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

Grateful for the Gift

My beloved is mine and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV)

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE)

My darling, I am yours, and you are mine. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, CEV)

Today I am feeling extra grateful for the gift that God gave me in the form of my spouse. He came into my life when it was least expected, yet fully needed, and we have been building a beautiful life together ever since. Together, we have navigated some serious trials and incredible blessings, and continue to work together as a team to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Our children are learning how to navigate adulthood, and we are learning how to love, support and encourage them through the process. Happy Birthday to my Viking, who loves me well and is the one my heart adores. May we embrace the ones whom God has given us, and move forward in love and purpose, each new step we take.

The Lord is so good,

For He knows our need;

And blesses our hearts,

As in love, He leads.

Through just the right ones,

That love us so well;

His heart is made known,

Through grace true love tells.

Embraced in kindness,

Encouraged, held up;

One gifted to me,

As he fills my cup.

The one my heart loves,

Who calls me his own;

To walk through this life,

As true love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing and the gift that You have given me in the one my heart adores. Thank You that You knew exactly what I needed and merged our paths together at just the right time. Forgive us for taking even a moment for granted that You have blessed us with. Teach us to appreciate each new day, challenge and victory that we face together. Show us how to love one another and those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as I praise You and thank You for the incredible gift that You have given me in my Viking. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. – Psalm 34:8a

Time to Notice

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

In today’s fast-paced society, I think it is far too easy for people to lose sight of the blessings and beauty that are all around us. When our eyes divert to “things” or agendas, we become blind to that which truly matters. However, when we set our hearts and minds on loving well and being grateful, there is suddenly no denying the goodness of God. This morning, as I write, our two dogs remind me of the intentional love God placed in creation. In the still and silent morning, sweet snuggles remind my heart of just how good God is. He loves us so much that He created creatures that love without hesitation, and desire nothing more than to be in our presence. Soon, the two doggos and I will get outside and walk, and the scenery that we will witness again points to His glory. May we ever seek to love and give thanks, so that our eyes and hearts will be open to the tangible evidence of God all around us.

Though all is not seen,

The heart truly knows;

The goodness of God,

As creation shows.

Beautiful landscapes,

And those whom we love;

Sweet, loving creatures,

The gifts from above.

Take time to notice,

In wonder and awe;

The goodness of God,

Blessings He foresaw.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your existence all around us. Thank You for the beauty and blessing that You placed in creation for all of us to enjoy. Forgive us for losing sight of the intention of all that Your hands have made. Teach us to appreciate and care for all of creation well. Show us how to love all those around us and to be good stewards of all that You have created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your goodness and love through all that You’ve created and through the love You have deposited in us to give away. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made and seek You to show us how to love best. 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

Intentionally

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – He remains faithful forever. – (Psalm 146:6, NIV)

He made the heavens and earth. He made the sea and everything in it. He can be trusted to do what He says. – (Psalm 146:6, ERV)

You keep all Your promises. You are the Creator of heaven’s glory, earth’s grandeur, and the ocean’s greatness. – (Psalm 146:6, TPT)

There is nothing quite like being near the ocean for me. Each time I draw near to the salt air, hear the crashing waves, and sink my toes into the sand, peace surrounds me and I am reminded of the powerful love of the One who made it all. Just as we can watch and count on the waves to continue meeting the shore, so too, we can depend on the Lord to be present and faithful forever. I find myself especially aware of God’s faithfulness as I am blessed with a weekend away in my favorite coastal town with my love. It is such a blessing to share the place I love with the one I love. Each wave that meets the shore reminds me that God is present and powerful, and that His love is never ending. May we each take time to observe the incredible beauty around us that is the work of His hands, and recognize the eternal faithfulness found in the One who made it all.

Faithful forever,

Creator of all;

The glory that’s seen,

His hands made it all.

Each great ocean wave,

The gorgeous blue sky;

The sand that warms toes,

Beauty can’t be denied.

The very same hands,

That formed such beauty;

Designed each of us,

Intentionally.

Forever faithful,

The Lord God above;

As He reminds us,

Of unending love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, who created all of the beauty that our eyes can see, also created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Forgive us for losing sight of Your faithfulness and love as we navigate all that comes our way. Teach us to trust in You, for You love us and never leave us. Show us how to appreciate all that Your hands have made, so that we may love those around us in the same ways that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Strength and Secure Path

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

The true God who encircled me with strength and made my pathway straight. – (Psalm 18:32, VOICE)

God has created each of us with purpose and intention. I never cease to be amazed at what the human body can do. He grants us strength to move and guides and protects us as we go. As I find myself a week away from a major milestone birthday, I cannot help but stand in awe of the strength and safety that God has granted me. I love to be outdoors and moving, and He has empowered me with a strong healthy body that is able to run, hike, walk, bike and tackle whatever other physical challenge that is set before me. Each moment I am moving outdoors I am acutely aware of God and His goodness. May we ever recognize the strength and protection that are provided by God and give Him thanks for all that He does.

The God of all grace,

Grants us strength within;

Makes straight our pathways,

As we let Him in.

Equipped with mercy,

Empowered by grace;

All that is needed,

To run well our race.

Keep pressing forward,

And trusting in Him;

In Him we are strong,

To rise and begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and protection as we move forward in You. Thank You that You have created such beauty all around us to enjoy. Forgive us for taking even one moment of our ability to get out and enjoy it for granted. Teach us to praise and appreciate You in all things. Show us how to love those around us best, as we do the things You created us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we move in the strength that You provide and trust in You goodness to guide us safely. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

The Heavens Make It Known

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

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

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

Each morning, as I walk our dogs, I witness the beauty of all that God has made. The skies transform before my eyes, and the colors unfold like the opening of a fresh box of crayons. At night, as the day comes to a close, the moon and stars shine bright through the darkness, blinking of the brilliance of the hands that hung them each in the sky. Even when the blue is hidden by clouds, the weight of them waters the earth and restores green to the grass and trees. All it takes is but a moment of looking up to be reminded of the greatness of God and the glory of His majesty. May we ever take in all of His creation and recognize that the same God who created such beauty was intentional to create all those whom we encounter.

All heaven declares,

The glory of God;

The work of His hands,

Leaves my heart in awe.

Each star in the sky,

On purpose was placed;

To remind us all,

Of God’s endless grace.

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose look up;

Give thanks to the Lord,

As He fills our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, power and creativity. Thank You that all we need to do is look up to become aware of the wonders of Your power and goodness. Forgive us for neglecting to take time to take in all of the wonder at what Your hands have made. Teach us to be intentional to appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have created. Show us how to recognize the beauty of Your creation, and to help others value themselves, as we all are among Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your glory as we observe the world around us.  Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5