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

Jesus is a Miracle-Worker

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Why are you afraid? You don’t have enough faith.” Then He stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. The wind stopped, and the lake became very calm. The men were amazed. They said, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the water obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, ERV)

Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then He stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass. The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea stand up and take notice at His command!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, MSG)

The disciples had spent much time with Jesus already, and they knew that He had the power to heal and do many great and miraculous things. However, when they were in the middle of the lake and a giant squall came upon them, what they knew to be true was somehow lost in the sound of the wind and waves. What they did know was to wake Jesus and ask Him what to do. Jesus, who had been resting after many hours of teaching crowds, woke to their fright and showed them again that He was indeed a miracle-worker, as He told the wind and waves to be still. Though they had seen and experienced His power in action, they were awestruck that even the elements had to obey Him. God knows our needs and can work miracles in all things, great and small. The same God who made the heavens and the earth, knows our names, our needs, and the hopes we hold in our hearts. Each time we see or experience God at work, we are experiencing miracles. I have seen His power heal sickness and disease and provide in ways that cannot be explained. He is always moving on our behalf. When we slow down and truly look around us, we become more and more aware of the miracle-worker that Jesus is. Tomorrow, my twins turn twenty-one. Despite being tiny preemies that spent the first five weeks of their lives in the hospital, they are alive and thriving into adulthood. They are bright, kind, healthy and whole, and are my constant reminders of the goodness and the miracle-working power of the living God. May we ever pause and take notice of God moving among us throughout our days and praise Jesus for being the miracle-worker in our lives.

Everything good,

That happens in life;

Blessings from Jesus,

All by His design.

He helps and He heals,

In love, He provides;

He shows us the way,

As we choose abide.

We pray for wisdom,

Please open our eyes;

To see You moving,

In our hearts and lives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us more of who You are and how You love and care for us all. Thank You Jesus, that You are still a miracle-worker. Thank You that we have the privilege of witnessing You moving among us in all things, great and small. Forgive us for our lack of awareness in the everyday miracles that transpire all around us. Teach us to have eyes to see and hearts to treasure all of the ways that You work in and through our lives. Show us how to have faith to prayerfully contend for those all around us. Lead us in Your loving kindness so that all whom we encounter would experience the miracle of Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we count the abundant blessings and miracles in our lives and all around us. Amen.

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

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. – Jeremiah 32:17

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Hope We Can Hold

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, HCSB)

Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in Me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father’s home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. – (John 14:1-2, VOICE)

What Jesus told to His disciples applies to all who believe. We need not be troubled, but instead, believe in God and all that Jesus is doing on our behalf. No matter how things seem in the here and now, we have an incredible hope and future in Him. The same God who created all the beauty that surrounds us is preparing a place for us to dwell with Him forever. When I think of how incredible the mountains and seas, forests and fields, and all of the stars that He hung in the skies, I am awestruck considering what heaven must be like. To be in the very presence of He who is love, surrounded by all that He has prepared for us, the very thought leaves me in awe and wonder. May we ever remember our Savior and all He is doing to prepare a place for us, for our hope is in Him and all that He has for us.

The promise of God,

Forever shall be;

The hope we can hold,

Despite what we see.

For Jesus has gone,

To prepare a place;

For our forever,

Full of love and grace.

The good that we see,

And beauty we know;

Are but a mere glimpse,

Of what is in store.

All that lies ahead,

Our hope for today;

The goodness of God,

Will show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not allow our trials and troubles determine our hope, for You are our security and grace as we navigate each new day. Thank You that Your loving kindness is ever present to lead us and remind us that there is so much more that lies ahead. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope that we hold when life gets messy. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are unchangeable and Your love knows no end. Lead us to love as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You forever. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Trust Over Fear

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NIV)

Jesus overhead and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be alright.” – (Luke 8:50, MSG)

When Jesus heard this, He turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t yield to fear. Have faith in Me and she will live again.” – (Luke 8:50, TPT)

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had bowed at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house to heal his young daughter. As Jairus and Jesus were on the way, someone from Jairus’ house came up to them and told them that Jairus’ daughter had died. Verse fifty is how Jesus responded to the news about Jairus’ daughter. On the way to the house, Jesus had healed a woman. I imagine that Jairus already knew that Jesus could heal, and the timing of the woman’s healing, prior to the news of the death of his daughter, must have added to the hope that Jairus placed in Him. After Jesus, Jairus and the disciples who were with them arrived, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. She did live again and everything was alright, just as Jesus had spoken. I don’t know about you, but this brings much encouragement. When we seek the Lord for answers and for help, it is never too late for Him to intervene. He can bring life out of death and restore what seems irrevocably broken. We serve a God who restores and heals and grants us hope, even when things seem bleak. May we ever continue to fall at the feet of Jesus, trusting that He is who He says He is, and can do all things that will bring life and wholeness and restoration.

No matter the way,

That things may appear;

When we seek the Lord,

He’ll always draw near.

To know His presence,

Fathom we’re His own;

Held and granted hope,

Perceive how we’re known.

Christ hears ev’ry prayer,

In love, makes a way;

Hope soon realized,

He does not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power who heard the prayers of a synagogue leader and healed both his daughter and a woman on the way, is available to us every day. Thank You that You hear our prayers and grant us help and hope as You hold us up in Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations when answers seem delayed or too late, for Your timing is not ours, and Your ways are best. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend help and hope and life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and give thanks for how You love us all. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

To Still Our Storms

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, NIV)

They were very afraid and asked each other, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and water obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, ERV)

But they were overwhelmed with fear and awe and said to one another, “Who is this man who has such authority that even the wind and waves obey Him?” – (Mark 4:41, TPT)

This verse follows the account of Jesus and the disciples immediately after they had been caught in the midst of a giant squall, feared for their lives, and Jesus had stood and spoke to the wind and sea to “be still”. The wind and water stopped immediately as He spoke, and the disciples were awestruck and afraid. Most of the disciples were experienced fishermen and were overwhelmingly aware of the sudden danger of a storm that started with little warning. Additionally, the very notion of such a squall being silenced by the mere words of a man did not make sense. The wind and waves did not simply stop, but there, in that experience with Jesus, they did. Though the disciples had been with Jesus and seen Him perform miracles for many people, speaking to a storm and the sea was beyond what they likely could have ever imagined. Perhaps the silencing of the storm experience was an “aha” moment in which they began to grasp just how powerful Jesus truly was. For us, today, we have the benefit of beholding a collection of the experiences of those who walked with Jesus, and the opportunity to experience a life with Him, by His Spirit within us. We may not see squalls at sea silenced, but many are the storms that He has calmed within. Christ is our peace in the places of chaos, and our hope when we feel helpless. His power to be present and bring peace is beyond what we can fathom until we begin to experience it for ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord, both in the midst of storms and in the calm, for He is faithful to be present to help us and hold us, no matter what life brings our way.

When storms are raging,

Outside or within;

We need our Savior,

To bring peace again.

And when all is calm,

May we too delight;

In He who’s present,

The Maker of right.

Let us stand in awe,

Of all He has done;

Give glory to God,

The most Holy One.

Please never forget,

The power that’s found;

Through merely His words,

As His grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son to show us the incredible power of Your love through Him. Please forgive us for the times that we allow the storms around us or within us to create fear and steal our peace. Teach us to trust in Your power and goodness, as You walk with us all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend peace and comfort and make Your power and heart for all known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn how to lean into You through the storms and in our spaces of calm. Amen.

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

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

Intentional In Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” – (John 13:34-35, MSG)

It seems only appropriate that the verse of the day has to do with love on Valentine’s Day. In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called “Friendship Day”. I love that idea, as the love we have for those around us does not have to be romantic love. Friends, family, acquaintances and beloved ones are all among those with whom our love is meant to be shared. To love as we are loved by God is to lift up, encourage, bless, honor and strengthen those around us without any expectation of return. We are meant to choose to love out of the overflow that we have freely been given. May we be intentional in our obedience to God’s commands to love so that all may see Him through us.

Let’s love each other,

As the Lord loves us;

Freely outpouring,

As done by Jesus.

When we choose to love,

With grace, each other;

God’s love’s clearly shown,

One to another.

May we celebrate,

All that we’re given;

Generously give,

Each day we live in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generous and overwhelming love. Thank You that You call and command us to love those around us. Thank You that as we do, people see You and the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we should. Teach us to seek You and receive all that You offer so that we may love like You. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional to love well. Amen.

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

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Ask in Faith

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, ERV)

Everything you pray for with the fullness of faith you will receive! – (Matthew 21:22, TPT)

These words were spoken by Jesus to the disciples after He had commanded a fig tree to never bear fruit again, and they watched the tree wither before them. His words were not to create a culture of wishes being granted, but more to prove the power of prayer, when spoken in faith. The challenge in this is that there are always prayers that seem to go unanswered. In our limited understanding, that is how things appear. If we could see things through the lens of Christ, we would recognize that our prayers are answered His way, not ours. He hears every prayer that we pray, and is ever moving on our behalf. However, God is just and kind, and our prayers must align with His heart and His plans. I have prayed in faith, believing that God would bring healing on many occasions. Sometimes, healing is immediate, other times it is gradual, and still other times, the healing happens in heaven. What I do know, is that God is faithful to meet us in our need and provide His presence that moves mountains – both in our hearts and in our circumstances. May we ever turn to Him and lift our prayers, believing in faith that He will move either the mountains before us, or lead us over or around all that seems to stand in our way.

Call on the Lord,

In faith, seek His Name;

Pray believing,

The truth we proclaim.

We know He’s good,

He hears each request;

His love holds us,

His grace does what’s best.

Let us choose ask,

Make our requests known;

God is faithful,

And His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear every prayer spoken in faith. Thank You that answers don’t always look the way that we anticipate, but You are always good and have eternity in mind. Forgive us for our frustration and impatience when it seems that answers are not present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize You moving on our behalf, and trust that You have our ultimate good in mind. Show us how to love those around us, as we lift up prayers of faith, believing that You will answer all that we ask. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up our prayers to You in faith, trusting that You will move mightily on our behalf. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Made to Praise

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, NIV)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

Jesus responded, “Listen to me. If my followers were silenced, the very stones would break forth with praises!” – (Luke 19:40, TPT)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a whole crowd of disciples was shouting praises to announce His arrival, and yelling out the truth of Jesus’ rightful roles. Some of the Pharisees who were in the area, were not having it. They ordered Jesus to rebuke those who were praising Him. His response reminds us that all of creation was indeed made to praise Him and speak the truth of who He is. The power, grace, goodness, and love of the Lord demands our praise. We were created with an innate need to worship. Where we place our praise matters. If we praise the One who alone is worthy, the truth is declared and we discover the perfect peace that comes as we do what we were created to do. All of creation was made to reflect the Lord’s radiance. The rocks, the mountains, the oceans, rivers and seas – everywhere we look, we can see the evidence of the Lord’s loving and powerful hands. As we draw ever nearer to the day that we celebrate His birth, may we take time to lift our voice in praise for who God is and how our Savior loves.

All of creation,

Was made to give praise;

To honor Jesus,

Throughout our days.

The rocks will cry out,

If people do not;

For He is worthy,

Of our praise and thought.

Let us lift His Name,

For He’s always good;

He came to save us,

Make love understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be our Savior and salvation. Thank You that we were created to praise. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give praise where praise was due, for all belongs to You. Teach us to see Your goodness, power, and love throughout our days. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and love all of Your creation. Amen.

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

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

Magnificent Multiplication

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. – (Luke 9:16, NIV)

Then Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish. He looked up into the sky and thanked God for the food. Then He broke it into pieces, which He gave to the followers to give to the people. – (Luke 9:16, ERV)

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and gazing into the heavenly realm He gave thanks for the food. Then, in the presence of His disciples, He broke off pieces of bread and fish, and kept giving more to each disciple to give to the crowd. It was multiplying before their eyes! – (Luke 9:16, TPT)

As I read the ninth chapter of Luke, I paused and pondered what it must have been like for the disciples and the crowd when Jesus told His followers to feed thousands from five loaves of bread and two fish. My wonder went beyond the miracle and I simply tried to imagine what it would have been to be present. Did the food multiply as He prayed, or did they begin distributing the bread and fish and it simply kept regenerating as they passed portions? The Passions Translation grants my imagination free reign, as I sit in awe and wonder at He who took a little and made it into much, much more. I think that really is the point that we are meant to gain from this account of what transpired – that when we are willing to give God what we have, no matter how little, He can multiply it exponentially for the greater good. In this season of both shut down and of celebration, how can we bring God what we have to see Him multiply it for good? There are opportunities everywhere; from giving trees, to food banks, to local schools, to the elderly and the lonely… May we ever seek the Lord to direct our steps, and with willing hearts, offer what we have for Him to multiply and bless many.

Lord, I stand in awe,

At all that You do;

As You take little,

To bless through and through.

Show us how to give,

Trust all in Your hands;

Know that You will use,

Each gift as You’ve planned.

Every resource,

Time, talent and gifts;

Can be used by God,

To touch and uplift.

Let us choose offer,

What we’re called to give;

Watch Him multiply,

In love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can take whatever we bring and multiply it to bless many. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to trust and walk by faith, understanding the incredible power of Your love. Forgive us for withholding what we have known we were meant to give. Show us how to bring You our time, talent and resources so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Lead us to love those around us well. Instruct us as to how we can give. Please multiply all for the good of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring what we have to offer, trusting that You will use what we give in far greater ways than we could ever imagine. Amen.

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

He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29