Praise the Name of Jesus

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – (Ephesians 1:3, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in heaven. – (Ephesians 1:3, ERV)

Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed – not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us. – (Ephesians 1:3, VOICE)

The blessings from God are far too numerous to count. He has given us faith, salvation, family, friends, home, health, life, love, peace and so much more. Jesus meets us where we are and supplies us with what we need. Grace surrounds us, goodness is poured out upon us, and peace is present through the abundance of His perfect love. For these reasons and so many more, it is right to give Him our thanks and praise. May our lives be a constant offering of worship to He alone who is worthy.

All praise to the One,

Our God and our King;

Savior, Provider,

Lord of ev’rything.

His blessings poured out,

Our reason to sing;

In love, let’s worship,

Full of thanksgiving.

For health and for hope,

For goodness and grace;

Peace, love and comfort,

Strength throughout our days.

Because You pursue,

Us with Your great love;

Forever we’ll praise,

Jesus, Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have poured out Your blessings upon us in abundance. Thank You that everything good that we see, feel and experience is a gift from You. Forgive us for neglecting to properly praise You for who You are and how You love and provide for us all. Teach us to recognize and acknowledge every good and perfect gift that comes from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your goodness and is an act of worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You pursue and love us, for the people that You purposefully place in our lives, and for the grace that gifts us with a fresh start each new day. Amen.

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

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praise to Your Name, O Most High. – Psalm 92:1

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

Relax in Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

Yesterday was a great reminder of this. I woke early enough to do my devotional reading, but not quite early enough to write as well. After more months than it should have been, my dear friend and long-time running buddy and I met to get out and move. Dressed for the weather, we decided that a walk and talk would be far safer than a run, as the roads and sidewalks were quite icy. Nothing quite blesses my soul as much as connecting and catching up as if no times has passed. Sharing life with dear friends is so good for the soul. What made it all the sweeter was after we were done, we ended at another dear friend’s home, who had invited us in for coffee. More connecting and catching up was done, and I drove home with a smile on my face and peace in my heart. After walking the dogs and coaching my gymnasts, my love and I went to get some Christmas shopping done. Again, I was reminded of how good the Lord is to me, and how much He cares. Upon our return, he made dinner for the family, and we enjoyed a silly Christmas movie with snuggling pups. It amazes me how God can bring us rest through the busy, the ordinary, and simply through being present. He is good and has showered me with incredible blessings in those whom He has placed around me. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us throughout our days, and trust in Him to provide rest for our souls as He cares so well for us.

Relax, O my soul,

For the Lord is near;

He brings us His peace,

Comfort, love, and cheer.

He pours out blessings,

As He grants us rest;

Calm to the spirit,

For He knows us best.

In kindness and love,

Let us persevere;

Move forward in faith,

For God, You are near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good to us. Thank You that You provide rest for our souls as we seek You. Thank You for the blessing of community that You call us to invest in. Forgive us for the times that we allow the worries of the world to overwhelm us rather than choosing to be still before You, as You are the One who settles the soul. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love those around us as You intended, and help us to be the hands, heart and voice of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the blessings You have poured out upon us, and the rest that You alone bring to the soul. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Trust to Hope Overflowing

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

As we trust in Christ, His joy and peace fill us with hope. When hope grows it overflows and reaches those around us through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have several friends who are walking difficult roads that have been clinging closely to Christ. The trust they have has filled them with His joy and peace, and their hope has been an encouragement to me and many that know them. It always amazes me that God can take our challenges and turn them into encouragement to others. How we walk in the midst of life’s trials speaks clearly of the hope we know in Christ to those around us. May we ever trust in Him who is our hope, and may we be filled to overflowing with joy and His perfect peace. 

May hope overflow,

Through all that we do;

As we place our trust,

In that which is true.

The Lord is our peace,

When peace seems beyond;

And joy is present,

For His love responds.

When the road is rough,

God’s faithful to be;

Right alongside us,

Granting us His peace.

May hope overflow,

From us to others;

True joy and sweet peace,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, You meet us, walk beside us, strengthen, encourage, and fill us with joy and peace so that hope in You overflows to those around us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that creep in when we take our eyes off of You. Show us how to trust You more and more so that hope ever flows out of our every word and deed. Lead us to love and encourage those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. – Psalm 19:8

Confident Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE

Faith is a necessary component to all that we do. When we marry, though we cannot actually see the future or know how life will unfold, we can trust God and have faith that He has brought us together for a purpose and on purpose. With children, we trust in the hope that we have for them to grow and thrive, though we cannot see nor predict the future. By faith, we rise each new day and do our best, trusting that God will do more than we could ever do on our own. Confident hope in Christ and all that He has done for us, is the faith we need to navigate our days well. Just as we cannot see the wind, we know it is there as we see the evidence through how things move. It is the same with Christ. Though we cannot see Him, we can see evidence of His goodness and love all around us. May we hold fast to our faith in Christ, for all that is hoped for comes through Him, and He is the blessed assurance of all that is still unseen.

Faith comes in knowing,

Our hope is secure;

Not in things we see,

In Him, who is near.

Though we can’t see Him,

We know He is true;

His grace and His love,

Are found in plain view.

As the sun rises,

Each day as we wake;

We have a fresh start,

New hope to embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have faith in You, for we are assured of the hope held in You, even though we cannot see You. Thank You that there is clear evidence of who You are and how You love, all around us. Forgive us for our lack of faith when troubles come. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see or fathom what You are doing. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the faith we have in You, for our confident hope is held in Your heavenly hands. Amen.

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

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

The Purpose is Love

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, NIV)

My purpose in telling you to do this is to promote love – the kind of love shown by those who are pure, who do what they know is right, and whose faith in God is real. – (1 Timothy 1:5, ERV)

Our teaching about this journey is intended to bring us to a single destination – a place where self-giving love reigns from a pure heart, a clean conscience, and  genuine faith. – (1 Timothy 1:5, VOICE)

Our call, command and purpose is to love. This is not merely some romantic love or infatuation, rather God’s love is sincere, from a pure heart and a genuine faith, that ever seeks to lift up, do right, and encourage the best in others. I imagine we all can think of people who have shown us love like this. Those individuals are God’s gifts to us. Each models what it means to love as God intended, and their loving kindness has been and continues to be an encouragement to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, purify our hearts, cleanse our conscience, and grow in a genuine faith.

The purpose is love,

In all that we do;

Our ultimate goal,

To learn to love true.

For God has shown us,

What it is to love;

Without conditions,

He gives from above.

Love overwhelming,

With goodness and grace;

It meets us always,

As we seek God’s face.

May we learn to love,

With hearts that are true;

That choose give freely,

As we’re called to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love, not out of our own selfish desires or ambitions, but rather from a pure heart, clean conscience, and genuine faith. Thank You that this is not dependent on our own reserves, but rather is endlessly supplied as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your goodness to them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and grow us in Your love, and as a result, give love to all as You have designed us to do. Amen.

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

I delight to do Your will, my God; Your instruction lives within me. – Psalm 40:8

To Cultivate Good Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

As we nourish our spirits with the goodness of God’s word and spend time seeking Him to teach us and grow us, He cultivates this sort of fruit within us. We discover love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faith and gentleness, and our self-control rises up. Though people decide they are opposed to following Christ, I have never met anyone who was opposed to being on the receiving end of the fruit that Christ within us produces. Perhaps the opposition that people feel stems from those who claim to follow Christ, yet do not spend time with Him and give God room to transform them more into His likeness. If none of the Spirit’s fruit is evident, then the soil of the heart is parched and unable to produce the good fruit. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through our time with Him, that the soil of our heart is nourished and good fruit is produced to share with those around us.

Lord, help us seek You,

With ev’ry new day;

And grow within us,

Fruit that shows Your way.

Water and nourish,

The soil of our hearts;

As You produce fruit,

Your ways You impart.

Let Your love and joy,

Peace and patience too;

Kindness and goodness,

And faith that is true.

May Your gentleness,

And great self-control;

Show others Your heart,

As You we extol.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the fruit of Your Spirit is not something that we have to try to grow on our own, but rather is something that You plant within us and cultivate as we continue to come before You to listen and learn. Forgive us for thinking that we can just try to be better and do better, and that somehow, the fruit of Your Spirit will rise up within us. Show us what it is to give You our whole heart so that You can transform us into who You created us to become. Lead us to love as You do, in ways that make Your fruit evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow Your fruit well within us, so that we can extend Your nourishment to those around us. Amen.

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

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

The Reality of Faith

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Life requires faith. We have faith that the sun will rise and tomorrow will come, yet we have not seen either yet. Faith in God and the hope that we will join Him in heaven when our days on earth are done, are made tangible as we observe all that His hands have made, and witness the glimpses of heaven that we get in the here and now. When I think of all of the beauty of creation and the unique design of every human and creature that lives, I have faith that there is indeed a Creator. There is nothing that can convince me that all that exists came from some cosmic explosion. Incredibly, the word of God tells us that no eye has seen and no mind can fathom the beauty that awaits us in paradise. I am a visual person and have viewed some overwhelming beauty here on earth. Everywhere I go, I witness whispers of the goodness and creativity of God. Though I cannot see Him, I know that He is. I do not have to understand all things for them to be real. This is where faith comes in. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow our faith in Him, and to further our assurance that there is so much more that is yet to come.

Faith is the fuel,

Beautiful Belizean sunrise.

Of what we believe;

Hope that is certain,

Beyond what we see.

The goodness of God,

Creativity;

Beauty surrounds us,

Intentionally.

May we keep seeking,

Choose trust in the Lord;

Ever He’s faithful,

To show us His more.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You. Thank You that the evidence of Your loving hand is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers because the mountains ahead of us seem unsurpassable. Teach us to trust You for each next step, for no obstacle is ever overcome without moving forward in faith. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love, goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever grow our faith with Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13