Abiding in Jesus

Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. – (John 15:4, NIV)

Stay joined to Me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to Me. – (John 15:4, ERV)

Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with Me. – (John 15:4, MSG)

As a middle school teacher in January, I recognize the truth of this in very tangible ways. If I do not begin my day with Jesus, my heart is not set right to abide in Him. Without Him, I would not get through the challenges that nearing the end of the first semester bring. Between the push to complete and finalize grading, kids in scramble mode to raise grades, behaviors break down and patience is challenged. When I rely on He who is in me, I am kinder and more patient. In the moments that I try to trust in my own strength, frustration rises, and I am ready to walk away. Remaining in Jesus means to listen to His leading in all things. This includes moments of frustration and challenge, as well as those of blessing and celebration. He is always good, and is faithful to supply what we need in all things. May we ever abide in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith; for greater is He who is in us, than anything that is in the world.

Abide in Jesus,

As He does in us;

Our Hope and Helper,

The One who sees us.

He knows all our needs,

When we’re not aware;

And as we seek Him,

Always, He is there.

Present to help us,

To show us the way;

To live and love well,

As in Him we stay.

So, remain in God,

The Giver of grace;

Our Help and our Hope,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead us and help us to bear good fruit as we remain in You. Thank You that You are for us, and that Your heart is to lead us to love well. Forgive us for the times that we rely on our own strength, for that is where our patience grows thin, and our resolve diminishes. Teach us to abide in You throughout every moment of every day. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that Your light and love are made known to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we abide in You and seek You to be the bearer of fruit in and through our lives. 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

Jesus is the Healer

A man with leprosy came to Him and begged Him on his knees, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed. – (Mark 1:40-42, NIV)

A man who had leprosy came to Jesus. The man bowed on his knees and begged Him, “You have the power to heal me if You want.” These last words made Jesus angry. But He touched him and said, “I want to heal you. Be healed!” Immediately the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. – (Mark 1:40-42, ERV)

A leper walked right up to Jesus, dropped to his knees, and begged Him for help. Leper: “If You want to, You can make me clean.” Jesus was powerfully moved. He reached out and actually touched the leper. Jesus: “I do want to. Be clean.” And at that very moment, the disease left him; the leper was cleansed and made whole once again. – (Mark 1:40-42, VOICE)

This is a fascinating exchange between a man with leprosy and Jesus. The leper knows that Jesus is the Healer but is uncertain if it is for him. Perhaps the way that society viewed lepers was a factor in how he went about asking Jesus to heal him. Shunned and banished from families and communities, those with leprosy were considered unclean and not allowed to be within touch distance of anyone. I imagine that the man, knowing he was unclean and risking exposing others, was uncertain as to whether Jesus would want to heal him. Society had not valued him. Would Jesus? I love that Jesus was powerfully moved, told the leper that He did want to heal him, and then reached out and touched him. Not only did His words validate the leper’s value, but Jesus was not afraid to touch the “untouchable”. As He did, the man was made whole again. I imagine that the wholeness the leper experienced was much more than physical. Yes, his skin was healed from the disease, but through the physical touch, I can only venture to imagine that his heart was healed as well. So often when Jesus healed people, He would tell them that their sins were forgiven. Jesus was doing so much more than physically healing people; He was healing hearts and minds so that their worth would be made known. The same Jesus that healed many during His three years of ministry, placed the power of His Holy Spirit in those who believed. The early church continued to experience powerful healings as believers prayed in Jesus’ name. Throughout the generations from then to now, Jesus has continued to miraculously heal people. May we ever trust in Jesus, our Healer, and go to Him to lead us in spaces that need His powerful touch. Sometimes, He heals miraculously, and often, He utilizes humans to help bring freedom from what ails us. Other times, the physical healing does not happen until heaven. I know from personal experience, that at times, Jesus may bring doctors in to do the physical work, but He works in our hearts through the process. In all things, God is good, and we can trust Him to be our Healer.

Jesus, our Healer,

Always He is good;

His love reaches out,

Makes grace understood.

His healing is more,

Than our eyes can see;

He touches our hearts,

In Him, we are free.

Free from the burden,

Of sickness and pain;

No longer hopeless,

Held up in His Name.

His healing will come,

Eventually;

Be it here on earth,

Or when heaven’s seen.

His timing’s perfect,

Despite how we feel;

His grace sufficient,

And heaven is real.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be the Healer. Thank You that after He returned to His rightful seat in heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to continue to move among us and bring healing and wholeness. Forgive us for questioning Your love and desire to heal, for love is for good in all things. Help us to seek You to be our Healer and to lead us in the direction we are meant to go, both personally and as we walk alongside others in need of Your touch. Please heal the hearts, minds and bodies of those in need. Show us how to walk by faith and not by sight, as we lift up and love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the healing that is found as they hope in You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our Healer, listen to Your leading as we go, and believe that You will bring healing – be it on earth or in heaven. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – Psalm 103:2-3

Give Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

So far, it has been a strange winter break. My love and I spent Christmas morning driving south to my sister and brother-in-law’s home to enjoy time together with their family and my mom. My kids were unable to go, as they were recovering from a virus and did not want to share it with mom. Yesterday, we spent a few hours helping organize and set up mom’s new place near my sister. Change can be overwhelming yet being close to family in a space that is equipped to help and support mom well, is a positive change, as she was alone far too often. It is a tremendous blessing that mom was able to get in, as there is a long wait list to move into her new place. I mention these things because though not typical, I can see and celebrate God’s blessings through it all. For my kids, they had down time to rest and relax, and for us, we were able to visit and help, even with a quick turn-around. This morning, my love is back to work, and I am back to running practice for my gymnasts. I still have another week off from teaching, but coaching continues throughout. There is joy in this as well. Another praise is that my surgeries went well, and I am on the mend. The specialist was confident that she removed all the cancerous cells, and the reconstructive surgery of the site is healing nicely. For all these things and more, I am truly grateful to God and cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. May we ever bless the Lord and give Him thanks, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

All praise be to God,

I lift up His Name;

For all that is good,

His grace to proclaim.

Through all things that come,

On this road we take;

God will be faithful,

For a way He’ll make.

Faithful through valleys,

And on mountain tops;

He will never leave,

Our struggles He swaps.

He exchanges dark,

With glorious light;

Grants peace with presence,

In Him we delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have so much to be grateful for in You. Forgive us for the times that we forget our blessings and focus on what we cannot control. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to respond each time we call on Your Name. Show us how to praise You in all things, especially through how we choose to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless blessings that You bring into our lives and for the love that You show. Amen.

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

Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. – 1 Kings 8:56

The Throne of Grace

This is a post from a few years ago, yet is so timely right now…

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Be My Strength

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – (Psalm 22:19, NIV)

Lord, don’t leave me! You are my strength – hurry and help me! – (Psalm 22:19, ERV)

But You, O Eternal, stay close; O You, my help, hurry to my side. – (Psalm 22:19, VOICE)

One of the many things that I appreciate about the Psalms is that David was always raw and real before God. When he struggled, David cried out to God for help. In times of blessing, he gave God all thanks and praise. In all of the various roles that David filled, the common thread throughout was his dependence on God. This morning, I am reminded again to seek our Savior for strength. He knows my needs and He hears every prayer. Yesterday had some rough moments, but today is brand new. God will never leave nor forsake me, so I can trust in Him to provide what I need to navigate today. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, for He will be as close as our next breath.

O Lord, each morning,

I draw strength from You;

Your love holds me up,

And carries me through.

With kindness You breathe,

New life into me;

Strength to keep moving,

Despite what I see.

O God, Your goodness,

Sustains and lifts up;

Unending Your love,

That keeps filling us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call out to You to be our strength and trust that You are near us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us each time we call on Your Name. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to power through on our own, or have given up when You were calling us to keep moving. Show us how trust seek You to be the strength we need in all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that we extend Your heart to others through the overflow of what we have been lavishly given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, for You are ever near. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Overflowing Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

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

No Matter What May Come

For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, HCSB)

And now He can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because He Himself suffered and was tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18, ERV)

Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, VOICE)

Because Jesus was tempted in every way, and He suffered beyond what we can even begin to fathom, He understands and knows how to help us when we struggle. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are completely alone in the midst of struggle or suffering, but the truth is, God is always near. Jesus is ever moving on our behalf. The challenge is to slow down, seek the Lord, and simply sit in His presence. He is faithful to meet us in our seeking, and will hold us up and lead us through the trials that we face. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is faithful, and He will help, hold, and lead us so that we may navigate every difficulty that comes our way.

No matter what comes,

God already knows;

How to best help us,

In His strength, we grow.

Through great temptations,

Or true suffering;

God will be faithful,

Grace and strength He brings.

So, rise up and seek,

Each time you shall find;

More than imagined,

His love does exceed.

Lean into Jesus,

No matter what comes;

He’s present to help,

The great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You understand every trial and suffering that we endure. Thank You that because You have suffered and been tempted in every way, You are able to help and strengthen us to navigate all things. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too may come to know Your strength and help and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times, for in You, there is peace and hope and strength. Amen.

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

Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God. – Jeremiah 42:6

Approach Boldly

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. – (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

Because Jesus came and took all of our sin and shortcomings upon Himself, we are able to stand before God to ask for His mercy and grace when we need it. We need not fear that God will grow weary of our asking, for He sent Jesus because He knows our desperate need. This morning, as I am weary and ready for rest this weekend, I know that He will supply the strength and endurance I need to get through today. May we ever approach the throne of grace with boldness, for God welcomes us into His presence and provides what we need as we come before Him.

With mercy and grace,

Is how we are met;

By God, our Father,

Who erased our debt.

The sins of the past,

He’s wiped them away;

And gives us His grace,

To love well each day.

May we keep seeking,

The Lord God above;

Who grants us mercy,

And fills us with love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come before You with confidence. Confidence in knowing that we will be heard and helped and held. Forgive us for the times that we have not come before You in our need, for You instruct and remind us to come unto You. Teach us to bring all our burdens before You, for You flood us with Your mercy and love and give us the grace we need to keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your goodness, mercy and love are made evident through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we boldly come before Your throne, grateful for Your goodness and grace that made the way for us to know and depend on You. Amen.

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

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Opportunities for Good

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, NIV)

When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, ERV)

So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family. – (Galatians 6:10, VOICE)

It always amazes me that when we take the opportunity to do good, we end up feeling blessed. Every time I choose to help, extend kindness, walk beside – whatever the good God is showing me to do – I discover my heart is filled and I feel blessed in the process. I imagine that this is why God calls us to be in community. We are provided opportunities to both give and receive His goodness through those whom He has purposefully placed in our lives. May we ever use every opportunity provided to do the good that God intended, for He is faithful to bless and encourage us all as we do.

The Lord is faithful,

To give us the chance;

To do the good things,

Just as the Lord’s asked.

The good that we do,

Becomes a blessing;

To us and to them,

His love expressing.

So, look for the good,

That we each can do;

Opportunities,

To see God’s love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You for providing opportunities for us to walk beside, help, and encourage those around us. Thank You that in the process, we end up blessed with Your goodness and faithfulness in ways we would never expect. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to do the good You were showing us to do. Teach us to trust You and Your leading, for You are faithful to show us each next step. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and faithfulness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take every opportunity to do the good that You show us to do. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Devoted

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – (Colossians 4:2, NIV)

Never stop praying. Be ready for anything by praying and being thankful. – (Colossians 4:2, ERV)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

To devote oneself to God is to be dedicated and committed to communicating with our Creator. It is an intentional act of speaking and listening, by which we give our gratitude and present our petitions to the Lord. We are charged to be watchful and aware, which sets our hearts at the ready as we communicate with and praise God. This purposeful devotion results in constant communion with Christ. He is faithful to meet us each time we draw near, as He hears our prayers and praise, and speaks to our hearts as we wait in silent stillness. May we choose to pray diligently, for as we do, we are aware and equipped, and overwhelmed with gratitude to God.

Because of Jesus,

We have access to;

The Holy Father,

Who blesses, renews.

In this sweet freedom,

We are called to pray;

Commune with the Lord,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Faithful to meet us,

The Lord’s ever near;

Each praise and request,

In love, the Lord hears.

With wonder, seek Him,

Ask and we’ll receive;

Direction and help,

And all that we need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come near and commune with You. Thank You that You are but a heartbeat away. Thank You that You hear our petitions and praise, and that You answer us as we call on You. Forgive us for merely presenting a laundry list of requests. Teach us to see all of the reasons we have to praise You as we go about our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually pray, prepare and praise through our time intentionally spent with You. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6