Keep Moving Forward

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, HCSB)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

I appreciate that the three different translations remind us that we have examples of great faith that have gone before us, those that walk beside us, and others that are all around us to encourage us to press on in living the life to which we have been called. Additionally, the reality that our race is one that requires endurance, is an indicator that it is a long and varied course. It is not about speed nearly as much as it is about forward momentum in the direction to which we have been called. Like with running, we do not want to carry extra weight or have things stick to us that impair our movement. Istead, it is ideal to run with nothing to weigh us down. Sin is anything that diverts our feet from the course we are called to run, or distracts us and pulls our attention in a different direction. To run our race with endurance, to live out our days in the direction to which we are called, we must be in tune with He who maps our course. The more we spend time with God and read His word, the more clearly we understand the race plan and how to avoid the things that lead us off the course He has prepared for us or that which will trip up our footing and make us falter from the path. May we ever seek the One who equips us with the strength and endurance required to run our own race, and listen to His leading so that we may encourage those around us to keep moving forward too.

Keep moving forward,

No matter how slow;

It’s not about speed,

But how you choose roll.

One step at a time,

Honoring the One;

Father, Son, Spirit,

The Most Holy One.

Each move done in love,

Is what we need bring;

Sweet perseverance,

Will honor our King.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

The race we’re to run;

Help us keep moving,

‘Til each day is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to run with perseverance and set aside all that would get in our way, but You surround us with those who know how to run well and encourage us as they set an example. Forgive us for the times that we have given up or have allowed our hearts to be led away from the path that You set before us. Show us how to stay the course and keep moving, even when things are difficult and we cannot see the next water station or place to pause and rest. Lead us to love and encourage those around us as they navigate their own race. Grant us Your wisdom, grace, generosity and kindness to share with all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at the examples that have gone before us, those You have placed beside us, and ultimately, to You to lead us well. Amen.

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

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14

Celebrating Fathers

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, HCSB)

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, ERV)

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, VOICE)

It is interesting that this passage was part of my reading this morning, as it is a reminder of why we celebrate fathers today. Though not all have been present or have loved as one might hope, we can celebrate those we know who remind us what it is to be loved as God intended. For those who love their wives well, love their children in the same way – sacrificially, and build them up with loving encouragement in the right ways to go, let us celebrate and appreciate their love and sacrifice. I am blessed with a husband who loves us well, and would do anything for us to be sure our needs are met and our hearts held well.  May we seek the Lord with hearts full of thanks, for Him, our ultimate Father, and for the men in our lives who model God’s love to us in tangible ways.

To know the Lord’s love,

Look around and see;

Those who choose love well,

Show it tangibly.

Without conditions,

Such love is complete;

It sets our hearts free,

A place of retreat.

For this kind of love,

Chooses sacrifice;

Puts family first,

Gives godly advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men in our lives that model a love like Yours. Thank You for the generosity and sacrifice that is given to their families, friends and communities. Forgive us for the times that we have not appreciated or acknowledged Your goodness that is shown through so many. Teach us to see You in those around us, and to celebrate and give thanks for Your heart that is grown within them. Show us how to love like You so that many may come to understand the depth and breadth of Your unfailing love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the husbands and fathers that You have placed around us, and for the ultimate Father that we have in You. Amen.

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

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. – 1 John 3:1a

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

Present to Save

Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy. – (Zephaniah 3:17, HCSB)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, He’ll calm you with His love and delight you with His songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, MSG)

God is with us. He is ready to fight on our behalf and save us. As our Father, He delights in His children and brings comfort and peace. We can trust Him to be who He says He is, and that He will do what He says He will do. I find myself in an odd season of life. I know far too many friends who are fighting sickness and disease, yet incredibly, they are each holding on in faith and trusting God as they fight. It is because they know the goodness of God, that they are able to fight and trust and know peace. I’m not sure where I am going with this, other than when we don’t know what to do, God does. He sees, He knows and He cares, and He is with us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord who is present among us, and trust Him to fight, to bring us peace, and to be the hope that we hold in our hearts.

The Lord is present,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

He’s mighty to save;

He’s willing to fight,

For us, each new day.

He takes joy in us,

Because we are His;

His love brings us peace,

He does what He says.

Faithful forever,

In Him we can trust;

Seek Him in all things,

He is good and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever, and that we can trust in You in all things and at all times. Thank You that no matter what comes our way, You remain present to help. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem dismal. Lead us in Your love, for with You, there is always hope and help. Teach us to love those around us in ways that convey Your goodness and faithfulness forever. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to trust You to be who You say You are, and to do what You say You will do. Amen.

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

Turn, Lord! Rescue me; save me because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 6:4

The God of All Comfort

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. 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 1:3-4, HCSB)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

I am so thankful for the comfort that God provides, and that He calls us to offer the same to those around us. Every time I have experienced hardships, struggles or affliction, He has provided people to make His comfort tangible to me. We are in a season where so many have suffered, be it due to hardship, isolation, illness or strife. For each time that we have known comfort in these things, we have been prepared to extend the same comfort to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, for He has shown us how to love and comfort those around us through His ongoing goodness and grace.

All praise to the Lord,

The God of all grace;

Our peace and comfort,

Throughout all our days.

Each time we struggle,

The Lord’s ever near;

Holds us in heartache,

And calms all our fears.

He shows us goodness,

When goodness seems gone;

Hope when we’re hopeless,

Strength to carry on.

Just as He shows us,

His love, hope and grace;

He leads and equips,

So we do the same.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You comfort us with Your faithful ways. Thank You that You call us and empower us to comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not reached out to those in need. Teach us to have Your eyes to see what we can do to comfort those around us, and Your heart to love as You love us. Show us how to love each other well, in good times and in bad, so that all might know the healing and help that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up those around us, and extend our hands and hearts to show Your tangible and unfailing love. 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

How to Pray

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, HCSB)

Today is the first day of twenty-one days of intentional prayer and fasting with my church. Each day there is a focused passage and it is only fitting that day one covers “The Lord’s Prayer”. This five-verse passage provides us with a framework of how we ought to pray. First, we ought to acknowledge who God is. Next, we are to seek His will, not our own. After that, we should ask Him for what we need. Next, we are to confess to Him and request forgiveness, as we also must forgive others in the same way. He is gracious to help as we ask. None of us are beyond the reach of temptation and ought to ask that God help us avoid or overcome all that tempts us away from His will for our lives. Being delivered from the evil one is an ongoing ask for protection – mind, body, and spirit. Lastly, we ought to again point back to who God is and remember all that He can do. May we each be intentional to begin the new year well, for our help and hope is in Christ.

O God in heaven,

Most holy are You;

Our Savior and King,

Who makes all things new.

May Your will be done,

In our hearts and lives;

Help us to honor,

Without compromise.

Be our Provider,

Throughout each new day;

For in You we find,

What’s needed each day.

For our wrongdoings,

Please love and forgive;

Help us do likewise,

Each day that we live.

Protect our choices,

From going astray;

Lead us and guide us,

To walk in Your way.

The kingdom is Yours,

Love, power and grace;

All praise forever,

For Your loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You have provided guidance for when we are uncertain as to how to pray. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek You in all things. Teach us to entrust all things into Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your leading as we pray and choose to trust You more each day. Amen.

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

The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. – Psalm 6:9

The Ultimate Father

I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty. – (2 Corinthians 6:18, HCSB)

I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord All-Powerful. – (2 Corinthians 6:18, ERV)

And I will be for you as a Father, and you will be for Me as sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty! – (2 Corinthians 6:18, VOICE)

No matter what our experience is with earthly fathers, we have a Heavenly Father who knows us completely and loves us perfectly through all things and at all times. It is remarkable that the King of ALL considers us His daughters and sons, not because of what we do, but rather because we are His created. It is up to us to receive what He freely gives. Each time we call on Him and come before Him, He accepts us as His own, and provides all that we need. God is good, and His love lasts forever. May we ever seek the Lord and His great love, for He is always near, ready to be the Father we need as He calls us His sons and daughters.

A Father above,

Who calls us His own;

His sons and daughters,

Each is fully known.

With love unending,

Peace and patience too;

His encouragement,

Helps carry us through.

Through ev’ry season,

His love can be found;

Hope never ending,

In Him peace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our loving Father who calls us sons and daughters. Thank You that it is not an earned status, but rather one that You freely offer to all who seek Your face. Forgive us for forgetting the power that is present in knowing You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will bring all things before You and trust is Your unfailing love. Show us how to love those around us well, so that many may come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Father of all. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your loving kindness and grace and embrace the family that we are welcomed into through Your love and grace. Amen.

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

God in His holy dwelling is a father of the fatherless and a champion of widows. – Psalm 68:5

Amazing Adoption

When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. – (Galatians 4:4-5, HCSB)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

But when the time of fulfillment had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Yet all of this was so that He would redeem and set free those held hostage to the law so that we would receive our freedom and a full legal adoption as His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, TPT)

God sent His Son to us in the same way that each of us arrived. Jesus was born of a woman, grew up as a human, and was subject to the same sort of trials and triumphs that we all have as a part of the human experience. However, Jesus did so without sin. He was subject to temptation as we are, yet He navigated all in accordance to the Father. Because He did, He was able to be the perfect and pure sacrifice for all so that we could come before the Father and be accepted and embraced as His own. Adoption is a beautiful grafting of a person not born into a family as one of their own. Once adopted, the law sees that individual as an equal member of the family into which they have been adopted. Beautifully, I have two dear friends who were adopted as infants, and were raised in wonderful, loving homes. Incredibly, they have also been fully accepted and embraced into their biological family as well as adults. It is through these tangible examples that my heart is best able to grasp the beauty and love that is held in the process of adoption. I am overwhelmed in knowing that the God of the entire universe calls me His own. To be the daughter of the ultimate Father is a blessing that goes beyond my understanding. Though I have done nothing to earn such a blessing, that is not how adoption works. We are received and loved for who we are, however and whenever we come to Him. May we take time to ponder the powerful love that would come from heaven to earth to make the way for each of us to become daughters and sons of the living God.

When heaven came down,

Through God’s only Son;

He showed us the way,

That battles are won.

He grew as a man,

Tempted in all ways;

Yet was without sin,

For all of His days.

He made plain the path,

Through love’s sacrifice;

For our adoption,

Into paradise.

Thank You Lord Jesus,

For making the way;

So we might be heirs,

To hope each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son in such a way that He would understand all of our trials and triumphs as He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice so that we might be called Your own. Thank You that as we come to You and receive all that You offer, we are adopted as Your children. Forgive us for not receiving all that You offer and for the times that we have not represented Your family well. Teach us and grow us so that we may more clearly reflect Your likeness to the world. Lead us to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the privilege of being called Your sons and daughters that receive an inheritance into Your kingdom forever. Amen.

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

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:18

Make Time

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

A child has been born for us; a son has been given to us. The responsibility of complete dominion will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be: The Wonderful One! The Extraordinary Strategist! The Mighty God! The Father of Eternity! The Prince of Peace! – (Isaiah 9:6, TPT)

The promise of the arrival of Jesus was foretold long before it came to pass. However, when He arrived, people were surprised that He arrived in such humble beginnings and as He grew, He did not lead as people expected. Jesus was humble and kind, loving and full of grace, with no interest in being seated on an earthly throne. Instead, Jesus came to save us and make the way for us to be in a right relationship with the Father. His life, death, resurrection and ascension created the opportunity for us to be forgiven and made new, so we can come before the throne of God and understand Him as our Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Eternal Father, and our Prince of Peace. As the Christmas season unfolds before us, may we recognize and celebrate the true reason for this most wonderful season, and give praise to the Holy Living God.

Lowly beginning,

Most humble His birth;

Quite unexpected,

How God came to earth.

Born in a stable,

With livestock around;

Shepherds and wise men,

Sought Him and were found.

Angelic visits,

A star overhead;

Goodness and wisdom,

Is how they were led.

The baby, He grew,

In wisdom and grace;

He gave and suffered,

To open the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to know You and understand the eternal hope we have in You. Forgive us for making You too small, for though You came as a baby, You did not stay that way. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and our Prince of Peace. Teach us to remember and trust in all that You are and how great Your love truly is. Show us how to love one another with the love that pours out from a heart that knows and understands the power of Your overwhelming kindness, goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to make time to celebrate and worship You, giving all thanks and praise for coming near to us and giving us hope that lasts forever. Amen.

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

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

True Wisdom

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

Heavenly wisdom centers on purity, peace, gentleness, deference, mercy, and other good fruits untainted by hypocrisy. – (James 3:17, VOICE)

I know many people who are full of knowledge, yet finding truly wise people is a rare gift. Wisdom from God is exactly that, a filling that comes through trust and dependence on Him. To be pure, we need to understand what is good and what must go, and be willing to go through the refining process. Filled with peace is a process that is the result of ongoing trust in God in every circumstance. Gentleness includes being considerate and merciful, just as Jesus is to us. One who possesses wisdom is teachable and easy to please, ever ready to help and do good for others without prejudice or hypocrisy. Though it is good to pursue knowledge and continue learning, the ongoing pursuit of God brings wisdom that leads us to love others as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord and be willing to allow Him to refine us, so that we may walk out our days in wisdom that knows how to love well.

Lord, grant us wisdom,

So we too may learn;

Mercy and goodness,

To love and discern.

Father, teach our hearts,

To stay true and pure;

Peaceful and gentle,

As grace is assured.

Choose never withhold,

Mercy, love and grace;

Give as we’re given,

To all whom we face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true wisdom comes from You. Thank You that wisdom is granted to those who seek You and pursue a life lived in the light of Your love. Forgive us for our lack of wisdom as we navigate our days. Teach us to be wise in You, so that we might love as You intended. Show us how to be pure, peace-loving, considerate, gentle, easy to please, ready to help, and ever fair and honest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life lived in Your wisdom that leads us to love well. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12