Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – Psalm 105:3

Grateful for the Gift

My beloved is mine and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV)

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE)

My darling, I am yours, and you are mine. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, CEV)

Today I am feeling extra grateful for the gift that God gave me in the form of my spouse. He came into my life when it was least expected, yet fully needed, and we have been building a beautiful life together ever since. Together, we have navigated some serious trials and incredible blessings, and continue to work together as a team to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Our children are learning how to navigate adulthood, and we are learning how to love, support and encourage them through the process. Happy Birthday to my Viking, who loves me well and is the one my heart adores. May we embrace the ones whom God has given us, and move forward in love and purpose, each new step we take.

The Lord is so good,

For He knows our need;

And blesses our hearts,

As in love, He leads.

Through just the right ones,

That love us so well;

His heart is made known,

Through grace true love tells.

Embraced in kindness,

Encouraged, held up;

One gifted to me,

As he fills my cup.

The one my heart loves,

Who calls me his own;

To walk through this life,

As true love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing and the gift that You have given me in the one my heart adores. Thank You that You knew exactly what I needed and merged our paths together at just the right time. Forgive us for taking even a moment for granted that You have blessed us with. Teach us to appreciate each new day, challenge and victory that we face together. Show us how to love one another and those around us with a love like Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as I praise You and thank You for the incredible gift that You have given me in my Viking. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. – Psalm 34:8a

Perfect Love

“If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, TPT)

“Even you who are bad know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to the people who ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, ERV)

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! – (Luke 11:13, VOICE)

This is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, despite our flaws, failures and shortcomings. Whether a parent to children or fur babies, we all know how to give good gifts to those in our care, despite being broken and sinful. How much more does God, who is perfect in all His ways, know how to give us all that He has to offer when we seek Him? The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us. If God is for us, who can be against us? God’s Spirit within us will lead us, guide us, protect us and help us as we earnestly seek Him. May we always remember the depth and power of our Heavenly Father’s love, so that we may ever seek Him.

Despite all our flaws,

The Lord’s ever near;

Ready to help us,

Making His way clear.

Just as a parent,

Knows how to love well;

Our perfect Father,

Will in us, come dwell.

It is in nearness,

That we’re led and known;

Grace overflowing,

As His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the ultimate gift as we ask. Thank You that Your presence is the greatest provider ever known. Thank You that by Your Spirit, You lead us, guide us, bless and protect us, as we place our heart in Your hands. Forgive us for forgetting how exceedingly powerful Your love is, and lead us to love likewise. Show us how to give good gifts to all, so that each who crosses our path may witness glimpses of You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with Your Spirit, so that Your path will be made clear in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Give Thanks for Moms

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

I am convinced that mothers are granted to us to demonstrate the goodness of God and the reality of what faithful love looks like. My mom, and her mother before her, have shown me that God is good and that His love endures. Their examples have filled my heart full of thanks, and being blessed with the privilege to love my own children in the same way, keeps my gratitude overflowing. Motherhood is not easy, but it is beyond worthwhile. From infancy, to toddlerhood, the teen years, and this transition into adulthood, it is a gift to be included in the process. Today, I am reminded to give God thanks for His goodness and love that He has made tangible through mothers and those who fill maternal roles. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness and faithful love, as He shows us His heart through mothers.

Heavenly Father,

I give You all praise;

For goodness and love,

Granted all our days.

For kin and dear friends,

That make Your love known;

The gift of the moms,

Through whom grace is shown.

Your blessings are made,

Abundantly clear;

Through mothers and kids,

The ones we hold dear.

God, You have shown me,

That my heart is seen;

Through the gift of mom,

For love’s what mom means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift that You have given me through my mom and in being a mom. You make Your love abundantly clear as Your goodness is displayed through those who mother us well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give You thanks for the incredible gifts You have given. Teach us to give You thanks each new day, and to celebrate the gifts that You have given through our mothers and the treasured blessing of motherhood. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all may feel encouraged, appreciated and loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for mothers and for the opportunity to fill the role of mom. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

He Suffered for Our Sake

But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. – (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)

But He was being punished for what we did. He was crushed because of our guilt. He took the punishment we deserved, and this brought us peace. We were healed because of His pain. – (Isaiah 53:5, ERV)

But He was hurt because of us; He suffered so. Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed Him. He endured the breaking that made us whole. The injuries He suffered became our healing. – (Isaiah 53:5, VOICE)

As I continue to fix my heart and mind on the significance of Easter, my study this morning landed me in Isaiah 53. Isaiah was written long before the birth of Jesus, so it is a prophetic foretelling of what was yet to come. Jesus was indeed pierced for our transgressions, taking on the guilt and punishment that was deserved, so that we might know healing, wholeness and peace. His suffering on Friday brought us to the freedom that arrived on Sunday with an empty tomb. The very One who bore the weight of the world, overcame death in order to bring us new life. It is mind-blowing to think of anyone taking the punishment we deserve for our wrongdoing, and even more baffling to consider He who took ALL for EVERYONE. I know as a parent, I would gladly take pain in the place of my children. However, I am flawed and I fail; Jesus, who knew no sin, had done no wrong, endured the guilt and suffering for all that we have ever done, are doing, and will ever do, so that we have the opportunity and freedom to decide to follow after God and be in a right relationship with Him. Jesus made the way for all. In God’s eyes, every sin is a sin, and we all fall short. I cannot imagine what life would be like if we did not have the Savior to seek in our shortcomings, suffering and struggle. May we ever give glory to God, who sent His Only Son, and all praise to Jesus, who bore all on our behalf so that we would know God’s goodness and love.

Love chose be broken,

For once and for all;

Suffering Savior,

Love tore down the wall.

The wall between us,

Kept apart by sin;

His love brought new life,

Our only way in.

Into His goodness,

Overwhelmed by grace;

Hope that’s eternal,

O Ancient of Days.

Let us give glory,

Where glory is due;

All thanks for new life,

Through that empty tomb.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored in relationship with You. Jesus, thank You for bearing the weight of my sin upon Yourself so that I might know abundant life in You. Forgive us for allowing this holy week to come and go without pondering and pursuing a deeper understanding of all that You did to bring us into Your kingdom. Teach us to be intentional with our time. Show us how to love those around us intentionally and with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the magnitude of Your sacrifice and suffering that brought us new life in You. Amen.

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

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. – Hebrews 2:9

Done to Others is Done Unto You

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for my people here, you also did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these, My little ones, My true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, TPT)

This ought to be our motivation. Whenever we love others, we are also demonstrating our love for God. Every single time we love, help, encourage, lift up, show kindness, give grace – God sees it as if we were doing these very things unto Him. What this shows us is how deeply God loves all of His creation. Our closest comparison is how we feel when others extend kindness, grace, generosity, encouragement, and more to one whom we love deeply. I know for me, when someone does these things for one of my children, I am blessed as well. My heart swells with gratitude, simply knowing that another sees and values my child like I do. Imagine the depth of what God feels in comparison. God who loved so deeply that He sent His Son to reestablish a right relationship with us, recognizes every act of kindness and extension of love as words and deeds given directly to Him. For me, that both defines and dictates how I ought to treat everyone I meet. Do I have it down to a science? Of course not. I fall short and fail daily, yet can always seek to do and be better. God, in His loving kindness, hears our petitions presented before Him, and honors our desire to love well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and equip us to love as He loves us.

Whatever we do,

In word, thought or deed;

We do unto God,

Let’s follow His lead.

The God of all grace,

Does all things in love;

May we love like Him,

Give good from above.

For each time we choose,

To help each other;

We live with purpose,

Sisters and brothers.

The times that we fail,

Neglect or ignore;

It too is to God,

Things that He abhors.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love well, each other;

Choose extend Your love,

One to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love us. Thank You that as we do, You recognize our love extended to those around us as love for You. Forgive us for the times that we have been unloving or callous or have neglected to reach out where we knew You called us to love. Teach us to trust and follow Your lead as we aspire to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit the width, depth and breadth of Your everlasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reach out to love like You. Amen.

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

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Release the Offense

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, NIV)

“Even if they do something wrong to you seven times in one day, but they say they are sorry each time, you should forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, ERV)

“No matter how many times in one day your brother sins against you and says, ‘I’m sorry; I am changing; forgive me,’ you need to forgive him each and every time.” – (Luke 17:4, TPT)

Jesus set the standard as to how we are meant to interact with our sisters and brothers around us. We are called to forgive every time that someone recognizes their wrongs and apologizes. The reality is that we all fall short and need forgiveness and grace. For me, I know that I have far more grace for my children and spouse than I do for folks out and about. When one of my kids forgets to do what has been asked of them, and then apologizes, it becomes as if it has never happened; yet if someone cuts me off on the road and then waves an apology, it takes a moment to slow down and actually forgive, instead of being annoyed. Our intentional decision to forgive is not meant to be submission to abuse, rather it is for us to release the offense and move on so that we do not carry the weight of unforgiveness.There are enough burdens among us; grudges are far too weighty to hold. May we seek the Lord to grant us the grace to forgive, in the same way that He continually forgives us.

Count not offenses,

But rather, give grace;

Love one another,

Throughout each new day.

When there’s a sorry,

Let go, choose release;

Hold not the offense,

May our grace increase.

Lord, help us to love,

As You choose love us;

Let our response be,

Just like Yours, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love and forgive. Forgive us for not being quick to forgive when we ought to. Show us how to give the very same grace and forgiveness that we have been given by You. Lead us in love for all those around us so that each may know the overwhelming, never ending, power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love and forgiveness for all. Amen.

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

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

Awareness of Everywhere

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV) 

“Someone might try to hide from Me in some hiding place. But it is easy for Me to see that person”, says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” This message is from the Lord. 

Am I a God anyone can hide from? Do I not see what happens in secret? Am I not everywhere, filling heaven and earth? – (Jeremiah 23:24, VOICE) 

There is both comfort and concern in knowing that God sees and knows all. Comfort comes in knowing that He is aware of all that causes fear and overwhelms us. Concern exists in the awareness of our own faults and failures. God is gracious, but He knows all that we think, say and do. When we are unkind, complacent or far from exhibiting His heart, we grieve the heart of God. In the same way that a parent grieves when their children stray from the way they know they should go, He too, is saddened. However, just as a parent will love their child all the while, He too loves us, His children. Incredibly, God sees and knows all, and still He loves. Because He loved us first, we too have the capacity to love. The more we know Him, the more we long to bless His heart with our words, thoughts and deeds. If we go off course, we need to confess to Him our wrongs, and He lovingly forgives and receives us into His arms. May we ever be aware of God’s loving presence, as He is faithful to help us navigate well.  

The Lord God above, 

He sees and He knows; 

Whatever we do, 

Wherever we go. 

There’s no place on earth, 

Where He will not see; 

All His creation, 

His vast majesty. 

So, seek the Lord’s heart, 

In all that we do; 

To love as He loves, 

He will lead us through. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You see, hear and know all that we think, say and do, You are present to help and love in all that we do. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that does not honor You. Forgive us also, for the times that we somehow thought You would not see, or neglected to give thought to Your awareness of all. Teach us to trust and lean into You, so that our every word and deed demonstrate Your loving kindness to all. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and seek to honor You in all. Amen. 

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

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? – Romans 2:4

Unite in Purpose

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV) 

When others are happy, you should be happy with them. And when others are sad, you should be sad too. – (Romans 12:15, ERV) 

If some have cause to celebrate, join the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE) 

I am feeling this deeply, yet again, for the third time in a few short weeks. Mourning for lives lost, senselessly, as much of the nation is rendered speechless by the injustices that have transpired. The rejoicing comes, when people rise up, united in purpose to see that justice is brought forth, and awareness is heightened beyond the blatant disregard for human lives. As a mom and a teacher, I desperately want better for my children – my own by birth, and those entrusted to me in the classroom. This call to rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn, is simply a specific directive of how we can love people well. When we have empathy, through truly listening and hearing the hearts of those around us, we learn and grow and discover ways to be better; do better, for all. My role, as a woman of faith, is to ever be seeking to grow in wisdom and understanding, so that my words, thoughts and actions reflect the heart of Christ. Christ came and loved all. He is the model of how we are meant to live and love one another. He did not fear those who were not like Him, but He came close and loved well, overcoming the cultural barriers of the time with love. Love looked like the Savior speaking to a woman who was an outcast; it touched those deemed untouchable with sickness or disease; love helped and healed and spoke truth, even when it was not the popular opinion. Love stood up for righteousness and truth, and cleared the temple when those who had ill-intentions tried to enter in. Love stands up for justice and truth. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we will listen and learn, act and speak out, to bring change so that all may live without fear. 

When good comes around, 

Rejoice together; 

In midst of sorrow, 

Grieve too, do better. 

Choose seek to listen, 

To learn and to grow; 

Love well, each other, 

Let God’s love be shown. 

To live heart to heart, 

Sisters and brothers; 

Seek to choose love first, 

Honor each other. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us ways that we can love one another as we are created and called to love. Thank You that Jesus showed us what it was to rejoice with people when they are rejoicing, and to mourn with those who are mourning. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to understand first, or have neglected to recognize the reasons to rejoice or mourn with those around us. Teach us to follow Your example of love. Show us how to best love everyone around us, rejoicing when there is reason to celebrate, and mourning when there is reason to grieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You know every heart and how to heal brokenness in people, communities, and our nation. Help us to follow Your lead well. Amen. 

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Discipline Brings Delight

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. – (Proverbs 29:17, NIV)

Discipline your children; you’ll be glad you did – they’ll turn out delightful to live with. – (Proverbs 29:17, MSG)

Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make our heart glad. – (Proverbs 29:17, NLT)

 

Discipline is such an interesting word, as it can carry such a vast array of experiences for people. For some, discipline equals correction and redirection done in love, much the way God intended, yet for others, that is not at all the case. For me, as a parent, it has been a necessity to correct and redirect to lead my boys in the direction that they are meant to go, in love with much patience. Now that they are eighteen, they do indeed (and always have) bring me delight and make my heart glad. It is an interesting road to navigate with discipline for a young puppy. We are in uncharted territory, and learning as we go. Puppy teeth are sharp, and the desire to chew is strong within them. This morning brought demand for creative “discipline”, as my feet and clothing cannot withstand the ongoing puppy attacks. After countless firm “No” responses, physical removal from the space by my feet, and then offering things that are appropriate to chew any time he comes near my toes, I had to figure something out. I went to the kitchen, grabbed the cayenne pepper, and sprinkled some on the top of each sock and rubbed it in. Innocently, I went and sat down. As expected, Thor pounced at my feet. He paused, sniffed, licked a sock and the zoomed around the room, not quite sure what to do with himself. Needless to say, he hasn’t come after my feet again since. He also settled back down and was able to lay beside me so that I could focus and do this. 😊 For the preservation of both my feet and my clothing, discipline is required. Thor is a delight already in how much he loves people, and being trained will bring a lifetime of gladness and peace of mind. I wonder if that is how God sees us? In the same way we take delight in our children (or fur babies) following the direction that we have given, I imagine He too, delights in our obedience to His leading. May we seek the Lord with open hearts, ready to hear and obey, so that we may bring delight as we walk in His way.

 

May we learn with grace, wp-15879966650772618150238741232455.jpg

To guide well in love;

Correct, redirect,

Like God up above.

Let love lead the way,

As we teach with grace;

What is right and good,

For those that we raise.

Help us also heed,

What You’re teaching us;

So that You delight,

As we choose kindness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You ask us to lead in love in the same way that You lead us. Thank You that You correct, redirect, and show us what is good and what You have for us, any time we are willing to seek You and listen. Forgive us for the times that we have either ignored or resented Your discipline. Teach us to trust You more, as You correct and redirect so that we can be the very best version of ourselves. Show us how to discipline well, all those whom we are called to lead in love. May many come into lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we heed Your discipline for us and seek to discipline in love, those whom You have given us charge over. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is kind to His followers as a father is to his children. – Psalm 103:13