Hope in the Promise

“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:29-32, NIV)

“Now, Lord, You can let me, Your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:29-32, ERV)

“God, You can now release Your servant; release me in peace as You promised. With my own eyes I’ve seen Your salvation; it’s now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealed light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:29-32, MSG)

Simeon, who had lived in prayerful expectancy, had been shown by the Holy Spirit that he would see the Messiah before he died. Can you imagine waiting your whole life for a promise, and then recognizing the moment that it had been fulfilled? Mary and Joseph had brought Jesus to the temple on the eighth day after His birth, and the above verses are Simeon’s words of praise for his promise provided. Mary and Joseph had already been visited by angels and shepherds, and now were witnessing one who had waited his whole life to see God’s promised hope, was holding their baby and declaring praise for who He was. Simeon saw Jesus with so much more than human eyes. His heart heard hope in the sweet small breaths of the Savior, and his spirit sensed the significance of the One whom he was holding. God gave Simeon insight, wisdom and words that would make a lasting imprint on the hearts of Mary and Joseph. This is the sort of joy and celebration that we ought to hold as we embrace this most sacred season. Jesus came to earth to save us and was the promise that had been so long awaited, fulfilled. Despite the things that go on around us, be it challenge, loss, struggle, or strife, may we pause and recognize the One who has experienced all and took it upon Himself so that we might know light, life, hope, peace, joy and love that last forever. Glory to God in the highest, and upon us all, may His favor rest.

Hope in the promise,

Spoken long before;

Joy through revealing,

The One we adore.

Promise awaited,

With joy, realized;

The Savior had come,

Seen with his own eyes.

The One who arrived,

The hope for the world;

Made the way for us,

Fulfillment observed.

May we take the joy,

The love, hope, and peace;

Into the new year,

His presence increased.

Sing praise, all the earth,

Our Savior has come;

His light unto us,

The Most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to us so that we might come to know and understand the goodness of Your love. Thank You for time during this sacred season to gather and remember just how good You truly are. Forgive us for the things that we allow to distract us from the reason for this season. Teach us to lean into You and receive all that You offer, so that we might be bearers of Your loving light. Show us how to love those around us like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make room to recognize who You are and how You love us all beyond what our hearts can hold. Amen.

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

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. – Micah 7:7

Make Room

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NIV)

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped Him up well and laid Him in a box where cattle fed. She put Him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel. – (Luke 2:6-7, MSG)

Though we cannot go back in time and create space for Jesus to be born in a comfortable setting, we can make room for His arrival in our hearts. Back then, Mary and Joseph were an unwed couple in a time and space where such things were disgraceful and shunned. I imagine that if their circumstances had been different, a family member would have created room. However, that is not how the event unfolded. Today, in our fast-paced, instant-gratification needing world, we must be intentional to make time to remember Christ’s arrival, or we too, are sending the Savior to a stable. The incredible thing is that Jesus did not remain a baby. He grew and lived and loved and helped and healed, and ultimately gave His life for us so that we might know Him. Jesus conquered the grave and ascended into heaven, where He is seated at the right hand of the Father, contending for us. One day, He will return. Though no one knows when He will return, if we are eagerly anticipating His arrival, our hearts are in the right space to not only remember the Savior’s birth, but to welcome back the Overcoming King. May we be intentional this Christmas to make room for Christ’s arrival and recognize both the redemption we have been given and the hope that is ours as we make room for Christ to be the Lord of our lives.

If only they’d known,

The child she would bear;

Space would have been made,

They would have prepared.

No one can go back,

Instead, look ahead;

To welcome the King,

Let all praise be said.

For great is the Lord,

Who came down to earth;

Humble beginning,

So lowly His birth.

A baby no more,

Now Conquering King;

Defeater of death,

All hope He does bring.

So, lift up all praise,

Our best offering;

All glory to God,

The Almighty King.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son in a way that showed us that not only are You powerful, but You are also approachable. You can relate to all of us, no matter where we come from, where we are, or what we have been through. Thank You that You made the way for all to come into the hope that is found forever in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not made room for Your arrival. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on the meaning of this most sacred season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace, hope and love to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and make room to remember the glory of not only Your arrival in a stable, but to anticipate Your return as the Conquering King. Amen.

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

“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes Me, and anyone who welcomes Me welcomes the One who sent Me.” – Matthew 10:40

The Throne of Grace

This is a post from a few years ago, yet is so timely right now…

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

All That is Good

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, HCSB)

Everything the Lord does is good. Everything He does shows how loyal He is. – (Psalm 145:17, ERV)

Everything God does is right – the trademark on all His works is love. – (Psalm 145:17, MSG)

The Eternal is right in all His ways, and He is kind in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, VOICE)

I included four different translations of this verse, as each points out the goodness of God that is made evident through His actions of love. This is what we need to remember and hold onto, as bad that happens is not caused by God, but rather by the brokenness of this world. What God does is stay with us, love us, and give us His peace as we navigate all things that come our way. The people who walk alongside us are a gift from Him, and the good we experience is because of His loving kindness. All that is good, all that is lovely, all that is loyal and kind, these are the things of God. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness, for He is faithful to show His loyal love through all that He does.

The Lord is so good,

In all of His ways;

He’s loyal and kind,

Throughout each new day.

His blessings bring peace,

His presence is love;

Our help and our hope,

His gifts from above.

So, ever choose seek,

For in Christ you’ll find;

Goodness, love and grace,

Forever He’s kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find how faithful, loyal and loving You are. Forgive us for blaming You for the bad in the world. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our anchor through the storms and our peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that loyalty and goodness make Your love 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 how You love. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

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

Ever Near

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This is the goal for sure, to keep the Lord in mind always and to remember that He is ever present with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Whatever He calls us to, He will see us through. It does not mean that it will be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Whether we have known Jesus the majority of our lives or for a short while, it is good to be reminded of how very near He is. When we are aware of His presence, fear flees and we find we are equipped and empowered to move forward into all that He is asking. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to spend time with Him, as it is through our drawing near that we are reminded that the Lord is but a heartbeat away.

O Lord, You are good,

Chasing sunsets on Oahu.<3

Ever near to me;

My help and my hope,

For eternity.

As close as my hand,

You stay by my side;

Your nearness is clear,

As I choose abide.

Remind us, O God,

Of Your strength and grace;

How present You are,

When we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us and ever ready to help us and strengthen us so that we can press on. Thank You that we need not fear because You are with us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your nearness. Teach us to trust in Your goodness and grace that is ever with us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your nearness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever aware of Your nearness. Amen.

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

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. – Psalm 145:18

Pause and Praise

We give thanks to You, God; we give thanks to You, for Your name is near. People tell about Your wonderful works. – (Psalm 75:1, HCSB)

We praise You, God! We praise You because You are near to us. We tell about the amazing things You have done. – (Psalm 75:1, ERV)

We thank You, O True God. Our souls are overflowing with thanks! Your name is near; Your people remember and tell of Your marvelous works and wonders. – (Psalm 75:1, VOICE)

There are always reasons to give thanks to God. As we wake and draw breath to begin another day, we have reason to give thanks. For the roof over our heads, the comfort of our own beds, friends and family near and far – so many reasons to praise the One who provides it all. God is as close as our next breath, as present as each beat of our heart, and the wonder of His works does not end. He gives us life, love, joy, peace, strength and more. All the beauty that surrounds us is the work of His loving hands. May we take time to give God thanks for His presence and all that He has done as we begin each brand new day. 

God, we give You thanks,

For all that You do;

How love provides all,

All goodness from You.

Each time we’ve conquered,

In You, overcome;

The strength You’ve given,

The battles You’ve won.

All by Your strong hands,

Full of love and grace;

Hope made tangible,

Let us praise Your Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are ever near, and that You move on our behalf. Thank You for the countless blessings You have given us. Forgive us for not making the time to simply give You thanks. Teach us to always have a long list of gratitude for You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may recognize Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally pause and praise You for who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Hearts to Love and Endure

May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, MSG)

In such tumultuous times, my prayer is that God’s love and Christ’s endurance would be made evident to all. The challenge for many of us is that we love people deeply who are on both sides of the political divide that seems to be growing in our nation. If we are truly loving God and loving people, we can disagree on issues and still care deeply for one another. God gave us each a brain, a heart and His Spirit to listen and learn for ourselves to what is right. Life circumstances and upbringing are often deciding factors in how we determine what is good and right. That being said, Jesus was friends with those whom many determined were not worthy of His time or attention. His choice to love is the model that we are meant to live by. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord to lead us in love, and may our hearts be open to all, no matter what their beliefs. May we have endurance to continue to love, even when dissension around us makes us want to hide away. Lord, lead us in Your love, always.

O Lord, be the light,

That leads us in love;

For one another,

Like You, God, above.

Without conditions,

Choose love anyway;

People are people,

May love lead our way.

Let God’s kindness reign,

In all that we do;

Compassion and grace,

Are what show love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us without limits or conditions. Thank You that in our brokenness and sinfulness, You love. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not display Your love. Grant us Your love and endurance to care for those around us well. Show us how to love one another, even when we do not see eye to eye on what is going on around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us endurance to love as You call us to love. Amen.

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

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

Protection as We Come and Go

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. – (Psalm 121:8, HCSB)

The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:8, ERV)

He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always. – (Psalm 121:8, MSG)

It is good to be reminded that God will be with us with all of our comings and goings. I love to travel, as in enjoying different destinations, but I am not a fan of flying. This timely reminder is good, as this time tomorrow, we will be on a plane, in the air, traveling to spend time with family and friends in much warmer weather. God goes before us, beside us, and brings up the rear. He is present to keep us safe and remind us that He holds us in His hands. I need not be nervous, but rather I simply need to seek and trust in Him. Time away is a gift, as is a safe return. May we ever remember the Lord’s faithfulness to protect our coming and going, and trust Him to be with us, always.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord will be near,

Take us safely through.

For He knows the time,

The days of our lives;

From start to finish,

Each one is designed.

Prepared with purpose,

Goodness and His grace;

So we may choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and watch behind us. Thank You that You are near wherever we go. Thank You that we can trust You to keep and protect us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and nerves when we are not in control of how we get where we are going. Teach us to trust in You to lead us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, wherever we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and remain with us wherever we go, each and every day we draw breath. Amen.

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

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – Psalm 91:4

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