Jesus is Our Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.” – (John 16:33, VOICE)

No matter what comes our way, we can know and experience peace in Jesus. He already knew that we would face the troubles that come from a broken world, yet He endured them all on the cross and knows every trial and challenge that will come our way. Jesus, in His infinite love, has promised to be present to help and be our peace. The peace that comes from Jesus is not simply the absence of war, but is an overwhelming, all-encompassing, assurance that He is with us and for us, and because of that, calm comes and covers our entire countenance, no matter what is going on around us. True peace is internal, not external. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what we face or find ourselves in, for He is good and has promised to be present to be our peace.

Jesus has promised,

To be near, bring peace;

Calm in His presence,

Love’s blessed release.

It does not depend,

On our circumstance;

It is internal,

Not random nor chance.

For the peace of God,

Goes beyond what’s known;

Soothing to the core;

As His love is shown.

Even in chaos,

The peace of God comes;

Lays hold of our heart,

As His will be done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to not only experience the world, be in the world and overcome the world, but so that we would have One that already knows and understands everything we face, and can provide the peace we need to keep moving forward. Thank You Jesus, that Your perfect peace is not dependent on what is going on around us, for it is Your goodness, going on inside us. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize the peace that is present in You. Teach us to turn our heart to You, so that we may know and experience Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share the peace that our hearts experience in Your presence, so that they too, may know the peace that comes from You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Give Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

So far, it has been a strange winter break. My love and I spent Christmas morning driving south to my sister and brother-in-law’s home to enjoy time together with their family and my mom. My kids were unable to go, as they were recovering from a virus and did not want to share it with mom. Yesterday, we spent a few hours helping organize and set up mom’s new place near my sister. Change can be overwhelming yet being close to family in a space that is equipped to help and support mom well, is a positive change, as she was alone far too often. It is a tremendous blessing that mom was able to get in, as there is a long wait list to move into her new place. I mention these things because though not typical, I can see and celebrate God’s blessings through it all. For my kids, they had down time to rest and relax, and for us, we were able to visit and help, even with a quick turn-around. This morning, my love is back to work, and I am back to running practice for my gymnasts. I still have another week off from teaching, but coaching continues throughout. There is joy in this as well. Another praise is that my surgeries went well, and I am on the mend. The specialist was confident that she removed all the cancerous cells, and the reconstructive surgery of the site is healing nicely. For all these things and more, I am truly grateful to God and cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. May we ever bless the Lord and give Him thanks, for every good and perfect gift comes from Him.

All praise be to God,

I lift up His Name;

For all that is good,

His grace to proclaim.

Through all things that come,

On this road we take;

God will be faithful,

For a way He’ll make.

Faithful through valleys,

And on mountain tops;

He will never leave,

Our struggles He swaps.

He exchanges dark,

With glorious light;

Grants peace with presence,

In Him we delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have so much to be grateful for in You. Forgive us for the times that we forget our blessings and focus on what we cannot control. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful to respond each time we call on Your Name. Show us how to praise You in all things, especially through how we choose to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless blessings that You bring into our lives and for the love that You show. Amen.

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

Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. – 1 Kings 8:56

He Sustains Me

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – (Psalm 54:4, NIV)

Look, my God will help me. My Lord will support me. – (Psalm 54:4, ERV)

But see now! God comes to rescue me; the Lord is my valiant supporter. – (Psalm 54:4, VOICE)

This has been one of those weeks where the days are extraordinarily long, yet in hindsight, I am not sure how it is now Wednesday. Monday began with a sore throat and the school day closed with a fight in my 6th period class. Yesterday, my throat didn’t hurt but my voice was fading. Thankfully, no fights, just some high energy kids who are as ready for break and I am. Today is an early release day for the students, so a change in the routine might be good. What I do know is that God has sustained and helped me for the last few days, and I know he will be present still. Tomorrow will be a marathon, as it is our first gymnastics meet of the season, and we are hosting. Knowing that God is with me is a comfort and encouragement to keep pressing forward. My sister and brother-in-love are moving mom to Albany today as well. They have packed and cleaned and sorted and prepared to help mom have a smooth move to be closer to family. It is clear that God has been present, as mom is excited to be so much closer to family and to be moving to a space with built-in community. All this to say that there is much going on and I am a bit overloaded, however, I know God is with me and that He is upholding me as I go – one day, one hour, and at times, one minute at a time. May we ever seek the Lord, our Sustainer and Savior, for He is faithful to help us navigate all things that come our way.

O Lord, You are good,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In everything;

Our help and our hope,

Loving offering.

Your grace is our help,

Your love holds us up;

Your strength sustains us,

In You there’s enough.

O Lord, keep holding,

My life in Your hands;

Remind me anew,

That in You I stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and the One who sustains us when we are feeling depleted. Thank You that You are ever-present to help and You hold us up with Your loving hands. Forgive us for our desire to quit when things are overwhelming. Teach us to lean into You and remember Who gives us the strength and support that we need to overcome all that comes our way. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us in ways that make Your heart tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your help that sustains us. Amen.

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

Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. – Psalm 5:2

Death and Disease No More

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. – (Revelation 21:4, HCSB)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying or pain. All the old ways are gone. – (Revelation 21:4, ERV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning no more, crying no more, pain no more. For the first things have gone away. – (Revelation 21:4, VOICE)

Though I seldom linger in the book of Revelation, today’s verse of the day was quite timely as I read of yet another friend who lost someone dear to them. It seems that we have been in a constant cycle of losing loved ones, finding out that dear ones are fighting serious diseases and illnesses, and the heaviness and grief of it can be overwhelming. Perhaps it is my age, as my peers and I are now facing the reality of aging parents. Whether it is the aftermath of the pandemic, our age, or simply one of those seasons, there is much comfort in the hope that is yet to come. One day, there will be no more death, grief, crying or pain. That is an incredible promise to hold. I know it is not always a comfort in the wake of immediate loss, yet it is an encouragement that it will not always be like it is right now. May we ever seek the Lord to be our comfort and our hope, for He holds us in the hollow of His hands both now and forevermore.

The weight of sorrow,

Shall one day be gone;

When death is no more,

And love will live on.

Sickness and disease,

Will exist no more;

Grief – nonexistent,

Only good in store.

May we find comfort,

In all that will be;

When love’s what triumphs,

And hearts are set free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the promise and the hope that all that is heavy and hard in the here and now, will one day be no more. Thank You that in You, we have the hope that death, sadness, disease, pain and suffering will pass away, and only love, peace and goodness will remain as we enter Your presence. Forgive us for losing sight of hope when heaviness surrounds us. Teach us to look to You to be our comfort and peace as we hold our hope in You. Lead us to love as You love, so that those around us might find Your hope in seasons of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You alone, and extend love to all those around us. Amen.

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

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Beauty Within

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, HCSB)

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, ERV)

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, VOICE)

It is what is inside that determines a person’s beauty, not the way that the exterior is decorated. The things that God deems beautiful are characteristics that grow as we invest our hearts and minds in knowing more of Him. The better we know the Lord, the more beautiful our hearts become. A gentle spirit that is full of grace rises up in us to be shared with those around us. The most beautiful people that I have ever known had hearts that were loving and kind, gentle and full of grace. Their beauty was not determined by the outside, but rather by the love their heart could not help but share. Incredibly, the interior seems to glow outward, making the whole human beautiful. May we ever seek the Lord to adorn our hearts with His character – love, grace, gentleness and peace, for it is such things that make us beautiful in His eyes.

May beauty and grace,

Be what’s in our hearts;

Characteristics,

In love God imparts.

For when we give grace,

God’s love is made clear;

Good overwhelming,

As gentle comes near.

Lord, help us focus,

On that which will last;

Beautiful spirits,

That show that love lasts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true beauty comes from within. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You to grow our heart more like Yours, or have placed our focus on the exterior, rather than on what truly lasts. Teach us to always seek and invest our hearts and time in You, so that we may more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Lead us in Your gentleness and grace to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to increase the beauty within, and lead us to love as You love each of us. Amen.

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

By His breath the heavens gained their beauty… – Job 26:13a

Incredible Faithfulness

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough – because there was no room for them at the lodging place. – (Luke 2:6-7, HCSB)

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the newborn baby in strips of cloth, and Mary and Joseph laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village. – (Luke 2:6-7, TPT)

I can’t help but think of Mary and her trust in God as she traveled far from home, very pregnant, knowing that she was likely to give birth while in Bethlehem. Alone in a cave where animals were kept, she and Joseph had to navigate the birth of this promised, blessed baby, in less than ideal conditions. Though a young girl, unmarried and in a seemingly compromised position, she and Joseph delivered the precious baby and wrapped Him in what they had and improvised to provide a safe space for Him to sleep. Imagine both the joy and sorrow as they welcomed Jesus into the world. Joy in the promise fulfilled as they held their firstborn son, yet sorrow in their solitude. No family surrounding them, despite the fact that the family had to have been in Bethlehem too for the census. What is spoken between the lines is the weight they bore and the trust they had in God and His promises. If God can help two young people navigate a lack of space to bring the Savior of the World to the earth, how much more can He help us through whatever challenges we face? God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was faithful then, He is faithful now, and His faithfulness will not end. May we pause and ponder in awe and wonder as we consider the love and grace granted as Mary and Joseph successfully navigated the seemingly impossible. 

A woman ready,

To bring forth a son;

No place to give birth,

To the Holy One.

A lowly stable,

A cave in the earth;

With only creatures,

To witness the birth.

No bells or whistles,

To welcome the Son;

A quiet stable,

When the day was done.

It did not end there,

For God had much more;

To show they were seen,

And praise the Adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You for sending Your Son in such humble beginnings as You show us Your incredible faithfulness through Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our fear to trust, for You are the very meaning of trustworthy. Teach us to lean into You in the spaces that seem impossible or overwhelming, for You are so much greater than all that we face. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this Christmas season. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your unending faithfulness and remember the ways that You have provided again and again and again. Amen.

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

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds. – Psalm 36:5

Flooded With Love

Love us, God, with all You’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on. – (Psalm 33:22, MSG)

Let Your love and steadfast kindness overshadow us continually, for we trust and we wait upon You. – (Psalm 33:22, TPT)

O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love, even now as we wait for You. – (Psalm 33:22, VOICE)

Finally, this morning, after sleeping in until 5:00am, I am finally beginning to feel like it is actually Christmas break. It is strange how it takes a few days to settle in and realize that it is time to relax and decompress from the craziness that this year has held. This is the time to rest in Him, for His love floods our hearts and minds when we are intentional to seek time with the Lord. God surrounds us with His love through all things, great and small, if only we look to Him to be our Source and Supply. May we look to the Lord and depend on Him, for His love floods our hearts as we depend on Him.

O come, Lord Jesus,

Flood our hearts and minds;

With Your endless love,

And grace to be kind.

Lead us in all things,

Wherever we go;

Let Your goodness shine,

So all come to know.

Know of the wonder,

Of love that will last;

Peace never ending,

With lifelong impact.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and depend on You, You flood us with Your overwhelming, never ending love. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to lean into You in seasons of busy and times of rest. Show us Your faithfulness in the unexpected, and lead us to love those around us in ways that show Your amazing love made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in every season and give praise for Your amazing love. Amen.

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

So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. – Romans 9:16

Assured By Love

Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. – (Luke 1:30, HCSB)

Then the angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. – (Luke 1:30, ERV)

But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift.” – (Luke 1:30, TPT)

As I continue to ponder the role that Mary played in Christmas, I imagine that she must have been quite startled by the appearance of an angel, and felt fear in the presence of God’s own messenger standing before her. I love that her immediate need was met, as he assured her that she had nothing to fear, for God was pleased with her and she had found His favor. In the present day, we have little understanding of the fear of appearing before a king. Back then, if a person appeared before a king without being summoned, they could be killed if the king was not pleased with them. How much more would they have had a similar fear in being in the presence of the King of the Universe’s messenger? The loving kindness of God was made known through Gabriel as He reassured Mary. To hear that God is delighted with you and has a wonderful gift for you, would likely bring peace in the panicked places. Incredibly, when we seek the Lord and pursue a life of love through Him, He is pleased with us as well. He has good gifts to give us if only we are ready and willing to receive them. Peace, joy, love and hope are the gifts that we celebrate as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s arrival. May we ever look to the Lord to be our peace, for He is our hope and grants us joy through His love as we seek Him.

Imagine the sight,

Before Mary stood;

God’s angelic host,

With news that was good.

To be called favored,

One whom God called blessed;

Quite overwhelming,

Assured in distress.

Little did she know,

The news he would bear;

Lives changed forever,

God would soon be there.

He’d come in the flesh,

Miraculous plan,

A new baby born;

Where hope soon began.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are and meet us in our need. Thank You that You see our heart and show us Your great love and grace that provide hope, peace and joy. Forgive us for not turning to You in both our joy and our times of need, for You hear every prayer and are ever near. Teach us to trust You like Mary, for though she did not know what was ahead, she knew and trusted You. Show us how to be willing to listen and give our best yes to You. Lead us to love one another as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside fears and trust big in You and all that You have for us. Amen.

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

This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. – 1 John 4:13

Intentional In Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” – (John 13:34-35, MSG)

It seems only appropriate that the verse of the day has to do with love on Valentine’s Day. In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called “Friendship Day”. I love that idea, as the love we have for those around us does not have to be romantic love. Friends, family, acquaintances and beloved ones are all among those with whom our love is meant to be shared. To love as we are loved by God is to lift up, encourage, bless, honor and strengthen those around us without any expectation of return. We are meant to choose to love out of the overflow that we have freely been given. May we be intentional in our obedience to God’s commands to love so that all may see Him through us.

Let’s love each other,

As the Lord loves us;

Freely outpouring,

As done by Jesus.

When we choose to love,

With grace, each other;

God’s love’s clearly shown,

One to another.

May we celebrate,

All that we’re given;

Generously give,

Each day we live in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generous and overwhelming love. Thank You that You call and command us to love those around us. Thank You that as we do, people see You and the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we should. Teach us to seek You and receive all that You offer so that we may love like You. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional to love well. Amen.

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

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8