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

In All Things, Pray

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as it seems to be a season of tough news about people I love and care about. Yesterday afternoon, I found out that my nephew is in the hospital and dying of renal failure. I haven’t seen him in years, but when he was a little boy, he spent quite a bit of time with our family. Learning this heartbreaking news, I had to pause and pray; for I do not know what else to do. He is my boys’ cousin, their dad’s nephew, and their aunt’s first born. Sometimes, praying is really all we can do. Though I know not every need, I am able to pray for healing, health, hope and wholeness. I can pray for peace and strength and provision for the family. Prayer does not require eloquent words or religious utterances, it is simply talking to God with your heart, mind, and if it helps, your voice. He hears every word, thought and request. Incredibly, He provides what we need to get through each next moment, hour, day and beyond. His peace brings calm in the chaos and the ability to breathe when it feels as if we cannot. May we ever reach out to the Lord who hears our prayers, and seek Him for strength and peace in spaces where we have none.

O Lord, I draw near,

Seeking You for peace;

When I can’t fathom,

How You’ll bring release.

Somehow Your peace comes,

And fills up my heart;

Your love settles in,

Hope for a fresh start.

Be it a minute,

Or for a new day;

Your love and Your peace,

Always make a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than all of the trials and sorrows we face. Thank You that You flood us with Your love, surround us with Your care, and fill us with Your peace, even when peace does not make sense. Forgive us for worrying about having the words to pray, for You hear each cry of our heart as we reach out to You. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those whom You have placed in our lives, and to pray without ceasing for Your love to be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You as we call on Your Name and pray to You about all things, trusting that You hold us in the hollow of Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Love Grows Faith

We must always thank God for you, brothers. This is right, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, HCSB)

We thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do, because you give us good reason to be thankful: Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is growing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, VOICE)

My faith expands in spaces where I see people loving each other well. Despite the challenges and difficulties that this long season has brought, I am in awe of how God places people together. At school, I see the weariness in the faces of my colleagues that mirrors my own, yet I both witness and experience a group of people that looks out for each other and purposefully checks in and encourages one another. This mutual care is the same sort of love that grows faith within, for it reminds us of God’s goodness all around us. May we ever be intentional to love and care for those whom God has placed around us, and give Him thanks for the countless reasons He has given us to be thankful.

For loving kindness,

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For goodness and grace;

All thanks to the Lord,

For His faithful ways.

People have been placed,

Intentionally;

To love and be loved,

With care, graciously.

Lord help us rise up,

Choose love and care well;

These are the choices,

That of God’s love tells.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people that You have placed in our lives that love well. Thank You that the kindness and care of others grows our faith as You make Your heart known. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to reach out where You were nudging us to, and for the times that we have failed to recognize the good all around us. Teach us to see others through Your lens of love and with Your capacity to care well. Show us how to love one another in ways that grow our faith in You and Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love like You and give You thanks in all things. Amen.

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

For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

Help Shoulder the Weight

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, HCSB)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

Right now, I know a couple of people who are in the throes of tremendous loss; one just lost her son, and the other’s best friend lost her grandson. The weight of grief is far too great a burden to bear alone. It comes in waves and threatens to pull us under. However, when family and friends and community surround the grieving, they provide a hand to help hold heads above water, and give buoyancy in the sinking spaces. What I have observed in both instances, is an incredible outpouring of love, prayers and practical, tangible help in the places where it is needed most. When we reach out, we are extending a hand that helps lighten the load. Nothing we do can lessen the loss, yet the reaching out, the outpouring of what is needed, reminds the burden bearer that they are not alone. Our hands, hearts and voices can be tangible evidence of God’s love when it is extremely difficult to see. Though we cannot take the pain away, we can do something to share the burden, thus fulfilling God’s law to love. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us wisdom and grace so that we are empowered to walk beside the burdened and help carry the load.

When life’s troubles come,

As they always do;

May we walk beside,

Help see people through.

For we are each called,

To above all, love;

Care for each other,

As God does above.

Each time we reach out,

In practical ways;

We show the Lord’s love,

And extend His grace.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To help carry loads;

Through helping, giving,

At life’s tough crossroads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to help carry one another’s burdens. Thank You for the countless times that You have surrounded me with a community that walked beside me and lessened the load when it was too great for me to bear alone. Forgive us for the times that we see a need and neglect to reach out. Teach us to turn to You to guide and equip us to do what we can, whenever and wherever we can, to love as You love. Show us practical ways to come alongside those who are carrying weight that is far too heavy to bear alone. Lead us in Your love so that Your help, hands and heart may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we navigate our days with open hands and hearts, ready to reach out as You would. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

Tangible Love for the Common Good

Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. – (Hebrews 13:16, HCSB)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice” – that take place in the kitchen and workplace and on the streets. – (Hebrews 13:16, MSG)

God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He supplies us with all that we need. Our purpose is to love God and love people. To truly love requires actions, not mere words. His love and care for us is made evident when we see, feel and understand how He cares for the smallest details in our lives. A thoughtful gesture, a kind word, a helping hand – all provide evidence of God’s goodness made tangible. So many times God uses people to demonstrate the abundance of His goodness and love for us. I cannot even count the times that I have been blessed, encouraged or built up through the loving kindness of others in exactly the way that I needed. God’s hand and heart were evident, and His love for me, overwhelming. Each one of us has the opportunity to demonstrate His love every day. When we choose to be led by His love, we see spaces that need light and life and love and are able to reach out and do something tangible for another. May we seek the Lord in prayer and listen to His leading, so that we may be His ambassadors of love throughout each new day.

Let us not neglect,

To love and do good;

To choose be aware,

How love’s understood.

For it is not words,

That show love alone;

But rather actions,

That make His love known.

Encouraging words,

A tangible touch;

A need that is met,

Truly means so much.

Lord, show us the needs,

Where we can reach out;

So we might love well,

Show what love’s about.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give abundantly in love. Forgive us for the times that we have taken anything for granted and have neglected to work for the common good. Teach us to look for opportunities to bless and give and love well. Show us how to love each person that we encounter, whether it is through meeting a need, giving a helping hand, or extending words of encouragement that are intentional and specific. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to offer worship unto You through the things we do in love. Amen.

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

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – Ephesians 4:2

Created for Good

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, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

United By Love

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

Now may God, the Source of great endurance and comfort, grant you with unity among yourselves, which flows from your relationship with Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Romans 15:5, TPT)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

To have the same attitude of mind toward others that Christ has for us, is to love and accept all. In our acceptance, we are called to give comfort and encouragement, which lead to unity among us. When we are encouraged and united, we have a greater capacity to persevere. Extending such love toward one another is not always natural, however, when we rely on Christ, rather than ourselves, it more easily flows from the heart. The more we invest in time with the Lord, the more we grow like Him in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all those around us.

As we persevere,

In seeking the Lord;

His strength grows in us,

And love is outpoured.

It is in that love,

That we can reach out;

Encourage, unite,

Follow the Lord’s route.

His path leads to peace,

For love makes a way;

To rise together,

Let us not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give endurance and encouragement and the same heart toward others as You have for us. Thank You that Your love can unite us. Forgive us for the times that we have not lived and loved as You intended. Teach us to seek You to strengthen and fill us so that we may love others in the same way that You love us. Show us how to love each person that crosses our path in a way that extends encouragement and resolve and leads to unity within our communities. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

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

Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

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 receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11