Community Brings Comfort

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

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Pleasing Wherever We Go

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, HCSB)

Our only goal is to always please the Lord, whether we are living here in this body or there with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, ERV)

Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, VOICE)

In this passage, Paul’s letter is for instruction in life and beyond, yet it is also fitting to follow wherever we are. Do we love people near and far; when home or away? It is our charge to be light and life and love to all people everywhere. We are blessed to be traveling with our besties who do an incredible job of loving people well. Wherever we go, they are remembered for their love and kindness to all. To be pleasing to God, we ought to seek to do just that at all times and in all circumstances. May we ever follow after the Lord and the example He set through His Son, and go forth and love people well so that all that we do might be pleasing to Him.

May we ever seek,

To honor God well;

Choose love each other,

So what we do tells.

Tells of His goodness,

Exemplifies grace;

Makes the Lord’s love known,

As we love His way.

Full of acceptance,

Extension of kind;

Blessings we outpour,

With others in mind.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Help us to honor,

With hearts that are true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to honor You wherever we go. Thank You that when we choose to love and extend kindness, we are representing Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Lead us in Your love as we go about our day, and show us opportunities to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek to live and love as You intended. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Cultivate Beautiful Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

The fruit of the Spirit is always sweet and in season. God cultivates His fruit in us to nourish, encourage and more clearly reflect His heart to the world in a way that is sweet and pleasing to those around us. When we live life according to the fruit that Christ plants and grows in us, the people around us come to know His heart as they experience His nature offered through us. May we ever pursue the Lord and His fruit, so that we may be nourished to extend the same nourishment to others. 

Lord, please grow in us,

The fruit of Your love;

Unconditional,

These gifts from above.

For love, joy and peace,

Patience, kindness too;

Display the Lord’s love,

And make our hearts new.

Then there is patience,

And kindness that’s true;

Goodness, faithfulness,

God’s fruit to pursue.

Add His gentleness,

And true self-control;

Ways to make love known,

Through fruit that we show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and empower us to grow in and live out the fruit of Your Spirit. Thank You that all of these things are already seeds within us that need Your nourishment to grow and bear visible fruit. Thank You that as we are intentional to pursue You, You cultivate Your heart for the world in us. Forgive us for neglecting to give You access to grow us to be more like You. Show us how to tend to the fruit You are calling us to grow in, for You are faithful to prune, water and nourish us so that we bear beautiful fruit. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to share the fruit of Your Spirit with everyone around us. Amen.

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

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. – James 3:18

To See Goodness

Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him! – (Psalm 34:8, HCSB)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

This weekend has been one that has filled me up, as there is something to be said about seeing smiling faces everywhere we go, and the joy found in running with friends, running errands, and getting together with friends that is life-giving. After nearly two years of not seeing the faces of people out in public, it was wonderful to see smiles and expressions when communicating with others. Additionally, we were able to get together with friends we had not seen in two years and share a meal together. I know for some it causes nervousness or anxiety, but for me, it feels like a place of peace, for the opportunity to gather, to communicate clearly and to see expression as people speak is a joy that I will never take for granted again. I am eagerly anticipating teaching and coaching today, as it will be the first time that I have ever seen more than eyes when communicating with many of my students and colleagues. It is a choice, so I know not everyone will be comfortable removing masks, yet to see even a few smiles returned will be amazing. No matter what people choose, God is good and His blessings abound as we depend on Him. May we seek the Lord and open our eyes, for He continually shows us His goodness as we turn our attention to Him.

Show us Your goodness,

O Lord, as we seek;

Let Your love be known,

May Your kindness speak.

For blessings await,

As we go to Him;

Surrounded by grace,

That cannot be dimmed.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In goodness and grace;

May we give You thanks,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and open our eyes to the world around us, we can see the abundant blessings that You have for us all. Forgive us for the times that we have been unaware or have neglected to recognize the blessings that You have bestowed upon us. Teach us to seek You and give You praise for all that You have done and continue to do. Lead us to love those around us well, and help us to provide peace through purposeful kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as seek You in all things and give You praise for the abundant blessings that are all around us. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1

Help Shoulder the Weight

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, HCSB)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

Right now, I know a couple of people who are in the throes of tremendous loss; one just lost her son, and the other’s best friend lost her grandson. The weight of grief is far too great a burden to bear alone. It comes in waves and threatens to pull us under. However, when family and friends and community surround the grieving, they provide a hand to help hold heads above water, and give buoyancy in the sinking spaces. What I have observed in both instances, is an incredible outpouring of love, prayers and practical, tangible help in the places where it is needed most. When we reach out, we are extending a hand that helps lighten the load. Nothing we do can lessen the loss, yet the reaching out, the outpouring of what is needed, reminds the burden bearer that they are not alone. Our hands, hearts and voices can be tangible evidence of God’s love when it is extremely difficult to see. Though we cannot take the pain away, we can do something to share the burden, thus fulfilling God’s law to love. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us wisdom and grace so that we are empowered to walk beside the burdened and help carry the load.

When life’s troubles come,

As they always do;

May we walk beside,

Help see people through.

For we are each called,

To above all, love;

Care for each other,

As God does above.

Each time we reach out,

In practical ways;

We show the Lord’s love,

And extend His grace.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To help carry loads;

Through helping, giving,

At life’s tough crossroads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to help carry one another’s burdens. Thank You for the countless times that You have surrounded me with a community that walked beside me and lessened the load when it was too great for me to bear alone. Forgive us for the times that we see a need and neglect to reach out. Teach us to turn to You to guide and equip us to do what we can, whenever and wherever we can, to love as You love. Show us practical ways to come alongside those who are carrying weight that is far too heavy to bear alone. Lead us in Your love so that Your help, hands and heart may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we navigate our days with open hands and hearts, ready to reach out as You would. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

Unto Us

For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NIV)

For a child will be born for us, a Son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB)

Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a Son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways – He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, VOICE)

The arrival. Heaven coming to earth in the form of a baby who would grow and become the Savior of the world, was foretold centuries prior to His birth. All of the anticipation and joy that comes with a newborn baby was experienced by Mary and Joseph. However, God did not just make the arrival known to Mary and Joseph, for He placed a star in the sky to indicate where the baby lay, and had heavenly hosts announce His coming to shepherds in the fields nearby as they watched their sheep at night. The living gift. God with us is a gift that knows no end. Each name foretold has proven true again and again throughout the ages. Jesus indeed is a Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. He comforts us in our time of need, He is more powerful than anything that might come against us, He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He is the place where we find our peace. Though today is set aside as a day to celebrate His arrival, everyday that we draw breath ought to be spent in thanksgiving for all that He is as He grants us hope, joy, love and peace no matter what surrounds us. May we each take pause today to recognize and give thanks for the hope that we have in Him, the joy that is found in knowing Who is for us, the love that He gives unconditionally, and the peace that is found when our hearts and minds are set on Him. Merry Christmas to all, for He has come!

Unto all of us,

A Savior has come;

Blessed Messiah,

The battle’s been won.

For that sweet baby,

In whom hope did lay;

The promised Savior,

Who’d take sin away.

No more a baby,

He’s now on the throne;

Eternal Father,

In whom we are known.

May we each seek Him,

And find sweet release;

As we trust in Him,

The great Prince of Peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that He came humbly so that He might know and understand what we experience in our broken humanity. Thank You that He took on the weight of the world so that we might know hope, joy, love and peace. Forgive us for allowing the distractions of the world to divert our eyes from the real reason for the season. Show us how to honor You in all that we do today and always. Lead us to love as You love so that all whom we encounter would sense and experience hope, joy, love and peace in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and Your eternal roles as our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Amen.

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

Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. – Luke 2:11

My Strength and Shield

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 songs. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Some days, it takes everything in me to simply utter, “God, please help.” Incredibly, even in the difficult, He makes His heart and His help known. At the end of the day my heart can rejoice and praise Him, as He has been with me through another day. Each morning as I rise and look to Him, I am reminded anew of His goodness and my reasons to give thanks. May we ever fix our eyes on God and look to Him to be our strength and protections. He is faithful, and provides help to navigate each new day.

O Lord, fix my eyes,

Securely on You;

For You are my strength,

And where hope’s made new.

God, You are my shield,

Safety through the storms;

My reason to praise,

As Your love transforms.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain present, no matter where life leads. Thank You that You see and know every challenge and heartache, and You faithfully provide peace and reason to praise. Forgive us for our struggle with trust when we are in the throes of life’s storms. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You supply all that we need. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us well, so that Your love is tangible in places it is hard to see. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and shield, and praise You for Your unending faithfulness and love. Amen.

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

But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:14

Our True Hope

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:4-5, NIV)

Come through the gates to His Temple giving thanks to Him. Enter His courtyards with songs of praise. Honor Him and bless His Name. The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:4-5, ERV)

Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His Holy Name. Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:4-5, VOICE)

Because of Jesus, we are able to come before the throne of God. His sacrifice made the way for us to enter His very courts without fear or hesitation, but rather in confident faith that we are known, loved and received however we come. It is the Lord’s great love that reminds us of the countless reasons that we ought to give Him thanks and praise His Name. When we begin to understand what faithful love truly is, we cannot help but give thanks and praise. May we ever enter His courts with thanksgiving and offer Him all of our gratitude for His never-ending faithful love.

Enter God’s presence,

For He’s ev’rywhere;

Loving arms outstretched,

With mercy and care.

In love the Lord waits,

For us to draw near;

Each prayer we offer,

He lovingly hears.

All thanks unto God,

Our Savior and King;

For love, life and hope,

The joys that He brings.

God is our true hope,

In whom we are known;

All thanks unto Him,

Who sits on the throne.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and enter Your courts, Your very presence, as You welcome us with open arms. Thank You that You love and forgive and draw us unto Yourself with Your overwhelming and unending love. Forgive us for the times that we have not given praise and honor unto You. Every good and perfect gift comes from You, and we ought to recognize and acknowledge the abundant blessings You bring to us all. Teach us to see Your hand in all things, and make us ever aware of Your loving kindness. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, might come to know the beauty of Your unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Let Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. – (Hebrews 13:1, HCSB)

Continue to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called to love one another. This love ought to be as sisters and brothers, for such love is patient and kind and does not end. I love how God shows us examples and illustrations of what He desires for us through everyday experiences around us. In our home, we have two dogs that are still in the puppy phase. They are three months apart and have gone through some growing pains as they have learned to get along. The two of them are rough and tumble and love to wrestle and play chase. At times, it sounds like they are going to throttle each other, but then moments later they are laying side by side or nose-to-nose, completely content in each other’s presence. They are fiercely protective of one another, and are unsettled when the other is not nearby. When on walks, Thor, our 95-pound Lab, moves to the outside so that Tali, our 70-pound Pittie who is fearful and reactive to cars, feels safe and will keep walking. How this translates as humans is the recognition of one another’s needs and the desire to care for and protect each other. Love is made tangible through the little things that we do to show one another that we are seen, known, and cared for. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us and direct us in how to love one another best, as we are called to do.

Lord, show us Your love,

So we use it well;

Lead us and guide us,

Let our actions tell.

Tell of Your goodness,

In love, extend grace;

Brothers and sisters,

With care choose embrace.

God show us today,

How to love like You;

All those around us,

So Your love rings true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love each other as brothers and sisters. Thank You that such love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Forgive us for the times that our attitude or actions toward one another have been lacking love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our Source and Supply that knows no end. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love one another with a love that knows no end. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7

Unseen Reality

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

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Faith and hope are funny things, for we all have faith and hope in something. Some hope for a spouse, a job, a vacation or simply something more than they have known before. In Christ, we can have faith in a hope that is certain, and proof of what we cannot see. His love overwhelms and surrounds us and shows us that we can be certain in the reality that we do not yet see. Without faith, it is impossible to find hope, for we must trust in something to hope that there is more than what we now see. May we ever look to the Lord to grow our faith, it is through Him that we know hope and trust in the things unseen.

Lord, strengthen our faith,

In all that is true;

Let Your hope be known,

As we trust in You.

Please grant us Your peace,

In space of unrest;

Lead us and guide us,

To all that is best.

Make the things unseen,

Known reality;

For all that You are,

Hope that sets us free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we learn and grow in the goodness of Your love, faith rises and we become certain of our hope in You. Thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You and be tangibly aware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for relying on what is only seen right now. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our hope, help and future that is secure. Show us how to love those around us so that they too may know hope, even in that which is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grow our faith, for our hope is held in You forever. Amen.

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

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18