Ever Present with Love

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

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

I am so grateful that God is ever present to help, forgive and love us as we call on His Name. His goodness and mercy are not dependent on our worthiness, but rather His love, mercy and grace cleanse us from all of our sin and make us worthy in His sight. The love that He has for us is so abundant, that it is meant to overflow to those around us. May we ever call on the Lord to be our help, hope, and grace, that we too, may extend mercy, goodness, and love to all those around us.

My Lord, You are good,

Loving, merciful;

You’re faithful to all,

Who upon You, call.

With wide open arms,

In love, You embrace;

Each as we choose come,

In trust, seek Your face.

It is as we seek,

That truly we find;

Your goodness and grace,

Always You are kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to boldly approach Your throne. Thank You that You hear us, see us, love and help us, each time we call on Your Name. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see how You are present to move in our circumstances. Teach us to trust in Your faithfulness and love, for You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You in all things and at all times, and extend the very same goodness to all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – 2 Corinthians 13:14

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

The Baptizer with the Holy Spirit

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, NIV)

Then John said for everyone to hear: “I also did not know who the Messiah was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on this man. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, ERV)

John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, MSG)

Though John was the cousin of Jesus, he did not fully realize who Jesus was until the Spirit of God descended upon Him when John was baptizing Jesus with water. God had shown him that the Messiah would be the One to whom the Spirit comes down and rests upon. Imagine the awe and wonder that John must have experienced as he witnessed the Spirit of God resting on Jesus… Incredibly, when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that He would send His Spirit upon all who believed. As we read in Acts, that is exactly what He did. The same Spirit that came and filled the room on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, is the same Spirit that comes and dwells in us as we choose to believe and receive all that God has for us. Furthermore, His power is poured out as we ask Him to move in and through us. May we ever seek the Lord for a fresh anointing of His Spirit so that we may encourage and build up all those around us.

Heavenly Father,

Before You, we come;

Breathe in Your Spirit,

So Your will be done.

Fill us with power,

To love others true;

And move as You move,

So we reflect You.

Release the great gifts,

That Your Spirit brings;

Ever grow our faith,

As we see these things.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send us Your Spirit so that we may live and love in Your wisdom and power. Thank You that You move among us and through us as we invite You in. Forgive us for not asking or not utilizing what You have already given. Teach us to listen to Your leading as we live out our days and show us how to move as You move so that all might see Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love all whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You anew to come and move in and among us. Amen.

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

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful that I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. – Luke 3:16

Unity in Jesus

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. – (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people all come together as one! It is like the sweet-smelling oil that is poured over the high priest’s head… It is there that the Lord has promised His blessing of eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, ERV)

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head… Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, MSG)

God calls us to live in community with unity. His intent and purpose are for us to get along and work together as one body. When we do, it is like a fragrant anointing, as those around us can see and experience the goodness of God. His blessings are bestowed upon us as we do, for in such space we are continually reminded of His goodness now, and the glorious hope of all that is yet to come. Yesterday, amid mourning and heartache with a beautiful young couple from our church, we witnessed this in a very real and tangible way. Many gathered to celebrate the short life of their baby, who died a few days before his due date in the womb. Despite devastating heartache, there was joy in celebrating together the hope of being reunited one day in heaven. Though the precious boy never was able to experience life with his family, he will never know heartache, sickness, or pain, for he is already in the arms of Jesus where there is perfect peace. The love and support of their family and community was overwhelmingly evident. Together, we gathered as one to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of the precious baby boy. Incredibly, the blessings and joy were more evident than the sorrow. Only in Jesus, is such hope possible. My heart was blessed, despite the tears, in witnessing and supporting the beauty that is found in a community that comes together as one. (For more of Luca’s story, click here) May we ever seek the Lord and His purposes for us, as we rely on Him to help us be in communities that are united, not divided in His perfect love.

Oh, how wonderful,

Is community;

That stands side-by-side,

In true unity.

United purpose,

Love is what is seen;

Brothers and sisters,

Choosing live in peace.

This is the calling,

God give to us all;

Love one another,

Help up those who fall.

When the trials come,

To stand side-by-side;

Love well and support,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united in community. Thank You that You lead us and equip us to love one another and to encourage and support each other as sisters and brothers. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differences to divide us rather than unite us, for each of us have strengths and gifts to share that make our community stronger. Show us how to see You in all those whom we encounter. Lead us to love and be in community as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another, together as one. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Peace in All Things

“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’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Hold On

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

No matter how the day ahead appears, we have hope to hold onto. Jesus is our rock and our anchor, the One who has promised and has proven Himself faithful, again and again. For some, the day holds anticipation for the unknown; for others, the overwhelming busyness that awaits; yet in all things, we have hope that we can cling to, for God is always faithful, and He grants us peace in places it does not make sense, and helps in things that seem impossible. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our hope, for He is faithful to fulfill His promises.

May we speak aloud,

The truth our hearts know;

That God’s always good,

And His way He’ll show.

He grants us His peace,

When chaos seems reign;

Provides strength we need,

And makes our way plain.

Always He faithful,

He’ll show us the way;

He leads and guides us,

As in Him, we stay.

So, trust in the Lord,

Hold tight to what’s true;

Trust Him forever,

In Him we’re renewed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One whom we can cling to in all situations and circumstances. Thank You that You are faithful forever and that our hope is assured in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot see how You are working in the midst of all that lies before us. Teach us to see things through Your lens, for all that is now is temporary, yet all that is in You, is forever. Show us how to have an eternal perspective. Thank You for the glimpses of Your glory that we get to witness in the waiting. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope we confess, and trust without wavering because we know that You are good and faithful forever. Amen.

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

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. – Psalm 18:16

The Courage to Hope

So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, HCSB)

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

Remember this, and do not abandon your confidence, which will lead to rich rewards. Simply endure, for when you have done as God requires of you, you will receive the promise. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, VOICE)

This confidence is the courage that comes from trusting in God. He provides as we abide, and He will lead us through all that He has called us to do. Our reward is the hope and help that we have in the here and now, and the promise to be in His presence for eternity. The Lord blesses and keeps us, helps and holds us, and loves us through all that comes our way. May we ever hold fast to the confidence we have in Him, and keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. He is faithful, and will see us through all things.

The courage to hope,

In what is unseen;

Is true confidence,

God says what He means.

His presence, promised,

And hope for much more;

Grace to keep going,

Love that He outpours.

Endurance given,

So we persevere;

Trust in His goodness,

And that He is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You and have courage to keep pressing forward because You are with us. Thank You that our ability to persevere comes from You, not from our own strength. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and walk alongside us to where You are leading. Forgive us for our frustration when the road is not smooth. Teach us to hold fast to You, and to trust that You will continue to be faithful as You bring us to the places of promises fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, especially when the way does not seem to be headed where we thought we would go. Show us how to love, encourage and walk alongside all those whom You have placed in our lives in this season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do what You say You will do, and lean into Your love that holds us up. Amen.

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

Where Hope is Held

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, HCSB)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

Hope is a funny thing, for we use the word to talk about what we want to happen or about something we desire; however, true hope is a confident space of waiting for that which has been promised by the One who is faithful forever. This is important for me to remember as our vacation is coming to a close. The day after tomorrow, I will return to work. I know not how spring break has gone for my students and colleagues, but I know Who holds us all in His hands. As much as I “hope” that all goes well, I need to remember that the One who is our hope will be with me, leading, guiding, protecting and providing. I don’t need to know what tomorrow holds to have hope in Him. He is our hope and the One who provides all of our tomorrows. May we hold fast to our hope in Him, for He is forever faithful and worthy of all of our trust.

O Lord of all hope,

To You I will cling;

No matter what comes,

You’re faithful to bring.

Bring goodness and grace,

Your presence and peace;

Trust for each new day,

As love is released.

O God, we rise up,

And trust in Your love;

For we’re in Your hands,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope resides in You. Thank You that You hold us and all of our tomorrows in Your loving hands. Thank You that we need not worry about what lies ahead, for You are with us, always. Forgive us for our concerns about things that are yet to come. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to live and love like You, knowing that You are our hope and help, and that You love lavishly and call us to the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all of our hope in You, for You are faithful forever. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Christmas Miracles

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

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

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

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

This blessed season,

Created with joy;

As God, the Father,

Sent us His own boy.

Born in a manger,

Angels did proclaim;

The Lord’s arrival,

On that very day.

Miraculous birth,

God’s very own Son;

Sent to save us all,

The Most Holy One.

O what a wonder,

For Mary to see;

What had been promised,

Had now come to be.

Let’s look in wonder,

And give the Lord praise;

All that He has done,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible miracle of Christmas. Thank You for the miracles You continue to do in and around us. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the work of Your hand, for all that exists is because of Your great love. Teach us to pause and ponder all that You have done and the unending love that You lavish upon us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Christmas miracles, and for the miraculous You continue to do every day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

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

To the Shepherds

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.” – (Luke 2:8-11, HCSB)

That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you – news that will make everyone happy. Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. – (Luke 2:8-11, ERV)

There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.” – (Luke 2:8-11, MSG)

I love that God first announced the birth of His Son to shepherds who were guarding their sheep from predators. As shepherds, they had to fend off wild animals and poachers, yet an angel was outside their realm of what they might see on any given night. However, the first thing the angel said to them was, “Do not be afraid.” Once the initial fear subsided, imagine being the ones to receive such an amazing announcement. For four hundred years, God had been silent, and yet here, out in a field, the glory of the Lord appeared to shepherds to tell of the arrival of the promised Messiah that had so long ago been foretold. We know what happens next, as the shepherds hurried on their way to see this sight that the angel had proclaimed with awe and wonder. As we continue toward Christmas, may we, as ordinary people, be in awe to recall that God came near to us so that we may all embrace the grace that gives new life through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He came for all to make the way for us to be restored. It is up to us to receive this most precious gift ever given. Lord, lead us in awe and wonder as we ponder the powerful promise fulfilled as You sent heaven to earth to become God with us.

In awe and wonder,

Imagine the sight;

The presence of God,

Gave shepherds a fright.

But to their surprise,

An angel brought news;

The promised Savior,

Was nearby, in view.

Of all the people,

Nearby His birth place;

God chose the shepherds,

To first see His face.

The face of the Lord,

A new baby born;

To save humankind,

The One to adore.

May we remember,

In wonder and awe;

The most blessed news,

And all that they saw.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your messenger to ordinary shepherds to share the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. Thank You that though an overwhelming sight, You had the angel remind them that they need not fear, for You had sent Your Son to be near. Forgive us for forgetting that You do incredible things through ordinary people to look to You. Teach us to ever look to You and remember all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do extraordinary things through ordinary people who believe You. Amen.

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! – Luke 2:14