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

Unseen Reality

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)

Faith and hope are funny things, for we all have faith and hope in something. Some hope for a spouse, a job, a vacation or simply something more than they have known before. In Christ, we can have faith in a hope that is certain, and proof of what we cannot see. His love overwhelms and surrounds us and shows us that we can be certain in the reality that we do not yet see. Without faith, it is impossible to find hope, for we must trust in something to hope that there is more than what we now see. May we ever look to the Lord to grow our faith, it is through Him that we know hope and trust in the things unseen.

Lord, strengthen our faith,

In all that is true;

Let Your hope be known,

As we trust in You.

Please grant us Your peace,

In space of unrest;

Lead us and guide us,

To all that is best.

Make the things unseen,

Known reality;

For all that You are,

Hope that sets us free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we learn and grow in the goodness of Your love, faith rises and we become certain of our hope in You. Thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You and be tangibly aware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for relying on what is only seen right now. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our hope, help and future that is secure. Show us how to love those around us so that they too may know hope, even in that which is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grow our faith, for our hope is held in You forever. Amen.

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

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

Hope in Hard Spaces

“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)

Even though this verse is committed to memory and planted securely in my heart, there is something to be said about seeing it in print and bringing it to the surface of my heart and mind. God’s timing is perfect. He knows what we need, and when we need it most. I have not been in a good space the last few weeks, in particular, the last few days, as I am struggling with believing my purpose is found in the classroom. After more than a year and a half away from a “normal” classroom routine, kids are struggling to “do school” and I am challenged more than ever before to figure out how to help kids learn and grow when they choose distraction and avoidance rather than to try. I knew I was meant to be a teacher from a very early age. Clearly God purposed and prepared me for the position, yet after twenty-five years, I have been questioning everything. His plans for me are good, and include a future and a hope. On the roughest days, I have to remember and trust Him for the truth of His promises. May we ever seek the Lord, who has good plans for us all, and has a future and a hope that He is preparing for each of us.

Each life with a plan,

Purpose to fulfill;

Crafted with intent,

With strengths and with skills.

Let not obstacles,

Deter His intent;

For challenges come,

And strength’s heaven sent.

When things go awry,

Choose trust in what’s true;

Fresh hope, a future,

Are waiting for you.

Help us rise in faith,

To trust in what’s true;

Better is coming,

O Lord, bring it soon.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our future. Thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and with purpose. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we become overwhelmed with the here and now. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our anchor through every storm. Show us how to love those around us well so that they may recognize the hope and future that lies before them is good. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for creating us each with a plan and purpose, and for being our hope both now and forevermore. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Unknown Open Doors

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

“…Pray to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets. You have never heard these things before.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, ERV)

“Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Though this passage is a message that God gave to Jeremiah while he was shackled and guarded in captivity, the message remains true for us, no matter our circumstances. God is the God of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Though Jeremiah and his people were in a dismal situation, God spoke promises of what was yet to come. His plans and purposes for the people did not end in captivity, but rather in being rebuilt and free. In the same way, God has a plan and purpose for us. No matter what we have been through, are going through, or face in the future, God will grant us wisdom and understanding to navigate each step, and to walk forward into the hope He has for us all. May we ever call on the Lord to lead us well, for He is faithful to teach us and reveal to us that which we need to know to keep moving forward into all that is yet to come.

Choose call on the Lord,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

He’s faithful to tell;

The wonderful things,

That help us live well.

God in His wisdom,

Reveals unto us;

Unsearchable things,

He hears our requests.

No matter what is,

In Christ, there is more;

Through love He reveals,

Unknown open doors.

In struggle, seek Him,

In strength, give Him praise;

Pursue His wisdom,

To walk out each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You reveal new wisdom and insight that grant us hope and equip us for all that comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our present circumstances to limit our faith. Teach us to turn to You and pray, for You are faithful to show us what we need to know to keep moving forward in the direction You have called us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust You to give us wisdom and insight as to how to continue in the direction You have called us. Amen.

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

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Higher Than Ours

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:7-8, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that this is true. So often, I think things should go one way, or situations ought to be resolved as I imagine, yet God, in His infinite wisdom, brings far more beauty than I could have ever imagined. This is where we are challenged to trust the process. It is a bit easier to do each time we witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. That being said, it is a seemingly lifelong process to recognize and remember that God’s ways are for our ultimate best, even when we cannot see how good is possible. May we ever remember that God knows the outcome long before we have even begun, and that He is for us, not against us. 

Our thoughts and our ways,

May be good and bold;

Yet God’s are greater,

Our future He holds.

When we cannot see,

How things could resolve;

God is on the move,

So fears ought dissolve.

Let us turn in trust,

To the Lord above;

For His ways are best,

All is done in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, higher than ours. Thank You that You see the end before we have even begun, and You are ever available to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. Teach us to trust the process and to remember that You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Lead us to love one another in ways that strengthen, encourage and convey Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your ways, for they are always best in the end. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5

Hope is Rising

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. – (Psalm 31:24, MSG)

Be strong, and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

As I was doing my lesson planning yesterday, I did more research on the work of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who spoke at the Inauguration. Both when she shared her poem then, and while I discovered a recent poem of hers, “The Miracle of Morning”, I was in awe of her ability to tackle current events and convey hope through poetry. My sixth graders have been studying the poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, and the opportunity to spend some time studying the works of a modern-day poet seemed a perfect pairing. For me, as I listen to and read Miss Gorman’s words, I cannot help but think her message is one of choosing to be brave and strong, and to not give up. The words call upon hope to rise within us, much like God’s word, for He is where our hope is held, and our Source of courage, strength and resolve. May we seek the Lord to find the strength and courage to see His love that is all around us, and the resolve to love as we are loved by Him.

Take heart, dear ones,

For hope is rising;

Light found in darkness,

There’s no disguising.

The chaos that is,

Will not always be;

For hope is rising,

As love is released.

A choice to honor,

Sisters and brothers;

To stand hand-in-hand,

Supporting each other.

Stand up, dear young ones,

Please take it from me;

The future is yours,

Rise up and shine, so all may see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are our Source of courage, strength and resolve. Thank You that as we seek and learn to depend on You, hope rises within us. Forgive us for not being light and life in the midst of darkness. Teach us to seek You to ignite Your fire within us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread Your light that chases away the darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to raise us up as light-bearers and love givers. Amen.

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

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

Gratitude for Lasting Good

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Let everyone thank God, for He is easy to please! His tender love for us continues forever! – (Psalm 136:1, TPT)

Because God is good and loving forever, we ought to give Him thanks and praise. God’s love is tender and kind, for He loves us as we are, no matter how we come before Him. He loves us at our worst, and brings us to our best as we pursue Him. Every time that I pause and recognize all that God is and all that He has done, I cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. May we ever look around and see the goodness of God and give Him our gratitude, as His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He’s always good;

Love that’s forever,

His grace understood.

All praise to our God,

For His love that lasts;

It’s not dependent,

On future or past.

He loves us right now,

And He always will;

For that’s what Love does,

Brings peace and goodwill.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, and that Your love endures forever. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to thank and praise You, as our perspective becomes clouded by the challenges we see, rather than Your solutions that we do not. Teach us to trust You and give You praise, no matter how things seem. Show us how to love those around us in ways that inspire hope and make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give you thanks forever, for Your love, goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds to mankind. – Psalm 107:8

Pray for ALL People

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men(people) with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, TPT)

This is certainly a season that being reminded of the importance to pray for our nation, state, and local leaders is imperative. As our nation waits in anticipation, our prayers for our leaders, impending leaders, and one another, is essential. More than anything, our prayers need to be for peace and pure hearts. No matter the outcome, God is greater than our circumstances. Our ability to love one another remains, regardless of who sits in a leadership position. We need those who lead to do so with wisdom, grace, and kindness toward all people, and we need to celebrate and lift each other up, despite our differences. I know not what the future holds, but I do know to Whom I will ultimately look for guidance, grace and peace. My ability to be loving and kind is not determined by the government nor those in positions of authority. Finally, may we all pray for leaders everywhere, and for each other, so that we may live tranquil lives with the freedom to worship and be inspired with pure hearts and pure motives.

O Lord, help us pray,

For all those who lead;

Grant them Your wisdom,

And bring us Your peace.

Show us Your mercy,

Lead us by Your grace;

Make goodness present,

Throughout all our days.

Teach us to trust You,

For all’s in Your hands;

Teach us to worship,

As You heal our land.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority in our land. Thank You that despite what we see, You have a plan and a purpose in all things. Thank You that You can use even the worst of circumstances to bring Your good. Forgive us for allowing what we see to determine whether or not we pray and lift others up. Remind us anew to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority. Show us how to love and lift others up, especially in this season of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our Prince of Peace who loves without limits and holds us all in Your hands. Be glorified O God, as we lift leaders up and pray for Your will to be done. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper 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) 

I’m not sure about you, but I really appreciate this reminder today. It is a blustery day outside, I woke up tired, and was feeling a bit weighed down by the challenges and obstacles that are ahead of me. Sometimes, I think I just need to be reminded that He has so much more in store – for me, for my family, for the people around me whom I love. Just because I cannot see the hope and future in situations and circumstances, does not mean that it is not there. In hindsight, I can see again and again, how God made a way where there seemed to be no way, and how He brought beauty from seeming ashes and despair. Our present circumstances and challenges are not forever. Though at times it may feel like a very long season, God has a plan that is good. Today, I will simply soak in the promise that He knows the plans that He has for me, (and those around me) and that they are good. May we ever trust in the Lord and His promises, for He already knows how the story ends, and it is good. 

The Lord has a plan, 

And it’s always good; 

With our best in mind, 

Our hope understood. 

For His plan is peace, 

Not evil nor harm; 

Our glorious hope, 

Through life’s ev’ry storm. 

Choose be not dismayed, 

For in Him hope’s found; 

A future that’s good, 

Where peace does abound. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what we see or feel, You have a hope and a future for us that is good. Thank You that Your promises are true today, tomorrow and forever. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distort our view of You. Teach us to lean into You and the promises that You have for us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate hope and peace and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises that remind us that You have plans for us that are good. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Free to Serve in Love

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NLT) 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV) 

Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base operation in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do. – (Galatians 5:13, TPT) 

Freedom is an interesting topic right now, as our nation prides itself on being “the land of the free”. Rather than answers, this can lead to questions, as many feel as if their freedom is being taken. The catch here is to what extent do we exercise our “right” to freedom? Is our intent self-indulgent, or is it to serve one another in love? In Christ, we are free no matter what our circumstances. Our freedom is in knowing that our sin is forgiven and we have a hope and a future forever in Him. With that in mind, the desires of the heart begin to shift and become more otherly; desiring to love and serve others well, rather than simply satisfy the temporary cravings of our flesh. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be able to travel and go out, visit friends and go to church, and go and see my mom – without restrictions or reservations. However, love requires this waiting season. Yes, if I really wanted to do any of those things, I am sure there would be a way to do so, but would it be serving others in love, or simply serving my own desires, without considering the consequences for others? I need God’s wisdom to exercise the freedom He has given, so that I might express love for others in all that I do. This is a lifelong process of learning and growing in how to walk out our freedom in Christ well. There is no “arrival”, as we all have an ongoing battle with our human desires, yet we can ever become more of whom we have been designed to be, as we choose to use our freedom to sincerely love and generously serve others. May we not take our freedom in Christ for granted; instead, let us set aside our self-indulgent desires and go forth, seeking to serve one another in love. 

Brothers and sisters, 

We’re all called to be; 

Invested in Christ, 

So we might live free. 

Free in forgiveness, 

Empowered by grace; 

Called to serve others, 

Make love commonplace. 

Choose to set aside, 

Our old selfish ways; 

Love as Christ loves us, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for setting us free in Your limitless love. Thank You that by Your grace, we can freely love and serve as we have been designed to do. Forgive us for our selfishness, that keeps us from loving and serving as You have designed us to do. Teach us to exercise our freedom in You to bless others. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve freely in You. Amen. 

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

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. – Ephesians 1:16