Community Brings Comfort

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – (Matthew 18:20, HCSB)

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

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Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Prioritize Love

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – (Matthew 22:37-39, HCSB)

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)

When we get back to making the main things the main things, and we choose to prioritize loving God and loving people, our lives begin to more clearly reflect what God intended all along. If we invest in our relationship with God and those around us, His grace covers us and His love surrounds us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we might love one another as He loves us.

Lord, help us to love,

With all that we are;

First You, then others,

Both those near and far.

Lead us and guide us,

So that we love well;

May our words and deeds,

Of Your goodness tell.

Grant us Your patience,

Kindness and Your grace;

To truly listen,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us. Thank You that as we do so, we are walking in obedience to all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate in love. Teach us how to live in the light of Your love in all that we say and do. Show us how to love You and those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to love You and love those around us as You love all of us. 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

Generously and Faithfully

“They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.” “But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to Him. “Bring them here to Me,” He said. – (Matthew 14:16-18, HCSB)

Jesus said, “The people don’t need to go away. You give them some food to eat.” The followers answered, “But we only have five loaves of bread and two fish.” Jesus said, “Bring the bread and fish to Me.” – (Matthew 14:16-18, ERV)

Jesus: They don’t need to go back to the villages in order to eat supper. Give them something to eat here.

Disciples: But we don’t have enough food. We only have five rounds of flatbread and two fish.

Jesus: Bring the bread and fish to Me. 

So the disciples brought Him the five rounds of flatbread and the two fish. – (Matthew 14:16-18, VOICE)

This passage is an excellent reminder of how God can supply all that we need and more when we trust Him with what we do have, especially when we seek to be generous. Though I have not personally witnessed five loaves and two fish feeding thousands, I have seen God do immeasurably more than I could have hoped or imagined when I placed what I had to offer in His hands. He takes what we have and makes it enough. This is true with our time, talent and resources. We are called to love and give, and as we do, God supplies for both the giver and the recipient. May we ever seek the Lord to be our supply, for He is generous and kind, and faithful to meet us as we stand in faith.

In Christ there’s enough,

Our Source and Supply;

He takes what we bring,

And then multiplies.

The Lord is the One,

Who sees ev’ry need;

Then takes what’s offered,

And makes it exceed.

Exceed what is seen,

Go beyond what’s known;

The Multiplier,

Of each seed that’s sown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us how You can take the little that we have to offer and use it to bless many. Thank You that You see every offering and hear every prayer. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are always enough. Teach us to trust You with all so that we might give generously and live faithfully. Show us how to love in tangible ways so that those around us might come to know the goodness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all that we have and all that we are into Your hands, for in You, there is enough. Amen.

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

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – 1 John 4:21

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

Strengthened With Power

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

(We pray) that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when trouble comes. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

And we pray that you would be energized with all His explosive power from the realm of His magnificent glory, filling you with great hope. – (Colossians 1:11,TPT)

I am so thankful that it is Friday, as the few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving seem especially long. To be energized and filled with hope is the prayer I have for myself and all those around me. Joy comes as we persevere, even when things are difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and empower us with patient endurance so that we press on with great hope. 

O Lord, as we come,

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Seeking You for strength;

Lead us and guide us,

Grow patience at length.

Grant us endurance,

To keep pressing on;

Be the strength we need,

When we don’t feel strong.

Through perseverance,

We come to know joy;

You graciously give,

With You our hearts join.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You strengthen us with Your power so that we have strength and resolve to persevere and discover the joy found in Your heavenly hope. Forgive us for our discouragement when we are depleted. Teach us to turn to You to strengthen and lead us in Your love. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may be strengthened in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and rely on You to supply all that we need. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, don’t be far away. My Strength, come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Abound

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)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

I think we all need a bit more love and insight right now. This has been the longest season, and I can’t imagine where I would be without love. God is good, and He lovingly grants us knowledge and understanding so that we can love well. God places people in our lives who show us glimpses of His love for us. My husband, my best friend, my family and my friends all play an integral role in reminding me of the depth and breadth of God’s love for us all. Each of them encourage, challenge, and help me grow in my understanding and insight as to just how good God is and how intentionally He created us to love. May we ever keep seeking and praying for our love to abound more and more, and to continue to grow in our understanding and insight.

Hand-crafted by Christ,

Intentionally;

All made to love well,

As He helps us see.

Wisdom and insight,

Are granted to us;

So we might choose love,

As given to us.

In good times and bad,

God’s love is made clear;

In seeking, we find,

How good and how near.

Choose love each other,

No matter what comes;

With patience and grace,

Help each to become.

Become what God planned,

Live life with intent;

Choose love others well,

It’s a life well spent.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You grant us wisdom and understanding as our love ever increases through You. Forgive us for not seeking or for neglecting to love as You intended. Teach us to listen and love as You do. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us anew with Your love and to grant us understanding and knowledge in how to navigate each day best. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5

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

Finding Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

I try not to watch nor read too much of the news, but rather just enough to have an idea of what is going on in the world. Over the last several days, it has been a challenge to get my heart to settle with so much unrest and disaster in the world around us. God’s peace does not mean that all chaos ceases, but rather it is His presence despite the chaos that grants us His perfect peace. Each time my heart becomes unsettled, I must give it to Him and choose to trust. Ultimately, He is in control and will remain with me no matter what comes. Today, as I start my day, my prayer is for all those who are in the spaces of disaster and in the midst of wars. May help and peace, safety and security come to all who are in the middle of such turmoil.

O God, You are good,

Despite what we see;

Our beacon of hope,

The peace that we need.

Lord may Your presence,

Love, help, hope and grace;

Be made tangible,

In unsettled space.

Grant safety to all,

In spaces of fear;

Give strength and escape,

Lord, be ever near.

May each new concern,

Compel us to pray;

Please grant miracles,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give true peace to those who depend on You. Lord, I place every concern in Your mighty hands and ask You to work as only You can. Forgive us for our fears, doubts, and unbelief in the face of disasters. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You alone are greater than anything we face. Show us how to love those around us, so that Your peace may be made known through kindness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our peace, and seek Your wisdom to show us how to extend Your peace to those around us. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Prayer and Pursuit

Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, NIV)

Lord, teach me Your ways, and I will live and obey Your truths. Help me make worshiping Your Name the most important thing in my life. – (Psalm 86:11, ERV)

Teach me more about You, how You work and how You move, so that I can walk onward in Your truth until everything within me brings honor to Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, TPT)

This is an ongoing prayer and pursuit. The more I learn, the more I recognize how much more I need the Lord and His faithful love to grow in me an undivided heart. In our fast-paced world, it is far too easy to become distracted by all that surrounds us. It requires intentional time set apart to fix our eyes on Him, and to invest in reading and understanding His word. As we do, we become more aware of the Lord’s hand in everything. May we ever set our eyes and hearts on the Lord as we seek Him, so that we might learn to have undivided hearts and bring honor to His Name in all that we say and do.

O Lord, please teach me,

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To walk in Your way;

Heart undivided,

So I seek and pray.

Show me more and more,

The way I’m to live;

To honor Your Name,

Through love that I give.

May all that I am,

And all that I do;

Seek You to guide me,

So I might love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You show us the way that we are meant to live and love, so that we may glorify You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to have an undivided heart, free from all that competes for our attention. Show us how to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that we may honor You and love well. Lead us to love those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life focused on You and seek to love others well. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – 1 Chronicles 16:10