All Praise is Due

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, NIV) 

Praise to the Lord God of Israel. He has come to help His people and has given them freedom. He has given us a powerful Savior from the family of his servant David. – (Luke 1:68-69, ERV) 

May the Lord God of Israel be blessed indeed! For God’s intervention has begun, and He has moved to rescue us, the people of God. And the Lord has raised up a powerful sign of liberation for us from among the descendants of God’s servant, King David. – (Luke 1:68-69, VOICE) 

 

These verses are a portion of Zechariah’s song, which are sung in a praise-filled celebration of sorts, following the birth of his son, John (the Baptist). As a faithful follower of God, Zechariah understood the significance of all that was taking place, as it had long before been foretold. The birth of his son was the prelude to the coming of Christ, the long-awaited Redeemer and Savior. Zechariah’s stretch of silence, after his holy visitation that left him mute, ended with the faithful obedience of writing down the name he was told to give his son. The first thing he did with his reopened lips was give glory and honor to God for His faithfulness. May we each embrace the incomprehensible grace that came to us through a virgin birth, and praise the Lord for being faithful to fulfill His promises forever. 

 

All praise to the Lord, Wisdom from Heaven

For all praise is due; 

For what He promised, 

Was provided true. 

A Savior to come, 

The Light for mankind; 

Entered a baby, 

Yet fully divine. 

The hope of the world, 

Had come down to earth; 

To set captives free, 

And grant us rebirth. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You. Thank You for Your faithfulness throughout the ages. Thank You for those who set the example of recognizing who You are and how You love. Forgive us for forgetting that the very same God who set aside His throne to be God-with-us, still dwells within the hearts of those who seek You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on You for all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude for Your faithfulness, and conveys Your heart and character to all those with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the wonderful things that You have done to extend Your grace and send us Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Only Love Makes Love Known

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. – (1 John 4:7, NLT) 

Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child. And so everyone who loves knows God. – (1 John 4:7, ERV) 

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him. – (1 John 4:7, TPT) 

 

We are called to love each other. If we know and love God, we are equipped and empowered to love those around us. In fact, how we love people, is an outward sign of the inward condition of our heart and an indication of the love we understand from the Father. Our capacity to love well grows exponentially when we know that we are loved unconditionally. How much more does this hold true when we begin to grasp the kindness and grace that we are granted through our loving Heavenly Father? May we love one another well as we receive the love that God continually pours into all who seek Him. 

 

Let us each choose love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

One to another; 

It’s God’s intention, 

Sisters and brothers. 

For the love He gives, 

In us, ought to grow; 

To love others well, 

So everyone knows. 

Knows of His goodness, 

Understands His grace; 

Receives and gives love, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Help us to love one another the way that You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love in practical ways that make Your love tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your unending love, and seek You to show us how to love others best. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

A Shield About Us

But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. – (Psalm 3:3, NIV)

But You, Lord, protect me. You bring me honor; You give me hope. – (Psalm 3:3, ERV)

But You, God, shield me on all sides; You ground my feet, You lift my head high. – (Psalm 3:3, MSG)

 

God is our hope, our help and our place of protection in all things and at all times. When feeling low or unsure of where to go, He will direct our steps and lift our head high in His hope. The Lord is faithful in all things – great and small, and cares about all. On Saturday afternoon, my husband’s back went out. He stretched and iced, used heat, and did all of the things that he knows to do to best to help his body. Unfortunately, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, it was clear that those things, along with much prayer, were not the solution this time. In the past, what has helped the most, has been chiropractic care, as misalignment has been the culprit causing bulging discs to place pressure on sensitive spinal nerves. While he searched online for a possible office that would be open on a Sunday, I prayed for a solution. A long-time friend, who happens to be a chiropractor in Seattle, came to mind. I sent her a message, asking if she knew anyone in our area that might be open on a Sunday (as I did not want to ask her to work on her one day off). She sent a name that might respond to a message if we left one, but said she would be in her office and would be happy to see him. Seriously?! A few hours later, we were on our way. Treatment provided rapid relief, and he happens to have this week off from work. God is good and my Viking can rest and recover, rather than further aggravate the injury. May we trust God to be a shield about us, as He lifts our head and grants us hope.

 

No matter what comes, A Shield About Us

The Lord will be near;

A shield about us,

We need never fear.

For He is our hope,

Throughout all our days;

Our glorious God,

He’s faithful always.

He’ll lift our head up,

When things all look down;

And remind our heart,

Where true hope is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a shield about us. Thank You that You lift us up and provide hope in difficult spaces. Thank You that You care about all things – great and small. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You in our need. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and help Whom we can trust forever. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your protection and provision, as You are the hope to which we can cling. Amen.

 

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

 

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – Psalm 33:20

Draw Near with True Hearts

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, NIV)

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So, come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. – (Hebrews 10:22, ERV)

Let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, VOICE)

Christ made coming to God possible. Through His sacrifice, once and for all, we have full assurance that the price has already been paid for our sins. Because we have been washed clean from the inside out, when we draw near to God and receive what He freely offers, we can confidently enter into His presence and communicate with the nearness of a loving Father and friend. May we readily receive what Christ gives by His glorious grace, and draw near to the Lord with faith, as we are fully known.

 

One great sacrifice,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Made way for us all;

To become washed clean,

Be heard when we call.

What Christ did for us,

Is ours to receive;

By faith, to lay hold,

All hope we believe.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts that embrace;

The gift of new life,

Through God’s lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus, thank You for taking on all of our sin and shame, so that we could be made clean and worthy to approach the throne of God. Forgive us for taking Your sacrifice for granted, or for somehow thinking it could not possibly cover the weight of our own ugliness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the grace that You have so generously given, and never forget the ultimate price that You paid on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize Your grace and love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of grace that You freely give, and continue to come close to You so that we will know how to best walk according to Your will. Amen.

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

For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:19

 

Our Words Are Heard

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

The Anointed One did not enter into handcrafted sacred spaces – imperfect copies of heavenly originals – but into heaven itself, where He stands in the presence of God on our behalf. – (Hebrews 9:24, VOICE)

When we pray, be it a praise, a petition, a confession or a cry for help, our words make way to the very throne room of God. Because Jesus came and made way for us once and for all, we can approach His throne of grace, knowing that He hears and is moving on our behalf. I am so thankful that there is no go-between, nor series of rituals or requirements necessary to come to Christ whenever we need. So often I find myself offering up a quick prayer, unaware of the power and majesty present in the gift of grace to freely speak to the Creator of the Universe with the closeness of a loving father and faithful friend. May we appreciate in awe, the blessed gift granted through Christ, that endows unto us the opportunity to come before God for help, knowing that Christ is for us, moving on our behalf.

 

We need not worry,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The way has been made;

Free to approach God,

The price has been paid.

Christ went before us,

And sees us with love;

So now without fear,

We seek God above.

Let us not forget,

This grace we have found;

All thanks be to God,

Who makes love abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to approach Your throne of grace. Thank You that You hear every word uttered, both in our hearts and with our voices. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our need, or have neglected to give You gratitude for Your unending faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and give You thanks for all that You have done, are doing, and shall do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know of Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

 

 

The Peace in Letting Go

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. – (Psalm 37:8, NIV)

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, NLT)

Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, TLB)

 

Anger, wrath and rage ultimately bring the most harm to the holder. They have a way of rotting us from the inside out, and lead us to decisions that go against the good that we know we ought to do. Fret and worry are much the same. Each of these responses to external things, create an internal reaction that ruins the resolve within us. This verse does not say, “Never be angry.” Rather, it is a call to not sit and dwell in that space, allowing rage to rise. There is a time for righteous anger, yet how we respond to it matters most. Our charge is not to retaliate nor vindicate, (for this is why there are laws and authorities in place) alternatively, we are to set it in God’s hands. Of course, this is more easily said than done, yet with intention, it is worthwhile. Peace takes root where the anger or worry attempted reign. May we recognize our own responses as they occur and give all anger and worry to Him who brings peace in the most tumultuous spaces.

 

Stop being angry, Set Down Our Stones

Leave wrath in the dust;

Let go of worry,

Turn to God in trust.

For vengeance is His,

So too, are good plans;

As we trust in Him,

His grace lends a hand.

A hand that gives love,

When we’re lacking peace;

Comfort in worry,

What we need’s released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to let go of anger, wrath, rage and worry. Thank You that though there is a time for righteous anger, we are not meant to sit and hold it in our hearts and hands. Thank You that as we release these things to You, You replace them with Your comfort and peace. Forgive us for holding anger or worry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place all things in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us who are holding anger or worry in such a way, that they may discover the freedom of letting go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our anger and worry to You, and allow Your comfort and peace to take their place in our hearts. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Hearing Our Heart

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, NIV)

Then you will call my Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – (Jeremiah 29:12, ERV)

At that time, you will call out for Me, and I will hear. You will pray, and I will listen. – (Jeremiah 29:12, VOICE)

 

God is faithful to hear us every time we call on His Name. Though His answers do not always look the way that we might envision, He is loving and kind and has our very best in mind. In my life, though I prayed one way for years, hoping that He would intervene and bring restoration, He instead protected, provided, and brought me to a place that is far better than I could have even dared to dream. God is good, and He hears our every prayer. May we pray with persistence, trusting that He is faithful and has a plan and a future for us that far exceeds what we could hope or imagine.

 

No matter the state,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Our heart when we come;

Each prayer that we pray,

Heard, His will be done.

For God’s will is good,

Because He is love;

His plans are greater,

Grace shines from above.

Though how He answers,

A bit a surprise;

His ultimate good,

Will grant strength to rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer and listen to our heart. Thank You that Your plans are far greater than what we could hope or imagine. Forgive us for not seeking You or for questioning Your faithfulness when we cannot see how things could possibly be moving in a direction for good. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever, and have a plan and a future for each of us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages and strengthens each as they go throughout their days. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and trust You to hear and move on our behalf, even when we do not understand the direction. Amen.

 

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

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

Love Extends

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – (Ephesians 4:2, TLB)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

Love extends patience and acceptance in humility and gentleness, always. We are called to love in the same way that Christ loves each of us. The Lord does not limit His love according to who we are or how we measure up, rather He loves generously, patiently, and accepts us each as we come before Him. So often we fall short of truly walking out our days according to His ways, yet He remains gentle and patient with us, as He lovingly redirects our steps. Our charge, is to do the same. I appreciate the phrasing of The Passions Translation so much, as it is phrased in a way that feels veritably relevant in my world of working with middle school students, who at times, tax my patience. We are called to love as Christ loves us. No limits. No exceptions. To do so requires humility, patience, gentleness and generous love. May we seek the Lord, who in His gentle kindness, loves us so well that we are equipped to go and love likewise.

 

Tender and gentle, Pursue Righteousness and Love

Humble and choose kind;

It’s how we’re to love,

All of human kind.

God’s love is lavish,

Full of patience too;

As we seek His heart,

His love is made new.

So, let us go forth,

And love like the Lord;

May all come to know,

How much they’re adored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that as we seek You and depend on You, You equip us to love with patience, gentleness and humility. Thank You that Your love can flow through us, if only we are willing. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas or egos have been barriers to bestowing love upon those who needed it most. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love gently and humbly, with patience, even toward those who try our patience the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love in the same way that You so wonderfully love each of us. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) 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