Overflowing Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Full of Joy and Thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Always be full of joy is the version that is most easily grasped. This does not mean we must always be happy, but rather it means that we carry the joy of the Lord within us wherever we go, no matter what is going on around us or in us. His joy is not dependent on circumstances. To never stop praying is our reminder to be in constant communication with Christ. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and when we communicate with Him, He reveals more of Himself and who He has created us to be. Gratitude is a practice that most of us could use more of in our lives. To be grateful does not mean that we are necessarily thanking God for our circumstances, but rather that we are thanking Him for being with us, walking beside us, and leading us in the ways that we are meant to go. His heart is for us to belong completely to Him. As we do, we understand who we are in Him, and how He is calling us to live. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more in His joy as we continually pray to Him and give Him all of our gratitude.

Hold closely to joy,

Planted deep within;

All hope in the Lord,

Is what shines light in.

As we keep praying,

Love and thanks do grow;

For His heart’s for us,

He’s where good’s made known.

In faith, keep praying,

Keep trusting in Him;

His love overwhelms,

As we let Him in.

May we give God thanks,

In each circumstance;

For His sweet presence,

And the strength to stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and in Whom we find joy and peace, strength and hope, no matter what our circumstances include. Thank You that You are available to be with us whenever we call on Your Name. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed what surrounds us to impact our joy and gratitude in You. Teach us to remember that our joy is found in You, and that as we are in ongoing communication with You, our joy grows more and more. Show us how to love those around us with peace, patience, goodness and kindness that point hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold the joy You deposit in our hearts, pray to You as if it is the air that we breathe, and give You all of our gratitude each day. Amen.

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

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. – Philippians 4:11

How Harmony Happens

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, HCSB)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but endurance, encouragement, perseverance and patience are all necessary for me to navigate each new day. Each morning, I am encouraged and strengthened anew as I invest the start of my day with God. He is the source of each of these, and is faithful to supply what is needed. Harmony with those around me is always a goal, for there is wisdom and grace and goodness in those whom God places in our lives. Not only that, but this is what Jesus wants for us. Agreeing with one another does not mean that we must see eye-to-eye on every detail in our lives, but rather that we be like-minded on what truly matters. Loving God and loving people ought to be our priority. If we are alike in our care and concern for others, harmony happens. May we ever seek the Lord to be our source of endurance, encouragement, perseverance, patience and peace, as we pursue Him to lead us well.

The Lord is faithful,

To meet us each day;

He gives what we need,

For work and for play.

He shows us His heart,

For those who are near;

And calls us to love,

And set aside fear.

Strength and endurance,

Patience and His peace;

All that is needed,

For love’s sweet release.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to supply all that we need. Thank You that as we do, You show us the strength in the community that surrounds us, and how to live in harmony together. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have not sought to love. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us best, for You know the needs in every heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You have placed before us and the peace that surrounds us as we do. Amen.

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

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. – Psalm 133:1

Ongoing Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

 This verse is such a wonderful reminder that we are ALL a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived”; we all can continue to be transformed more and more by the goodness of God and His unending grace, if only we are willing to seek and trust in Him. The process is different for everyone, and what we see is not the whole story. We all have challenges and triumphs, detours and direct routes as we navigate this life with the intent to grow more like Jesus. I love that the Lord will not stop in the middle, but rather will continue to work in us and through us as we depend on Him. Though I am certain I have passed the midpoint in this life, I am well aware of the work that still needs to be done. There is always more to learn, and always more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and more to gain. It is only through looking back that we can see how far we have come. For some, change is subtle, as the external has mostly always been a pleasant demeanor, however, the work in the heart is what transforms the mind to think and respond in love in all circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in His love, and recognize that we are all a work in progress and in desperate need of His love and grace.

Confidently trust,

The work is not done;

A lifelong process,

As we seek the Son.

Each day we choose Him,

His love is our guide;

To give as He gives,

With arms open wide.

Lead us in Your love,

To care as You do;

Let Your goodness show,

As we follow You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all a work in progress and that Your work in us will not stop until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that none of us “arrive” and are somehow without room to grow. Forgive us for our expectations and frustrations with others, for You are working in and through all of us. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for growth happens as we seek You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage one another to grow more like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to keep transforming our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love throughout each day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

At Peace With Each Other

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, HCSB)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

God provides the endurance and encouragement that we need to live in harmony with each other. He does not tell us to suck it up or figure it out, but rather He modeled for us what it is to live in harmony with one another through His Son, and then God supplies what we need to do the same. It is not easy, nor does it always come naturally, but continually seeking God to show us how to live in harmony with each other is worthwhile. Peace, patience, goodness and kindness find their way in when we earnestly seek the Lord. May we ever go to God to provide what we need so that we may live in harmony with those around us.

O Lord, please lead us,

In Your love and grace;

Provide what we need,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Grant us endurance,

When the days seem long;

Your encouragement,

So we can be strong.

Strong in Your mercy,

Full of love and grace;

At peace with others,

Your love leads the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us patience, encouragement and endurance to live out our days in harmony with one another. Thank You that each day is new, and yesterday’s shortcomings do not determine today’s peace. Forgive us for our lack of seeking, or for holding onto things that divide rather than unite us. Teach us to follow Your example and to rely on You to provide what we need to be at peace with one another. Show us how to love and encourage one another in such a way that we find common ground and mutual respect for each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to supply all that we need to live in harmony with one another. 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

Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

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

In All Things, Pray

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as it seems to be a season of tough news about people I love and care about. Yesterday afternoon, I found out that my nephew is in the hospital and dying of renal failure. I haven’t seen him in years, but when he was a little boy, he spent quite a bit of time with our family. Learning this heartbreaking news, I had to pause and pray; for I do not know what else to do. He is my boys’ cousin, their dad’s nephew, and their aunt’s first born. Sometimes, praying is really all we can do. Though I know not every need, I am able to pray for healing, health, hope and wholeness. I can pray for peace and strength and provision for the family. Prayer does not require eloquent words or religious utterances, it is simply talking to God with your heart, mind, and if it helps, your voice. He hears every word, thought and request. Incredibly, He provides what we need to get through each next moment, hour, day and beyond. His peace brings calm in the chaos and the ability to breathe when it feels as if we cannot. May we ever reach out to the Lord who hears our prayers, and seek Him for strength and peace in spaces where we have none.

O Lord, I draw near,

Seeking You for peace;

When I can’t fathom,

How You’ll bring release.

Somehow Your peace comes,

And fills up my heart;

Your love settles in,

Hope for a fresh start.

Be it a minute,

Or for a new day;

Your love and Your peace,

Always make a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than all of the trials and sorrows we face. Thank You that You flood us with Your love, surround us with Your care, and fill us with Your peace, even when peace does not make sense. Forgive us for worrying about having the words to pray, for You hear each cry of our heart as we reach out to You. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those whom You have placed in our lives, and to pray without ceasing for Your love to be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You as we call on Your Name and pray to You about all things, trusting that You hold us in the hollow of Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Set Free

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. – (Romans 8:1-2, HCSB)

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, ERV)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE) 

No matter what we have done or where we have been or what poor decisions we have made in the past, when we invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, He covers all of our shame and sin, and sets us free from the punishment that our sins deserve. His forgiveness brings freedom and compels us to live out the life of love that God intended all along. May we embrace the grace that God freely has given us through Jesus, and seek Him to lead us to love as He created us to do.

No condemnation,

For those who choose Christ;

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Blessed Redeemer,

His love paid the price.

The price for our sin,

And cleansed us from shame;

Grace freely given,

When we call His Name.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Give grace and goodness,

Through love that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation in You, for You sent Jesus to bear the burden of all of our sin and shame. Thank You Jesus, for Your overwhelming sacrifice on our behalf, and for the place You have taken to ever contend for us as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we do not receive what You freely offer, or we neglect to walk in the love that You given. Teach us to seek You to be our strength in all things, so that we might love like You. Show us how to love those around us well, and point each person we encounter to the goodness and grace that is offered as we seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your forgiveness and ongoing goodness, and seek You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. – Psalm 22:5

Justified and Redeemed

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, HCSB)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

You see, all have sinned and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 3:23-24, VOICE)

Because of the events of this most Holy Week, we all have access to forgiveness, grace, and redemption from our sin. On our own, we cannot live right every moment of every day. However, when we seek and accept the grace that God has freely given through Jesus, we are made clean and holy before God – not because of anything that we have or have not done, but because He who knew no sin dwells within us and has already paid the price that our sins deserve. Through Him, we are considered right before God and have a future and a hope in Him. This is why we celebrate Easter, and why we ought to pause and remember with gratitude, the ultimate sacrifice that we made on our behalf so that we might know life with God forever.

The purpose of Easter,

Much more than the cross;

His redemption for all,

He has paid the cost.

Much more than suffering,

For death could not keep;

Jesus, the Messiah,

In eternal sleep.

It is through the rising,

That our hope was found;

Nothing could defeat Him,

His power abounds.

And more than the rising,

Return to His throne;

Seated up in heaven,

His goodness made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we might come to know forgiveness and grace that His sacrifice provides. Thank You that there is nothing that we can do to earn our way into Your glory, but rather it is a matter of us receiving what You freely offer through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the depth of Your love that sacrificed all. Teach us to live in awe and gratitude throughout all of our days. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart is made evident to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for all that You have done and continue to do to demonstrate just how great Your love is for all. Amen.

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

Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. – Acts 2:33

Not Finished Yet

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10