Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Faithful Foundations

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, NIV)

Your kingdom is built on truth and justice. Love and faithfulness are servants before Your throne. – (Psalm 89:14, ERV)

Your glorious throne rests on a foundation of righteousness and just verdicts. Grace and truth are the attendants who go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, TPT)

God is all about righteousness and justice, as love and faithfulness are wherever God is invited. The struggle in this is that too many place their own spin on the truth and what is right and just becomes skewed. Grace and truth accompany God, and are evident in those who earnestly seek Him. Though in our human condition we will never get it all right on our own, with Christ, we can be refined and raised up to more clearly reflect the foundation that He intended all along. May we ever pursue the Lord and His heart so that we may walk humbly, do justly, and love mercy as we were meant to do.

The kingdom of God,

Is loving and just;

Righteousness shall lead,

In truth among us.

The challenge in this,

We must choose pursue;

The Lord’s very best,

In all that we do.

Let righteousness lead,

So justice may reign;

In truth persevere,

And love shall remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You are loving and faithful always. Forgive us for the times that our decisions, words or actions lacked alignment with Yours. Teach us to walk humbly in pursuit of You and Your heart for all, to act justly in all things and at all times, and to love mercy in the same way that You love and extend mercy to us. Lead us to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to refine our hearts to more clearly reflect Yours. Amen.

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

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

The Faithful One

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

I want you to know that the Eternal your God is the only true God. He’s the faithful God who keeps His covenants and shows loyal love for a thousand generations to those who in return love Him and keep His commands.  – (Deuteronomy 7:9, VOICE)

There seem to be fewer and fewer absolutes in modern society, yet God being God shall forever remain. He is faithful to His promises and loves all of His created. God’s faithfulness and love are made evident to those who seek to love and honor God in all things. The love and faithfulness of God was demonstrated to us by the generations that came before us, and will continue with those who follow. May we ever pursue a life of loving and honoring God, as we go forth and show His love and kindness to all people.

The Lord is our God,

The One who is true;

Faithful forever,

As He makes us new.

He grants us His heart,

To love and to serve;

Pours out His kindness,

As clearly observed.

All that the Lord asks,

That hearts remain true;

Choose love and honor,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One true God, and You have shown Yourself faithful throughout the ages. Thank You that as we love and honor You, You show us Your faithfulness and love. Forgive us for our doubts and detours. Show us how to faithfully love and honor You in all that we say and do. 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 honor and love You and love all those You place in our lives. Amen.

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

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

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

Learn, Love and Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV) 

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, ERV) 

When we desire time with God, our effort and pursuit of what He wants for us, increases. The better we know the Lord and His will for our lives, the more eager we are to grow and more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness and love, are all things that show the world where our priorities lie. May we ever seek to walk more closely with our Savior, so that we more clearly reflect His heart to all those around, and produce good as we are called to do. 

Oh Lord, make my heart, 

Reflect clearly, Yours; 

Let all that I do, 

Open up love’s doors. 

Grant me Your patience, 

Wisdom and goodness; 

Love, perseverance, 

Faith and Your kindness. 

Teach me devotion, 

All these, unto You; 

So Your heart is seen, 

Through a life lived true. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to walk in Your will and love as You love. Forgive us for our lack of dedication to seeking and following after You. Teach us to seek You to grow in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. Lead us to love all those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to learn, love and grow. Amen. 

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

I’ve known all along from the evidence of Your words that You meant them to last forever. – Psalm 119:152

Renewed Resolve

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) 

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV) 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG) 

We are in the midst of a long and heavy season. Staying home, not spending time with those we love outside of our immediate family, seeking to learn and grow, and trying to determine what is and is not safe and wise, all of these things and more, are exhausting. Thankfully, as we navigate each day as it arrives, we have a Savior who will renew our strength and resolve, and empower us to keep moving forward in faith. Our hope is not in any particular people, but rather it is in Christ alone. He is the One who leads us, loves us and shapes us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, for He is willing and able to renew our strength and grant us all that we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. 

Choose wait on the Lord, 

For He is our strength; 

Ever making new, 

His path we’re to take. 

God’s power and grace, 

Are granted to us; 

As we seek the face, 

of the Lord Jesus. 

So, spread wide our wings, 

And take to the air; 

His grace is enough, 

to love anywhere. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You renew and strengthen us for all that You are calling us into, so that we may keep moving forward. Thank You for Your love and grace that fill where we are lacking. Forgive us for not turning to You for strength in our weariness. Teach us to hope in You. Show us how to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You. Amen. 

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

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

The Gift of Grace

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

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)

Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. – (Romans 3:23-24, TLB)

 

God is so kind. He shows us in countless ways, just how deeply He loves us and has grace for us, despite all of our flaws. I am in awe of how God brings people together to make His heart for us tangible and visible. Right now, in this season, I am particularly attuned to my shortcomings. Though I am a bit of an introvert, I am a doer. I am a wanderlust who needs to explore and adventure; an artist who needs to create; a teacher who needs to teach, but is uncertain and nervous about the new platform, and an athlete who needs to move. Though most of these can sort of be satisfied at home, the draw of the first not being satisfied in what feels like months, is a bit wearing. Part of it is my desire to drive over the mountains to check on my mom. Normally, I would hop in the car and just go. Never mind that it is three hours each way, it matters not, as I have a vehicle that runs and a music to keep me singing all the way there and back again. However, under current circumstances, it is not really an option. Yes, I suppose I could drive to Wenatchee; but mom’s entire living community is on lockdown, so I would be unable to see her anyway. It would be worse to be that close and not see her…

All that to say that I gain glimpses of God’s grace and forgiveness through the love and kindness extended to me by my husband. He loves me through my frustrations and foolishness, as he encourages and comes alongside me in things we can do. If a spouse can love and encourage well, how much more can Jesus? So much more. Jesus took it all – our sin, frustrations, shortcomings, impatience, and the like – so that we could be redeemed and made right before God, if we choose to trust in Him. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need His grace. I try, I fail; I rise, I fall short; yet, each time He picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me to keep moving forward as He supplies all that I need to press on. May we all receive the gift of grace that God freely offers, and be covered and declared forgiven in Him.

 

We all end up short, wp-15867846099767633447882872426065.jpg

Somehow, not enough;

Too little patience,

When going gets tough.

We try and we fall,

To rise up and be;

All that we ought to,

Wrecked humanity.

Yet, there is a way,

To rise and be more;

Give room for God’s grace,

To show what’s in store.

In His forgiveness,

Mercy and His grace;

We walk out His will,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way to restore relationship with You. Thank You that Your grace covers all of our sin and shame and restores us to good standing with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not freely received what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the redemption that we have been given through Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

Love Each Other

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

Delightfully loved ones, if He loved us with such tremendous love, then “loving one another” should be our way of life! No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes His permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in Him, and His love is brought to its full expression in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, TPT)

 

Because we are loved, we too, are called to love one another. Though no one has seen God face-to-face, each time we are met with His love through others, we catch glimpses of His heart for us. God calls us to love one another so that His love may be made known to those around us. When we choose to love, we are allowing God’s love to be made complete in us and through us, exactly as He intended. May we love others as we are loved by God, and allow His love to be brought to its full expression in us.

As for Mom, I know she is feeling His love for her as well. The other day when I called, she was surrounded by some of her dearest friends, who were over for a visit. June, her bestie, sent a text to my sister and me, and it included the photo I am including. The sheer joy on Mom’s face makes the love that she is receiving, evident. Yes, there will be adjusting to a new space and new schedule, but the beauty of being back in her own community far outweighs any challenge presented by the new.

 

We all are well loved, wp-15821165148995020299889094046902.jpg

By the Lord on high;

Just as He loves us,

We too, must supply.

Supply well His grace,

As we choose to love;

Let Him work through us,

In Him, there’s enough.

Enough to reach out,

And love anyway;

To help, extend hope,

Show His heart each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You supply us with all that we need to love as You love us. Thank You that You call and equip us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be led in all things and at all times by Your unfailing love. Show us how to love those around us in every situation and circumstance, according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the love that You have to offer so that we can go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Heart Change

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. – (Joel 2:13, NLT)

Tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive. – (Joel 2:13, CEB)

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath and puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. – (Joel 2:13, MSG)

 

When we stray from the path that God has placed before us, He wants a heart change that leads us back to where we were meant to go. God is patient and kind, merciful and loving; ready to forgive and redirect our steps when we go astray. Our part is to be tender to His leading, so that our hearts may be changed to more clearly reflect His own. This applies in every area of our lives, as God wants our whole heart, not just a portion. May we seek the Lord with tender hearts, ready to give Him room to move so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

 

God of compassion, Hold My Heart

We bring hearts to You;

Forgive each trespass,

Cleanse and make us new.

In love and kindness,

Lead us in Your way;

Help us extend grace,

And love much the same.

Grant us a clean heart,

That’s ready to serve;

To love as You love,

Mercy undeserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not want external displays of remorse, but rather You desire hearts that turn to You, ready to repent and allow You room to cleanse and renew. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough to earn our way back to grace when we have gone astray. Teach us to come to You with repentant hearts so that we may receive Your forgiveness and experience a true heart change. Show us how to love those around us a way that extends the very same goodness and grace to spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the forgiveness that You so readily offer when we come to You with a repentant heart. 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. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8