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

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

Do Not Be Afraid

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, HCSB)

But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name Him Jesus. Give Him that name because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, ERV)

While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son and you are to name Him, ‘Savior’, for He is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, TPT)

This morning, the message that I am receiving from this passage is to not be afraid to do what I know I am called to do. Joseph was called to wed Mary, yet had legitimate fears to do so, knowing that she was with child. Back then, a couple in their predicament could be completely outcast, or worse. They both had tangible reasons to be afraid, yet God let them know that He would be with them and they need not fear. Sometimes, God calls us to do something that is really big without fear, yet other times, it is something ordinary that has unusual factors involved that cause us fear. God is faithful, and He has promised to be with us. Today is a day that requires an extra measure of trust, as there have been things spoken and actions taken that incite uneasiness in many. It is in these times that we need to trust big, look out for one another, and continue to love as we have been called to love. May the God of peace surround us with His protection and grace and be tangibly near as we go through our day.

Do not be afraid,

Words often spoken;

For fear’s a liar,

When trust is broken.

God calls us to rise,

In courage, be strong;

Trust in His promise,

Our hope and our song.

Things may seem foolish,

Yet look at His grace;

God has shown He moves,

In creative ways.

Born in a stable,

Heaven came to earth;

The Lord chose come near,

Miraculous birth.

The fears overcome,

In a manger lay;

Our peace and purpose,

To trust each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised to be with us, always. Thank You that You sent Your assurance in spaces it was needed most, and that You are the same God as You were then, now, and forever. Forgive us for our fears, both rational and irrational. Teach us to trust in You and to listen to Your leading each new day. Show us how to trust You and to take care of one another. Lead us in love each and every day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hear Your whispers of love that bring us peace. Amen.

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

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear… – 1 John 4:18a

Called to Hope

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people. – (Ephesians 1:18, NIV)

I pray that God will open your minds to see His truth. Then you will know the hope that He has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised His holy people are rich and glorious. – (Ephesians 1:18, ERV)

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. – (Ephesians 1:18, VOICE)

The reality is that we all could use more hope. When things are good, there is great joy in knowing that what is yet to come is even better. When in the midst of sorrow or trials or strife, hope is what propels us forward to persevere. As we invest time with intention to seek to know the Lord better, we grow in our understanding of all that He has for us, both in the here and now, and forever. His blessings are present, even in the midst of pain. It is up to us to truly see all that is around us, for He shows us again and again how vast His love is and how faithful He is to His promises. May we ever seek the Lord, for it is in the seeking that we find and discover the blessings and hope that are held in His hands.

Lord, open our eyes,

So that all may see;

The light of Your truth,

Hope’s reality.

For in Your strong hands,

We shall be upheld;

Grace for each new day,

As You love so well.

Help every heart,

So truth may be seen;

For that’s how hope grows,

In this time between.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and provide blessings and hope both now and forever. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness and grace on our toughest days. Teach us to ever look to You to show us who You are and how You love so that hope will be securely held in our hearts. Lead us to love each other like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, so that they too may know hope, help, peace and love in the way that only You provide. Be glorified O God, as we look to the light of Your truth and purposefully pursue the path that You have set before us. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Faith Makes Possible

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

Confident hope comes as we trust in He who is able to bring all things into being. Though no one has seen God, evidence of His existence is everywhere. Our faith cannot be dependent on our circumstances, but rather in He who is present with us through them all. The inexplicable peace that is made present in chaos, the light that shines on the darkest days, the strength and help to persevere when weariness is overwhelming – all remind me that God is with us and that faith is what grows hope in what is yet to be. May we ever have faith in He who grants us hope and hold fast to the promises of what is yet to be.

Faith makes possible,

What is yet to be;

Helps us to hold hope,

In what we can’t see.

What God has promised,

Is trusted and true;

All that is needed,

Is what God will do.

Strength in the struggle,

Peace when it is hard;

His love forever,

Right here where we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and You grow faith within us. Thank You that faith fuels the hope within us that trusts in what is unseen and yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You more as You grow our faith in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that increase faith and offer hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we have faith in all that is hoped for and all that is yet to be seen. Amen.

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

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Agony and Wonder

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. – (Matthew 27:50-51, NIV)

Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. – (Matthew 27:50-51, ERV)

Jesus passionately cried out, took His last breath, and gave up His spirit. At that moment the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth shook violently, rocks were violently split apart. – (Matthew 27:50-51, TPT)

Good Friday was a day full of agony and wonder. Jesus endured tremendous suffering in the temple courts, before the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the soldiers, and went on carrying His cross to the horror on the hill. There Jesus was hung upon a cross between two criminals, mocked and rejected, yet all the while chose to remain in place for a purpose. Not only did He bear the weight of all our sin, but He cried out for God to forgive all who caused Him to endure the agony upon the cross. When He had accomplished all that was intended, He cried out to God and gave up His Spirit. Darkness had overcome the land, the veil in the Temple was torn in two, there was an earthquake, and rocks were split apart. The tearing of the veil was incredibly significant, as the split opened the curtain to the Holiest of Holies, thus removing the barrier between God and people. Christ’s death on the cross removed the sin and shame that had been cause of the need for the barrier from the beginning. Because He bore our sin and shame, our own behavior that created the divide between us and God, had been removed. In the same way that the rocks were shaken and split, our hearts ought to be stirred to split away from that which keeps us from closeness with Christ. May we be intentional to look to all that Christ endured upon the cross, and give Him praise with awe and wonder at the depth of love that would compel Him to bear all of our sin and make the way for a right relationship with God.

Willing to suffer,

He bore all our sin;

To open the way,

Let new life begin.

It was through His pain,

And all He endured;

That we’ve been made clean,

Granted hope secure.

The goodness that day,

Was promised in three;

A soon empty tomb,

Power to set free.

Let’s look to the cross,

Thank the Lord with praise;

Receive forgiveness,

True hope for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that sacrificed and endured for our sake. Jesus, thank You for suffering in our place to make the way for relationships to be restored with You. Forgive us for every portion of pain that our thoughts, words and deeds heaped upon You on the cross. Teach us to live in the freedom of forgiveness and grace that grows our hearts to love like You. Show us how to love all those around us in ways that make Your heart visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done, still do, and will continue to do, to make the path clear as we seek to serve and honor You. Amen.

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

(Let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Let Faith Remain Strong

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NIV)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. – (James 1:12, MSG)

If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! – (James 1:12, TPT)

Life is full of trials, challenges and difficulties. We can either persevere and place our faith in Christ, or we can fold under the weight the world wields our way. God is faithful as we trust in Him. Our experiences during the struggles help our hearts recognize the beautiful blessings that He has for us as we remain in Him. Not only do we have hope for eternity, but we have hope for the here and now. No matter what lies before us, Christ has promised to be with us, if only we choose to let Him in. Some of my greatest blessings have come after struggling and trusting God through my darkest days. I would not recognize the true joys I have been given, if it were not for the times where He walked beside me in the difficult and painful. We are blessed as we persevere. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is, and will do what He promises He will do. 

Blessed are the ones,

Who choose persevere;

Through trials they face,

Trusting God is near.

Ever He’s present,

To give strength and peace;

We must keep trusting,

For He holds the keys.

Keys to our freedom,

The doors to all grace;

Life in abundance,

As we seek His face.

Allow His love in,

No matter what comes;

His promises stand,

‘Til our time is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are blessed as we persevere through trials trusting in You. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, for You grant us help and hope every day that we draw breath. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the truth of who You are and how You love. Teach us to turn in trust to You through all times. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You through the trials and praise You for Your presence and blessings that lie before us each new day. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13