To Travel With Grace

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:4-5, NIV)

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. It was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary because she was engaged to marry him. (She was now pregnant.) – (Luke 2:4-5, ERV)

Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy that the messenger Gabriel had predicted, accompanied Joseph. – (Luke 2:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was our travel day from Seattle, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thanks to modern inventions, our travel time, including the drive to the airport, parking, taking the shuttle, making our way through security, waiting out our flight delay, and actually arriving to our destination, took a grand total of seven actual hours, but nine with the time change. It is pretty incredible, however, that we were able to travel some 1,350 miles in one day. For Mary and Joseph, their 90-mile trek was all on foot, and perhaps donkey. There were no Quickie Marts or hotels to utilize to recharge and rest along the way, nor was there GPS or any other modern convenience that makes travel far simpler today. Additionally, Mary was very pregnant. I consider how exhausting travel can be with all of the conveniences we have now; but imagine having to travel back then, on foot and donkey, mere days prior to giving birth? As I ponder their trip and think of young Mary, I am in awe of her faithfulness and trust in God. Her role in Jesus’ story is not one for the faint of heart. She was present for each joy and heartache, and watched in awe and wonder as our Savior grew, and ultimately sacrificed all so that we might have life everlasting in Him. Perhaps as the season marches on, and we begin to feel the weariness of travel and preparations and our own set of expectations, may we take pause and reflect on the reason for the season, and give thanks to God for the perseverance and faithful obedience modeled for us as Jesus made His human entry into the world. Let us not stop there, for He did not remain a tiny baby in a manger, but He grew into a man, took all our sin upon Himself on the cross, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ever loving us and moving on our behalf.

 

To travel with grace, To Travel With Grace

Both far and quite near;

Takes a choice of trust,

Setting aside fear.

Fear of the unknown,

What will or won’t be;

God’s always faithful,

His love won’t retreat.

He walks beside us,

Ahead, makes a way;

Guides and protects us,

Our hope to display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your traveling mercies, as You go before us, walk beside us, and remain with us, each step of our journey. Forgive us for the times that we doubt Your nearness, as things seem more challenging than they ought to be. Thank You that You use every challenge to grow us stronger in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring every fear and doubt to You from the start. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may know the power of Your presence as we press forward along the path to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and rely on You for all. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Strength and Peace

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

This is exactly the sort of day where I need to be reminded of such promises from God. I am on the verge of being sick, and I have a very full and demanding day ahead of me. Additionally, I did something to my back over the weekend, and find myself especially grateful for His promise to strengthen and bless with peace. God always makes a way, where there seems to be no way; the challenge comes in remembering that in the moments when what lies before us seems overwhelming. As for me, this is why I rise early and set my heart on Him. The mountains that are standing before me when I first wake, appear more manageable by the time I have spent time intentionally with God. He reminds me of who He is, and who I am in Him. May we ever turn to the Lord for strength and peace, for He meets us as we seek Him.

 

The Lord grants His strength, Grow to Overflowing

To all those who seek;

And fills up with peace,

Hearts troubled and weak.

Faithful to meet us, 

The Lord always hears;

Each prayer we lift up,

In love, He draws near.

He knows our trials,

The mountains we face;

Meets us with His strength,

Love, hope and great grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and peace when it is lacking. Thank You that You are faithful forever to all who seek You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we fix our gaze on the size of the mountains before us, rather than the greatness of You. Teach us to trust You to be our strength and peace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace and strength in practical and tangible ways where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and peace, and praise You for Your faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Strength and a Sure Path

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (2 Samuel 22:33, NIV)

God is my strong fortress. He clears the path I need to take. – (2 Samuel 22:33, ERV)

God is my strong fortress; He has made me safe. – (2 Samuel 22:33, TLB)

 

Returning home after a long leave away, launched me into a season of scheduled busy that keeps me moving from early morning until the time I lie down to sleep each night. Though I would not trade it, on days such as this, I have to pause and reflect, and recognize that I only reached Friday by God’s grace and strength, with His guidance. He has protected my boys as they have begun the venture of driving solo, and granted each of us strength to return to the routine of the school year. Currently, this also includes crazy, busy weekends for all of us. God is good, and He knows our needs and is generous and kind to meet them. He makes a way for us to navigate securely, and shows us what to prioritize to maintain peace. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and fortress, and to show us the way that He is leading us to go.

As for mom, I imagine she is seeking the Lord to be her strength and security too, as she adapts to the new schedule in Oregon at my sister’s. With my nephews back at school, and sister and brother-in-love back to work, she has a “Visiting Angel” spending time with her during the day in their absence, and is continuing to adjust to discovering a new routine with new care-givers during the day. Mom is resilient and kind, and I know will continue to work tirelessly toward recovering with her eyes on the prize; ever pursuing her total independence again.

 

The Lord is our strength, Bold in Battle

Keeps the way secure;

Grants hope for today,

Help so we endure.

In all our trials,

And each victory;

God will be present,

Love’s delivery.

All thanks be to God,

For His faithfulness;

As we are transformed,

By His graciousness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and that You make our path secure. Thank You that You provide and guide, even when we feel weary or wonder how the way will even be possible. Forgive us for the times that we allow the obstacles or heaviness to cloud our faith, rather than look to You. Teach us to trust You, for You are far greater than anything that lies before us or comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and hope and direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your guidance, strength and love that lead us well. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Where Praise is Due

O Lord, I will honor and praise Your Name, for You are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now You have accomplished them. – (Isaiah 25:1, NLT)

Lord, You are my God. I honor and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonders marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

 

The Lord deserves all of our honor and praise. Not only has He done amazing things, but He has shown us, again and again, that what He says, He will do, and His word is ever true. It is incredible that the same God who made way in the desert and parted the sea, is still alive and active today. He makes a way where there seems to be no way, and equips us to overcome obstacles that are far beyond us. May we ever praise Him, for God is good and faithful to fulfill His promises.

 

O God, Holy Lord, The Power of Praise and Worship

I’ll ever praise You;

For Your faithfulness,

And Your word that’s true.

All wonderful things,

Blessings that ensue;

Strength that overcomes,

Each because of You.

Before all there is,

Could ever be seen;

You Lord were present,

The future foreseen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are faithful to fulfill all that You say You will do. Thank You that Your word is true. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of Your moving on our behalf. Teach us to trust You more, recognizing that You are present and for us, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives hope and strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust that Your word is true, and that You will always do what You say You will do. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

To Notice the New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV) 

So, don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV) 

Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE) 

 

We are not called to dwell on the past and spend all of our time focusing on that which has already taken place, but rather we are to walk forward with eyes and hearts open, so that we can see, recognize and know the new things that God is doing as they come to pass. Yes, reflection and appreciation are good, as long as they do not get in the way of living in the present and perceiving the gifts that God is giving as He does new things to make the seemingly impossible, possible. For me, this past year has been one of remarkable blessings and new that God has done both in and for me. If I had been stuck in a space of dwelling on former things, I would not have seen, experienced, and appreciated the incredible new things that He has done. In the same way, if I choose to stay stuck and revel in the glow of recent events, I may miss all of the good that God is doing both today, and in the days yet to come. He is faithful forever, and we are meant to move with eyes and hearts open, so that we are aware of the presence of God in all things. May we embrace the grace that the Lord has for us each new day, and forge forward in faith, trusting that He is doing new things that will bless our hearts and further grow our faith. 

 

Don’t dwell on the past, To-Notice-the-New.jpg

For those things are gone; 

Instead, look forward, 

See what’s going on. 

The Lord makes a way, 

Where it seems there’s none; 

Supplies all we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

Grants strength for today, 

Hope for tomorrow; 

Comfort where we ache, 

Joy where there’s sorrow. 

New blessings He’ll bring, 

As we trust in faith; 

Impossible things, 

In Christ there’s a way. 

May we choose to move, 

With eyes open wide; 

As love, hope and strength, 

To all whom abide. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings, provision and grace that You have granted throughout the past year. Thank You for Your unending faithfulness that remains the same, yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the past to dominate our present, rather than choose praise You for the peace that Your provided and set our sights on what is today and that which is yet to come. Teach us to see the new that You are doing before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages, blesses and helps others see the new that You are bringing in all that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the past, recognize the remarkable gift of today, and anticipate with hope, all that is yet to come. Amen.

 

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

 

See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you. – Isaiah 42:9

Strength and Rest

God is the One who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)
He fills me with strength and protects me wherever I go. – (Psalm 18:32, TLB)
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

The need for strength seems to be a recurring theme this week, as the intensity of my time commitments and lack of sleep seem to be catching up with me. I am in a space of not having time to be sick, yet my body is fighting a bug that has claimed my voice and my energy. It is a challenge to navigate between seeking Him for the strength I need to get through the day, and using wisdom to know when rest is needed. My mode of operation is to say, “Oh God, help me get through this day,” and then suck it up and press on. Yesterday evening, there was time for rest. As my fiancee and I got together to spend a few hours catching up, our conversation soon turned into a nice nap for me, snuggled beside him on the couch. With a gentle hand on my shoulder, he simply let me sleep. About an hour later, he encouraged me to head home so that I could get a full night’s sleep. My body has become so accustomed to lack of sleep, that I woke at 1am, thinking that it was time to rise for the day. The gift of a few more hours of sleep did strengthen me, and I woke this morning feeling a bit more refreshed than I have the last few days. Whatever I end up needing to do, I trust that He will provide the way for it to be done. May we ever seek the Lord, who is our strength, and trust in Him to clear the path we need to take.

The Lord is my strength,wp-15174038102471151763153.jpg
When my strength is gone;
He makes clear a way,
To keep keeping on.
He fills where I lack,
Makes my way secure;
Loves me by His grace,
Remains ever near.
He meets all my needs,
Shows me what to do;
He faithfully gives,
As He makes me new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your kindness and grace. Thank You that You give us strength and keep our way secure, as You show us what we need to do. Forgive us for not seeking You for strength or wisdom in our space of need, and teach us to trust You more. Help us to listen to Your leading so that we may be refreshed and renewed in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives strength and rest where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and direction in all things, as You refresh and renew those who seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8