Strength for the Weary

He gives strength to the weary ad increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

God strengthens the weary and gives vitality to those worn down by age and care. – (Isaiah 40:29, VOICE)

This weekend, my sister, our lifelong friend, who is essentially like another sister, and I will be getting together for sister time for the first time in our adult lives. We have seen each other and spent time, but either with our spouses and or families, or for only a meal or an afternoon. Each one of us has been navigating unanticipated challenges in life and need a weekend of retreat and rest. God is gracious and kind, and I know that it is His goodness that is providing us time together, for there is such a blessing in being with those who have known and loved us for a lifetime. Already, I anticipate the goodness of gathering to strengthen our resolve, as His care is made evident through one another. There is power in knowing you are known and loved wherever you are and through whatever circumstances life brings. May we ever seek the Lord to provide us with strength and rest, and praise Him for the opportunities that He provides to fill us up.

The goodness of God,

Is made evident;

His peace provided,

Love that’s heaven sent.

He grants us His strength,

As we are shown love;

Encouragement found,

In gifts from above.

There’s nothing so sweet,

As the gift of time;

Sisters together,

God’s loving design.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us when we are weary, and provide us peace and rest when it is needed most. Thank You for the gift of sisters. Thank You that You have designed us for community and family. Forgive us for not seizing every opportunity You provide to be present with loved ones to encourage, support and bless. Teach us how to best be present in the times that we are given to gather. Show us how to love and support one another, as You grant us rest and renewed strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our Source of strength, and for the blessing of rest and community. Amen.

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

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Hope for Forever

However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. – (1 Corinthians 2:9, NIV)

But as the Scriptures say, “No one has ever seen, no one has ever heard, no one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” – (1 Corinthians 2:9, ERV)

But as the Scriptures say, No eye has ever seen and no ear has ever heard and it has never occurred to the human heart all the things God prepared for those who love Him.  – (1 Corinthians 2:9, VOICE)

This passage reminds us that what is waiting for us in heaven is beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. For me, this blows my mind, as there is so much beauty in God’s creation on earth. The love of God is so great, that He has prepared a place even better than the most wonderful, beautiful spaces we have ever seen or experienced. That is part of the promise held in the hope of knowing God. Those who have gone before us who believed, are already in paradise with Him. Though I want my years on earth to be many more, I know that when my end comes, there will be great joy in the place that is far more than I can fathom and the reunion with loved ones who have gone before me will be beyond beauty that I can take in or hold in my heart. No more pain or suffering, no heartache or tears – joy, peace, and wonder at the brilliance of being in the Lord’s presence and worshiping among family in the faith is a glimpse of all that lies ahead. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in Him, and to increase the hope we hold in forever that lies ahead.

No human has seen,

All that lies ahead;

Paradise beyond,

What’s known or what’s read.

God the Creator,

Has prepared a place;

Glorious wonder,

By His lavish grace.

Open arms welcome,

Those who trust in Him;

The Father’s embrace,

Will usher us in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all that’s to come;

The good here and now,

And when our day’s done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the hope we hold in knowing You. Thank You that our hope is not only for the here and now, but is found in eternity with You in a place that You have prepared for us. Forgive us for the times that our hope fades based on what we see. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and You plans, so much greater. Teach us to hold fast to the hope that is found in forever with You. Give us glimpses of Your glory here, as such things remind our heart to cling to the wonder that will be forever with You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help them recognize the hope that is found forever in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the incredible hope that we have in You, both now and forevermore. Amen.

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

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. – John 14:2-3

The Commission of Jesus

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – (Matthew 28:16-20, NIV)

The eleven followers went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. On the mountain the followers saw Jesus. They worshiped Him. But some of the followers did not believe that it was really Jesus. So He came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth is given to Me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have told you to do. You can be sure that I will be with you always. I will continue with you until the end of time.” – (Matthew 28:16-20, ERV)

The same commission that Jesus gave to the early disciples is what He gives to us all. Our roles may not all look the same, but we are each called to love God and love people in such a way that they too, may come to know who God is and how He loves. It is by His love that we can be saved. Our salvation means that we have hope and help, peace and love, in the here and now, and also the promise to be in His presence forever. I want everyone I know and love to understand the same. If they do, together is forever, not just temporary. There is peace and comfort in knowing that there here and now is not the end. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His great commission.

O Lord, please lead us,

And chase away doubt;

For Your love is all,

This life is about.

Love that brings comfort,

Ever extends care;

Peace through Your presence,

Nearness known through prayer.

Lord, show us the way,

Lead us in Your love;

So all come to know,

You, Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to love as You love and to share the hope that is held forever in You. Forgive us for missed opportunities to share the goodness of Your love with those around us. Teach us to be Your ambassadors to all whom we encounter, so that all have the opportunity to come to know You. Show us how to love like You, so that Your heart is made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to fulfill all that You ask of us. Amen.

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

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8

Jesus is Our Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.” – (John 16:33, VOICE)

No matter what comes our way, we can know and experience peace in Jesus. He already knew that we would face the troubles that come from a broken world, yet He endured them all on the cross and knows every trial and challenge that will come our way. Jesus, in His infinite love, has promised to be present to help and be our peace. The peace that comes from Jesus is not simply the absence of war, but is an overwhelming, all-encompassing, assurance that He is with us and for us, and because of that, calm comes and covers our entire countenance, no matter what is going on around us. True peace is internal, not external. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what we face or find ourselves in, for He is good and has promised to be present to be our peace.

Jesus has promised,

To be near, bring peace;

Calm in His presence,

Love’s blessed release.

It does not depend,

On our circumstance;

It is internal,

Not random nor chance.

For the peace of God,

Goes beyond what’s known;

Soothing to the core;

As His love is shown.

Even in chaos,

The peace of God comes;

Lays hold of our heart,

As His will be done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to not only experience the world, be in the world and overcome the world, but so that we would have One that already knows and understands everything we face, and can provide the peace we need to keep moving forward. Thank You Jesus, that Your perfect peace is not dependent on what is going on around us, for it is Your goodness, going on inside us. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize the peace that is present in You. Teach us to turn our heart to You, so that we may know and experience Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share the peace that our hearts experience in Your presence, so that they too, may know the peace that comes from You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Jesus is Our Refuge in Suffering

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. – (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. He is my Rock, the only one who can save me. He is my high place of safety, where no army can defeat me. – (Psalm 62:1-2, ERV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. – (Psalm 62:1-2, MSG)

Though I have not been suffering, I have been navigating uncharted territory through this whole skin cancer ordeal. From biopsy of the unknown to a bigger biopsy to determine nature of what had become known, to the confirmation that my new normal will include a medical team to watch diligently, to make certain that what was surgically removed, will not return. In the coming weeks, I have two appointments with two different oncologists, and an appointment with a dermatologist. Again, I am not in a space of suffering, but I am in a space of uncertainty of the unknown. God has been faithful to be ever near as I have walked through two biopsies and two surgeries that followed. I can trust Him to be faithful to remain near as we navigate all that lies ahead. Thankfully, His peace has been present and He is helping keep fear at bay. Yes, the not knowing makes me uneasy, but the certainty in knowing that He will be with me grants the courage to keep pressing forward without allowing the unknowns to monopolize my thoughts. Also, He has provided financially, as being double-covered with medical insurance has kept the bills that have come to a minimum. The Message says it well, as it states, “He’s the solid rock under my feet, and breathing room for my soul…” May we ever seek the Lord in our uncertainty, suffering or sorrows, for He is our refuge and the One on whom we can depend.

Present through trials,

God is ever near;

Foundation to stand,

As He calms each fear.

Forever our hope,

Our place of refuge;

Comfort Provider,

Love that each day’s new.

Help us rise up, Lord,

Our strength comes from You;

All thanks and our praise,

Are unto You, due.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that You are our refuge in suffering. Thank You that You promise to be present through every trial as we call on You to be near. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for in all things, the ultimate outcome is forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective and to trust in You to be our strength and peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that promote peace, pray for healing and wholeness, and bring hope to spaces that hope is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our comfort and praise You for Your unending faithfulness that we know is true. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Jesus the Coming King

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. This will strengthen your desire to do what is right, and you will be holy and without fault before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy people. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, ERV)

May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you, so that your hearts will be reinforced with His strength, held blameless and holy before God, our Father, when our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, appears along with all His holy ones. Amen. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13, VOICE)

This is a great prayer to be praying for all of us to pray, for this is the very thing that is lacking in the world today. Instead of fault-finding and demeaning one another’s differences, we need to love as we are loved by God. He does not tell us to get it all together before we can receive His love and forgiveness, instead, He calls us, just as we are, and then He cleanses us and changes our heart so that we might more clearly reflect His own. One day, He will return. Knowing Him strengthens our desire to do what is right and draws us into His holiness. Once we have tasted and seen the reality of God’s goodness, we cannot help but desire to know Him more. May we ever seek the Lord to flood us with His unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, so that we might love as He intended and be found blameless when He returns.

Lord, strengthen our hearts,

To love each other;

All Your creation,

Sisters and brothers.

Teach us to see good,

And extend the same;

To love as You do,

With grace, without blame.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love everyone as You do. Thank You that You loved us first. Forgive us for the moments where we lack love in response to what we see or feel. Teach us to love anyway. Show us Your heart for every person we encounter so that we too, may love well. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your goodness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Prepare our hearts each day to love like You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully seek You to lead us in Your love and intentionally choose to love everyone. Amen.

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

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – 1 Peter 4:8

The Baptizer with the Holy Spirit

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. And I myself did not know Him, but the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, NIV)

Then John said for everyone to hear: “I also did not know who the Messiah was. But the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘You will see the Spirit come down from heaven like a dove and rest on this man. He is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, ERV)

John clinched his witness with this: “I watched the Spirit, like a dove flying down out of the sky, making himself at home in him. I repeat, I know nothing about him except this: ‘The One on whom you see the Spirit come down and stay, this One will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” – (John 1:32-33, MSG)

Though John was the cousin of Jesus, he did not fully realize who Jesus was until the Spirit of God descended upon Him when John was baptizing Jesus with water. God had shown him that the Messiah would be the One to whom the Spirit comes down and rests upon. Imagine the awe and wonder that John must have experienced as he witnessed the Spirit of God resting on Jesus… Incredibly, when Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that He would send His Spirit upon all who believed. As we read in Acts, that is exactly what He did. The same Spirit that came and filled the room on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, is the same Spirit that comes and dwells in us as we choose to believe and receive all that God has for us. Furthermore, His power is poured out as we ask Him to move in and through us. May we ever seek the Lord for a fresh anointing of His Spirit so that we may encourage and build up all those around us.

Heavenly Father,

Before You, we come;

Breathe in Your Spirit,

So Your will be done.

Fill us with power,

To love others true;

And move as You move,

So we reflect You.

Release the great gifts,

That Your Spirit brings;

Ever grow our faith,

As we see these things.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send us Your Spirit so that we may live and love in Your wisdom and power. Thank You that You move among us and through us as we invite You in. Forgive us for not asking or not utilizing what You have already given. Teach us to listen to Your leading as we live out our days and show us how to move as You move so that all might see Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love all whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You anew to come and move in and among us. Amen.

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

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful that I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. – Luke 3:16

Unity in Jesus

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. – (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people all come together as one! It is like the sweet-smelling oil that is poured over the high priest’s head… It is there that the Lord has promised His blessing of eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, ERV)

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head… Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, MSG)

God calls us to live in community with unity. His intent and purpose are for us to get along and work together as one body. When we do, it is like a fragrant anointing, as those around us can see and experience the goodness of God. His blessings are bestowed upon us as we do, for in such space we are continually reminded of His goodness now, and the glorious hope of all that is yet to come. Yesterday, amid mourning and heartache with a beautiful young couple from our church, we witnessed this in a very real and tangible way. Many gathered to celebrate the short life of their baby, who died a few days before his due date in the womb. Despite devastating heartache, there was joy in celebrating together the hope of being reunited one day in heaven. Though the precious boy never was able to experience life with his family, he will never know heartache, sickness, or pain, for he is already in the arms of Jesus where there is perfect peace. The love and support of their family and community was overwhelmingly evident. Together, we gathered as one to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of the precious baby boy. Incredibly, the blessings and joy were more evident than the sorrow. Only in Jesus, is such hope possible. My heart was blessed, despite the tears, in witnessing and supporting the beauty that is found in a community that comes together as one. (For more of Luca’s story, click here) May we ever seek the Lord and His purposes for us, as we rely on Him to help us be in communities that are united, not divided in His perfect love.

Oh, how wonderful,

Is community;

That stands side-by-side,

In true unity.

United purpose,

Love is what is seen;

Brothers and sisters,

Choosing live in peace.

This is the calling,

God give to us all;

Love one another,

Help up those who fall.

When the trials come,

To stand side-by-side;

Love well and support,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united in community. Thank You that You lead us and equip us to love one another and to encourage and support each other as sisters and brothers. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differences to divide us rather than unite us, for each of us have strengths and gifts to share that make our community stronger. Show us how to see You in all those whom we encounter. Lead us to love and be in community as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another, together as one. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Freely Forgive

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. – (Matthew 6:14-15, ERV)

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. – (Matthew 6:14-15, MSG)

If we love God and love people, we will walk in God’s way and do His will. God’s will is that we forgive others just as He has forgiven us. Once we realize the magnitude of His mercy and grace, we ought to be compelled to extend the same to others. Our grudges create a divide between us and God. Not because He cannot get past them, but rather because we are unable. Forgiveness means that we willfully choose to let go of the anger and frustration brought on by the words or actions of another, and hand them over to God. This is an active and ongoing process that we must choose. As we do, God grants us the grace to release the grudge that we want to hold so that it no longer has a hold on us. To forgive does not mean we forget, but rather that we no longer hold the hurt and allow God to heal. Often, we must choose to forgive repeatedly for the same action, as the offense arouses anger each time it is recalled. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to continue to forgive others, so that we too, may continue to be forgiven.

We are commanded,

To choose to forgive;

As we’re forgiven,

A grace we must give.

For holding grudges,

Creates a divide;

Gets in the Lord’s way,

Of purpose inside.

Lord, help us let go,

Of hurts and offense;

Lead us in Your love,

And be our defense.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as You forgive us. Thank You that as we do, the weight is lifted, and we are able to walk as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have been slow to forgive. Teach us to keep short accounts and to place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us forgive every offense. Amen.

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

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37

To Love All

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV)

But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you – in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us – good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. – (Matthew 5:44-45, VOICE)

Though few of us have experienced persecution like the early church, we all have experienced unkindness, irritation, and attitudes that we do not appreciate. As a middle school teacher, I am reminded daily of the need to pray for my students. The unkindness they display to others is usually a response to unkindness that they have received. At that age, one typically gives what they get. If I can show kindness, goodness and grace, perhaps a seed of the same will be planted in them. It requires God’s grace to extend the same to those who are all over the place when they are meant to be engaged. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, and depend on Him to show us how to love all those whom we encounter in the same way that He loves us all.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to choose love all;

Extend Your goodness,

Let love be installed.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Despite what we get,

Let us reflect You.

Please grant us the grace,

To love as You do;

Be gracious and kind,

So good is shown true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that there are no exceptions to whom we should give kindness and grace. Thank You that You love us all, no matter who we are, where we have been, or what we have done. Forgive us for our lack of patience and grace. Grant us wisdom as to how we are meant to love those around us. Lead us in Your love so that all feel valued and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and grace for us all and seek You to love likewise. Amen.

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

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34