Community Brings Comfort

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – (Matthew 18:20, HCSB)

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

We Were the One

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” – (Luke 15:4, HCSB)

“Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep.  You will continue to search for it until you find it.” – (Luke 15:4, ERV)

“Wouldn’t every single one of you, if you have 100 sheep and lose one, leave the 99 in their grazing lands and go out searching for the lost sheep until you find it?” – (Luke 15:4, VOICE)

Jesus views us in the same way. Each of His kids is of infinite worth, and He passionately pursues us when we have gone astray or have become lost. His heart is ever for us, to protect us and love us well. Additionally, I am certain it is why He places us in community. When we are invested and engaged with others, we are less likely to become lost or wander off on our own. Together, we have each other to help us remain engaged and accountable to be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Shepherd who loves each of us so much that He would relentlessly pursue us if we became lost. 

The Lord’s our shepherd,

Watching over us;

In love, He protects,

Our faithful Jesus.

If we go astray,

He’ll ever pursue;

The heart of the lost,

To cleanse and renew.

For in Him is grace,

Forever, He’s good;

He helps us see Him,

Makes love understood.

Each day we draw breath,

He’s present to care;

He loves with His life,

He’s ever aware.

He knows when we’re near,

Or if we are lost;

His heart beats for us,

Made clear at the cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You pursue us when we are lost or have gone astray. Thank You that You know and see us individually, and care about every detail of our lives. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You don’t, or for not recognizing how deeply You love us all. Teach us to see every single person we encounter as one whom You would leave all to pursue and bring safely into Your care. Show us how to love everyone as You do, so that those who are hurting, struggling, or wandering aimlessly would be pursued as the “One” with Your love and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for pursuing us when we were the “One”, and for placing us in community to keep us from wandering. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Help Shoulder the Weight

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, HCSB)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

Right now, I know a couple of people who are in the throes of tremendous loss; one just lost her son, and the other’s best friend lost her grandson. The weight of grief is far too great a burden to bear alone. It comes in waves and threatens to pull us under. However, when family and friends and community surround the grieving, they provide a hand to help hold heads above water, and give buoyancy in the sinking spaces. What I have observed in both instances, is an incredible outpouring of love, prayers and practical, tangible help in the places where it is needed most. When we reach out, we are extending a hand that helps lighten the load. Nothing we do can lessen the loss, yet the reaching out, the outpouring of what is needed, reminds the burden bearer that they are not alone. Our hands, hearts and voices can be tangible evidence of God’s love when it is extremely difficult to see. Though we cannot take the pain away, we can do something to share the burden, thus fulfilling God’s law to love. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us wisdom and grace so that we are empowered to walk beside the burdened and help carry the load.

When life’s troubles come,

As they always do;

May we walk beside,

Help see people through.

For we are each called,

To above all, love;

Care for each other,

As God does above.

Each time we reach out,

In practical ways;

We show the Lord’s love,

And extend His grace.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To help carry loads;

Through helping, giving,

At life’s tough crossroads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to help carry one another’s burdens. Thank You for the countless times that You have surrounded me with a community that walked beside me and lessened the load when it was too great for me to bear alone. Forgive us for the times that we see a need and neglect to reach out. Teach us to turn to You to guide and equip us to do what we can, whenever and wherever we can, to love as You love. Show us practical ways to come alongside those who are carrying weight that is far too heavy to bear alone. Lead us in Your love so that Your help, hands and heart may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we navigate our days with open hands and hearts, ready to reach out as You would. 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

The Peace of Christ

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, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow Christ’s peace to rule our hearts, each body that we are a member of is extended His peace and gratitude cannot help but rise up in such spaces. As we begin this week of Thanksgiving, may we be intentional to recognize our reasons for giving thanks, and may we allow God to guide us by His peace as we gather with friends and family, near and far. Lord, lead us in Your perfect peace and fill our hearts with thanks and praise for all that You are and all that You have done.

O Lord, guide our hearts,

By Your perfect peace;

Lead us in Your love,

All grace be released.

Show us our reasons,

To give thanks and praise;

For all the blessings,

That have come our way.

Family and friends,

Supply of our needs;

Your loving kindness,

And hope that exceeds.

More than imagined,

Or what we could dream;

Your mercy and grace,

Show us what love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly guide our hearts and minds in Your perfect peace as we seek and depend on You. Thank You that You have called and created us for community, and You place us in the circles we are in for a purpose. Thank You for the gift of those whom You have placed around me, for even on the most difficult days I am encouraged and supported in love. Forgive us for allowing the struggles of this life to divert our eyes from the abundant blessings that surround us. Teach us to have Your eyes to see our surroundings and circumstances as You do, so that our hearts might overflow with gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in such a way that others too, would recognize the overwhelming love and perfect peace that You alone provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your goodness, kindness, and perfect peace. Amen.

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

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Encourage Each Other

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. – (Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 3:13, VOICE)

We need each other to be the best version of ourselves. God intentionally created us for community so that we might encourage one another to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God. As we do, we are aware of the things that try to pull us away from the path that He has placed us on and are equipped to love and navigate well. Incredibly, the more we encourage others, the more we discover that we too are encouraged in the process. May we ever seek the Lord to point us to those who need encouragement and to give us the words that lift others up best.

Today is the day,

We’ve been called to love;

To lift others up,

Point hearts to above.

Encouraging words,

We choose to speak well;

Bring hope and resolve,

With goodness we tell.

Let’s help each other,

Walk in the Lord’s way;

With love and kindness,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community and surround us with those who love and help encourage us to follow after and stay true to You. Forgive us for our attempts to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more and to invest well in the relationships that You bless us with. Lead us to love and encourage those around us in ways that fend off the temptations to go astray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be an encouragement to those around us daily. Amen.

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

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

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy. – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

Whenever my busy thoughts were out of control, the soothing comfort of Your presence calmed me down and overwhelmed me with delight. – (Psalm 94:19, TPT)

I am constantly amazed by the Lord and how He brings balance back into our lives. When we are overwhelmed with what surrounds us, He brings us peace, comfort and compassion that bring us joy. He calls us into community so that His love can be made tangible. God is good, and He brings us the peace of His presence that shows us again what is good.

When life overwhelms,

And all seems a mess;

Choose turn to the Lord,

For He knows what’s best.

He soothes weary hearts,

Brings comfort and peace;

Reason to delight,

As love is released.

So, turn to the Lord,

Allow His love in;

His joy and His peace,

Restore hope again.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weary and overwhelmed, we can come to You to find comfort and peace. Thank You that You show us again what is good, and bring delight, even in the seeming darkness. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when all seems too much to bear. Show us again, that You are with us and for us, and remind our hearts of our reasons to rejoice. Lead us to love one another well, so that all whom we encounter are encouraged and built up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring our cares before You and You exchange the weight for the joy found in You. Amen.

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

He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:4

Everyday Encouragement

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. – (Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 13:3, VOICE)

We are called and reminded to encourage each other every day. None of us are infallible on our own, but rather we need one another to walk in His way and do His will. Our own broken humanity deceives us and can lead us astray when left to our own devices. However, when we are invested in Christ and community, we are encouraged and encourage others to walk in His way and do His will. There is power in accountability, as it keeps us honest with others and ourselves. God intentionally created us to crave community so that we would invest in each other and be capable of encouraging one another in all things. In my own life, I am so grateful for this. He has surrounded me with loving people who want to see the very best for me and from me. When I am struggling, they encourage me. When I see those around me challenged, I try to do the same. Jesus was our ultimate example, and endured every challenge and trial that comes our way. Because He has been where we are, He is able to help and uphold us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in encouraging those around us, so that not one of us would be hardened to hearing His best for us.

Today is a gift,

Meant to be lived well;

His grace is enough,

As in Him we dwell.

We’re called to reach out,

Encourage others;

Build each other up,

Sisters and brothers.

Let not the heavy,

Pull each other down;

Lift and encourage,

Let kindness be found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to encourage one another. Thank You that You also provide people in the communities to which we belong to encourage us as well. Thank You that You desire that not one of us falls to the weight of the world. Forgive us for the times that we have rejected the reminders You have provided and the times that we have neglected to encourage others. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to give You praise for the people that You place in our lives to give and receive encouragement. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that strengthen and build them up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and encouragement in all things and trust in You to lead us to encourage others well. 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

His Love is Sound

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

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. – (Philippians 4:6, VOICE)

God is so faithful to hear us when we present our requests in prayer. This school year has been really challenging thus far, and though I pray generally, my best day this past week came after praying specifically for individual students by name. I don’t know if it was a shift in them, me, or both, but whatever it was, there was a tangible difference that day. This reminds me that I have to call on Him and ask specifically for what I need. He is faithful to answer, even when we do not see immediate results. What I do know is that God can use all things for good, so I have to press in and continue to trust that I am in the right place for such a time as this, even when I am overwhelmed and exhausted. This morning, I am thankful for the extra day of rest, as on this particular state in-service day, I have no training that I am required to attend. Instead, I now have the opportunity to pay a much needed visit to my mom, who lives a few hours away. God is good, and today I will pray and ask Him for all that I need and give Him thanks for the abundant blessings that He has poured out in my life. May we ever seek the Lord and pray our petitions to Him, for He hears and acts on behalf of His people who call on Him.

When anxiousness comes,

Choose call on the Lord;

Let Him know your needs,

His grace He’ll outpour.

Peace in our chaos,

The calm to each storm;

Love that surrounds us,

And hope that transforms.

Goodness and mercy,

In Him may be found;

Each time we seek Him,

For His love is sound.

Give thanks for blessings,

The good that abounds;

Seek Him in struggle,

In Him hope is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and present our prayers before You, You hear our hearts and move on our behalf. Thank You for the abundant blessings that You continually pour out, as You surround us with community and provide hope, help and rest when we need it most. Forgive us for our anxiousness that we hold. Teach us to place all in Your hands. Show us anew each day, that You are the answer to all that we need. Lead us to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as You make Your goodness known. Be glorified O God, as we present our prayers before You and pour out our praise in thanksgiving for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

Release Your Burdens

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

Everyone seems to be carrying extra burdens these days, be it from fear, job loss, job change, or simply the loss of what we have always known. With the start of hybrid learning scheduled for Monday, there is the weight of the unknown. It is amazing how God places us in community to grant us rest. At work, I am blessed with a community of colleagues whom I also call friends, as we encourage, help and support one another. In my home, I no longer carry the weight of running the entire household, as it is a shared burden that is done in love. When I am tired or not feeling well, the help and support increase; rest is granted as it is needed. The last thing that I wanted to do on this gorgeous sunny weekend is slow down and rest, but clearly it is what my body needs. I am going to trust He who knows far better than me, and simply relax and see what I am meant to do.

In our weariness,

We can learn a lot from our fur babies… ❤

The Lord grants us rest;

He knows what we need,

And shows us what’s best.

May we ever seek,

For in Him we find;

Rest and refreshment,

Heart, body and mind.

Even in the times,

We want to press on;

We’re called to listen,

He provides our strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weary, we find rest in You. Thank You that despite our resistance, You know best what we need. Forgive us for not always listening to Your leading to slow down and rest. Show us how to rest in You and trust what You have for us. Lead us to love others around us so that we may encourage, walk beside, and lessen burdens. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us the rest we need in You. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32