The Baptizer with the Holy Spirit

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, NIV)

Then John said for everyone to hear: “I also did not know who the Messiah was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on this man. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, ERV)

John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, MSG)

Though John was the cousin of Jesus, he did not fully realize who Jesus was until the Spirit of God descended upon Him when John was baptizing Jesus with water. God had shown him that the Messiah would be the One to whom the Spirit comes down and rests upon. Imagine the awe and wonder that John must have experienced as he witnessed the Spirit of God resting on Jesus… Incredibly, when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that He would send His Spirit upon all who believed. As we read in Acts, that is exactly what He did. The same Spirit that came and filled the room on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, is the same Spirit that comes and dwells in us as we choose to believe and receive all that God has for us. Furthermore, His power is poured out as we ask Him to move in and through us. May we ever seek the Lord for a fresh anointing of His Spirit so that we may encourage and build up all those around us.

Heavenly Father,

Before You, we come;

Breathe in Your Spirit,

So Your will be done.

Fill us with power,

To love others true;

And move as You move,

So we reflect You.

Release the great gifts,

That Your Spirit brings;

Ever grow our faith,

As we see these things.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send us Your Spirit so that we may live and love in Your wisdom and power. Thank You that You move among us and through us as we invite You in. Forgive us for not asking or not utilizing what You have already given. Teach us to listen to Your leading as we live out our days and show us how to move as You move so that all might see Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love all whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You anew to come and move in and among us. Amen.

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

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful that 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

Jesus is God

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

This is the One who – imprinted with God’s image, shimmering with His glory – sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins. – (Hebrews 1:3, VOICE)

Today is day one of 21 days that have been set aside for prayer and fasting within my church. Each day, there will be specific passages that focus on who God is. Incredibly, the more we focus on who He is, the more we recognize how deeply He loves. In this one verse from the first chapter of Hebrews, we are shown that Jesus is God. He is the “exact representation of His being” and is the One who “has provided purification for sins” and now, He is “seated at the right hand of God”, where He continues to contend for us as He has purified us from our sin. Because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us all, we have access to God. It was not nails that kept Him on the cross, for after all, He has all the power and authority of God, but rather it was His love that desperately desired to set us free from our sin and shame and provide the way for us to return to a right relationship with Him that held Him in place to be the ultimate atonement for all. Such love goes beyond human understanding and the longer I live, the more I grow in understanding, but also recognize how much more there is to learn. May we ever pursue the heart of God as we seek Him and listen to His heartbeat for us through the wonder of His word.

Jesus, our Savior,

Is the Lord our God;

God who came near us,

May we stand in awe.

Though as an infant,

Is how Jesus came;

His holiness shown,

Much more than a name.

When His time arrived,

He taught, loved and healed;

His power made known,

Through love He revealed.

The people wanted,

Jesus on the throne;

Yet He was much more,

Than they could have known.

His place, in heaven,

Is so He could give;

Hope for forever,

As we’re taught to live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, who is fully God, to live and love, heal and extend hope to all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You showed us who You as You walked among us. Forgive us for trying to contain who You are to our limited understanding. Teach us to ever seek to grow in understanding through intentional time with You and in Your word. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and as You transform us to reflect Your heart to the world through earnestly seeking You. Amen.

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

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

Showered With Grace

Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in times of trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, HCSB)

Lord, be kind to us. We have waited for Your help. Give us strength every morning. Save us when we are in trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, ERV)

We’ve been waiting for You, Eternal One, to come and shower us with grace. In the morning, be our strength; in times of trouble, be what saves us. – (Isaiah 33:2, VOICE)

As we wait on the Lord, He meets us with His grace. Each new morning that we seek Him, He is faithful to arm us with strength. When troubles come, God is our help and our hope that saves us. This is a great reminder that we need not worry about tomorrow; instead, we ought to seek, trust and listen to the Lord, as He is faithful to ready and equip us for what each new day shall hold. Sundays are a perfect time to place this into practice. I love that a good chunk of my morning includes time with my church family, as we gather to worship, listen and grow. However, each Sunday evening brings the reminder that the following morning will be the start of a new week. At that point, I feel ill-equipped to take on all that lies ahead, yet God is faithful to meet me each new morning, and provides what is needed to navigate the day. It requires His strength, for on my own, I am not equipped to do all that is asked of me. With God, somehow what is needed is present as I keep walking forward. May we ever wait on the Lord to continue to shower us with His grace, and seek Him anew every morning, for it is in this space that He supplies strength and reminds us that He will be present to help, no matter what lies ahead.

O Lord, we seek You,

Your mercy and grace;

Faithful forever,

In all of Your ways.

You arm us with strength,

You are our supply;

Grace overwhelming,

Peace we can’t deny.

When troubles do come,

Ever You are near;

Giving what’s needed,

To overcome fear.

O God, we praise You,

For all that You are;

Our help, hope and grace,

Who never is far.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and ever near to help us anew every morning. Thank You that You strengthen us to persevere when trials come, and equip us and keep us safe in Your care. Forgive us for our anxiousness about what lies ahead, for You are faithful to be present each time we ask. Teach us to ever seek You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with Your grace and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen and equip us with Your goodness and grace so that we continue to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Seek Now

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, HCSB)

So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to Him now, while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, ERV)

Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand. – (Isaiah 55:6, MSG)

So turn your attention and seek the Eternal One while it is still possible; call on Him while He is nearby. – (Isaiah 55:6, VOICE)

The thing about this is that God is eternal and we are not. We all have an expiration date that we cannot predict. Our time to seek the Lord is now, and we can call on Him, for He is near. As we pray, we discover His nearness. This is not about being or doing enough, but rather taking the opportunity to get to know the Creator of all, personally. He knows us far better than we know ourselves and has a plan and a purpose for our lives. That being said, God is not pushy or demanding, and He did not create us to be robots. We were each individually designed with gifts and talents and a free will. It is up to us to seek Him to get to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we want to know Him. God’s grace, goodness, kindness and love go far beyond what we can comprehend. When our attention is directed to Him and our focus on being still before Him, we grow in our understanding and our heart grows in our own capacity to love as He loves us. May we ever turn our attention to God and seek Him, for He is faithful to meet us each time we do.

As we seek the Lord,

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He’s near to be found;

Our time has limits,

Hope in Him is sound.

God is eternal,

On earth, we are not;

Our hope forever,

Granted as He’s sought.

So, turn to Jesus,

Lord God on His throne;

He’s waiting for us,

To make His heart known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and reveal more and more of Yourself to us. Thank You that we have access to You at all times and in all places. Forgive us for taking Your nearness for granted, or for assuming we will always have more time later to do what ought to be done now. Teach us to seek You with intention; to purposefully sit in Your presence and listen to Your leading. 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 and spend time in Your presence now, for we know not what tomorrow may hold. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Grace that Guides Us

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

Here’s what I pray for you: Father, may their love grow more and more in wisdom and insight – so they will be able to examine and determine the best from everything else. And on the day of the Anointed One, the day of His judgment, let them stand pure and blameless. – (Philippians 1:9-10, VOICE)

Though these words were Paul’s to the church of Philippi, they are applicable and relevant for us still today. I don’t know about You, but I need my love through Him to grow more and more, and to have wisdom and insight to know what is best. Also, the only way that I will be blameless when I meet Him face-to-face is through His overwhelming mercy and grace that guides us in His love. God, in His eternal love, will lead us and guide us to know what is important and what is not. Yesterday, I knew that lifting up my day at school, especially the time with my last class of the day, was important. I had no idea what would unfold, but looking back, I can see how clearly God’s hand of protection was over my students and me, and that His grace was with me in a moment that I hope will never again be repeated in my career. A student snapped and went into a fit of rage; one that included throwing desks and stools across a crowded classroom. Thankfully, no one was injured and the episode lasted less than a minute before he stormed out of the room. Now, in the aftermath, I need God’s wisdom and insight to lead and guide me as I go today (and everyday). May we ever seek the Lord to grow His love in us more and more, and to flood our hearts and minds with His wisdom and insight so that we might navigate our days in a way that is blameless before Him.

Father of mercy,

My view as I arrived on campus a few mornings ago…

This is what I pray;

For wisdom, insight,

Your help each new day.

O God, grow in me,

Your love more and more;

So I might know best,

How to stand, endure.

Help me, Lord Jesus,

To listen to You;

For You lead and guide,

Show what’s best to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us in each new moment as we trust in You. Thank You that You grow us more and more in Your love and wisdom and insight as we seek You. Thank You that You consider us blameless before You because of the sacrifice of Your Son. Forgive us for leaving You out of the loop when troubles come our way. Teach us to trust in You to grant us Your wisdom and insight so that we will know which way to go in every situation and circumstance. 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 are intentional to come before You to listen and learn, so that we may become more of who You created us to be. Amen.

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

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Purposeful Words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG)

What we say matters. When we are negative or use ugly words, we are not building anyone up, and in reality, we are bringing ourselves and those around us down. It is better to say nothing than to be toxic with our words. We are called to build each other up and help strengthen them. Our words matter, and it is an intentional decision to be kind and encouraging or to remain quiet. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us so that our words are a gift that build others up and are beneficial to the hearers.

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your words. Thank You that You, lead, encourage, guide, and reside within us, and use Your words to fill our hearts with Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have used words to hurt, cut down, or complain, rather than to build up. Teach us to speak with grace and kindness, and to be silent when we cannot. Show us how to love those around us with our words in ways that encourage, strengthen and build up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our words as You intended, to encourage and build others up. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Fend Off Sin and Do Good

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, HCSB)

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV)

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away! – (Psalm 34:14, MSG)

Sometimes doing good is walking away from a fight that is tempting, and choosing to only engage when kindness can be extended. Our charge is to seek peace, not get sucked into petty disputes. The best way to do this is to pursue God and His will. Often, when I begin to get angry or frustrated with someone, God stops me in my tracks and I find myself asking Him to show me His heart for them. What I have discovered each time that I have done so, there is a softening in me toward the other. Usually, I discover that the very behavior that got under my skin, was motivated by their own hurts. Does it make it right? No, but it does provide compassion and the capacity to respond gently with goodness and kindness. This is a lifelong process to pursue, not a one-and-done in a tough space. May we ever seek the Lord to help us stop doing the things we ought not do, and do the good that He calls us into. In the process, may we find His peace and embrace it.

Turn from temptation,

To do what’s not right;

Demean or put down,

Jump into a fight.

Instead, seek the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

Choose extend the good,

That His word decrees.

Embrace the Lord’s peace,

As it enters in;

For as we listen,

We fend away sin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and a promoter of peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us Your heart for others and help us turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. Forgive us for allowing our pride to get the better of us so that we walk into a war that need not be waged. Show us Your heart for those around us so that we might see them through Your eyes. Lead us to extend goodness and kindness to those around us as we embrace Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk away from the sin that attempts to creep in, and lead us to embrace Your peace as we seek You to do the good that we have been called to do. Amen.

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

If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. – Matthew 18:15

To Learn What is Good

You are good, and You do what is good; teach me Your statutes. – (Psalm 119:68, HCSB)

You are good, and You do good things. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:68, ERV)

You are good, and the Source of good; train me in Your goodness. – (Psalm 119:68, MSG)

You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require. – (Psalm 119:68, VOICE)

Because God is good, what He requires is also good. In our broken humanity, good is not always what comes naturally. Instead, we must invest time with God and read His word to grow in our understanding and listen as He reveals more of His heart to us. For the last eleven plus years, I have invested the start of each day into spending time in God’s word and in prayer. What I have learned and continue to learn is the importance of loving God and loving people. The more I spend time with Him, the more He reveals His heart for all of humanity. At the end of the day, what matters most is am I loving Him and loving those around me. He shows willing hearts how to love as He loves, and the process is one that takes a lifetime. No one ever arrives. We all have an ongoing need to learn and grow to become more like Him. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and love, so that we may continue to learn what He requires of us to live and love well.

The goodness of God,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Truth that shall remain;

All that the Lord does,

Shows His love explained.

It is up to us,

To choose seek the Lord;

And as we do so,

His grace is outpoured.

He shows us the way,

To live as He asks;

In all things, choose love,

Not a list of tasks.

So, choose to seek Him,

Spend time in His word;

In love, He’ll lead us,

Making His heart heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and all of Your ways are good. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love as You intended. Thank You that it is an ongoing process. Thank You that we are a work in progress. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to lead us. Teach us the value of investing time each day with You. Show us Your heart for us and for those around us. Lead us to love as You love. May many come to see and know how good You are and choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, grow us and transform us to be more like You in how we live and love each day. Amen.

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

Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Ask Accordingly

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

I appreciate that there are qualifiers to being heard when we ask. Jesus is not our fairy godmother nor some genie in a lamp. The same God who created the entire universe and all its inhabitants, is near enough to hear our prayers. He hears us as we ask according to His will, not our own. Often, our biggest blessings are seemingly unanswered prayers, as His plan is so much better. We think we know what we want and need, but God knows beyond our immediate circumstances. He sees the entire outcome and longs to bless, strengthen and guide us for all of our days, not just the days that we realize our need for His help. If things are good, we ought to praise Him. When things are challenging, we are meant to ask for His help, guidance and strength. God is faithful to hear us, and is loving and kind in how He answers. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways, higher than our own. May we ever seek the Lord with confidence, as we ask according to His good and perfect will.

Let’s ask of the Lord,

Sweet Tali girl asking to play. ❤

What is right and true;

Aligned with His will,

For in Him, things move.

When we ask the Lord,

To come in and change;

We must allow Him,

Full and complete reign.

This means we listen,

And choose to obey;

That which He asks us,

Do all things His way.

It isn’t easy,

But always it’s best;

He give what we need,

Be it strength or rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and pray to You, and You hear our prayers. Thank You that You answer according to Your good and perfect will, not our whims or wish lists. Thank You that Your ways are always best, even when we cannot begin to understand how. Forgive us for the times that we have sought You with wishes instead of heartfelt prayers. Teach us to invest time in Your word and in prayer so that we know Your voice and understand how to ask according to Your will rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and kindness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and ask of You according to Your will. Amen.

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

“Keep asking, and it will be given to you. Keep searching, and you will find. Keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

Promoting Peace and Building Each Other Up

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19. NIV)

This is important in every aspect of our lives, and we all are an ongoing work in progress. It requires an intentional decision to seek and depend on God to lead us to do and say things that promote peace and build others up. As we do, there is opportunity for faith to be fortified. To do this requires a never-ending cycle of seeking God, listening to Him, and a willingness to be corrected and redirected. Right now, my husband and I are on vacation. We are two very different types of people; though this is good, as it creates balance for both of us, it is an ongoing work to recognize one another’s needs and desires. For me, when I go somewhere new, I want to see and experience everything humanly possible in the short time we are provided. My husband, bless his heart, wants to slow down and simply relax. He is a champion at being willing to go out and explore, and I am learning to slow down and accept the need to rest. It is an ongoing battle, as I don’t want to miss out, yet know that if I just remain present in the moment, there will be peace and both of us will be built up. God is good, and He shows us what we ought to do to promote peace and build one another up. It is our task to listen and follow His lead. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best promote peace and build up those around us.

We’re called to pursue,

That which promotes peace;

Willing compromise,

As grace does increase.

Each time that we choose,

To bless each other;

Both are encouraged,

Sisters and brothers.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love, promote peace;

Build each other up,

As Your love’s increased.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You call us and show us how to promote peace and build each other up in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have either not listened to You or have only sought after our own selfish ambitions. Teach us to be a blessing as we make decisions that promote peace and encourage those around us. Show us how to love and make choices as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in promoting peace and building those around us up in the goodness of Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11