Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

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

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Clearly Seen

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, HCSB)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

From the beginning, creation in its magnificence elightens us to His nature. Creation itself makes His undying power and divine identity clear, even though they are invisible; and it voids the excuses and the ignorant claims of these people. – (Romans 1:20, VOICE)

The more of the world I have the opportunity to see, the more that this verse makes perfect sense. To see the beauty, creativity and diversity of the earth and all that is in it, testifies clearly that there is a power far higher than us. Each day is a new sunrise, and each evening a new sunset. Everything in between is full of color and life and light, and the bookend times are a new painting at dawn and dusk. On our most recent adventure, God’s evidence was everywhere. I loved waking each morning to hurry to the balcony to see just what colors would appear in the sunrise. Each day was different. The various colors of the ocean and the incredible diversity of life that live in it also testify to a loving and creative God. This morning, as I look ahead to the day, I recognize all God’s hands have made, and the beauty of people and places that I will encounter. May we have eyes to see the beauty all around us, and the wisdom to give thanks where all praise is due.

O God, we praise You,

For all You have made;

The sun, moon and stars,

That light up our way.

Mountains and valleys,

Oceans to small streams;

All of creation,

And all the unseen.

How could we question,

Your goodness and grace?

For all creation,

Make plain You’re the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everywhere we look there is evidence of Your goodness and power. Thank You that the more we see, the more we recognize who You are and how great Your love. Forgive us for not taking the time to recognize and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Teach us to take it all in and to be overwhelmed with awe and gratitude. Show us how to care well for all of Your creation, and how to love those whom You place on our path. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we stand in awe, with hearts full of praise for all You are and all that You have made. Amen. 

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

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

Readily and Cheerfully

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, NIV)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! – (Philippians 2:14, MSG)

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. – (Philippians 2:14, TPT)

When I first read this, I wanted to post it in my classroom. If only it were so easy… After further consideration, I realize that there are plenty of things that I grumble about. Though it may not be done audibly, my heart is not always cheerful about things that I need to do. I am not an arguer, but in a sense, when I grumble in my heart, I am arguing with what I know I need to do. God knows my heart, and both my praises and my grumbling are heard by Him. Thankfully, He is a loving Father who listens and reminds my heart of reasons to be grateful. With that in mind, it challenges me to seek to do everything readily and cheerfully, without grumbling as I go. In order for this to transpire, I must lean into Him and hold His word in my heart. It is not something I can do in my own strength, but with His help and His heart, my attitude can be transformed when it goes awry. May we ever seek Him to lead us to live a life that is free from complaining and division among us.

O Lord, help my heart,

Always joy, never complaints…

Be patient and true;

Show me how to live,

Cheerfully for You.

Please renew my mind,

Take angst from my heart;

Help me to choose love,

With joy, do my part.

Even in mundane,

The frustrating tasks;

Fill my heart with thanks,

To do as You ask.

For all that You ask,

Is for greater good;

With joy, help me do,

All things as You would.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You call us to do things without complaining or arguing. Thank You that You hear the frustration that our hearts hold, and show us reasons to praise rather that dwell on how things are right now. Forgive us for our complaining and bickering, as neither do anything to glorify You. Show us how to choose love in everything that we do, so that we glorify You. You know the weariness in our hearts from the length of this crazy, world-altering season. Lead us to lean into You so that we may love one another as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cheerfully do what You ask, without complaining or arguing. Amen.

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

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

Present in All

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, NIV)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

The reminder in this verse is that God is with us all of the time; when it is light and when things are going well, also, He remains present in darkness and through challenging times. His faithfulness is not dependent on circumstance nor timing. God is greater than all. Our song to Him flows out of our response to His nearness. As we look to the Lord with thanks or to be our help in time of need, He makes His nearness known. There is something that rises up within us when we are aware that God is present and moving on our behalf. No matter what lies before us, God is within us. The wisdom, strength and fortitude needed to persevere are available to us all. It is through our seeking that we find the Lord’s help and nearness, and reason to give Him praise. In this ever-changing, seemingly endless season of uncertainty, the Lord is the certainty that we can always count on. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Rock and the love that surrounds us, no matter what lies ahead.

With each new sunrise,

God’s love is made known;

His grace and goodness,

Clearly they are shown.

When the darkness falls,

God will remain near;

His strength and comfort,

In love, He makes clear.

In uncertainty,

His presence remains;

God’s love that comforts,

And makes our paths plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your nearness and goodness are not dependent on timing or circumstances. Thank You that You are present, night and day, and ready to hear us, be it praise or petitions. Forgive us for making You too small, for You are greater than all. Teach us to trust and praise You in all seasons, for Your goodness does not change. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too might understand the goodness of Your love and faithfulness of Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Intentionally

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – He remains faithful forever. – (Psalm 146:6, NIV)

He made the heavens and earth. He made the sea and everything in it. He can be trusted to do what He says. – (Psalm 146:6, ERV)

You keep all Your promises. You are the Creator of heaven’s glory, earth’s grandeur, and the ocean’s greatness. – (Psalm 146:6, TPT)

There is nothing quite like being near the ocean for me. Each time I draw near to the salt air, hear the crashing waves, and sink my toes into the sand, peace surrounds me and I am reminded of the powerful love of the One who made it all. Just as we can watch and count on the waves to continue meeting the shore, so too, we can depend on the Lord to be present and faithful forever. I find myself especially aware of God’s faithfulness as I am blessed with a weekend away in my favorite coastal town with my love. It is such a blessing to share the place I love with the one I love. Each wave that meets the shore reminds me that God is present and powerful, and that His love is never ending. May we each take time to observe the incredible beauty around us that is the work of His hands, and recognize the eternal faithfulness found in the One who made it all.

Faithful forever,

Creator of all;

The glory that’s seen,

His hands made it all.

Each great ocean wave,

The gorgeous blue sky;

The sand that warms toes,

Beauty can’t be denied.

The very same hands,

That formed such beauty;

Designed each of us,

Intentionally.

Forever faithful,

The Lord God above;

As He reminds us,

Of unending love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, who created all of the beauty that our eyes can see, also created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Forgive us for losing sight of Your faithfulness and love as we navigate all that comes our way. Teach us to trust in You, for You love us and never leave us. Show us how to appreciate all that Your hands have made, so that we may love those around us in the same ways that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Wonderfully Made

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:14, ERV)

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:14, VOICE)

This is an important reminder for us all. Not one of us was an accident; for all are intentionally created. Each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all hand-crafted with gifts and talents that are unique to our design. All that God has created is good. What we do with His creation is up to us, yet the more we recognize the wonder of His works, the more we value all that His hands have made. Perhaps we would all be a bit gentler with one another if we viewed each other as His handiwork, rather than categorized by beliefs, affiliation, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on. ALL are created with purpose, and ALL must be valued. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we value each intentional detail in those around us, and celebrate the wonderful way each human has been made.

My heart will give thanks,

For all You have made;

Each with a purpose,

Gifts to celebrate.

Help my eyes to see,

The beauty that lies;

Within ev’ry soul,

Value realized.

O God, You are good,

All made by Your hands;

May we choose cherish,

Each life You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have wonderfully and intentionally made all of us. Thank You that You have uniquely designed every human on the planet with purpose. Forgive us for allowing differences to warp our view. Teach us to recognize and value the gift of every individual we meet. Show us how to love in a way that values and celebrates the gifts that You have given in all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us Your heart and Your eyes to view the gifts to celebrate in all whom You have created. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Trust Over Fear

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NIV)

Jesus overhead and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be alright.” – (Luke 8:50, MSG)

When Jesus heard this, He turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t yield to fear. Have faith in Me and she will live again.” – (Luke 8:50, TPT)

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had bowed at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house to heal his young daughter. As Jairus and Jesus were on the way, someone from Jairus’ house came up to them and told them that Jairus’ daughter had died. Verse fifty is how Jesus responded to the news about Jairus’ daughter. On the way to the house, Jesus had healed a woman. I imagine that Jairus already knew that Jesus could heal, and the timing of the woman’s healing, prior to the news of the death of his daughter, must have added to the hope that Jairus placed in Him. After Jesus, Jairus and the disciples who were with them arrived, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. She did live again and everything was alright, just as Jesus had spoken. I don’t know about you, but this brings much encouragement. When we seek the Lord for answers and for help, it is never too late for Him to intervene. He can bring life out of death and restore what seems irrevocably broken. We serve a God who restores and heals and grants us hope, even when things seem bleak. May we ever continue to fall at the feet of Jesus, trusting that He is who He says He is, and can do all things that will bring life and wholeness and restoration.

No matter the way,

That things may appear;

When we seek the Lord,

He’ll always draw near.

To know His presence,

Fathom we’re His own;

Held and granted hope,

Perceive how we’re known.

Christ hears ev’ry prayer,

In love, makes a way;

Hope soon realized,

He does not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power who heard the prayers of a synagogue leader and healed both his daughter and a woman on the way, is available to us every day. Thank You that You hear our prayers and grant us help and hope as You hold us up in Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations when answers seem delayed or too late, for Your timing is not ours, and Your ways are best. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend help and hope and life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and give thanks for how You love us all. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

A Call to Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, TPT)

When I think about this encouragement, what comes to mind is that of my dear friends and family, those who are the most comforting are the ones who have endured the most. Though I would never wish for the challenges, trouble and suffering that each have endured, I am able to see clearly the way in which God uses their experiences in each of their lives. I know this is due to their willingness to seek and receive from God, as it is by the comfort they have received that each is able to extend such godly comfort to others. In the spaces where I have experienced God’s comfort the most, are the same circumstances where I feel most compassionate towards others going through similar situations. There is something powerful in our own experience, as it grants us empathy for those walking through something we too have traversed. Our compassion is not an accident. It is intended that we reach out and extend the very same comfort and love that we received to those who are in need now. May we ever seek the Lord to open our eyes to the need around us, and reach out with comfort and compassion as He has done for us.

God, in His mercy,

Brings comfort to us;

Compassion, kindness,

Perspective adjusts.

For where we’ve suffered,

Comfort’s been made known;

Goodness and mercy,

God’s love clearly shown.

Through experience,

We can choose the same;

To reach out in love,

Compassionate aim.

We’ve been created,

To love and be loved;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our struggles and trials, You provide Your comfort and care. Thank You that You have designed us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to drag us down, rather than looking for the goodness that You provide and the comfort that comes as we seek You. Teach us to reach out to those around us to extend Your comfort. Show us how to love well, so that all whom we encounter would see and understand Your comfort through our kindness and compassion. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the comfort that You give, and seek You to teach us to do the same. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Made to Praise

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, NIV)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

Jesus responded, “Listen to me. If my followers were silenced, the very stones would break forth with praises!” – (Luke 19:40, TPT)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a whole crowd of disciples was shouting praises to announce His arrival, and yelling out the truth of Jesus’ rightful roles. Some of the Pharisees who were in the area, were not having it. They ordered Jesus to rebuke those who were praising Him. His response reminds us that all of creation was indeed made to praise Him and speak the truth of who He is. The power, grace, goodness, and love of the Lord demands our praise. We were created with an innate need to worship. Where we place our praise matters. If we praise the One who alone is worthy, the truth is declared and we discover the perfect peace that comes as we do what we were created to do. All of creation was made to reflect the Lord’s radiance. The rocks, the mountains, the oceans, rivers and seas – everywhere we look, we can see the evidence of the Lord’s loving and powerful hands. As we draw ever nearer to the day that we celebrate His birth, may we take time to lift our voice in praise for who God is and how our Savior loves.

All of creation,

Was made to give praise;

To honor Jesus,

Throughout our days.

The rocks will cry out,

If people do not;

For He is worthy,

Of our praise and thought.

Let us lift His Name,

For He’s always good;

He came to save us,

Make love understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be our Savior and salvation. Thank You that we were created to praise. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give praise where praise was due, for all belongs to You. Teach us to see Your goodness, power, and love throughout our days. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and love all of Your creation. Amen.

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

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50