Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

Be Glad, Lovely Sky

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – (Isaiah 49:13, NIV)

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The Lord comforts His people. He is good to His poor people. – (Isaiah 49:13, ERV)

Oh joy! Be glad – sky! Take joy – earth! Burst into song – mountains! For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people. – (Isaiah 49:13, VOICE)

 

Though we may not feel it in the midst of our struggles, God is moving with compassion and supplying His comfort. Perhaps that is the “why” to rejoice, for when we do, it further comforts us, despite our circumstances. Additionally, even if we do not choose to rejoice and be glad, “…the very rocks would start to shout!” (Luke 19:40, VOICE) The truth of who God is will be made known, with or without us. We are in a unique position to demonstrate joy, despite our circumstances; rejoice in the truth that we know, and hold fast to the hope of all that is yet to come. It does not mean that we will be “Miss Susie Sunshine” all the time, but what it does mean is that there is an underlying joy and hope, deep-rooted within us, that shines forth somehow, even on the most difficult of days. May we set our sights on He who is good to His people and has compassion and comfort for those in need. Let us take joy in the truth that we know and be glad in ways that spread goodness to those around us.

 

Be glad, lovely sky, wp-15856580783495833011096505555461.jpg

Take joy, all the earth;

For God sees us each,

With infinite worth.

In His holy love,

Comfort He does bring;

Full of compassion,

Our reason to sing.

So, sing out with praise,

All the earth rejoice;

Lift praise to the Lord,

One heart and one voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of heaven and earth has reason to rejoice and be glad, as You bring comfort and compassion to the afflicted and those in need. Thank You that You hear every prayer and see every need. Forgive us for our lack of praise in spaces of struggle. Show us how to rejoice and hold hope in tangible ways that spread joy to those around us. Help us to love all those whom we have contact with in ways that encourage and strengthen them with joy and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts, full of hope, as You are our Comforter, full of compassion in every season of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – Luke 19:40

Deep Roots Bear Fruit

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts Me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG)

 

As the need to “shelter in place” grows, so too ought our commitment to trust in the Lord. When we choose to be intentional in our time with God, our confidence in Him grows and our roots gain depth and strength. Deep roots protect us from storms and harsh weather, as depth creates a capacity to continue to draw nourishment and water from what has been firmly established, rather than being tossed to and fro, or uprooted by the unanticipated storms. Incredibly, not only are we able to be nourished ourselves, but we can produce fruit that is beneficial to those around us, as we stay securely planted in Christ. May we seek the Lord in trust, so that we grow confident in Him; ever deepening our roots to nourish and bear fruit in every season.

 

Blessed is the one, Deep Roots Bear Fruit

Who trusts in the Lord;

A tree, well planted,

Nourishing reward.

For deep roots are strong,

Always resolute;

Hold fast through the storms,

And keep bearing fruit.

So, let us resolve,

Be planted in Christ;

Secure and fruitful,

Joy in sacrifice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we trust in You, we gain confidence in who You are and how You love and protect us. Thank You that our trust is like the roots of a tree, growing deep and far-reaching, granting us what we need to weather whatever comes our way. Thank You that the nourishment we receive produces fruit that can be shared with others too. Forgive us for the times that we allow trials to challenge our root system. Teach us to trust You more, so that our roots will be planted so deep, that we will not be shaken by anything that comes our way. Show us how to love well and bear fruit from where we are, however we can. May many come into a lasting, deep-rooted relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest in our roots and seek You to bear fruit. Amen.

 

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

 

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:3

 

 

Be Fruitful in Love

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

 

The thing about fruit is that it does not just magically appear. It goes through a process of being planted, cultivated and cared for; watered and nourished, and then over time, fruit begins to spring forth in season. We are no different. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control do not just naturally flow out of a person. For some, it is what they have always been given, so they too, long to do likewise. However, what cultivates this sort of fruit and keeps it sustainable is an ongoing relationship with Christ. He fills us with His love and grants us all of these things in abundance, so that the various attributes of His Spirit may be fruitful in our lives. No matter what restrictions or recommendations are made in the coming days, nothing will stand in the way of choosing to operate in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In fact, we would all be better off if more people sought to be fruitful in these ways. May we seek to be deeply planted in the truth of God’s word, nourished in His goodness and grace, and watered by the blessings of His Spirit to grow good fruit to share with the world.

 

The fruit that will last, Be Fruitful in Love

Love in divine form;

Peace, patience, kindness,

Strength that will transform.

Gentleness of heart, 

And faith that prevails;

Joy overflowing,

God’s love never fails.

Be rooted in Christ,

Seek Him to grow well;

For a life fruitful,

His goodness will tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You to nourish and grow us in You, You produce fruit in our lives that bless those around us. Thank You that You have shown us how sweet the fruit of Your Spirit is in those around us who love You well. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us in Your love. Teach us to trust You more, as Your fruit is what blesses and nourishes all. Show us how to love others with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, in the same way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the amazing love that You give to us, and the strength You supply each of us to love in the very same way. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

A Fountain of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

A fountain of hope is something that we all could use about now. To be filled with uncontainable joy and perfect peace is exactly where I long to be. In all honesty, I am not there yet. I have moments, hours even, where I trust God and feel His peace, yet then I hear word of what may happen next, or what I can and cannot do to help my students, or think about my own children who are missing out on their senior year of high school, and the peace is disrupted. Thankfully, God is far greater than my questions, fears, frustrations and doubts. He patiently waits for me to stop and seek Him. Each time, the Lord is ready and waiting to restore hope and flood my heart with His perfect peace. Joy comes as I lay down my expectations of what things were supposed to be, and simply choose to trust and give God room in the right now. He provides as we abide, and there is no better place to be than soaking in His fountain of hope that fills us to overflowing, so that we may extend hope to those around us. May we allow the Lord to fill us with His hope, peace and joy, so that we may overflow the same to all whom He has placed in our lives.

 

God, You’re the fountain, A Fountain of Life and Light

Where our hope comes from;

Joy we can’t contain,

From You, Holy One.

You are our true Source,

To find perfect peace;

In You, we’re given,

You meet all our needs.

Help us to trust You,

When nothing makes sense;

For You are our Rock,

In each circumstance.

Today, we choose trust,

In You, hope’s renewed;

Joy overflowing,

As Your peace ensues.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope, and that You fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in You. Thank Your that as we do, Your hope overflows through us to those around us. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that get in the way of allowing Your hope to show. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually operate from a space of hope as You fill and renew us with joy and perfect peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share hope and joy and peace in spaces where it is needed most. Lead us to encourage others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our hope and fill us with joy and hope that is overflowing and spills over to everyone whom our influence may reach. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

 

 

Clothed in Compassion

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The tremendous impact that the mounting shutdowns are going to have on some of our local families continue to grow, as the governor called for the closure of all restaurants last night. Already, last evening, my husband and I could see the impact this COVID-19 crisis is having on such businesses, as we stopped at our favorite Thai restaurant, after I had picked him up from the airport. For a good twenty minutes, we were the only pair dining in the place. A few folks did come in to pick up take-out orders, and two more tables of two entered and were seated, prior to the end of our meal. Beginning today, their family business will be entirely dependent on take-out orders for sustaining their existence. I know there are so many others that are deeply impacted by this decision. As we navigate each new day, we must be compassionate and kind, gentle, humble, and unoffendable in our patience with others. We know not what the person in front, behind, or beside us is going through, and odds are, each could really use some kindness, patience and compassion in the midst of the current chaos. In a space like this we can either hide out in our own little space, or we can lift our head, look around, and seek ways to reach out and extend help where we are able. Because we are chosen and dearly loved, we are meant to love likewise. May we look for opportunities to show mercy to others, extend kindness and gentleness, be humble always, and choose to be unoffendable in our patience with others.

 

Because we are loved, Be Clothed in Compassion

We’re called to the same;

Compassionately,

In Christ’s Holy Name.

He arms us with strength,

Love, humility;

Empowers patience,

Most generously.

Let’s extend mercy,

Kindness through God’s grace;

Give as we’re given,

In this time and space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Thank You that as we do, we are equipped and empowered to love others as You so lavishly love us. Forgive us for either thinking there is nothing we can do, or for getting caught up in our own concerns. Teach us to have eyes to see the world around us as You do, so that we may reach out and do what we can with what we have been given. Show us how to love generously, live compassionately, and be unoffendable in our patience as we navigate these trying times as Your ambassadors of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to strengthen and equip us to be clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, so that we may love others as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

One Day At A Time

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” – (Isaiah 35:4, NIV)

“Courage! Take heart! God is right here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:4, MSG)

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here – your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.” – (Isaiah 35:4, VOICE)

 

Right now, life feels surreal. It is as if we are all caught in a bizarre dream, and are merely waiting to wake up. For me, I am a one-day-at-a-time sort of person anyway, so my brain is already wired to not get too hung up on what may lie ahead over the next several weeks. When life is operating as usual, taking things one day at a time allows me to be present and focused on only what lies directly before me. If I permit my mind to wander too far ahead, it only breeds anxiety as to how everything will be accomplished in the time granted. Now, more than ever, I need to remain focused on each day as it comes. Yes, it is wise to prepare and plan in general, but there is no need, nor any point, in attempting to map out details that are too far off to determine. God grants us wisdom and insight as we ask, and He provides what we need to navigate each new day. The Lord is our strength and our strong tower; in Him we are safe and find we have what we need. May we give all of our worries and fears to God, as He comes to put all things right, and saves us with His goodness and love.

 

Take strength, have courage,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s nothing to fear;

All is in God’s hands,

His presence is near.

Despite what we see,

God will make a way;

Over rough terrain,

He’ll lead us each day.

The wrong things made right,

In His faithful hands;

Safety and our strength,

Firm in Him, choose stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mighty to save. Thank You that as we seek You, You are our strength, courage and safety. Thank You that You provide where we lack, and Your love leads us in the direction we are meant to go. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety in the face of so many unknowns. Teach us to trust You more, as You are for us and faithful to lead us, always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your strength and courage, goodness and grace in the midst of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all things in Your capable hands, and trust You to lead and guide us each day, one day at a time. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6 

Working Everything for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

In everything, wp-15840994936106113504864189946892.png

God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

In Worrisome Space

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

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22