Incredible Faithfulness

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough – because there was no room for them at the lodging place. – (Luke 2:6-7, HCSB)

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the newborn baby in strips of cloth, and Mary and Joseph laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village. – (Luke 2:6-7, TPT)

I can’t help but think of Mary and her trust in God as she traveled far from home, very pregnant, knowing that she was likely to give birth while in Bethlehem. Alone in a cave where animals were kept, she and Joseph had to navigate the birth of this promised, blessed baby, in less than ideal conditions. Though a young girl, unmarried and in a seemingly compromised position, she and Joseph delivered the precious baby and wrapped Him in what they had and improvised to provide a safe space for Him to sleep. Imagine both the joy and sorrow as they welcomed Jesus into the world. Joy in the promise fulfilled as they held their firstborn son, yet sorrow in their solitude. No family surrounding them, despite the fact that the family had to have been in Bethlehem too for the census. What is spoken between the lines is the weight they bore and the trust they had in God and His promises. If God can help two young people navigate a lack of space to bring the Savior of the World to the earth, how much more can He help us through whatever challenges we face? God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was faithful then, He is faithful now, and His faithfulness will not end. May we pause and ponder in awe and wonder as we consider the love and grace granted as Mary and Joseph successfully navigated the seemingly impossible. 

A woman ready,

To bring forth a son;

No place to give birth,

To the Holy One.

A lowly stable,

A cave in the earth;

With only creatures,

To witness the birth.

No bells or whistles,

To welcome the Son;

A quiet stable,

When the day was done.

It did not end there,

For God had much more;

To show they were seen,

And praise the Adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You for sending Your Son in such humble beginnings as You show us Your incredible faithfulness through Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our fear to trust, for You are the very meaning of trustworthy. Teach us to lean into You in the spaces that seem impossible or overwhelming, for You are so much greater than all that we face. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this Christmas season. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your unending faithfulness and remember the ways that You have provided again and again and again. Amen.

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

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds. – Psalm 36:5

Be Transformed

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – (Romans 12:2, HCSB)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT)

We need God to know what is best and then to actually do it. As we seek the Lord and invite Him to transform our minds, He grants us wisdom and insight to know what is good and pleasing to Him, and how to follow His will in every area of our lives. This does not happen overnight, but rather it is a lifelong process. Every day that we seek the Lord with intention, we are transformed a bit more to reflect His heart, love and light to the world. It is impossible to shine for Him if we are imitating what we think the world wants. His loving kindness, goodness and grace flows from those who seek to be authentically who He has made them to be. May we invest our hearts and lives in seeking the Lord, for it is through our seeking that He empowers us to live the beautiful life that He intended.

Lord, protect our hearts,

Show us what is best;

Transform and renew,

And grant us Your rest.

Teach us to seek You,

In all things, always;

So we walk Your way,

Our lives give You praise.

Protect us from lies,

That seem to be true;

Lead us in Your love,

Show us what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in Your ways, if only we seek and depend on You. Thank You that through our seeking, You transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for allowing the patterns of this world to influence our decisions instead of You. Show us how to continually seek You and Your will in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to transform us more and more to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

Rising Up

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, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

This morning, I am trusting God anew to do these things. I am so thankful that everyday is new. With Christ, each day we can find new strength and new joy; for yesterday is gone and today is full of new possibilities and hope for better. I know that God works in mysterious ways and that we go through trials to develop perseverance and character, yet He does not leave us to our own devices to navigate the struggle. He walks beside us and grants us the strength that we need so that we may find joy and gratitude even when our circumstances feel impossible. May we depend on God to be our strength and shield and rejoice in song for His faithfulness and love.

Sometimes, a song comes to mind and that is what fills my heart and mind. This morning, it is this one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring songs to mind to strengthen and encourage us. Thank You for making all things new. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts, for in the natural, things can seem impossible. Teach us to ever rely on You to be our strength and our song. 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 seek You to be our strength and shield and praise You with the songs that rise up in our heart. Amen.

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

Rise up! Help us! Redeem us because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 44:26

Faith Makes Possible

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)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

Confident hope comes as we trust in He who is able to bring all things into being. Though no one has seen God, evidence of His existence is everywhere. Our faith cannot be dependent on our circumstances, but rather in He who is present with us through them all. The inexplicable peace that is made present in chaos, the light that shines on the darkest days, the strength and help to persevere when weariness is overwhelming – all remind me that God is with us and that faith is what grows hope in what is yet to be. May we ever have faith in He who grants us hope and hold fast to the promises of what is yet to be.

Faith makes possible,

What is yet to be;

Helps us to hold hope,

In what we can’t see.

What God has promised,

Is trusted and true;

All that is needed,

Is what God will do.

Strength in the struggle,

Peace when it is hard;

His love forever,

Right here where we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and You grow faith within us. Thank You that faith fuels the hope within us that trusts in what is unseen and yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more as You grow our faith in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that increase faith and offer hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have faith in all that is hoped for and all that is yet to be seen. 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

All Made Possible

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

No matter how difficult things may appear in the natural, there is no obstacle too great or any situation that is impossible for God. The very same God who created all that is seen, (and unseen) is capable of helping us in and through all things. There are days when a task before me seems impossible, yet in His strength, things beyond me are completed. He gives strength when we are weary, hope in the midst of despair, joy when laughter feels far from us, and peace that surpasses all understanding. Additionally, He cares about the little things too. I am ever in awe of the strength I find to push up another hill, step into more new, and rest in His presence in spaces of uncertainty. May we ever remember the power found in the Lord, and call on Him to be our help, hope and strength in all things.

The Almighty God,

Photo by kinkate on Pexels.com

Creator of all;

Can do anything,

As to Him we call.

The impossible,

Is not so for Him;

Whatever He says,

Will be ushered in.

The God that we serve,

Is always enough;

He loves us through all,

And makes smooth the rough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You meet us where we are and strengthen us to press forward to all that is yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem impossible through our own eyes. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are ever-present to be our help, strength and hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, in the same way that You strengthen and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for all that You make possible in You. Amen. 

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

For no word from God will ever fail. – Luke 1:37

Intentional Obedience

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, NIV)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, TPT)

If we truly seek to love as we have been designed, we discover that true love makes it impossible to harm another. However, love is a choice. Each of us have been designed with a free will, and we have to be intentional to choose to love. Love is not selective, but rather it is all-encompassing and inclusive. Love may look different for different people, but it always seeks the best for others. Incredibly, as we seek the Lord to lead us in love, He shows us how we are meant to love through each word that we say and everything that we do. As we love as God intended, we are keeping in line with all that He asks of us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may care for one another as we were designed to do.

To love like the Lord,

Requires a choice;

To treat each other,

With God’s heart and voice.

As we seek to love,

All those whom we meet;

God’s heart is made known,

And love is complete.

Yet still, we must choose,

Love purposefully;

Such obedience,

Sets broken hearts free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called us and designed us to love each other. Thank You that as we do, we are following what You ask of us. Forgive us for every time that we have neglected to choose love. Teach us to see the opportunities all around us to love as You love us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek You to show us how to love all those around us as we have been called and created to love. Amen.

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

To Be Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

In a culture where arguing and fighting seem to be the norm, how can we work to bring peace? To me, the most logical way is to love. If we are focused on loving those around us, we will truly listen and learn how to love best. When we are intentional to love, it is impossible to fight. I know many people who think differently and view the world differently than me, yet we are able to listen to one another as we allow love to lead. When love leads, peace is found. It is in that space of peace that we are best able to recognize that God has placed us among family and loves us all as His own. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may be peacemakers wherever we go.

The Lord calls us all,

To care like He does;

Be bringers of peace,

And givers of love.

As we choose invest,

By faith, live out love;

We represent well,

Our Father above.

So, let us invest,

In listening well;

Help us all to learn,

Through peace, Your love tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be bringers of peace in places where it is absent. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to listen and love in a way that helps create community. Forgive us for the times that we have opted to argue rather than listen and learn. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that we can be bringers of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be peacemakers as Your sons and daughters. Amen.

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

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

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Our Way Maker

They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way. – (Luke 4:29-30, NIV)

They got up and forced Jesus to go out of town. Their town was built on a hill. They took Jesus to the edge of the hill to throw Him off. But He walked through the middle of the crowd and went away. – (Luke 4:29-30, ERV)

They mobbed Jesus and threw Him out of the city, dragging Him to the edge of the cliff on the hill on which the city had been built, ready to hurl Him off. But He walked right through the crowd, leaving them all stunned. – (Luke 4:29-30, TPT)

This scene transpired soon after Jesus had spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, where He was led by the Spirit and tested by the devil. Jesus had gone to the synagogue in Nazareth, where He was raised, and stood before the crowd to read. At first, His message was well-received, but when He began to speak of how previous prophets were not sent to their own towns to do miraculous things, but rather called to cleanse and heal and provide for those whom the people of the time considered “less worthy”. The words He spoke riled up the crowd and they ran Him out of the synagogue and out to the edge of town, where they fully intended to throw Him off the cliff. Incredibly, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way to continue teaching and touching the lives of those wherever He went. 

As a visual person, the whole mob scene at the edge of a cliff leaves me in awe. Jesus didn’t panic or argue, He simply walked back out through the middle of the mob, unscathed, and free to go where He was called to go. It feels a bit like a “Jedi mind-trick”, as it says nothing of the crowds fighting Him or following Him. Jesus simply walked through where He needed to go, and He was on His way. This story reminds me that no matter how dismal or impossible things seem, if God has called us, He will make a way; whether it is parting a sea, clearing space through a crowd, or supplying all that we need to continue to move forward in that which He has called us to do. With Him, nothing is impossible. May we ever look to the Lord, who is the reason for this sacred season, as He is the One to supply our needs and pave a path that leads where we are meant to go.

A way in the desert,

This passage reminded me of this song. Be blessed as you listen to the truth of who God is.

Safety through the storms;

God’s power in weakness,

How hearts are transformed.

Nothing’s impossible,

As we trust in Him;

Our blessed Redeemer,

Heals and forgives sin.

Lord, help us to trust You,

In everything;

For we have Your Spirit,

And all that He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You that by Your Spirit, nothing is impossible. Thank You that our perspective is not Yours. Forgive us for our limited vision, as we see but only a glimpse and think we understand the whole picture. Teach us to trust You, as You knew our whole story before it had even begun. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help us all see the strength, love and supply that You have for all who trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts, minds, time, strength and supply into all that You call us to. Amen.

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

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

Nothing Too Difficult

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV) 

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV) 

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE) 

This is such an important reminder as the pending decision for the upcoming school year has been conditionally released. Though I happened to overhear the plan while my love and I were out running an errand from a frustrated parent who was ranting to his friend, I had to stop and remember Who holds me in His hands. The very same God that created the heavens and the earth is able to carry us through whatever plan transpires. I need not worry, for worry never gets us anywhere anyway, but instead, I need to place all in His hands, and trust that He will help those negotiating the best plan for all. My prayer is for wisdom and safety, protection and provision for all who will be impacted by the plan that actually takes place. May we all remember who holds the power in His hands, and trust that His love will carry us through whatever road is chosen. 

The God of all grace, 

Who created all; 

Is able to do, 

What’s best for us all. 

As He made the earth, 

And hung up the stars; 

He considered us, 

His best work of art. 

In His mighty love, 

He’s able to do; 

All that is needed, 

To carry us through. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the same way that Your power created the heavens and the earth, You are able to meet us where we are, and do the seemingly impossible. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters. Show us how to trust in Your unfailing love that leads us and guides us in the way that is best. Help us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace, so that all might rest in the goodness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You, for You are more than able to set the very best plan in motion for all. Amen. 

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

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26