All for Good

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, HCSB)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

This does not say that all things happen for good, or have been caused by God. However, God can bring good from even the worst of things if we allow Him room to move. For example, there is nothing good about sickness, disease, or injuries. The good is how God can use such things to grow our faith, show us His power, and lead us to something more than we imagined before. Additionally, He shows us He is good as He loves, supports, encourages and surrounds us. Love is made tangible, even in the midst of great struggle or suffering. Our circumstances are not always good, but God always is good. May we ever seek the Lord to show us who He is, even in the midst of challenges and difficulty; for He is faithful to be present for those who seek Him.

Because God is good,

He moves through all things;

Hope in our heartache,

Strength and peace He brings.

In love, He takes hold,

Of extended hands;

He lifts and He leads,

So we again stand.

Choose look to the Lord,

In each circumstance;

Watch how the Lord moves,

When given the chance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work all things out for good for those who love and trust in You. Thank You that You are the same God that brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You have shown Yourself faithful time and time again. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see past our circumstances. Teach us to look to You, for You grant us Your eyes to see the hope held beyond what we are seeing or experiencing right now. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too come to know and understand that You bring good, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us, and trust the hope that we hold in You forever. Amen.

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

But You are near me, Lord, and all Your commands can be trusted. – Psalm 119:151

Immeasurably More

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us – to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, HCSB)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, VOICE)

Paul, the author of Ephesians, understood the incredible power of God’s work in us and His ability to do far more than we could ask or imagine. With all that Paul saw, experienced, and was a part of, he grasped God’s power working in and through him and gave God all the glory. God took a man who had been fervently working to persecute and even kill people and turned Paul into a man who sought to save people by His loving kindness and grace that was made evident through His Son, Jesus. The very same power that was at work in Paul’s life is available and working in ours as we ask. God knows our hopes, dreams and desires, and can do abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. His design may not look the way we would envision, but ultimately, it is so much more. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and move in and through us, and give Him all the glory forever and ever.

The love of the Lord,

Is power and truth;

Beyond what we think,

And what we can do.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope from our despair;

God can do much more,

He knows all our cares.

God grants us His strength,

When ours is but gone;

Hope everlasting,

May we pass it on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to do so much more in us and through us than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that Your strength empowers us and Your love leads us as we choose to follow after You. Forgive us for the times that we have either gone our own way or have neglected to give You glory for all that You have done. Teach us to seek You and see Your hand in all things. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they are strengthened in Your loving kindness and recognize Your goodness all around. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what only You can do, and give You the glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

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

God will… bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3a

Quiet Waiting

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

This week has been another long week, and I know many of us are weary and ready for rest. Thankfully, tomorrow is an extra day off, as it is a scheduled snow make-up day that we did not need, so the long weekend is four days instead of three. Though we can be intentional about finding quiet spaces to rest in God each day, there is something extra that helps our hearts when we have a few unscheduled days in a row. For me, a change of scenery, especially near water, is the sort of space that I am best able to rest and wait on the Lord. When we find space to be still before Him, we discover that hope rises, despite what has been going on around us. It is my prayer that all who are weary would find rest during the long weekend, and that hope would rise in the spaces of our hearts where it is lacking.

In sweet surrender,

I quietly wait;

The Lord’s ever near,

On time, never late.

He meets us with peace,

Shows us hope again;

Despite brokenness,

Heartache’s not the end.

For where we seek Him,

Ever we shall find;

Faithful love waiting,

For God’s always kind.

Loving forever,

In Him, hope’s restored;

Beauty from ashes,

Grace we can’t ignore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You provide room to rest and be refreshed when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for losing sight of hope when horrible things happen. Show us what we can do in every situation and circumstance to bring change for the better. Lead us in Your love to extend hope, help and Your heart to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and wait on You, for You are our peace, rest and hope forever. 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

A New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly everything is new! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, VOICE)

When we give our hearts to God, He makes us new in Him. Beauty replaces ashes and hope rises from our spaces of despair; in Christ, all is made new. This does not mean that the struggles and trials disappear, but it means that we come to know that we never need to navigate them alone. We discover that even in the midst of darkness, we have the Light that cannot be extinguished. The Holy Spirit equips us with peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, love, self-control and joy. All of these things and more, grant us hope to persevere and pursue a life lived in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the new He places within us, so that we might live and love as the new creation that God has made way for us to be.

United with Christ,

Our lives become new;

Hope everlasting,

Through love that is true.

In Christ, hope rises,

For He is our peace;

The Light in darkness,

Where goodness won’t cease.

He brings us beauty,

Where ashes once stood;

Hope out of heartache,

In Him there is good.

Good that delights us,

That brings what we lack;

Presence unending,

Love never held back.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are a new creation. Thank You that You forgive us, redeem us, and make us new in the light of Your love. Forgive us for not seeking or for not embracing all that we have in You when we invest our hearts and lives in You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things, for You are our hope and our help in all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do. Show us how to share Your hope, light and love with everyone we meet through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the new we become in You. Amen.

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

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – Galatians 5:22-23

Let Him In

As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. – (Revelation 3:19-20, HCSB)

I correct and punish the people I love. So show that nothing is more important to you than living right. Change your hearts and lives. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. And you will eat with Me. – (Revelation 3:19-20, ERV)

All those I dearly love I unmask and train. So repent and be eager to pursue what is right. Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come into you and feast with you, and you will feast with Me. – (Revelation 3:19-20, TPT)

Real love is honest, and always has our best in mind. Because God is love, He corrects us so that we can live our very best life with Him. The God of all wants to be in an ongoing relationship with us. Having dinner together represents so many good things; for it is a source of meeting a basic need as well as providing a place to come together and share with one another all that has transpired throughout the day. God wants that sort of space with each of us. He calls us unto Himself so that we can hear His voice and be with one another throughout all of our days. It is up to us to invite Him into our hearts and lives. When we do, everything changes. Love brings forth beauty from ashes and hope from despair. We become the person whom God intended all along when we listen to His voice and understand His heart for us all. May we ever be quick to repent and ready to listen to His leading in all that is right. For His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts, higher than ours. Our best life is lived when we truly let Him in.

To let the Lord in,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Means opening doors;

To all that we are,

In Him, there is more.

Forgiveness and grace,

Correction in love;

Ever He’ll lead us,

By His way above.

So, choose to seek Him,

Allow the Lord in;

Life everlasting,

In Christ shall begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we let You in, You correct, direct, and lovingly lead us to become who You created us to be. Thank You that You do not leave us where we are, but rather You enter in and show us so much more. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust in You more, and to listen and follow all that You have for us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified as we let You in and choose to listen to You in all things. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

All Can Be For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

Though at times this is seemingly impossible, I have seen it again and again in my own life. My greatest trials, hardships and heartaches have been used to grow me, encourage others, and have led to something beautiful. Incredibly, God is always able to work ALL things for our good, if only we are willing to place them in God’s hands. He takes our hurts and creates opportunities to help; He takes our trials and turns them into victories; and He takes our heartaches and brings us to something far more wonderful than we could have hoped or imagined. Additionally, this is available for all who accept His invitation and choose to follow after Him. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He brings beauty from our ashes and joy from our sorrows.

The Lord can work all,

For our ultimate good;

Beauty from ashes,

True grace is understood.

During our trials,

The Lord’s present to help;

God’s great faithfulness,

Is our story to tell.

May we ever seek,

For always we shall find;

His help to hold us,

Ever loving and kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work ALL things for good for those who love and trust You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when all we can see is the struggle. Teach us to trust in You and to hold fast to the hope of Your promises. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and watch for You to work all things for good. Amen.

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

“…God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, to anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow…” – Isaiah 61:3

Timeless Faithfulness

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – (Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

Lord, You are my God. I honor You and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonderful marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

The faithfulness of God is timeless. All of creation announces His love as He has done, does, and will continue to do wonderful things. What was planned in the beginning, He faithfully fulfills. God, who in His infinite wisdom and love, created each of us with a plan and a purpose. As we follow Him, we see His kindness and grace through the outpouring of His love, as He leads us to walk out all that He has prepared for us. I know it seems like the wonderful things are far off when obstacles come our way, but if we slow down, take a deep breath, and truly take inventory, the visibility of His incredible blessings are abundantly clear. In the darkest times, His light remains, for if we open our eyes we are genuinely able to see. May we ever lift up praise to He who carries out the wonderful and beautiful in each of our lives.

Lord, I will praise You,

For all of my days;

Your tender mercies,

Lead us in Your ways.

Thank You for kindness,

When hope’s feeling gone;

You bless us and keep us,

Help us carry on.

Your word is the truth,

Faithful without end;

No matter what comes,

Love and strength You send.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God and that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You for what You promise, as You fulfill. Forgive our fears and frustrations when we cannot see the beauty that is going to come from our ashes. Teach us to trust You and praise You, even in the storms. Show us how to love those around us well, so that hope and faith rise up, no matter how things appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love so well. Amen.

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

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) 

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV) 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE) 

I’m not sure about you, but I really appreciate this reminder today. It is a blustery day outside, I woke up tired, and was feeling a bit weighed down by the challenges and obstacles that are ahead of me. Sometimes, I think I just need to be reminded that He has so much more in store – for me, for my family, for the people around me whom I love. Just because I cannot see the hope and future in situations and circumstances, does not mean that it is not there. In hindsight, I can see again and again, how God made a way where there seemed to be no way, and how He brought beauty from seeming ashes and despair. Our present circumstances and challenges are not forever. Though at times it may feel like a very long season, God has a plan that is good. Today, I will simply soak in the promise that He knows the plans that He has for me, (and those around me) and that they are good. May we ever trust in the Lord and His promises, for He already knows how the story ends, and it is good. 

The Lord has a plan, 

And it’s always good; 

With our best in mind, 

Our hope understood. 

For His plan is peace, 

Not evil nor harm; 

Our glorious hope, 

Through life’s ev’ry storm. 

Choose be not dismayed, 

For in Him hope’s found; 

A future that’s good, 

Where peace does abound. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what we see or feel, You have a hope and a future for us that is good. Thank You that Your promises are true today, tomorrow and forever. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distort our view of You. Teach us to lean into You and the promises that You have for us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate hope and peace and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises that remind us that You have plans for us that are good. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5