Wrestling for Blessing

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”  – (Genesis 32:28, NIV) 

Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and men, and you have won.” – (Genesis 32:28, ERV) 

You will no longer go by the name Jacob. From now on your name will be Israel because you have wrestled with God and humanity, and you have prevailed. – (Genesis 32:28, VOICE) 

 

After twenty years of hard physical labor and dealing with a father-in-law who had repeatedly changed Jacob’s wages and the agreement that the two had made, Jacob determined to take his wives, children and livestock back to the land from which he had come. After a week of traveling with the massive group of folks and flocks, Leban, his father-in-law, caught up to the caravan and had a discussion with Jacob. After the tension subsided, the two men reached an agreement, and parted ways. As the journey continued, they group neared the land of Jacob’s father. Jacob was afraid of how his brother, Esau, would respond to his return. He selected a large number of his livestock to gift to him, and sent servants with groups of animals ahead, in hope of pacifying his brother. Once everyone had gone on ahead of him, Jacob met a Man, with whom he wrestled all night. The One with whom he struggled, told him to stop, but Jacob insisted that they continue until he was blessed by Him. Verse twenty-eight is the response given by the One with whom Jacob wrestled. Jacob had struggled with man and God, and now was receiving the blessing for which he was asking. Both commentaries that I read surrounding this passage, pointed out that with the change of name, came also, a change of heart. A personal encounter with God changed Jacob forever. Likewise, an encounter with God changes us forever too. Our persistence to persevere, even in the struggle, results in the Lord’s presence and His help. Though it is unlikely that any of us with physically wrestle with God Himself, (or an angel messenger, as different commentaries suggest that it was either God Himself, or one of His messengers) we will however, struggle with our circumstances and our faith. The more we seek Him, the stronger our trust becomes, fueling faith for every future endeavor. May we fearlessly wrestle with the struggles that come our way, as we depend on God to strengthen and sustain us, in all things and at all times. 

 

Though we may wrestle, f9d3a1df-a6ed-4149-9c89-54ddf9a6f9788443963905273144234.jpg

With our circumstance; 

Lord God, Almighty, 

Will help us advance. 

For as we seek God, 

He hears our heart cry; 

Strengthens our resolve, 

And hope to choose try. 

The blessings do come, 

As we choose persist; 

Hope, strength and His love, 

Things that prayer enlist. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear us as we call out to You. Thank You that though we may wrestle with our circumstances and our faith, You never falter, and hear our heart’s cry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would run to You and lay our need before You, knowing that You hear and help those who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that displays Your faithfulness, strength and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we press on and pursue You in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2

Clothed with His Character

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV) 

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV) 

You are always and dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT) 

 

When we know God, we are called and chosen to walk in His ways. This past week, I have been intentional to pray for specific students before the school day has even begun. What I have observed this week, has been a shift in a few individuals who were my most difficult. Two eighth grade boys have caused much struggle and strife this semester. For the first time in a long while, they were calm and attempting to actually work on the projects that have been assigned. Each one was given room to enter and settle, allowing them to get set in their space. Once students are set and working, I have sought to be compassionate and gentle in my approach. With one, I gather the materials needed for the day’s project and set them before him, extending my availability to answer questions or provide help if needed. For him, it seemed to make a way to focus and complete work. With the other, I have likewise chosen compassion, and simply asked what project he would like to work to complete each day. He too has been calm and attempting to work, rather than sitting idly by on his phone. Though I was gentle and kind previously, a slight shift in my approach seems to have been met with a shift in them as well. There are still others in that class that are “acting a fool”, but the simple transformation in the two is an example of my prayers heard and answered. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Source and Supply, allowing Him to clothe us in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience and humility, keeping us from becoming offended by the actions of others. 

 

Because we are loved, Sowing Seeds of Peace

We also are called; 

To be the Lord’s light, 

For one and for all. 

Called to compassion, 

Equipped to give grace; 

Kindness and patience, 

Granted in our space. 

With a humble heart, 

Let no one’s offense; 

Deter us from love, 

His grace is immense. 

So, be clothed in love, 

That chooses extend; 

The heart of our God, 

On Whom we depend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and equip us to carry out all to which we are called. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot see the change You are making. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as Your love covers all. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are most challenging to love. Grant us Your eyes to see them, and Your heart to extend kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to supply us with kindness, patience, humility and love for all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. – Job 10:12

Protection and Peace

But whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. – (Proverbs 1:33, NIV) 

But those who listen to Me will live in safety and comfort. They will have nothing to fear. – (Proverbs 1:33, ERV) 

But those who listen to Me now will live under divine protection; they can rest knowing they are out of harm’s way. – (Proverbs 1:33, VOICE) 

 

God calls us to be in constant communion with Him. As we pray and seek the Lord for direction in all things – great and small, He answers and guides us in the ways that we are meant to go. When we listen, He keeps us safe and we need not fear. Years ago, when I was flying home from Hong Kong, one of the engines on our plane caught fire. The flames were visible to passengers through the windows, and many on our aircraft were terrified. I had just spent six months traveling all over Asia, serving in schools, churches and communities in response to His leading, and I had to believe that He was not finished with me yet. Silently, I prayed for peace and protection, and somehow, by His divine grace, was not afraid. Our plane emergency landed safely and smoothly in Taiwan, and my biggest concern was continuing my journey home. After several hours of waiting, I was able to catch another flight for the remainder of my trip. He was faithful to keep me safe, and I listened as He led me securely home. Though I am not forever fearless when I find myself in potentially harrowing situations, I am frequently reminded of His faithfulness in countless scenarios prior, and discover that if I slow down and listen, God quiets my heart and brings me His peace. May we ever seek the Lord and His leading, for He is the One to lead us and guide us and keep us safe. 

 

The God of all peace, protection and peace

Is forever near; 

Ready to lead us, 

He’s faithful to hear. 

The more we know Him, 

Trust is realized; 

Loving and gracious, 

God will be our guide. 

Let us ever seek, 

We will surely find; 

The Lord’s protection, 

All fear set aside. 

For there is no room, 

For fear in our heart; 

When we pursue God, 

His peace He’ll impart. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to provide Your peace and protection as we seek You and listen to You. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to lead us, rather than our trust in You. Teach us to trust You more, as we recall Your previous provision that kept us safe in Your goodness and grace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and assurance in spaces of fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You are faithful to protect us and keep us safe. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 118:6

Filled by Grace

From His abundance we have received one gracious blessing after another. – (John 1:16, NLT) 

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – (John 1:16, ERV) 

And now out of His fullness we are fulfilled! And from Him we receive grace heaped upon more grace! – (John 1:16, TPT) 

 

Jesus came so that we could have life abundant in Him. Full of grace and truth, He grants us blessings upon blessings. That is not to say that He gives us a life free of suffering and pain, but rather He promises to be with us, as He pours out His love, grace and blessings in the midst of all. Christ is the light in our darkness and joy in the midst of difficulty. His loving kindness knows no end. May we seek the Lord and His gracious love, allowing His goodness to be made known, both in us and through us. 

 

In the beginning, 0802180628a2020644511162622208.jpg

The Word always was; 

Loving, creating, 

Heart ever for us. 

At the very time, 

The world so in need; 

Came God, the Most High, 

So all might be freed. 

Set free from our sin, 

Pain and all our shame; 

The hope of the world, 

Found in Jesus’ Name. 

His grace upon grace, 

To us He outpours; 

So we might know hope, 

And choose sin no more. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son. Thank You that through Him, grace, love and blessings are poured out abundantly. Forgive us for not looking to You to be our peace, comfort and hope in the midst of our storms. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the giver of all grace, and You pour out Your provision to all who seek You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that shares Your loving kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the blessings that You pour out on us and the grace You give so that we trust You in all.

 

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

 

And all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:24

 

 

Intentional Encounter

Then he said: “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from His mouth. You will be His witness to all people of what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NIV) 

“Ananias told me, ‘The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.’ – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV) 

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE) 

 

Though we were not zealots, seeking to persecute those who faithfully followed Jesus, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Each of us who calls Jesus our Lord, had some sort of encounter with the living God, that turned our heart toward Him, and caused us to turn away from the life we knew before Him. Our journey with God is our story. What He has done for us is our testimony that cannot be disputed. Just as Paul was called to witness to all, so too, are we charged to be ambassadors of God to those who do not yet know Him. Our life and our love ought to bear witness to the Beloved. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, so that our lives make His heart known to all those whom we encounter.  

 

For we are chosen, The Hope of the World

To boldly proclaim; 

Our own grace story, 

That blesses His Name. 

Each who know Jesus, 

Are charged with a call; 

To love as we’re loved, 

For His grace saves all. 

May we choose extend, 

All that we’ve been given; 

So others may know, 

This love, we live in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the loving way in which You have called each of us out of the darkness of our sin and shame, and how You have shown us such grace through Your Name. Forgive us for not sharing our own story of Your grace and love with those around us. Teach us to trust You more and to listen to Your leading, so that Your love may be made known everywhere we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for our own encounter, and share with others, the loving kindness that You have freely given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me. – Psalm 138:3

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Faith is an Action Word

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. – (James 2:26, NLT) 

A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith – faith that does nothing is dead. – (James 2:26, ERV) 

Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse. – (James 2:26, VOICE) 

 

Faith is a verb. It is an action word that requires something of us to exist. Our decisions to step out beyond ourselves and do the things that God calls us to, are those that define and breathe life into faith. Just as we have no life without breath, faith has not formed without follow through. Faith grows as we continue to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Each new step fortifies our faith and makes it tangible. May we move forward in faith, ever trusting in God, who grants all that we need, so that our faith will grow and His faithfulness show, in all that we say and do. 

 

Lord, lead us forward,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To trust and obey; 

So faith may take root, 

You do what You say. 

The things that You ask, 

Require we choose faith; 

A trust that steps out, 

Certain of God’s grace. 

As we choose to trust, 

Allow faith to rise; 

We see You move, Lord, 

Before our own eyes. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not a mere idea nor theory, but rather it is an intentional action as we move forward, trusting that You are who You say You are, and that You will do what You say You will do. Forgive us for the times that our faith has faltered and we have stayed stagnant when You call us to move. Teach us to trust You more, ever leading us to take steps in the direction You call us to move. Show us how to love those around us in a way that inspires faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be people of faith-filled action. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Perfectly Loved

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – (Matthew 5:48, NIV) 

You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you. – (Matthew 5:48, MSG)

Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete. – (Matthew 5:48, CEB) 

 

When I read “be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”I cannot fathom doing or being what I ought to become. However, the other two translations grant a bit more clarity as to what is being asked of us. Living generously and graciously toward others, and showing love toward everyone – these are tangibles to work with that are realistic with His help. Being “perfect” is the ongoing pursuit to live a life of love, just as we are loved by God. Though not one of us will get it right 100% of the time, continual pursuit of Him and His help, will lead us to better reflect the Lord through how we live. May we ever seek the Lord and His loving kindness, so that we may go forth and love completely, as we are completely loved. 

 

When we love fully,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We are doing well; 

To live as we’re asked, 

Of God’s grace, we tell. 

May we choose pursue, 

God’s help in all things; 

So we may reflect, 

The good His love brings. 

Wherever we go, 

Whatever we do; 

Allow His love lead, 

So His light shines through. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that “perfect” is the purposeful pursuit of loving completely, as we are completely loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we do not seek You to lead us and equip us to love like You. Teach us to operate in love in all things, so that Your heart will be evident to all. Show us how to love those around us perfectly, as Your love for us is perfect. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

 

 

 

 

 

Grace in the Grief

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NLT) 

 

This morning, as I checked my messages, there was a notice from a friend at church informing me that an incredible lady – a wife and mother about my age, has passed. It has been both inspiring and heartbreaking to watch, for she battled cancer with courage and strength over the last several years, as her family fought alongside her. There was a sense of maintaining as much normalcy as possible, despite the devastation that all must have been feeling. The comfort in this heart-breaking loss, is that she is free of the pain and walking in glory. That being said, her husband has lost his best friend, and the children have lost their mother. Grief is a heavy space. As I pray for the family and those closest to her, I lay hold of the promise held in this verse in Matthew. Though it is not an easy road, God will bring comfort. God will bring His perfect peace. May we hold fast to the promise that He holds the grieving in His hands, and God is our Source of comfort in every season. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We lean into Thee; 

For the ones mourning, 

Bring Your grace and peace. 

No words that we speak, 

Nor acts done in love; 

Can comfort the grief, 

Like You Lord, above. 

For You know each heart, 

How to help the ache; 

To soothe the sorrow, 

And mend the heartbreak. 

O Lord, be near them, 

As they walk through pain; 

Be their close comfort, 

‘til just love remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort when we grieve. Thank You that You know this family and all that they need. Thank You that You will bring exactly what they need to navigate their new normal. Forgive us for forgetting our own mortality, and not receiving each day we wake as an incredible gift of time that not all are afforded. Teach us to appreciate each new day, and to seek You in all things. Show us how to love well, those who are mourning. May we be used in the practical as well as the prayerful. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our comfort and our peace, even in the most heartbreaking of times. Amen.

 

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

(There is) A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. – Ecclesiastes 3:4

Open

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare Your praise. – (Psalm 51:15, NIV) 

Yet He gave a command to the skies above and opened the doors of the heavens. – (Psalm 78:23, NIV) 

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – (Psalm 119:18, NIV) 

Open for me the gates of the righteous; I will enter and give thanks to the Lord. – (Psalm 118:19, NIV) 

You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. – (Psalm 145:16, NIV) 

 

Last evening, my husband and I went to a New Year’s prayer service at our church. It provided opportunity to be intentional in a sort of resetting as we journey into 2019. As we spent some time in worship and prayer, I wondered if there was a word that would lead as we walk forward into the new that God has for us. The word that kept coming to my mind and heart was “Open”. At that time, I had a sense that it was for me to be intentionally open to what God has for me, and to be open to others so that He can work through me. That being said, my thought this morning was to do a bit of a word study in His word. The verses above stood out to me as guiding principles as to how to be “open”. As I open my eyes and my mouth, I shall see and speak of His wonders. Additionally, God wants me to be open to receive and walk into the new that He has for me. May our hearts and eyes be open to all that God has, and our mouths ready to reveal the love and grace that He has granted, so that we too, may pour out to those around us. 

 

Open my eyes, Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

So, I ever see; 

All of the blessings, 

And Your great beauty. 

Open my mouth, Lord, 

So that I may speak; 

Of infinite good, 

And point to Your peace. 

Open hands and heart, 

So that I may share; 

All that You’ve given, 

Make clear that You care. 

Open up the way, 

And level the trails; 

So, Your way is clear, 

Your love never fails. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You are open to us, we too, can be open to You and all that You have for us. Thank You that You are intentional with Your plans and purposes for our lives. Thank You that we get to participate in Your goodness and grace, as Your abundance is poured out as we run well our race. Forgive us for the times that we have not been open to all that You have for us or to those around us. Show us how to love others with open hearts and hands, granting You room to move in us and through us in a way that blesses all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be open to You and allow You room to move through our open hands and hearts. Amen. 

 

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

 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Matthew 7:7-8