The Light of Jesus

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, shine your light before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – (Matthew 5:14-16, NIV)

“You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:14-16, ERV)

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” – (Matthew 5:14-16, MSG)

All who know Jesus have His light within. The light within us is meant to be shared wherever we go, for where there is light, darkness disappears. What this means for us is that we are to live in such a way that God is glorified, and that those around us recognize He who is in us by our love. The more that we choose love in all that we do, the more clearly Christ’s love is shown. As we love like Jesus, His goodness is made known and God is given the glory. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to be His light-bearers wherever we go and through all that we do.

Christ is the true light,

That shines from within;

Chasing the darkness,

As we walk with Him.

He leads us with love,

So that we may shine;

Be light in darkness,

And love all the time.

This is our calling,

To let His light shine;

May we love like Him,

As our hearts align.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to shine the light of Your love wherever we go. Thank You that this is not something that we somehow muster up, but rather as we walk with You and spend time with You, Your light shines through us. Forgive us for the times that we have hidden Your light. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may shine brightly on Your behalf in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You throughout all our days. May many come into a lasting relationship with You and walk in Your ways. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to spend time with You and give You room to refine and align our hearts to clearly reflect Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. – 2 Samuel 22:29

Courage Through Unknowns

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.” – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

Today is the day that I need to keep this verse in the forefront of my mind, as I walk into the unknown. I know that there are many who have gone before me who have endured the same procedure that I will and have come through well with great success. I am still nervous, as having only local anesthesia for a many-hour procedure is not very comforting when I am one who is a struggle to keep numb. Additionally, not having any idea as to how extensive a procedure is going to be is a fear-producing space as well. This is where I must trust in the professionals to do their job well, and even more so, trust that God has gone before me, will be with me, and will carry me through the unknowns. Right now, I will choose to trust through the unknowns, and praise Him for His faithfulness to me thus far. I am so grateful that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The same God who has been faithful to me throughout all my days so far, is the same One who will be with me as I go and will remain present through the stages of recovery and healing. He knows not only the number of hairs on my head, but He knows the exact location of the carcinoma cells on my face and is the One who will guide the surgeon’s hands.  Tomorrow morning will be part two, as a plastic surgeon will close the wound in a way to maintain function in my upper lip and to minimize the scarring from the procedure. Initially, I was stressed about having the two parts on different days, but ultimately, it might be better as there will be a pause to rest in between. God knew during the scheduling what would be best for me, and He holds me in the hollow of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage, for He is faithful to be present each time we ask.

O Lord, be my strength,

Today as I go;

In uncertainty,

You already know.

Provider of peace,

You have gone before;

Made way through unknowns,

Courage, You outpour.

Settle the spaces,

In me that still fear;

This space of unknown,

As You remain near.

Take my hand, Jesus,

Today as I go;

Grant courage and strength,

As Your love’s made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength and the One who tells us to not be afraid nor discouraged. Thank You that You tell us these things because You have gone before us and promise to remain with us. Forgive us for our fears in spaces of unknown. Teach us to trust You more and to place all of our worries in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to shine Your light wherever we go and in all that we do. Lead us to love big, even when we are facing things that cause fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen us and supply us with courage that comes from knowing that You are in control. Amen.

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

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

Heaven’s Poetry

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on our lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

There is something so powerful and encouraging about The Voice translation of this passage. The reminder that we are the work of God’s hands, created in Jesus, and as we walk out our days in pursuit of His will, “heaven’s poetry is etched on our lives,” and the evidence of who God is and how He loves is made visible to those around us, is an incredible inspiration to follow the Lord’s leading in all that we say and do. Thankfully, it is not up to us to do or to be enough, instead, as we follow after the Lord, He leads and guides us in all that He has for us. Our part is to be faithful, and God will do as only He can. May we each start this day in the knowledge and understanding that we have been created on purpose, with a purpose, and all of His plans are good.

Heaven’s poetry,

Unfolds on the earth;

Through God’s created,

Each life has great worth.

Purpose is planted,

For each person born;

It becomes made known,

In love, we’re adorned.

It is up to us,

To seek the Lord’s will;

And as we choose to,

With love we are filled.

Each step that we take,

That He leads us to;

Reflects His goodness,

And hope that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and follow after You, You lead, guide and provide all that we need to display the goodness of Your love as Your poetry is written on the walls of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way or have neglected to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You in all things and to intentionally listen to the still small voice within. 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 listen to Your leading and love as You created us to love. 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

Rise and Shine

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you. – (Isaiah 60:1, HCSB)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. – (Isaiah 60:1, NIV)

Arise, shine, for your light has broken through! The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you. – (Isaiah 60:1, VOICE)

The glory of God lives in all who believe, and His light shines through those who are faithful in pursuing Him. His glory is made evident through our lives as we seek to follow after God and do His will. Just like the candle lighting at a Christmas Eve service, what begins as a single flame, soon can fill an entire space with lights burning bright. That single flame did not lessen, but rather it spread and shined all the brighter. The same is true with us. When we allow the Lord’s light to shine through us, it spreads, and the goodness of God is made visible to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to shine His brilliant light both upon us and through us, as we rise up in the goodness of His grace and love.

O Lord, may Your light,

Shine bright upon me;

So goodness and grace,

Are made known clearly.

Let all that I do,

And all that I say;

Make love evident,

As I choose Your way.

Lead me and guide me,

With each step I take;

Flood me with goodness,

Each morning I wake.

Ever stay near me,

As I choose abide;

Show me each next step,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You shine Your lavish light upon us, and kindle the flame within us, so that we may shine brightly into the world. Forgive us for the times that we have kept the light of Your love hidden, or have withheld love when we were meant to shine. Teach us to trust in You to lead us well, for Your grace and goodness flood our hearts with Your light. Show us how to love those around us like You, so that many may come to understand the depth and breadth of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to shine upon us and through us as we navigate each new day. Amen.

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

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Full of Joy and 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)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Always be full of joy is the version that is most easily grasped. This does not mean we must always be happy, but rather it means that we carry the joy of the Lord within us wherever we go, no matter what is going on around us or in us. His joy is not dependent on circumstances. To never stop praying is our reminder to be in constant communication with Christ. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and when we communicate with Him, He reveals more of Himself and who He has created us to be. Gratitude is a practice that most of us could use more of in our lives. To be grateful does not mean that we are necessarily thanking God for our circumstances, but rather that we are thanking Him for being with us, walking beside us, and leading us in the ways that we are meant to go. His heart is for us to belong completely to Him. As we do, we understand who we are in Him, and how He is calling us to live. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more in His joy as we continually pray to Him and give Him all of our gratitude.

Hold closely to joy,

Planted deep within;

All hope in the Lord,

Is what shines light in.

As we keep praying,

Love and thanks do grow;

For His heart’s for us,

He’s where good’s made known.

In faith, keep praying,

Keep trusting in Him;

His love overwhelms,

As we let Him in.

May we give God thanks,

In each circumstance;

For His sweet presence,

And the strength to stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and in Whom we find joy and peace, strength and hope, no matter what our circumstances include. Thank You that You are available to be with us whenever we call on Your Name. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed what surrounds us to impact our joy and gratitude in You. Teach us to remember that our joy is found in You, and that as we are in ongoing communication with You, our joy grows more and more. Show us how to love those around us with peace, patience, goodness and kindness that point hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold the joy You deposit in our hearts, pray to You as if it is the air that we breathe, and give You all of our gratitude each day. Amen.

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

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. – Philippians 4:11

Graciousness Made Known

Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, HCSB)

Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. – (Philippians 4:5, ERV)

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE)

Graciousness, gentleness and kindness are all things that God gives to us in abundance. His grace grants us a new sunrise each day, air to breathe, and everything good in our lives. God’s gentleness is the still small voice that speaks to our hearts, and reminds us of which way we are to go, who we are in Him, and how to choose to love. Extending kindness, especially when it is not “deserved”, is a demonstration of God’s graciousness made tangible through us. Each time we both extend and experience these things, we are gaining glimpses of just how near the Lord is to us. His presence provides as we choose to abide. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, so that our gentleness and kindness help others to see God’s own heart.

Let God’s gentleness,

Truly take the lead;

His kindness made clear,

For love’s what we need.

The heart of the Lord,

Is most clearly shown;

Through His loving grace,

That’s ever made known.

Help us, Lord Jesus,

To love graciously;

So others may know,

All good that’s from Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your kindness, gentleness and grace through Your overwhelming and eternal love. Thank You that You pour so much into us, that we can share generously out of the overflow within. Forgive us for the times that Your gentleness and grace have been absent from how we operate. Teach us to seek You to lead us in all things and at all times, so that Your goodness and grace are clearly shown. Direct us to love those around us like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with more of You so that Your graciousness is made evident through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

One who loves with a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. – Proverbs 22:11

Fill Us Again

God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. – (Psalm 63:1, HCSB)

God, You are my God. I am searching so hard to find You. Body and soul, I thirst for You in this dry and weary land without water. – (Psalm 63:1, ERV)

O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence. – (Psalm 63:1, VOICE)

I so appreciate David’s heart throughout the Psalms. He was by no means a perfect person, but His heart after God was true. Though my daily devotions take me throughout the entire Bible, I cannot help but be drawn back in by the Psalms. What I have learned over the last many years of beginning each day with time with God and in His word, is that it is as necessary as the air I breathe. In the same way that I wake and am ready for coffee and food, so too, my soul is needing nourishment from God. Each time I seek the Lord, He is faithful to show me more of Himself. This verse is my heart, as I am tired and weary, and it at times, feels as if there is no relief in sight, yet He provides me with reminders of His presence, and brings the weekends as a time to rest and recharge. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, for He is our nourishment and refreshment, even in the dry and weary places.

O God, I seek You,

My hope and all grace;

The One who strengthens,

Throughout all my days.

My heart ever seeks,

For in You I find;

Strength for my body,

And peace for my mind.

Faithful to meet me,

Each time that I seek;

You love me to life,

Give strength when I’m weak.

Ever I’ll praise You,

For in You alone;

I find all goodness,

As Your heart’s made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our water in the desert and the presence our entire being longs for. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and fill us again. Forgive us for wandering in our weariness instead of seeking You. Teach us to trust You to be our strength and hope, even when it seems that there is no way to sustain in the environment we find ourselves in. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build up, encourage, and strengthen in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to meet us and fill us again, each time we come to You. Amen.

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

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

Each A Part

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also in Christ. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, HCSB)

A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, ERV)

Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, VOICE)

People in a community are created with the same intention as the parts of the body. Each one of us has been created with a unique purpose, passions and strengths. When we come together, we can accomplish far more than we can on our own; we need each other to function in a way that is whole and complete. Though some strengths are seen and obvious, others are behind the scenes, each helps contribute to keeping the body running. When I consider the different communities to which I belong, this truth is evident. Since my current reality is school, it is an easy comparison to this passage. It takes every staff member to make each day run smoothly, and each of us contribute differently. Additionally, because we have different strengths, talents, personalities and the like, we are able to reach different kids. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to do our part and operate in the strengths He has given, and work together with those around us to contribute to the whole group, functioning as we were intended. 

We all are a part,

Of a greater whole;

Made to contribute,

To each fill a role.

Working together,

Our strengths are made known;

Each with a purpose,

Where goodness is shown.

Lead us together,

In kindness and grace;

To work together,

Build a safe, sweet space.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with purpose and strengths that make a community complete. Thank You that each person is needed to function as the group was intended. Forgive us for the times that we have stood back or stayed stuck when we were meant to press on. Teach us to trust You more so that we would work together in the communities to which we have been called. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the ways in which we all have been uniquely designed and how You place us together in communities. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep(ing) the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

– Ephesians 4:2-3

Moms Model Love

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. – (Colossians 4:6, HCSB)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

This is the epitome of my mom and her mom before her; gracious, kind and wise. No human ever always has the right answer, but I think great moms come awfully close. These two women, as well as some incredible mother-like figures in my life, have modeled God’s love with the way that they speak with grace, kindness and love. It has never been unkind, but the truth is ever spoken in love. At times, the truth was to correct or redirect, but always with my best interest in mind. I am forever grateful for the gift of mothers in my life, and today, it seems only fitting to celebrate and honor them. May we ever give thanks to God for the gift of moms and mother-figures that He grants unto us, and seek Him to lead us in their likeness.

Let conversations,

Be filled with God’s grace;

Kind and with wisdom,

In every place.

For His love’s made known,

Through how we choose speak;

Actions and kindness,

Ever let us seek.

Seek to be loving,

Through every word;

Good spoken in love,

It’s how love is heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers and mother-figures who model Your love with words, actions and their very existence. Thank You for the blessings in my own life that have come through my mother, grandmother, youth leaders, church mommas, and incredibly wise and wonderful friends throughout the years. Forgive us for the times that we have not followed the example set before us and have spoken with a lack of love. Lead us to always speak with love, kindness and grace. May Your words lead the searching to see Your face and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You to ever lead us in Your love with every word we speak and all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Justified and Redeemed

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, HCSB)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

You see, all have sinned and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 3:23-24, VOICE)

Because of the events of this most Holy Week, we all have access to forgiveness, grace, and redemption from our sin. On our own, we cannot live right every moment of every day. However, when we seek and accept the grace that God has freely given through Jesus, we are made clean and holy before God – not because of anything that we have or have not done, but because He who knew no sin dwells within us and has already paid the price that our sins deserve. Through Him, we are considered right before God and have a future and a hope in Him. This is why we celebrate Easter, and why we ought to pause and remember with gratitude, the ultimate sacrifice that we made on our behalf so that we might know life with God forever.

The purpose of Easter,

Much more than the cross;

His redemption for all,

He has paid the cost.

Much more than suffering,

For death could not keep;

Jesus, the Messiah,

In eternal sleep.

It is through the rising,

That our hope was found;

Nothing could defeat Him,

His power abounds.

And more than the rising,

Return to His throne;

Seated up in heaven,

His goodness made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we might come to know forgiveness and grace that His sacrifice provides. Thank You that there is nothing that we can do to earn our way into Your glory, but rather it is a matter of us receiving what You freely offer through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the depth of Your love that sacrificed all. Teach us to live in awe and gratitude throughout all of our days. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart is made evident to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for all that You have done and continue to do to demonstrate just how great Your love is for all. Amen.

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

Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. – Acts 2:33