Hope for Forever

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him.  – (1 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

This passage reminds us that what is waiting for us in heaven is beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. For me, this blows my mind, as there is so much beauty in God’s creation on earth. The love of God is so great, that He has prepared a place even better than the most wonderful, beautiful spaces we have ever seen or experienced. That is part of the promise held in the hope of knowing God. Those who have gone before us who believed, are already in paradise with Him. Though I want my years on earth to be many more, I know that when my end comes, there will be great joy in the place that is far more than I can fathom and the reunion with loved ones who have gone before me will be beyond beauty that I can take in or hold in my heart. No more pain or suffering, no heartache or tears – joy, peace, and wonder at the brilliance of being in the Lord’s presence and worshiping among family in the faith is a glimpse of all that lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in Him, and to increase the hope we hold in forever that lies ahead.

No human has seen,

All that lies ahead;

Paradise beyond,

What’s known or what’s read.

God the Creator,

Has prepared a place;

Glorious wonder,

By His lavish grace.

Open arms welcome,

Those who trust in Him;

The Father’s embrace,

Will usher us in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all that’s to come;

The good here and now,

And when our day’s done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the hope we hold in knowing You. Thank You that our hope is not only for the here and now, but is found in eternity with You in a place that You have prepared for us. Forgive us for the times that our hope fades based on what we see. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and You plans, so much greater. Teach us to hold fast to the hope that is found in forever with You. Give us glimpses of Your glory here, as such things remind our heart to cling to the wonder that will be forever with You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help them recognize the hope that is found forever in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the incredible hope that we have in You, both now and forevermore. Amen.

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

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:2-3

The Throne of Grace

This is a post from a few years ago, yet is so timely right now…

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Thankful for Faithful Love

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. – (Psalm 107:8, HCSB)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

May they erupt with praise and give thanks to the Eternal in honor of His loyal love and all the wonders He has performed for humankind! – (Psalm 107:8, VOICE)

Today in particular, I am thankful to the Lord in His faithful love, for providing me the one that my heart needed. My Viking is not necessarily who I would have imagined, yet he is everything my heart is grateful for. God knows our hearts and what we need, and loves to bless us. One of my greatest blessings has been found in my spouse. He is loving and kind, protective and generous, grit and grace, strength and gentleness, and the one that has captured my heart in a way that I never knew was possible. On his birthday, I am especially grateful that God brought him into the world to be raised by his mom. She taught him the value of hard work and loyalty, has exemplified goodness and grace, balanced with discipline, and loves her kids fiercely in a way that has helped each of them to flourish in adulthood. God has done amazing things in and through each of them. May we ever praise God and give Him thanks for the loyal love He provides to us and the people whom He places in our lives to make His heart tangible.

All thanks be to God,

For goodness and grace;

The blessings He gives,

When we give Him space.

With hearts wide open,

To trust in His love;

We discover more,

Beyond and above.

God blesses our hearts,

As He does provide;

Every good gift,

Tangible inside.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and You know what we need. Thank You that You bless us beyond what we could have imagined on our own, and You bring goodness and grace into our lives that make Your love tangible. Forgive us for the times that we have wondered what could come of the things before us, for You bring beauty and blessing from the difficult things in our lives. Thank You for the gift of my Viking, as he has shown me more of You as he loves me well. Show me how to love and care for those around me in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for the ways that You bless us all with Your loyal love. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Take Time to Delight

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Even in difficulty, there is an opportunity to taste and see how good God really is. Yesterday, despite my gnarly case of seasickness throughout our day of fishing, the smile on my Viking’s face as he caught fish and lived in the moment, made it all worthwhile. It is far too easy to get caught up in the to do lists and what lies ahead, but when we slow down and simply revel in the right now that the Lord is providing, there is joy and goodness and grace. Additionally, the blessing of a bountiful catch by both of us will put fresh fish on the table throughout the coming months. Each time we prepare it, we will remember God’s goodness and provision. May we ever look to the Lord to truly see, for He shows us, again and again, how good He really is.

Take time to delight,

In all that is good;

For the Lord provides,

His love understood.

The goodness we taste,

The beauty we see;

By His loving hands,

For you and for me.

Each time we slow down,

And run to His good;

We find true blessings,

How God’s love withstood.

Even in trials,

He shows us beauty;

Goodness and His grace,

His love tangibly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can taste and see how good You truly are. Thank You that Your goodness and grace are not limited to good times, but rather You show us Your love in all things if only we look and listen. Thank You for the beauty that surrounds us, and for showing Your creativity as we witnessed whales and porpoises and a giant sunfish during our day at sea. Forgive us for the times that we fail to look to You when things get difficult. Teach us to always look to You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful to meet us when we call on You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. – Psalm 37:4

Splendor and Majesty

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

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

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

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

The Lord is so great,

Worthy of all praise;

His strength and beauty,

And His loving ways.

His hands created,

All that we can see;

He dwells within us,

Leads purposefully.

Open our eyes Lord,

Remind us anew;

Of all that You are,

And all that You do.

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

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

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

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

Learn and Grow

Just as you don’t know the path of the wind, or how the bones develop in the womb of a pregnant woman, so you don’t know the work of God who makes everything. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, HCSB)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

You can no more predict the path of the wind than you can explain how a child’s bones are formed in a mother’s womb. Even more, you will never understand the workings of the God who made all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, VOICE)

Though we cannot possibly understand how everything works or why all things transpire, we can come into a relationship with the One who does. The very same God who made all things is willing and wanting to be in relationship with us. I am in awe of all of the beauty that His hands have made, and the depth of His love that He has for all of His created. Each day is a new opportunity to learn and grow, and He is faithful to show us more and more of who He is and how He loves. As we learn, He empowers us to love likewise. May we embrace the grace that God freely gives, and seek to know Him more each day, trusting Him even when we do not understand why things happen.

Though we cannot know,

All things of the Lord;

We can know His love,

And grace He affords.

He made all of us,

With purpose and plan;

Will to discover,

The work of His hands.

Each day that we seek,

We learn and grow more;

How deeply God loves,

And good that’s in store.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly fathom all that Your hands have made and how all things work, we can know You and trust in Your goodness and love for all the days of our lives. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in spaces where we cannot understand the “why”. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, for You can work all things together for good, somehow. Show us how to love those around us well, and lead us to be Your hands, heart and voice to those who might not otherwise see Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for who You are and all that Your loving hands have made. Amen.

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

Compel me to grasp the way of Your statutes so I will fix my mind on Your wonderful works. – Psalm 119:27

Clearly Seen

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, HCSB)

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)

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence elightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and the ignorant claims of these people. – (Romans 1:20, VOICE)

The more of the world I have the opportunity to see, the more that this verse makes perfect sense. To see the beauty, creativity and diversity of the earth and all that is in it, testifies clearly that there is a power far higher than us. Each day is a new sunrise, and each evening a new sunset. Everything in between is full of color and life and light, and the bookend times are a new painting at dawn and dusk. On our most recent adventure, God’s evidence was everywhere. I loved waking each morning to hurry to the balcony to see just what colors would appear in the sunrise. Each day was different. The various colors of the ocean and the incredible diversity of life that live in it also testify to a loving and creative God. This morning, as I look ahead to the day, I recognize all God’s hands have made, and the beauty of people and places that I will encounter. May we have eyes to see the beauty all around us, and the wisdom to give thanks where all praise is due.

O God, we praise You,

For all You have made;

The sun, moon and stars,

That light up our way.

Mountains and valleys,

Oceans to small streams;

All of creation,

And all the unseen.

How could we question,

Your goodness and grace?

For all creation,

Make plain You’re the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everywhere we look there is evidence of Your goodness and power. Thank You that the more we see, the more we recognize who You are and how great Your love. Forgive us for not taking the time to recognize and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Teach us to take it all in and to be overwhelmed with awe and gratitude. Show us how to care well for all of Your creation, and how to love those whom You place on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we stand in awe, with hearts full of praise for all You are and all that You have made. Amen. 

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Beauty Within

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, HCSB)

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, ERV)

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, VOICE)

It is what is inside that determines a person’s beauty, not the way that the exterior is decorated. The things that God deems beautiful are characteristics that grow as we invest our hearts and minds in knowing more of Him. The better we know the Lord, the more beautiful our hearts become. A gentle spirit that is full of grace rises up in us to be shared with those around us. The most beautiful people that I have ever known had hearts that were loving and kind, gentle and full of grace. Their beauty was not determined by the outside, but rather by the love their heart could not help but share. Incredibly, the interior seems to glow outward, making the whole human beautiful. May we ever seek the Lord to adorn our hearts with His character – love, grace, gentleness and peace, for it is such things that make us beautiful in His eyes.

May beauty and grace,

Be what’s in our hearts;

Characteristics,

In love God imparts.

For when we give grace,

God’s love is made clear;

Good overwhelming,

As gentle comes near.

Lord, help us focus,

On that which will last;

Beautiful spirits,

That show that love lasts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true beauty comes from within. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You to grow our heart more like Yours, or have placed our focus on the exterior, rather than on what truly lasts. Teach us to always seek and invest our hearts and time in You, so that we may more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Lead us in Your gentleness and grace to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to increase the beauty within, and lead us to love as You love each of us. Amen.

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

By His breath the heavens gained their beauty… – Job 26:13a

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