Helped in Him

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – (Psalm 54:4, NIV)

But see now! God comes to rescue me; the Lord is my valiant supporter. – (Psalm 54:4, VOICE)

But the Lord God has become my divine helper. He leans into my heart and lays His hands upon me! – (Psalm 54:4, TPT)

 

Truer words have never been spoken, as David is remarkable at capturing the sentiment of my own heart. Daily, I see and feel the evidence of God’s hands and heart at work in sustaining, supporting and helping me, as I navigate this long and challenging road. He grants joy in the journey, and strength when I feel as I have none. His peace comes when concerns and sorrow seek to sink my soul.

Yesterday began with an encouraging occupational therapy appointment for mom. With the entire appointment focused on moving her right arm through the use of her shoulder and scapula, we were extremely encouraged to see the gains mom is making, as she was able to do more than ever before. In the early afternoon, two of mom’s dearest friends stopped by for a visit. Their encouragement and loving support are tangible evidence of His help and His heart for her, and I know that mom is refreshed and renewed, each time she has enjoyed the company of her close friends. We had a bit of down time in the afternoon, which was perfect, as I needed to take care of some follow up calls with the medical insurance company for Oregon, and mom was eager to enjoy a movie and relax. God’s grace and favor was with us, as the leg work that my sister had initiated and research she had sent over, made navigating the finalization of mom’s switch to Oregon coverage, fairly simple. It is a tremendous blessing to work together as a team and be able to share information with one another so well. All went exactly as we needed it to, as it was essential that mom be enrolled in Oregon insurance as of August 1st, otherwise, she would not qualify to do so until September 1st. Again, by His grace, all went smoothly and each prayer extended regarding this portion of the transition, has been faithfully answered. After all of the insurance orchestrating, another sweet friend of mom’s came for a visit. We invited her to stay and join us for dinner, and to our delight, she did so. It was wonderful to watch the two ladies enjoy one another’s company, and it provided me the opportunity to make dinner and communicate with my family at home. Additionally, Sharon, (the same friend that has the pool) continued with her gift of stretching mom’s fingers and hands, and helped facilitate extra work that is so helpful for her right arm recovery. The evening closed well, and mom only woke once in the night. Today is her final day of therapies in Washington, as coverage here ends once Oregon coverage begins. She will meet with all three therapists today, so it will be quite busy on the home front. Each one has been a tremendous blessing, and goodbyes will be difficult. Please pray for mom as this will be one of the challenging portions of her transition.

May we ever seek the Lord to be our help, as He is our support and the One who sustains us in all things.

 

O Lord God, our Help, fb_img_15637309176878339909102890478638.jpg

You’re all that we need;

You strengthen, protect,

Our hopes You exceed.

Help our hearts to trust,

Each step of the way;

No matter what comes,

You’re our help and grace.

Show us green pastures,

Where strength’s realized;

Beautiful blessings,

As in You, we rise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope. Thank You that You strengthen and sustain us in all things and at all times. Thank You that You support us and remain ever near. Forgive us for our fearfulness and unrest when we are uncertain of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You have already gone before us and prepared the way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that supports, encourages and extends the grace that is needed to supply strength and hope to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to rescue us and be our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Take Heart

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

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

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

Life is not about, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Listening is an art form that can prevent misunderstanding and bring people closer together. Too often we speak to respond, rather than listen to understand and reply only if necessary. Anger flares and brash words are spoken when we communicate to make our own point, opinion or agenda heard, without taking pause to listen to others around us. I find that the majority of the time, my anger ignites when I jump to conclusions or explain a scenario in my own mind, rather than seeking to listen to whomever did, whatever it was, that incited my frustration to the point of anger. Each time I slow down, take a deep breath, and remind myself to listen with the intent to understand, I discover that there is a reason for the words or actions that transpired. By hearing the heart behind the person, anger or frustration fade, and compassion and kindness begin to rise. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and willingness to listen first, so that our response is a reflection of His heart, rather than a rash reaction that is not necessary to bring resolution.

 

Let us each choose first,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To listen in love;

Seek to understand,

With grace from above.

If we’re slow to speak,

There’s less to regret;

Peace has a true chance,

God’s love, our asset.

Allow not anger,

To rise and release;

Instead, choose listen,

Discernment brings peace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be people who seek listen to understand, speak with intention and grace, and to keep anger in check to prevent words or deeds that cannot be taken back. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our ego or agenda to cause us to assume ill intent in anger, rather than listening with intention to understand all that is involved in what has transpired before us. Teach us to listen first, seeking to understand, so that if and when we respond, it may be done with love and grace. Show us how to love well through listening to those who need to be heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are the God who always hears our heart, regardless of what our words or deeds seem to indicate. Be glorified O God, through our decision to listen first and speak with godly intent, only when we understand, keeping anger in check and love abundant. 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

Presence, Help and Rest

The Lord replied, ”My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, NIV)

The Lord replied, “I’ll go Myself, and I’ll help you.” – (Exodus 33:14, CEB)

Eternal One: My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, VOICE)

 

These words were spoken to Moses by the Lord, when he was called to lead the Israelites. Moses was concerned about all of the particulars about what God was asking him to do, and told God that he needed to truly know Him and find His favor to follow through. God responded with a promise of His presence, His help, and His rest. The promises of God to Moses are still true assurance for us today. As we seek the Lord, He will be with us, will help us, and will grant us rest. This past week has been a perfect example of such. It has been the final week of the semester, the week prior to my coaching season, and I have been fighting some sort of virus. This has not been a week that I could have afforded to miss work, and the amount of work that I needed to accomplish was overwhelming. Despite having had a fever Wednesday night, and likely off and on yesterday, I was able to finish all that needed to be completed so that today, our semester break, I could rest. God knows what we need and is ready to provide. Though I had my doubts about how I was going to get through yesterday, I prayed and trusted Him to go before me, be with me, and lead me through. The Lord is faithful and His word is true. May we ever seek the Lord and invite His presence into every area of our lives. He is faithful to go with us, help us, and bring us into a space of rest.

 

Our God is faithful, Searched and Known

To that which we ask;

His presence, promised,

His help for each task.

He knows what we need,

And by His great grace;

Provides strength and help,

His rest through our days.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

Where we’re meant to go;

Ever be with us,

For our needs, You know.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your presence, help and rest is available to us today, just as it was back in the time of Moses. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are called to do that which seems beyond our capacity. Teach us to trust You more, taking comfort in Your promises to be present to help, and ultimately grant us the rest we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers presence, help and rest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to be true to Your word, as You bring us through all things and lead us to rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

 

 

Preserving His Promises

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.’” So, he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. – (Genesis 12:7, NIV) 

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” Abram built an altar to honor the Lord who appeared to him there. – (Genesis 12:7, ERV) 

God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.” Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him. – (Genesis 12:7, MSG) 

 

What stood out to me is that Abram heard God, trusted Him, and built an altar to commemorate a promise spoken. How often do we hear a promise from God, and then carry on with our existence, just as before? Abram did not wait for the promise to be fulfilled to create a memorial, but rather, by faith, built an altar because God had spoken a promise. There is a lesson to learn from Abram’s faithfulness. He took God at His word, and moved forward accordingly. We too, ought to take time to signify the promises God speaks to our hearts, and place them where we can look back and remember what He has spoken to encourage our hearts to press on. Additionally, it is a reminder of His faithfulness, for we are able to look back, see what has been spoken, and celebrate with thanksgiving, the fruition of promises fulfilled. Though I am a writer, I am not sure that I am intentional enough to commemorate the promises spoken for me, so that I have something tangible to look at and remind me to press on, even when what has been promised seems out of reach. In hindsight, I can speak of the Lord’s faithfulness for days, yet I seldom have something to look back upon to identify the promise that has now been fulfilled. All of us have promises from God. He speaks to our hearts and His word is for all who trust in Him. God has a plan to prosper us and not harm us, to give us a hope and a future(Jeremiah 29:11) He promises to: never leave us nor forsake us… (Deuteronomy 31:8) The list goes on as we dig into His word and discover His heart for us. May we seek our Savior with all of our heart, and mark out the promises He places in our hearts. As we do, we will have reminders of what is true and will be able to look back in awe, at the faithful way that He has worked things out in our lives. 

 

Promises spoken, preserving his promises

Will surely come true; 

For God is for us, 

And makes all things new. 

What God speaks to us, 

He’s faithful to do; 

His word’s forever, 

He will see it through. 

Perhaps we should mark, 

What He says He’ll do; 

Reminders to trust, 

The Lord for breakthrough. 

As His word is kept, 

And we see the truth; 

Our trust ever grows, 

Fulfillment in view. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises spoken and Your faithfulness to fulfill. Thank You that despite what we see, You are ever moving on our behalf and are always true to Your word. Forgive us for our fearfulness and doubt, despite the promises You have made. Teach us to trust You more and to find way to commemorate that which You have spoken, so that we may look back and be encouraged to press on and then give You praise for Your faithfulness as Your word is fulfilled. Show us how to love those around us when they grow weary in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we record the promises that You have spoken and look to Your words to encourage and strengthen us as we press on in faith to their fulfillment. All praise to You for Your eternal faithfulness. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45

Promises Seen

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV) 

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. “Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE) 

 

When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to dedicate Him to God, they met a man named Simeon, who had been waiting for a promise to come to pass. God had spoken to Simeon that he would see with his own eyes, the promised salvation for all people. For Simeon, this was the fulfillment of a promise long awaited; for Mary and Joseph, it was more to ponder in awe and wonder as they sought the Lord to raise this precious gift properly. This passage is a powerful reminder that what God promises, He will do. Simeon had been waiting and trusting that what God had said, He would do. His faith was met by him holding the Son of God in his own arms, as He dedicated Jesus to the Father. Not only did Simeon see the Savior, but he held Him and faithfully fulfilled his role in the temple as he dedicated Jesus to the Lord. God followed through on His promise to Simeon in an extraordinary way. Not only did Simeon see Him with his own eyes, but he held the Son of God, and proclaimed truth about Jesus and what was yet to come. A long-awaited promise was answered faithfully, and in a way that went beyond simply seeing. May we ever trust the Lord that His promises are true, and wait patiently for the fulfillment, as it is always worth the wait.  

 

When the time had come, Simeons Story

His parents, they knew; 

Go to the temple, 

To give God what’s due. 

Dedicate this child, 

To the Lord on High; 

And trust in His grace, 

For all of their lives. 

When the three arrived, 

They set to the task; 

Of honoring God, 

Just as He had asked. 

Simeon met them, 

And burst into praise; 

For soon in his arms, 

The Savior was laid. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a promise fulfiller and faithful Father to all who seek You. Thank You that You equip us for all that You ask of us, and that Your promises are true. Forgive us for our impatience in the wait between a promise and its fulfillment. Teach us to trust that what You say, You will do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings comfort in chaos and peace in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our faithful Father forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

Joy Unconstrained

So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

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

Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16