Look Up and See

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, HCSB)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. – (Psalm 19:1, MSG)

This weekend, my love and I are camping. We did not travel far from home, yet far enough to feel as if we were somewhere else. The amazing thing about the short drive from home, is that yesterday as we were leaving, the skies were gray and it was sprinkling. When we drove across the bridge, the skies opened up and there was far more blue sky than gray. The sun was shining and I had to dig my sunglasses out of my purse. I love that the same God who created the clouds that provide water to the soil, painted the sky a brilliant blue, and His creativity is displayed uniquely each morning and evening as the sun rises and sets. Camping provides the opportunity to be outdoors more, and for me, there is nothing better than being outside and taking in the beauty of creation. May we all find time to observe all of the beauty that God’s hands have made, and take notice of the intricate details that He so lovingly included in creation.

The glory of God,

Ever evident;

Through just looking up,

Become reverent.

Beauty all around,

For us to enjoy;

Bountiful color,

That nature employs.

To You, we give thanks,

Where all praise is due;

Beauty created,

That shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your creation everywhere. Thank You that we need only look up to see Your hand tangibly at work. Forgive us for somehow making You less than You are. Teach us to trust in You, the One who holds us all in the hollow of Your hand. Lead us to notice the beauty all around us, and show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty all around us and time to get outside and enjoy it. Amen.

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

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Hearts Full of Praise

He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!” – (Luke 19:40, HCSB)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

But He said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” – (Luke 19:40, MSG)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His followers, who were many, began to praise God for all the miracles that they had seen through Jesus. The Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke His disciples and the verse above is how He responded. We were made to praise. The more we see and know and understand who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but praise Him. All of creation testifies of His goodness, and so should we. Every act of kindness, each encouraging word, all of the smiles at strangers – everything we do that is driven by His love, testifies of His goodness in our lives. May we be intentional to live His love out loud in our lives, and honor Him through all that we say and do.

We are made to praise,

Give thanks to the Lord;

For all of His love,

And grace He affords.

If we do not speak,

Represent His love;

The rocks will cry out,

Praise the Lord above.

So, seek to praise Him,

With all that we do;

May all be in love,

Represent Him true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all of our thanks and praise. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how deeply and completely You know and love us all. Forgive us for our lack of praise or lack of love as we walk out our days. Teach us to live and love as You intended. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that all that we do and say demonstrates who You are and how completely You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live out our days with hearts full of praise. Amen.

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

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – Psalm 19:1

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

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:19, ERV)

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

This feels like life right now. After nearly a year and a half of my children being home and isolated, each of the twins will begin a new job today. One will be working at Lowes, and the other at Kohls. The opportunity for each to get out in the community and begin working feels like new life is coming. Where there was isolation, there will now be interactions. Where there was little, there is now opportunity for more. There is something so good as we enter adulthood and begin to earn our own wages and can contribute to expenses. Though both kids have been wise with their money, they were relying on gifts they had been given for graduation, Christmas and birthdays to supply the things that they needed (and parents of course). Beginning today, they will be able to save for school and have spending money of their own. Even more importantly, they will be out in the community and engaging with people again. I know both are nervous, yet I am certain that they will each thrive in the new.

The Lord is faithful,

He brings us the new;

Forward momentum,

Shows us what to do.

New life and blessings,

When all has seemed dim;

He makes a new way,

When we let Him in.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His promises true;

Quenches the thirsty,

And safely leads through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide a way where there seemed to be no way, and You bring new life where all seemed lost. Thank You that our hope is secure in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your promises when tough seasons are long. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give light and life and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make all things new and to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

The Heavens Make It Known

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told, written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story through the marvel of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

Each morning, as I walk our dogs, I witness the beauty of all that God has made. The skies transform before my eyes, and the colors unfold like the opening of a fresh box of crayons. At night, as the day comes to a close, the moon and stars shine bright through the darkness, blinking of the brilliance of the hands that hung them each in the sky. Even when the blue is hidden by clouds, the weight of them waters the earth and restores green to the grass and trees. All it takes is but a moment of looking up to be reminded of the greatness of God and the glory of His majesty. May we ever take in all of His creation and recognize that the same God who created such beauty was intentional to create all those whom we encounter.

All heaven declares,

The glory of God;

The work of His hands,

Leaves my heart in awe.

Each star in the sky,

On purpose was placed;

To remind us all,

Of God’s endless grace.

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose look up;

Give thanks to the Lord,

As He fills our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, power and creativity. Thank You that all we need to do is look up to become aware of the wonders of Your power and goodness. Forgive us for neglecting to take time to take in all of the wonder at what Your hands have made. Teach us to be intentional to appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have created. Show us how to recognize the beauty of Your creation, and to help others value themselves, as we all are among Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your glory as we observe the world around us.  Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Redeemed to Love

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, NIV)

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)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through His powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away His righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! – (Romans 3:23-24, TPT)

We all are broken and fall short. However, Jesus came so that we could be forgiven and free from all of our sin and shame, and find new life in Him. This is available for all people, for the hardened criminal and the good citizen alike; it is up to us to receive what He freely offers, and pursue a life following after Him. Today, this is my reminder to not allow anger or frustration a foothold, for the ones who did such such horrible things are received and forgiven if they repent and turn to God, in the same way it is available for you and me. If I am truly to have a heart like Christ, this indeed must be my hope for them. There are consequences for criminal behavior, as there should be, yet the heart can be forgiven and set free from all. Though I would be willing to guess that they do not know Jesus, I can pray that they would come to know Him. Eternal freedom is far more important than the temporary satisfaction of revenge or retaliation. The law is clear and there will be consequences for their actions, so my responsibility is to keep loving God and loving people, even when it means praying for those who inflicted harm on the defenseless. It is a process, daily, and at times, hourly; for I know what I must continue to do. May we ever seek the One who sets us free from our sin and shame, and allow Him to soften our hearts and love bigger than we ever thought possible.

O Lord help our hearts,

To forgive, set free;

Place all in Your hands,

Lord Jesus, help me.

A sin is a sin,

And I’m not the judge;

Help me to release,

A hold of a grudge.

For true forgiveness,

Sets our own hearts free;

So sins ugly grip,

No longer holds me.

For justice belongs,

To the Lord above;

True freedom is found,

Through grace, hope and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made the way for all to know freedom and forgiveness in You. Thank You that none are disqualified from receiving redemption in You, regardless of our sin. Forgive us for our desire to retaliate and return evil for evil. Teach us to trust You and the laws that are established to take care of what is just. Show us how to love like You so that we would willingly pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You and discover the overwhelming mercy, goodness and love that You pour out upon all who receive what You offer and pursue eternity with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You access to transform our hearts so that we may mirror You lavish love to the world. Amen.

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Radiance of His Nature

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature – His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One. – (Hebrews 1:3, TPT)

Though no one has ever seen God, numerous people spent time in the presence of His Son, and witnessed His power and His very being. Jesus lived out a perfect life so that He could be the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all. After His death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus took His place at the right hand of the Father to continue to move on our behalf, as He provided His Holy Spirit for all who invite Him in. The more we pursue the path that He has placed before us, the more our hearts begin to mirror His. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to invest our time into growing in our understanding of Him, so that we may more clearly reflect His radiance to the world.

God’s great radiance,

What’s holy and true;

Shown to all the world,

Through Christ who makes new.

His power, perfect,

Held up in His hands;

Seated on His throne,

With purpose and plan.

Cleansed by His mercy,

Made new in His love;

May we ever seek,

Christ the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated what love truly is. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You, as You are the way to live and love in a way that reflects Your heart to the world. Teach us to trust You and follow after You with all that we are. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see You through the Savior, Your Son, and ever seek to be a clear reflection of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1

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

The Temple Within

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – (1 Chronicles 16:27, NIV) 

He lives in the presence of glory and honor. His Temple is a place of power and joy. – (1 Chronicles 16:27, ERV) 

Honor and majesty precede Him; strength and beauty infuse His holy sanctuary. – (1 Chronicles 16:27, VOICE) 

When 1 Chronicles was written, the splendor and majesty of God were found externally. People had to go to a physical location to see and experience the power and presence of the glory of God. However, once Jesus came and gave His life for all, that same power and joy that required a temple visit, had become the very manifestation of God that dwells within all who earnestly seek Him. We can experience the splendor and majesty of the living God anywhere and everywhere. He is no longer confined to a structure or specific location (not that He ever was, but rather made His presence known in specific spaces), but rather He dwells within the hearts of people who invite His presence into our lives. Because He is within us, we can experience His majesty, strength and beauty all around us. May we ever seek the Lord and His majesty, as we witness His splendor, power and beauty found all around us, and dwelling within. 

Splendor, majesty, 

The presence of God; 

True beauty beheld, 

May our hearts applaud. 

His power is found, 

As His heart we seek; 

Strength in our struggles, 

And when we feel weak. 

Such power revealed, 

As we seek God’s face; 

He’s present to help, 

With love and with grace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we no longer have to go to a specific location to witness and experience Your powerful presence. Thank You that You dwell in the hearts of all who place their trust in You. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters, for You never leave us nor forsake us, even in the darkest of times. Show us how to trust You more, and to lean into You, as You are with us; always. Teach us how to love in such a way that Your presence and Your goodness is made evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your presence within us for all that we need. Amen. 

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

My dwelling place with be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. – Ezekiel 37:27

Gaze at the Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV) 

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV) 

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks of His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT) 

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. Amen. 

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

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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11