Over Everything

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, NLT)

Greatness, power, glory, victory, and honor belong to You, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You! The kingdom belongs to You, Lord! You are the head, the Ruler over everything. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, ERV)

All that is great and powerful and glorious and victorious and majestic is Yours, O Eternal One. Indeed, everything that is in the heavens and the earth belongs to You. The kingdom belongs to You, O Eternal One, and You are the head of it all. – (1 Chronicles 29:11, VOICE)

 

Everything is His. Sometimes, it is challenging to remember that. Yesterday began on very little sleep. Mom needed to get up a few times in the night, and my own heightened awareness seemed to get the better of me, stealing the precious time afforded between “get-ups”, and when she was ready to be up for breakfast a few short minutes after I gave in and got up to do my devotions, that was the end of any possible rest opportunities for me for the morning. Our day was filled with a good sort of busy, as dear “framily” whom we have known for nearly my entire life, stopped by for a quick hug and “hello”, on their way through to Leavenworth. Their visit was a wonderful boost for mom, and a great encouragement for all. The day unfolded with far more appointments than anticipated, as we ended up with a quick meeting with her case manager, a physical therapy appointment (that was indeed scheduled), and met the speech therapist for an entry assessment to determine a starting point for the work that will be done for recovery. During physical therapy, Victor had mom doing new and more challenging exercises than she had ever done before. We were all excited and encouraged by her strength and resolve to do the hard work, and discover new things that she is capable of doing right now. Her speech assessment went equally well, as Jim was thrilled with her starting point, and extremely positive about the outlook for her rehabilitation potential. Impressed with the connections she has already reestablished; he was grinning ear-to-ear as he entered his notes in preparation for what is yet to come. Once the dust had settled and everyone had gone, we had thoughts of watching a movie before dinner. Barely five minutes in,  mom recognized her own need for rest, and let me know she needed to go lay down. Rather than rest myself, I hopped online to determine whether or not Instacart is available in mom’s area. To my relief, it is, and I did some grocery shopping online, to be delivered within a few short hours. Upon completion, exhaustion set in. I spoke with my sweet spouse, and was in nearly meltdown mode. Thankfully, he is patient and kind, and simply offered words of love and encouragement in my depleted state. After a few hours, the delivery of our groceries, and a quick call to my sister, I woke mom for dinner. I’m not sure if it was dinner, the delivery, the check-in with my sister, seeing mom rested, my conversation with my Viking, or purely the grace of God, but I had a second wind that carried me through the remainder of the evening.

Everything belongs to God. My need for rest, mom’s sleep patterns, and the grace needed to get through. Last night, mom slept all the way until 3 am, which is huge, and not that far from my normal waking hours on a work day. I am far more rested this morning, and refreshed in the hope of a new day. God is good, and the victory is His as we navigate each step of this journey.

 

Yours is the greatness,

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This morning’s waking view. ❤

All power and praise;

Lord of the heavens,

And King of our days.

All of existence,

Is because of You;

Grace for the journey,

Your love sees us through.

Forever our hearts,

In awe, we shall stand;

As You hold us up,

In Your mighty hands.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all greatness, power, glory, majesty and splendor are Yours, as everything in heaven and earth belong to You. Thank You that You are head over all, and that nothing is beyond Your reach. Thank You that You see us, hear us, and know our needs – great and small. Forgive us for forgetting how faithful You are, even in the little things. Teach us to trust You more, even for the things that seem insignificant. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps others grasp Your glory. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and trust all in Your hands. Amen.

 

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

 

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in His hands. – John 3:35

Courage to Do the Work

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you.” –  (1 Chronicles 28:20a, NIV)

“Be strong and brave and finish this work. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord God, my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, ERV)

“Be strong, courageous, and effective. Do not fear or be dismayed. I know that the Eternal God, who is my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, VOICE)

 

In the same way that David extended these words of encouragement to his son, Solomon, as he was tasked to build the temple for the ark of the covenant, so too, does God extend the same to us, every time we step forward in faith to answer His call. These words feel a bit like a battle cry this morning, as Friday was probably my last “true academic teaching day” of the school year, and this morning, my last morning at home for several weeks. I am called and chosen to go and be with my mom, and I would not have it any other way; however, I am human, and there are elements of the unknown that cause me to constantly have to fend off fear, as well as a sort of grieving for the loss of the close of this school year with my students and time with my family and friends at home. God is good, and I know that He has called, chosen and prepared my sister and me for such a time as this. He has orchestrated time off and supplied for our every need. We are surrounded, supported and loved; tangibly. Our spouses, children, family and friends have only encouragement and love to offer, and we are eternally grateful. We are strengthened and encouraged to be effective in the work that lies ahead, because of the warriors that are battling on our behalf, behind the scenes. God is with us, and with Him, we need not fear.

As for mom, the busy days continue with her transition day drawing nearer still. Yesterday, between her morning of therapy sessions and the excitement of my brother-in-love and nephews arriving and spending time with she and my sister, she was completely exhausted and ready to call it a day, shortly after dinner. There are two wonderful things about this, as I pause to ponder what took place. First, mom advocated for herself, and let it be known that she was tired and ready to rest. (Of utmost importance, as the brain continues to heal and repair itself during rest) Second, I imagine some of her decision was the hostess in her, that desperately desired Meg to spend some time with her fellas. That too, is another indicator of her healing, as more and more of her usual ways become evident in all that she says and does. Selfless and loving, preferring others above herself, I imagine she wanted desperately for her girl to have time with her husband and boys, and she figured the rest would do her some good as well. Win. Win.

 

Be strong, take courage,

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An early morning view from Mom’s deck. ❤

For we’re not alone;

We’re called and chosen,

And completely known.

We’ve nothing to fear,

With God by our side;

No mountain’s too great,

Nor valley too wide.

Do not be dismayed,

When things seem go wrong;

For God is present,

And He’ll make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when the road ahead seems intimidating in the unknown. Thank You that we’ve nothing to fear, for You are always with us. Forgive us for allowing the unknowns to intimidate us into fearfulness. Teach us to depend on You to be our strength and resolve, trusting You to lead us and guide us, every step of each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged and shown Your love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength and resolve in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – Colossians 1:11

Modeled Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, we reached an impasse, and recognized that we had to make the final decision as to where mom would land next, as her stay at the acute rehabilitation facility comes to a close near the end of this month. After asking mom what she most wanted, watching how the familiarity of home made such a dramatic difference in her ability to recall information through an activity during speech therapy, and hearing from various therapists how often patients’ recovery accelerates by leaps and bounds in their own familiar settings, it became evident that her home was where she needed to be next. This is where the choosing to serve one another humbly in love comes in; for it is neither an easy nor convenient choice for either my sister or me. Megan has the obstacle of a seven-hour journey if she drives, a crazy, busy schedule at home with work and family, and the heartache of being away from mom whenever she needs to be home. For myself, I am still in my first year of a new marriage, raising two teenage sons, finishing their junior year, attempting to coordinate sub plans and grading from three hours from home, and seeking to maintain balance and normalcy in both spaces. Both Meg and I would not have it any other way. The words penned by Paul the Apostle, were modeled by mom throughout our entire lives. It is a simple decision to make, despite the logistical challenges. Additionally, we are overwhelmingly blessed and supported by our spouses, children, families, friends, and our extended communities – both near and far. The outpouring of love and support, both prayerfully and through notes and messages, has been an incredible blessing, and often just what was needed at the moment it was needed most.

As for mom specifically, she is continuing to make great gains. Her speech and language retrieval is phenomenally fast, but is more difficult by day’s end when she is tired. Physically, she is building more strength every day, and more and more movement is coming along. It is a painfully slow process, but it is happening. She would love to just jump up and take off running, but even as babies, we must first learn to crawl, then stand, then wobble and scoot, before we ever take steps. For a growing infant, the process takes the entire first year. Mom is making tremendous strides toward walking again, and it has not quite been a month yet. So often it is a matter of keeping it all in perspective.

For those who are walking alongside us in prayer, these are our present petitions before our Savior: for a smooth transition home, for protection from fear, protection physically, emotionally, and spiritually, against discouragement, for total and complete healing, for strength, for patience, for calendars and schedules to align easily, for grace, balance and wisdom, for her incredible community to continue to be patient about visiting until she is ready, as it needs to be in her time.

 

Jesus set us free, dsc090724766454540718468749.jpg

And gave us a choice;

To choose for ourselves,

Use heart, mind and voice.

Our purpose is more,

Than our own desire;

But rather to love,

Sacrifice, inspire.

Just as we are loved,

By He who gave all;

So we ought to give,

As we heed His call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son and showing us what it means to choose to love and serve freely. Thank You for the treasured gift of our mom, who has modeled the same for us throughout our entire lives. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to indulge our own selfish desires, rather than love like You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we choose to love and serve in the same way that You have always done for us. Show us how to love those around us as You would. Especially direct our steps as we prepare to bring mom back to her own home. May those around us who do not know You yet, come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to serve in love, just as You have modeled for us through Your Son and those that You have strategically placed in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10

 

Ongoing Grace

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

This is the One who – imprinted with God’s image, shimmering with His glory – sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins. – (Hebrews 1:3, VOICE)

 

As we approach Easter, it is important to remember who Jesus is and all that He does for us. Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, the only one who has ever been a perfect copy of God’s nature. Though we all have been created in God’s image, Jesus is the only one to have ever been without sin. Because He was without sin, He made Himself the perfect offering that purified us from all of our sin. After Jesus had come to do all that He was called to do, He returned to His rightful throne in heaven, seated at the right hand of God. The Holy One, seated beside the Majesty of heaven, is not just sitting there to reign, as He continually moves on our behalf, so that we may be seen as righteous before God. It is not by anything that we do, but rather by what Jesus did for all. Our portion is to believe and receive, so that we may walk in His way and do His will. May we ever remember the weight of the sacrifice and the depth of His love, that led our Lord to bear our every burden of sin, that provides the path for us to join Him for all of eternity in heaven.

 

The true radiance, Ongoing Grace

Of the Lord on high;

Rested on Jesus,

As He chose to die.

Death for all our sin,

So we’d be made clean;

Cleansed and forgiven,

Showing what grace means.

The love didn’t stop there,

As ongoing grace;

Is granted by Him,

Seated in His place.

At Lord God’s right hand,

Love is ever shown;

He covers our sin,

And makes mercy known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for us to be in relationship with You – cleansed and set free from sin, so that we are seen as worthy. Jesus, thank You for Your eternal sacrifice that bore the weight of all of the world’s sin for all time, and returning to Your rightful throne to continually demonstrate Your mercy and grace and love to us all. Forgive us for not recognizing the magnitude of Your sacrifice. Teach us to stand in awe of the incredible way that You loved all of us so much, that You bore the brunt of all our sin to provide forgiveness for each of us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness, mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember in awe, the incredible gift given through the sacrifice of Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Help Us Believe

“If you can?” Said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” – (Mark 9:23, NIV)

Jesus said to the father, “Why did you say ‘if you can’? All things are possible for the one who believes. – (Mark 9:23, ERV)

What do you mean, “If there’s anything? All things are possible, if you only believe.” – (Mark 9:23, VOICE)

This verse is a critical portion of a conversation between Jesus and the father of a young man who needed healing. The father was desperate to see his son healed, yet struggled to believe it was possible after so many years of suffering. Jesus recognized the father’s need for faith, as well as the need for healing for his son. His declaration that “all things are possible for those who believe”, greatly encouraged the father, and he asked Jesus to help him with his unbelief. In the verses that follow, Jesus heals the young man and increases the faith of the father. Jesus knows our need before we ever seek Him, yet requires that we have faith in Him to see Him move on our behalf. Where we lack faith in the midst of our need, we are charged, just as the young man’s father, to ask Jesus to help us with our unbelief. Our broken humanity struggles to believe that which we cannot see, however, that is the very nature of how faith works. Faith requires that we trust in that which we cannot see, and believe for that which is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord to step into our spaces of need, and ask Him for help to grow our faith in the places where unbelief has found a foothold.

God, the Creator, Strength and Peace Supplied

Is able to do;

All that is needed,

For me and for you.

Faith is required,

To trust and believe;

Those who ask in lack,

Will by grace, receive.

Strength when we’re weary,

Healing where there’s pain;

Faith to move mountains,

To trust is to gain.

Ever let’s seek Him,

The Lord of all grace;

Trust in His goodness,

Faithful all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real people, just like us in Your word, who sought You and learned from You, as You showed them the goodness of Your love and grace. Thank You that You are ever faithful to hear us in our need, and grant us what is needed most. Forgive us for our faltering faith, as we struggle to believe that which we cannot see before us. Show us how to trust You more, as You are ever moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware of how You are moving. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages faith and demonstrates the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You always, and ask You to grow our faith in spaces where it is lacking. Amen.

 

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

 

For we live by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

 

 

Give as You Long to be Given

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV) 

Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, ERV) 

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG) 

 

I love that the thing that the world considers “The Golden Rule”, is completely founded on Biblical principles. The challenging part is remembering to follow it in all things and at all times. The Word goes on to tell us further the specific attributes that support a life that does for others what we would have them do for us. To love as God loves us, leads us to extend love, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control to those around us. Most of the time, we get what we give. Of course, there are exceptions. However, I have found that the best way to diffuse anger or frustration is to extend kindness and gentleness. Often it stops the one struggling in their tracks, and causes them to pause and take a breath. When we know someone is for us and not against us, it makes all the difference in how we respond to them. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in extending the same kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and love that He has given us, to all whom we encounter.  

 

May we choose to live,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

By “The Golden Rule”; 

Doing for others, 

What shows God’s love true. 

Kindness and patience, 

Gentleness and love; 

Granted to others, 

Brings peace from above. 

Love diffuses fear, 

Frustration and gall; 

It shows faithfulness, 

As we hear God’s call. 

So, let us give love, 

To all whom we meet; 

What we’d like returned, 

For such love is sweet. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your Word instructs us in the way to live our best life. Thank You that You have shown us what such love looks like through the gift of Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have not treated those around us in a way that we would want returned to us. Teach us to turn to You for the patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control that we need to love as You love us. Show us how to love all those around us according to Your definition of love, not our own. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love others as we are loved by You. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

An Otherly Outlook

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE) 

 

This passage is a reminder to conduct ourselves with an “otherly outlook. What this means is that we ought to consider others, not just self. As we operate in our daily lives, we need to value others – their opinions, interests, time, state of mind, and their entire existence. It does not mean that we have to agree with all that they think or do, but rather we must value the person and treat them accordingly. Humility listens and loves and honors others first. If our focus is on loving and valuing others, our own selfish tendencies are set aside. May we seek and depend on the Lord to lead us, as we look to His example to carry this out by loving and treating others with His very best in mind. 

 

In all that I do,

Peace Through Understanding

May I set aside; 

My own selfishness, 

That’s the cause of pride. 

Instead, help me seek, 

To see others first; 

To listen and love, 

Help each know their worth. 

May my sense of self, 

And view of others; 

Be seen through Your eyes, 

All sisters, brothers. 

For You showed us how, 

Jesus led the way; 

To do all in love, 

And extend Your grace. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love with others in mind. Thank You that through Him, we too, can love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that our own agendas and pride have prevented us from loving others in the way in which You intended. Teach us to trust You more, so that we seek Your heart and eyes to be the lens through which we see the world. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates how much they are valued. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to let go of our own pride and agenda, and live lives that are otherly. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Announced Arrival

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:13-14, NLT) 

Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest realm of heaven! For there is peace and good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:13-14, TPT) 

 

One of my favorite moments to anticipate each year, is candlelight service on Christmas Eve. There is a moment in the evening when a single flame is lit, the lights are extinguished, and people then begin to pass the flame, candle to candle, as songs of praise in remembrance of that most holy night, are sung by all. Soon, the entire sanctuary is full of the glorious glowing light, and an army of angelic voices floods the room. Though but a glimpse, it is such a sweet reminder of that most holy night when heaven came to earth and the armies of heaven announced the arrival of Christ, as they sang in celebration of what God had done. May we each find a moment in the so often hectic season of preparation, to take in the tangible reminders of that most holy night. Let the glory of all that God has done flood our hearts and minds as we give our praise to the Ancient of Days. 

 

Darkness was flooded, Glory to God in the highest_sermon

With heavenly hosts; 

Singing out praises, 

To men at their posts. 

In awe, they watched them, 

In wonder and fright; 

As heaven drew near, 

On that holy night. 

This declaration, 

Such wondrous good news; 

Savior’s arrival, 

What would shepherds choose? 

The men in wonder, 

Left their fields that night; 

To see for themselves, 

The glorious sight. 

A glimpse of Jesus, 

In the stable lay; 

Their lives ever changed, 

That sacred birthday. 

May we find moments, 

Where we’re caught in awe; 

Of all that God did, 

Through the babe they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son. Thank You for the heavenly hosts who announced His arrival to shepherds in their fields that night. Thank You for the moments in this sacred season that grant us glimpses of Your glory. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and wonder at the marvelous miracle of Jesus and all that surrounded His arrival. Teach us to recognize the remarkable reminders of all that You have done to bring heaven to earth and make way for us to know You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they make recognize the radiance of Your glory through the good that You send us in this sacred season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the most holy arrival of Your Son, and give all glory to You. Amen.

 

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

 

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. – Acts 10:36

Considering a Couple’s Calling

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So, Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, NIV) 

During those days, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, ordered that the first census be taken throughout his empire. So, Joseph and his fiancé, Mary, left Nazareth, a village in Galilee, and journeyed to their hometown in Judea, to the village of Bethlehem, King David’s ancient home. They were required to register there, since they were both direct descendants of David. Mary was pregnant and nearly ready to give birth. – (Luke 2:1, 4-5, TPT) 

 

At the time of Caesar Augustus, if a decree was issued, the people followed. Though a seemingly chaos inducing order, I imagine a four-day, eighty-some mile journey on foot, would likely be a better option than dealing with the Roman guard. Furthermore, Mary was nearing the time that Jesus was due. There was probably some honor in being connected to the lineage of David, yet this young couple was about to enter town, unwed and very obviously expecting. Back then, such a predicament would be scandalous, and may have been the cause of their difficulty in finding a place to stay upon arrival in Bethlehem. Being that it was the town both Mary and Joseph were expected to register, it is odd that there were no family members that could offer them room. And, what about each of their families? These are my ponderings as I read through this particular passage this morning and picture their journey and struggles as they traveled. Did they travel alone as a couple, or were they part of a caravan? Did they have family that turned them away, or had their living ancestors all moved to Nazareth too? What I do know is that God was with them. Though it was a long and arduous journey, they were faithful to that which they had been called. At times, we too find ourselves in strange and seemingly desolate spaces, yet when we persevere in that which we have been asked to do, we discover that God uses our circumstances to grow, equip and transform us for that which lies ahead. Perhaps the four-day walk was an opportunity for Mary and Joseph to get to know one another and share their joys and fears about what had been spoken. Whatever transpired on their journey, God was with them, and He provided what they needed when it was needed most. May we seek and trust the Lord, even when we find ourselves on paths that have not yet been made plain. God is faithful and will remain with us, no matter our circumstances. 

 

No matter the road, Considering a Couples Calling

We find we need trod; 

The Lord is faithful, 

Ever-present God. 

Through trials and joys, 

No matter what comes; 

He grants what we need, 

The Most Holy One. 

So, seek the Lord’s grace, 

Choose trust in His Name; 

He grants strength and peace, 

Does what the word claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world to walk among us and experience the same sort of struggles and joys that we do. Thank You for the faithfulness of Mary and Joseph, as they demonstrate what it is to truly trust You with all. Forgive us for our faltering faith when things do not make sense. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter what we see. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your grace, peace and presence known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You rather than what we see or think we know, for You are the answer to our every need. Amen.

 

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3