Community Brings Comfort

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – (Matthew 18:20, HCSB)

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

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

Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, HCSB)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

When we love Jesus, the kingdom we receive is Him residing in our hearts right now, and the hope in knowing that we will dwell with Him for eternity. Because we have this hope, we ought to be compelled to serve and worship God in such a way that we demonstrate our reverence and awe through living a life of love. May we ever give Him praise for each new day, and honor Him with a heart that longs to love like Him.

With hearts full of thanks,

Lord, help us to love;

To honor and serve,

Like Jesus above.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

May ev’ry action,

Bring honor to You.

Lead us in Your love,

Throughout each new day;

Show us what is best,

How to love Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us Your kingdom now in our hearts, and for filling us with Your hope for all that is yet to come. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not demonstrate love and gratitude for who You are and all that You do. Lead us to live out Your love through all that we do and say each new day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our praise throughout all our days as we seek to honor You by loving well. Amen.

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

The True God never sleeps and always resides in the city of joy; He makes it unstoppable, unshakable. When it awakes at dawn, the True God has already been at work. – Psalm 46:5

Our True Hope

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:4-5, NIV)

Come through the gates to His Temple giving thanks to Him. Enter His courtyards with songs of praise. Honor Him and bless His Name. The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:4-5, ERV)

Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His Holy Name. Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:4-5, VOICE)

Because of Jesus, we are able to come before the throne of God. His sacrifice made the way for us to enter His very courts without fear or hesitation, but rather in confident faith that we are known, loved and received however we come. It is the Lord’s great love that reminds us of the countless reasons that we ought to give Him thanks and praise His Name. When we begin to understand what faithful love truly is, we cannot help but give thanks and praise. May we ever enter His courts with thanksgiving and offer Him all of our gratitude for His never-ending faithful love.

Enter God’s presence,

For He’s ev’rywhere;

Loving arms outstretched,

With mercy and care.

In love the Lord waits,

For us to draw near;

Each prayer we offer,

He lovingly hears.

All thanks unto God,

Our Savior and King;

For love, life and hope,

The joys that He brings.

God is our true hope,

In whom we are known;

All thanks unto Him,

Who sits on the throne.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and enter Your courts, Your very presence, as You welcome us with open arms. Thank You that You love and forgive and draw us unto Yourself with Your overwhelming and unending love. Forgive us for the times that we have not given praise and honor unto You. Every good and perfect gift comes from You, and we ought to recognize and acknowledge the abundant blessings You bring to us all. Teach us to see Your hand in all things, and make us ever aware of Your loving kindness. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, might come to know the beauty of Your unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

The Peace of Christ

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow Christ’s peace to rule our hearts, each body that we are a member of is extended His peace and gratitude cannot help but rise up in such spaces. As we begin this week of Thanksgiving, may we be intentional to recognize our reasons for giving thanks, and may we allow God to guide us by His peace as we gather with friends and family, near and far. Lord, lead us in Your perfect peace and fill our hearts with thanks and praise for all that You are and all that You have done.

O Lord, guide our hearts,

By Your perfect peace;

Lead us in Your love,

All grace be released.

Show us our reasons,

To give thanks and praise;

For all the blessings,

That have come our way.

Family and friends,

Supply of our needs;

Your loving kindness,

And hope that exceeds.

More than imagined,

Or what we could dream;

Your mercy and grace,

Show us what love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly guide our hearts and minds in Your perfect peace as we seek and depend on You. Thank You that You have called and created us for community, and You place us in the circles we are in for a purpose. Thank You for the gift of those whom You have placed around me, for even on the most difficult days I am encouraged and supported in love. Forgive us for allowing the struggles of this life to divert our eyes from the abundant blessings that surround us. Teach us to have Your eyes to see our surroundings and circumstances as You do, so that our hearts might overflow with gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in such a way that others too, would recognize the overwhelming love and perfect peace that You alone provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your goodness, kindness, and perfect peace. Amen.

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

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Rising Up

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

This morning, I am trusting God anew to do these things. I am so thankful that everyday is new. With Christ, each day we can find new strength and new joy; for yesterday is gone and today is full of new possibilities and hope for better. I know that God works in mysterious ways and that we go through trials to develop perseverance and character, yet He does not leave us to our own devices to navigate the struggle. He walks beside us and grants us the strength that we need so that we may find joy and gratitude even when our circumstances feel impossible. May we depend on God to be our strength and shield and rejoice in song for His faithfulness and love.

Sometimes, a song comes to mind and that is what fills my heart and mind. This morning, it is this one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring songs to mind to strengthen and encourage us. Thank You for making all things new. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts, for in the natural, things can seem impossible. Teach us to ever rely on You to be our strength and our song. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and shield and praise You with the songs that rise up in our heart. Amen.

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

Rise up! Help us! Redeem us because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 44:26

Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – Psalm 105:3

Well Loved

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

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

Time away always reminds me of how grateful I am for everything in my life. God’s unfailing love and kindness surround me, bless and encourage me, as He has given me family and friends that demonstrate His selfless love regularly. The beauty of His creation is a visual reminder of all that He has done and continues to do for all of us. May we ever give God thanks for His unfailing love and wonderful kindness, as we recognize the amazing things that He has done for us all.

All thanks be to God,

For love that won’t fail;

His grace and mercy,

That always prevail.

The Lord’s great kindness,

Reminds us anew;

That we are well loved,

His promises, true.

Take time to notice,

His love and His grace;

Beauty around us,

Our reasons to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and for the abundant blessings that surround us. Thank You that You so loved us that You show us again and again through Your kindness and grace just how good You are. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize or thank You for how completely You love us. Teach us to have eyes to see and hearts to understand so that we may ever give You our gratitude. Show us how to love those around us the way that You intended, so all might know the incredible depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your unfailing love and the kindness You grant to us all. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Everything Good

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, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, Who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder of this very truth. God gives us good gifts. I was blessed with time to run in the morning with my long-time running bestie to start my day after walking the pups, then was able to spend much of the day with one of my dearest friends, who is for all practical purposes, family. Though we seldom find time to get together, each time we do, we pick up where we left off. Like the goodness of God, the goodness of friendship does not change. Additionally, time with my family during a family dinner out, was yet another gift from above. Our typically quiet evening meal was disrupted, and laughter and stories exchanged. For me, that in and of itself was a gift, as dining with four big guys is usually focused on consuming what is in front of them, not on conversation with those around them. Friends and family from near and far took time out of their day to send greetings and kind wishes as I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am so grateful for the good and perfect gifts that God has granted. He knows our heart and how to bless us best. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

The Lord is so good,

His love never fails;

No matter what comes,

His love will prevail.

Goodness and mercy,

Throughout all our days;

His faithful blessings,

Show goodness and grace.

Each day is a gift,

Treasure to embrace;

Surrounded by love,

And washed by His grace.

All thanks be to God,

His love never ends;

Each time that we seek,

Sweet answers He sends.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for placing people in our lives that show us Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for taking anything for granted, for everything good comes from You and is deserving of our gratitude. Teach us to trust in Your goodness, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known in tangible ways. 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 perfectly. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6