The Commission of Jesus

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – (Matthew 28:16-20, NIV)

The eleven followers went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. On the mountain the followers saw Jesus. They worshiped Him. But some of the followers did not believe that it was really Jesus. So He came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to Me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have told you to do. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.” – (Matthew 28:16-20, ERV)

The same commission that Jesus gave to the early disciples is what He gives to us all. Our roles may not all look the same, but we are each called to love God and love people in such a way that they too, may come to know who God is and how He loves. It is by His love that we can be saved. Our salvation means that we have hope and help, peace and love, in the here and now, and also the promise to be in His presence forever. I want everyone I know and love to understand the same. If they do, together is forever, not just temporary. There is peace and comfort in knowing that there here and now is not the end. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His great commission.

O Lord, please lead us,

And chase away doubt;

For Your love is all,

This life is about.

Love that brings comfort,

Ever extends care;

Peace through Your presence,

Nearness known through prayer.

Lord, show us the way,

Lead us in Your love;

So all come to know,

You, Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to love as You love and to share the hope that is held forever in You. Forgive us for missed opportunities to share the goodness of Your love with those around us. Teach us to be Your ambassadors to all whom we encounter, so that all have the opportunity to come to know You. Show us how to love like You, so that Your heart is made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to fulfill all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8

Freely Forgive

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. – (Matthew 6:14-15, ERV)

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. – (Matthew 6:14-15, MSG)

If we love God and love people, we will walk in God’s way and do His will. God’s will is that we forgive others just as He has forgiven us. Once we realize the magnitude of His mercy and grace, we ought to be compelled to extend the same to others. Our grudges create a divide between us and God. Not because He cannot get past them, but rather because we are unable. Forgiveness means that we willfully choose to let go of the anger and frustration brought on by the words or actions of another, and hand them over to God. This is an active and ongoing process that we must choose. As we do, God grants us the grace to release the grudge that we want to hold so that it no longer has a hold on us. To forgive does not mean we forget, but rather that we no longer hold the hurt and allow God to heal. Often, we must choose to forgive repeatedly for the same action, as the offense arouses anger each time it is recalled. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to continue to forgive others, so that we too, may continue to be forgiven.

We are commanded,

To choose to forgive;

As we’re forgiven,

A grace we must give.

For holding grudges,

Creates a divide;

Gets in the Lord’s way,

Of purpose inside.

Lord, help us let go,

Of hurts and offense;

Lead us in Your love,

And be our defense.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as You forgive us. Thank You that as we do, the weight is lifted, and we are able to walk as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have been slow to forgive. Teach us to keep short accounts and to place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us forgive every offense. Amen.

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

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37

Courage Through Unknowns

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

Today is the day that I need to keep this verse in the forefront of my mind, as I walk into the unknown. I know that there are many who have gone before me who have endured the same procedure that I will and have come through well with great success. I am still nervous, as having only local anesthesia for a many-hour procedure is not very comforting when I am one who is a struggle to keep numb. Additionally, not having any idea as to how extensive a procedure is going to be is a fear-producing space as well. This is where I must trust in the professionals to do their job well, and even more so, trust that God has gone before me, will be with me, and will carry me through the unknowns. Right now, I will choose to trust through the unknowns, and praise Him for His faithfulness to me thus far. I am so grateful that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same God who has been faithful to me throughout all my days so far, is the same One who will be with me as I go and will remain present through the stages of recovery and healing. He knows not only the number of hairs on my head, but He knows the exact location of the carcinoma cells on my face and is the One who will guide the surgeon’s hands.  Tomorrow morning will be part two, as a plastic surgeon will close the wound in a way to maintain function in my upper lip and to minimize the scarring from the procedure. Initially, I was stressed about having the two parts on different days, but ultimately, it might be better as there will be a pause to rest in between. God knew during the scheduling what would be best for me, and He holds me in the hollow of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage, for He is faithful to be present each time we ask.

O Lord, be my strength,

Today as I go;

In uncertainty,

You already know.

Provider of peace,

You have gone before;

Made way through unknowns,

Courage, You outpour.

Settle the spaces,

In me that still fear;

This space of unknown,

As You remain near.

Take my hand, Jesus,

Today as I go;

Grant courage and strength,

As Your love’s made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength and the One who tells us to not be afraid nor discouraged. Thank You that You tell us these things because You have gone before us and promise to remain with us. Forgive us for our fears in spaces of unknown. Teach us to trust You more and to place all of our worries in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to shine Your light wherever we go and in all that we do. Lead us to love big, even when we are facing things that cause fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen us and supply us with courage that comes from knowing that You are in control. Amen.

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

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Navigating Unknowns

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

We are commanded to be strong and courageous. This is not a command that says, “Good luck, kid, go take care of things on your own”, but rather is reminding us that because God will be with us wherever we go, we can be strong and courageous in Him. Strength and courage are not things that we can somehow muster on our own, but rather we are filled by the Lord’s overwhelming love, and are granted the strength and courage that we need to navigate life’s unknowns. Today will be a day that I need God’s strength and courage as I go to a pre-operative appointment this afternoon. Though a consultation is not necessarily a fearful thing on its own, the process that lies ahead is scary and unknown. My hope is that strength and courage will increase, and the surgeon will be one who sets my mind at ease. No matter what, I know God will go before me, will remain with me, and will supply what I need as it is needed. He is faithful and I am grateful. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage as we face the unknowns that come our way.

With God as my strength,

What have I to fear?

Always He’s with me,

I know He is near.

He grants me courage,

When alone, there’s none;

He floods me with love,

The most Holy One.

God supplies comfort,

When I am afraid;

I’m held in His hands,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that courage and strength come from You. Thank You that You provide all that we need and more as we seek You. Thank You that You go before us and stay beside us as we walk into the unknowns that life brings. Forgive us for our fears that rise up and try to take root. Teach us to lean on You to lead us and trust in You to guide us through every step that we take. Show us how to be present in the strength and courage You supply. Lead us 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 the strength and courage that You supply and for Your nearness as we navigate unknowns. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Love in All

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, HCSB)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

We are called and commanded to love because God is love. Incredibly, we are created to love, and each of us give and receive love differently. No matter how we best express love, He sees and receives what we offer. If we were to love God with our whole heart and soul, every word we say, every decision we make, and every action we take would be unto Him. Learning to love God completely is a lifelong process. In the same way that we grow to love those around us more as we are intentional to spend time and invest in relationships, the same is true with God. The more we know Him, the more deeply we love Him and want Him to be a part of everything we say and do. May we continually pursue the Lord in love, so that we grow to love as we were created to love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all that we do;

May our hearts align,

So we honor You.

With all of our heart,

And all of our soul;

With all of our strength,

Lifelong love, the goal.

For how You love us,

Lead us to love too;

With all that we are,

Give praise unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that the more we get to know You, the greater our love grows for You and for all those You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for staying stagnant rather than continually seeking to grow. Teach us to lean into all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to learn to love You more in every area of our lives. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Courage for the Calling

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, HCSB)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

God did not mean that fear never comes our way, but rather that when He calls us to things that seem beyond our own abilities, He will be with us and we need not fear. Yesterday, I lost my planning period because a teacher was absent and no substitute had accepted the job. When I found out I had to cover that particular class, my heart was filled with dread. The last time I covered that class, it was a nightmare. This time, as I walked in, I discovered that the majority of the students are either in my second semester art classes or are gymnasts. Suddenly, what I had feared was far from reality. I knew the majority of students by name, and their response to me was kind and pleasant. Because I knew them and they knew me, the interactions were entirely different. The path had been prepared for me. For some, it might be a little thing, but for me, it was a reminder that God has me. May we ever trust in Him and seek the Lord for all that we need, for we need not fear, as He will be with us, always.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

He grants us His strength,

To overcome fear.

Despite what we think,

God will make a way;

For us to press on,

Embrace each new day.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and grace;

To navigate well,

All that comes our way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our need and You strengthen and equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You care about the little things too. Forgive us for our fear or dread when we walk into what we think we know. Teach us to trust You, for You can do wondrous things that we would never anticipate. Show us how to love all those around us well, so that they too, might be strengthened and encouraged in all that they do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and know that You are greater than all that we face. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

To Intercede

And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, HCSB)

And if My people who are called by My name become humble and pray, and look for Me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, ERV)

And (if) My people (who are known by My name) humbly pray, follow My commandments, and abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning, then I shall hear their prayers from My house in heaven, I shall forgive their sins, and I shall save their land from the disasters. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, VOICE)

Not only are we called to be in community, but we are asked to pray for one another as well. When we are intentional to pray for those around us, we are interceding on their behalf. This can be individually, for a group, a city, state, nation or the world. Incredibly, because of Jesus, there is no specific way nor are there fancy words we need to say to intercede. God hears every utterance, petition and thought lifted to Him by those who earnestly seek Him. Right now, there is much need for intercession. The needs that surround us are many, and there is much longing for God to bring healing, health, hope and wholeness to all. May we ever seek the Lord and humbly pray, turning away from our sinful ways, and trust that God will be faithful to forgive and bring help as only He can do.

Called and commanded,

To seek God and pray;

To lift up others,

Ask Him show the way.

The way for healing,

For help and true hope;

Provision and peace,

Through Him we can cope.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Humbly, to choose seek;

To pray for others,

When all seems quite bleak.

By faith, help us trust,

All that You will bring;

Hope, help and healing,

Our reasons to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to intercede for those around us, both locally and globally. Thank You that when we slow down and look at what is going on, we notice places where Your presence is desperately needed. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You to pray when we see needs that we don’t know how to meet. Teach us to turn to You in trust and ask for Your help and healing for our families, communities, nations and beyond. Show us how to help practically as well, so that we may be vessels that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to intercede for those around us. Amen.

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

All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. – Psalm 65:2

Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, HCSB)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, TPT)

Always, it comes down to choosing to love. We are called to love God and love people, when we do these things, we cannot help but be living a life that honors His commands. What He asks of us has not and does not change. The way in which we love might change, but the underlying expectation is all about choosing to love as He loves us. God’s love is sacrificial and has no expectations in return. He loves us because we are His creation. In the same way, we ought to love one another because every person we meet was intentionally created by God, with a plan and a purpose. Not everyone is living and walking out the plan that was prepared for them, yet each person is still the intentional and loved creation of God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us see others through His eyes, and choose to love in all that we say and do. We need His guidance and strength to live out a life of love.

To live out God’s love,

We each have been called;

To love each other,

With grace and resolve.

To love is a choice,

That we must each make;

It is when we do,

That God is obeyed.

Each person designed,

To love and be loved;

Reflecting the light,

Of the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called and created to love. Thank You that each time we are intentional to choose love, we are walking in obedience to Your commands. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love, somehow thinking that another is not deserving. For none of us deserve Your love, yet You surround us and overwhelm us with Your goodness and grace that make Your great love abundantly clear to all who pause and observe how You move in, through and around us. Teach us to seek You to lead us in love the way that You intended. Show us how to love well, each person whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well so that we might walk in obedience to all You ask of us. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13