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

Not Finished Yet

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

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

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

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

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

Love in the Knowing

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – (1 John 4:7-8, HCSB)

Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child. And so everyone who loves knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – (1 John 4:7-8, ERV)

My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – (1 John 4:7-8, VOICE)

To love people is an extension of knowing and loving God. Without Him, we know not love, yet with God, we learn to love as He first loved us. Real love comes from God alone, and as we reach out and love others, we make God’s love tangible to those around us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, and reach out to extend the same to those around us. Let love be the motivation that leads us in all that we say and do.

To love each other,

 A gift from the Lord;

The more we know Him,

The more is outpoured.

Choose seek the Lord first,

To receive and give;

Abundant His grace,

Each day that we live.

Lord, help us love well,

As we’re made to do;

May the love we give,

Point straight back to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love, and as we know You, we are filled to overflowing so that we might love too. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love all as You first loved us. Amen.

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

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

Quiet Rest

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

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

Sometimes, it feels as if we are blissfully unaware of just how weary and burdened we have become. There is nothing like a good winter snowstorm to bring a sort of quiet rest that would not have otherwise been present. Though I have a four-wheel drive vehicle and loads of experience driving in the snow, I still find that I am spending far more time at home than I normally would be. It is almost as though messy roads and peaceful settings provide a sort of permission to just be still. I know for many that is not necessarily so, as my husband is one who needs to be at work to help keep all of the emergency and snow-clearing vehicles running, and emergency service personnel do not get a break in inclement weather, but for me and many that I know, it is a space to slow down and find rest. Even in the busiest seasons, when we seek our Savior, He provides the help, strength and rest that we need to persevere. May we look to the Lord and seek Him first, for He is the One that bears the burdens that are too much for us, and grants us rest when we need it the most.

Jesus says to come,

To weary and worn;

He wants to grant rest,

Bring calm in the storm.

We need to seek Him,

And trust in His grace;

For He’s our comfort,

And most peaceful place.

Just as snow softens,

And silences things;

The love of the Lord,

Helps everything.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself to find rest from our weariness. Thank You that as we call on You, You carry what was not meant for us, and provide rest so that we can press on. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of weariness. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You help us and strengthen us, and show us what is not ours to carry. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all might see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to find rest and equip us to love best. Amen.

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

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. – Psalm 23:2

Confidently Ask

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we ask anything agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

Because of Jesus and His sacrifice that covers our sin, we can boldly come before God with our prayers and petitions. He sees and He hears and will move on our behalf when we ask things that are according to His will. His answers may look different than we would imagine, but He hears and provides an outcome that ultimately is for good. May we ever trust the Lord and seek Him with our every prayer, for He hears and cares when we come to Him with love as our motivation for all that we ask.

With great confidence,

Go to the Lord’s throne;

He hears what we ask,

As His grace is shown.

He tells us to ask,

For in love, He’ll hear;

Each faithful request,

As He remains near.

Near us with goodness,

Closeby with His grace;

With love, He surrounds,

Let us seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in the sacrifice of Your Son that covers us and provides the way for us to confidently and boldly come before You, and trust that You hear what we ask as our hearts align with Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have not asked, or have not trusted that You hear us when we do not see the answers we hope for or evidence that You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to trust in Your goodness and love, even when we do not see what we hope for. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently seek You and trust in Your unfailing love to hear us and hold us. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

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 now we draw near freely and boldly to where grace is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4:16, TPT)

This morning, the need for grace is great, as I am running on four hours of sleep. Our dogs do not understand daylight savings time, nor do they have any concern for whether or not I get enough sleep. Thankfully, I can come before God and ask for help to function and do what I need to do, and can praise Him for the time to nap that will be available this afternoon. It seems trivial, but God cares about every aspect of our lives, including our need for sleep. I am grateful that this is still a weekend, and trust that He will provide what I need to feel refreshed and ready for the week ahead. May we ever seek the Lord, our High Priest, whom we can approach boldly to receive mercy and kindness and help whenever we need it.

Sweet sleeping puppies,

All has become calm;

The Lord’s loving grace,

Is a healing balm.

No matter our need,

Both the great and small;

The Lord, He hears us,

And cares about all.

So, look to the Lord,

Seek Him and His grace;

Loving Provider,

Who hears us, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and hear and know our needs. Thank You that You care about all things, great and small. Thank You that we can come to You for anything and You hear us. Forgive us for thinking that our needs are trivial or not what You care about. Teach us to present all to You and give You praise for Your ongoing faithfulness. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we boldly approach Your throne, trusting that You are good and faithful to meet our needs. Amen.

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

For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God. – John 16:27

Power to Press On

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

God’s Spirit is the Provider of every good and perfect gift. The struggle, however, is when our circumstances make us question what we know is the truth. His power, love and sound judgment are greater than anything and everything that we face. He is good, even when our circumstances are not. Here, in the midst of struggle, we need His nearness and grace to remind us to rise up in all that He has placed within us so that we can be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us of all that He’s placed within us by His power and His grace so that we can navigate each new day in His power, love and self-discipline.

Fear is not from God,

For He is our strength;

Great Overcomer,

Who goes to great lengths.

No height is too high,

Nor depth that’s too low;

He comes as we call,

And makes His grace known.

Power to press on,

When we have no more;

Love and His wisdom,

The hope to endure.

Lord, please come closer,

Remind us again;

Of Your great goodness,

That ushers hope in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not given us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and self-control. Thank You that You begin where our strength ends, and You are present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of struggle. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You supply all that we need to continue moving forward in all that we are called to do and become. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too may be strengthened and encouraged in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and trust You to supply all that we need to press on. Amen.

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

Yet He saved them because of His Name, to make His power known. – Psalm 106:8

Everyday Encouragement

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. – (Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 13:3, VOICE)

We are called and reminded to encourage each other every day. None of us are infallible on our own, but rather we need one another to walk in His way and do His will. Our own broken humanity deceives us and can lead us astray when left to our own devices. However, when we are invested in Christ and community, we are encouraged and encourage others to walk in His way and do His will. There is power in accountability, as it keeps us honest with others and ourselves. God intentionally created us to crave community so that we would invest in each other and be capable of encouraging one another in all things. In my own life, I am so grateful for this. He has surrounded me with loving people who want to see the very best for me and from me. When I am struggling, they encourage me. When I see those around me challenged, I try to do the same. Jesus was our ultimate example, and endured every challenge and trial that comes our way. Because He has been where we are, He is able to help and uphold us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in encouraging those around us, so that not one of us would be hardened to hearing His best for us.

Today is a gift,

Meant to be lived well;

His grace is enough,

As in Him we dwell.

We’re called to reach out,

Encourage others;

Build each other up,

Sisters and brothers.

Let not the heavy,

Pull each other down;

Lift and encourage,

Let kindness be found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to encourage one another. Thank You that You also provide people in the communities to which we belong to encourage us as well. Thank You that You desire that not one of us falls to the weight of the world. Forgive us for the times that we have rejected the reminders You have provided and the times that we have neglected to encourage others. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to give You praise for the people that You place in our lives to give and receive encouragement. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that strengthen and build them up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and encouragement in all things and trust in You to lead us to encourage others well. Amen.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

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

Blessings in Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

One of the hardest things we face in life is loss. Though we all know that not one of us will live forever, there is always sorrow in the passing of those whom we love, especially when the loss comes far sooner than anticipated. Mourning is a challenging space for me, as I am not an external emoter. I feel deeply, yet seldom allow myself to give room for tears to escape. It is not intentional, but rather is a well-developed defense mechanism. As only God does, He has placed me in communities with loving, tender hearts, that create safe space to process however my heart needs to do so. For me, there is comfort in simply writing things down. In fact, that is often how I discover how I am actually feeling. Words in writing seem to bypass the filter in my mind and simply land on the page as they are. That being said, I guess my point is that despite my grieving in this space of loss, I am grateful for the comfort and kindness that I am blessed to have surrounding me. Additionally, the one whom my heart aches for the most, is clearly surrounded in community too. Even when life is hard, God is so good. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of loss and of blessing, for He loves us and provides safe space to process whatever our heart is holding.

In spaces of loss,

Where our hearts need mourn;

The Lord’s ever near,

To mend what is torn.

He blesses our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Makes love tangible,

As our hearts release.

Release the heartache,

Place all in His hands;

His grace holds us up,

As we trust His plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in our spaces of loss and mourning, You come near and bless us with Your comfort. Forgive us for the times we delay in turning to You in our grief. Teach us to trust and lean on You, for You bless us with Your comfort and love in all things. Show us how to love, support and comfort those around us in the same way that You support and comfort us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your blessings in our spaces of mourning, and for the communities that You place us in. 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