Restoring Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

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

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough You bring to me. Hold me close to You with a willing spirit that obeys whatever You say. – (Psalm 51:12, TPT)

 

Currently, I am on our Sisterhood Retreat with my church. It is a time for the ladies to gather, connect, worship and grow together. Interestingly, it seems that each time there is intentional gathering to connect, the very words of this verse come to life for those who had been walking in a dry and weary place. We have been created for relationships. God intended that we not walk the path set before us, alone. He is gracious and kind, and provides people to surround and walk beside us, if we are only willing to invest and allow others in. Part of maintaining a passion and a joy in who God has created us to be and our ability to obey what He asks, come from the strength we gain through the blessing of being connected. I have found that this applies in every area of my life, be it at home, work, church, my neighborhood, the community or any other place I find Him leading.  The more invested and connected I am, the more my joy remains, despite the circumstances that come and go. May we ever seek the Lord to restore and uphold the joy of our salvation, and lead us to the connections that encourage and strengthen us as we walk out each day.

 

Oh Lord, may we come, fb_img_15400123159817887031286001252606.jpg

With hearts seeking You;

Restore unto us,

Your joy that is true.

Joy that is lasting,

Despite ups and downs;

A heart that’s certain,

Of Your rightful crown.

Make our hearts willing,

To trust and obey;

Surround us with those,

Seeking do the same.

O Lord, You are good,

All joy’s found in You;

Restore any space,

That need be renewed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself so that we may know the depth of joy found in a hope and future in You. Thank You that You have created us for relationships and You provide us opportunities to invest and deepen them as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for not seeking You to restore our joy when it feels lost, or for retreating when You call us to move boldly and invest in those whom You have placed around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be routinely restored as we walk in obedience to all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and spreads joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and uphold the joy we have in our hope in You, and strengthen our relationships as we willingly step out and obey that which You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

Called to Communicate

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. – (Colossians 4:2, NLT)

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. – (Colossians 4:2, CEB)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

 

Prayer is our petition and praise presented to our Provider. We are called to be in constant communication with our Creator. God designed us with relationship in mind. Like any relationship, if there is not ongoing communication of some sort, a divide of distance, time and disconnect begins to grow. Being devoted to prayer is an ongoing commitment to communicate with Christ. As we choose to be intentional to pray, we become more aware of reasons to give thanks and come to value our ability to speak to the living God whenever and however we wish. He is good and He hears our every prayer. Each word whispered in the hollows of our heart to those which we cry out aloud. May we keep on praying, ever aware of the One to whom we pray, with our hearts overflowing with praise.

 

Help us keep praying,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Guard our heart and mind;

May we ever seek,

For in You, we find.

Reason to give praise,

For Your faithfulness;

The more we know You,

More we know we’re blessed.

Blessed with Your courage,

Presence as You stay;

Wisdom to choose well,

And walk in Your way.

Faithful forever,

Unending, Your grace;

Peace ever present,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray, and to protect our prayer with praise. Thank You that there is always reason to give You praise, even on our darkest days. Forgive us for our lack of communication with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You first, being mindful that You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude that springs forth from our constant communication with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give You praise, protecting the power that we find in Your presence as we are faithful to be in an ongoing, invested relationship with You. Amen.

 

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Thinking of Thanks

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. – (Philippians 1:3, NLT)

I thank God every time I remember you. – (Philippians 1:3, ERV)

Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. – (Philippians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This has been a summer overflowing with connections to those dear to me. Near and far, friends and family have celebrated with me, as I have stepped into this beautiful new season of married life. Every message, conversation, card or phone call has brought a flood of memories of the blessing that each have been in my life. The overwhelming theme of this summer is gratitude, as I cannot help but stand in awe of the blessings He has poured out upon us, especially through the gift of people He has placed in our lives. My heart is full, and I am ever giving God thanks for the gift of knowing those whom He has brought into every avenue of my life. May we ever give praise to our Provider for the people whom He places on our path.

 

All thanks be to God, wp-15346046481951630469001601204563.jpg

For the treasure found;

In knowing such love,

Where friendships abound.

For each is a gift,

From God up above;

Granted to us all,

By His lavish love.

Each time I recall,

The treasure of you;

I thank God again,

For His blessings true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are created for relationships. Thank You for the gift of people that You place in our lives. Thank You that You bring people from all walks of life into our world to show us more of Your heart. Forgive us for not giving You glory for all of the good You bring to us through the people You place on our path. Teach us to recognize the gift of those around us, daily, so that we would celebrate them and glorify You. Show us how to love in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for the gift that people are in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You gratitude for the gift of great people whom You have placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. – Psalm 100:4

Trust Comes Through Knowing

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – (Psalm 9:10, NIV)

Those who know Your Name trust You because You have not abandoned any who seek You, Lord. – (Psalm 9:10, CEB)

May everyone who knows Your mercy keep putting their trust in You, for they can count on You for help no matter what. O Lord, You will never, no never, neglect those who come to You. – (Psalm 9:10, TPT)

 

God is forever faithful to those who seek and trust in Him. In our joy and triumph, He is present. As we struggle and suffer, He remains. The Lord is ever near and does not neglect to listen to those who seek Him. Even when we are unaware of His presence, He is with us as we call of His Name. From the dawn of each new day, to the last of the day’s light, God remains present to help all who seek and trust in Him. May we ever place our trust in He who is faithful and will remain with us forever.

 

To know the Lord’s Name, Compassion in Confrontations

Means we trust in Him;

For He is faithful,

The strength found within.

No matter what comes,

Our God will remain;

He’s with us in joy,

And comfort in pain.

Let us ever seek,

Place faith in the Lord;

Trust in His great Name,

All grace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to all who call on Your Name and place their trust in You. Thank You that there is no limit to Your loving kindness and willingness to hear our prayers. Thank You that You are near us in all things and at all times. Forgive us for not turning to You with thanksgiving for the great things that You do and for failing to seek You in our struggles. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things to You – the triumphs and trials, for You are faithful forever to listen. Show us how to love well, all those around us in a way that helps them know that they are not alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in all things, trusting completely in You. Amen.

 

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

 

To You they cried out and were saved; in You they trusted and were not put to shame. – Psalm 22:5

Trust Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for His answers. – (Philippians 4:6, TLB)

 

Yesterday, as I quickly grabbed the mail between errands and thumbed through it, one envelope captured my curiosity. There was something from the IRS, and I could not figure out for the life of me, why. Upon opening said envelope, my stress level and anxiety shot through the roof. Inside was a letter informing me that there had been an error in my 2016 filing, and that I owe a large sum of money. As I walked into the house, attempting to make sense of what I was reading, I was greeted by two teenage boys who were yelling at one another about who spilled rice on the floor and who had to finish cleaning it up. The noise only added to my anxiousness, and I quickly let them know that I needed them to chill out so that I could process what I was reading. Their arguing continued, and I had to get out of the chaos. I let them know that I was going to the new house to take care of some things and entered the quiet of the car by myself. Once seated, with the key in the ignition, the verse above tumbled about my brain. There was nothing eloquent about my words, but I simply let God know that I needed His help and could not afford this, especially by the date given on the letterhead, and I really don’t understand how they came up with the numbers that they did. As I neared my turn, I saw a familiar vehicle and took a second glance at the driver. It happened to be a sweet friend of mine, so I called out her name. She had just taken her youngest daughter to the park across the street from our new home, had a bit of time and wanted to come take a tour. Gladly, I invited the distraction and showed the two lovely ladies our soon-to-be dwelling. I was encouraged by her kindness and shared with her what had just happened prior to my drive over. She is a prayer warrior, and on the spot, stopped and prayed the things that my heart held but could not yet give words. As they left, I felt far less anxious and more at peace, knowing that God is in control and I have a fiancé who will walk beside me and a community that has my back in prayer. What it did is remind me how grateful I am for the people whom God has placed in my life and that He will lead me in the way in which I am meant to go in all things. May we remember to not worry about anything, and instead, choose to pray and ask God for help, giving Him thanks for the answers that He will and has already provided.

 

Do not be anxious, wp-15296764255929217887386200022319.jpg

About anything;

Instead, choose to pray,

To God, our fears bring.

He’s faithful to hear,

All that we present;

And He’ll show the way,

Answers Heaven sent.

So, trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’s faithful always,

The Most Holy One.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to let go of worry and anxiety and to present our prayers and petitions before You. Thank You that You are faithful to hear us and to provide solutions. Thank You that You answer in ways that we would never dream up on our own, yet they are always what we need, when we need it most. Forgive us for allowing unknowns to dominate our thoughts and cause anxiousness, rather than bring our fears and concerns to You right away. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would present our every request before You, knowing that You will meet us and never leave us. Show us how to love and walk beside those around us, so that they know Your comfort and Your peace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we present our requests before You and give You praise for Your faithfulness always. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Strength that Endures with Joy

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, NLT)

We pray that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul – not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy. – (Colossians 1:11, MSG)

 

As I gear up for the final week before Christmas break, I find much comfort in this verse from Colossians. I am reminded again of from Whom my strength comes, and that there is joy as we press on with patience along our journey. My job already requires more patience than I could ever muster on my own, yet God, in His great power, will provide more as it is needed. He will give us strength that goes beyond grit, and His eyes to see the good that comes from seeking His help as we go. May we seek the Lord for His strength and endurance, so that we walk through this season in joy.

 

The God of all strength, Joy to the World

Will give what we need;

His love and His grace,

In joy, they will lead.

So seek the good Lord,

Patience to endure;

He’s ever faithful,

Our hope is secure.

As we go in grace,

And strength He employs;

We’re able to rise,

And go forth with joy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your strength and grace that supply the endurance and patience that we need to navigate whatever comes our way. Thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer in Your love. Forgive us for not relying on You for what we need, and trying to gut out the trials rather than seeking You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come to You for all that we need, recognizing that You alone are our true Source. Show us how to love others well, so that we may extend patience, grace and kindness in a way that fills hearts with Your joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your strength and embrace the joy that You supply along our journey. Amen.

 

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

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filed with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

Come to Rest

Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. – (Psalm 116:7, NLT)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

O my soul! Return and relax. Come to your true rest, for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. – (Psalm 116:7, VOICE)

 

Just yesterday, I was reminded that this is traditionally the most challenging stretch of the school year. The work becomes challenging for students, the impending holidays and variant weather stir up emotions that they are often unaware of, and as teachers, we hit a spot of weariness that borders on burnout. It is a challenging balance to learn to rest and relax in the Lord, as I do not want to miss out on a moment of fun on the weekends. Time with my beloved friends and family encourages my heart and lifts up my soul. However, the rest that remains with me and carries me through the week, is that which is found in my Heavenly Father. A tremendous blessing is the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, where there will be time to gather with loved ones, with much time to simply rest. May we ever seek our Savior to be our space of rest, and give Him thanks for the opportunities provided to relax in the beauty of His blessings.

 

Let my soul find rest, Hope in Discouragement

As I seek the Lord;

For in Him alone,

His grace He affords.

When we are weary,

And need to relax;

God provides spaces,

If we only ask.

O Lord we seek You,

And the rest You give;

All thanks for Your grace,

In Your peace, we live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we can find real rest. Thank You that Your grace and goodness provide all that we need to be at peace, even in our weariness. Forgive us for seeking rest anywhere other than You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and Your rest in our weariness, and give You all praise for the strength and grace You provide to keep going. Show us how to love and encourage those around us who are weary and losing hope. May many come to find true rest in a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest in our weariness, and give You praise for the grace and goodness that You give. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Soothe My Soul

But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and throughout each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life. – (Psalm 42:8, NLT)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the true God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

 

God’s faithful love is present, and is poured out upon us daily. At the end of the day, when I slow down and recognize the evidence of His hand that has been everywhere, my soul is soothed by the songs that present prayerful praise to He who has given me life. On great days, we can praise Him for the blessings that have been poured upon us. When days are difficult, we can thank Him for the strength that sustained us, and the glimpses of hope that He gave along the way. No matter what each day holds, His unfailing love awaits. May we receive the love that our Heavenly Lord gives, and give Him praise for all of our days.

 

Each new day that comes,

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©Shannon E. Moreno

You’re faithful to give;

Your unfailing love,

To have as we live.

As each day closes,

May from our hearts flow;

Songs of thanksgiving,

For good that we know.

Each breath that we take,

A gift from above;

Let’s sing songs of praise,

Of Your gracious love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the unfailing love that You pour upon us. Thank You that as the day closes, our hearts cannot help but hold songs of praise unto You. Thank You that You are the God of our life, and that You give us strength. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You as we should, or giving You the praise that is due. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would come before You in all things and at all times, knowing that Your unfailing love is what we can count on. Show us how to shower those around us in Your love, as we extend kindness and grace in the same way that You give unto us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive You unfailing love and sing songs of praise unto You for all of our days. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

Grace Unearned

And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is – free and undeserved. – (Romans 11:6, NLT)

And if He chose them by grace, then it is not what they have done that made them His people. If they could be made His people by what they did, His gift of grace would not really be a gift. – (Romans 11:6, ERV)

Grace is central in God’s action here, and it has nothing to do with deeds prescribed by the law. If it did, grace would not be grace. – (Romans 11:6, VOICE)

 

God’s grace at first glance, seems to be a paradox, as how could He possibly give such undeserved goodness and love to a sinner, such as myself. That is the amazing thing about His grace, He gives to the undeserving, and loves without limits. Each time I am made aware of His goodness and grace, I recognize just how incredible His love is for me, despite all of my flaws and failures. Yes, I love Him and long to serve Him, but I am a work in progress, and am far from having “arrived“. Perhaps that is the point. As we recognize our own shortcomings and see how His goodness is complete, we are ever aware of our need for Him in our lives. May we rise up in thanksgiving for God’s goodness and grace, and give Him thanks for the gifts that we’re given, though we deserve them not.

 

We cannot earn grace, The Wonder of Unfailing Love

For God freely gives;

Because He is kind,

We have life to live.

Every good thing,

That comes unto us;

Is thanks to the Lord,

And His Son, Jesus.

There’s nothing we’ll do,

And no words we’ll say;

That can earn His grace,

Or take it away.

All thanks be to God,

For kindness and love;

It is undeserved,

These gifts from above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness to us. Thank You that it is not given for good works that we do to somehow earn it, but rather You give grace out of the abundance of Your love for us. Thank You that it is free and undeserved, reminding us that You are God and we are not. Forgive us for the times that we either take Your grace for granted, or try to somehow earn our way into a good space before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we say and do is motivated by our love for You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace, so that they too, will long to seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You freely give, and praise You for who You are. 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

May We Ever Praise

Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation. – (Psalm 100:4-5, NLT)

 

God is good and His love never fails. He is faithful forever, and deserves all of our thanks and praise. There are days, however, when giving thanks is not necessarily the nearest and dearest thought to our hearts. When sickness strikes and plans change, it can be easy to lose sight of the goodness of God. I am overwhelmingly blessed with both a mother and grandmother that model what it is to give thanks, regardless of circumstance. Thanksgiving has been a favorite gathering time for my mom, my sister and her family, and me and my progeny. This year, my mom has a horrible cold virus and does not have the energy to travel across the mountains and an additional few hundred miles south to my sister’s home. It will be the first Thanksgiving in several years that we have not all been together to give thanks. Rather than mope and feel downcast, (though I am certain she is bummed as are we) my mom has chosen to bless us in spite of her absence. I woke to a sweet message from her, with a note that a gift that will help keep me alert as I drive is on the way. (Oh sweet Starbucks love!) She is choosing to focus on His goodness and demonstrate His faithfulness, and remind each of us, that regardless of circumstance, there is always reason to praise. May we each go forth with thanksgiving, recognizing His goodness and faithfulness, as we share of His unfailing love with each new generation forever.

 

As we all gather,Give Thanks for Faithfulness

Both from far and near;

Let us be thankful,

For how the Lord hears.

Because He is good,

May we ever praise;

Our faithful Father,

For all of our days.

Be not dependent,

On life’s circumstance;

But by His great love,

May our souls choose dance.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are able to enter Your presence with thanksgiving and praise. Thank You that You are good and that Your unfailing love continues forever. Thank You that You are faithful to each generation. Thank You for the faithful women in my life that model for me, thankful hearts who give out of the abundance of Your love. Forgive us for not giving You thanks and praise for who You are, and help us to rise up and recognize that our reason for thanks unto You is not circumstantial. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they may see Your faithfulness and goodness through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our thanks and praise because You are good and Your love lasts forever. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8