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

Called to Community

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time. – (Proverbs 17:17, HCSB)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. If we invest in time with friends and family, we grow close and are ready to walk alongside each other, no matter what comes our way. True investment connects hearts and lives, and provides opportunity to love and be loved as God intended. Though a simple concept, it requires intentional investment. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to invest in our relationships with friends and family, and to equip us to love and help one another at all times.

No matter what comes,

We are called to seek;

Time with each other,

In community.

When one friend falls down,

Another is near;

To help the one up,

And overcome fear.

Together there’s strength,

The power to move;

Hope to keep going,

And fear is removed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created and called us to be in community. Thank You for the friends and family that You have placed around us. Thank You for the gift of loving and being loved. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in those You have placed around us. Teach us to know the balance of time and energy that will grow depth in our community without depleting us of necessary rest. Show us how to love well, so that our friends and family know that they always have someone in their corner, ready to walk beside them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are the ultimate Father and friend. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the family and friends around us, and seek You to lead us to love one another well. Amen.

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

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

Grow Wisdom Within

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, HCSB)

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, ERV)

Reverence for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, VOICE)

True wisdom begins when we recognize that God is God and we are not. Reverence for God is a respectful recognition that He is all-powerful and greater than anything that comes against us. The sort of fear this is referring to is an awareness of how great God is and how small we are in comparison. God called all into being, and can build up or tear down with a single word. It is not a fear that cowers in the corner, but rather one that stands in awe of who God is and all that He holds in the hollow of His hands. As we realize who God is, and respect in reverence His power and might, we grow in our understanding and insight. May we ever seek the Lord with reverence, for He grants us wisdom and insight to truly understand who He is and how He loves.

Wisdom is a gift,

That’s given by God;

True understanding,

Of grace and His love.

The Almighty King,

Comes close unto us;

Gives us His insight,

As we seek Jesus.

With true reverence,

May we stand in awe;

Of all God has done,

And His love for all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Thank You that You show us more of You as we seek You with reverence and awe. Forgive us for our lack of seeking or our lack of recognition of how truly great You are. Teach us to recognize the enormity of Your goodness and grace, and lead us to live out our lives in the fullness of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point hearts unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You with respect and reverence to grow wisdom within us. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – Psalm 90:12

Incredibly Known

He counts the number of stars; He gives names to all of them. – (Psalm 147:4, HCSB)

He counts the stars and knows them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He counts all the stars within His hands, carefully fixing their number and giving them names. – (Psalm 147:4, VOICE)

In my own limited understanding, I know I am guilty of making God too small, or limiting what I think He can do. Verses like the one above are a reminder of just how big God really is. God, the Creator of all, created, placed, counted and named each of the stars in the sky. I don’t know about you, but any time that I get away from the city/suburb lights and look at the sky at night, I stand in awe, as the longer I look, the more stars I see; far too many to count. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. The same God that knows each star by name, knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. Intentionally, He formed each of us and knows us better than anyone. Designed with a plan and a purpose, I cannot help but stand in awe. The more I know Him, the more I want to know. One who knows and loves so deeply and personally is worth pursuing more. May we ever seek to know the Lord more and more, and may we discover how He sees us and calls us to be who He has created us to become.

Each star with a name,

Both numbered and known;

The Lord placed each one,

Love’s light being shown.

He who hung the stars,

Also made us all;

With plan and purpose,

Each one of us called.

May we choose seek Him,

With wonder and awe;

Praise Him for His love,

And grace for us all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created, placed, named and know each star in the sky – both those we can see, and those we cannot. Thank You that You know each person on the planet in the same way. Forgive us for making You too small. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are so much more than we can think or imagine. Lead us to love those around us with a love like Yours so that all might feel and know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue knowing You more, and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

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

The Power in Partnerships

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, HCSB)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

It is better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, MSG)

I love how practical these words are to all. I know this to be true, and can attest to the rewards of working together in a partnership. At work, being on a grade level team for the subject I teach makes a world of difference. Together, we can make meaning of the curriculum and plan together the small steps to reach the end goal. In doing so, the load is shared and the burden is lessened. In marriage, we each bring different strengths to the partnership, and together, we can accomplish far more than we could alone. One simple example is when we need to do yard work. For one person to complete the job, it would take several hours. However, when my Viking and I share the work, we often can complete the task within an hour. Additionally, as we both work and contribute to expenses and savings, we are afforded the blessing of being able to take vacation. God is good, and when we seek Him to lead us to spaces where we can work together and share the load, we discover strength is multiplied and there are great blessings that come from partnering with people to accomplish necessary tasks. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to connect with those whom we are given to work beside, and may the pairing and sharing be a blessing to all.

Together we rise,

Accomplish great things;

Working together,

More strengths we can bring.

For work divided,

Is better a task;

When shared together,

We give and get back.

Lord, lead us to work,

Alongside others;

To share with the load,

As overcomers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that as we pair up with those around us to accomplish tasks, the work is divided and the reward is blessings. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to do things alone that You intended to be shared. Show us who and where we can walk alongside to work together and get things done. Lead us to love like You, so that we support, encourage, and challenge each other to do what You have for us to do and become who You have created us to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with those whom You have placed in our lives to do what we are called to do. Amen.

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

But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

Keep Moving Forward

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, HCSB)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

I appreciate that the three different translations remind us that we have examples of great faith that have gone before us, those that walk beside us, and others that are all around us to encourage us to press on in living the life to which we have been called. Additionally, the reality that our race is one that requires endurance, is an indicator that it is a long and varied course. It is not about speed nearly as much as it is about forward momentum in the direction to which we have been called. Like with running, we do not want to carry extra weight or have things stick to us that impair our movement. Istead, it is ideal to run with nothing to weigh us down. Sin is anything that diverts our feet from the course we are called to run, or distracts us and pulls our attention in a different direction. To run our race with endurance, to live out our days in the direction to which we are called, we must be in tune with He who maps our course. The more we spend time with God and read His word, the more clearly we understand the race plan and how to avoid the things that lead us off the course He has prepared for us or that which will trip up our footing and make us falter from the path. May we ever seek the One who equips us with the strength and endurance required to run our own race, and listen to His leading so that we may encourage those around us to keep moving forward too.

Keep moving forward,

No matter how slow;

It’s not about speed,

But how you choose roll.

One step at a time,

Honoring the One;

Father, Son, Spirit,

The Most Holy One.

Each move done in love,

Is what we need bring;

Sweet perseverance,

Will honor our King.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

The race we’re to run;

Help us keep moving,

‘Til each day is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to run with perseverance and set aside all that would get in our way, but You surround us with those who know how to run well and encourage us as they set an example. Forgive us for the times that we have given up or have allowed our hearts to be led away from the path that You set before us. Show us how to stay the course and keep moving, even when things are difficult and we cannot see the next water station or place to pause and rest. Lead us to love and encourage those around us as they navigate their own race. Grant us Your wisdom, grace, generosity and kindness to share with all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at the examples that have gone before us, those You have placed beside us, and ultimately, to You to lead us well. Amen.

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

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14

In Freedom Choose Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

God has given each of us a free will. His intention has always been for us to be free to choose. The love of God draws us unto Him, yet we always have a choice as to whether to accept or reject it. When we follow our own path with little care or concern for others, we are gratifying the flesh and not choosing love. However, when we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, we are opting to walk in His way and using our freedom to love as Jesus loved. Incredibly, as we select a life that follows after Him, we become free from the weight of being stuck in our own selfishness, and discover the joy that awaits as we choose to walk the path that He prepares for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us, as we freely choose to love and serve one another as we are called to do.

Brothers and sisters,

We all have been called;

In freedom to choose,

To love one and all.

For as we choose love,

Selfishness will fade;

True freedom and joy,

Are found in His ways.

So, let us look up,

Select the Lord’s best;

Love one another,

As grace is expressed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us each with a free will. Thank You that with our freedom, we can choose to follow after You and select a life of loving as You first loved us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to stay stuck in our sinful patterns instead of choosing to follow after You. Teach us to freely choose to love and serve one another, for in doing so, we come to know the joy that is found in opting to utilize our freedom for good. Show us how to love and serve those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve with the freedom that we are granted in You. 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

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Encourage Each Other

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, HCSB)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

This makes all of the difference. When we surround ourselves with a community that invests in each other, we are mutually encouraged and built up. As this transpires, our faith grows stronger as we realize why God calls us to be in community. It is amazing how God grows our circle as we are willing to be available. Yesterday, as one of my dearest friend’s and I were running, we realized that we have been running together for more than eight years. Running together is not just getting out and moving, but it is and has always been a place to connect, converse, and talk about life and how to navigate well. Each time we meet to run, it is an opportunity to share life together and encourage one another. The benefits go beyond the physical gains in fitness, for our hearts, minds and spirits are uplifted by spending time together. The same can be said about time with my husband as we tackled the yard as a team. Neither of us expects the other to magically do things, rather we join together and tag team to get things done. Before bed, I was able to join a three-way call with my sister and mom, and again, connecting with each other is life-giving. Even early this morning, I found myself in a quick text exchange with my bestie, as we both expressed our excitement for the chance to get together this evening. Soon, I will be heading to church where there are more people whom God has placed in my life to be in relationship with. Though a simple and somewhat uneventful weekend, I am reminded again of the value of community. May we ever make the time to connect with those whom God has blessed us with, and encourage one another.

We all have been called,

To community;

To bless, encourage,

Invest faithfully.

It does not take much,

To reach out and care;

And as we do so,

Life is what we share.

So, choose to reach out,

Encourage, build up;

For as we do so,

It fills up our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You surround us with people who encourage us and we are able to encourage. Forgive us for the times that we have isolated ourselves when we were meant to reach out. Teach us to trust You to lead us to those whom we are meant to encourage and build up. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in community with each other and encourage and build each other up. Amen.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5