Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. 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

We Were the One

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” – (Luke 15:4, HCSB)

“Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep.  You will continue to search for it until you find it.” – (Luke 15:4, ERV)

“Wouldn’t every single one of you, if you have 100 sheep and lose one, leave the 99 in their grazing lands and go out searching for the lost sheep until you find it?” – (Luke 15:4, VOICE)

Jesus views us in the same way. Each of His kids is of infinite worth, and He passionately pursues us when we have gone astray or have become lost. His heart is ever for us, to protect us and love us well. Additionally, I am certain it is why He places us in community. When we are invested and engaged with others, we are less likely to become lost or wander off on our own. Together, we have each other to help us remain engaged and accountable to be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Shepherd who loves each of us so much that He would relentlessly pursue us if we became lost. 

The Lord’s our shepherd,

Watching over us;

In love, He protects,

Our faithful Jesus.

If we go astray,

He’ll ever pursue;

The heart of the lost,

To cleanse and renew.

For in Him is grace,

Forever, He’s good;

He helps us see Him,

Makes love understood.

Each day we draw breath,

He’s present to care;

He loves with His life,

He’s ever aware.

He knows when we’re near,

Or if we are lost;

His heart beats for us,

Made clear at the cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You pursue us when we are lost or have gone astray. Thank You that You know and see us individually, and care about every detail of our lives. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You don’t, or for not recognizing how deeply You love us all. Teach us to see every single person we encounter as one whom You would leave all to pursue and bring safely into Your care. Show us how to love everyone as You do, so that those who are hurting, struggling, or wandering aimlessly would be pursued as the “One” with Your love and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for pursuing us when we were the “One”, and for placing us in community to keep us from wandering. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Move With Compassion

“Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him. – (Matthew 20:33-34, HCSB)

They answered, “Lord, we want to be able to see.” Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. He touched their eyes, and immediately they were able to see. Then they became followers of Jesus. – (Matthew 20:33-34, ERV)

They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!” Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession. – (Matthew 20:33-34, MSG)

Jesus modeled a life of kindness and compassion. When two blind men called out to Him, He heard their cry, listened to their request, and then healed them. Though we do not have the ability to reach out and heal people, we can look upon others with compassion and do what we can with what we have. Sometimes, the need is simply to be heard. A kind, listening heart can change a person’s day for the better. So often, something as simple as a smile, a nod of encouragement, or words that extend life through goodness and grace, reset or realign a heart that was not in a good space. May we ever seek the Lord to meet our needs, and call on Him as we recognize that He is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

O Lord, You are good,

Beyond what we see;

Your light, life and hope,

Provide what we need.

All praise unto You,

For love that is more;

It supplies for all,

You open new doors.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your love and grace;

Full of compassion,

As we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the power of Your love, compassion and kindness as we seek You. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love and compassion for us as we seek You. Teach us to trust in Your faithfulness, and show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Help us to remember the power that compassion has as we extend to others what You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Revelation of Love

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, HCSB)

This is how God showed His love to us: He sent His only Son into the world to give us life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, ERV)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

God sent His Son so that we might understand His love and find life everlasting in Him. If we look around, the evidence of His goodness and love are all around us. Because His Son took all of our sin and shame upon His shoulders, we can walk in the goodness of His love and grace and go forth and love likewise. Time with family and friends, puppy snuggles, warmth and love and light are all reminders of God’s love that gives all and withholds nothing. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us anew of the incredible gift of His love that knows no end.

The love of the Lord,

Is our greatest gift;

Lavish sacrifice,

Our hearts to uplift.

Willingly given,

His life for our own;

So we could know Him,

He’s where love is shown.

Look all around us,

His goodness is clear;

Evidence of love,

Is always so near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the greatest love ever given through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Your Son. Because You gave, we can know life and love in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your love all around us. Teach us to see Your heart for us and those around us at all times. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your love all around us and extend the same to all. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Love Grows Faith

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

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

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

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

For loving kindness,

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

For goodness and grace;

All thanks to the Lord,

For His faithful ways.

People have been placed,

Intentionally;

To love and be loved,

With care, graciously.

Lord help us rise up,

Choose love and care well;

These are the choices,

That of God’s love tells.

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

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

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

Faithful Pursuit

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, HCSB)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

When we seek to live a life of love, marked by living right, doing good, and being faithful to love God and love people, we become people who are associated with integrity and respect. The challenge in this is there are and will always be, those who cannot see past themselves, have no regard for the positive pursuit of love that we seek to give, and can become a source of discouragement if we do not rely on God to lead and guide us. God is faithful, and He will give us His eyes to see those around us so that we can love as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might live right, pursue justice, and treat all others with kindness.

In everything,

Let us seek the Lord;

To live out His love,

As faith is restored.

For as we choose love,

And true faithfulness;

Justice is pursued,

Lives of graciousness.

True love and life found,

Through faithful pursuit;

God shall be our strength,

In Him we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and empowering us to love like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You lovingly lead us to walk in Your ways. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to do so on our own, for without You, we fail miserably. Lead us in Your ways so that we pursue justice, extend faithfulness, kindness and love to all. Show us how to love everyone as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. 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

To Overcome Temptation

And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen] – (Matthew 6:13, HCSB)

Don’t let us be tempted, but save us from the Evil One. – (Matthew 6:13, ERV)

Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:13, TPT)

We are ALL subject to temptation and need God to help us every time temptation comes our way. This is especially challenging when in a group and what is going on is not in alignment with what one knows to be right for themselves. It takes courage to either speak up or walk away, so as to not get sucked into something we know is not right. I think the most difficult circumstances are when it is subtle, and not blaringly wrong, especially among those we know and care for. Choosing our words wisely and acting in alignment with what we believe, takes God’s strength, wisdom and courage. No one is beyond the reaches of temptation, for even Jesus was tempted – yet He who was in constant communion with the Father, did not sin. The more we invest our heart in He who is our help and our hope, the stronger we become to resist the sins that so easily entangle us. May we ever pursue the Father and His will for us, and seek His protection from all that tempts us to go astray.

Lord, show us the way,

To do what is right;

Despite temptations,

Keep us in Your light.

Teach us Your goodness,

Lead us to live well;

To walk in Your ways,

Fend off what’s from hell.

And when temptations,

Are subtle and small;

Grant us Your wisdom,

Help us to not fall.

For glory is Yours,

Now and forever;

Lead us and guide us,

In each endeavor.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One to help us when temptations come our way. For give us for each time we neglect to depend on You and fall short. Lead us away from temptations and show us clearly what we are and are not to do. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they might more clearly see Your heart and love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to keep us from succumbing to temptations that come our way. Amen.

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

Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matthew 26:41

Tangible Love for the Common Good

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

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

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

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

Let us not neglect,

To love and do good;

To choose be aware,

How love’s understood.

For it is not words,

That show love alone;

But rather actions,

That make His love known.

Encouraging words,

A tangible touch;

A need that is met,

Truly means so much.

Lord, show us the needs,

Where we can reach out;

So we might love well,

Show what love’s about.

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

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

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

Hope We Can Hold

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, HCSB)

Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in Me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father’s home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. – (John 14:1-2, VOICE)

What Jesus told to His disciples applies to all who believe. We need not be troubled, but instead, believe in God and all that Jesus is doing on our behalf. No matter how things seem in the here and now, we have an incredible hope and future in Him. The same God who created all the beauty that surrounds us is preparing a place for us to dwell with Him forever. When I think of how incredible the mountains and seas, forests and fields, and all of the stars that He hung in the skies, I am awestruck considering what heaven must be like. To be in the very presence of He who is love, surrounded by all that He has prepared for us, the very thought leaves me in awe and wonder. May we ever remember our Savior and all He is doing to prepare a place for us, for our hope is in Him and all that He has for us.

The promise of God,

Forever shall be;

The hope we can hold,

Despite what we see.

For Jesus has gone,

To prepare a place;

For our forever,

Full of love and grace.

The good that we see,

And beauty we know;

Are but a mere glimpse,

Of what is in store.

All that lies ahead,

Our hope for today;

The goodness of God,

Will show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not allow our trials and troubles determine our hope, for You are our security and grace as we navigate each new day. Thank You that Your loving kindness is ever present to lead us and remind us that there is so much more that lies ahead. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope that we hold when life gets messy. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are unchangeable and Your love knows no end. Lead us to love as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You forever. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Christmas Miracles

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. – (Luke 2:16-19, HCSB)

So they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:16-19, ERV)

So they hurried off and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in a feeding trough. Upon seeing this miraculous sign, the shepherds recounted what had just happened. Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was astonished by what they were told. But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. – (Luke 2:16-19, TPT)

Christmas miracles are an actual reality. This morning, my own miracle was sleeping in until 6:00am. We have dear friends who waited for years for the miracle of a child of their own. On Christmas Eve one year ago, they had their own son, born as an incredible gift to them on the mother’s own birthday. As I have watched the beauty of this blessing in their lives and recall the joy and wonder in the arrival of my own babies, I cannot help but understand all that Mary must have pondered as she was a part of this miracle that had been foretold and had now arrived. There are miracles all around us, if only we take the time to look and see. The wonder of a newborn baby, the stars placed intentionally in the sky… So many things that point to the power of the loving Savior that became God with us. May we pause and ponder the miracles all around us, and give thanks for the greatest miracle ever given. Merry Christmas and may we all come to adore Him today and forever.

This blessed season,

Created with joy;

As God, the Father,

Sent us His own boy.

Born in a manger,

Angels did proclaim;

The Lord’s arrival,

On that very day.

Miraculous birth,

God’s very own Son;

Sent to save us all,

The Most Holy One.

O what a wonder,

For Mary to see;

What had been promised,

Had now come to be.

Let’s look in wonder,

And give the Lord praise;

All that He has done,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible miracle of Christmas. Thank You for the miracles You continue to do in and around us. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the work of Your hand, for all that exists is because of Your great love. Teach us to pause and ponder all that You have done and the unending love that You lavish upon us. Show us how 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 Christmas miracles, and for the miraculous You continue to do every day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests. – Luke 2:14