Justified and Redeemed

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, HCSB)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

You see, all have sinned and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 3:23-24, VOICE)

Because of the events of this most Holy Week, we all have access to forgiveness, grace, and redemption from our sin. On our own, we cannot live right every moment of every day. However, when we seek and accept the grace that God has freely given through Jesus, we are made clean and holy before God – not because of anything that we have or have not done, but because He who knew no sin dwells within us and has already paid the price that our sins deserve. Through Him, we are considered right before God and have a future and a hope in Him. This is why we celebrate Easter, and why we ought to pause and remember with gratitude, the ultimate sacrifice that we made on our behalf so that we might know life with God forever.

The purpose of Easter,

Much more than the cross;

His redemption for all,

He has paid the cost.

Much more than suffering,

For death could not keep;

Jesus, the Messiah,

In eternal sleep.

It is through the rising,

That our hope was found;

Nothing could defeat Him,

His power abounds.

And more than the rising,

Return to His throne;

Seated up in heaven,

His goodness made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we might come to know forgiveness and grace that His sacrifice provides. Thank You that there is nothing that we can do to earn our way into Your glory, but rather it is a matter of us receiving what You freely offer through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the depth of Your love that sacrificed all. Teach us to live in awe and gratitude throughout all of our days. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart is made evident to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for all that You have done and continue to do to demonstrate just how great Your love is for all. Amen.

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

Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. – Acts 2:33

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

Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, HCSB)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

The first day of a new year is a time that many reflect on what has passed and set goals to focus upon in the coming year. That being said, resolutions tend to fizzle after a few weeks, and frustration and disappointment typically transpire. However, if we set our sights on Christ and all that He has in store for us, each new thing is something to embrace. It does not require a change in the calendar, but rather a change of heart. When we are planted and rooted in our Redeemer, we become new in Him. Jesus gives us new life and new hope each new morning. Just as most of us are more than ready to move past 2021 and anticipate 2022 with hope, we can release old habits, ideas and mindsets that were not of Christ, and cling to Him and all that He is ready to reveal to us. In Him, we are a work in progress that is becoming more and more of whom He has created us to be. May we ever embrace the forgiveness and grace that Jesus offers, and cling to the new He is doing in all who earnestly seek Him.

When we are in Christ,

Beautiful new lies ahead, if only we trust in His direction.

In love we’re made new;

The old fades away,

As He leads us through.

Through all the heartache,

Frustration and fear;

Into the future,

He has for us here.

A hope and future,

That changes our heart;

To be more like His,

Each day a fresh start.

Rise and be ready,

To follow in love;

All that He’s asking,

Trust in Him above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and trust in You, the old fades away and new we become. Thank You that each day is a fresh start and an opportunity for You to make us more like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen and follow what You are asking. Teach us to hold fast to You and Your promises, for in You there is hope, goodness, light and life as You love us perfectly. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to make us new each day that we are given, so that we may shine Your light into the world. Amen.

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

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

Sing Praise

Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly to the Rock of our salvation! Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. – (Psalm 95:1-2, HCSB)

Come let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, ERV)

Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saves us! Let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns! – (Psalm 95:1-2, MSG)

No matter what is going on, God is always worthy of our praise. He holds us up through hard times and rejoices with us during seasons of blessing. The Lord is our Provider, Protector, and Prince of Peace. We are always welcomed into His presence. It is in His presence that one cannot help but give thanks, for it is in that space that we recognize the goodness of God. May we ever come before the Lord with thanks, for He is always good.

Sing praise to the Lord,

Our Rock and our King;

The Savior of all,

Our reason to sing.

For God alone saves,

Brings hope and new life;

Holds us through heartache,

The Ender of strife.

Always we’re welcome,

To seek, enter in;

 For His peace prevails,

And new life begins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are welcomed to enter Your presence as we are. Thank You that as we do, You bless us with the perfect peace found in Your presence, and the grace and forgiveness our hearts need. In You, we have reason to praise and worship You with all that we are. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to ever pursue time with You, for it is in that space that we become increasingly aware of Your goodness and how deeply You love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way, so that they too may understand the overwhelming kindness of Your grace and the abundant blessing of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanks and praise and sing of Your goodness for all of our days. Amen.

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

Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works! – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Trust the Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. The more we seek the Lord, the more we give Him room to work in and through us. He is ever refining and transforming us to be more of who we were created to become. There is always room for us to learn, grow and become better versions of ourselves. The more we learn, the more we recognize there is more to learn. This transformation process is continuous until the day we meet our Maker face-to-face. May we ever seek the Lord to continue the work He has begun in us, so that we might more clearly reflect His heart of love to the world.

O Lord, have Your way,

Transform, bring Your change;

Let all fall away,

Through Love’s great exchange.

You take our ugly,

And use it for good;

You expand our hearts,

To love as we should.

You bring forgiveness,

And grant us Your grace;

Model how to love,

As we live each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You have begun in us is an ongoing transformative work that will not end until we see Your face-to-face. Thank You that Your love for us is ongoing. Forgive us for placing limits on love or rejecting change that transforms us to be more like You. Show us how to listen, learn and grow into more of who You have created us to become. Lead us to love one another with pure and generous hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the transformation that is ever taking place within. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the patterns 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

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

Freedom to Forgive

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

Forgiveness is a strange thing, as we have been forgiven much, yet at times, we struggle to forgive the most minor of offenses. Not one of us is perfect, and we all fall short. This is the space that we must remember when we are hurt or offended by another. In the same way that God pours out His abundant forgiveness and grace, we too, ought to do the same. The crazy thing about unforgiveness is that it hurts the holder of the offense, not the offender. Often, the one who has hurt or offended is not even aware that they have done harm. It is our responsibility to either let it go, or speak with the offender in love and let them know that their words or actions have done harm. That being said, we must do so with forgiveness already in place, regardless of the reception of our communication. Most times, awareness brings repentance and mends are made quickly. However, if the offender stands behind their word or deed, we are still called to forgive. We are not meant to subject ourselves to a vicious cycle of harm, but rather we are not to cling to that which we cannot change. God forgives us each time that we ask, yet He lets us know that if we hold unforgiveness, He will respond to our requests in the same way. I don’t know about you, but I am fully aware of my shortcomings and desperately need His forgiveness and grace. If I need forgiveness and grace, so too, do all those whom I encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to forgive and give grace, even when we would rather hold onto the offense. Freedom to love well is birthed in us as we choose to walk in forgiveness.

O Lord, help us choose,

Forgive and give grace;

As You’ve done for us,

Throughout all our days.

Soften our hearts, Lord,

So love might come first;

Teach us to let go,

To bless not to curse.

May love lead the way,

In all that we do;

Teach us to forgive,

And choose love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not limit the number of times that You forgive us when we fail and fall short. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do likewise to all those around us as we depend on You. Forgive us for holding onto offenses. Please teach us to release all into Your hands so that we may give goodness and grace in place of our anger, hurt or frustration. Show us how to love like You, at all times and in all circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the power held in Your loving kindness for us all. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us to forgive as You do. Amen.

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

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – Matthew 6:12

Wrapped in Cloth

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. – (Luke 2:12, NIV)

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – (Luke 24:12, NIV)

This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box. – (Luke 2:12, ERV)

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb to see. He looked in, but he saw only the cloth that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. It was just lying there. Peter went away to be alone, wondering what had happened. – (Luke 24:12, ERV)

You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough. – (Luke 2:12, TPT)

But Peter jumped up and ran the entire distance to the tomb to see for himself. Stooping down, he looked inside and discovered it was empty! There was only the linen sheet lying there. Staggered by this, he walked away, wondering what it meant. – (Luke 24:12, TPT)

What an incredible wonder we find in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus! When He was born, the sign to the shepherds that He was the One, was that Jesus would be wrapped in pieces of cloth, lying in a manger; and when Jesus had risen, the only thing that Peter found in the empty tomb were the pieces of cloth that had been His burial clothes. These pieces of cloth are the shared shreds of humanity between heaven and earth. Our Savior came down from His heavenly throne to live and love among us. The shepherds saw Jesus lying in the manger and held the hope that would be fulfilled when Peter discovered the tomb where Jesus had been laid now only contained similar pieces of cloth. In His humanity, Jesus gave up heaven to come to us, and sacrificed His life so that we one day could join Him in heaven. What a wonder indeed! May we make time to pause and reflect on the incredible gift that God gave to us through His Son, and the hope we now hold because Jesus gave. 

The pieces of cloth,

Wrapped humanity;

As God with us made,

Hope eternally.

Born as a baby,

In a stable bare;

Surrounded by love,

As Jesus lay there.

A life of loving,

Showing good and grace;

Forgiveness, mercy,

The Lord made the way.

Unto that old cross,

Willing He gave;

His life in exchange,

As sin He forgave.

Wrapped up in the tomb,

Death He overcame;

Burial linens,

Were all that remained.

Our Savior’s alive,

Let us celebrate;

The hope we now hold,

Today and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the perfect gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for Your willing sacrifice so that all might find forgiveness and a new life. Forgive us for not holding the sacredness of this season as close as we ought to. Teach us to pause and reflect and worship You, our hope for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your perfect, sacrificial love. May many find the hope that is found in You alone this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we worship and praise You for the perfect gift You wrapped and unwrapped in pieces of cloth for us all. Amen.

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

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – Luke 2:10

Hard Hearts Made New

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, NIV)

Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, ERV)

Jesus responded, “I promise you – this very day you will enter paradise with Me.” – (Luke 23:43, TPT)

The response of Jesus to the criminal beside Him who was repentant, reminds us how great His grace truly is. Though He himself was hanging from the cross in agony, Jesus still heard the call of a repentant soul, and let it be known that the promise for all who turn away from their sinful ways and turn to God, remained true, even as they were living out their last breaths of life. No matter how far from God someone may appear, their salvation could be but a few breaths away. God works in mysterious ways. If He can touch the heart of a hardened criminal as he is having his death sentence carried out, God can do the same for anyone. We celebrate Christ’s arrival at Christmas, but this season ought to remind us why He came. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy to all who are willing to receive. May we fix our eyes on the greatest gift ever given, and celebrate as we walk in forgiveness, extending peace, love, hope and joy to all those around us.

The promise through Christ,

Was given for all;

So love might be known,

Through us, great and small.

For nothing we do,

That’s done with great love;

Goes without notice,

By the Lord above.

The Lord takes our gifts,

In love, multiplies;

The impact they have,

His grace maximized.

Lord, help us to rise,

With purpose each day;

Let our love spread hope,

Lead us in Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to save us. Thank You that You receive us as we call on Your Name and recognize our desperate need for You. Forgive us for frustration and lack of faith when things seem impossible through our own eyes and understanding. Thank You that You are so much greater than we realize. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant peace, hope, love and joy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension in awe and wonder and gratitude. Amen.

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

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

The Blessing of Benevolent Love

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

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

If we are loving deeply, steadily and unselfishly, we have no room to keep bringing up past mistakes or a laundry list of wrongs. Though there are spaces to use wisdom as far as what we are willing to subject ourselves to, typically, we simply need to get to a space of forgiving and choosing love again. When we forgive in love, our own hearts are released from the weight of whatever went wrong. Even if there are no possible reparations for a relationship, forgiveness is a way to choose love that will release one’s own heart from the heaviness. May we seek the Lord to fill our hearts to overflowing, so that we may love one another steadily and unselfishly, ever seeking to bring out the best in one another.

Lord, lead us in love,

Without selfishness;

May we love deeply,

Like You, relentless.

Grant us eyes to see,

In love, each other;

Forgive and choose love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us forgive wrongs,

Release all to You;

Make love evident,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another deeply; with steadiness and selflessness. Thank You that as we do, Your love covers over faults and failings. Forgive us for our selfishness that holds onto hurts. Teach us to give all to You, so that we may know Your freedom found in love. Show us how to love those around us completely, so that may know Your love without conditions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love steadily and unselfishly. 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