The Light of Jesus

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, shine your light before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

“You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:14-16, ERV)

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” – (Matthew 5:14-16, MSG)

All who know Jesus have His light within. The light within us is meant to be shared wherever we go, for where there is light, darkness disappears. What this means for us is that we are to live in such a way that God is glorified, and that those around us recognize He who is in us by our love. The more that we choose love in all that we do, the more clearly Christ’s love is shown. As we love like Jesus, His goodness is made known and God is given the glory. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to be His light-bearers wherever we go and through all that we do.

Christ is the true light,

That shines from within;

Chasing the darkness,

As we walk with Him.

He leads us with love,

So that we may shine;

Be light in darkness,

And love all the time.

This is our calling,

To let His light shine;

May we love like Him,

As our hearts align.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to shine the light of Your love wherever we go. Thank You that this is not something that we somehow muster up, but rather as we walk with You and spend time with You, Your light shines through us. Forgive us for the times that we have hidden Your light. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may shine brightly on Your behalf in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You throughout all our days. May many come into a lasting relationship with You and walk in Your ways. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to spend time with You and give You room to refine and align our hearts to clearly reflect Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – 2 Samuel 22:29

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

Compassion and Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father compassion and the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. – (2 Corinthians 1:3, VOICE)

Most nights, I wake and have little or no recollection as to what I dreamed about. This morning, however, I woke after having dreamed all throughout the night about the surgery that was just scheduled yesterday. It was neither bad nor good, but rather felt like an abundance of waiting. I imagine that it was sparked by the concern that has been weighing on me since I was told the appointment schedule, and it carried over into my dreams. It is no mystery that I am anxious about what lies ahead, yet I know I am in a space where I must simply trust and go through the process. Though I have never experienced anything quite like this before, I have experienced the unfailing faithfulness of God. God is compassionate and is our comfort, and time and time again, I can share His heart for these things in our lives. He has been with me, provided for me, and comforted me through some of life’s lowest valleys. God stayed beside me, held me up, and provided all that I needed to keep moving forward. In fifteen days, the process will have begun, and in sixteen, it will be complete. Right now, that seems like a very long wait. However, when I look back, it does not feel like gymnastics season is nearly a month in. Even when days drag on, the weeks have flown much more rapidly than realized. Time is tricky, as it goes quickly when we want it to slow down, and it seems to stand still when we desire time to speed up. God is faithful through it all, and when my focus is on praising Him and His goodness, time does not matter. May we ever seek God in all things and at all times, for He is compassionate and provides comfort as each is needed.

Praise be to the Lord,

In all things, always;

For He’s our comfort,

Throughout all our days.

When we are anxious,

We need not give fear;

A foot to stand on,

For God is so near.

His great compassion,

Comfort for the soul;

Soothes us in stillness,

As He makes us whole.

So, trust in the Lord,

Ever give Him praise;

Our hope forever,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our hearts and our needs far better than we do. Thank You that You are our Comforter, and You are full of compassion for us all. Forgive us for our fearfulness as we face unknowns. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, for You are faithful to go before us, stay beside us, and hold us up when we are unable to move forward without Your strength. Show us how to navigate the unknowns with faith in Your nearness, and grant us wisdom to know how to encourage and walk beside those who are in such spaces. Let Your love be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our every fear and concern in Your capable and compassionate hands, for You are with us and will not leave us. Amen.

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

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Clean and New

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, HCSB)

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. – (Psalm 51:10, VOICE)

As I gaze upon the freshly fallen snow, and the world looks clean and new, I am reminded that God does this for us each time we ask. He wipes away all of our guilt and shame, and provides a new start as we seek Him. Each time I fall short and am given a fresh start, I am compelled to do and be better. God is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, and His heart is to ever give us a fresh start. May we ever seek the Lord to cleanse us and strengthen us so that we may clearly reflect His goodness and His love.

O God, cleanse my heart,

May it be made pure;

Strengthen my spirit,

As You remain near. 

Lead me in Your love,

May Your heart move mine;

To love others well,

And always be kind.

With each brand new day,

May I rest assured;

That You are with me,

In You I’m secure.

Ever Your faithful,

So we should be too;

Deepen my love, Lord,

So I love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us and make us new, and You strengthen us for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are faithful forever. Teach us how to trust You more, so that from the moment we rise to the close of our day, we operate in the lavish goodness of Your unending love. Show us how to love those around us well, and to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cleanse us and strengthen us by Your love so that we may love likewise. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Confident Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

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

Faith is a necessary component to all that we do. When we marry, though we cannot actually see the future or know how life will unfold, we can trust God and have faith that He has brought us together for a purpose and on purpose. With children, we trust in the hope that we have for them to grow and thrive, though we cannot see nor predict the future. By faith, we rise each new day and do our best, trusting that God will do more than we could ever do on our own. Confident hope in Christ and all that He has done for us, is the faith we need to navigate our days well. Just as we cannot see the wind, we know it is there as we see the evidence through how things move. It is the same with Christ. Though we cannot see Him, we can see evidence of His goodness and love all around us. May we hold fast to our faith in Christ, for all that is hoped for comes through Him, and He is the blessed assurance of all that is still unseen.

Faith comes in knowing,

Our hope is secure;

Not in things we see,

In Him, who is near.

Though we can’t see Him,

We know He is true;

His grace and His love,

Are found in plain view.

As the sun rises,

Each day as we wake;

We have a fresh start,

New hope to embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can have faith in You, for we are assured of the hope held in You, even though we cannot see You. Thank You that there is clear evidence of who You are and how You love, all around us. Forgive us for our lack of faith when troubles come. Teach us to trust You more, for You are always moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see or fathom what You are doing. 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 hold fast to the faith we have in You, for our confident hope is held in Your heavenly hands. Amen.

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

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

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

Praise for Perpetual Goodness and Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good! His faithful love will last forever! – (Psalm 118:1, ERV)

Thank God because He’s good, because His love never quits. – (Psalm 118:1, MSG)

Give thanks to the Eternal because He is always good. He never ceases to be loving and kind. – (Psalm 118:1, VOICE)

Each day that we wake up and draw breath, we have reason to thank God for His goodness. His faithful love has carried us through the night, and His presence remains as we rise. The Lord’s loving kindness grants us a brand new day, and His faithfulness causes the sun to rise again and again. Everywhere we look, there is evidence of the Lord’s goodness and love. Right now, I am flanked by our sweet pups, one on either side of me as I am writing. There is evidence of God’s goodness everywhere, and He is faithful to show us again and again how much He loves us as we intentionally seek Him. May we ever look to the Lord as we begin each new day, and give Him thanks and praise for who He is and how He loves.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He’s always good;

His love knows no end,

He’s hope understood.

Wherever we look,

We can’t help but see;

God’s loving kindness,

For you and for me.

Each new day we wake,

His presence so near;

His love evident,

As hope is made clear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and loving and kind. Thank You that evidence of Your nearness is everywhere. Thank You that You make Your heart known to us. Forgive us for not recognizing Your goodness and grace that grants us each new day. Teach us to praise You with each new breath, for You alone are worthy of all thanks and praise. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart and hope evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and Your faithful love forever. 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

The Lord’s Great Works

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, NIV)

The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, HCSB)

The Lord does wonderful things, more than anyone could ask for. – (Psalm 111:2, ERV)

The works of the Eternal are many and wondrous! They are examined by all who delight in them. – (Psalm 111:2, VOICE)

The works of God are always something to delight in as we ponder all that He has done. It takes but a moment to create a long list of how the Lord has moved in my life and the lives of those around me. He is good, and He does wonderful things for all who seek Him. All things, great and small, He uses to bless and encourage us to trust in Him. Even something so simple as peace in our household, God cares and can make it happen. 

We were among the many that adopted puppies during Covid. First, we were able to get a sweet male yellow lab. He came to us at seven weeks, and has been an energetic spaz ever since. Four months after bringing Thor home, a friend of mine was fostering my husband’s dream dog in Arizona. After much discussion and deliberating, we were able to bring home a sweet and feisty blue nose little girl. At this point, Thor was nearly nine months, and Tali was a bit over four months. In the beginning, the two were fast friends. However, several months later, we began having issues with them brawling. Not just wrestling, but fighting that drew blood. It was an agonizing six months or so of having to alternate every hour, which dog was upstairs and which was downstairs in their own crate. Slowly, we began reintroducing time together, and it was solidified best when they were walked together on a splitter leash. 

Now, all these months later, the two still like to wrestle and play, but we have learned what to do if one is a bit amped up to calm them down, and to get them to give each other space. They truly love each other, and Tali wants her big brother to play every waking moment of every day. This is a small example of God’s faithfulness and wondrous works, as at one point, we were not sure we would be able to keep them both. God cares about even the small things. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and strength, and watch and wait as He moves in wonderful ways.

The Lord is so good,

His love wonderful;

His heart is for us,

He cares about all.

He loves beyond words,

All created things;

He blesses with peace,

His goodness He brings.

When we look around,

And see how He’s moved;

Our hearts overflow,

By how love is proved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonderful works in our lives. Thank You that You love us and care about all aspects of our lives. Thank You that You see and know, and You give us Your strength and endurance to keep moving forward to the good that You have in store for us all. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of fortitude when things are challenging. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our strength and peace as we patiently  wait. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reflect on the wondrous things that You have done and place our trust in You for all that lies ahead. Amen.

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

For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

The Goodness of God

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the work of Your hands. – (Psalm 92:4, HCSB)

Lord, You make us very happy because of what You did. I gladly sing about it. Lord, You did such great things. Your thoughts are too hard for us to understand. – (Psalm 92:4, ERV)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. – (Psalm 92:4, VOICE)

God is always good. It is important to pause and take inventory of His faithfulness in our lives. When we look back, we can see how God has been present throughout all our days. There is evidence of His loving kindness and the work of His hands, as we remember what He has brought us through. I am in awe of how He provides and moves when we seek Him. After a crazy school year, it is incredible how in a mere four days, I am feeling rested and refreshed. My heart sings in response to the joy that rises as I reflect on His goodness. May we ever recognize God’s presence and help throughout our days, and sing for joy in thanksgiving for His goodness.

The goodness of God,

Is beyond compare;

In love, He meets us,

Shows us tender care.

His strength upholds us,

As He leads us on;

Kindness unending,

By grace we’re made strong.

Strong to keep moving,

In love and with grace;

May we give God praise,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and do great things in our lives as You remind us of Your faithfulness and goodness. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You for Your presence and love. Teach us to recognize Your nearness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Our Present Refuge

But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do. – (Psalm 73:28, HCSB)

As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord God my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, ERV)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, VOICE)

This Psalm is a reminder of the faithfulness of God, no matter what is going on around us. His goodness is not dependent on our circumstances. In God, we can place our trust, for He is our refuge and the good we can hold onto. May we speak of the goodness and faithfulness that God has shown us, for it is a reminder of who He is and how deeply He loves.

The presence of God,

Is forever good;

Our place of safety,

Where love’s understood.

Faithful forever,

The reason to praise;

May our words speak out,

Of His faithful ways.

Love is ongoing,

In Him, hope remains;

Grace for each new day,

Forever He reigns.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your presence is the goodness that our hearts long for. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us and be our safe place whenever we call on You. Forgive us for forgetting just how good You are when our circumstances are not. Teach us to turn to You, and to share about Your faithfulness in our lives. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our safe space and tell of Your ongoing faithfulness. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19