Abiding in Jesus

Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. – (John 15:4, NIV)

Stay joined to Me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to Me. – (John 15:4, ERV)

Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with Me. – (John 15:4, MSG)

As a middle school teacher in January, I recognize the truth of this in very tangible ways. If I do not begin my day with Jesus, my heart is not set right to abide in Him. Without Him, I would not get through the challenges that nearing the end of the first semester bring. Between the push to complete and finalize grading, kids in scramble mode to raise grades, behaviors break down and patience is challenged. When I rely on He who is in me, I am kinder and more patient. In the moments that I try to trust in my own strength, frustration rises, and I am ready to walk away. Remaining in Jesus means to listen to His leading in all things. This includes moments of frustration and challenge, as well as those of blessing and celebration. He is always good, and is faithful to supply what we need in all things. May we ever abide in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith; for greater is He who is in us, than anything that is in the world.

Abide in Jesus,

As He does in us;

Our Hope and Helper,

The One who sees us.

He knows all our needs,

When we’re not aware;

And as we seek Him,

Always, He is there.

Present to help us,

To show us the way;

To live and love well,

As in Him we stay.

So, remain in God,

The Giver of grace;

Our Help and our Hope,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead us and help us to bear good fruit as we remain in You. Thank You that You are for us, and that Your heart is to lead us to love well. Forgive us for the times that we rely on our own strength, for that is where our patience grows thin, and our resolve diminishes. Teach us to abide in You throughout every moment of every day. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that Your light and love are made known to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we abide in You and seek You to be the bearer of fruit in and through our lives. 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

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

Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

The more we trust God, the more we become aware of His perfect peace. God’s peace brings calm to our hearts, despite the chaos around us, and a steadiness in knowing that He is in control. No matter what we face, we can trust that God is with us, and His presence is what brings us a peace that goes beyond our understanding, and settles our hearts, despite what we see. May we ever seek the Lord and keep our minds steadfast on the truth of His word and who He is, so that we know God’s perfect peace in all things and at all times.

Peace comes in knowing,

Who is in control;

Our King and Savior,

The One we extol.

The Lord grants us strength,

When ours is but gone;

And floods us with peace,

To keep keeping on.

Even in the dark,

The Lord is our light;

Hope never ending,

Our peace through the night.

So, trust in the Lord,

Turn to Him for peace;

His love unending,

Goodness is complete.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, You fill our hearts and minds with Your perfect peace. Thank You that You peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but it is provided in places and times that peace seems impossible. Forgive us for our lack of trust that seems to make peace elusive. Thank You that You patiently wait for us to turn to You, then You lovingly welcome us into Your protective embrace that provides peace that surpasses all understanding. Teach us to always turn to You, no matter what lies before us. Show us Your goodness and grace that overwhelms our hearts with Your perfect peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that extend Your perfect peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our minds and hearts on You, and give You room to move as You flood us with Your perfect peace. Amen.

©

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

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Walking the Way of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

Some days, walking the way of love is far more difficult than others. There are moments in the craziness of my days that I am unsure of what love ought to look like. This is where we need Jesus more than ever. We need His eyes to see and His heart to love when we cannot even process the things unfolding before us. Yesterday, an insane incident in one of my classes left me so stunned that all I could do was ask if kids were okay after I had the disrupter step outside. I am very aware of my need for God to lead me in His love in everything I say and do, for I am not equipped on my own to navigate all that comes my way. May we ever seek the Lord and His lavish love, so that we may navigate our days in the light of His love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all things like You;

Extravagantly,

So Your heart shines through.

For love is given,

Not so that we get;

But rather to show,

All that’s to come yet.

As we choose draw near,

Train us in Your ways;

Make Your love made known,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are an ongoing work in progress. Thank You that You continue to grow us and transform us to better reflect Your love to those around us. Forgive us for our frustrations and expectations of others. Teach us to see others through Your lens, as we recognize the need for love all around us. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to continue to teach us to love like You. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Devoted

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – (Colossians 4:2, NIV)

Never stop praying. Be ready for anything by praying and being thankful. – (Colossians 4:2, ERV)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

To devote oneself to God is to be dedicated and committed to communicating with our Creator. It is an intentional act of speaking and listening, by which we give our gratitude and present our petitions to the Lord. We are charged to be watchful and aware, which sets our hearts at the ready as we communicate with and praise God. This purposeful devotion results in constant communion with Christ. He is faithful to meet us each time we draw near, as He hears our prayers and praise, and speaks to our hearts as we wait in silent stillness. May we choose to pray diligently, for as we do, we are aware and equipped, and overwhelmed with gratitude to God.

Because of Jesus,

We have access to;

The Holy Father,

Who blesses, renews.

In this sweet freedom,

We are called to pray;

Commune with the Lord,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Faithful to meet us,

The Lord’s ever near;

Each praise and request,

In love, the Lord hears.

With wonder, seek Him,

Ask and we’ll receive;

Direction and help,

And all that we need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come near and commune with You. Thank You that You are but a heartbeat away. Thank You that You hear our petitions and praise, and that You answer us as we call on You. Forgive us for merely presenting a laundry list of requests. Teach us to see all of the reasons we have to praise You as we go about our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually pray, prepare and praise through our time intentionally spent with You. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Desire and Strength to Do Good

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. – (Philippians 2:13, HCSB)

Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases Him, and He gives you the power to do it. – (Philippians 2:13, ERV)

God is energizing you so that you will desire to do what always pleases Him. – (Philippians 2:13, VOICE)

When we seek the Lord and invest our hearts and lives in knowing Him more, He empowers us to both want to do His will and He grants us what we need to follow through. We are all a work in progress and the process transpires throughout our lifetime. The more we walk with Him, the more aware we become of what He wants for us, and the greater our desire to do what He wants us to do. Despite our own shortcomings and weaknesses, His power provides as we abide, and we are granted all that we need to move forward in His strength for His purposes. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him room to move in our hearts and lives so that we have the desire and the strength to do what He is calling us to do.

Ever seek the Lord,

Photo by Nitin Arya on Pexels.com

His strength and His will;

For He is faithful,

With love to fulfill.

He grants us power,

To keep pressing on;

Desire for good,

His love makes us strong.

He shows us His ways,

As we choose to ask;

Equips us with strength,

To complete each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You grant us the desire and strength to rise up and do Your will. Thank You that it is not something that we can try to be and do better, but rather we seek more and more of You, and the outcome is a heart that longs to be who You call us to be. Forgive us for our stubbornness and independence that keep us from relying on You to be our source and supply. Teach us to trust in You, for You are faithful to lead us, guide us, and equip us for each new day. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that You love fuels all to pursue the life that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, guide us, and strengthen us to do Your will throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Hope As We Wait

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope. – (Psalm 130:5, NIV)

I am waiting for the Lord to help me. My soul waits for Him. I trust what He says. – (Psalm 130:5, ERV)

So I wait for the Eternal – my soul awaits rescue – and I put my hope in His transforming word. – (Psalm 130:5, VOICE)

I am not necessarily in need of rescue, but I certainly need the Lord’s help to navigate each new day. Right now, we are in the throes of back-to-school training and meetings, and I feel like it is a scramble to get all that needs to be done, completed. This morning, I am again reminded to trust in Him, for He is my help and my hope. It does not mean that I sit idly by and wait for Him to magically impart all that is needed upon me, but rather I keep moving forward and trust in Him to fill and equip me for all that lies ahead. The wait is to settle my own heart so that I am aware of His presence and perfect peace. When I slow down and settle into the seeking as I start my day, I know that I can trust Him for all that lies ahead of me. May we ever wait on the Lord to be our help and our hope, and trust in Him, for His word is true and endures forever.

O Lord, help us wait,

For Your perfect peace;

That comes from trusting,

You’ll meet all our needs.

Strength when we’re weary,

Hope in the unknowns;

Grace on the journey,

‘Til heaven’s our home.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

Your help, hope and peace;

Equip us for where,

Your loving path leads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope as we wait on You to lead us forward. Thank You that we become aware of the presence of Your perfect peace as we slow down and spend time waiting on You. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears as we walk into new seasons. Show us Your goodness and grace, for Your word is faithful and Your peace is available, always. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love all those around us as You do, so that all might know the hope that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on Your leading, and trust You to be our ever-present help and hope through every season. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Ever Near

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This is the goal for sure, to keep the Lord in mind always and to remember that He is ever present with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Whatever He calls us to, He will see us through. It does not mean that it will be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Whether we have known Jesus the majority of our lives or for a short while, it is good to be reminded of how very near He is. When we are aware of His presence, fear flees and we find we are equipped and empowered to move forward into all that He is asking. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to spend time with Him, as it is through our drawing near that we are reminded that the Lord is but a heartbeat away.

O Lord, You are good,

Chasing sunsets on Oahu.<3

Ever near to me;

My help and my hope,

For eternity.

As close as my hand,

You stay by my side;

Your nearness is clear,

As I choose abide.

Remind us, O God,

Of Your strength and grace;

How present You are,

When we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us and ever ready to help us and strengthen us so that we can press on. Thank You that we need not fear because You are with us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your nearness. Teach us to trust in Your goodness and grace that is ever with us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your nearness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever aware of Your nearness. Amen.

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

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. – Psalm 145:18

The Giver of Good Gifts

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. – (James 1:17, HCSB)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

God is ALWAYS good. Everything good comes from Him. Though life and circumstances are not always what we might hope for, God is who and what remains good. He does not change and we can trust in His unending faithfulness. I love that James is referring to God as the Father of lights. He is our light in the darkness, and He illuminates good in spaces where it is seemingly absent. May we turn to God, the Father of lights, to see all of the good and perfect gifts that He has for all who trust in Him. 

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

The Father of lights;

Our Light in darkness,

In whom we delight.

Each good gift given,

That we have received;

From God, our Father,

Who knows all our needs.

Help us Lord Jesus,

Ever be aware;

Of Your sweet presence,

And how much You care.

In our dark spaces,

You bring us Your light;

Love, grace and laughter,

Our hope and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Father of lights, and that in You, there are no shadows. Thank You that every good gift comes from You. Forgive us for the times that we are blind to Your light or unable to recognize the good gifts that You are providing. Teach us to trust in You and be ever aware of Your nearness and love. Show us how to love one another and share the good gifts that You provide to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, the Father of lights, and the giver of every good gift. Amen.

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

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

One Body With Many Parts

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. – (Romans 12:4-5, HCSB)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate this illustration of how we are each a valuable part of the body of Christ, and we each have different strengths, gifts and abilities that contribute to the body as a whole. Because I am so visual, it is an easy analogy to grasp. For example, think about the toes. Often, especially in the Pacific Northwest, they are covered and unseen. However, the toes help support the feet, and the feet hold up the whole body. Though people are seldom aware of their toes, if one is injured, the whole body becomes incredibly alert to what is transpiring with the toe. It is similar in the body of Christ. There are people who are seen and play a role that is obvious in the function of the whole body, and there are others that play roles behind the scenes that contribute to the function of the body too. Though primarily unseen, it is obvious when they are missing or are not doing well. Each of us has gifts and talents to contribute, and no two people are exactly alike. We need each other to be our best and to extend what we have to offer. It is similar in marriage and friendships, and so often, opposites attract. I think much of the attraction is the desire to be with another who has different strengths than we do, and one who appreciates our strengths that are not shared by the other. For example, my husband and most of my closest friends are extroverts, whereas I am an introvert. They bring out the social in me, and I can contribute calm for them. Only a God of love would create us each uniquely, and place in us the desire and need to create community with one another. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us in the role and purpose for which we have been created, and may we see through His lens, how each member plays a role that is good and necessary for the whole body.

We each are a part,

The body of Christ;

With strengths and talents,

In purpose we rise.

Together stronger,

Than if on our own;

We need each other,

To make God’s love known.

For some are the hands,

That reach out and serve;

And others the voice,

That people observe.

Each person a part,

That the body needs;

With strengths and talents,

Each one is unique.

May we each embrace,

Our gifts and our roles;

Contribute in love,

So God is extolled.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we each have been divinely designed to be a part of a community. Thank You that we all have different strengths and roles to extend to help the body become stronger. Forgive us for the times that we compare our parts to another, or somehow devalue the parts that are unseen. Teach us to recognize and value the unique role and purpose that each part plays, and to celebrate the beauty that You have made in bringing us together. Show us how to love those around us for who they are and how they are uniquely designed. May our love honor the strengths and talents of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the part that we were designed to do, and to celebrate and appreciate the other parts around us that make the body complete. Amen.

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

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – Romans 14:13