Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

Trust in the Simple and Strange

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.” – (Luke 5:5, NIV)

Simon (Peter) answered, “Master, we worked hard all night trying to catch fish and caught nothing. But You say I should put the nets in the water, so I will.” – (Luke 5:5, ERV)

“Master,” Peter replied, “we’ve just come back from fishing all night and didn’t catch a thing. But if You insist, we’ll go out again and let down our nets because of Your word.” – (Luke 5:5, TPT)

There is so much loaded in this one particular verse. Jesus went to career fishermen who had just had a fruitless night of fishing, and told them to let down their nets. I imagine in their minds, they thought that it was a pointless task, yet they were intrigued enough to try, after having just listened to Jesus teach to those along the shore from their boat. What happened next was a pivotal teaching point, as the nets of those fishermen filled to overflowing. In fact, it says that the nets were so full that the boats began to take on water. Jesus used the men’s own area of expertise to illustrate what it would be like to join Him and become “fishers of men”. This miraculous catch reached the hearts of the fishermen, and further showed them that they could trust Jesus at His word. Those fishermen became the first of those Jesus called to be His disciples. 

This reminds me that though the things that Jesus calls us to might seem useless or ridiculous, we must trust Him, as He can turn the ordinary into extraordinary when we are willing to do as He asks. May we ever seek to hear the heart of heaven as we go about our days, for we never know the impact our obedience might have.

No matter the ask, 

That comes from the Lord;

Our obedience,

Will not be ignored.

God takes willing hearts,

Blesses from above;

Makes light and hope known,

And pours out His love.

Lord, help us to see,

Be willing to hear;

To answer Your call,

Show You’re always near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and call us to partner with You to make Your love known. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do that which we felt called to do, or for the times that we hesitated or questioned something that seemed small or bizarre. Teach us to trust You and to hear Your voice clearly. Grant us Your strength to move forward in love. Show us how to love those around us best, be it through small or great things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to step out in faithful obedience to all that You call us to do. Amen.

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

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

Our Eternal Rock

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal. – (Isaiah 26:4, NIV) 

Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. – (Isaiah 26:4, MSG) 

Trust in the Eternal One forever, for He is like a great Rock – strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting. – (Isaiah 26:4, VOICE) 

Life continues to feel uncertain with little being predictable or ordinary. Teaching online with no certain end in sight, growing responsibilities being heaped upon one another, in this time and space I am eternally grateful for the One to whom I can trust. Even when all around me is uncertain, He remains the same forever. His love, kindness, mercy, grace, and strength, are ever present and available to all who call on His Name. When all is unstable, I crave a strong, stable, trustworthy and lasting place. There is such a space; it is in the hands of Jesus. We can be strong, stable, and trust in His lasting love.  

Lord, teach us to trust, 

In Your endless love; 

Our Rock and shelter, 

Certainty above. 

Forever we trust, 

In You and Your Name; 

For You are our peace, 

And hope we can claim. 

Lord, hold us so close, 

That we are assured; 

Of grace and goodness, 

Hope in You, secured. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the eternal Rock, the One in whom we can trust forever. Thank You that You remind us and show us again and again that You are good. Forgive us for our fearfulness and anxiousness in the uncertain. Teach us to trust and lean into You, for You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide peace and security, grace and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You, our faithful Rock forever. Amen. 

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

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God. – 1 Samuel 2:2

Wholehearted Seeking

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Jeremiah 29:13, ERV)

If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT)

 

Yesterday, was my marathon day for student-led conferences. After being at school for more than twelve hours, I was ready to head home when our day ended at 7:00 pm. Despite the long hours, I was provided plenty of time to accomplish much. Working in silent solitude is a wonderful way to clear my mind and center my heart. Three hours of purging in my back room (that was full of things left behind by several prior occupants) allowed my heart to fix on what matters most, and my mind to dump the junk, in the same way I was clearing out the clutter from my back room. God is not difficult to find when we wholeheartedly seek Him. He is found in the ordinary and mundane, just as easily as in the incredible and miraculous, if only we set our hearts and minds on the seeking. The excitement I was holding for the possibilities that lie ahead, still remain, and I am in a better space after having had a day away from a regular school day. I know not whether the possibility will come to fruition; however, I am certain that whatever transpires will be exactly what is best for me in this season. May we ever look for the Lord wholeheartedly, for it is when we do, that we find the One for whom we are seeking.

My favorite portion of catching up with my sister yesterday was the photo and video clip she shared with me of my sweet nephew and Mom. They had all gone out to dinner and Mom was using her walker. She does well, but sometimes curbs can be tricky. Ethan, being the “dainty fellow” that he is, went in for a hug, wrapped Mom in close and secure, and did a slow swirl to move her from on top of the curb to down by the car. Her smile in the photo says it all, and Meg said her response was, “Now, that, is the BEST hug I have had all day!” ❤ Our families cannot wait to get together for Thanksgiving, and I know Mom is beyond eager to have us all together under the same roof again.

 

When we seek the Lord, 479342179338376402483072.jpeg

He’s faithful and true;

His presence is found,

As hope is renewed.

With all that we are,

And all that we do;

Pursue the Lord’s help,

See His words shown true.

For the Lord is good,

Faithful forever;

Waiting for our hearts,

In each endeavor.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we find You. Thank You that You see and know the desires of our hearts, and that You honor and bless us with what is best. Forgive us for not seeking or for giving way to doubt. Teach us to trust and seek You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You wholeheartedly. Amen.

 

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

 

Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:3-5

Reasons to Praise

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, NIV)

O Lord, my God! I praise You with all that I am. I will rightly honor Your great name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, VOICE)

With all my heart and passion, I will thank You, my God! I will give glory to Your name, always and forever! – (Psalm 86:12, TPT)

 

My heart is overflowing with reasons to praise. Yesterday, the day began with time seated on our couch, in our living room at home, with my husband beside me, as I did my devotions and writing. The morning followed with a joyful return to my church family after more than three months away, and the remainder of the day was spent thoroughly enjoying the ordinary errands that Sundays hold, along with a few bonus stops to celebrate Mark for his birthday. The day concluded with a great visit, seated around the fire pit at our best friends’ home.

Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott were making their way to Oregon. Each update that I received from my sister was excellent, as all of mom’s concerns about the long journey proved to be unnecessary. Mom did great, and took turns riding with each Megan and Scott. The trio safely arrived in Albany by mid-afternoon. I imagine the remainder of the day was spent enjoying time with my nephews, unpacking, and settling in. For all these things and so much more, we give glory to God forever.

 

Faithful is our God, img_2019-08-12_07-16-582256281050884293021.jpg

In everything;

He sees and He hears,

His goodness He brings.

Even in trials,

His presence is near;

His love evident,

And grace is made clear.

All praise unto God,

All glory, always;

Hope to ever trust,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and meeting us where we are. Thank You that You lead us and take us the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown that lie before us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope, peace and trust in the good that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are, forever. 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

Glorify with the Gifts

On this first day of a brand new year, a world of possibilities awaits. God has not called us to live ordinary and mundane lives, hiding the gifts that He has granted each of us, but rather He has called us to rise up and walk with Him, into the extraordinary, as we operate in the gifts that He has given. When we go where He calls and do as He asks, lives are touched and dreams are made new. He moves when we are willing to step out in faith. The Lord’s faithfulness is not because we are somehow worthy, but because He, as God on high, is good. It seems fitting that we respond just as Mary did, as follows:

And Mary said: “My soul glorified the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-49)

What we do now matters. Our children and our children’s children will be impacted by our faithfulness. If we model a life pursuing Christ, they will notice and seek to serve Him as well. Let us share of His faithfulness, for He has done great things for each of us, and is worthy of all of our worship and praise.

May we humbly seek,

IMG_0603 the will of the Lord;

in all faithfulness,

the gifts we’ll afford.

All He has given,

for us to return;

so others may come,

and of Christ they’ll learn.

Let our hearts rejoice,

in the Mighty One;

He’s mindful of us,

Spirit, Father, Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mindful of us. Thank You that when we come to You, You receive us as we are, and transform our hearts and minds to be more like Yours. Thank You for the great things that You have done for us. Thank You that we have Your presence now and hope for all of eternity. Forgive us for not glorifying You, or rejoicing in You for who You are, regardless of our circumstances. Help us to remember that You never change. Teach us to trust You more, so that we have a proper perspective on whatever comes our way. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they too may understand the blessings that You provide as our God and Savior. May many come into a saving relationship with You in this brand new year. Be exalted O God, as we glorify You with the gifts You have granted each of us, and rejoice in who You are. Amen.

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

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. – Genesis 1:3

For Faith to Flourish

By faith, ordinary people have done extraordinary things throughout human history.  The size of their faith as each individual began, did not matter nearly as much as in Whom their faith was held.  As each one took the next obedient step, His faithfulness was there to meet them, encouraging them to press on and continue to forge forward and further move in faith.  “Faith is total dependence on God and a willingness to do His will.” (NIV footnotes for Luke 17:5,6)

In Luke 17, Jesus and the disciples are having a discussion about forgiveness.  When Jesus informed them of how often we are meant to forgive if a person repents and asks to be forgiven, the disciples then recognized their own need for more faith to do just that.  “The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’  He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.” – (vs. 5-6) 

Though a mustard seed is tiny, it grows into one of the largest among plants, with deep roots and vast, far-reaching branches.  The same holds true with faith.  God will take a small speck of genuine faith in Him, and help it take root and grow.  We too, will gain deep roots and be far-reaching, if we whole-heartedly invest in Him.  As we allow Him to prune, water, and tend to the soil of our heart, we grow and take shape that becomes something beyond what we could have envisioned.  Before we even realize our own capacity to reach, He will utilize our faith to touch lives around us.  May we each choose to depend on Him and be willing to do His will.

For faith to grow,For Faith to Flourish

it is not on us;

but by His grace,

as we trust Jesus.

Lean into Him,

and not on our own;

He’ll show the way,

and make the path known.

Spend time with God,

and He will refine;

He shall increase,

so through us, He’ll shine.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not something we somehow must summon, but rather is what You grow and increase in us as we invest our time getting to know You more.  Thank You that as we depend on You and are willing to do Your will, You meet us where we are, and do far more than we could have imagined.  Forgive us for placing human parameters on You, as You are the God of ALL creation and are capable of ALL things.  Teach us to trust You more, and help us to walk confidently in our faith in You.  Help us to love well, even those who are difficult to love; and may many come to see You, as we walk out our days in faithful surrender to You.  Be glorified, our faithful and loving Lord.  Amen.

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