All for Good

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, HCSB)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

This does not say that all things happen for good, or have been caused by God. However, God can bring good from even the worst of things if we allow Him room to move. For example, there is nothing good about sickness, disease, or injuries. The good is how God can use such things to grow our faith, show us His power, and lead us to something more than we imagined before. Additionally, He shows us He is good as He loves, supports, encourages and surrounds us. Love is made tangible, even in the midst of great struggle or suffering. Our circumstances are not always good, but God always is good. May we ever seek the Lord to show us who He is, even in the midst of challenges and difficulty; for He is faithful to be present for those who seek Him.

Because God is good,

He moves through all things;

Hope in our heartache,

Strength and peace He brings.

In love, He takes hold,

Of extended hands;

He lifts and He leads,

So we again stand.

Choose look to the Lord,

In each circumstance;

Watch how the Lord moves,

When given the chance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work all things out for good for those who love and trust in You. Thank You that You are the same God that brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You have shown Yourself faithful time and time again. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see past our circumstances. Teach us to look to You, for You grant us Your eyes to see the hope held beyond what we are seeing or experiencing right now. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too come to know and understand that You bring good, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us, and trust the hope that we hold in You forever. Amen.

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

But You are near me, Lord, and all Your commands can be trusted. – Psalm 119:151

Adventurously Expectant

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – (Romans 8:15, HCSB)

The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again and causes us to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us God’s chosen children. And with that Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – (Romans 8:15, ERV)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” – (Romans 8:15, MSG)

You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. – (Romans 8:15, VOICE)

I included four different translations, as I appreciate what can be gleaned from each. When we invite God to be the Lord of our life, He gives us His Spirit to dwell in us and lead us into all that He has prepared for us. It is not a thing that makes us obedient robots, but rather is the Spirit within us that helps us recognize who our loving Heavenly Father is, and grants us an adventurously expectant heart that eagerly awaits all that Daddy God has for us. No matter what our earthly experience is with fathers, our Heavenly Father is loving and kind, and only has good in mind for us. He is our help and our hope, and welcomes us with strong and loving arms. God is ever-present, and is never too busy to hear and help us. May we seek the Lord to show us more and more of His Father’s heart for us, so that we may embrace His grace and follow wherever He leads with eager expectation.

The Spirit of God,

Our sweet Tali girl, ever expecting adventure. ❤

Ought not to be feared;

But rather embraced,

In love, be revered.

Ultimate Father,

Full of love and grace;

He leads and guides us,

As we seek His face.

Our help and our hope,

Wherever we go;

The Dad that loves us,

Where true peace is known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You adopt us into Your family when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You have good in mind for us all. Forgive us for associating Your Father’s heart with that of broken earthly examples. Teach us by Your Spirit how You are perfect love, and the One that never fails us. Show us how to love as You love, and help us to make Your heart known to those around us by our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our Abba Father, and for the Spirit You give us to make Your loving kindness tangible within. Amen.

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

Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them. – Psalm 119:129

Strength and Peace

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

Life is an endless rollercoaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, and we need the Lord to navigate well. He supplies us with the strength we need and He grants us His peace, even in the midst of chaos, storms, and uncertainty. Incredibly, God grants us strength and peace for more than just ourselves. As we trust in Him and seek to love people as He calls us to love, we find that He uses our willingness to share all that He gives with those around us who need it. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and depend on Him, for He is our peace.

The Lord gives us strength,

When ours is all gone;

Our help and our hope,

To keep pressing on.

In Him there is peace,

Ever it is new;

Despite circumstance,

He will lead us through.

Lord, help us focus,

Our hearts and our minds;

On all that is You,

And how You supply.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the strength that You are providing, or for not slowing down to lay hold of the peace that You are creating within us. Teach us to trust and rely on You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend strength and peace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and peace that You provide, and trust in You to continue, always. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

He’ll Lead Through All

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, HCSB)

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God is our shelter and our strength. When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help. So why run and hide? – (Psalm 46:1, VOICE)

I imagine many of us can attest to the truth of this verse after the last few years. At times, it has felt as if the whole world has been flipped upside down. Thankfully, God does not change. He is our help and hope, strength and source, and the One whose love knows no end. It is up to us to turn to Him to be these things, but He is ever-present and available. May we ever run to the Lord to be our refuge, strength and help in times of trouble, and the One to whom we ought to bring our thanks and praise.

God is our shelter,

To where we should run;

In Him there’s no fear,

How battles are won.

He too is our strength,

How we persevere;

Help to keep moving,

Ever He is near.

No matter what comes,

The Lord is greater;

He’ll lead us through all,

Holy Creator.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our shelter and strength, our safe space when things don’t make sense. Thank You that we can always call on You and trust that You hear. Forgive us for the times that we have struggled to trust. Teach us to look back and remember Your faithfulness that has always been, and grow our faith further as we press on. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness, grace, safety and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our refuge, strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

The Reality of Faith

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

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)

Life requires faith. We have faith that the sun will rise and tomorrow will come, yet we have not seen either yet. Faith in God and the hope that we will join Him in heaven when our days on earth are done, are made tangible as we observe all that His hands have made, and witness the glimpses of heaven that we get in the here and now. When I think of all of the beauty of creation and the unique design of every human and creature that lives, I have faith that there is indeed a Creator. There is nothing that can convince me that all that exists came from some cosmic explosion. Incredibly, the word of God tells us that no eye has seen and no mind can fathom the beauty that awaits us in paradise. I am a visual person and have viewed some overwhelming beauty here on earth. Everywhere I go, I witness whispers of the goodness and creativity of God. Though I cannot see Him, I know that He is. I do not have to understand all things for them to be real. This is where faith comes in. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow our faith in Him, and to further our assurance that there is so much more that is yet to come.

Faith is the fuel,

Beautiful Belizean sunrise.

Of what we believe;

Hope that is certain,

Beyond what we see.

The goodness of God,

Creativity;

Beauty surrounds us,

Intentionally.

May we keep seeking,

Choose trust in the Lord;

Ever He’s faithful,

To show us His more.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You. Thank You that the evidence of Your loving hand is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers because the mountains ahead of us seem unsurpassable. Teach us to trust You for each next step, for no obstacle is ever overcome without moving forward in faith. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love, goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever grow our faith with Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Trust in the Wait

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

There is a delicate balance in this, for to wait for the Lord AND be strong and courageous, means that we need to trust the Lord and His leading and keep moving forward without running ahead of where we are meant to be. It takes courage to keep pressing on, especially when you want to quit or walk away. What God calls us to do, He will see us through, even when we are uncertain of how it can be done. God is worth waiting for. His plans are always greater than ours, and His ways lead to so much more than we could hope or imagine. It is the wait in between that requires us to be strong and brave. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage, and the One to direct our every path. 

Choose wait on the Lord,

Take courage, be strong;

Not in your own strength,

But in God, press on.

The Lord is faithful,

To supply our needs;

He leads and guides us,

Our hopes He exceeds.

So, seek Him with hope,

Trust in His great care;

He provides for us,

So we too can share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to trust in You in strength and courage, for You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our frustration with Your timing, as it rarely is the same as our own. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, and You see beyond what we can see. Teach us to trust in You and to stay the course until You direct us to turn, detour, or abandon the route. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness, hope and love, and grant courage to press on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with strength and courage, knowing that You are faithful always. Amen.

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

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. – Psalm 37:5

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

The Helper

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – (Romans 5:5, HCSB)

And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us. – (Romans 5:5, ERV)

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor began a new series titled, “The Helper”, with the purpose of unpacking who the Holy Spirit is. Too often the Holy Spirit is viewed as the manifestation of gifts that He gives rather than as the One who gives so much more. As he spoke, the thing that came clearly to mind for me is that the Holy Spirit is God made tangible to us. The concept of three-in-one is challenging to grasp. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate parts that are each fully God. This in and of itself requires faith, as it is above what our thoughts can fully grasp. However, when we look at the roles that each person of the Trinity plays in the world and in our lives, it is a bit more graspable. That still small voice, the check in our spirit, the gut-feeling – these are all tangible examples of how the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us in the ways we are meant to go. The songs that rise in our hearts, the flood of warmth, the feeling of knowing that we are completely loved – are also ways that the Holy Spirit makes God’s nearness known. Hope is made evident as we come to recognize the Holy Spirit moving in and through us. Honestly, I don’t think I am adequately sharing, but am hopeful that the simple explanation of who the Holy Spirit is provides a desire to know Him more. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves so that we might go and love likewise.

The Lord, our Helper,

The Spirit of God;

Is ever-present,

And love is the bond.

Three persons are One,

Though it’s hard to see;

How it’s possible,

Holy Trinity.

God is our Father,

Creator of all;

His Son, Lord Jesus,

Redemption for all.

The Holy Spirit,

Our Helper and Guide;

God made tangible,

In our hearts resides.

Fear not the unknown,

Higher are His ways;

Instead seek to learn,

Throughout all our days.

For God is faithful,

Ever He is near;

To help, lead and guide,

As love removes fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in One. Thank You that You are our Creator, Redeemer, and ever-present Helper. Forgive us for our misunderstanding or fear of what we cannot fully grasp. Teach us to ever seek You to reveal more and more of who You are and how You love as we intentionally pursue You. Show us who You are through all that You have made; help us to grasp the greatness of Your love as we spend time in Your Word, and teach us to recognize the goodness and presence of You through Your Holy Spirit whom You have given to us. 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 intentionally seek You for new understanding and insight as to who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

And the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love, with You I am well pleased.” – Luke 3:22

Immeasurably More

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us – to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, HCSB)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, to Him be all glory in the church and in Jesus the Anointed from this generation to the next, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, VOICE)

Paul, the author of Ephesians, understood the incredible power of God’s work in us and His ability to do far more than we could ask or imagine. With all that Paul saw, experienced, and was a part of, he grasped God’s power working in and through him and gave God all the glory. God took a man who had been fervently working to persecute and even kill people and turned Paul into a man who sought to save people by His loving kindness and grace that was made evident through His Son, Jesus. The very same power that was at work in Paul’s life is available and working in ours as we ask. God knows our hopes, dreams and desires, and can do abundantly more than we could ask or imagine. His design may not look the way we would envision, but ultimately, it is so much more. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and move in and through us, and give Him all the glory forever and ever.

The love of the Lord,

Is power and truth;

Beyond what we think,

And what we can do.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope from our despair;

God can do much more,

He knows all our cares.

God grants us His strength,

When ours is but gone;

Hope everlasting,

May we pass it on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to do so much more in us and through us than we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that Your strength empowers us and Your love leads us as we choose to follow after You. Forgive us for the times that we have either gone our own way or have neglected to give You glory for all that You have done. Teach us to seek You and see Your hand in all things. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they are strengthened in Your loving kindness and recognize Your goodness all around. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what only You can do, and give You the glory and honor forever and ever. Amen.

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

God will… bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair… – Isaiah 61:3a

Our Present Strength

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

No matter what comes against us, God is for us and with us. He is our help and our hope; He provides the strength that we need and people to walk beside us to encourage and uphold us. Regardless of how things seem, God is faithful to carry us through, and lead us to something new. May we ever seek the Lord to bring His perfect peace as we recognize His nearness and strength to uphold us and carry us through every challenge we face, and how to be present for those who are in the midst of trials.

In You, Lord, there’s light,

Full of good and grace;

You strengthen, uphold,

As we seek Your face.

Victory in You,

Will surely be found;

Where hope is restored,

For Your love is sound.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust well in You;

For You are our peace,

And all that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us to uphold and strengthen us. Thank You that You see well beyond today, and make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for our fears when we cannot see an end in sight. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to walk beside those who are in the midst of struggle, and use us to be Your hands, heart and voice to bring peace, strength and encouragement. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to strengthen and uphold us, and help us to ever look to You to lead us to walk alongside those in the midst of challenge. Amen.

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

But those who trust 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 faint. – Isaiah 40:31