Invest in Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may our Lord Jesus (the Anointed One Himself) and God our Father (who has loved us, comforted us eternally, and given us a good hope by His grace) bring comfort to your hearts and strengthen your wills to accomplish every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor finished a series entitled, “No One Stands Alone”. The big ideas in the messages have been about us all being called to community, not isolations, to find and be a mentor to others, and yesterday, finished up with a character study about Barnabas; as he was a fantastic example of what it is to come alongside others and be an encourager. Encouragement goes beyond simple “atta ways” and “you’ve got this”. To be an encourager is to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside others to help them continue to grow and thrive as they seek Him. This can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, verbally and the like. It is so much more than a kind word. Barnabas exemplified what it is to be an encourager, as he left what he knew and his community, to go encourage and build up the believers that were a couple of hundred miles away. Additionally, he helped provide finances for those who were lacking, which was a sacrificial demonstration of God’s love that was made tangible to those in need around him. As he closed out the service, Omar (our pastor) asked the questions, “Who are the people in your life who are like a Barnabas to you?” and “Who can you be a Barnabas to?” Both questions required little thought, as I am blessed with a long list of those who have invested in and encouraged me, and know many who are in need of encouragement in this season. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be an encouragement to those around us, both in word and action.

To choose to love well,

Be encouraging;

Is a lifestyle choice,

That we choose to bring.

Not in our own strength,

But led by the Lord;

Who shows us the way,

That grace is outpoured.

A love that is seen,

Not just by mere words;

But true investments,

That make actions heard.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Be encouraging,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to encourage and walk alongside us. Thank You for those whom You have called us to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we did not listen to Your leading as to how we might lift up and encourage those around us. Show us how to be dependent on Your Spirit to lead us to love those around us in ways that build them up and encourage them forward to all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Encourager to us all. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to encourage others well, and help us recognize and appreciate the people whom You have led to encourage us. Amen.

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

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

 

When a Tuesday feels like a Thursday, with the promise of an early end for tomorrow’s Friday-like Wednesday, it is a bit of a reminder of the kingdom we are receiving that cannot be shaken. For me, my hope, energy and resolve are far greater on mornings where I wake up and recognize the short span of time required before the reward of being reunited with my loved ones living a state away comes to fruition. Any time that we recognize hope, joy, love, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and faithfulness, we are witnessing the very ways of God granted to us; perhaps a sort of preview of a whisper of the good that is yet to come. For “… as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9) I don’t know about you, but I can imagine great beauty and peaceful places, so a space that exceeds what my mind can conceive is certainly one that inspires awe and reverence for God, our Creator. He who loves us so much that He is not only be present with us here, but has prepared a place for us to be with Him forever, deserves all of our gratitude and praise. May we ever be thankful that we are part of the unshakable Kingdom that is found in Christ, and in response, let us offer worship to God that is pleasing and reflective of our awe and reverence toward Him.

 

May we all give thanks, img_2019-11-26_05-10-535163374786376449669.jpg

For the hope we hold;

Forever with God,

The truth our hearts know.

In awe and wonder,

Let our praises raise;

For God’s faithfulness,

Throughout all our days.

Strength when we’re weary,

Hope in our despair;

Peace in the chaos,

Boundless love to share.

Rise up and give thanks,

For all yet to come;

His love, unending,

Hope’s priceless outcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kingdom cannot be shaken. Thank You that You alone, are worthy of all of our worship and praise. Thank You that as we come before You with reverence and awe, You meet us and are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in times when things seem unsteady. Teach us to trust in You, our unshakable, everlasting God who saves. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and lift up the weary, making Your goodness and grace evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks for who You are and the hope we hold in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16

His Plans are Good

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

No matter how our circumstances feel, God has good plans for each of us. Though we walk through seasons of heartache or hardship, what comes from it is ultimately good, and often leads to a place of hope and blessing that far exceeds what we could have anticipated or imagined. In my own life, dreams were dashed for a time, and could not imagine how the turn life had taken could lead to the sort of future I had hoped for. Incredibly, God provided and loved me through it and grew and prepared me for the new season I was about to enter. Today, I can look back and see His heart for me through it all. His strength and resolve were deposited in my heart in fresh new ways, and I now know His love far better than I ever had before. Though none of us know for certain what lies ahead, I have hope and trust that it is good. May we ever seek our Savior and trust in Him, as He has good plans for us that include hope and a good future.

 

Despite what we see,

img_2019-02-24_08-11-246229903948669131698.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Hope ever remains;

For God’s plans are good,

As we let Him reign.

Reign within our heart,

And show us the way;

To trust the future,

Your love Lord, we pray.

May all know Your hope,

That fills hearts with love;

Grants courage and trust,

As we seek You above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that in You, we have hope and a future. Forgive us for doubting Your hand in what lies ahead when things grow difficult for a season. Teach us to trust You through all things and at all times, as You are our strength and supply for our every need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer hope for the future and strength for right now. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the hope and future that You hold in Your hands for each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17