Grace, Love and Presence

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, HCSB)

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE)

This verse is the conclusion of Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth. I so appreciate how he parts out the goodness of God. His separation of the three parts of the trinity and their attributes provide clarity on our need for each. We all need grace, love and the presence of fellowship in our lives. As we walk with the Lord, we grow in understanding of who He is and how He loves. His grace is more than enough for all that we need, His love, surrounds and fills us to overflowing, and His presence is the peace that settles our hearts no matter what lies before us. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is the provider of grace, love, and the very presence of peace.

Jesus, we need You,

Celtic Knot that represents The Trinity – intertwined without end

Your unending grace;

The good that leads us,

Throughout all our days.

O God, our Father,

We receive Your love;

The warmth that surrounds,

From You up above.

The Holy Spirit,

Ever-present peace;

Your nearness supplies,

All that our hearts need.

God You are so good,

May all come to know;

Your love, grace and peace,

That each day You show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in one. Thank You that Your Son grants us the grace to navigate each new day, Your Father’s heart loves us without limits, and Your perfect presence is our peace in all things. Forgive us for not recognizing the fullness of who You are and how You love. Teach us to ever seek to know You more, so that we might grow in our understanding of who You are and how great Your love, grace and presence truly are. Show us to love those around us well, so that we may be Your vessels of love, grace and peace that is made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for how You make Yourself known to us. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Shifting Seasons

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. – (Joel 2:23, HCSB)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

Living in the Pacific Northwest, these words resonate with me. Right now, we are enjoying a typically extended summer. Though summer did not begin until after the 4th of July, it usually continues until the close of September. That being said, the chill of fall is in the air in the mornings. For those of us who love summer, there is a bit of mourning as the seasons shift. This passage is a great reminder that the rain that though it will come, for it always does, is a gift from God. Seldom has our area had issues with water shortage. The rains that come truly are a gift, for they are what keep our area so green throughout the year. My takeaway is simply to recognize and appreciate the shift in seasons as a gift, for it is a reminder that God is faithful.

As autumn rains come,

For they always do;

Know that God’s faithful,

As His grace shines through.

The rains have purpose,

Blessings from above;

In season, water,

That shows us His love.

The lush of the green,

Ev’rywhere surrounds;

Reminders of God,

Where true hope is found.

So, let us give thanks,

As the seasons shift;

For God’s faithfulness,

As our praise we lift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to supply what we need in every season. Thank You that You grant us rain in the fall and springtime to help things grow and thrive. Help us to remember that You do the same for our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for begrudgingly trudging through seasonal shifts, for we would not fully appreciate the glory of summer without the gray, rainy days. Teach us to love those around us in ways that bring refreshment and new life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful provision in each new season. Amen.

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

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. – Psalm 104:19

Lead Me To Level Ground

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, HCSB)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path. – (Psalm 143:10, VOICE)

As I ponder this, what comes to mind is not necessarily the smoothest path, but rather one where my footing is secure. Level ground is the space on which our pace stays steady. When we seek the Lord to lead us and show us what to do, He leads us to His level ground. For me, this means that as I seek Him and trust Him, He will guide me to the spaces where I find my footing and am able to press on. Right now, I find myself needing this more than ever. Teaching a subject in a grade that I have never taught, and having extraordinarily full, high energy classes at the end of the day for the two periods that I teach something familiar, leads me to feel as if I am climbing a mountain by the close of the day. I need Him to be my strength and to guide me by His grace into the new and challenging, so that I may find my footing and move forward at an appropriate pace. God is good, and He is faithful to teach us as we seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to walk in His will and lead us along the path that He has prepared for us. 

O God, please show me,

To move in Your way;

By Your loving grace,

Lead me each new day.

Lord, teach me to walk,

On Your level ground;

With footing secure,

For Your way is sound.

Guide me by Your grace,

That’s made ever new;

Help me and lead me,

Show me what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that leads and strengthens us to spaces where our way is clear. Thank You that You can secure our steps, even when the road is rocky. Forgive us for our objections to obstacles, for they are often necessary to help us recognize and appreciate clear paths. Please show us which way to go, and grant us Your strength to step securely on the path that You place before us. Lead us in Your lavish love and grace, so that we may extend the same to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified  O God, as we seek You to lead us and find the way that You have set before us. 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

Adventurously Expectant

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – (Romans 8:15, HCSB)

The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again and causes us to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us God’s chosen children. And with that Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – (Romans 8:15, ERV)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” – (Romans 8:15, MSG)

You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. – (Romans 8:15, VOICE)

I included four different translations, as I appreciate what can be gleaned from each. When we invite God to be the Lord of our life, He gives us His Spirit to dwell in us and lead us into all that He has prepared for us. It is not a thing that makes us obedient robots, but rather is the Spirit within us that helps us recognize who our loving Heavenly Father is, and grants us an adventurously expectant heart that eagerly awaits all that Daddy God has for us. No matter what our earthly experience is with fathers, our Heavenly Father is loving and kind, and only has good in mind for us. He is our help and our hope, and welcomes us with strong and loving arms. God is ever-present, and is never too busy to hear and help us. May we seek the Lord to show us more and more of His Father’s heart for us, so that we may embrace His grace and follow wherever He leads with eager expectation.

The Spirit of God,

Our sweet Tali girl, ever expecting adventure. ❤

Ought not to be feared;

But rather embraced,

In love, be revered.

Ultimate Father,

Full of love and grace;

He leads and guides us,

As we seek His face.

Our help and our hope,

Wherever we go;

The Dad that loves us,

Where true peace is known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You adopt us into Your family when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You have good in mind for us all. Forgive us for associating Your Father’s heart with that of broken earthly examples. Teach us by Your Spirit how You are perfect love, and the One that never fails us. Show us how to love as You love, and help us to make Your heart known to those around us by our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our Abba Father, and for the Spirit You give us to make Your loving kindness tangible within. Amen.

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

Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them. – Psalm 119:129

Splendor and Majesty

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. – (Psalm 96:6, HCSB)

He lives in the presence of glory and honor. His Temple is a place of power and beauty. – (Psalm 96:6, ERV)

Honor and majesty precede Him; strength and beauty infuse His holy sanctuary. – (Psalm 96:6, VOICE)

When I think of the splendor and majesty of God, I cannot help but look to the beauty and strength found in His creation. Currently, my Viking and I are on a little anniversary getaway in Westport, Washington. It is a coastal town that is known for its great fishing, and we have settled into a wooded oasis in our travel trailer. The lush green around us, and the sound of foghorns on the water nearby, all point to the creativity and power of God. I am so grateful for the reminders all around us, for if there is this much beauty and power here on earth, how much more in heaven in His presence? Amazingly, His Temple is no longer a structure that we have to go to in order to be in God’s presence. We are His Temple in which He dwells. That means that the power and beauty that made all things resides in all who invite Him in. For me, this is a reminder that our prayers are powerful, and that we are gaining glimpses of Him through all that His hands have made that surround us. May we ever seek Him and praise Him for all that He has made, and give thanks for how present and available He is within us.

The Lord is so great,

Worthy of all praise;

His strength and beauty,

And His loving ways.

His hands created,

All that we can see;

He dwells within us,

Leads purposefully.

Open our eyes Lord,

Remind us anew;

Of all that You are,

And all that You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are given glimpses of Your splendor and majesty, strength and beauty, through all that surrounds us. Thank You that we are the temple of Your Holy Spirit, so the same power that has created, cared, and covered us all can live within us. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your majesty. Teach us to recognize the beauty and power in all that You have created, and show us how to appreciate and take in all that You have made. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You, for each of us has been created with a plan and a purpose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we witness the glory of You in all that surrounds us and give You praise for who You are. Amen.

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

Lord, who is like You among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders? – Exodus 15:11

Celebrating Fathers

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, HCSB)

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, ERV)

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, VOICE)

It is interesting that this passage was part of my reading this morning, as it is a reminder of why we celebrate fathers today. Though not all have been present or have loved as one might hope, we can celebrate those we know who remind us what it is to be loved as God intended. For those who love their wives well, love their children in the same way – sacrificially, and build them up with loving encouragement in the right ways to go, let us celebrate and appreciate their love and sacrifice. I am blessed with a husband who loves us well, and would do anything for us to be sure our needs are met and our hearts held well.  May we seek the Lord with hearts full of thanks, for Him, our ultimate Father, and for the men in our lives who model God’s love to us in tangible ways.

To know the Lord’s love,

Look around and see;

Those who choose love well,

Show it tangibly.

Without conditions,

Such love is complete;

It sets our hearts free,

A place of retreat.

For this kind of love,

Chooses sacrifice;

Puts family first,

Gives godly advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men in our lives that model a love like Yours. Thank You for the generosity and sacrifice that is given to their families, friends and communities. Forgive us for the times that we have not appreciated or acknowledged Your goodness that is shown through so many. Teach us to see You in those around us, and to celebrate and give thanks for Your heart that is grown within them. Show us how to love like You so that many may come to understand the depth and breadth of Your unfailing love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the husbands and fathers that You have placed around us, and for the ultimate Father that we have in You. Amen.

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

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. – 1 John 3:1a

Invest in Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may our Lord Jesus (the Anointed One Himself) and God our Father (who has loved us, comforted us eternally, and given us a good hope by His grace) bring comfort to your hearts and strengthen your wills to accomplish every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor finished a series entitled, “No One Stands Alone”. The big ideas in the messages have been about us all being called to community, not isolations, to find and be a mentor to others, and yesterday, finished up with a character study about Barnabas; as he was a fantastic example of what it is to come alongside others and be an encourager. Encouragement goes beyond simple “atta ways” and “you’ve got this”. To be an encourager is to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside others to help them continue to grow and thrive as they seek Him. This can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, verbally and the like. It is so much more than a kind word. Barnabas exemplified what it is to be an encourager, as he left what he knew and his community, to go encourage and build up the believers that were a couple of hundred miles away. Additionally, he helped provide finances for those who were lacking, which was a sacrificial demonstration of God’s love that was made tangible to those in need around him. As he closed out the service, Omar (our pastor) asked the questions, “Who are the people in your life who are like a Barnabas to you?” and “Who can you be a Barnabas to?” Both questions required little thought, as I am blessed with a long list of those who have invested in and encouraged me, and know many who are in need of encouragement in this season. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be an encouragement to those around us, both in word and action.

To choose to love well,

Be encouraging;

Is a lifestyle choice,

That we choose to bring.

Not in our own strength,

But led by the Lord;

Who shows us the way,

That grace is outpoured.

A love that is seen,

Not just by mere words;

But true investments,

That make actions heard.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Be encouraging,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to encourage and walk alongside us. Thank You for those whom You have called us to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we did not listen to Your leading as to how we might lift up and encourage those around us. Show us how to be dependent on Your Spirit to lead us to love those around us in ways that build them up and encourage them forward to all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Encourager to us all. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to encourage others well, and help us recognize and appreciate the people whom You have led to encourage us. Amen.

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

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Comfort That Conveys Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Sacrificial Love

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, HCSB)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – (John 15:13, NIV)

For the greatest love of all is a love that sacrifices all. And this great love is demonstrated when a person sacrifices his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, TPT)

Today is a well-timed day of rest and a day to honor all who have served our country. I am fortunate to have known and understood the sacrifice that our veterans have made, as my grandfather was a retired lieutenant colonel for the army. Though he spoke little of his experiences, I imagine he saw, experienced, loved and lost more than my mind can conceive. All that he did was willingly and with the intent to protect his family, friends and his country. His dedication to protect was matched by his commitment to love. Though his time on earth has passed, his love and legacy live on through the generations that followed. Today, I have the joy of knowing that my husband, who also served, has a heart like his; one that loves and protects and would lay down his life without a second thought, for his friends and family. It is a special kind of love, in fact, the greatest love of all, that is willing to sacrifice all for others. May we take time to give thanks to God for the heart to love and protect that He has given to those who serve, and pass on our appreciation to all the veterans in our lives for the blessing of their service and sacrifice. 

There’s no greater love,

My husband.

Willing sacrifice;

Ready to give all,

The ultimate price.

For all who have served,

And still serve today;

Thank you’s not enough,

For your loving ways.

May all who have served,

Feel valued and loved;

For your sacrifice,

Shows the greatest love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for demonstrating the ultimate love through sending Your Son. Thank You for the men and women who have willingly sacrificed much to serve and protect our country. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of their sacrifice that demonstrates the greatest love of all. Teach us to appreciate and value our veterans, as we recognize how the sacrifices made demonstrate a love like Yours. Show us how to love like You, and to do all we can to bless and appreciate those who have and continue to protect us all. Amen.

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

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, edures all things. – 1 Corinthians 13:6-7

Tangible Peace

May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord of peace will give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, ERV)

May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you! – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, MSG)

Now, may the Lord himself, the Lord of peace, pour into you His peace in every circumstance and in every possible way. The Lord’s tangible presence be with you all. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, TPT)

In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, this verse is a portion of his closing. His exhortation to them remains relevant and applicable to us today. I, for one, need God’s peace now more than ever. I am so thankful for His presence that provides peace, even when peace does not make sense. Getting along with others actively contributes to peace, and His presence makes it possible. As a visual and experiential learner, I so appreciate The Passions Translation that says, “the Lord’s tangible presence be with you all.” When God’s truth is made tangible, something that we can see, feel, experience and hold onto, it becomes a reality that we will not readily release. The more we invest in intentional time with Him, the more we understand and experience His peace. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace in every situation and circumstance, and may we rely on Him to help us be at peace with all of those around us.

O Lord, hear our prayer,

For Your perfect peace;

To ever be near,

And set hearts at ease.

Show us Your goodness,

Fill us with Your love;

Lead us to live well,

With grace from above.

Help us show others,

Your love and Your grace;

Your heart tangible,

In all things, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the same encouragement that was needed and granted so long ago, is still relevant and a blessing today. Thank You that You are the God of all peace, and You provide us paths to live accordingly. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears that disrupt the peace that You are offering. Show us how to lean into You in places that it is difficult to see and experience peace in the midst of seeming chaos. Lead us to love in a way that makes Your loving kindness tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love and be promoters of peace in places it is needed most. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11