To Still Our Storms

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, NIV)

They were very afraid and asked each other, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and water obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, ERV)

But they were overwhelmed with fear and awe and said to one another, “Who is this man who has such authority that even the wind and waves obey Him?” – (Mark 4:41, TPT)

This verse follows the account of Jesus and the disciples immediately after they had been caught in the midst of a giant squall, feared for their lives, and Jesus had stood and spoke to the wind and sea to “be still”. The wind and water stopped immediately as He spoke, and the disciples were awestruck and afraid. Most of the disciples were experienced fishermen and were overwhelmingly aware of the sudden danger of a storm that started with little warning. Additionally, the very notion of such a squall being silenced by the mere words of a man did not make sense. The wind and waves did not simply stop, but there, in that experience with Jesus, they did. Though the disciples had been with Jesus and seen Him perform miracles for many people, speaking to a storm and the sea was beyond what they likely could have ever imagined. Perhaps the silencing of the storm experience was an “aha” moment in which they began to grasp just how powerful Jesus truly was. For us, today, we have the benefit of beholding a collection of the experiences of those who walked with Jesus, and the opportunity to experience a life with Him, by His Spirit within us. We may not see squalls at sea silenced, but many are the storms that He has calmed within. Christ is our peace in the places of chaos, and our hope when we feel helpless. His power to be present and bring peace is beyond what we can fathom until we begin to experience it for ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord, both in the midst of storms and in the calm, for He is faithful to be present to help us and hold us, no matter what life brings our way.

When storms are raging,

Outside or within;

We need our Savior,

To bring peace again.

And when all is calm,

May we too delight;

In He who’s present,

The Maker of right.

Let us stand in awe,

Of all He has done;

Give glory to God,

The most Holy One.

Please never forget,

The power that’s found;

Through merely His words,

As His grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son to show us the incredible power of Your love through Him. Please forgive us for the times that we allow the storms around us or within us to create fear and steal our peace. Teach us to trust in Your power and goodness, as You walk with us all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend peace and comfort and make Your power and heart for all known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn how to lean into You through the storms and in our spaces of calm. 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

Magnificent Multiplication

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. – (Luke 9:16, NIV)

Then Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish. He looked up into the sky and thanked God for the food. Then He broke it into pieces, which He gave to the followers to give to the people. – (Luke 9:16, ERV)

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and gazing into the heavenly realm He gave thanks for the food. Then, in the presence of His disciples, He broke off pieces of bread and fish, and kept giving more to each disciple to give to the crowd. It was multiplying before their eyes! – (Luke 9:16, TPT)

As I read the ninth chapter of Luke, I paused and pondered what it must have been like for the disciples and the crowd when Jesus told His followers to feed thousands from five loaves of bread and two fish. My wonder went beyond the miracle and I simply tried to imagine what it would have been to be present. Did the food multiply as He prayed, or did they begin distributing the bread and fish and it simply kept regenerating as they passed portions? The Passions Translation grants my imagination free reign, as I sit in awe and wonder at He who took a little and made it into much, much more. I think that really is the point that we are meant to gain from this account of what transpired – that when we are willing to give God what we have, no matter how little, He can multiply it exponentially for the greater good. In this season of both shut down and of celebration, how can we bring God what we have to see Him multiply it for good? There are opportunities everywhere; from giving trees, to food banks, to local schools, to the elderly and the lonely… May we ever seek the Lord to direct our steps, and with willing hearts, offer what we have for Him to multiply and bless many.

Lord, I stand in awe,

At all that You do;

As You take little,

To bless through and through.

Show us how to give,

Trust all in Your hands;

Know that You will use,

Each gift as You’ve planned.

Every resource,

Time, talent and gifts;

Can be used by God,

To touch and uplift.

Let us choose offer,

What we’re called to give;

Watch Him multiply,

In love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can take whatever we bring and multiply it to bless many. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to trust and walk by faith, understanding the incredible power of Your love. Forgive us for withholding what we have known we were meant to give. Show us how to bring You our time, talent and resources so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Lead us to love those around us well. Instruct us as to how we can give. Please multiply all for the good of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring what we have to offer, trusting that You will use what we give in far greater ways than we could ever imagine. Amen.

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

He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

Formed By His Hands

In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. – (Psalm 95:4-5, NIV) 

The deepest caves and the highest mountains belong to Him. The ocean is His – He created it. He made the dry land with His own hands. – (Psalm 95:4-5, ERV) 

In one hand He holds the mysteries of the earth and in the other He holds the highest mountain peaks. He’s the owner of every ocean, the engineer and sculptor of earth itself. – (Psalm 95:4-5, TPT) 

Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I am reminded again, of the beauty and diversity of all that God’s hands have made. Being a Pacific Northwest native, I love the color and variation that can be observed in our area. We have mountains and streams, oceans and forests, and lush green all around us. In the desert, there is, at a first glance, a seeming lack of variety. However, upon closer investigation, there are wonders for the eyes to take in with the rock formations and canyons, hills and spaces of oasis. Additionally, it takes little time to get out of the city lights in the desert, where stars are in full view at night. There is something about warm nights, clear skies, and countless stars overhead, that reminds me of the incredible power of He who formed it all. May we ever look around in wonder, and notice all of the beauty that God has created. 

All of creation, 

Formed by the Lord’s hands; 

Mountains and forests, 

Oceans and all land. 

Each with His imprint, 

His power displayed; 

Great variety, 

In all He has made. 

All thanks be to Him, 

For all we can see; 

The Lord’s handiwork, 

Rich diversity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty, creativity and diversity in all that Your hands have made. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to notice or have taken for granted, the beauty all around us. Show us how to recognize all of the splendor found in that which was created by Your hands. Teach us to love those around us and care for all that You have made, with intention. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:39

Seek Love that Lasts

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. – (Proverbs 31:30, TPT)

 

Fear of the Lord is a healthy reverence for who He is. It is not the sort of fear that causes us to cower in a corner because there is a lack of love, but rather it is a respect that is filled with awe for who God is and the incredible power He holds in His hands. When we operate our lives in wonder and awe, this healthy fear of the Lord, we begin to love God and love people in the ways that we are called to love. *Charm, or the power of pleasing or attracting through personality or beauty, is not love. (*dictionary.com) Love is a decision that chooses to speak truth, rather than seeks to please, and though love is attractive, it is not given selfishly with the hope of something in return, but rather, it is a pure intention to give of ourselves freely, as we are loved by God. Beauty is an interesting attribute as well, as what one eye perceives as beautiful, another finds ordinary. However, those with beautiful hearts are most often remembered as beautiful. So often, the more I know the heart of someone, the more beautiful they become in my eyes. Physical beauty fades, but beauty of the heart continues to grow as we walk more closely with the Lord. The to be praised portion of this verse reminds me that there are eternal benefits to loving God and loving people. Great is our reward when all is said and done. He blesses us here, but has prepared so much more for us when our time on earth is through. It all points back to loving God and loving people. May we be filled with awe and reverence for the Lord who loves us with an everlasting love, and go forth and love others with a love that is pure and selfless and otherly, exactly as love was designed.

 

Be not deceived, Seek Love that Lasts

By beauty or charm;

Seek love that lasts,

And does not do harm.

With reverence,

Stand in awe of God;

All love’s from Him,

For now and beyond.

Rise up and choose,

To love as we’re called;

God and people,

By grace, love for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are what lasts. Thank You that as we invest in relationship with You, we come to know and understand love as You intended it to be. Thank You that as we choose to walk forward in the love You call us to, You show us the goodness that is for now and all that is yet to come. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked reverence for You or love for others. Teach us to live out each day in love, according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love others well, so that they may know the depth and breadth of love found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love You and love people well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the eyes of the Lord are on all those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:18

Hope Rises

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, NIV)

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, MSG)

 

The more I dig into the scriptures to unpack the details of Holy Week, the more I notice things that either have escaped me previously, or that I had somehow forgotten over time. This morning, after reading about Jesus’ resurrection in all four gospels, I had a moment of “Wow, how did I miss that before?”  In Mark, Luke, and John’s telling of the resurrection, the accounts each begin AFTER the stone had been rolled away. So, what does this matter, you ask? For me, this added to the already miraculous resurrection, as Jesus had risen and left the tomb BEFORE the stone was rolled away. In the same way that He “appeared” in the locked room where the disciples were meeting after all of this had taken place, Jesus had “disappeared” from the tomb, only to “appear” before Mary in the garden by the tomb. Next, Jesus “appeared” to the two disciples along the road to Emmaus, then among the disciples gathered in the locked room, and later at the Sea of Galilee, where He reinstated Peter, as well as in a variety of other places and spaces to teach and equip His followers before He ascended into Heaven. (Read John 20:11-21:25 for specifics) For me, this is a reminder of the incredible power of Christ. We, in our frail humanity, cannot begin to fathom the power held in the hands of our Creator. The very same God who created heaven and earth, bore the sin of the world to redeem all humanity, and then rose from three days dead. Beyond that, He lived and loved and touched and equipped those around Him further, before He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is ever moving on our behalf. It is no wonder they say that “Hope Rises.”  It does indeed. Christ rose. The sun rises each new day. As the weight of fear, suffering, sin and sorrow are laid at His feet, we are empowered and strengthened to rise. I wonder if that is why God created day and night the way that He did. Each morning as the sun rises, we have the opportunity to be reminded that the Son rose for us; new hope, new help, every single day. May we embrace the truth that HE HAS RISEN, and allow hope to rise in all of us on this glorious Easter morning. Let the world rejoice, for hope has risen, HE is alive!

 

 

Imagine the tomb, Statements of Praise

Cold, lifeless and still;

Guarded, protected,

O God, what’s Your will?

All of a sudden,

The earth starts to shake;

Terrifying light,

Moves the stone away.

From atop the stone,

A voice then declares;

“Do not be afraid,

He’s no longer there.”

Guards frozen in fear,

Ladies look in awe;

Just grave clothes remain,

This scene that they saw.

What He had promised,

Had now come to pass;

Jesus had risen,

Our hope that shall last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live and love, to die and rise again, so that we might know the hope that is found in You alone. Thank You that today is a day to remember how powerfully hope rises, as You rose up out of the grave and defeated death for our sake. Forgive us for forgetting the power held in hope that rises, for You have the power to resurrect anything. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope, strength, light and life. Show us how to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look into the empty tomb and see that the Son has risen for us anew, so that we may know hope in You. 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

 

*If you need an Easter service to join, please join me at Grace Church, 10am, PST. ❤