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

How to Pray

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, HCSB)

Today is the first day of twenty-one days of intentional prayer and fasting with my church. Each day there is a focused passage and it is only fitting that day one covers “The Lord’s Prayer”. This five-verse passage provides us with a framework of how we ought to pray. First, we ought to acknowledge who God is. Next, we are to seek His will, not our own. After that, we should ask Him for what we need. Next, we are to confess to Him and request forgiveness, as we also must forgive others in the same way. He is gracious to help as we ask. None of us are beyond the reach of temptation and ought to ask that God help us avoid or overcome all that tempts us away from His will for our lives. Being delivered from the evil one is an ongoing ask for protection – mind, body, and spirit. Lastly, we ought to again point back to who God is and remember all that He can do. May we each be intentional to begin the new year well, for our help and hope is in Christ.

O God in heaven,

Most holy are You;

Our Savior and King,

Who makes all things new.

May Your will be done,

In our hearts and lives;

Help us to honor,

Without compromise.

Be our Provider,

Throughout each new day;

For in You we find,

What’s needed each day.

For our wrongdoings,

Please love and forgive;

Help us do likewise,

Each day that we live.

Protect our choices,

From going astray;

Lead us and guide us,

To walk in Your way.

The kingdom is Yours,

Love, power and grace;

All praise forever,

For Your loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You have provided guidance for when we are uncertain as to how to pray. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek You in all things. Teach us to entrust all things into Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your leading as we pray and choose to trust You more each day. Amen.

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

The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. – Psalm 6:9

Hope We Can Hold

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, HCSB)

Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in Me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father’s home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. – (John 14:1-2, VOICE)

What Jesus told to His disciples applies to all who believe. We need not be troubled, but instead, believe in God and all that Jesus is doing on our behalf. No matter how things seem in the here and now, we have an incredible hope and future in Him. The same God who created all the beauty that surrounds us is preparing a place for us to dwell with Him forever. When I think of how incredible the mountains and seas, forests and fields, and all of the stars that He hung in the skies, I am awestruck considering what heaven must be like. To be in the very presence of He who is love, surrounded by all that He has prepared for us, the very thought leaves me in awe and wonder. May we ever remember our Savior and all He is doing to prepare a place for us, for our hope is in Him and all that He has for us.

The promise of God,

Forever shall be;

The hope we can hold,

Despite what we see.

For Jesus has gone,

To prepare a place;

For our forever,

Full of love and grace.

The good that we see,

And beauty we know;

Are but a mere glimpse,

Of what is in store.

All that lies ahead,

Our hope for today;

The goodness of God,

Will show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not allow our trials and troubles determine our hope, for You are our security and grace as we navigate each new day. Thank You that Your loving kindness is ever present to lead us and remind us that there is so much more that lies ahead. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope that we hold when life gets messy. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are unchangeable and Your love knows no end. Lead us to love as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You forever. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Intentionally

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – He remains faithful forever. – (Psalm 146:6, NIV)

He made the heavens and earth. He made the sea and everything in it. He can be trusted to do what He says. – (Psalm 146:6, ERV)

You keep all Your promises. You are the Creator of heaven’s glory, earth’s grandeur, and the ocean’s greatness. – (Psalm 146:6, TPT)

There is nothing quite like being near the ocean for me. Each time I draw near to the salt air, hear the crashing waves, and sink my toes into the sand, peace surrounds me and I am reminded of the powerful love of the One who made it all. Just as we can watch and count on the waves to continue meeting the shore, so too, we can depend on the Lord to be present and faithful forever. I find myself especially aware of God’s faithfulness as I am blessed with a weekend away in my favorite coastal town with my love. It is such a blessing to share the place I love with the one I love. Each wave that meets the shore reminds me that God is present and powerful, and that His love is never ending. May we each take time to observe the incredible beauty around us that is the work of His hands, and recognize the eternal faithfulness found in the One who made it all.

Faithful forever,

Creator of all;

The glory that’s seen,

His hands made it all.

Each great ocean wave,

The gorgeous blue sky;

The sand that warms toes,

Beauty can’t be denied.

The very same hands,

That formed such beauty;

Designed each of us,

Intentionally.

Forever faithful,

The Lord God above;

As He reminds us,

Of unending love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, who created all of the beauty that our eyes can see, also created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Forgive us for losing sight of Your faithfulness and love as we navigate all that comes our way. Teach us to trust in You, for You love us and never leave us. Show us how to appreciate all that Your hands have made, so that we may love those around us in the same ways that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen.

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

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

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

Ask in Faith

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

If you believe, you will get anything you ask for in prayer. – (Matthew 21:22, ERV)

Everything you pray for with the fullness of faith you will receive! – (Matthew 21:22, TPT)

These words were spoken by Jesus to the disciples after He had commanded a fig tree to never bear fruit again, and they watched the tree wither before them. His words were not to create a culture of wishes being granted, but more to prove the power of prayer, when spoken in faith. The challenge in this is that there are always prayers that seem to go unanswered. In our limited understanding, that is how things appear. If we could see things through the lens of Christ, we would recognize that our prayers are answered His way, not ours. He hears every prayer that we pray, and is ever moving on our behalf. However, God is just and kind, and our prayers must align with His heart and His plans. I have prayed in faith, believing that God would bring healing on many occasions. Sometimes, healing is immediate, other times it is gradual, and still other times, the healing happens in heaven. What I do know, is that God is faithful to meet us in our need and provide His presence that moves mountains – both in our hearts and in our circumstances. May we ever turn to Him and lift our prayers, believing in faith that He will move either the mountains before us, or lead us over or around all that seems to stand in our way.

Call on the Lord,

In faith, seek His Name;

Pray believing,

The truth we proclaim.

We know He’s good,

He hears each request;

His love holds us,

His grace does what’s best.

Let us choose ask,

Make our requests known;

God is faithful,

And His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear every prayer spoken in faith. Thank You that answers don’t always look the way that we anticipate, but You are always good and have eternity in mind. Forgive us for our frustration and impatience when it seems that answers are not present. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize You moving on our behalf, and trust that You have our ultimate good in mind. Show us how to love those around us, as we lift up prayers of faith, believing that You will answer all that we ask. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up our prayers to You in faith, trusting that You will move mightily on our behalf. 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. – Matthew 7:7

Wrapped in Cloth

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. – (Luke 2:12, NIV)

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – (Luke 24:12, NIV)

This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box. – (Luke 2:12, ERV)

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb to see. He looked in, but he saw only the cloth that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. It was just lying there. Peter went away to be alone, wondering what had happened. – (Luke 24:12, ERV)

You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough. – (Luke 2:12, TPT)

But Peter jumped up and ran the entire distance to the tomb to see for himself. Stooping down, he looked inside and discovered it was empty! There was only the linen sheet lying there. Staggered by this, he walked away, wondering what it meant. – (Luke 24:12, TPT)

What an incredible wonder we find in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus! When He was born, the sign to the shepherds that He was the One, was that Jesus would be wrapped in pieces of cloth, lying in a manger; and when Jesus had risen, the only thing that Peter found in the empty tomb were the pieces of cloth that had been His burial clothes. These pieces of cloth are the shared shreds of humanity between heaven and earth. Our Savior came down from His heavenly throne to live and love among us. The shepherds saw Jesus lying in the manger and held the hope that would be fulfilled when Peter discovered the tomb where Jesus had been laid now only contained similar pieces of cloth. In His humanity, Jesus gave up heaven to come to us, and sacrificed His life so that we one day could join Him in heaven. What a wonder indeed! May we make time to pause and reflect on the incredible gift that God gave to us through His Son, and the hope we now hold because Jesus gave. 

The pieces of cloth,

Wrapped humanity;

As God with us made,

Hope eternally.

Born as a baby,

In a stable bare;

Surrounded by love,

As Jesus lay there.

A life of loving,

Showing good and grace;

Forgiveness, mercy,

The Lord made the way.

Unto that old cross,

Willing He gave;

His life in exchange,

As sin He forgave.

Wrapped up in the tomb,

Death He overcame;

Burial linens,

Were all that remained.

Our Savior’s alive,

Let us celebrate;

The hope we now hold,

Today and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the perfect gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for Your willing sacrifice so that all might find forgiveness and a new life. Forgive us for not holding the sacredness of this season as close as we ought to. Teach us to pause and reflect and worship You, our hope for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your perfect, sacrificial love. May many find the hope that is found in You alone this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we worship and praise You for the perfect gift You wrapped and unwrapped in pieces of cloth for us all. Amen.

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

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – Luke 2:10

He Reigns

God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne. – (Psalm 47:8, NIV) 

God sits on His holy throne, He rules all the nations. – (Psalm 47:8, ERV) 

Our God reigns over every nation. He reigns on His holy throne over all. – (Psalm 47:8, TPT) 

This is what we have to remember, even when the world around us seems to be in turmoil. God is still good, and He is in charge.  The One who made heaven and earth is more than able to see us through trying times. Though it is difficult to understand why the world is the way it is right now, with God, we can trust that His presence will never leave us, and His plans and purposes will come to pass. Each new day we must choose to trust in He who is greater than anything that is in the world. Some days it is easier than others. May we seek first, His kingdom, for in Him and through Him all things exist. 

Above all nations, 

The Lord God, He reigns; 

Faithful forever, 

He is who He claims. 

Despite what we see, 

His word’s always true; 

Throughout each trial, 

He’s making things new. 

Choose hold onto hope, 

And look to His throne; 

He’ll strengthen and lead, 

‘til we make it home. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are on Your throne over the nations, as You are ultimately the One in control. Forgive us for losing heart when we look around and see the state of the world today. Teach us to trust You and Your plan and follow wherever and however You lead. Show us how to love those around us best, in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to rule and reign, even when we cannot see how You are working. Amen. 

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. – (Zephaniah 3:17, VOICE)

 

I love the Voice translation of this passage, as the word choice speaks so clearly to my heart. As an individual who understands the deep need for every person to have someone willing to fight for them, and the joy of a new husband, God’s promises are an encouragement that stand the test of time. His presence is our comfort, and His love brings peace and joy and calms our fears. Our mighty Savior, who is like a powerful soldier, is our Protector, ever present with us. The idea that He delights over us with joyful songs, is reminiscent of when my babies were young, and how I would delight in them and sing to them and there would be peace among us as we rested. My human experience is but a glimpse in comparison to the depth of love that God has for us. The joy and delight we discover in those whom He blesses us with in our lives are but a preview of all that He has in store for us in heaven. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord who is among us, present to save and rejoice over us.

 

The Lord is with us,Among Us

He’s mighty to save;

In love, celebrates,

His grace is displayed.

Each fear shall be calmed,

As in Him, we rest;

For His help and love,

Fill our needs the best.

Imagine the sound,

As the Lord does sing;

With joy over us,

All peace He does bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You are our Champion, who is willing to fight for us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm our fears. Thank You that You are always present. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to interrupt the peace that You offer. Teach us to lean into You at all times, so that we may know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us with Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible blessings You bestow upon us with Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5