Prioritizing Passover

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “God and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.” – (Luke 22:8, HCSB)

Jesus said to Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us to eat.” – (Luke 22:8, ERV)

Jesus chose Peter and John and gave them instructions. Jesus said, “Go and make the necessary preparations for the Passover meal so we can eat together.” – (Luke 22:8, VOICE)

Jesus, knowing what He would soon endure, made sharing a meal together with those closest to Him a priority. It is yet another reminder of how Jesus prioritizes people and values relationships. He gathered with His disciples and gave them insight about what was soon to follow. In God’s divine design, He has made us the same way. With those whom we are closest to, we share meals together. Additionally, it is typically over a meal that we share our news, be it celebratory or struggles. As we look ahead to both tomorrow, when Jesus endured the cross, and to Sunday, the day He rose from the grave, may we give thanks to Him for the priority He placed upon people and the incredible act of love that He endured so that we could share at His table one day too.

The Passover meal,

Though somber in tone;

God’s goodness given,

As His love was shown.

A space to prepare,

Friends for what’s ahead;

To show them His love,

As He humbly led.

From washing their feet,

To sharing a meal;

His loving kindness,

Showed His love was real.

As we all gather,

May we choose love well;

Extend His goodness,

For love conquered hell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us the depth and power of Your unending love. Thank You that love is practical and tangible, and that it can be shown through something as simple as sharing a meal together. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You, and did not make people our priority. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might experience the loving kindness and goodness that Your grace offers. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to the last supper and all that You shared before You endured such suffering on our behalf, and praise You for the overwhelming, overcoming power that Your love holds. Amen.

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

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:20

Higher Thoughts and Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, HCSB)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:8-9, VOICE)

Though there are times that I wish God’s thoughts were the same as my own, He always has the best for us according to His will. He sees what we do not, there is purpose in all that we experience, and He knows the ultimate outcome. Sometimes, we are blessed in seeing and knowing why things have gone a certain way, yet other times, we have to wait and trust. No matter how things go in the here and now, we have hope in knowing that today is but the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity with Him. May we trust in the One who holds us all in the hollow of His hands, for He is good and has our best in mind.

The thoughts of the Lord,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Are greater than mine;

For He knows what’s best,

His plans are divine.

When things don’t make sense,

We are called to trust;

He purposes good,

He made us from dust.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust in Your ways;

For love, hope and life,

Come from You, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts and ways are far greater than ours. Thank You that You saw the outcome long before we even breathed our first breath. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things simply do not make sense. Teach us to trust in the spaces of uncertainty and grant us Your strength to know that You have a purpose and a plan for all things. Show us how to love those around us through every season that we walk through. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your ways throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

The Greatest Love Story

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – (John 3:16, HCSB)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

In this season of fixation on love, it seems only appropriate to recognize and celebrate the greatest love of all. God loved creation so much that He gave His Son to restore what had been lost, and to make the way for all who receive it, to have life everlasting with Him. We have all been hand-crafted, designed to love and be loved. The unique design placed within each of us grants us the capacity to love well. This love is not limited to romantic love, but rather it equips and empowers us to love all. From our parents, to siblings, to children, family, friends and a significant other, God gives us all that we need to love well. It is up to us to receive all that He offers so that we might truly know His love and then go and love likewise, all those whom He has placed in our lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, and give Him all praise for His loving ways each day that we draw breath.

The greatest love story,

That’s ever been told;

The gift of a Savior,

To have and to hold.

It is through the knowing,

Receiving of grace;

That we too can love well,

As we seek His face.

God places in our lives,

People we’re to love;

All whom He created,

Purposed from above.

So seek Him to love well,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Receive all He gives;

In Christ we’re empowered,

To love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your One and only Son to make the way for us to be in a loving relationship with You and equipped to love others as You do. Thank You that Your love gives us hope and help, life and love that last forever. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You intended, and for when we neglect to receive what You freely and lovingly offer. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting goodness and grace as You continually show us Your loving ways. Lead us to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of Your love and trust You to lead us to love all those around us well. 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

A Time for Everything

There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, HCSB)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV)

For everything that happens in life – there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, VOICE)

This is such a strange truth. It amazes me how there can be a loss and a gain, a death and new life, mourning and celebrating – all in the same season. Yesterday was the first time in twenty-five years that I was not present and coaching gymnastics for the first day of practice at my middle school. Meanwhile, I was happily coaching at the high school. An exchange had to be made in positions, as there is an overlap in seasons. Incredibly, our athletic director figured out a way for me to join my friends at the middle school once my high school season is over. God raised up the right person to take my place, and blessed me to still be a part of it. I know that it is good for me to embrace the new, and wonderful to have someone new spread their wings and soar. There is a strange sort of mourning and celebrating simultaneously. When there is a shift in what we know, we are meant to live in the moment and experience whatever the change may bring. In every season, God is good. He is faithful to walk beside us, and to lead us into the new. May we ever seek the Lord in every season, and praise Him for His faithfulness forever.

A time for all things,

Each season to grow;

Blessings and mourning,

God makes His grace known.

Ever He’s faithful,

In love, He will lead;

Supplying goodness,

Meeting all our needs.

Let’s keep hearts open,

In each time of new;

Welcome God in it,

Watch what He will do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful in every season we walk through. Thank You that You provide Your goodness, kindness and grace, even in seasons that we are not sure how to navigate. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for Your grace covers us and Your love provides. Teach us to trust all that You are doing in every new season, and to reflect back on all that You have faithfully done before. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in whatever season they are in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

You shower him with blessings that last forever; he finds joy in knowing Your presence and loving You. – Psalm 21:6

Held Up in Heaviness

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, NIV)

I will change their sadness into happiness. I will comfort my people, making them happy instead of sad. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, ERV)

I’ll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, MSG)

This is a promise to hold when grief is great. Today, many will gather to celebrate a life well lived that ended way too soon. My heart is heavy for each life that she touched, for to know her, was to love her. I am hopeful that as we gather, the beauty of her life will bring joy and laughter that soothes the tears. The greatest comfort that I cling to in our loss, is knowing that she is home with Jesus. May God continue to bring gladness from the spaces of mourning, and comfort and joy in the throes of sorrow.

In sorrowful space,

May God’s love shine in;

Filling heavy hearts,

With joy, once again.

He is our comfort,

In spaces of grief;

His love surrounds us,

And grants us relief.

Lord, take the heavy,

Replace it with joy;

Blessings in knowing,

Hope that You employ.

God, lift up our eyes,

To truly see You;

Our help and our hope,

Your love leads us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us up in our heaviness and bring us comfort in our grief. Thank You that You can bring joy in the midst of mourning, and hope in the heart of great loss. Forgive us for trying to carry the weight on our own rather than placing our hearts and our heaviness into Your loving hands. Teach us to lean into You in our losses, and to see the joy that You are placing before us. Show us how to love well, so that Your hope and heart are made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to bring gladness from our mourning and comfort and joy where sorrow is weighty. Amen.

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

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76 (ERV)

We Wait in Hope

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

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – (Psalm 33:20, ERV) 

The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. – (Psalm 33:20, TPT) 

This certainly feels like a season of waiting. Waiting to advance in phases of reopening; waiting to freely visit with friends and loved ones; waiting to celebrate major milestones and birthdays in the way in which we all are accustomed to do so; and waiting for answers as to what the coming year will look like for so many impacted by the public education system. With Christ, we are able to wait in hope, trusting that He has a plan and will protect and strengthen us for all that lies ahead. Though the road ahead feels long and uncertain, we can move forward, one step at a time, with hope in knowing Who is ultimately in control. May we wait on the Lord with hope, ever trusting in He who surrounds us with His presence, and strengthens us as He protects. 

May we ever turn, 

With hope, to the Lord; 

As we have to wait, 

In grace He affords. 

When it seems we’re stuck, 

A space of on hold; 

Hope grants us the strength, 

To trust and be bold. 

Bold in the unknown, 

Recognizing grace; 

Protection and peace, 

Granted all our days. 

Keep moving forward, 

However He calls; 

For there is a plan, 

As strength He installs. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us hope as we trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and protection. Forgive us for our impatience in the waiting. Teach us to trust You with all of our days, ever aware of Your protection and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that present hope that inspires trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait with hope for all that is yet to come. Amen. 

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

To Be Clothed Well

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The times that I feel like I am the very best version of myself, are those in which I am led by the mercy that God has overwhelmingly shown me, again and again, so that I might interact with others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Some of these attributes seem to be more abundant than others, and I clearly have “hot buttons” that when pushed, deplete my seeming supply to love as I am called to love. Constant bickering (when my boys were younger), or a teething puppy that struggles with impulse control to nip, are a few of the things if on repeat all day long, wear me down and deplete my capacity to feel merciful. Thankfully, much in the same way that patience and perseverance carried my boys and me through their younger years when they fought often, I know the same is true with this short-lived stage in puppyhood. The Passions Translation version drives it home well for me, as it is an ongoing reminder of how to operate in the struggle: “Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all.” It is a reminder that there is always a root reason for the unwanted behaviors, and through patience, compassion and kindness, a solution may be discovered and better way be made. Incredibly, sometimes, it is merely consistent kindness that transforms the heart of one who needed it most. May we embrace the blessing we behold in knowing that we have been shown mercy unending and love beyond what our hearts can hold, and go forth choosing to be merciful; ever extending compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all those with whom we interact.

 

Because we are loved, wp-15892942076306151823366680093252.jpg

We need to love too;

Extend great mercy,

Compassion, exude.

With humility,

May we choose be kind;

Gentle and patient,

With others in mind.

May those whom we meet,

Through our love come know;

What God’s love is like,

Through mercy we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with kindness and compassion, mercy and patience beyond measure. Thank You that because of Your love, we can love others. Forgive us for the places where we are lacking compassion, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness or mercy. Teach us how to love more like You. Show us the places and space where there is a greater need for mercy, compassion, humility, patience, kindness and gentleness, and help us to love in a way that represents Your heart tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and mercy, and rely on You to help us love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Joyful, Patient, Faithful

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

 

I imagine that these words are a timely reminder for many, as this season of waiting seems extraordinarily long. Yes, I know there have been many throughout history who have endured far worse for far longer, yet this is our season of waiting and staying and missing what we all knew before, and it is a challenge. Thankfully, we do have hope. Hope in God’s presence right now, which brings us joy and peace and strength, and hope in knowing that our current season and circumstances will not last forever; they have an end date. Knowing there is an end does help with patience, yet there are moments that I wonder if my capacity to be patient has come to an end. Of course, God, in His wisdom, reminds us to be faithful to pray – to commune with God at all times. In those moments when I am weary and worn and feeling like I might lose my mind, if I slow down, take a breath, and turn my attention to He who gives me all I need, patience comes as peace within me is restored. May we be intentional to commune with God, for He is our source of hope, joy and patience that helps us persevere, no matter what lies before us.

 

For where there is hope, img_2019-07-16_06-35-183702170351870846491.jpg

Joy too, shall spring forth;

It comes from our trust,

In God, our true Source.

Patient endurance,

When life gets too hard;

Strength when we’re weary,

Our light and our guard.

In all things, choose pray,

Commune with the Lord;

In love, He’s present,

And grace He’ll afford.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of joy in hope, patience in trials, and the One in whom we can trust, always. Thank You that You hear us and love us through all things. Forgive us for our lack of dependence on You. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the One who gives us joy and hope, patience and strength; all that we need to persevere, even when things seem too much. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may feel hope and joy and patience, as they are encouraged to persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the joy we have in knowing You, for You are our hope and strength and all that we need to keep pressing on. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Place of Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Perfect peace. When we feel it, we know it, for there is no comfort that comes close to that of His peace when we are quiet in His presence and able to simply settle in and soak in the sweet safety of knowing He is near. I wish that I could tell you that I am constantly hanging out in this space, but alas, I am not. Yesterday began well, as I spent time in the word and the tone for my day was embedded in truth. However, by early afternoon, the weight of all I had carried throughout the week caught up with me, and I had a mini melt down. Everything felt like it was too much. Hours on end each day, seated in one place, staring at a computer screen, trying to learn and make sense of this new platform for instructing; monitoring incoming daily messages from my mom’s senior living community, and struggling to actually contact and communicate with mom this past week, as we played phone tag more than we spoke live; and finally, not getting out of my house except to exercise or to make a grocery run was all at a point of stealing my peace. Part of me wanted to get in the car and just drive. I didn’t care where, just go and see and that there was more to existence than the walls that shelter and protected my family. Sometimes, as it seems, God uses people to bring us back to His perfect peace. My husband came in, hugged me and listened to me, then told me to get ready to go. He took me for a drive along the water, as he knows that is where I am reminded of God’s peace best, and we enjoyed fresh air and quiet as we traveled along. It took little time before we were talking and laughing, and noticing things along the way. We actually spotted a wedding on the waterfront, as two people, a clergy, and a few socially-distanced witnesses were standing in the pagoda by the Puget Sound, exchanging their vows. Our outing ultimately took us to a Fred Meyer for some needed groceries for the week, before returning home for dinner with the family. The evening was sweet and settled, and peace was again present in my heart. This morning, I am grateful for the family that I am blessed to call my own, and will continue to pursue the Lord any time I feel His peace wavering. May we seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is our place of perfect peace.

 

The Lord is our peace, Place of Perfect Peace

In Him, we can thrive;

As we choose to trust,

Each day of our lives.

For circumstances,

Come and go like rain;

But as we choose trust,

His peace shall remain.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Place all in His hands;

His strength, hope and grace,

All we need to stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You and depend on You to be our perfect peace. Thank You that no matter what we are going through, we can still know Your perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to become overburdened by the weight of the world. Teach us to place all in Your hands, so that we may know Your peace and only carry that which we are meant to shoulder. Show us how to come alongside those around us and help extend strength, hope and grace in Your love, so that they too, may feel and know Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and depend on You in all things and at all times, giving You praise for the perfect peace that Your presence brings. 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

Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28