Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Numbered Days and Wise Ways

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV) 

Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart. – (Psalm 90:12, CEB) 

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, VOICE) 

 

When I think of numbering my days, it leads to a place of valuing each new day as it comes. It is an intentional act of the will to choose to be in the moment and appreciate the time that we are given. The older I get, the more I try to be intentional with my time. Last evening, though I wanted to join the ladies at church for the Sisterhood Christmas, I knew I needed a quiet evening with my husband and time to check in with my children, after a long week, and prior to my escape for a girls’ weekend with my best friend. A heart of wisdom is a gift that God grows within us over time, as we seek and invest time with Him. There is no “arrival”, but the more in tune we become with the Lord, the quicker we are to hear His voice and know His heart when navigating things that require wisdom and insight. May we value each day, savor each moment as it comes, so that we may gain a heart of wisdom through the loving grace of God. 

 

Lord, help us to know, Numbered Days and Wise Ways

How to count our days; 

To treasure each gift, 

That You send our way. 

Each day we draw breath, 

Is a gift from You; 

Lord, grant us wisdom, 

To love as You do. 

Grant us new insight, 

To walk in Your ways; 

So that we value, 

Each blessed new day. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of this life that You have given. Thank You that as we seek You and ask You, You show us how to number our days and treasure the gift that we are granted in You. Thank You that You grow within us Your wisdom and grace, as we pursue a life lived with You. Forgive us for taking the time that we have been given for granted, or for neglecting the wisdom that You are set to establish within us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and ever grow in Your wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses each with value and grace, so that they too, may recognize the treasure of each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for the gift of each of our days, and ever seek You to grow in wisdom. Amen.

 

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

 

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

Give Worry Away

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT) 

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB) 

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE) 

 

This is far more easily spoken than actually carried out. Often, we don’t even recognize the burdens that we are bearing until they begin to take a toll on us, physically. Tension headaches, illness and exhaustion can all be symptomatic of unnecessary burden bearing. Yes, we have responsibilities and obligations as adult members of society, however, we are not called to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. First and foremost, we ought to present our cares and concerns to Christ. He cares and has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. The Lord’s strength surpasses our understanding, and He is more than able to carry the burdens too weighty for us to bear. May we ever seek the Lord and lay our worries and cares in His capable hands, as He cares for us all. 

 

May lofty burdens,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be given away; 

To He who’s able, 

To carry the weight. 

Our God is willing, 

With arms open wide; 

To receive our cares, 

As we choose abide. 

So, cast each worry, 

All burdens on Him; 

And watch in wonder, 

As His grace pours in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to give you our burdens and worries. Thank You that You are far better equipped to bear the weight than we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own when life gets too heavy. Teach us to trust and rely on You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten loads, and reminds others that they need not bear burdens alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring our burdens before You and trust Your strength, grace and love to carry that which we are not meant to bear. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Clothed From Within

You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, NLT)

No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:4, ERV)

Let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:4, VOICE)

 

I am noticing that the older I get, the more I recognize the people I view as most “beautiful” are those from whom a gentle and quiet spirit radiates the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father. The heart adorns the external and directly influences how my eyes perceive the person before me. Beauty begins on the inside. May we ever focus on that which comes from within – the spirit placed within us that is called to be gentle and still before Him, so that we may go forth and love as we are loved by Him.

 

Let our focus be, Ambassadors of Love

On beauty within;

The quiet, sweet space,

That keeps us from sin. 

The Lord God, Himself,

Delights when we’re still;

He refines in love,

By grace, shows His will.

In calm gentleness,

Let’s fix eyes on Him;

Love cleanses each heart,

And brings beauty in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see a quiet and gentle spirit as beautiful. Thank You that Your view of beauty is from the inside out. Thank You that You make beautiful things out of us as we choose to follow You. Forgive us for the ugliness of our selfishness and twisted perception of what truly matters. Teach us to trust You more as we quiet our hearts in stillness before You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps them recognize the beauty that You have created within them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we aspire to be people that possess beautiful hearts, bearing gentle and quiet spirits toward all. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5

 

 

 

 

Draw Near with True Hearts

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, NIV)

Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So, come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. – (Hebrews 10:22, ERV)

Let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. – (Hebrews 10:22, VOICE)

Christ made coming to God possible. Through His sacrifice, once and for all, we have full assurance that the price has already been paid for our sins. Because we have been washed clean from the inside out, when we draw near to God and receive what He freely offers, we can confidently enter into His presence and communicate with the nearness of a loving Father and friend. May we readily receive what Christ gives by His glorious grace, and draw near to the Lord with faith, as we are fully known.

 

One great sacrifice,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Made way for us all;

To become washed clean,

Be heard when we call.

What Christ did for us,

Is ours to receive;

By faith, to lay hold,

All hope we believe.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts that embrace;

The gift of new life,

Through God’s lavish grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus, thank You for taking on all of our sin and shame, so that we could be made clean and worthy to approach the throne of God. Forgive us for taking Your sacrifice for granted, or for somehow thinking it could not possibly cover the weight of our own ugliness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the grace that You have so generously given, and never forget the ultimate price that You paid on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they might recognize Your grace and love through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of grace that You freely give, and continue to come close to You so that we will know how to best walk according to Your will. Amen.

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

For the law made nothing perfect, and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. – Hebrews 7:19

 

Generate Good Growth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So, let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

So, let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

 

Peace is a place within ourselves where we feel at ease, despite what surrounds us. Another sort of peace is that which is discovered as people choose to prefer one another and give grace to each other, making peace possible in spaces where we gather and dwell together – be it at home, school, work, church, or out and about in the community. Encouragement and kindness do not require like-mindedness. It is entirely possible (and necessary) to bring peace into places where individuals of great diversity dwell. There need not be common faith, political views, nor upbringing to listen and care for the community around us. Each person has purpose and something to offer, and when we recognize and value one another, peace and mutual edification soon follow. May we do whatever we can to help each other grow, as we pursue peace in the places where we are planted.

 

O Lord help us be, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Instruments of peace;

Who encourage well,

Set people at ease.

For we are not called,

To argue and fight;

But to be at peace,

And walk in Your light.

Teach us, dear Jesus,

To bring about peace;

To love as You love,

And Your grace increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be at peace with one another and to encourage each other. Forgive us for the times that we have been at odds with others, or have chosen to use words that tore down, rather than built up. Teach us to turn to You to lead us and guide us in what we say and do to promote peace in all the places we have been planted. Show us how to love those around us with encouragement that generates good growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and wisdom to walk in peace and wield words of encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

The Lord gives His people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. – Psalm 29:11

The Intended Target in Training

Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come. – (1 Timothy 4:8, NLT)

Training your body helps you in some ways. But devotion to God helps you in every way. It brings you blessings in this life and in the future life too. – (1 Timothy 4:8, ERV)

Although training your body has certain payoffs, godliness benefits all things – holding promise for life here and now and promise for the life that is coming. – (1 Timothy 4:8, VOICE)

 

Just as physical training provides benefit to our body, devotion to God (spiritual training), benefits our mind and spirit. Though both types of training have value, the latter lasts forever. What we know and how we grow, impact our eternity. Training our body can help us be our best self, so that we are physically equipped to do all that the Lord asks of us. However, if we do not train our heart and mind to be in tune with Christ, how will we know and recognize His voice in our lives? May we ever pursue the path of righteousness, for it holds promise in the Lord both for now and forever more.

 

Training has purpose, The Intended Target in Training

In all that we do;

For what we practice,

Leads to what’s pursued.

If we train for good,

Seek align with God;

We’re aptly prepared,

Despite how we’re flawed.

We’ll learn how to walk,

In His righteousness;

Allow God to reign,

By His faithfulness.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue Your path prepared for us, You meet us, lead us and bless us both now and for all time. Thank You that You are faithful to all who seek You. Forgive us for our inconsistency in training in our pursuit of You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would make time to fix our eyes, hearts and minds on You. Show us how to love those around us well, as we grow in our likeness to You through continued pursuit of Your path and purpose for our lives. Be glorified O God, as we train our hearts, minds and entire beings to become who You intended us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – Proverbs 21:21

 

 

The Peace in Letting Go

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. – (Psalm 37:8, NIV)

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, NLT)

Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, TLB)

 

Anger, wrath and rage ultimately bring the most harm to the holder. They have a way of rotting us from the inside out, and lead us to decisions that go against the good that we know we ought to do. Fret and worry are much the same. Each of these responses to external things, create an internal reaction that ruins the resolve within us. This verse does not say, “Never be angry.” Rather, it is a call to not sit and dwell in that space, allowing rage to rise. There is a time for righteous anger, yet how we respond to it matters most. Our charge is not to retaliate nor vindicate, (for this is why there are laws and authorities in place) alternatively, we are to set it in God’s hands. Of course, this is more easily said than done, yet with intention, it is worthwhile. Peace takes root where the anger or worry attempted reign. May we recognize our own responses as they occur and give all anger and worry to Him who brings peace in the most tumultuous spaces.

 

Stop being angry, Set Down Our Stones

Leave wrath in the dust;

Let go of worry,

Turn to God in trust.

For vengeance is His,

So too, are good plans;

As we trust in Him,

His grace lends a hand.

A hand that gives love,

When we’re lacking peace;

Comfort in worry,

What we need’s released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to let go of anger, wrath, rage and worry. Thank You that though there is a time for righteous anger, we are not meant to sit and hold it in our hearts and hands. Thank You that as we release these things to You, You replace them with Your comfort and peace. Forgive us for holding anger or worry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place all things in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us who are holding anger or worry in such a way, that they may discover the freedom of letting go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our anger and worry to You, and allow Your comfort and peace to take their place in our hearts. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

The Wisdom of Grace

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. – (Proverbs 19:11, NLT)

Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget. – (Proverbs 19:11, MSG)

A wise person demonstrates patience, for mercy means holding your tongue. When you are insulted, be quick to forgive and forget it, for you are virtuous when you overlook an offense. – (Proverbs 19:11, TPT)

 

Wisdom is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Patience prevails and mercy will not fail when dealing with those who have done wrong. Though there is a time and a place for correction, or at least making known the offense, there too are times when it is best that we simply forgive and move forward, allowing grace to cover what the words or deeds were lacking. May we continually seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we will know how to demonstrate patience and hold our tongue when it is best for us to overlook an offense.

 

Wisdom is made clear, Ambassadors of Love

When mercy is shown;

Offense forgiven,

Makes God’s goodness known.

For we are not called,

To judge each other;

But rather to love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us to be slow,

To respond to hurt;

For grace extended,

Demonstrates true worth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us despite our propensity to offend and insult You with our words and deeds, each time we act or respond out of anything other than love. Thank You that You do not withhold Your goodness and grace based on how we come before You. Forgive us for denying grace and forgiveness to others when we have felt insulted, offended or wronged. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would respond with Your wisdom that extends love and overlooks offenses. Show us how to love and give grace to those who offend us most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize and receive Your grace through us. Be glorified O God, due to our decisions to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on Him. – Luke 2:40