Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Appropriated Praise

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV) 

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV) 

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG) 

 

This tends to feel like an extraordinarily long week, as we all adjust to being back at work and school after having had a several-day stretch of a break. Between the cold, dark, drizzly days to the extra meetings that have taken place, or the pursuit of personal fitness goals that have increased my running mileage, by the end of each day, I have found myself thoroughly exhausted. Through it all, God deserves my gratitude. Because of His faithfulness, I am gainfully employed, working at a job that I have loved for more than twenty years. His grace grants us seasons that nourish the earth, and make us appreciate warmer weather all the more. Finally, His goodness has granted me a body that is strong and healthy and able to work harder and be pushed farther to attain new milestones in my own personal pursuit of wellness. May we ever thank God for His goodness and love, as His faithfulness lasts forever and He is worthy of all of our praise. 

 

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When all’s going well; 

And still give Him thanks, 

When things aren’t so swell. 

Even in darkness, 

God’s love light does shine; 

It is up to us, 

Allow Him headline. 

All praise to the Lord, 

For all of our days; 

His hope, grace and help, 

Love that lights our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love for us, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that Your love lasts forever. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when we are weary of all that weighs us down. Teach us to give You praise, no matter how we feel, as You are the reason we have life and breath and hope, both now and forever. Show us how to love those around us practically, so that Your goodness, faithfulness and love are made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

Seek to Receive

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV) 

 

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. Then we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV) 

So now we come freely and boldly to where love is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

There are days that I seem to be more readily available to receive the grace that is desperately needed to navigate than others. I know there is nothing that we can or cannot do to be more or less worthy of receiving His grace and mercy, yet I think our intentionality to approach His throne directly affects the help that we receive; for when we seek, we find. If we do not ask, we are actually attempting to power through on our own. Lately, I have been intentional to pray over the day as I drop my boys off at school. I begin by asking for protection over them – body, heart and mind, and for them to be blessed and a blessing to and by those around them. From there, I begin lifting up my day – my students, my colleagues, lesson plans, classroom environment, and the like. Though I am uncertain as to whether or not there has been a change in students, I feel like there is a shift for me. Perhaps I am simply more aware of the grace I am being granted to get through each day. Whatever the shift, it matters. May we boldly approach Love’s throne for the grace and mercy we need; for He is faithful to meet us and provide the strength and grace to carry us through.

When mercy and grace, 

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

Are needed the most; 

Go to the Lord’s throne, 

He’s a loving host. 

With kindness and grace, 

He hears our heart’s cry; 

His love lifts us up, 

He’s ever nearby. 

So, run to the Lord, 

Let Him know the need; 

His grace will cover, 

And His love shall lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace that welcomes us as we come to You. Thank You that You hear our every prayer, and meet us wherever we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, rather than seeking You for all that we need. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know Your ongoing faithfulness forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your kindness and grace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we approach Your throne for the mercy and grace we need each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Live Out Love

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, NIV)

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, ERV)

Whatever happens, keep living your lives based on the reality of the gospel of Christ, which reveals Him to others. – (Philippians 1:27a, TPT)

 

As followers of Christ, we are called to live our lives accordingly. No matter what comes, our call is to conduct ourselves as people who love God and love people. If we truly love, we will live our lives in a way that honors God and reveals His heart to those around us. When we choose to walk out our days according to His ways, we proclaim God’s goodness, even when we do not say a word. What we do day in and day out, is an ongoing declaration of our faith. May we ever choose well so that we live in a way that honors God and reveals His heart to those around us.

 

No matter what comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

May we ever choose;

To love as God loves,

So His heart rings true.

Let our very lives,

Show a history;

Of God’s faithfulness,

Giving Him glory.

Each time we choose love,

No matter how tough;

God gives what we need,

He’s always enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in such a way that others might see You through all that we say and do. Thank You that You trust us as Your ambassadors. Forgive us for the times that we have not represented You well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and depend on You to supply all that is needed to navigate our days according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they see Your heart through our every interaction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep on seeking to live our lives in a way that honors You. Amen.

 

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

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:19

It is Good to Praise

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him! – (Psalm 147:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good. Sing praises to our God. It is good and pleasant to praise Him. – (Psalm 147:1, ERV)

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! How beautiful it is when we sing our praises to the beautiful God, for praise makes you lovely before Him and brings Him great delight! – (Psalm 147:1, TPT)

 

On Sunday, our pastor spoke about the power that is held in our praise. One of the stories that hit home, was that when God told the Israelites to march around Jericho. On the seventh time around on the seventh day, they were told to shout. The particular shout that they were called to do was “ruah”, which meant to shout praise aloud. What is significant about this is not only God’s mighty move of power on their behalf, but also that He moved after they had praised, despite the enormous barrier that stood in their way. From this, we are reminded that it is good and fitting to praise Him for who He is, rather than what we see before us. Our praise delights the very One who holds us in His hands. It is only fitting that we praise God with all that we are, as He loves us as His own precious children. May we ever praise the Lord for who He is, as He alone is worthy of our praise.

 

All praise to the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For He is so good;

As we sing His praise,

His love’s understood.

He delights in us,

As we seek His face;

Makes way where there’s none,

And grants us His grace.

Whether rough or smooth,

The Lord will be near;

Leading by His love,

He’ll make our paths clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us as Your beloved children. Thank You that there is purpose in our praise. Thank You that You move mightily on our behalf as we praise You for who You are. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to silence our praise. Teach us to trust You enough to praise You through storms and barriers, knowing that You are greater than anything that lies before us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may recognize Your goodness and grace through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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

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

 

 

The Skies Speak of His Splendor

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

 

Some of the many blessings found in living in the Pacific Northwest, include the snow-capped peaks of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges out in plain sight, the glistening waters of the Puget Sound, and the plentiful places of green found in the woods, as the forests and parks are still abundant in our area. Each time I catch a sunrise making its debut over Mt. Rainier as I drive into work, I am reminded of the incredible work of God’s hands that are all around me. In the evening, as the sun fades in a flame of orange against the purple sky atop the waters of the Sound, and the first stars begin to make their appearance, the tale of God’s glory is being told. Reminders of His goodness and glory are all around us, as is the evidence of His intentional and overwhelming love. May we take the time to recognize the tale of God’s splendor being told and give Him all thanks and praise for the goodness of His love.

 

The heavens declare, Breaking Free from Barriers

The glory of God;

Announcing His work,

Worthy of applaud.

The sun and the moon,

The stars in the sky;

Hand-crafted in love,

As each testify.

They show God’s glory,

The work of His hands;

Hand-crafted in love,

So we’d understand.

All of creation,

And all that draws breath;

Made by the Father,

To bring life from death.

Let’s look all around,

See with heart and eyes;

Beauty created,

Glory recognized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the beauty You have created all around us declares Your glory and the work of Your hands. Forgive us for not taking pause to stand in awe of all that You have made, as Your craftsmanship tells the story of Your incredible love and intentional design for each one of us. Teach us to slow down and appreciate the work of Your hands, as the beauty of Your creation is all around us. Show us how to love and encourage those with whom we interact, so that they too, may come to understand the purpose and precision with which they were created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the incredible work of Your hands that is all around us and in each one of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Praise Even When

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. – (Romans 5:3-5, NLT)

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary – we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! – (Romans 5:3-5, MSG)

 

I am certain that I have read this passage at least a dozen times before, but for some reason, this morning, it is sinking in a bit differently. Perhaps it is through reading The Message translation, as it speaks of praising “even when we’re hemmed in with troubles” rather than “rejoicing when we run into problems and trials”. Personally, my mind can conceive the even so concept, as God is good even when our circumstances are not, and I know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Each trial that we traverse, every struggle He grants us strength to navigate, further grow our faith and help our hope the next time we face difficulties. When we look back on where He has brought us from, we can see the overwhelming faithfulness of God and the generous outpouring of love lavished upon us by His Holy Spirit. May we ever give praise to He who is always worthy, as He is the one who supplies the strength and endurance needed to navigate each challenge, as He pours into our lives, His love.

 

In midst of trial,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We can, even so;

Give praise unto God,

For His love we know.

He’s faithful to help,

Grants strength as we go;

Our reason for hope,

Sure truth that we know.

Troubles grow patience,

That helps us endure;

Confidence in hope,

As His love’s secure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to praise You no matter what troubles or trials we face because You are good and You will use all things to grow us in You. Thank You that troubles develop endurance and strength of character so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for fleeing the fire before us, rather than facing the fight in Your strength as You hold us in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You generously give as we go through the highs and lows of life. Show us how to love well all those whom we encounter, so that they may see glimpses of Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You on every step of our path as You provide Your presence and Your peace. 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

Faith to Listen

Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. – (John 8:47a, NLT)

God’s children listen to God’s words. – (John 8:47a, CEB)

If you really knew God, you would listen, receive, and respond with faith to His words. – (John 8:47a, TPT)

 

When we invite God to be the Lord of our lives, we belong to Him. However, really knowing Him is a lifelong process. Faith is something that grows over time, and in our human frailty, we at times, struggle to respond in trust, though He is worthy of all. Thankfully, He is patient and kind, and shows us His faithfulness again and again, helping our hearts to grasp the depth of how intensely we can truly trust Him. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith so that we would listen, receive and respond in trust to all that He asks of us.

 

When we choose the Lord, Faith to Listen

To belong to Him;

He develops faith,

Grows our strength within.

Teaches us to hear,

His every word;

Receive and respond,

With faith to what’s heard.

By grace He will grow,

Our faith within us;

So we listen well,

And live like Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and place our trust in You, You grow our faith and help us listen, receive and respond in faith. Forgive us for the times that we don’t listen, refuse to receive, or fear to respond to that which You ask of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would gladly move forward in faith in response to all that You are asking. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may recognize Your faithfulness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your words and respond in the faith that You are growing within us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19

Confident Hope

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – (Jeremiah 17:7, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. – (Jeremiah 17:7, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence. – (Jeremiah 17:7, TLB)

 

God is faithful, even when our faith waivers based on what we see. However, the more we trust in Him in spite of what we think we know, the more we begin to become aware of just how much His blessings flow. We can either be confident in Christ or confident in other things. Sadly, a third option seems to be to be confident and hopeful in nothing. When days are long and things get difficult, I have to remember where my hope truly lies. If I begin to focus on what I see, I start to lose heart, rather than recognize the bountiful blessings that I already hold. Our perspective shifts as we trust the One who holds us in His hands. May we ever trust the Lord and place our confidence in He who is worthy of all of our trust, as He blesses those who truly trust in Him.

 

Let not our eyesight, Be Full of Joy

Determine our trust;

For God is faithful,

Keeps His word to us.

All that the Lord says,

We can trust is true;

With confident hope,

Know He’ll follow through.

For God is not man,

Where hope may fall flat;

In Him we are blessed,

He’s where all good’s at.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One in whom we can trust and place all of our hope and confidence. Thank You that as we trust in You, we are blessed as we come to know Your faithfulness for ourselves. Forgive us for placing our hope or trust anywhere other than You, or for losing hope when we cannot see Your hand in our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have confident hope in Your faithfulness, knowing that You are true to Your word and will be faithful to do all that You say You will do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find hope in spaces that feel hopeless. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with confident hope, and recognize the blessings of Your faithfulness in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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