Jesus is God

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

This is the One who – imprinted with God’s image, shimmering with His glory – sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins. – (Hebrews 1:3, VOICE)

Today is day one of 21 days that have been set aside for prayer and fasting within my church. Each day, there will be specific passages that focus on who God is. Incredibly, the more we focus on who He is, the more we recognize how deeply He loves. In this one verse from the first chapter of Hebrews, we are shown that Jesus is God. He is the “exact representation of His being” and is the One who “has provided purification for sins” and now, He is “seated at the right hand of God”, where He continues to contend for us as He has purified us from our sin. Because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us all, we have access to God. It was not nails that kept Him on the cross, for after all, He has all the power and authority of God, but rather it was His love that desperately desired to set us free from our sin and shame and provide the way for us to return to a right relationship with Him that held Him in place to be the ultimate atonement for all. Such love goes beyond human understanding and the longer I live, the more I grow in understanding, but also recognize how much more there is to learn. May we ever pursue the heart of God as we seek Him and listen to His heartbeat for us through the wonder of His word.

Jesus, our Savior,

Is the Lord our God;

God who came near us,

May we stand in awe.

Though as an infant,

Is how Jesus came;

His holiness shown,

Much more than a name.

When His time arrived,

He taught, loved and healed;

His power made known,

Through love He revealed.

The people wanted,

Jesus on the throne;

Yet He was much more,

Than they could have known.

His place, in heaven,

Is so He could give;

Hope for forever,

As we’re taught to live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, who is fully God, to live and love, heal and extend hope to all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You showed us who You as You walked among us. Forgive us for trying to contain who You are to our limited understanding. Teach us to ever seek to grow in understanding through intentional time with You and in Your word. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and as You transform us to reflect Your heart to the world through earnestly seeking You. Amen.

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

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

A New Thing

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

“So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Of course, it is important to look back, reflect, and remember God’s goodness in the days gone by, yet we do not want to dwell in it and not look forward with anticipation for all that lies ahead. God is ever making things new, as He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Our purpose is not used up or merely a thing of the past. Each day we draw breath, God has purpose for our lives. He opens doors, levels paths, and helps us navigate obstacles to continue to walk in His ways. I know for many of us, 2022 was not a year that we have any desire to repeat. However, even so, we can look back at His faithfulness and carry that with us as we look forward to the coming year. No matter what comes, God is good, and He is for us. We need not worry about the future, but rather ought to view what is yet to come as opportunity for God to show up and demonstrate His goodness and love. It is fascinating, as the older I get, the more I recognize that I am present in the moments, rather than worrying about taking photos. I put together a year in review collage of some highlights, only to discover there were many moments missed in pictures that left a lasting imprint on my heart. God is so good, and I can look forward with eager anticipation for all the new that He will do. May we ever seek the Lord and wait on Him, for He prepares the way, walks beside us, and never leaves us as we journey this life with Him.

Look ahead in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

He’s paving the way,

As we walk forward.

As we look to Him,

No matter what comes;

Trust is made certain,

May His will be done.

Always God is good,

And He remains near;

Our help and our hope,

Remover of fear.

Look back with all thanks,

For His faithfulness;

With eyes fixed forward,

On coming newness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look back and see how You walked beside us to help us know that You will always be present in all that lies ahead. Thank You that in You, we have a hope and a future. Forgive us for the times that we have fixated on the past rather than looked forward to what You will do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would gaze into the coming year with gladness, knowing that You will make a way and do new things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your love and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look forward to all that You will do in the coming year. Amen.

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

To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:23-24

Wisdom Through Love

Let whoever is wise pay attention to these things and consider the Lord’s acts of faithful love. – (Psalm 107:43, HCSB)

Whoever is wise will remember these things and begin to understand the Lord’s faithful love. – (Psalm 107:43, ERV)

Is there anyone wise? If so, may the wise take notice of these things and reflect upon the loyal love of the Eternal. – (Psalm 107:43, VOICE)

Wisdom is not something we earn, but rather it is something gained as we seek the Lord and recognize His ongoing acts of faithful love. We can pursue knowledge without gaining wisdom. The more clearly we understand the Lord’s faithful love, the more we grow in wisdom that comes from Him. God’s wisdom instructs us in how to love and give Him glory for His goodness and kindness to us. As we grow in our understanding of His heart for us, we gain wisdom in how we are to love likewise. May we ever seek the Lord and take notice of His loyal love, so that we may grow in wisdom and understanding to love in the same way.

The wisdom of man,

Is mere foolishness;

Compare to the Lord,

Who lavishes us.

He pours out His love,

Kindness and His grace;

Through His example,

We learn of His ways.

The more we observe,

And learn how God loves;

The more that we gain,

Wisdom from above.

O Lord, please show us,

To notice Your ways;

So we learn to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom comes from You. Thank You that as we witness and observe Your ongoing faithful love, we learn who You are and how to truly love well. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we can become wise on our own. Teach us to invest our hearts and time into seeking You to teach us Your heart for the world and how we are meant to love like You. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us on in Your love. Amen.

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

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

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our thoughts and words matter to God. The musings of the heart are directly linked to what we take in. For me, this means that in order to keep my thoughts from wandering down a road I need not travel, I have to be cautious about what I consume. If I set my heart on God to begin each day, I am in a better position to choose my words and direct my thoughts wisely. However, if I listen to or watch something violent or full of angst, even if my words do not reflect what I have taken in, my thoughts struggle to turn away from the unpleasant. I know some folks have a filter that simply sifts out such stuff, but as a very visual individual, it is too difficult to not keep reliving what I do not want to relive. Everyone is different, but it is important to know how we can best keep our words and thoughts turned toward God, so that what we say, think and do is a reflection of His love. May we ever seek the Lord to help set our hearts on Him so that our words and the musings of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

O Lord, let Your love,

Lead my thoughts and words;

So goodness is stored,

And grace is what’s heard.

Keep my heart upheld,

In Your loving light;

By grace filter out,

All that is not right.

Show me through Your lens,

That which needs to go;

Flood me with Your thoughts,

So Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us what it is to meditate on Your love and share it with others through all that we do and say. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been pleasing to You. Teach us how to clear our minds of that which does not build up, and to set our sights on You and Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help keep our words and thoughts on that which is pleasing to You. Amen.

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

May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 104:34

The Goodness of God

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the work of Your hands. – (Psalm 92:4, HCSB)

Lord, You make us very happy because of what You did. I gladly sing about it. Lord, You did such great things. Your thoughts are too hard for us to understand. – (Psalm 92:4, ERV)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. – (Psalm 92:4, VOICE)

God is always good. It is important to pause and take inventory of His faithfulness in our lives. When we look back, we can see how God has been present throughout all our days. There is evidence of His loving kindness and the work of His hands, as we remember what He has brought us through. I am in awe of how He provides and moves when we seek Him. After a crazy school year, it is incredible how in a mere four days, I am feeling rested and refreshed. My heart sings in response to the joy that rises as I reflect on His goodness. May we ever recognize God’s presence and help throughout our days, and sing for joy in thanksgiving for His goodness.

The goodness of God,

Is beyond compare;

In love, He meets us,

Shows us tender care.

His strength upholds us,

As He leads us on;

Kindness unending,

By grace we’re made strong.

Strong to keep moving,

In love and with grace;

May we give God praise,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and do great things in our lives as You remind us of Your faithfulness and goodness. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You for Your presence and love. Teach us to recognize Your nearness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Your Faithful Love

God, within Your temple, we contemplate Your faithful love. – (Psalm 48:9, HCSB)

God, in Your temple we remember Your loving kindness. – (Psalm 48:9, ERV)

We ponder Your love-in-action, God, waiting in Your temple. – (Psalm 48:9, MSG)

The incredible thing about this is that we no longer have to be in a physical structure to be in God’s presence; our body is the temple for His Spirit. God’s nearness is as close as our next heartbeat, and His love is tangible and ongoing. Yesterday was a strange day, as I was told my teaching assignment for next year. Sixth-grade math is not what I would have anticipated nor asked for, yet I can look back and see God’s faithfulness to carry me through each and every time that I have had to pivot in my career. As a teacher that has a K-8 generalist degree and only a specialized degree in Art, I have become the “jack-of-all subjects” (and grade levels), yet feel like a master of none. That being said, throughout each and every shift that I have had to make, I have been blessed with incredible teammates that aided in making the transitions doable. Looking ahead, the partner that I have been paired with for next year is fantastic, and I can trust that God’s loving kindness will again provide. Additionally, yesterday evening, we ran into an old friend that walked beside me in my most difficult season. Seeing her now was again a reminder of God’s love in action that is faithful and present always. To remember where I was and reflect on the here and now, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God dwells within us. May we ever pause and ponder the goodness of God, and His faithfulness to be present always.

Lord God, as we go,

Help us be aware;

Of Your faithfulness,

And great loving care.

Teach us to trust You,

In everything;

Give thanks for the good,

And love that You bring.

Help us see clearly,

That You are within;

Wherever we go,

You also have been.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and kindness. Thank You that to be in Your temple, Your very presence, can take place wherever we are and whenever we look to You. Thank You that we can look back and see Your faithfulness and love, and look forward, anticipating Your hand moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are facing things that seem like giants before us. Teach us to slow down and be intentional to reflect upon Your ongoing, unending faithfulness. Lead us to love those around us with the same passion and commitment You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times, as we have Your promised presence, always. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Not Finished Yet

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Effort to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, HCSB)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

If we all sought God to grow His blessings in us, we would abound in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and strengthens us to rise up in these blessings He instills in us. It is up to us to pursue God and grant Him access to our heart, soul and mind so that we become more of who He has made us to be. This is not a one-time thing, but rather a life-long process. The people I know who best exemplify these things are those who continually and faithfully pursue the Lord each new day. May we ever go to God each new day that we draw breath to lead and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

The Lord is faithful,

To refine each heart;

That earnestly seeks,

His grace He imparts.

True faith will rise up,

As His goodness grows;

Knowledge imparted,

Love grants self-control.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Let Love lead the way,

Choose answer the call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You refine and grow us to be more like You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Teach us to ever pursue Your heart to extend to the world. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your heart may be made tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and change us to be more like You each new day. Amen.

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

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

A Time for Everything

There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, HCSB)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV)

For everything that happens in life – there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, VOICE)

This is such a strange truth. It amazes me how there can be a loss and a gain, a death and new life, mourning and celebrating – all in the same season. Yesterday was the first time in twenty-five years that I was not present and coaching gymnastics for the first day of practice at my middle school. Meanwhile, I was happily coaching at the high school. An exchange had to be made in positions, as there is an overlap in seasons. Incredibly, our athletic director figured out a way for me to join my friends at the middle school once my high school season is over. God raised up the right person to take my place, and blessed me to still be a part of it. I know that it is good for me to embrace the new, and wonderful to have someone new spread their wings and soar. There is a strange sort of mourning and celebrating simultaneously. When there is a shift in what we know, we are meant to live in the moment and experience whatever the change may bring. In every season, God is good. He is faithful to walk beside us, and to lead us into the new. May we ever seek the Lord in every season, and praise Him for His faithfulness forever.

A time for all things,

Each season to grow;

Blessings and mourning,

God makes His grace known.

Ever He’s faithful,

In love, He will lead;

Supplying goodness,

Meeting all our needs.

Let’s keep hearts open,

In each time of new;

Welcome God in it,

Watch what He will do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful in every season we walk through. Thank You that You provide Your goodness, kindness and grace, even in seasons that we are not sure how to navigate. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for Your grace covers us and Your love provides. Teach us to trust all that You are doing in every new season, and to reflect back on all that You have faithfully done before. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in whatever season they are in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

You shower him with blessings that last forever; he finds joy in knowing Your presence and loving You. – Psalm 21:6

To See What is True

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. – (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. – (Philippians 4:8, TPT)

If we can keep our hearts and minds focused on that which is good and worthy of praise, our words and actions follow accordingly. This is far easier said than done, especially when what stands before us clouds our view of good. It requires intentional pursuit of God and the grace that He provides to see past the difficulties and recognize the beauty and goodness that surround us. Years ago, when I was a part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), I had the rare opportunity to spend time in India, not once, but twice. The first time I was there, all I could see was the lack, the loss, and the hardships the people had to constantly endure. However, when I returned a year later, God showed me the incredible beauty that was all around me. The joy that people had, despite their circumstances, the lush green vegetation everywhere, the bold, bright and beautiful colors found on the fabric that people wore, the kindness and generosity of those whom we worked with, and the countless glorious works that God was doing before our own eyes. May we ever seek the Lord to help us fix our eyes on the things of Him, so that we may see all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.

Lord, open our eyes,

So we truly see;

The good around us,

That ever brings peace.

The honorable,

And all that is true;

The just and the pure,

His ways to pursue.

May all that’s lovely,

Remind us what’s true;

The commendable,

All that we can do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of what is important and what should capture our attention. Thank You that no matter our situation or circumstances, there is always evidence of You that surrounds us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your good in the throes of the difficult. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You and all that You have brought into being that reflect Your glory and goodness to the world. Show us how to be Your ambassadors of love, as we fix our eyes on You and reflect back the good You have given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us eyes to see all of the good and wonderful that You have placed all around us. Amen. 

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

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2