Unity in Jesus

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. – (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people all come together as one! It is like the sweet-smelling oil that is poured over the high priest’s head… It is there that the Lord has promised His blessing of eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, ERV)

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head… Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, MSG)

God calls us to live in community with unity. His intent and purpose are for us to get along and work together as one body. When we do, it is like a fragrant anointing, as those around us can see and experience the goodness of God. His blessings are bestowed upon us as we do, for in such space we are continually reminded of His goodness now, and the glorious hope of all that is yet to come. Yesterday, amid mourning and heartache with a beautiful young couple from our church, we witnessed this in a very real and tangible way. Many gathered to celebrate the short life of their baby, who died a few days before his due date in the womb. Despite devastating heartache, there was joy in celebrating together the hope of being reunited one day in heaven. Though the precious boy never was able to experience life with his family, he will never know heartache, sickness, or pain, for he is already in the arms of Jesus where there is perfect peace. The love and support of their family and community was overwhelmingly evident. Together, we gathered as one to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of the precious baby boy. Incredibly, the blessings and joy were more evident than the sorrow. Only in Jesus, is such hope possible. My heart was blessed, despite the tears, in witnessing and supporting the beauty that is found in a community that comes together as one. (For more of Luca’s story, click here) May we ever seek the Lord and His purposes for us, as we rely on Him to help us be in communities that are united, not divided in His perfect love.

Oh, how wonderful,

Is community;

That stands side-by-side,

In true unity.

United purpose,

Love is what is seen;

Brothers and sisters,

Choosing live in peace.

This is the calling,

God give to us all;

Love one another,

Help up those who fall.

When the trials come,

To stand side-by-side;

Love well and support,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united in community. Thank You that You lead us and equip us to love one another and to encourage and support each other as sisters and brothers. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differences to divide us rather than unite us, for each of us have strengths and gifts to share that make our community stronger. Show us how to see You in all those whom we encounter. Lead us to love and be in community as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another, together as one. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Made Alive in Jesus

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. – (Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV)

But God is rich in mercy, and He loved us very much. We were spiritually dead because of all we had done against Him. But He gave us new life together with Christ. (You have been saved by God’s grace.) – (Ephesians 2:4-5, ERV)

But God, with the unfathomable richness of His love and mercy focused on us, united us with the Anointed One and infused our lifeless souls with life – even though we were buried under mountains of sin – and saved us by His grace. – (Ephesians 2:4-5, VOICE)

When we give our lives to God, He makes us alive in Him. It is only by His mercy and grace that we have been rescued from the ultimate sentence for our sins. Jesus made the way for us to have new life with Him, as He took our penalty upon Himself so that we might receive what He freely gives. As we do, we experience the amazing grace and goodness of God, and are provided opportunities to show the same to those around us. May we continually give thanks to Jesus, as He has made us alive in Him now, and provides the hope we hold for eternity.

Alive in Jesus,

Is what we receive;

Goodness and mercy,

For all who believe.

Our every sin,

In Him, washed away;

Hope for forever,

And each brand new day.

No more in darkness,

For He is the light;

That leads and guides us,

Through both day and night.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your gracious love;

That cleanses our sin,

And calls us beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son and made the way for us to be alive in Jesus. Thank You that it is only by Your grace that we have been saved. Thank You that You pour out Your mercy, grace, goodness, and love upon us so that we may do likewise for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not shared with others that which we have been given in excess. Teach us to embrace the mercy and grace that You have given abundantly, so that we might walk in the same with those around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too would come to know Your mercy and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise Your for being made alive in Jesus and look to You to lead us in Your mercy and grace with those around us. Amen.

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Light of Hope

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

Hide me and protect me. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:114, ERV)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

The dictionary definition of hope is: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. (dictionary.com) However, for those who hope in Jesus, the word means so much more. When we place our hope in God and His word, it is the blessed assurance that we know God is with us, and are confident that no matter what is going on now, our future is certain in Christ. There is comfort, joy and peace when we place our hope in the Lord and His word. Throughout scriptures, we are reminded that God’s goodness triumphs over all that would feel like it is against us. Ultimately, Jesus provides our every reason to have hope forever. He took all of our sin, shame, hurts, heartaches and fears with Him to the cross. Jesus has felt what we feel, and knows how to contend for us. When we trust in Him and place our hope in His goodness and love, we not only know and experience it here, but we have the blessed assurance that we will spend eternity with Him in the place He has prepared for us. This is the reason that the Christmas season is one that is filled with hope, for Jesus arrived as the hope of the world that had been promised long before. His arrival was hope realized, and His life and love have shown us not only what we have now, but all that is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us of the hope we have in Him, and celebrate the blessed assurance that came into the world when Christ was born.

The Light of the world,

Came down unto us;

The hope realized,

Was found in Jesus.

Our safety and help,

Both now and to be;

Blessed assurance,

For you and for me.

Our true hope is found,

Sweet security;

Comfort in knowing,

Love eternally.

No matter what comes,

Hope in God is true;

He’s present to help,

And carry us through.

His light will lead us,

Our anchor through storms;

Good everlasting,

The Hope that transforms.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what hope truly means. Thank You that You are our hope in the here and now, and the blessed assurance we have in forever with You. Forgive us for forgetting that hope is not a feeling, but rather it is the knowing that is deeply rooted in our souls that reminds us that we are not home yet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate and pass on what hope really means. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You and trust in the blessed assurance that we have through knowing You and spending time in Your word. Amen.

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

“While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” – John 9:5

Rise and Shine

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you. – (Isaiah 60:1, HCSB)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. – (Isaiah 60:1, NIV)

Arise, shine, for your light has broken through! The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you. – (Isaiah 60:1, VOICE)

The glory of God lives in all who believe, and His light shines through those who are faithful in pursuing Him. His glory is made evident through our lives as we seek to follow after God and do His will. Just like the candle lighting at a Christmas Eve service, what begins as a single flame, soon can fill an entire space with lights burning bright. That single flame did not lessen, but rather it spread and shined all the brighter. The same is true with us. When we allow the Lord’s light to shine through us, it spreads, and the goodness of God is made visible to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to shine His brilliant light both upon us and through us, as we rise up in the goodness of His grace and love.

O Lord, may Your light,

Shine bright upon me;

So goodness and grace,

Are made known clearly.

Let all that I do,

And all that I say;

Make love evident,

As I choose Your way.

Lead me and guide me,

With each step I take;

Flood me with goodness,

Each morning I wake.

Ever stay near me,

As I choose abide;

Show me each next step,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You shine Your lavish light upon us, and kindle the flame within us, so that we may shine brightly into the world. Forgive us for the times that we have kept the light of Your love hidden, or have withheld love when we were meant to shine. Teach us to trust in You to lead us well, for Your grace and goodness flood our hearts with Your light. Show us how to love those around us like You, so that many may come to understand the depth and breadth of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to shine upon us and through us as we navigate each new day. Amen.

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

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Grace, Love and Presence

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, HCSB)

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE)

This verse is the conclusion of Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth. I so appreciate how he parts out the goodness of God. His separation of the three parts of the trinity and their attributes provide clarity on our need for each. We all need grace, love and the presence of fellowship in our lives. As we walk with the Lord, we grow in understanding of who He is and how He loves. His grace is more than enough for all that we need, His love, surrounds and fills us to overflowing, and His presence is the peace that settles our hearts no matter what lies before us. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is the provider of grace, love, and the very presence of peace.

Jesus, we need You,

Celtic Knot that represents The Trinity – intertwined without end

Your unending grace;

The good that leads us,

Throughout all our days.

O God, our Father,

We receive Your love;

The warmth that surrounds,

From You up above.

The Holy Spirit,

Ever-present peace;

Your nearness supplies,

All that our hearts need.

God You are so good,

May all come to know;

Your love, grace and peace,

That each day You show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in one. Thank You that Your Son grants us the grace to navigate each new day, Your Father’s heart loves us without limits, and Your perfect presence is our peace in all things. Forgive us for not recognizing the fullness of who You are and how You love. Teach us to ever seek to know You more, so that we might grow in our understanding of who You are and how great Your love, grace and presence truly are. Show us to love those around us well, so that we may be Your vessels of love, grace and peace that is made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for how You make Yourself known to us. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

All That is Good

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, HCSB)

Everything the Lord does is good. Everything He does shows how loyal He is. – (Psalm 145:17, ERV)

Everything God does is right – the trademark on all His works is love. – (Psalm 145:17, MSG)

The Eternal is right in all His ways, and He is kind in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, VOICE)

I included four different translations of this verse, as each points out the goodness of God that is made evident through His actions of love. This is what we need to remember and hold onto, as bad that happens is not caused by God, but rather by the brokenness of this world. What God does is stay with us, love us, and give us His peace as we navigate all things that come our way. The people who walk alongside us are a gift from Him, and the good we experience is because of His loving kindness. All that is good, all that is lovely, all that is loyal and kind, these are the things of God. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness, for He is faithful to show His loyal love through all that He does.

The Lord is so good,

In all of His ways;

He’s loyal and kind,

Throughout each new day.

His blessings bring peace,

His presence is love;

Our help and our hope,

His gifts from above.

So, ever choose seek,

For in Christ you’ll find;

Goodness, love and grace,

Forever He’s kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find how faithful, loyal and loving You are. Forgive us for blaming You for the bad in the world. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our anchor through the storms and our peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that loyalty and goodness make Your love evident to all. 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. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

To Learn What is Good

You are good, and You do what is good; teach me Your statutes. – (Psalm 119:68, HCSB)

You are good, and You do good things. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:68, ERV)

You are good, and the Source of good; train me in Your goodness. – (Psalm 119:68, MSG)

You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require. – (Psalm 119:68, VOICE)

Because God is good, what He requires is also good. In our broken humanity, good is not always what comes naturally. Instead, we must invest time with God and read His word to grow in our understanding and listen as He reveals more of His heart to us. For the last eleven plus years, I have invested the start of each day into spending time in God’s word and in prayer. What I have learned and continue to learn is the importance of loving God and loving people. The more I spend time with Him, the more He reveals His heart for all of humanity. At the end of the day, what matters most is am I loving Him and loving those around me. He shows willing hearts how to love as He loves, and the process is one that takes a lifetime. No one ever arrives. We all have an ongoing need to learn and grow to become more like Him. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and love, so that we may continue to learn what He requires of us to live and love well.

The goodness of God,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Truth that shall remain;

All that the Lord does,

Shows His love explained.

It is up to us,

To choose seek the Lord;

And as we do so,

His grace is outpoured.

He shows us the way,

To live as He asks;

In all things, choose love,

Not a list of tasks.

So, choose to seek Him,

Spend time in His word;

In love, He’ll lead us,

Making His heart heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and all of Your ways are good. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love as You intended. Thank You that it is an ongoing process. Thank You that we are a work in progress. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to lead us. Teach us the value of investing time each day with You. Show us Your heart for us and for those around us. Lead us to love as You love. May many come to see and know how good You are and choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, grow us and transform us to be more like You in how we live and love each day. Amen.

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

Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

The Reality of Faith

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)

Life requires faith. We have faith that the sun will rise and tomorrow will come, yet we have not seen either yet. Faith in God and the hope that we will join Him in heaven when our days on earth are done, are made tangible as we observe all that His hands have made, and witness the glimpses of heaven that we get in the here and now. When I think of all of the beauty of creation and the unique design of every human and creature that lives, I have faith that there is indeed a Creator. There is nothing that can convince me that all that exists came from some cosmic explosion. Incredibly, the word of God tells us that no eye has seen and no mind can fathom the beauty that awaits us in paradise. I am a visual person and have viewed some overwhelming beauty here on earth. Everywhere I go, I witness whispers of the goodness and creativity of God. Though I cannot see Him, I know that He is. I do not have to understand all things for them to be real. This is where faith comes in. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow our faith in Him, and to further our assurance that there is so much more that is yet to come.

Faith is the fuel,

Beautiful Belizean sunrise.

Of what we believe;

Hope that is certain,

Beyond what we see.

The goodness of God,

Creativity;

Beauty surrounds us,

Intentionally.

May we keep seeking,

Choose trust in the Lord;

Ever He’s faithful,

To show us His more.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You. Thank You that the evidence of Your loving hand is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers because the mountains ahead of us seem unsurpassable. Teach us to trust You for each next step, for no obstacle is ever overcome without moving forward in faith. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love, goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever grow our faith with Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Ongoing Transformation

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

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

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

 This verse is such a wonderful reminder that we are ALL a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived”; we all can continue to be transformed more and more by the goodness of God and His unending grace, if only we are willing to seek and trust in Him. The process is different for everyone, and what we see is not the whole story. We all have challenges and triumphs, detours and direct routes as we navigate this life with the intent to grow more like Jesus. I love that the Lord will not stop in the middle, but rather will continue to work in us and through us as we depend on Him. Though I am certain I have passed the midpoint in this life, I am well aware of the work that still needs to be done. There is always more to learn, and always more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and more to gain. It is only through looking back that we can see how far we have come. For some, change is subtle, as the external has mostly always been a pleasant demeanor, however, the work in the heart is what transforms the mind to think and respond in love in all circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in His love, and recognize that we are all a work in progress and in desperate need of His love and grace.

Confidently trust,

The work is not done;

A lifelong process,

As we seek the Son.

Each day we choose Him,

His love is our guide;

To give as He gives,

With arms open wide.

Lead us in Your love,

To care as You do;

Let Your goodness show,

As we follow You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all a work in progress and that Your work in us will not stop until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that none of us “arrive” and are somehow without room to grow. Forgive us for our expectations and frustrations with others, for You are working in and through all of us. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for growth happens as we seek You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage one another to grow more like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to keep transforming our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love throughout each day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Slow Down and Celebrate

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Despite the turmoil that seems to be constantly swirling in our nation, the goodness of God is still evident all around us. No matter what we see or hear going on around us, we can take refuge in the Lord, for His love remains the same forever. For me, as I pause and take inventory of God’s goodness, gratitude rises for the family and friends whom He surrounds me with, and for the grace and kindness He provides, no matter the circumstances that we walk through. He is near and always good, and we can depend on Him to be our space of safety and peace. May we take time to reflect and recognize God’s goodness all around us, and choose to trust and run to Him.

Look all around you,

image by Soda Head

Choose taste and you’ll see;

The goodness of God,

His love’s given free.

Our safe place to run,

His arms full of love;

Safety, provision,

All good from above.

So, trust in the Lord,

Give all thanks to Him;

Celebrate the good,

That He’s placed within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to slow down and celebrate Your goodness, as we gather and enjoy the communities in which we’ve been placed. Thank You that You provide Your love and faithfulness wherever we go. Forgive us for not noticing the blessings that You have placed all around us. Teach us to observe Your goodness and love all around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down to taste and see how very good You are. 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