Welcomed With Celebration

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Staying with God and waiting on Him is what we need to finish our race and enter into the glory of eternity with God. In our current series at church, Kingdom Come, yesterday’s message had a great analogy of how God welcomes us into His Kingdom. One of our pastors, who knew little about football, had attended her first Seahawks game the week prior. She took notice of new things and asked questions about what she was observing. As she was closing up her message on Matthew 6:1-13, one part of her analogy that she had observed at the game, challenged my thinking. She spoke of how each play was introduced by name with fireworks as they came into view from the tunnel. Her comment was that God celebrates and welcomes us in the same way. At first, I paused and thought, by name, sure, but fireworks? That is a big deal for one person. As I pondered, the first thing that came to mind was that though I do not deserve a big production, Jesus does. Jesus in me deserves all accolades. Then I considered things further. When we welcome a baby into the world, we celebrate with thanksgiving, gifts, and great cheer. God is our Father in Heaven, and He celebrates us in the same way. We are known and acknowledged with good things because we are His. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is our strength and where our courage comes from. He celebrates and acknowledges each of us by name, and with great celebration because we are His.

With celebration,

The Lord calls our name;

He ushers us in,

To goodness proclaimed.

His Kingdom is now,

And forevermore;

We’re meant to embrace,

And trust in the Lord.

For as we choose live,

Depending on Him;

He equips with strength,

To do as He did.

In Him we can live,

As is His intent;

To love each other,

With grace, enter in.

So, trust in the Lord,

Know you are enough;

Not for what you do,

But because He’s tough.

Strong to uphold us,

Grace that always loves;

Purveyor of peace,

All hope from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You show us who You are and that Your Kingdom is not only in Heaven, but is here and now as well. Thank You that You know us and call us by name, and that You celebrate us, not for what we do, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for the times that we fear that we are not enough or we lose heart in the waiting. Teach us again and again that our value is found in You because we are Yours, and that as we wait on You, You grant us strength and hope and help. Show us how to love one another as You created us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait in trust for You in tough spaces, and praise You that we are known, loved and upheld by You, our Heavenly Father. Amen.

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

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Created for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

Trust in Trials and Triumphs

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

Still, I know that God lives – the One who gives me back my life – and eventually He’ll take His stand on earth. – (Job 19:25, MSG)

Job, after he had lost everything, still stood on the truth that he knew. In his heartache and anguish, he cried out to God and proclaimed the truth before his friends who had stopped supporting him and begun blaming him for his own misery. God, in His goodness and mercy, restored Job’s health and wealth to more than it was before, and honored his faithfulness, despite all that Job had suffered. God has good things in store for us, despite the trials and heartaches we have to endure. His goodness stands forever, and His promises are eternal. It is our eternity that provides hope, even on the darkest days. No matter what comes, God is still good and is still on the throne. May we ever remember that our Redeemer lives and in the end, He is our hope forever as Lord and King of all.

The Lord is alive,

Our hope and our peace;

No matter what comes,

His love will not cease.

Though days might seem dark,

The true light will come;

He brings grace and peace,

For all is not done.

Look to the heavens,

The Lord ever reigns;

Our hope forever,

And goodness He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and for the examples who have gone before us. Thank You that despite the difficulties that happen, You still reign and have power to restore. Forgive us for our wavering faith when challenges overwhelm us. Teach us to turn in trust to You, ever holding fast to the truth that we know. Thank You that You are our hope and promise forever. Show us how to walk alongside those in the midst of struggle, so that we might love, encourage and bless as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in every season – both trying and triumphant, for You love and lead us through all. Amen.

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

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Perfect Love

“If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, TPT)

“Even you who are bad know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to the people who ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, ERV)

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! – (Luke 11:13, VOICE)

This is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, despite our flaws, failures and shortcomings. Whether a parent to children or fur babies, we all know how to give good gifts to those in our care, despite being broken and sinful. How much more does God, who is perfect in all His ways, know how to give us all that He has to offer when we seek Him? The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us. If God is for us, who can be against us? God’s Spirit within us will lead us, guide us, protect us and help us as we earnestly seek Him. May we always remember the depth and power of our Heavenly Father’s love, so that we may ever seek Him.

Despite all our flaws,

The Lord’s ever near;

Ready to help us,

Making His way clear.

Just as a parent,

Knows how to love well;

Our perfect Father,

Will in us, come dwell.

It is in nearness,

That we’re led and known;

Grace overflowing,

As His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the ultimate gift as we ask. Thank You that Your presence is the greatest provider ever known. Thank You that by Your Spirit, You lead us, guide us, bless and protect us, as we place our heart in Your hands. Forgive us for forgetting how exceedingly powerful Your love is, and lead us to love likewise. Show us how to give good gifts to all, so that each who crosses our path may witness glimpses of You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with Your Spirit, so that Your path will be made clear in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Good Words and Hard Work

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, MSG)

Yesterday was one of those days that words spoken brought life, and the reward of hard work was evident. Students were engaged in conversations with enthusiasm for our end-of-the-year project, and my gymnasts had a fantastic practice. New skills were achieved and fears were overcome. As I was preparing for a meet up to run, my Viking sent me a text that he wanted to do a date night. By the time we had gone to dinner, run into and visited with friends, returned home and walked the dogs, my heart was overflowing with the good things spoken and the reward of hard work that had filled my day. Even on the days that things don’t flow as smoothly, or the work seems to be in vain, I can speak good things and remember that there are days that simply knowing the hard work is being done brings its own reward. God is good, and He encourages us to speak blessings and work hard, for through each we witness Him moving in us, through us and for us. May we ever seek the Lord to fuel our hearts with His words, and strengthen us to do the work that we have been called to do.

Our words and actions,

Have power to give;

Goodness and blessings,

As each day we live.

May we speak kindness,

Let our words bring life;

For encouragement,

Ends internal strife.

Teach us to invest,

To work unto You;

Give our very best,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of people You place around us who speak life and bring good things, and for the reward that is felt as we work as if unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have not spoken life to those around us, or have not worked with our heart invested in what we are doing. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our encouragement, for You speak life and love and strength to those who seek You. Show us how to speak good into those around us, and to work in a way that encourages others to invest as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our lips to speak life and our hearts to fully invest in all that we do. Amen.

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

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

Let Each Word Be A Gift

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV) 

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG) 

The things that come out of our mouth can either bless or curse people. We have a free will to choose how we speak. Our decisions either give life to the hearers, or they bring death and destruction. Words have power, and how we use them makes all the difference. May we ever seek the Lord to wash our words and help them align with His heart. Let our every word be a gift to those around us, as we encourage, lift up, strengthen, bless and give life with our words. 

O Lord, let my words, 

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Reflect a heart true; 

Extending kindness, 

And love, just like You. 

Let the truth in love, 

Bless all those around; 

Encourage, build up, 

So Your heart is found. 

Lord, help me offer, 

Encouraging words; 

May all who hear them, 

Be blessed by what’s heard. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words wisely. Thank You that as we submit our heart, voice and every word to You, You use what we say to bless the hearers. Forgive us for the times that we ignore the still small voice within that reminds us to speak in love. Teach us to make every word captive so that we clearly reflect Your love through our words. Show us how to use every word as a gift to those around us. Let Your love be made evident in all that we say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to use our every word as a gift. Amen. 

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

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

Act Justly and Do Good

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – (Psalm 106:3, NIV) 

Those who obey His commands are happy. They do good things all the time. – (Psalm 106:3, ERV) 

The happiest one on earth is the one who keeps Your word and clings to righteousness every moment. – (Psalm 106:3, TPT) 

When we act justly and do what is right, there is joy in knowing that we have carried out the will of God. Our obedience brings happiness, as we discover what it is to know God’s pleasure. He loves us no matter what, yet knowing He is pleased with our words, thoughts and actions brings blessing to the depth of our being. The more we seek the Lord, the more equipped we are to know what is right and just. As we ask, He is faithful to answer and show us what it is to act justly and to do good at all times. We are all a work in progress. No one gets it right 100% of the time, yet those who are actively seeking wisdom and grace, find joy in choosing well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to act justly and do what is right, each new day that we draw breath. 

True happiness comes, 

As we freely choose; 

Justice and mercy, 

Proof of God’s good news. 

When we choose what’s right, 

God’s pleasure is known; 

Our hearts find blessing, 

As goodness is shown. 

So, seek the Father, 

Act justly, choose right; 

In everything, 

Choose to be His light. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of the happiness our heart will hold when we act justly and do what is good in Your eyes. Forgive us for the times that we have been unjust, unkind, or negligent in doing what You have called us to do. Teach us to trust You always; for You alone are good and faithful. Show us how to love those around us through acting justly and doing good. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us all. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Wait in Hope

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, NIV) 

So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. – (Romans 8:25, TPT) 

But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. – (Romans 8:25, TLB) 

As always, this is a good and timely reminder. Many of us are hoping for the day when the restrictions are lifted, and we can go and do, travel and see, live and be, in a way we are more accustomed to existing. Though it is difficult, we wait for it patiently, as lives depend on our doing so. Despite all that has been missed, we know there is much more yet to come. That is hope, and with it, we must be patient. The saying, “good things come to those who wait,” holds true. When we wait on the Lord and trust in Him, He provides peace and strength and blessings beyond what we could have imagined on our own. In the same way expectant parents hope and patiently wait for the arrival of their newborn baby, we can hold hope for what is yet to come. We know there is more, and that the day when things are no longer locked down will arrive, so for now, we must wait patiently and persevere. 

In the meantime, I am extraordinarily grateful that we are in a part of the world where homes are spread out and space is abundant, so we are encouraged to get outside to exercise and take in fresh air, as long as we are mindful of distancing ourselves from others we encounter while outdoors. What I love is that I already was one to get outside to run and walk for fitness and sanity, and now, all around the neighborhood, others are discovering the benefit of doing the same. I hope the cheerful “hellos” and friendly waves that take place each day while I am out, always continue. Perhaps slowing down is providing a place for hope to rise where it had been missing before. Whatever the case may be, I will continue to hold hope in He who brings peace and strength and joy, even in the waiting.

Choose wait on the Lord, wp-15875605174021756941601808964153.jpg

And know He is good; 

Hope is worth the wait, 

His grace understood. 

For in the season, 

The space that seems paused; 

God’s goodness remains, 

His patience installed. 

There is so much joy, 

In what is to come; 

Peace in the present, 

Glorious outcome. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us; always. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that we can wait on You and trust in You, for the future is in Your loving hands. Forgive us for our impatience that comes when we struggle to hold onto the hope we know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and Your love never fails. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages hope in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the hope we know, that is secure in You forever. 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

Before All Things and In All Things

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

The Son was there before anything was made. And all things continue because of Him. – (Colossians 1:17, ERV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

 

There are times when particular groups of people are joined together for a season, that the reality of this verse is made tangible. I am always in awe when beautifully diverse groups of people come together for a common purpose, and grow close in the process. This winter, as I participated in my first season as a high school assistant gymnastics coach, I have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in such a fantastic unfolding as this team has bonded and had a season that has far exceeded their own expectations. Last night, the ladies competed at the state gymnastics meet as a team. To qualify, they had an undefeated regular season, were among the top teams at sub-districts, and again found themselves on the podium as a team at the state-qualifying district meet. There were personal bests and disappointments, a moment of terror as a girl went down during her floor routine, (thankfully only sustaining what would be a relatively minor injury and she should good as new in a day or two) and one of our seniors qualified for the finals later today on the floor exercise. All of the girls celebrated the successes with those who achieved something they had been working for, comforted those who did not perform as well as they had hoped, and gathered around the young lady who was injured to be certain she was okay, extending comfort and care. All in all, it has been just such a season that reminds me that He goes before all things and holds all things together. I am beyond blessed to have been a part of it, and cannot wait to continue coaching with the returning underclassmen. May we all look for the ways that God makes His presence evident, as He has gone before us, and He holds all things together.

 

Before all that is,wp-1582384037844602029485298511295.jpg

The Lord always was;

With good things in mind,

Because He loves us.

Always He is near,

Wherever we go;

Whatever we do,

His presence made known.

We need only look,

In wonder, shall see;

The power of love,

God grants you and me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You prepare time and space for us. Thank You that You bless us with the people whom we are surrounded with in different seasons of our lives. Forgive us for the times that we take the gifts for granted. Teach us to appreciate each person and each season, as You show us Your heart and grow us more to reflect Your heart to others if we rely on You. Show us how to lean into You, so that we would love well, all those whom we interact with each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise and honor You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24