Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Wisdom With Words

They were unable to trap Him in what He had said there in public. And astonished by His answer, they became silent. – (Luke 20:26, NIV)

The men were amazed at His wise answer. They could say nothing. They were not able to trick Jesus there in front of the people. He said nothing they could use against Him. – (Luke 20:26, ERV)

Once again they failed to humiliate Him in public or catch Him in a punishable offense. They were confounded by His reply and couldn’t say anything in response. – (Luke 20:26, VOICE)

As I continue to make my way through the book of Luke, and study the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, I am reminded of the wisdom of God. The Pharisees and their cronies were constantly trying to trap Jesus with their questions, ever looking for a reason to arrest Him. Each time they tried, Jesus responded in a way that left the teachers of the time baffled. Jesus knew the intent of the imposters, and would not allow them opportunity to arrest Him before it was His time. For us, this is a reminder that God has the wisdom we seek. When we trust and rely on Him, He will bring the words we need to speak at just the right time. That still small voice that whispers to our hearts when we need to hear, is ever available for all who seek Him.

Do not be afraid,

Of those with ill will;

As we seek the Lord,

His wisdom shall fill.

Fill our hearts and minds,

With words we can speak;

Direction and grace,

The goodness You teach.

Let all that we are,

Ever trust in You;

Grant us words to speak,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all wisdom comes from You. Thank You that we can seek You and listen for Your voice in all things and at all times. Forgive us for firing off our own words in haste, rather than seeking You first to align our hearts with Your love and grace. Teach us to seek You and listen to Your still small voice that leads and guides us in all things. Show us how to love those around us as You do, and keep us from being caught up in foolish rhetoric that leads to division. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and the words that You would have us speak. Amen.

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

You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. – Exodus 4:15

Made to Praise

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, NIV)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

Jesus responded, “Listen to me. If my followers were silenced, the very stones would break forth with praises!” – (Luke 19:40, TPT)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a whole crowd of disciples was shouting praises to announce His arrival, and yelling out the truth of Jesus’ rightful roles. Some of the Pharisees who were in the area, were not having it. They ordered Jesus to rebuke those who were praising Him. His response reminds us that all of creation was indeed made to praise Him and speak the truth of who He is. The power, grace, goodness, and love of the Lord demands our praise. We were created with an innate need to worship. Where we place our praise matters. If we praise the One who alone is worthy, the truth is declared and we discover the perfect peace that comes as we do what we were created to do. All of creation was made to reflect the Lord’s radiance. The rocks, the mountains, the oceans, rivers and seas – everywhere we look, we can see the evidence of the Lord’s loving and powerful hands. As we draw ever nearer to the day that we celebrate His birth, may we take time to lift our voice in praise for who God is and how our Savior loves.

All of creation,

Was made to give praise;

To honor Jesus,

Throughout our days.

The rocks will cry out,

If people do not;

For He is worthy,

Of our praise and thought.

Let us lift His Name,

For He’s always good;

He came to save us,

Make love understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be our Savior and salvation. Thank You that we were created to praise. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give praise where praise was due, for all belongs to You. Teach us to see Your goodness, power, and love throughout our days. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and love all of Your creation. Amen.

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

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

Our Way Maker

They got up, drove Him out of the town, and took Him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw Him off the cliff. But He walked right through the crowd and went on His way. – (Luke 4:29-30, NIV)

They got up and forced Jesus to go out of town. Their town was built on a hill. They took Jesus to the edge of the hill to throw Him off. But He walked through the middle of the crowd and went away. – (Luke 4:29-30, ERV)

They mobbed Jesus and threw Him out of the city, dragging Him to the edge of the cliff on the hill on which the city had been built, ready to hurl Him off. But He walked right through the crowd, leaving them all stunned. – (Luke 4:29-30, TPT)

This scene transpired soon after Jesus had spent forty days and nights in the wilderness, where He was led by the Spirit and tested by the devil. Jesus had gone to the synagogue in Nazareth, where He was raised, and stood before the crowd to read. At first, His message was well-received, but when He began to speak of how previous prophets were not sent to their own towns to do miraculous things, but rather called to cleanse and heal and provide for those whom the people of the time considered “less worthy”. The words He spoke riled up the crowd and they ran Him out of the synagogue and out to the edge of town, where they fully intended to throw Him off the cliff. Incredibly, Jesus walked right through the crowd and went on His way to continue teaching and touching the lives of those wherever He went. 

As a visual person, the whole mob scene at the edge of a cliff leaves me in awe. Jesus didn’t panic or argue, He simply walked back out through the middle of the mob, unscathed, and free to go where He was called to go. It feels a bit like a “Jedi mind-trick”, as it says nothing of the crowds fighting Him or following Him. Jesus simply walked through where He needed to go, and He was on His way. This story reminds me that no matter how dismal or impossible things seem, if God has called us, He will make a way; whether it is parting a sea, clearing space through a crowd, or supplying all that we need to continue to move forward in that which He has called us to do. With Him, nothing is impossible. May we ever look to the Lord, who is the reason for this sacred season, as He is the One to supply our needs and pave a path that leads where we are meant to go.

A way in the desert,

This passage reminded me of this song. Be blessed as you listen to the truth of who God is.

Safety through the storms;

God’s power in weakness,

How hearts are transformed.

Nothing’s impossible,

As we trust in Him;

Our blessed Redeemer,

Heals and forgives sin.

Lord, help us to trust You,

In everything;

For we have Your Spirit,

And all that He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You that by Your Spirit, nothing is impossible. Thank You that our perspective is not Yours. Forgive us for our limited vision, as we see but only a glimpse and think we understand the whole picture. Teach us to trust You, as You knew our whole story before it had even begun. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help us all see the strength, love and supply that You have for all who trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts, minds, time, strength and supply into all that You call us to. Amen.

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

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way. – Psalm 25:9

With Thunder and Grace

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ – (Job 37:5-6, NIV)

God’s thundering voice is amazing! He does great things that we cannot understand. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth.’ And He says to the rain, ‘Pour down on the earth.’ – (Job 37:5-6, ERV)

The voice of God thunders wondrously. He does magnificent things, beyond our comprehension. To the snow, He issues the order, “Go! Fall on the earth.” And to the rain shower, “He says, “Show your power, beat down heavy on the earth!” – (Job 37:5-6, VOICE)

I love that the same God who thunders in marvelous ways, also will gently whisper in ways that show us His love. In our home, His “dew of heaven” was delivered to us yesterday. After much searching, and God’s incredible intervention, we welcomed another sweet puppy into our home. Tali, which is Hebrew for dew of heaven, completes what was missing. She is my husband’s dream dog, and Thor’s greatest blessing. He was in desperate need of companionship, and this beautiful, sweet pup is a perfect playmate already. Though she is tiny (in comparison to Thor), she holds her ground and uses her voice to instruct Thor as to how to play best. I love watching the gently falling snow and the powerful, torrential rains. Much in the same way, these two romp and play like a downpour, yet they also settle and rest with ease, just as snow silently drifts and rests on the ground. God is good, and He reminds us in grand and powerful ways and in gentle whispers. May we ever seek the Lord and His voice, as He shows us the way to go and demonstrates His mighty love for us all.

In power, He speaks,

With love, He exclaims;

His goodness and strength,

Blessed be His Name.

He commands the rain,

Torrentially fall;

And calls to the snow,

Fall softly below.

The very same God,

To us does the same;

In peace, shows His love,

His power proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are both power and peace. Thank You that You demonstrate Your love for us with passion and gentleness. Forgive us for seeing one or the other as more valid. Teach us to recognize both Your downpours and Your gently falling grace, as we learn to identify Your voice and ever seek Your face. Show us how to love one another as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for both Your magnificent power and unending grace. Amen.

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

“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” He said. “Peace! Be strong now, be strong.” When He spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength.” – Daniel 10:19

Let Each Word Be A Gift

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV) 

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG) 

The things that come out of our mouth can either bless or curse people. We have a free will to choose how we speak. Our decisions either give life to the hearers, or they bring death and destruction. Words have power, and how we use them makes all the difference. May we ever seek the Lord to wash our words and help them align with His heart. Let our every word be a gift to those around us, as we encourage, lift up, strengthen, bless and give life with our words. 

O Lord, let my words, 

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Reflect a heart true; 

Extending kindness, 

And love, just like You. 

Let the truth in love, 

Bless all those around; 

Encourage, build up, 

So Your heart is found. 

Lord, help me offer, 

Encouraging words; 

May all who hear them, 

Be blessed by what’s heard. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words wisely. Thank You that as we submit our heart, voice and every word to You, You use what we say to bless the hearers. Forgive us for the times that we ignore the still small voice within that reminds us to speak in love. Teach us to make every word captive so that we clearly reflect Your love through our words. Show us how to use every word as a gift to those around us. Let Your love be made evident in all that we say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to use our every word as a gift. Amen. 

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

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

Purposeful Precepts

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life. – (Psalm 119:93, NIV) 

But I’ll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words. – (Psalm 119:93, MSG) 

I will never forget Your commands, because through them You gave me new life. – (Psalm 119:93, ERV) 

Upon first read, I pondered “precepts” and then referred to the dictionary for further clarification. A precept, according to my online dictionary, is a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct. It goes on further to list a precept as an injunction to moral conduct. As we invest in learning and understanding the word of God, we discover directions given that show us how to live the way that God intended. Not only that, but His word reminds us that we are forgiven and set free, so that we may live a new life in Him. The greatest commands that He has given us, tells us to love God and love one another. If we do both of these, we fulfill the law as He intended. Love must direct our every word, thought, and action. God is faithful to guide and direct us in the way that is best, if we are willing to seek Him and follow His leading. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord and His will for all things, for it is by His love that we have new life in Him. 

The word of the Lord, 

Is advice to seek; 

To live our lives well, 

And of His love, speak. 

The more we invest, 

The better we know; 

How to choose love well, 

As His precepts show. 

So, let us rise up, 

Be rooted in love; 

May our lives display, 

Our Father above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direct access to how we are meant to live, through Your word, prayer and worship. Forgive us for the times that we either neglected to heed Your direction, or simply chose to go our own way. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in the love You created us to give. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover the beautiful new life that is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, trust You, and follow Your leading for every day of our lives. Amen. 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31 

The Power of Our Words

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, NIV) 

Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV) 

Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, TPT) 

I have been the recipient and deliverer of both reckless and wise words. With each incident of recklessness, words brought harm to both the messenger and the audience. For the speaker, it either tarnishes the reputation or incites guilt at the realization of what words escaped without thinking; sometimes, it does both. However, when words are thoughtfully spoken in love, healing, help, encouragement and good are the result. Wisdom with words comes from listening and seeking to understand, prior to speaking. The ultimate healing wisdom is granted as we seek the Lord and His heart for the recipient of our words. May we ever listen to understand and seek the Lord for wisdom with our words. Let wisdom be sought and shared, and reckless responses be silenced before they are spoken. 

May each word we speak, 

Be laden in love; 

Righteous responses, 

From God up above.  

Let words without thought, 

Be silenced, not heard; 

So all that we speak, 

Be God’s loving words. 

Protect us from haste, 

Speaking without thought; 

So healing happens, 

As God’s truth is taught. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom with our words to bring healing when we are willing to be slow to speak and eager to listen. Thank You that You are the ultimate Provider of words that heal. Forgive us for every reckless word spoken. Teach us to do and be better, so that we seek You for wisdom with our words. Show us how to love others with our words, bringing healing and hope and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to learn and speak to bring life. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Poetry Lived Out

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. -Proverbs 1:5

 

For Beautiful New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

 

I am not big on resolutions nor bandwagon ideas for the coming year. However, as I sat down to prepare to do my devotions this morning, I pondered the overarching word that could capture the heart of this past year. Right away, the word that came to mind was hope. Hope has been the anchor for my soul through some seriously stormy seas that I never thought I’d need to navigate. God’s grace has been abundant, and His hope – overwhelmingly present. Looking forward, I paused, for only a moment, and prayed, asking what word might be one to look for in the coming year. Right away, the word “new” came to mind. For most, I know that new would make sense for a new year, but as a teacher, the new year falls only halfway through the school year, so it really never feels “new”. It is simply a return, rested and recharged for part two. That being said, as I opened my Bible app to go to the day’s reading, and immediately I was greeted by the verses listed above. I do not think that the verse and the word that came to mind and heart are a coincidence. God is doing something new, and I am going to eagerly anticipate all that awaits in the new year. Growth is always good, and possible where things seem impossible – excellent! May we ever watch closely and take notice, for God is doing new things – making a way where there seems no way, and providing beyond what we thought possible.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying Mom to her therapy appointments. It was incredible to watch all of the “new” that she is doing in occupational, speech and physical therapies. Additionally, Saturday morning, Mom determined to try out her new cane, rather than her walker. Since then, she has not looked back, and is now only using the cane to walk! That includes going out for appointments, quick errands, and even when we went out to dinner last evening. God continues to do the “new” in Mom, and we are anticipating an incredible year ahead for her as well.

 

Behold, there is new, wp-15778113316466110001030105135888.jpg

That is yet to come;

God’s making a way,

He’s only begun.

Where impossible,

Was how it all seemed;

God’s making the way,

Realizing dreams.

We know not the way,

He’s working for us;

But He’s full of love,

And faithful to bless.

So, rise up in trust,

Have faith His word’s true;

God’s making a way,

For beautiful new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and grow us beyond what we ever imagined possible. Thank You that You are always doing something new on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that question the possibility of anything more than where we are right now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view life through Your lens rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that support, encourage, and strengthen all whom we meet with reason to believe there is more in store. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all the new that is yet to come in 2020. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19