Incredible Faithfulness

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough – because there was no room for them at the lodging place. – (Luke 2:6-7, HCSB)

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 are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the newborn baby in strips of cloth, and Mary and Joseph laid him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village. – (Luke 2:6-7, TPT)

I can’t help but think of Mary and her trust in God as she traveled far from home, very pregnant, knowing that she was likely to give birth while in Bethlehem. Alone in a cave where animals were kept, she and Joseph had to navigate the birth of this promised, blessed baby, in less than ideal conditions. Though a young girl, unmarried and in a seemingly compromised position, she and Joseph delivered the precious baby and wrapped Him in what they had and improvised to provide a safe space for Him to sleep. Imagine both the joy and sorrow as they welcomed Jesus into the world. Joy in the promise fulfilled as they held their firstborn son, yet sorrow in their solitude. No family surrounding them, despite the fact that the family had to have been in Bethlehem too for the census. What is spoken between the lines is the weight they bore and the trust they had in God and His promises. If God can help two young people navigate a lack of space to bring the Savior of the World to the earth, how much more can He help us through whatever challenges we face? God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was faithful then, He is faithful now, and His faithfulness will not end. May we pause and ponder in awe and wonder as we consider the love and grace granted as Mary and Joseph successfully navigated the seemingly impossible. 

A woman ready,

To bring forth a son;

No place to give birth,

To the Holy One.

A lowly stable,

A cave in the earth;

With only creatures,

To witness the birth.

No bells or whistles,

To welcome the Son;

A quiet stable,

When the day was done.

It did not end there,

For God had much more;

To show they were seen,

And praise the Adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You for sending Your Son in such humble beginnings as You show us Your incredible faithfulness through Mary, Joseph and Jesus. Forgive us for our lack of faith or our fear to trust, for You are the very meaning of trustworthy. Teach us to lean into You in the spaces that seem impossible or overwhelming, for You are so much greater than all that we face. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You this Christmas season. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your unending faithfulness and remember the ways that You have provided again and again and again. Amen.

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

Lord, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds. – Psalm 36:5

By Faith

By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible. – (Hebrews 11:3, HCSB)

Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by His command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, ERV)

Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinated by the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, TPT)

Currently, my love and I are in a connect group through church that is studying Hebrews. Last night as we met and discussed Hebrews 11, I was reminded again of the vastness of God. God, whom we cannot yet see, created all that we can see. His power, love, grace and goodness can be witnessed through all that is created that surrounds us. It is through the glimpses of God that we are given by people and creation around us, that we lay hold of faith in Him who we cannot see. The more that we learn to trust in the One whom we cannot see, the more tangible the invisible becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith as we continue to pursue the path that He has placed us upon. Let His love be made evident through our trust and reliance in Him.

By faith we can see,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The beauty and grace;

All that’s created,

Through God’s loving ways.

The sky, land and sea,

Show us God’s great love;

Purposeful design,

By Him up above.

The invisible,

Can somehow be seen;

Love made tangible,

Through things in between.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can see evidence of Your goodness and love everywhere we look. Thank You that these things, and so much more, cause faith to rise up in what cannot be seen. Forgive us for the times that we have forgotten how You can take even the smallest glimmer of faith and grow it into something great. Teach us to seek You and trust in You, for You grow our faith through our understanding and experiences of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love in such a way that though invisible, love may be made tangible to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to grow our faith, for it is by faith that mountains move and lives are changed. Amen.

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

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

Let Love Continue

Let brotherly love continue. – (Hebrews 13:1, HCSB)

Continue to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called to love one another. This love ought to be as sisters and brothers, for such love is patient and kind and does not end. I love how God shows us examples and illustrations of what He desires for us through everyday experiences around us. In our home, we have two dogs that are still in the puppy phase. They are three months apart and have gone through some growing pains as they have learned to get along. The two of them are rough and tumble and love to wrestle and play chase. At times, it sounds like they are going to throttle each other, but then moments later they are laying side by side or nose-to-nose, completely content in each other’s presence. They are fiercely protective of one another, and are unsettled when the other is not nearby. When on walks, Thor, our 95-pound Lab, moves to the outside so that Tali, our 70-pound Pittie who is fearful and reactive to cars, feels safe and will keep walking. How this translates as humans is the recognition of one another’s needs and the desire to care for and protect each other. Love is made tangible through the little things that we do to show one another that we are seen, known, and cared for. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us and direct us in how to love one another best, as we are called to do.

Lord, show us Your love,

So we use it well;

Lead us and guide us,

Let our actions tell.

Tell of Your goodness,

In love, extend grace;

Brothers and sisters,

With care choose embrace.

God show us today,

How to love like You;

All those around us,

So Your love rings true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love each other as brothers and sisters. Thank You that such love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Forgive us for the times that our attitude or actions toward one another have been lacking love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our Source and Supply that knows no end. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love one another with a love that knows no end. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud… Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4, 7

Given to the Seeking

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

When we pursue the heart and will of God for our lives, He provides all that we need. In times that I have worried about a lack, God has provided. In seasons that I have had more than enough, He has shown me how to utilize the abundance for blessing. God is faithful to meet us where we are and provide all we need as we seek to walk in His will. Though in this passage Jesus was speaking about physical needs being met, He is faithful to meet our spiritual and emotional needs as well. The Lord supplies strength when we are weary, hope when we feel lost, and peace when chaos seems to reign. It is in the seeking that we truly find, and in the pursuit of doing right by God that we discover all that we need is faithfully provided. May we ever seek the Lord and His will for our lives, for it is in our pursuit of His path that we find there He is present to help and supply what we need.

In seeking the Lord,

Is where we shall find;

God’s ways are perfect,

And His love is kind.

He makes clear a path,

For us to move on;

Grants us what we need,

And makes our hearts strong.

Each need that we have,

Is seen and is known;

By grace the Lord gives,

As His love is shown.

Strength when we’re weary,

Supply in our lack;

Peace in our chaos,

Hope to stay on track.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need as we faithfully seek You and Your will for our lives. Thank You that You show us the ways in which we are meant to go, and You remain present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear a foothold based solely on what we could see, rather than trust You and all that You do in the unseen. Teach us to trust You more, as we discover the abundant and unending faithfulness that is forever found in You. Show us how to lavishly love those around us, so each may be encouraged and built up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue Your heart and will for how we walk out each day. Amen.

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

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

To Carry and Sustain Us

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

Even as you grow old and your hair turns gray, I’ll keep carrying you! I am your Maker and your Caregiver. I will carry you and be your Savior. – (Isaiah 46:4, TPT)

I don’t think of myself as old, yet white hairs keep peeking through. In this current season, I know my own need to be sustained, and at times, carried. Understanding that God will sustain me, even so, provides hope and endurance when weariness sets in. We have not yet had a full five-day week of school, and already it feels as if we have been back for months. Perhaps it is the masks and extra safety measures, or just the extra energy and excitement of the kids to be back around their friends, but either way, it is exhausting. God is good, and I know that He holds me in His hands. Today, I will continue to trust and rely on Him, and give thanks that we have reached Friday. May we ever hold fast to the promises of God, and trust that He will continue to carry and sustain us through every season as it comes.

God’s promises true,

With each passing year;

His strength and His help,

Remain ever near.

When moving forward,

Is too hard to do;

His love lifts us up,

And carries us through.

Lord, help us recall,

And trust in Your word;

You help forever,

As love’s seen and heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise to be present to help, strengthen and sustain us throughout our whole life. Thank You that You are good, even when we are weary. Forgive us for our frustrations with what is beyond our control. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to carry us when we feel like we cannot continue. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they are strengthened to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our strength in all things and at all times. Be glorified O God, as we cling to Your promises of care in our weariness, and praise You for carrying us in our exhaustion. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Called to Be Kind

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

We are called to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other, in the same way that God is unto us. Our decision to extend grace and goodness to those around us speaks the heart of God without words. Kindness and compassion are more easily extended when we recognize both how much has been given to us by God, and the incredible weight that is removed when we are fully aware of the forgiveness and grace that we are afforded by and through God. I know that I need all of these things every single day. Each morning, I set my heart on the Lord and seek Him, yet throughout the day, challenges and obstacles come that require dependence on God to navigate with kindness and compassion, and the strength to choose to forgive. There is a constant battle between human nature and the divine. God is gracious and full of love, and will supply all that we need to walk in His way if we choose to depend on Him. May we ever seek our Savior, who forgives and loves us beyond what we can comprehend, and allow Him to lead us and guide us in His everlasting love.

Let kindness and grace,

Help us choose forgive;

To love as God loves,

Each day that we live.

For it is by grace,

That the Lord does save;

Imagine the world,

If we gave the same.

We’ve been created,

To love like the Lord;

So His heart is seen,

As good is outpoured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your goodness and grace, and You forgive us each time that we ask. Thank You that Your love changes our hearts and empowers us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have reacted rather than sought to respond like You. Teach us to slow down, breathe deep, and allow Your love to flow through us to all. Show us how to extend forgiveness, kindness and compassion to all, so that Your love may be evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to soften our hearts and lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Qualities Clearly Seen

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that the people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

I am fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Any direction I drive, there is incredible evidence of God’s power and creativity. From the majestic mountains that surround the Puget Sound, to the towering Evergreen trees that line roads wherever I go, I cannot deny the power and majesty of all that His hands have created. The very same God who hand-crafted such beauty, formed everything and everyone that draws breath. To look in the face of others, is to witness the handiwork of God. Knowing that is the very beginning of walking the way that we are called to walk. If we see and recognize the beauty and value in all that God has made, we cannot help but want to love as He loves us. May we take pause and breathe in the goodness of all that God’s hands have made, and give thanks to the One who created it all. Let us look to Him to lead us to love well.

The truth is made plain,

Through all that we see;

All things formed by love,

Intentionally.

The powerful hands,

That made mountains rise;

Gave each creature life,

From earth to the skies.

Show us how to love,

Appropriately;

So Your love’s made known,

Through all that is seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of creation sings of Your glory through its mere existence. Thank You that You are the same God who called mountains to rise and the very One who grants us life and breath and love. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the obvious evidence of Your power and love. Teach us to recognize the beauty in all whom we encounter, and show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that Your hands have made that clearly show us Your love and power that is present all around us. Amen. 

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Lead Us In Love

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:12, NIV)

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:12, ERV)

No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor. But if we love one another, God makes His permanent home in us, and we make our permanent home in Him, and His love is brought to its full expression in us. – (1 John 4:12, TPT)

Though we have not seen God, His evidence is all around us. The more we love, the more God is made evident through our love. When we are in relationship with the living God, He comes and lives in us and loves through us. Despite our flaws and shortcomings, His goodness, kindness, love and grace become visible as we love each other. Lord, teach us to love one another so that Your love may be brought to its full expression.

Though we have not seen,

The Lord face to face;

His love is made clear,

As we see His grace.

Our hearts are His home,

When invited in;

And our hope made known,

Through His love within.

Goodness and kindness,

His love and His grace;

Received and given,

To make known His ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us so that we might in turn, love one another. Thank You that though we have not seen You, we may come to know You as we pursue a relationship with You. Thank You that You make Your love known to us and through us as we continue to invest in You. Forgive us for not loving as You love. Teach us to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend hope, grace, goodness and kindness, making the depth of Your love clear to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love. Amen.

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

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8