Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

This morning, at 2:45, as I heard my dog making retching sounds, joy was not exactly what came to mind; sadly, neither was prayer nor thankfulness. As I jumped out of bed and threw on some extra layers to take him outside, I groggily checked to be sure he was okay. He took care of business outside, and returned to his crate to rest. Again, rest did not come. Whining began and would not relent. Finally, after a good fifteen minutes of trying, I gave in and brought my giant pup upstairs. Again, he went outside and then returned ravenous. After he ate, he settled in a bit as I attempted to doze on the couch. When the time was nearing my scheduled wake up, I took Thor back downstairs and returned upstairs to begin my day. My celebration was that I have a roof over my head and that there is coffee in our house to brew. I am thankful that it is Friday, and that I do not need to rise as early tomorrow. God is kind, and shortly after I returned to resume my regular morning routine, my love came upstairs too. In the calm stillness of the morning, I am so grateful to God for another human that can rise early, and find joy and contentment in the silence. Early mornings are something to be celebrated, even when they come far sooner than anticipated. Before long, I will witness the early morning light, as the sun makes its appearance on the horizon. God is faithful to meet us, even in the wee hours of the early morning. He hears our heart’s cry, despite the momentary frustrations when our schedules are disrupted. Today, my heart will rejoice, for I have countless reasons to give God thanks, as I have His light, and life, and hope. May we ever celebrate the goodness of God, giving Him thanks as we are intentional to spend time seeking Him.

May our hearts give praise,

In Christ we rejoice;

Let’s prayerfully seek,

Give thanks with our voice.

No matter what comes,

We’ve reason for joy;

The Lord’s always good,

To thank is a choice.

Today I will choose,

To celebrate Christ;

For goodness and grace,

And loving advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You grant us to have joy in You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and You supply what we need to navigate each new day. Thank You that You remain present, no matter what comes our way or how our day begins. Forgive us for our frustrations and delay in seeking You when things are thrown off course. Teach us to lean into You and listen to Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in all things, and grant us patience when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and pray to You, ever giving You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your Name, O Most High. – Psalm 9:2

Trust Over Fear

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NIV)

Jesus overhead and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be alright.” – (Luke 8:50, MSG)

When Jesus heard this, He turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t yield to fear. Have faith in Me and she will live again.” – (Luke 8:50, TPT)

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had bowed at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house to heal his young daughter. As Jairus and Jesus were on the way, someone from Jairus’ house came up to them and told them that Jairus’ daughter had died. Verse fifty is how Jesus responded to the news about Jairus’ daughter. On the way to the house, Jesus had healed a woman. I imagine that Jairus already knew that Jesus could heal, and the timing of the woman’s healing, prior to the news of the death of his daughter, must have added to the hope that Jairus placed in Him. After Jesus, Jairus and the disciples who were with them arrived, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. She did live again and everything was alright, just as Jesus had spoken. I don’t know about you, but this brings much encouragement. When we seek the Lord for answers and for help, it is never too late for Him to intervene. He can bring life out of death and restore what seems irrevocably broken. We serve a God who restores and heals and grants us hope, even when things seem bleak. May we ever continue to fall at the feet of Jesus, trusting that He is who He says He is, and can do all things that will bring life and wholeness and restoration.

No matter the way,

That things may appear;

When we seek the Lord,

He’ll always draw near.

To know His presence,

Fathom we’re His own;

Held and granted hope,

Perceive how we’re known.

Christ hears ev’ry prayer,

In love, makes a way;

Hope soon realized,

He does not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power who heard the prayers of a synagogue leader and healed both his daughter and a woman on the way, is available to us every day. Thank You that You hear our prayers and grant us help and hope as You hold us up in Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations when answers seem delayed or too late, for Your timing is not ours, and Your ways are best. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend help and hope and life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and give thanks for how You love us all. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

The Anchor of Easter

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, NIV)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold. – (Hebrews 6:19, TPT)

The sanctuary curtain that used to separate people from the presence of God was torn in two when Jesus surrendered His last breath on the cross. What kept us from a true nearness to God was removed through the death and resurrection of Christ. This ability to draw near and be in a right relationship with God is the anchor for our soul. In this, we lay hold of the hope of both His presence now, and eternity that is yet to come. The only barrier that lies between us and God now, is us. It is up to us to receive all that the God of all creation is offering. This is what Easter is about; He came and removed the barrier between God and us, and provided hope that is firm and secure. Christ is our anchor through every storm, and where hope and love and life truly reside. May we look to the cross and remember the way that was made as Christ freely chose to take our place. Let us hold fast to the hope that is our anchor, no matter what storms cross our path.

The anchor is Christ,

Where true hope is found;

It’s firm and secure,

A love that’s renowned.

His love made the way,

Removing what stood;

Between us and God,

Mercy understood.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts full of praise;

Celebrate Easter,

Because Christ was raised.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we have hope to anchor our soul, and the freedom to come before You without barriers. Thank You that You removed the curtain that stood between us and You receive us as we come, no matter what state our hearts are in. Forgive us for forgetting the security that we have in You, as You anchor our hearts to Yours and hold us close through life’s wind and waves. Teach us to embrace the grace You freely give, and cling to the hope that anchors our soul. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend hope, safety and trust in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and gratitude through our days, for You are Who we need to navigate this life well. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Let Faith Remain Strong

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NIV)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. – (James 1:12, MSG)

If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! – (James 1:12, TPT)

Life is full of trials, challenges and difficulties. We can either persevere and place our faith in Christ, or we can fold under the weight the world wields our way. God is faithful as we trust in Him. Our experiences during the struggles help our hearts recognize the beautiful blessings that He has for us as we remain in Him. Not only do we have hope for eternity, but we have hope for the here and now. No matter what lies before us, Christ has promised to be with us, if only we choose to let Him in. Some of my greatest blessings have come after struggling and trusting God through my darkest days. I would not recognize the true joys I have been given, if it were not for the times where He walked beside me in the difficult and painful. We are blessed as we persevere. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is, and will do what He promises He will do. 

Blessed are the ones,

Who choose persevere;

Through trials they face,

Trusting God is near.

Ever He’s present,

To give strength and peace;

We must keep trusting,

For He holds the keys.

Keys to our freedom,

The doors to all grace;

Life in abundance,

As we seek His face.

Allow His love in,

No matter what comes;

His promises stand,

‘Til our time is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are blessed as we persevere through trials trusting in You. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, for You grant us help and hope every day that we draw breath. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the truth of who You are and how You love. Teach us to turn in trust to You through all times. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You through the trials and praise You for Your presence and blessings that lie before us each new day. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Grow A Garden

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

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)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

When we know and love God and invite Him to dwell within us, His Spirit grows good fruit within that reaches outward. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are all indicators of His presence and the fruit that is produced through a life intent on loving God and loving people. These things are meant to be limitless, and against them, there is no law. Each of these attributes are admirable and appreciated in others. May we ever be a people who seek a heart after God, and allow Him to grow His good fruit within us.

God, grow a garden,

Inside of our hearts;

Full of Your good fruit,

In love, You impart.

Joy, peace and patience,

Kindness and Your good;

Gentle, self-controlled,

Ways love’s understood.

Help us be faithful,

Despite what we see;

In hope, let us trust,

You care faithfully.

In that space of trust,

Lead us in Your love;

To live fruitful lives,

Like You, Lord, above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we can grow in love and all of the fruit that Your love produces. Forgive us for allowing the things of the world to plant weeds in our hearts or stunt the growth of what You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and grow us. Show us how to love those around us as we spread joy, produce peace, extend patience and kindness, demonstrate faithfulness, journey gently and exhibit self-control. May many come into a lasting and fruitful relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives in growing in the goodness of Your abundant love. Amen.

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – Deuteronomy 6:5

The Message is Love

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

The message that is repeated over and over again throughout the Bible and through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, is to love one another. It was the love of God that compelled Him to create. The love of God is what sent His Son to repair what had been broken and restore a right relationship with Him. Daily, we are loved by God and we have been called and created to love each other in the same way. Our love, care and concern for one another ought to be pure and not self-seeking. As we love as God intended, others are lifted up and led to the light of God’s goodness and grace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in the fullness of His loving kindness in all that we say and do.

The message we’ve heard,

Is ever the same;

Love one another,

In Jesus’ Name.

For it’s by our love,

In word thought and deed;

That God’s love is shown,

As we trust His lead.

For all that is good,

All that offers light;

Comes from the Father,

The Maker of right.

Let us choose rise up,

Seek the God of grace;

To teach us to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the message You have given since the beginning of time has been to love. Thank You that You first loved us and demonstrated what it is to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we ought to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us. Show us how to love one another best so that all may come to know and understand the fullness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and receive Your love so that we may love one another well. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Wrapped in Cloth

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. – (Luke 2:12, NIV)

Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. – (Luke 24:12, NIV)

This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box. – (Luke 2:12, ERV)

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb to see. He looked in, but he saw only the cloth that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. It was just lying there. Peter went away to be alone, wondering what had happened. – (Luke 24:12, ERV)

You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough. – (Luke 2:12, TPT)

But Peter jumped up and ran the entire distance to the tomb to see for himself. Stooping down, he looked inside and discovered it was empty! There was only the linen sheet lying there. Staggered by this, he walked away, wondering what it meant. – (Luke 24:12, TPT)

What an incredible wonder we find in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus! When He was born, the sign to the shepherds that He was the One, was that Jesus would be wrapped in pieces of cloth, lying in a manger; and when Jesus had risen, the only thing that Peter found in the empty tomb were the pieces of cloth that had been His burial clothes. These pieces of cloth are the shared shreds of humanity between heaven and earth. Our Savior came down from His heavenly throne to live and love among us. The shepherds saw Jesus lying in the manger and held the hope that would be fulfilled when Peter discovered the tomb where Jesus had been laid now only contained similar pieces of cloth. In His humanity, Jesus gave up heaven to come to us, and sacrificed His life so that we one day could join Him in heaven. What a wonder indeed! May we make time to pause and reflect on the incredible gift that God gave to us through His Son, and the hope we now hold because Jesus gave. 

The pieces of cloth,

Wrapped humanity;

As God with us made,

Hope eternally.

Born as a baby,

In a stable bare;

Surrounded by love,

As Jesus lay there.

A life of loving,

Showing good and grace;

Forgiveness, mercy,

The Lord made the way.

Unto that old cross,

Willing He gave;

His life in exchange,

As sin He forgave.

Wrapped up in the tomb,

Death He overcame;

Burial linens,

Were all that remained.

Our Savior’s alive,

Let us celebrate;

The hope we now hold,

Today and always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the perfect gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, for Your willing sacrifice so that all might find forgiveness and a new life. Forgive us for not holding the sacredness of this season as close as we ought to. Teach us to pause and reflect and worship You, our hope for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your perfect, sacrificial love. May many find the hope that is found in You alone this Christmas. Be glorified O God, as we worship and praise You for the perfect gift You wrapped and unwrapped in pieces of cloth for us all. Amen.

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

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – Luke 2:10

So Much More

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – (Luke 3:16, NIV)

John’s answer to this was, “I baptize you in water, but there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” – (Luke 3:16, ERV)

But John made it clear by telling them, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. He is supreme. In fact, I’m not worthy of even being His slave. I can only baptize you in this river, but He will baptize you into the Spirit of holiness and into His raging fire.” – (Luke 3:16, TPT)

As we have begun to march our way through December, I have decided to join in and read the corresponding chapter of Luke each day, leading to Christmas eve. This morning, as I read through Luke 3, verse sixteen stood out to me as a reminder of how we ought to view the season. In this season of Advent, the waiting for “The Arrival”, there is a powerful opportunity to look back on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Even before Jesus began His ministry, there were indicators along the way that pointed out just how powerful and significant Jesus would be. John, the cousin of Jesus, had been raised up to faithfully follow God, and grew in wisdom and boldness as he faithfully taught and baptized all who were ready to hear and follow after God. Despite his following, John always pointed people to look forward to Jesus and the mighty power He would hold. In the same way, we ought to fix our eyes on Jesus, as He came to us as a baby, but returned to heaven as our Eternal King. May we marvel at God’s goodness this season, as He sent His Son to save us so that we might know the power of His Spirit within and among us.

The good we see now,

Is merely a glimpse;

Of what is to come,

That yet to exist.

Our hope, heavenward,

Where light and love dwell;

Let our hearts choose Him,

As we’re loved so well.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to dwell among us and show us the love and power, goodness and hope that is found in You. Forgive us for losing sight of the reason for the season. Teach us to look at the entire picture, not just the snapshot of a baby in a manger. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and study Your word to better grasp the goodness held in life with You. Amen.

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

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. – John 16:13

Sing, Praise and Encourage

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord Jehovah. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, TPT)

As we encourage one another and give praise to God, we are reminded of our reasons to praise Him. When I pause and take time to observe everything and everyone that God has brought into my life, I cannot help but praise and thank Him. There is something so powerful about worship and praise. We may come before HIm hoping to show Him our gratitude and appreciation, and discover that as we do, we are the ones who are encouraged and built up. God invites us to enter into His presence. As we do, we cannot help but be changed. While our hearts grow lighter and peace floods in, God fills us with His love to extend to those around us. May we ever lift joyful praise to the Lord and allow our hearts to overflow to all those around us.

Let hearts overflow,

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

With sweet songs of praise;

To honor the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Sing and make music,

For all that is good;

Encourage others,

Be kind as we should.

May our hearts reflect,

Our thanks to the Lord;

As our lives give praise,

To Him we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that you call us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You or encourage those around us. Teach us to recognize the enormous blessing we have in life with You, no matter what goes on around us. Show us how to love all those with whom we interact, so that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You praise in all things. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting it is to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

Accept One Another

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV) 

Christ accepted you, so, you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV) 

You will bring God glory when you accept and welcome one another as partners, just as the Anointed One has fully accepted you and received you as His partner. – (Romans 15:7, TPT) 

Accepting one another as Christ accepts us, means choosing to love, regardless of the former reasons that may have kept us apart. Our charge is to choose to love. Love does not tear down because of differences of opinions, lifestyles, philosophies, or the like. Christ is our ultimate example, and He chose those whom society would have considered ill-equipped to partner with the Son of God. If Christ can welcome those whom the world did not, shouldn’t we? God does not call the equipped, He equips the called. Every one of us who seeks the Lord and grants Him access to our heart and life, is able to walk in His will and choose to love and welcome those around us. Each day, each hour, and every moment, it is a choice. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us His heart and His eyes for those around us so that we accept and welcome one another as He does for us. 

The Lord is calling, 

For us to rise up; 

To love each other, 

Fill each other’s cup. 

May we choose partner, 

With God and accept; 

All those around us, 

None more and none less. 

For in the same way, 

God’s love knows no bounds; 

We’re asked to choose love, 

So His love is found. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us over and over again how to accept and partner with one another. You did not call people who had it all together, but rather You equipped those whom You called. Forgive us for the times that we have avoided accepting or partnering with others because their views did not align with our own. Teach us to seek and trust You to lead us in love. Show us how to love in a way that accepts others and builds them up, just as You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in loving and accepting those around us as You do. Amen.  

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

A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34