we’re meant to pray;

and seek the support,

of friends on the way.

Our focus must be,

on God and His plan;

so we aren’t deterred,

and by faith, we’ll stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we are vulnerable to temptation, especially in times of stress and busyness, we can overcome in You. Thank You that when we pray to You and seek the support that You provide, we are able to stand firm and focus on the purpose that You have planned for us. Forgive us for allowing the stresses of life to steer us off course or to turn our eyes away from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that our immediate response in times of turmoil will be to pray and seek support that will fix our eyes back on You and the purposes that You have placed before us. Lead us to love others as You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be exalted O God, as we do as Jesus did to resist temptations and pursue the purposes that You have planned for each of us. Amen.

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

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

Seeking Solace in the Storm

Wherever we are, and whatever circumstances happen to be surrounding us, Christ is present. Though we may be unaware, Jesus is still right there. As the disciples found themselves in the middle of the lake, straining at the oar as a storm had suddenly come upon them, Jesus appeared beside them, and they were afraid. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:50b)  Jesus was aware of their need before they were, and He was present, despite their oblivion to His walk across the water, until He came into plain sight.

 

Waves and wind may be barriers that keep us from clearly seeing Christ in the midst of the storm, yet regardless of what we see, His presence remains. When at last we open our eyes, ears and hearts, our experience will be much like that of the disciples. Jesus reminds us to “take courage“, as He is with us; and when He is present, we do not need to be afraid. May we hear His voice, take courage and be not afraid, regardless of the circumstances that surround us.

 

When waters are deep,Seeking Solace in the Storm

and waves crash around;

all hope seeming lost,

in One, we are found.

For Jesus draws near,

He comes where we are;

grants courage and strength,

to carry us far.

His presence is now,

we need not choose fear;

when we call to Him,

His hope is made clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our hope, and that in You, we need not be afraid. Thank You that when we are standing in the storms, You either calm the storms or soothe our struggling souls. Forgive us for seeking solace anywhere other than in You, and help us to call out to You and listen for Your voice, even in the raging wind and rain, trusting that You will answer. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and find You in all times, so that we will be quick to recognize Your voice calling through the chaos around us. Lead us to love others with Your love that is everlasting. May many come into a place where they will fully receive Your grace for themselves. Be glorified O God, as we take courage and fear not as we go forth. Amen.

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

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