Unlikely Allies

While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!” – (Matthew 27:19, HCSB)

While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him. It said, “Don’t do anything with that man. He is not guilty. Last night I had a dream about Him and it troubled me very much.” – (Matthew 27:19, ERV)

While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message. “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about Him.” – (Matthew 27:19, MSG)

I have read the account of all that Jesus endured on His way to the cross countless times. For whatever reason, what stood out to me this morning is that the most unlikely of people seemed to be in His corner. After enduring two trials and three denials, I imagine it felt like no one was for Him. Both Pilate and his wife spoke on His behalf, recognizing and declaring His innocence. Though Pilate eventually gave into the chaos of the crowd, he had spoken out about Jesus and had declared that He had done nothing worthy of death. These things make me wonder what life was like for them after Jesus had died, risen and ascended. My heart hopes that because they had been in His presence and had witnessed the heart, humility and grace that Jesus displayed, that their lives were forever changed. This morning, my prayer is that all those around us will see Jesus in us and be drawn into His goodness and grace.

Unlikely allies,

A judge and his wife;

Knew what really was,

And fought for His life.

Yet despite their words,

That which had to be;

The life of Jesus,

For you and for me.

There was not a way,

To bypass the cross;

He was not willing,

For us to be lost.

The joy of it all,

Arrived the third day;

Death couldn’t hold Him,

For He is the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You show us new things each time we are intentional to invest time in Your word. Thank You that You use unlikely people to show us more of You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder or for rushing ahead when You always have something for us to learn. Teach us to be intentional in our seeking and listening. Show us more of You in everyday and unexpected places. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace and penetrate the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause, ponder, and praise You for all that You have done in our lives. Amen.

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

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35

The Message Is Love

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

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

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Love is the Message

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 central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

To love is the foundation of our faith, for without love, there would be no hope for all that God has in store for both now and eternity. It is God’s perfect love that demonstrates to us what love is and how to give it away. When those around us do things that frustrate or irritate us, love chooses to assume positive intent, rather than allow anger to begin. To love one another is to do unto others what we would want done to us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect love, so that we might love one another well.

Love is the message,

Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels.com

For it’s always been;

A call to choose love,

As each day begins.

No matter what comes,

The call is the same;

Love one another,

To honor God’s Name.

Let loving kindness,

Be what leads the way;

Give as God gives us,

Love that’s new each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your message is clear, and that You only ask of us that which You do and are willing to equip us to do as well. Thank You that not only do You show us love, but You are love. Forgive us for responding to anyone without love. Teach us how to love those around us best, as You know what each heart needs. Lead us in Your love throughout each new day, and may Your love be what others recognize in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love as You call and command us to do. Amen.

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

Nothing is more precious that Your loving kindness. All people can find protection close to You. – Psalm 36:7

Christmas Miracles

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. – (Luke 2:16-19, HCSB)

So they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:16-19, ERV)

So they hurried off and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in a feeding trough. Upon seeing this miraculous sign, the shepherds recounted what had just happened. Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was astonished by what they were told. But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. – (Luke 2:16-19, TPT)

Christmas miracles are an actual reality. This morning, my own miracle was sleeping in until 6:00am. We have dear friends who waited for years for the miracle of a child of their own. On Christmas Eve one year ago, they had their own son, born as an incredible gift to them on the mother’s own birthday. As I have watched the beauty of this blessing in their lives and recall the joy and wonder in the arrival of my own babies, I cannot help but understand all that Mary must have pondered as she was a part of this miracle that had been foretold and had now arrived. There are miracles all around us, if only we take the time to look and see. The wonder of a newborn baby, the stars placed intentionally in the sky… So many things that point to the power of the loving Savior that became God with us. May we pause and ponder the miracles all around us, and give thanks for the greatest miracle ever given. Merry Christmas and may we all come to adore Him today and forever.

This blessed season,

Created with joy;

As God, the Father,

Sent us His own boy.

Born in a manger,

Angels did proclaim;

The Lord’s arrival,

On that very day.

Miraculous birth,

God’s very own Son;

Sent to save us all,

The Most Holy One.

O what a wonder,

For Mary to see;

What had been promised,

Had now come to be.

Let’s look in wonder,

And give the Lord praise;

All that He has done,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible miracle of Christmas. Thank You for the miracles You continue to do in and around us. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the work of Your hand, for all that exists is because of Your great love. Teach us to pause and ponder all that You have done and the unending love that You lavish upon us. 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 praise You for Christmas miracles, and for the miraculous You continue to do every day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests. – Luke 2:14

Do Not Be Afraid

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, HCSB)

But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name Him Jesus. Give Him that name because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, ERV)

While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son and you are to name Him, ‘Savior’, for He is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, TPT)

This morning, the message that I am receiving from this passage is to not be afraid to do what I know I am called to do. Joseph was called to wed Mary, yet had legitimate fears to do so, knowing that she was with child. Back then, a couple in their predicament could be completely outcast, or worse. They both had tangible reasons to be afraid, yet God let them know that He would be with them and they need not fear. Sometimes, God calls us to do something that is really big without fear, yet other times, it is something ordinary that has unusual factors involved that cause us fear. God is faithful, and He has promised to be with us. Today is a day that requires an extra measure of trust, as there have been things spoken and actions taken that incite uneasiness in many. It is in these times that we need to trust big, look out for one another, and continue to love as we have been called to love. May the God of peace surround us with His protection and grace and be tangibly near as we go through our day.

Do not be afraid,

Words often spoken;

For fear’s a liar,

When trust is broken.

God calls us to rise,

In courage, be strong;

Trust in His promise,

Our hope and our song.

Things may seem foolish,

Yet look at His grace;

God has shown He moves,

In creative ways.

Born in a stable,

Heaven came to earth;

The Lord chose come near,

Miraculous birth.

The fears overcome,

In a manger lay;

Our peace and purpose,

To trust each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised to be with us, always. Thank You that You sent Your assurance in spaces it was needed most, and that You are the same God as You were then, now, and forever. Forgive us for our fears, both rational and irrational. Teach us to trust in You and to listen to Your leading each new day. Show us how to trust You and to take care of one another. Lead us in love each and every day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hear Your whispers of love that bring us peace. Amen.

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

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear… – 1 John 4:18a

Welcomed With Celebration

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Staying with God and waiting on Him is what we need to finish our race and enter into the glory of eternity with God. In our current series at church, Kingdom Come, yesterday’s message had a great analogy of how God welcomes us into His Kingdom. One of our pastors, who knew little about football, had attended her first Seahawks game the week prior. She took notice of new things and asked questions about what she was observing. As she was closing up her message on Matthew 6:1-13, one part of her analogy that she had observed at the game, challenged my thinking. She spoke of how each play was introduced by name with fireworks as they came into view from the tunnel. Her comment was that God celebrates and welcomes us in the same way. At first, I paused and thought, by name, sure, but fireworks? That is a big deal for one person. As I pondered, the first thing that came to mind was that though I do not deserve a big production, Jesus does. Jesus in me deserves all accolades. Then I considered things further. When we welcome a baby into the world, we celebrate with thanksgiving, gifts, and great cheer. God is our Father in Heaven, and He celebrates us in the same way. We are known and acknowledged with good things because we are His. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is our strength and where our courage comes from. He celebrates and acknowledges each of us by name, and with great celebration because we are His.

With celebration,

The Lord calls our name;

He ushers us in,

To goodness proclaimed.

His Kingdom is now,

And forevermore;

We’re meant to embrace,

And trust in the Lord.

For as we choose live,

Depending on Him;

He equips with strength,

To do as He did.

In Him we can live,

As is His intent;

To love each other,

With grace, enter in.

So, trust in the Lord,

Know you are enough;

Not for what you do,

But because He’s tough.

Strong to uphold us,

Grace that always loves;

Purveyor of peace,

All hope from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You show us who You are and that Your Kingdom is not only in Heaven, but is here and now as well. Thank You that You know us and call us by name, and that You celebrate us, not for what we do, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for the times that we fear that we are not enough or we lose heart in the waiting. Teach us again and again that our value is found in You because we are Yours, and that as we wait on You, You grant us strength and hope and help. Show us how to love one another as You created us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait in trust for You in tough spaces, and praise You that we are known, loved and upheld by You, our Heavenly Father. Amen.

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

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

To Live and Love Well

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, 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. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. – (Philippians 1:9, TLB)

Though this is from Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi, the message still resonates today. It is my prayer for myself and all those around me that our love will grow to overflowing, and that we would ever pursue knowledge and insight. God is gracious, and His love abounds more and more as He grants us insight and understanding of how deep and how wide His love is and how He has hand-crafted us to love well. Additionally, as we seek to know and understand more, He shows us more of who He is and how to care well for those around us. May we ever pursue the heart of God so that our love continues to grow as our understanding and insight expands.

May our love abound,

As we seek to grow;

Knowledge and insight,

To make His love known.

It’s through our pursuit,

That we come to know;

The depths of God’s love,

Then it overflows.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

And help us learn well,

The light of Your truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Paul’s prayer and exhortation to the Philippians is still relevant and applicable today. Thank You that as we seek You to lead us in love and grow our understanding and insight, You are faithful to show us more and more. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love and learn as You intended. Show us how to ever pursue Your heart and wisdom so that we may love out of the overflow that comes from knowing You. Teach us to love those around us with the same heart that You have for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made tangible. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your heart of love and Your wisdom and insight so that we may live and love well. Amen.

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

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Unknown Open Doors

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

“…Pray to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets. You have never heard these things before.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, ERV)

“Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Though this passage is a message that God gave to Jeremiah while he was shackled and guarded in captivity, the message remains true for us, no matter our circumstances. God is the God of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Though Jeremiah and his people were in a dismal situation, God spoke promises of what was yet to come. His plans and purposes for the people did not end in captivity, but rather in being rebuilt and free. In the same way, God has a plan and purpose for us. No matter what we have been through, are going through, or face in the future, God will grant us wisdom and understanding to navigate each step, and to walk forward into the hope He has for us all. May we ever call on the Lord to lead us well, for He is faithful to teach us and reveal to us that which we need to know to keep moving forward into all that is yet to come.

Choose call on the Lord,

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He’s faithful to tell;

The wonderful things,

That help us live well.

God in His wisdom,

Reveals unto us;

Unsearchable things,

He hears our requests.

No matter what is,

In Christ, there is more;

Through love He reveals,

Unknown open doors.

In struggle, seek Him,

In strength, give Him praise;

Pursue His wisdom,

To walk out each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You reveal new wisdom and insight that grant us hope and equip us for all that comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our present circumstances to limit our faith. Teach us to turn to You and pray, for You are faithful to show us what we need to know to keep moving forward in the direction You have called us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust You to give us wisdom and insight as to how to continue in the direction You have called us. Amen.

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

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Present in All

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)

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)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Remember, He Has Risen

“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, NIV)

“Jesus is not here. He has risen from death. Do you remember what He said in Galilee? He said the Son of Man must be handed over to the control of sinful men, be killed on a cross and rise from death on the third day.” Then the women remembered what Jesus had said. – (Luke 24:6-8, ERV)

“Have you forgotten what He said to you while He was still in Galilee: ’The destiny of the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinful men, to be nailed to a cross, and on the third day to rise again’?” All at once they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, TPT)

That first Easter, Resurrection Sunday, was a time of great shock, disbelief, and remarkable joy. The women who had prepared spices to attend to the body of Jesus and give Him a proper burial on Friday, were the first to discover the empty tomb on Sunday. Greeted by angels, the women were told the great news that Jesus had indeed risen. After the fear and wonder held in being met by angels at the empty tomb, the women recalled the Savior’s words after the angelic reminder, and ran to tell the others the good news. Today is a day to be full of awe, wonder and praise, for the Savior has risen and defeated death so that all might live. His sacrifice was for our sake, and His resurrection and ascension demonstrated His power and intentionality to ever move on our behalf. Seated at the right hand of the Father, He hears our every prayer and loves with the same love that chose to remain on that cross so that we might be set free from the weight of our sin. May we ever remember His words, His love and His sacrifice, for through Him, we may know love and life everlasting. Glory to God in the highest, for He has risen indeed!

Early that Sunday,

The women did run;

To Jesus’ tomb,

With task to be done.

Upon arrival,

The Lord was not there;

Greeted by angels,

A message to share.

Jesus is not here,

He is now alive;

He’s risen indeed,

True hope has arrived.

First, there was terror,

Of what was in sight;

Then awe and wonder,

Followed by delight.

As the news sunk in,

Again, they chose run;

To share the good news,

The Savior had won!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Jesus, thank You that Your love for us took You to the cross, defeated death in a tomb, and rose again to be seated at the right hand of the Father to contend for us. Forgive us for the flippancy with which we treat this sacred time. Show us how to recognize the magnitude of the miracles, the strength in Your sacrifice, and the power that proved You are God Most High. Lead us to love those around us with Your love that lifts up and brings life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the love You have for all of Your created. Be glorified O God, may we praise and honor You with all that we are as we remember the significance of what we celebrate today. Amen.

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

Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you. – Matthew 28:7