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

Each Day a Gift

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – (Psalm 90:12, HCSB)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

Not one of us knows the number of days that we have, so it is important to make the most of each new day that we are given. As we seek the Lord and His goodness, grace and wisdom, we gain an eternal perspective on all that we say and do. Each of us has the opportunity to be a blessing and encouragement to everyone we meet, if only we pursue the Lord to lead us well. As we receive and accept His direction and correction, we better reflect the light of His lavish love. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, understanding that each new day that we are given is a gift that we have been granted to use for His glory.

Teach us, Lord Jesus,

To number our days;

In awe, pursue You,

And all of Your ways.

Grant us Your wisdom,

To live and love well;

To love and lift up,

So words and deeds tell.

Tell of Your glory,

Your goodness and grace;

The blessings made known,

As we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though not one of us knows the number of days that we have been given, each of us can seek You to lead us and guide us to use each new day well. Forgive us for the times that we have operated in our own way, neglecting to extend the love and grace that You have so generously and graciously granted to us. Teach us to build up and encourage everyone we encounter, for Your light can shine through us wherever we go. Lead us in Your love so that all those around us see Your heart through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your lavish love each new day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

This is what I command you: Love one another. – John 15:17

Extraordinary Through the Ordinary

And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” – (Luke 1:28, HCSB)

The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to Him.” – (Luke 1:28, ERV)

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Rejoice, beloved young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor.” – (Luke 1:28, TPT)

I imagine this whole experience was a bit surreal to Mary. A visit from a messenger of God, followed by words that called you favored and anointed. She was a young girl, likely in her mid-teens, and engaged to be married. Was she an ordinary girl with extraordinary faith? Or perhaps there was something in her heart of worship that demonstrated her faithful and willing heart that was ready to respond with her very best yes? Either way, of all the women of child-bearing age in the world, God saw and chose her to carry His Son. As we gain further glimpses of her heart through the conception, development in the womb, time of arrival, and throughout the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, her character is revealed as one who is ever faithful to the Lord. She had extraordinary insight into who God is through a seemingly ordinary life. Mary witnessed God in everyday circumstances as she raised Jesus, who was without sin. There were many reasons to rejoice throughout her entire experience, yet there were times of great grief as well. Ultimately, she came to know and understand the plan and purpose of the promised baby that would become the Savior of the world. May we reflect with awe and wonder at the amazing ways that God came near to ordinary people to show us His great love.

Called highly favored,

Chosen to be blessed;

A holy calling,

That might cause a mess.

A virgin promised,

To Joseph to wed;

Yet called to be more,

As the angel said.

God knew the people,

Who’d answer the call;

Despite how things looked,

To one and to all.

Ever He’s faithful,

The Lord God above;

Who sent us His Son,

To show us His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do extraordinary things through ordinary people who are willing to say yes to You and the plans You have. Thank You that You sent Your Son through ordinary people with extraordinary faith. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith when things we know we ought to do seem inconceivable. Teach us to trust You to lead us in all that You have for us, and to trust that Your plans are for good. Show us how to love and honor You in all that we say and do, and help us 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 the amazing things You do through ordinary people who trust You well. Amen.

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

Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away. – Luke 1:38

The Depth of His Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

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 pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this gracious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT)

I am so thankful for the truth of God’s word. No matter where we are in life or what chapter of our journey we are on, God is not finished with us yet. Not one of us ever “arrives”, but rather He is ever growing and refining us so that we may more clearly reflect Him to those around us. There is much comfort in this. The more I age, the more I find myself acutely aware of the areas that I need God to grow me more. Yes, I can see how far He has brought me, yet I know there is so much more in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and submit our all unto Him, for He will continue every good thing that He has begun in us until the day we meet Him face-to-face.

The God of all grace,

Continues in love;

To transform our hearts,

Reflect our Beloved.

The work is not done,

‘Til we breathe our last;

Teaching us much more,

Healing from the past.

And then on that day,

When we see His face;

We’ll come understand,

The depth of His grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the good work You have begun in all of us. Thank You that You are not finished refining and transforming us until the day You appear. Thank You that Your grace is greater than our every shortcoming. Forgive us for our faults and failures. Teach us to trust You and submit all in Your hands. Show us how to love all those around us in the same way that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You all of our gratitude that You are not finished with us yet. Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

Take Joy in the Journey

For You make me glad by Your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what Your hands have done. How great are Your works, Lord, how profound Your thoughts! – (Psalm 92:4-5, NIV)

No wonder I’m so glad; I can’t keep it in! Lord, I’m shouting with glee over all You’ve done for me: what mighty miracles and Your power at work – just to name a few! Depths of purpose and layers of meaning saturate everything You do. – (Psalm 92:4-5, TPT)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. Your works are marvelous, O Eternal One! Your thoughts are unfathomable. – (Psalm 92:4-5, VOICE)

Each new day, we have a choice – we can either focus on our struggles, or we can take joy in the faithfulness of God. Some days, this is more difficult than others. This morning as I woke from a very restless night’s sleep, I found myself frustrated and grumpy. It took little time to ponder how God has provided for what my heart has needed, and I could not help but smile and find myself aware of how God works on our behalf. God’s thoughts and plans are not our own, and He can use every test as a testimony. If I pause and reflect, there have been countless times that the Lord has taken my struggles and turned them into strengths, and He has turned my trials into triumphs. In the midst of my challenges, I must remember that God is faithful and is ever working on my behalf. He does a work in my heart as well, and leads me through whatever obstacle lies before me. The Lord is loving and kind, working mightily in us, before us, and through us, even in the moments that we are oblivious to how He might move. May we ever praise the Lord for His love and faithfulness, even when we cannot see how He will work things out.

The work of Your hands,

Is faithful and true;

You help and hold us,

As You lead us through.

My heart sings for joy,

At all You have done;

Our loving Father,

The Most Holy One.

Help us to reflect,

Remember with praise;

Your presence and help,

Miraculous ways.

Lead us with Your love,

When we cannot see;

How things will work out,

May we trust in Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that Your ways are so much higher than our own. Thank You that You work on our behalf, and lead us through the deserts and valleys that are a part of our journey. Forgive us for not lifting praise when troubles come; for You are always worthy. Teach us to depend on You in faith, and to ever praise You for what You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and all that You have done, trusting that You will forever remain our faithful Father. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11