Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Announced Arrival

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:13-14, NLT) 

Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest realm of heaven! For there is peace and good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:13-14, TPT) 

 

One of my favorite moments to anticipate each year, is candlelight service on Christmas Eve. There is a moment in the evening when a single flame is lit, the lights are extinguished, and people then begin to pass the flame, candle to candle, as songs of praise in remembrance of that most holy night, are sung by all. Soon, the entire sanctuary is full of the glorious glowing light, and an army of angelic voices floods the room. Though but a glimpse, it is such a sweet reminder of that most holy night when heaven came to earth and the armies of heaven announced the arrival of Christ, as they sang in celebration of what God had done. May we each find a moment in the so often hectic season of preparation, to take in the tangible reminders of that most holy night. Let the glory of all that God has done flood our hearts and minds as we give our praise to the Ancient of Days. 

 

Darkness was flooded, Glory to God in the highest_sermon

With heavenly hosts; 

Singing out praises, 

To men at their posts. 

In awe, they watched them, 

In wonder and fright; 

As heaven drew near, 

On that holy night. 

This declaration, 

Such wondrous good news; 

Savior’s arrival, 

What would shepherds choose? 

The men in wonder, 

Left their fields that night; 

To see for themselves, 

The glorious sight. 

A glimpse of Jesus, 

In the stable lay; 

Their lives ever changed, 

That sacred birthday. 

May we find moments, 

Where we’re caught in awe; 

Of all that God did, 

Through the babe they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son. Thank You for the heavenly hosts who announced His arrival to shepherds in their fields that night. Thank You for the moments in this sacred season that grant us glimpses of Your glory. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and wonder at the marvelous miracle of Jesus and all that surrounded His arrival. Teach us to recognize the remarkable reminders of all that You have done to bring heaven to earth and make way for us to know You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they make recognize the radiance of Your glory through the good that You send us in this sacred season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the most holy arrival of Your Son, and give all glory to You. Amen.

 

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

 

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. – Acts 10:36

Refreshment and Restoration for the Tired

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint. – (Jeremiah 31:25, NIV) 

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV) 

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG) 

 

This extended weekend away has done exactly what God promised Jeremiah, it has refreshed my weariness and restored the spaces within me that were just plain tired. Though my body still wakes at the usual early hour, I have not jumped right out of bed to get to task. I have moved at a leisurely pace, meandering to the coffee pot beside my bed, prior to taking my time to spend time in His word and reflect. Much of our time has been spent walking and exploring all over the city, and for me, there is much refreshment in movement. Being able to explore in the cool, late fall air, as we take in the sights and sounds of a city I have seldom seen, is the very sort of adventure to rejuvenate my heart and mind. Though I miss my husband and boys, it is a joy to escape and spend intentional time with my best friend. Though refreshment and restoration rarely come in the form of a weekend getaway, God is faithful to give rest and strength when we need it most. May we ever turn to Him to restore our hearts and minds when we need refreshment, and give Him praise for the faithful ways that He provides. 

 

The Lord is faithful, img_2018-12-03_06-57-562597762703058698717.jpg

No matter our need; 

He hears what we ask, 

Grants blessings indeed. 

When weary and tired, 

In great need of rest; 

The way God answers, 

Is always the best. 

He refreshes strength, 

Fortifies resolve; 

Renews and restores, 

Makes fatigue dissolve. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to refresh tired bodies and restore weary souls. Forgive us for attempting to press on through our own exhaustion, rather than seeking You for solutions to strengthen and restore us in our spaces of depletion. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the Grantor of strength who lifts us up when we cannot lift ourselves. Show us how to love those around us a way that strengthens and restores the weary and worn out in practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God, my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

More Than Anything, Choose Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV) 

Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, CEB) 

Most of all, love each other as if your life depends on it. Love makes up for practically anything. – (1 Peter 4:8, MSG) 

 

We are called to love one another deeply, sincerely, as if our very life depended on it. The forgiveness that comes as a result of genuine love, makes peace possible and creates a culture within us to care well for others. Our capacity to love grows exponentially as we understand and accept the love that God has for us, individually. May we seek the Lord and receive all that He has to offer, so that we may go forth and love deeply, as love makes up for practically anything. 

 

More than anything, Enter With Thanksgiving

We need to choose love; 

From a sincere heart, 

Grace shall rise above. 

Love knows forgiveness, 

So freely, forgives; 

Grants hope to others, 

To rise in grace, live. 

What we are given, 

We often return; 

Let us seek God’s love, 

So perfect love’s learned. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love, as love covers over and forgives a multitude of sin. Thank You that You do not call us to do anything that You have not already done for us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld forgiveness or love toward another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on Your grace and goodness to fill us and equip us to love at all times, even when it is difficult to love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your unending goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to love deeply, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Gifts to Bless

God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. – (1 Peter 4:10, NLT)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gifts He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

God created each of us with a gift that will bless and benefit those around us, if we choose to walk out our days with the purpose for which we were designed. We do not need to go searching to discover what our “gift” is, but rather we ought to serve in the spaces where we have been called, as faithful forward momentum is how we can be faithful stewards of the good God has placed within us. May we ever choose to seek and serve the Lord, utilizing the gifts which we have been granted to love and serve one another.

 

We’ve all been gifted,

Thankful for Love that Endures

Vandy Massey Watercolor

By God’s loving grace;

Spiritual blessings,

To share all our days.

All we’ve been given,

Was done with intent;

So others are blessed,

By God, heaven sent.

Let us choose to use,

These great gifts of grace;

To love others well,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with gifts and purpose and a plan. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected the gift or the purpose, or wandered away from the plan that You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk in Your way and do Your will, even when we cannot see the “why” or where we are going. Show us how to love those around us well, as we utilize the gifts You have placed within us to bless and love others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our days utilizing the gifts that You have given. Amen.

 

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

 

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. – Jeremiah 17:7

 

 

Peace and Thanksgiving

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to be 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 the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG)

 

As we gather together with family and friends to celebrate our reasons to give thanks, may the peace of Christ be present to lead us and guide us. When we allow Christ to rule in our hearts, the motivation behind our words and deeds is love. Love is patient and love is kind, and such things are proponents of peace. Each time we encounter a gathering where love reigns, gratitude and grace grow greater than any insignificant irritant. May we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and lead us as we gather together, giving thanks to Him for all that He has done to provide the people present among us.

 

May His peace prevail, img_2018-11-22_06-23-588320532747532005523.jpg

Wherever we are;

For it is a space,

Of Love’s reservoir.

Where His peace is known,

So too, is His grace;

Love freely given,

Fills hearts full of praise.

Go forth and gather,

In His grace and peace;

With hearts full of thanks,

May blessings increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace will rule in our heart as we seek and rely on You. Thank You that Your grace covers our lack. Thank You for the gift of family and friends with whom we are blessed with time to gather. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected Your leading and disrupted the peace You intended, or have not given You thanks for all that You are and all that You do in our lives. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in peace and to have a thankful heart. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may promote peace and gratitude through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to rule our hearts and give all of our gratitude to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:11

Sowing Seeds of Peace

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – (James 3:18, NIV)

Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts. – (James 3:18, CEB)

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. – (James 3:18, MSG)

 

Typically, the role of a peacemaker has served me well in the classroom. When kids are escalated, remaining calm most often leads to peace restored. However, despite the difficult work that has already been invested, there is clearly much more to be done, as there are a few students throughout my day that continue to struggle to get along with others and treat others with dignity. In the wait, I will continue to promote peace with each group of young people that enters my classroom, by modeling the very things that I ask of each of them. May we depend on the Lord to sow in peace, so that we may reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

May we ever choose, Sowing Seeds of Peace

To sow seeds of peace;

Kindness and honor,

To others increase.

The more we feel known,

The more we’re at ease;

Able to settle,

Calm down and sow peace.

Keep on investing,

Choose love others well;

With honor and grace,

May peace in us dwell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we sow seeds of peace, we reap a harvest of righteousness. Thank You that what we invest in extending peace does not go out void, but You use every intentional word and deed to plant seeds of peace. Forgive us for our frustration in the wait, as at times it appears our efforts are for naught. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the One who brings lasting peace and righteousness to those who seek and follow after You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that promotes peace for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sow seeds of peace and rely on You to return a harvest of righteousness. 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)

Love As We Should

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – (Hebrews 13:16, NIV)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Let’s not neglect what is good and share what we have, for these sacrifices also please God. – (Hebrews 13:16, VOICE)

 

We are called to do good and share with others. God is pleased when we choose to answer accordingly. To do good requires that we consider others and have their best interest in mind. Sharing can be done through our time, talent, wisdom, or resources. Each depends upon a determination to “do” on behalf of another. Incredibly, as we opt to share with others and do good, we end up gaining a warmth of heart, knowing we have done what we were meant to do. May we each aspire to do good and share with others, as this is pleasing unto God.

 

We’re not to neglect,

dsc090346961798726223761248.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤ *My Viking & his Mom

Our call to do good;

To share with others,

Love, as we all should.

For God is well-pleased,

When we sacrifice;

A bit of ourselves,

To reach out, be nice.

So, let us do good,

Share well, with others;

Do as we are called,

Sisters and brothers.

 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good and share with others. Thank You that as we do, You are pleased with us. Forgive us for neglecting to reach out and do the simple things that we can do to bless, encourage or help those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would act on each prompting You place within us to reach out to those around us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give good and help meet needs. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to sacrifice self to reach out and love others as You love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

 

 

Responsible with Resources and Lavish with Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anyone anything, with the exception of love to one another – that is a debt which never ends – because the person who loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, VOICE)

 

We are called to be responsible with our resources, so that we do not bear overwhelming burdens of debt. However, the one exception to this is love. Our charge is to spend it lavishly, extravagantly – without reservation nor concern for a limited supply. Each time we love, the Lord replenishes our capacity, and tends to grow it even greater than it was before. Incredibly, as we choose to walk in love, we are fulfilling the very law that the Lord has laid out before us. If we love God and love people, we are living a life of obedience to Him. May we be wise with our resources and lavish with our love for one another, thus leading lives that fulfill the Lord’s commands.

 

The great gift of love,

dsc05871284016755926362581.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

One debt we all owe;

For God chose love us,

So He might be known.

Each time we choose love,

We answer the call;

To love as God loves,

For grace covers all.

Additionally,

As we walk in grace;

The law is fulfilled,

For love is the way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming love that fills us to overflowing, so that we can go forth in love, according to Your good and perfect will. Thank You that as we love, we are fulfilling the laws that You have set in place for us. Forgive us for our every word, thought and deed that was not led by love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would surrender anything that gets in the way of our ability to walk in love in all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they would see and hear Your heart for them in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be wise with our resources and lavish with our love. Amen.

 

 

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

 

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