Hope We Can Hold

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, HCSB)

Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in Me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father’s home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. – (John 14:1-2, VOICE)

What Jesus told to His disciples applies to all who believe. We need not be troubled, but instead, believe in God and all that Jesus is doing on our behalf. No matter how things seem in the here and now, we have an incredible hope and future in Him. The same God who created all the beauty that surrounds us is preparing a place for us to dwell with Him forever. When I think of how incredible the mountains and seas, forests and fields, and all of the stars that He hung in the skies, I am awestruck considering what heaven must be like. To be in the very presence of He who is love, surrounded by all that He has prepared for us, the very thought leaves me in awe and wonder. May we ever remember our Savior and all He is doing to prepare a place for us, for our hope is in Him and all that He has for us.

The promise of God,

Forever shall be;

The hope we can hold,

Despite what we see.

For Jesus has gone,

To prepare a place;

For our forever,

Full of love and grace.

The good that we see,

And beauty we know;

Are but a mere glimpse,

Of what is in store.

All that lies ahead,

Our hope for today;

The goodness of God,

Will show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not allow our trials and troubles determine our hope, for You are our security and grace as we navigate each new day. Thank You that Your loving kindness is ever present to lead us and remind us that there is so much more that lies ahead. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope that we hold when life gets messy. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are unchangeable and Your love knows no end. Lead us to love as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You forever. 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

Do Not Be Afraid

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, HCSB)

But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name Him Jesus. Give Him that name because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, ERV)

While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son and you are to name Him, ‘Savior’, for He is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, TPT)

This morning, the message that I am receiving from this passage is to not be afraid to do what I know I am called to do. Joseph was called to wed Mary, yet had legitimate fears to do so, knowing that she was with child. Back then, a couple in their predicament could be completely outcast, or worse. They both had tangible reasons to be afraid, yet God let them know that He would be with them and they need not fear. Sometimes, God calls us to do something that is really big without fear, yet other times, it is something ordinary that has unusual factors involved that cause us fear. God is faithful, and He has promised to be with us. Today is a day that requires an extra measure of trust, as there have been things spoken and actions taken that incite uneasiness in many. It is in these times that we need to trust big, look out for one another, and continue to love as we have been called to love. May the God of peace surround us with His protection and grace and be tangibly near as we go through our day.

Do not be afraid,

Words often spoken;

For fear’s a liar,

When trust is broken.

God calls us to rise,

In courage, be strong;

Trust in His promise,

Our hope and our song.

Things may seem foolish,

Yet look at His grace;

God has shown He moves,

In creative ways.

Born in a stable,

Heaven came to earth;

The Lord chose come near,

Miraculous birth.

The fears overcome,

In a manger lay;

Our peace and purpose,

To trust each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised to be with us, always. Thank You that You sent Your assurance in spaces it was needed most, and that You are the same God as You were then, now, and forever. Forgive us for our fears, both rational and irrational. Teach us to trust in You and to listen to Your leading each new day. Show us how to trust You and to take care of one another. Lead us in love each and every day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hear Your whispers of love that bring us peace. Amen.

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

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear… – 1 John 4:18a

Welcomed With Celebration

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Staying with God and waiting on Him is what we need to finish our race and enter into the glory of eternity with God. In our current series at church, Kingdom Come, yesterday’s message had a great analogy of how God welcomes us into His Kingdom. One of our pastors, who knew little about football, had attended her first Seahawks game the week prior. She took notice of new things and asked questions about what she was observing. As she was closing up her message on Matthew 6:1-13, one part of her analogy that she had observed at the game, challenged my thinking. She spoke of how each play was introduced by name with fireworks as they came into view from the tunnel. Her comment was that God celebrates and welcomes us in the same way. At first, I paused and thought, by name, sure, but fireworks? That is a big deal for one person. As I pondered, the first thing that came to mind was that though I do not deserve a big production, Jesus does. Jesus in me deserves all accolades. Then I considered things further. When we welcome a baby into the world, we celebrate with thanksgiving, gifts, and great cheer. God is our Father in Heaven, and He celebrates us in the same way. We are known and acknowledged with good things because we are His. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is our strength and where our courage comes from. He celebrates and acknowledges each of us by name, and with great celebration because we are His.

With celebration,

The Lord calls our name;

He ushers us in,

To goodness proclaimed.

His Kingdom is now,

And forevermore;

We’re meant to embrace,

And trust in the Lord.

For as we choose live,

Depending on Him;

He equips with strength,

To do as He did.

In Him we can live,

As is His intent;

To love each other,

With grace, enter in.

So, trust in the Lord,

Know you are enough;

Not for what you do,

But because He’s tough.

Strong to uphold us,

Grace that always loves;

Purveyor of peace,

All hope from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You show us who You are and that Your Kingdom is not only in Heaven, but is here and now as well. Thank You that You know us and call us by name, and that You celebrate us, not for what we do, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for the times that we fear that we are not enough or we lose heart in the waiting. Teach us again and again that our value is found in You because we are Yours, and that as we wait on You, You grant us strength and hope and help. Show us how to love one another as You created us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait in trust for You in tough spaces, and praise You that we are known, loved and upheld by You, our Heavenly Father. Amen.

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

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

Let Faith Remain Strong

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NIV)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. – (James 1:12, MSG)

If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! – (James 1:12, TPT)

Life is full of trials, challenges and difficulties. We can either persevere and place our faith in Christ, or we can fold under the weight the world wields our way. God is faithful as we trust in Him. Our experiences during the struggles help our hearts recognize the beautiful blessings that He has for us as we remain in Him. Not only do we have hope for eternity, but we have hope for the here and now. No matter what lies before us, Christ has promised to be with us, if only we choose to let Him in. Some of my greatest blessings have come after struggling and trusting God through my darkest days. I would not recognize the true joys I have been given, if it were not for the times where He walked beside me in the difficult and painful. We are blessed as we persevere. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is, and will do what He promises He will do. 

Blessed are the ones,

Who choose persevere;

Through trials they face,

Trusting God is near.

Ever He’s present,

To give strength and peace;

We must keep trusting,

For He holds the keys.

Keys to our freedom,

The doors to all grace;

Life in abundance,

As we seek His face.

Allow His love in,

No matter what comes;

His promises stand,

‘Til our time is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are blessed as we persevere through trials trusting in You. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, for You grant us help and hope every day that we draw breath. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the truth of who You are and how You love. Teach us to turn in trust to You through all times. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You through the trials and praise You for Your presence and blessings that lie before us each new day. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Seek His Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Ephesus is still an encouragement for us today. We are not meant to be strong on our own, but rather by the strength He provides through His presence, both in and through us. Strength on our own is not sustainable, yet in Him, we are able to endure and overcome all things. This does not mean that all will be easy, but it does mean God will be present to supply what we need when we need it most. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, recognizing that His mighty power provides what is required to press on.

Let’s look to the Lord,

For He is the place;

We are granted strength,

To run well our race.

Power that endures,

Through the toughest days;

A love that surrounds,

And grace that remains.

The Lord is the One,

On whom to depend;

To rise, overcome,

As strength He extends.

So, look to the Lord,

For all that we need;

Seek His strength, not ours,

In Him we succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength as we learn to depend on You. Thank You that Your power is present and made evident in our weakness. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to power through on our own, rather than seeking our true Source of strength. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You supply all we need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our Source of strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Hope is Rising

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

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. – (Psalm 31:24, MSG)

Be strong, and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

As I was doing my lesson planning yesterday, I did more research on the work of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who spoke at the Inauguration. Both when she shared her poem then, and while I discovered a recent poem of hers, “The Miracle of Morning”, I was in awe of her ability to tackle current events and convey hope through poetry. My sixth graders have been studying the poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, and the opportunity to spend some time studying the works of a modern-day poet seemed a perfect pairing. For me, as I listen to and read Miss Gorman’s words, I cannot help but think her message is one of choosing to be brave and strong, and to not give up. The words call upon hope to rise within us, much like God’s word, for He is where our hope is held, and our Source of courage, strength and resolve. May we seek the Lord to find the strength and courage to see His love that is all around us, and the resolve to love as we are loved by Him.

Take heart, dear ones,

For hope is rising;

Light found in darkness,

There’s no disguising.

The chaos that is,

Will not always be;

For hope is rising,

As love is released.

A choice to honor,

Sisters and brothers;

To stand hand-in-hand,

Supporting each other.

Stand up, dear young ones,

Please take it from me;

The future is yours,

Rise up and shine, so all may see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are our Source of courage, strength and resolve. Thank You that as we seek and learn to depend on You, hope rises within us. Forgive us for not being light and life in the midst of darkness. Teach us to seek You to ignite Your fire within us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread Your light that chases away the darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to raise us up as light-bearers and love givers. Amen.

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

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

With Thunder and Grace

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ – (Job 37:5-6, NIV)

God’s thundering voice is amazing! He does great things that we cannot understand. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth.’ And He says to the rain, ‘Pour down on the earth.’ – (Job 37:5-6, ERV)

The voice of God thunders wondrously. He does magnificent things, beyond our comprehension. To the snow, He issues the order, “Go! Fall on the earth.” And to the rain shower, “He says, “Show your power, beat down heavy on the earth!” – (Job 37:5-6, VOICE)

I love that the same God who thunders in marvelous ways, also will gently whisper in ways that show us His love. In our home, His “dew of heaven” was delivered to us yesterday. After much searching, and God’s incredible intervention, we welcomed another sweet puppy into our home. Tali, which is Hebrew for dew of heaven, completes what was missing. She is my husband’s dream dog, and Thor’s greatest blessing. He was in desperate need of companionship, and this beautiful, sweet pup is a perfect playmate already. Though she is tiny (in comparison to Thor), she holds her ground and uses her voice to instruct Thor as to how to play best. I love watching the gently falling snow and the powerful, torrential rains. Much in the same way, these two romp and play like a downpour, yet they also settle and rest with ease, just as snow silently drifts and rests on the ground. God is good, and He reminds us in grand and powerful ways and in gentle whispers. May we ever seek the Lord and His voice, as He shows us the way to go and demonstrates His mighty love for us all.

In power, He speaks,

With love, He exclaims;

His goodness and strength,

Blessed be His Name.

He commands the rain,

Torrentially fall;

And calls to the snow,

Fall softly below.

The very same God,

To us does the same;

In peace, shows His love,

His power proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are both power and peace. Thank You that You demonstrate Your love for us with passion and gentleness. Forgive us for seeing one or the other as more valid. Teach us to recognize both Your downpours and Your gently falling grace, as we learn to identify Your voice and ever seek Your face. Show us how to love one another as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for both Your magnificent power and unending grace. Amen.

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

“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” He said. “Peace! Be strong now, be strong.” When He spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength.” – Daniel 10:19

Strength in the Waiting

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NIV) 

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for He will never disappoint you! – (Psalm 27:14, TPT)

As usual, a verse from my daily reading stands out in the timeliness of the message presented. While there have been so many jokes and memes about the neverending year that is 2020, I find I can relate to the sentiment of this being a very long season. We just passed the seven-month mark of the closure of traditional schooling and society functioning as we had always known before. While I understand the necessity to protect our most fragile population, I also see, first hand, the detrimental effect that isolation is having on our young people. Untimely deaths have impacted numerous communities, including our own, and the rate of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed. Lack of contact and community for our teens and young adults is taking a horrendous toll. For me, I have had to be intentional to get outside and exercise, find ways to connect with my own family and community, and seek strength anew every morning. Getting out of the house, even if it is only for a drive, walk or run, makes a world of difference for my heart and mind. I can only imagine the angst and frustration this causes young people, as few have the option or luxury of simply getting in the car and going just to find a change of scenery. Add to that the lack of interaction with their peers, and it is no wonder we are seeing such struggle. I know I have taken a bit of a detour as I am attempting to process the application of this verse. Perhaps it is a reminder to lift up those around us, and to encourage strength and hope in the waiting, and dependence on He who is our help and hope. May we seek the Lord each new day, and extend the strength and hope that He grants us in the waiting, to all those around us.

O Lord, I’m seeking,

Your hope and Your strength;

Comfort to pass on,

Your grace through great lengths.

Lead us in goodness,

May we each take heart;

Trusting Your kindness,

As strength You impart.

Help us be patient,

In You, as we wait;

Remind us again,

That You’re never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us in the waiting, and that You are our hope and our strength.  Thank You that we can be brave and take heart in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the waiting seems so long. Teach us to trust You more, as You do great things in us as we wait and trust in You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, especially those who are feeling stuck or isolated. Grant them hope and strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the waiting and reach out to love well, all those around us. Amen.

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

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

We Wait in Hope

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

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

The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. – (Psalm 33:20, TPT) 

This certainly feels like a season of waiting. Waiting to advance in phases of reopening; waiting to freely visit with friends and loved ones; waiting to celebrate major milestones and birthdays in the way in which we all are accustomed to do so; and waiting for answers as to what the coming year will look like for so many impacted by the public education system. With Christ, we are able to wait in hope, trusting that He has a plan and will protect and strengthen us for all that lies ahead. Though the road ahead feels long and uncertain, we can move forward, one step at a time, with hope in knowing Who is ultimately in control. May we wait on the Lord with hope, ever trusting in He who surrounds us with His presence, and strengthens us as He protects. 

May we ever turn, 

With hope, to the Lord; 

As we have to wait, 

In grace He affords. 

When it seems we’re stuck, 

A space of on hold; 

Hope grants us the strength, 

To trust and be bold. 

Bold in the unknown, 

Recognizing grace; 

Protection and peace, 

Granted all our days. 

Keep moving forward, 

However He calls; 

For there is a plan, 

As strength He installs. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us hope as we trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and protection. Forgive us for our impatience in the waiting. Teach us to trust You with all of our days, ever aware of Your protection and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that present hope that inspires trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait with hope for all that is yet to come. 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