Abiding in Jesus

Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. – (John 15:4, NIV)

Stay joined to Me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to Me. – (John 15:4, ERV)

Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with Me. – (John 15:4, MSG)

As a middle school teacher in January, I recognize the truth of this in very tangible ways. If I do not begin my day with Jesus, my heart is not set right to abide in Him. Without Him, I would not get through the challenges that nearing the end of the first semester bring. Between the push to complete and finalize grading, kids in scramble mode to raise grades, behaviors break down and patience is challenged. When I rely on He who is in me, I am kinder and more patient. In the moments that I try to trust in my own strength, frustration rises, and I am ready to walk away. Remaining in Jesus means to listen to His leading in all things. This includes moments of frustration and challenge, as well as those of blessing and celebration. He is always good, and is faithful to supply what we need in all things. May we ever abide in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith; for greater is He who is in us, than anything that is in the world.

Abide in Jesus,

As He does in us;

Our Hope and Helper,

The One who sees us.

He knows all our needs,

When we’re not aware;

And as we seek Him,

Always, He is there.

Present to help us,

To show us the way;

To live and love well,

As in Him we stay.

So, remain in God,

The Giver of grace;

Our Help and our Hope,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead us and help us to bear good fruit as we remain in You. Thank You that You are for us, and that Your heart is to lead us to love well. Forgive us for the times that we rely on our own strength, for that is where our patience grows thin, and our resolve diminishes. Teach us to abide in You throughout every moment of every day. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that Your light and love are made known to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we abide in You and seek You to be the bearer of fruit in and through our lives. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Jesus is a Miracle-Worker

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Why are you afraid? You don’t have enough faith.” Then He stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. The wind stopped, and the lake became very calm. The men were amazed. They said, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the water obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, ERV)

Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then He stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass. The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea stand up and take notice at His command!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, MSG)

The disciples had spent much time with Jesus already, and they knew that He had the power to heal and do many great and miraculous things. However, when they were in the middle of the lake and a giant squall came upon them, what they knew to be true was somehow lost in the sound of the wind and waves. What they did know was to wake Jesus and ask Him what to do. Jesus, who had been resting after many hours of teaching crowds, woke to their fright and showed them again that He was indeed a miracle-worker, as He told the wind and waves to be still. Though they had seen and experienced His power in action, they were awestruck that even the elements had to obey Him. God knows our needs and can work miracles in all things, great and small. The same God who made the heavens and the earth, knows our names, our needs, and the hopes we hold in our hearts. Each time we see or experience God at work, we are experiencing miracles. I have seen His power heal sickness and disease and provide in ways that cannot be explained. He is always moving on our behalf. When we slow down and truly look around us, we become more and more aware of the miracle-worker that Jesus is. Tomorrow, my twins turn twenty-one. Despite being tiny preemies that spent the first five weeks of their lives in the hospital, they are alive and thriving into adulthood. They are bright, kind, healthy and whole, and are my constant reminders of the goodness and the miracle-working power of the living God. May we ever pause and take notice of God moving among us throughout our days and praise Jesus for being the miracle-worker in our lives.

Everything good,

That happens in life;

Blessings from Jesus,

All by His design.

He helps and He heals,

In love, He provides;

He shows us the way,

As we choose abide.

We pray for wisdom,

Please open our eyes;

To see You moving,

In our hearts and lives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us more of who You are and how You love and care for us all. Thank You Jesus, that You are still a miracle-worker. Thank You that we have the privilege of witnessing You moving among us in all things, great and small. Forgive us for our lack of awareness in the everyday miracles that transpire all around us. Teach us to have eyes to see and hearts to treasure all of the ways that You work in and through our lives. Show us how to have faith to prayerfully contend for those all around us. Lead us in Your loving kindness so that all whom we encounter would experience the miracle of Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we count the abundant blessings and miracles in our lives and all around us. Amen.

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

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. – Jeremiah 32:17

Peace in All Things

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. 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

Make Room

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NIV)

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 fed. She put Him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. – (Luke 2:6-7, MSG)

Though we cannot go back in time and create space for Jesus to be born in a comfortable setting, we can make room for His arrival in our hearts. Back then, Mary and Joseph were an unwed couple in a time and space where such things were disgraceful and shunned. I imagine that if their circumstances had been different, a family member would have created room. However, that is not how the event unfolded. Today, in our fast-paced, instant-gratification needing world, we must be intentional to make time to remember Christ’s arrival, or we too, are sending the Savior to a stable. The incredible thing is that Jesus did not remain a baby. He grew and lived and loved and helped and healed, and ultimately gave His life for us so that we might know Him. Jesus conquered the grave and ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. One day, He will return. Though no one knows when He will return, if we are eagerly anticipating His arrival, our hearts are in the right space to not only remember the Savior’s birth, but to welcome back the Overcoming King. May we be intentional this Christmas to make room for Christ’s arrival and recognize both the redemption we have been given and the hope that is ours as we make room for Christ to be the Lord of our lives.

If only they’d known,

The child she would bear;

Space would have been made,

They would have prepared.

No one can go back,

Instead, look ahead;

To welcome the King,

Let all praise be said.

For great is the Lord,

Who came down to earth;

Humble beginning,

So lowly His birth.

A baby no more,

Now Conquering King;

Defeater of death,

All hope He does bring.

So, lift up all praise,

Our best offering;

All glory to God,

The Almighty King.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son in a way that showed us that not only are You powerful, but You are also approachable. You can relate to all of us, no matter where we come from, where we are, or what we have been through. Thank You that You made the way for all to come into the hope that is found forever in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not made room for Your arrival. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on the meaning of this most sacred season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace, hope and love to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and make room to remember the glory of not only Your arrival in a stable, but to anticipate Your return as the Conquering King. Amen.

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

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me.” – Matthew 10:40

Joy and Laughter

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – (Job 8:21, NIV)

So perhaps you might laugh again. Maybe shouts of joy will come from your lips. – (Job 8:21, ERV)

He will fill your mouth with laughter; your lips will spill over into cries of delight. – (Job 8:21, VOICE)

Though Job’s friends were not the greatest at responding to the devastation and loss that he had experienced, this verse was spot on, as in the end, all that Job had lost was restored and then some. Joy and laughter were restored after such heartache, trials, and loss. Last evening, as my love and I attended his sister’s annual Christmas party, we were both in a space where laughter was needed. Gathering with family and friends, we were able to enjoy the company, love and laughter that burst forth when dear ones get together. There was much laughter, and the joy that dwells deep within, was reminded to surface. Today, I anticipate more laughter and reasons to shout for joy, as we will gather with our church family, and after, I will have the pleasure of time together with dear ones from college group that I met a few decades ago. I am so thankful for the opportunities God brings to grant us laughter and to remind us of the joy we have in and through Him. The people He places in our lives grant us reason to delight.

The gift of laughter,

Reminds us that joy;

An ongoing gift,

That love does employ.

For time together,

With laughter and love;

Show us God’s goodness,

His grace understood.

Trial or triumph,

God’s joy is the same;

Found in the blessings,

As we call His Name.

Joy’s not dependent,

On our circumstance;

It’s found in Jesus,

Not by happenstance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what is going on around us or what lies before us, we can trust that there will be laughter and joy again. Thank You that joy in You exists even on our darkest days. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the weight of our circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, for it is in that space of hope that we know and understand the joy in the promise of forever in Your presence. Teach us to choose to embrace the joy we have in You, and to allow love and laughter to overflow from our gratitude to You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that remind them that love and laughter, joy and peace are present when we know Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise for the joy we know in You, and for the love and laughter that You provide through those You place in our lives. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

The Throne of Grace

This is a post from a few years ago, yet is so timely right now…

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

A Life of Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

The old adage that actions speak louder than words is true. When we are shown love over and over again, we are secure and confident in that love far more than from those who speak love or about love, but do not have actions that align. Some of the best ways to show love are displayed through living out the fruit of the Spirit. Love is patient and kind, it is humble, it honors others, it looks out for others, it is gentle and forgiving. Love celebrates the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (See 1 Corinthians 13) It is the people that surround me and show me these things that assure my heart that I am loved, seen and known. This weekend alone, I have had several friends reach out with messages and texts to check in and encourage me as I wait on a surgical date. It is the small acts of kindness, the reaching out that remind my heart of God’s goodness and love. May we ever seek to pattern our lives after Jesus, and may love be our true way of life. 

Lord, help us to make,

Love our way of life;

Kindness extended,

An end brought to strife.

Grant us Your patience,

So love’s what we choose;

For one another,

As Your love is proved.

Help us see the ways,

Where we can show love;

May our actions point,

To how Your heart loves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us that love is an active way of living, not a theory or mere words. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not been in alignment with what we know love to be. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to truly love those around us. Lead us to live a life of love that chooses to reach out and make love tangible for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to make love a way of life. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Show Us What is Right

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. – (Hebrews 4:15, HCSB)

Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on the earth, He was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but He never sinned. – (Hebrews 4:15, ERV)

For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. – (Hebrews 4:15, VOICE)

The encouragement in this is that Jesus, who was tested and challenged in every way, knows how to successfully navigate the trials and temptations that we face because He has faced them without sin. He calls us unto Himself, and He moves on our behalf. The Lord will strengthen us to withstand temptation and will make a way out when it is more than we can endure. Jesus knows our needs far better than we do, and when we seek Him, He shows us the way in which we are meant to go and the things that we must avoid. Though not one of us is without sin, we can go to the One who is. At the cross, Jesus already paid the price for our transgressions, and endured the weight upon Himself. In doing so, He set us free from the sins that so easily entangle us and made the way for us to be in right standing before the Father. Our seeking is needed daily, hourly, and at times, moment to moment so that we do what is right. May we ever seek the Lord, in every circumstance, and rely on Him to lead us out of the places and things that are not beneficial, and into the places and spaces that sharpen our focus on His goodness and love.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To walk in Your way;

Keep us from falling,

Or going astray.

Show us what is right,

The things that are good;

Keep us far from sin,

Just as You withstood.

Grant us an option,

A way to get out;

So that our choices,

Will make Your heart proud.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, who lived without sin despite being tempted in every way. Thank You Jesus, that You who were tempted and without sin, took on the burden of all of our sin so that we might come to know You and be found right before the Father. Forgive us for every time that we walk out our own will instead of Yours. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us in the ways that are good and right and loving. Show us how to steer away from sin and to walk in Your love as we choose to love those around us as You created us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and seek You to steer clear of the sin that so easily entangles us, so that we might walk in Your way and do Your will. Amen.

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

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

No Matter What May Come

For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, HCSB)

And now He can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because He Himself suffered and was tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18, ERV)

Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, VOICE)

Because Jesus was tempted in every way, and He suffered beyond what we can even begin to fathom, He understands and knows how to help us when we struggle. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are completely alone in the midst of struggle or suffering, but the truth is, God is always near. Jesus is ever moving on our behalf. The challenge is to slow down, seek the Lord, and simply sit in His presence. He is faithful to meet us in our seeking, and will hold us up and lead us through the trials that we face. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is faithful, and He will help, hold, and lead us so that we may navigate every difficulty that comes our way.

No matter what comes,

God already knows;

How to best help us,

In His strength, we grow.

Through great temptations,

Or true suffering;

God will be faithful,

Grace and strength He brings.

So, rise up and seek,

Each time you shall find;

More than imagined,

His love does exceed.

Lean into Jesus,

No matter what comes;

He’s present to help,

The great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You understand every trial and suffering that we endure. Thank You that because You have suffered and been tempted in every way, You are able to help and strengthen us to navigate all things. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too may come to know Your strength and help and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times, for in You, there is peace and hope and strength. Amen.

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

Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God. – Jeremiah 42:6

Love and Kindness Last

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

From far away, the Lord will appear to His people. The Lord says, “I love you people with a love that continues forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness.” – (Jeremiah 31:3, ERV)

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you. – (Jeremiah 31:3, HCSB)

The same God that appeared in the past to Jeremiah, is the One who is present today. His message remains the same, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is our charge to answer His call and to come close as He draws us near. God’s love is everlasting and His kindness never fails. May we ever heed the Lord’s call and draw near to Him, for His faithful love will last forever as we earnestly seek Him.

The Lord is our God,

Who draws us so near;

Extends His kindness,

And chases off fear.

He grants us kindness,

Though it’s undeserved;

He’s faithful always,

Just as we have heard.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s faithful to us;

Who sent His own Son,

Tangible, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are near and that You love with an everlasting love. Thank You that You sent Your one and only Son, Jesus, to show us what love is meant to be. Thank You that He modeled a life of love. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You are far off or are not approachable to the seeking. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting faithfulness and love. Show us how to love like You, so that all those around us may see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You that Your love and kindness last forever. Amen.

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

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8