The Courage to Hope

So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, HCSB)

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

Remember this, and do not abandon your confidence, which will lead to rich rewards. Simply endure, for when you have done as God requires of you, you will receive the promise. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, VOICE)

This confidence is the courage that comes from trusting in God. He provides as we abide, and He will lead us through all that He has called us to do. Our reward is the hope and help that we have in the here and now, and the promise to be in His presence for eternity. The Lord blesses and keeps us, helps and holds us, and loves us through all that comes our way. May we ever hold fast to the confidence we have in Him, and keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. He is faithful, and will see us through all things.

The courage to hope,

In what is unseen;

Is true confidence,

God says what He means.

His presence, promised,

And hope for much more;

Grace to keep going,

Love that He outpours.

Endurance given,

So we persevere;

Trust in His goodness,

And that He is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You and have courage to keep pressing forward because You are with us. Thank You that our ability to persevere comes from You, not from our own strength. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and walk alongside us to where You are leading. Forgive us for our frustration when the road is not smooth. Teach us to hold fast to You, and to trust that You will continue to be faithful as You bring us to the places of promises fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, especially when the way does not seem to be headed where we thought we would go. Show us how to love, encourage and walk alongside all those whom You have placed in our lives in this season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do what You say You will do, and lean into Your love that holds us up. Amen.

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

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

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Quick to Listen

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, and slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided if only we all followed these directions. When we are quick to listen, we hear the heart, hope and experience of the one before us, and it provides an opportunity to understand where another is coming from. Additionally, if we pause, listen and process before we respond, we are far more likely to speak out of love and not become frustrated or angry. Our charge is to be patient and not allow anger to fly out of control. God is faithful to provide the strength and self-control necessary to listen first and respond well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intently and be slow to speak, so that anger is kept in check and our words and deeds are led by His love.

Help us to listen,

So we truly hear;

The heart of others,

All those who are near.

Show us to slow down,

To be slow to speak;

So ev’ry response,

Is kind and in peace.

Lord, help our anger,

Be under control;

So love is what leads,

And grace is our goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen to us with love every time we speak. Thank You that You respond to us in love and do not easily anger. Forgive us for the times that we have not slowed down enough to truly hear those around us, or have listened only to respond, rather than to truly hear. Please check our hearts when anger rises so that we would slow down and place all in Your hands to lead us. Show us how to listen in love well so that those around us may see Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to listen well and do all things in love and with self-control. Amen.

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

I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. – Psalm 17:6

Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

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

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

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Accept Each Other

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

You will bring God glory when you accept and welcome one another as partners, just as the Anointed One has fully accepted you and received you as His partner. – (Romans 15:7, TPT)

To love one another, we must accept one another, flaws and all. There will never be another human that is perfect in every way. We are all a work in progress. God calls us to love and acceptance, which means that we recognize and value others for who they are. When we see, know and accept one another, we recognize the strengths that others possess and can celebrate the gift that they are to us. Though not all whom we encounter will become our closest friends, we can still accept one another and extend kindness, just as Jesus has done for us. As we do, Christ’s love is made evident and His peace permeates the spaces we are in. May we ever seek to accept one another as Christ accepts us, just as we are, no matter what shape we are in.

Lord, show us the way,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To extend love true;

Accept each other,

Value through and through.

For love’s clearly shown,

As hearts are received;

With kind acceptance,

Extensions of peace.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

So all feel valued,

As Your heart shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first accepted and loved us so that we might go forth and do the same. Thank You that as we seek to see others through Your eyes, we begin to understand the treasure that each person is to You. Forgive us for every time that our words, thoughts or deeds have not clearly reflected Your love and acceptance to those around us. Teach us how to love and accept one another as You do. Show us how to meet each person where they are at and see the strengths that You have placed in them with purpose. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to accept and love all whom You place on our path. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

The Look of Being Chosen

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

If we love God and choose to serve Him, we are His chosen people. We are dearly loved and viewed through the lens of Christ by God. It ought to be our ambition to be clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Each are attributes that demonstrate God’s love to others in tangible and visible ways. Additionally, it is a way to worship and love God, as we are intentional to love others well. Kindness, humility, gentleness and patience only exist if there is love. To know and extend love, we need to know He who is love. As we receive God’s love, we are equipped and empowered to love as we have been called. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and show us His love, so that we may go forth in mercy, with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all.

Because we are loved,

We’re called to the same;

Live life with mercy,

Honor Jesus’ Name.

Be kind and humble,

Choose humility;

Be gentle, patient,

To all whom we meet.

May our love and life,

With clarity show;

God’s kindness to all,

Make His goodness known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are dearly loved by You. Thank You that You call us to extend Your goodness through our every word and deed. Thank You that You tell us what it ought to look like. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Teach us how to extend each of these things in all that we say and do. Show us how to love everyone as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us be merciful, kind, humble, gentle and patient with all people. Amen.

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

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you. – 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Joy and Patience through Faithfulness

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV) 

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV) 

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT) 

My mom is the best example of this verse in action that I know. Despite living in a senior living community that has been locked down since March, she continues to exude joy, hope, patience and faithfulness. The restrictions were loosened for a few weeks, and during that time, both my sister’s family and mine were able to go and see her under strict regulations. We had to all wear masks, and could only visit outdoors, while practicing social distancing. Mom is an affectionate extrovert, so these limitations and long stretches of isolation, are particularly hard on her. I know much of the reason she is still sane is due to her unflappable faith. Currently, they are on total lockdown again, as they are awaiting the results of a second COVID test, to confirm a community member is not COVID positive, after a visit from one of his family members who did end up testing positive. Thankfully, the first test was negative, but they are extra cautious in order to keep all community members safe. This season is long and challenging for many. When we know where our hope is held, joy is present, regardless of the restrictions required to stay safe. For mom, her patience through both the COVID business and her own recovery, is inspiring. There are days that I imagine every breath and every step are offered as prayers – both thanking God for them and asking that He continue to sustain and heal her. May we ever hold fast to the hope that is found in God, for He grants us patience, peace and joy, as we continue to commune with Him in prayer. 

Such a joyful hope, 

Quick squeezes with staff approval, since we were outside and appropriately masked.<3

Is found in the Lord; 

Faithful provision, 

As grace He affords. 

Continue to seek, 

For in Him, we find; 

All that is needed, 

In Him love’s defined. 

Do not give up hope, 

Instead to choose pray; 

God’s faithful always, 

Each night and each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness through all times. Thank You that we can seek You and commune with You always. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness when times get difficult. Teach us to trust You and turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us with Your faithfulness, so joy may abound. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find joy in our hope, patience when times get tough, and a loving heart ready to hear us forever. Amen. 

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

Bearing Our Burdens

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – (Psalm 68:19, NIV) 

Praise the Lord! Every day he helps us with the loads we must carry. He is the God who saves us. – (Psalm 68:19, ERV) 

Blessed be the Lord who carries our heavy loads every day, the True God who is our salvation. – (Psalm 68:19, VOICE) 

God is faithful, always. In the throes of the heaviness, He is present. When we are feeling stuck, He is ready and able to lead us through so that we may believe in the midst of our burdens.  Salvation is understood as we find hope in the heavy, and recognize the presence of God. I find myself in a solid space of reminiscing about God’s faithfulness, and how He bears our burdens. A little over a year ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. We were blindsided by this, as she had always been strong and healthy and independent. As we have walked through the recovery process with mom, each day, God has handled our burdens and helped us carry the weight of worry and fear.  The verse found in Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” has been a sort of battle cry and comfort as we have navigated all of the new that comes with this sort of challenge. Being a visual person, I have wanted to artistically memorialize the anchor that God has been, in a way that was a tangible reminder of His faithfulness to steady us, always. Yesterday, the desire that I had held finally came to fruition. On my right foot, which is the side of mom’s body impacted by the stroke, I had an anchor with flowers from mom’s yard, along with her usual signature on cards, memorialized in ink. For me, every step I take, I am reminded of God’s faithfulness to continue to bring healing, help and wholeness to my mom. It also reminds me to pray with gratitude for the life that He spared, and is continuing to restore. She went from being wheelchair bound a year ago, to walking by herself with a cane today. It has taken tremendous determination and hard work, but mom has never shied away from either, and depends on God to be her strength. May we ever remember Who is near and present to help us with the loads we carry, and loves us through every step that we take. 

Hope is the anchor, 

A gift from the Lord; 

His grace and His love, 

As asked, He’ll afford. 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Of burdens we bear; 

Bring loving comfort, 

Tangible, His care. 

Regardless of weight, 

His grace is enough; 

To lead and guide us,  

Through all sorts of stuff. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You help us with the burdens we bear, and when they grow too heavy, You carry us. Thank You that You are the faithful anchor of our soul – strong and secure. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to carry things alone, rather than seeking You for help. Teach us to trust You more, as You are forever faithful to help, as You love us through every storm that comes our way. Show us how to love others well. Lead us to love in a way that brings comfort, encouragement, and strength, so that all might know that they are not alone when storms rage around them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our ever-present help, and the anchor that secures our heart in the midst of storms. Amen. 

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Wonderfully Made

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV) 

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was. – (Psalm 139:13-14, ERV) 

You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank You, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything You do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly You know me, Lord! – (Psalm 139:13-14, TPT) 

Every human on the planet has been created intentionally, and knit together beautifully. I am struggling to figure out where humanity determined that one variation or race or people group is less than or superior to another. What is worse, is that the sin that entered in and tainted the perspective of people, one to another, has been perpetuated throughout history. As a member of Christ’s body, it is my responsibility to identify the places within my own heart where bias, prejudice and the like are hidden, so that I may repent and see all people through the Lord’s lens. Additionally, I must not shy away from the ache that this has caused in my sisters and brothers around me. To be and do better, I must actively seek to listen and understand, so that genuine change may occur. If I truly believe that all people have been intentionally and beautifully made, then I must further pursue how to admonish, defend and support every person around me. Because prejudice and discrimination have taken place for centuries, it is meant to be a lifelong process of pursuing change and bringing restoration to all. It begins within our own hearts, but must continue in our neighborhoods, communities, our nation, and our world. Daily, I am gutted as the stories of people’s own experiences as people of color, are being shared. White privilege is real, as I have not had to be fearful or exercise extreme caution in how I navigated my days because of the amount of melanin in my skin. We must listen and learn. I want to be an agent of change in the world, and this must begin with me. Though I cannot control the actions and reactions of others, I can be intentional to listen and read and learn and speak up when I see anyone being treated as less than intentionally and beautifully made. May we seek the Lord for wisdom and perseverance, as we listen, learn and become a better version of who we have been called to be. 

Each human on earth, 

Purposefully made; 

Hand-crafted by Christ, 

In various shades. 

Unique in design, 

Such intricacy; 

Each one fully known, 

Beyond what is seen. 

Lord, give us all eyes, 

That we truly see; 

Equal in value, 

Planned diversity. 

Bring restoration, 

True community; 

Everyone known, 

In love, unity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everyone has been intentionally and beautifully made. Thank You that You are a creative God, that has made us beautifully diverse and wonderfully unique. Thank You that You call us to appreciate and celebrate the unique beauty and design that You have intentionally made. Forgive us for the times that we have marginalized another person or people group through ignorance or silence. Teach us to be and do better. Help us to view all people through Your lens, and with Your heart to love. Show us how to best love every individual we meet. May we support, encourage and love one another, as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent and rise up to truly be the body of Christ. 

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

 

I imagine that these words are a timely reminder for many, as this season of waiting seems extraordinarily long. Yes, I know there have been many throughout history who have endured far worse for far longer, yet this is our season of waiting and staying and missing what we all knew before, and it is a challenge. Thankfully, we do have hope. Hope in God’s presence right now, which brings us joy and peace and strength, and hope in knowing that our current season and circumstances will not last forever; they have an end date. Knowing there is an end does help with patience, yet there are moments that I wonder if my capacity to be patient has come to an end. Of course, God, in His wisdom, reminds us to be faithful to pray – to commune with God at all times. In those moments when I am weary and worn and feeling like I might lose my mind, if I slow down, take a breath, and turn my attention to He who gives me all I need, patience comes as peace within me is restored. May we be intentional to commune with God, for He is our source of hope, joy and patience that helps us persevere, no matter what lies before us.

 

For where there is hope, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Joy too, shall spring forth;

It comes from our trust,

In God, our true Source.

Patient endurance,

When life gets too hard;

Strength when we’re weary,

Our light and our guard.

In all things, choose pray,

Commune with the Lord;

In love, He’s present,

And grace He’ll afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of joy in hope, patience in trials, and the One in whom we can trust, always. Thank You that You hear us and love us through all things. Forgive us for our lack of dependence on You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the One who gives us joy and hope, patience and strength; all that we need to persevere, even when things seem too much. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may feel hope and joy and patience, as they are encouraged to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the joy we have in knowing You, for You are our hope and strength and all that we need to keep pressing on. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24