Jesus the Coming King

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. This will strengthen your desire to do what is right, and you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy people. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, ERV)

May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you, so that your hearts will be reinforced with His strength, held blameless and holy before God, our Father, when our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, appears along with all His holy ones. Amen. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, VOICE)

This is a great prayer to be praying for all of us to pray, for this is the very thing that is lacking in the world today. Instead of fault-finding and demeaning one another’s differences, we need to love as we are loved by God. He does not tell us to get it all together before we can receive His love and forgiveness, instead, He calls us, just as we are, and then He cleanses us and changes our heart so that we might more clearly reflect His own. One day, He will return. Knowing Him strengthens our desire to do what is right and draws us into His holiness. Once we have tasted and seen the reality of God’s goodness, we cannot help but desire to know Him more. May we ever seek the Lord to flood us with His unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, so that we might love as He intended and be found blameless when He returns.

Lord, strengthen our hearts,

To love each other;

All Your creation,

Sisters and brothers.

Teach us to see good,

And extend the same;

To love as You do,

With grace, without blame.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love everyone as You do. Thank You that You loved us first. Forgive us for the moments where we lack love in response to what we see or feel. Teach us to love anyway. Show us Your heart for every person we encounter so that we too, may love well. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your goodness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Prepare our hearts each day to love like You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully seek You to lead us in Your love and intentionally choose to love everyone. Amen.

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

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

The Baptizer with the Holy Spirit

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, NIV)

Then John said for everyone to hear: “I also did not know who the Messiah was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on this man. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, ERV)

John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, MSG)

Though John was the cousin of Jesus, he did not fully realize who Jesus was until the Spirit of God descended upon Him when John was baptizing Jesus with water. God had shown him that the Messiah would be the One to whom the Spirit comes down and rests upon. Imagine the awe and wonder that John must have experienced as he witnessed the Spirit of God resting on Jesus… Incredibly, when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that He would send His Spirit upon all who believed. As we read in Acts, that is exactly what He did. The same Spirit that came and filled the room on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, is the same Spirit that comes and dwells in us as we choose to believe and receive all that God has for us. Furthermore, His power is poured out as we ask Him to move in and through us. May we ever seek the Lord for a fresh anointing of His Spirit so that we may encourage and build up all those around us.

Heavenly Father,

Before You, we come;

Breathe in Your Spirit,

So Your will be done.

Fill us with power,

To love others true;

And move as You move,

So we reflect You.

Release the great gifts,

That Your Spirit brings;

Ever grow our faith,

As we see these things.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send us Your Spirit so that we may live and love in Your wisdom and power. Thank You that You move among us and through us as we invite You in. Forgive us for not asking or not utilizing what You have already given. Teach us to listen to Your leading as we live out our days and show us how to move as You move so that all might see Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love all whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You anew to come and move in and among us. Amen.

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

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful that I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. – Luke 3:16

Made Alive in Jesus

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. – (Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV)

But God is rich in mercy, and He loved us very much. We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against Him. But He gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) – (Ephesians 2:4-5, ERV)

But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless souls with life – even though we were buried under mountains of sin – and saved us by His grace. – (Ephesians 2:4-5, VOICE)

When we give our lives to God, He makes us alive in Him. It is only by His mercy and grace that we have been rescued from the ultimate sentence for our sins. Jesus made the way for us to have new life with Him, as He took our penalty upon Himself so that we might receive what He freely gives. As we do, we experience the amazing grace and goodness of God, and are provided opportunities to show the same to those around us. May we continually give thanks to Jesus, as He has made us alive in Him now, and provides the hope we hold for eternity.

Alive in Jesus,

Is what we receive;

Goodness and mercy,

For all who believe.

Our every sin,

In Him, washed away;

Hope for forever,

And each brand new day.

No more in darkness,

For He is the light;

That leads and guides us,

Through both day and night.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your gracious love;

That cleanses our sin,

And calls us beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son and made the way for us to be alive in Jesus. Thank You that it is only by Your grace that we have been saved. Thank You that You pour out Your mercy, grace, goodness, and love upon us so that we may do likewise for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not shared with others that which we have been given in excess. Teach us to embrace the mercy and grace that You have given abundantly, so that we might walk in the same with those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too would come to know Your mercy and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise Your for being made alive in Jesus and look to You to lead us in Your mercy and grace with those around us. Amen.

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

To Love All

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV)

But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you – in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us – good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. – (Matthew 5:44-45, VOICE)

Though few of us have experienced persecution like the early church, we all have experienced unkindness, irritation, and attitudes that we do not appreciate. As a middle school teacher, I am reminded daily of the need to pray for my students. The unkindness they display to others is usually a response to unkindness that they have received. At that age, one typically gives what they get. If I can show kindness, goodness and grace, perhaps a seed of the same will be planted in them. It requires God’s grace to extend the same to those who are all over the place when they are meant to be engaged. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, and depend on Him to show us how to love all those whom we encounter in the same way that He loves us all.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to choose love all;

Extend Your goodness,

Let love be installed.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Despite what we get,

Let us reflect You.

Please grant us the grace,

To love as You do;

Be gracious and kind,

So good is shown true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that there are no exceptions to whom we should give kindness and grace. Thank You that You love us all, no matter who we are, where we have been, or what we have done. Forgive us for our lack of patience and grace. Grant us wisdom as to how we are meant to love those around us. Lead us in Your love so that all feel valued and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and grace for us all and seek You to love likewise. Amen.

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

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Grace to Guide Us

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, NIV)

That is the way we should live, because God’s grace has come. That grace can save everyone. It teaches us not to live against God and not to do the bad things the world wants to do. It teaches us to live on earth now in a wise and right way – a way that shows true devotion to God. – (Titus 2:11-12, ERV)

We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people. Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. – (Titus 2:11-12, VOICE)

Because of God’s grace, we do not need to remain stuck in our sinful ways. His love teaches us what is right and grants us the strength to walk in His ways. God made the way for us to have His presence with us now, and the hope of eternity with Him forever. The more we know God, the better equipped we are to recognize what is good and right before Him, and the deeper our desire to do those things. May we ever seek the Lord and His amazing grace to lead us away from the things that are destructive, and to that which is aligned with His loving kindness.

The grace of the Lord,

Is loving and kind;

It shows us the way,

To with Him, align.

Salvation offered,

With goodness and grace;

His love will lead us,

To walk in His ways.

Our task is simple,

Seek the Holy One;

In all things, always,

So His will be done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the way to hope both now and forevermore. Thank You that You show us what is good and right, and what we need to avoid. Forgive us for the times that we have walked our own way and ignored what we know is right and true. Teach us to turn to You to be always our strength and our guide in all things. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You and away from anything that distracts or diverts us from You and all that You have for us. Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

The Work of Wisdom

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE)

The older I get, the more aware I become of just how short life truly is. Each day is a gift, and we either learn and grow as we go, or life passes us by. Wisdom is the work of God in us as we seek Him to teach us more of who He is and how He calls us to love. To gain a heart of wisdom, we must be intentional to seek the Lord in all things and to trust Him as He walks beside us and leads us in the directions we are meant to go. This does not transpire overnight, but rather is a lifelong process. God has gifted me with access to wise women who have a few years more life experience than me to bless, encourage, challenge and model what it is to ever grow in wisdom. Each are acutely aware that every single day is a gift to be treasured, and their faithfulness models what an ongoing pursuit of wisdom in Him looks like. My hope for the coming year is to ever seek the Lord to grow in His wisdom so that I may walk out my days according to His purpose.

Please teach me, O Lord,

To number my days;

To grow in wisdom,

And walk in Your ways.

I need Your guidance,

Each day that I wake;

To love as You love,

And learn from mistakes.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That all that life brings;

Can be used for good,

Because You’re the King.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we grow and trust You more, we gain wisdom and insight in You. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how You can work all things together for our good, even when our circumstances are not. Forgive us for being flippant with our time and for the times that we have delayed in seeking You. Show us how to turn to You first in all things, and to listen to Your leading. Help us to love those around us as You do, so that all might gain glimpses of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the gift that each new day brings and choose to seek You with intention so that we may continue to grow in wisdom as we go. Amen.

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

Reverence for the Eternal is the first step toward wisdom. All those who worship Him have a good understanding. His praise will echo through eternity! – Psalm 111:10

Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

The beautiful thing about this promise is that it is true every single day, not just at the start of a new year. Not only can we be transformed when we come to know Christ, but He will ever make us new as we seek Him. Each morning that we rise, we have a new opportunity to reflect the goodness and love we know in Him. As we do, we more clearly demonstrate His new creation within us. May we ever seek the Lord and all the new He has for us and walk out the goodness of His love.

The new year has come,

The old things are gone;

We have new pages,

To write His love on.

Each day we draw breath,

Opportunity;

To love each other,

Reflect God clearly.

Lord, show us the new,

That You have for us;

Lead us in Your love,

With grace and great trust.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are made new. Thank You for a brand-new year to reset and remember what matters most. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that have not reflected Your love. Teach us how to love You and those around us in all that we do. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart clearly known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love anew. Amen.

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

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

A New Thing

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 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 43:18-19, NIV)

“So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Of course, it is important to look back, reflect, and remember God’s goodness in the days gone by, yet we do not want to dwell in it and not look forward with anticipation for all that lies ahead. God is ever making things new, as He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Our purpose is not used up or merely a thing of the past. Each day we draw breath, God has purpose for our lives. He opens doors, levels paths, and helps us navigate obstacles to continue to walk in His ways. I know for many of us, 2022 was not a year that we have any desire to repeat. However, even so, we can look back at His faithfulness and carry that with us as we look forward to the coming year. No matter what comes, God is good, and He is for us. We need not worry about the future, but rather ought to view what is yet to come as opportunity for God to show up and demonstrate His goodness and love. It is fascinating, as the older I get, the more I recognize that I am present in the moments, rather than worrying about taking photos. I put together a year in review collage of some highlights, only to discover there were many moments missed in pictures that left a lasting imprint on my heart. God is so good, and I can look forward with eager anticipation for all the new that He will do. May we ever seek the Lord and wait on Him, for He prepares the way, walks beside us, and never leaves us as we journey this life with Him.

Look ahead in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

He’s paving the way,

As we walk forward.

As we look to Him,

No matter what comes;

Trust is made certain,

May His will be done.

Always God is good,

And He remains near;

Our help and our hope,

Remover of fear.

Look back with all thanks,

For His faithfulness;

With eyes fixed forward,

On coming newness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look back and see how You walked beside us to help us know that You will always be present in all that lies ahead. Thank You that in You, we have a hope and a future. Forgive us for the times that we have fixated on the past rather than looked forward to what You will do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would gaze into the coming year with gladness, knowing that You will make a way and do new things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your love and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look forward to all that You will do in the coming year. Amen.

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

To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:23-24

Relax in Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

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)

Yesterday was a great reminder of this. I woke early enough to do my devotional reading, but not quite early enough to write as well. After more months than it should have been, my dear friend and long-time running buddy and I met to get out and move. Dressed for the weather, we decided that a walk and talk would be far safer than a run, as the roads and sidewalks were quite icy. Nothing quite blesses my soul as much as connecting and catching up as if no times has passed. Sharing life with dear friends is so good for the soul. What made it all the sweeter was after we were done, we ended at another dear friend’s home, who had invited us in for coffee. More connecting and catching up was done, and I drove home with a smile on my face and peace in my heart. After walking the dogs and coaching my gymnasts, my love and I went to get some Christmas shopping done. Again, I was reminded of how good the Lord is to me, and how much He cares. Upon our return, he made dinner for the family, and we enjoyed a silly Christmas movie with snuggling pups. It amazes me how God can bring us rest through the busy, the ordinary, and simply through being present. He is good and has showered me with incredible blessings in those whom He has placed around me. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us throughout our days, and trust in Him to provide rest for our souls as He cares so well for us.

Relax, O my soul,

For the Lord is near;

He brings us His peace,

Comfort, love, and cheer.

He pours out blessings,

As He grants us rest;

Calm to the spirit,

For He knows us best.

In kindness and love,

Let us persevere;

Move forward in faith,

For God, You are near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good to us. Thank You that You provide rest for our souls as we seek You. Thank You for the blessing of community that You call us to invest in. Forgive us for the times that we allow the worries of the world to overwhelm us rather than choosing to be still before You, as You are the One who settles the soul. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love those around us as You intended, and help us to be the hands, heart and voice of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the blessings You have poured out upon us, and the rest that You alone bring to the soul. Amen.

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

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

Joy and Laughter

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – (Job 8:21, NIV)

So perhaps you might laugh again. Maybe shouts of joy will come from your lips. – (Job 8:21, ERV)

He will fill your mouth with laughter; your lips will spill over into cries of delight. – (Job 8:21, VOICE)

Though Job’s friends were not the greatest at responding to the devastation and loss that he had experienced, this verse was spot on, as in the end, all that Job had lost was restored and then some. Joy and laughter were restored after such heartache, trials, and loss. Last evening, as my love and I attended his sister’s annual Christmas party, we were both in a space where laughter was needed. Gathering with family and friends, we were able to enjoy the company, love and laughter that burst forth when dear ones get together. There was much laughter, and the joy that dwells deep within, was reminded to surface. Today, I anticipate more laughter and reasons to shout for joy, as we will gather with our church family, and after, I will have the pleasure of time together with dear ones from college group that I met a few decades ago. I am so thankful for the opportunities God brings to grant us laughter and to remind us of the joy we have in and through Him. The people He places in our lives grant us reason to delight.

The gift of laughter,

Reminds us that joy;

An ongoing gift,

That love does employ.

For time together,

With laughter and love;

Show us God’s goodness,

His grace understood.

Trial or triumph,

God’s joy is the same;

Found in the blessings,

As we call His Name.

Joy’s not dependent,

On our circumstance;

It’s found in Jesus,

Not by happenstance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what is going on around us or what lies before us, we can trust that there will be laughter and joy again. Thank You that joy in You exists even on our darkest days. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the weight of our circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, for it is in that space of hope that we know and understand the joy in the promise of forever in Your presence. Teach us to choose to embrace the joy we have in You, and to allow love and laughter to overflow from our gratitude to You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that remind them that love and laughter, joy and peace are present when we know Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise for the joy we know in You, and for the love and laughter that You provide through those You place in our lives. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11