Such a Humble Start

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NLT) 

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV) 

 

There are so many details about the birth of Jesus that are beyond my ability to grasp. First, as a woman about to give birth, I cannot fathom the exhaustion Mary must have been feeling after their four-day journey. Then, after travelling eighty-some miles on foot, to be told that there were no rooms available, anywhere, would have been enough to send most over the edge. No mention is made about anyone aiding Mary with the delivery of Jesus. As far as I understand, it was Mary, Joseph, and perhaps the nearby animals in the stable that night. Modern medicine and midwives were not a reasonable option. I think that this was a space where the grace of God was made known in a tangible way, as the young couple brought the Son of God into the world. This brave, strong, young mother, made use of what she had, and wrapped Jesus in strips of cloth and laid him in a bed that was probably far from where she had imagined the precious Prince of Peace would be set to sleep as a newborn. Such a humble beginning made God-with-us all the more relatable and approachable. Though He is King of Creation, He came to us as a newborn baby, in need and dependent on His parents for ordinary things. However, He did not remain an infant in a stable, but grew and became the Overcoming One who saves, and ultimately returned to His rightful throne in heaven. May we remember the humble beginnings of our Savior, recognizing that He understands and can relate to our earthly struggles, yet He is God with us, ready to help and equip us to overcome anything that stands before us. 

 

Weary, in wonder,when-love-came-close.jpg

At their journey’s end; 

Where were they to stay, 

What did God intend? 

No room in the inns, 

But a stable found; 

To bring forth Jesus, 

The image, profound. 

Such a humble start, 

For the Prince of Peace; 

Try fathom the grace, 

To them, God released. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us so much, that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank Your that because He came as a baby, in such a humble space, we find comfort as we seek Your grace. Forgive us for either forgetting that baby Jesus grew, became, overcame and is now seated at Your right hand, or for not recognizing that Jesus experienced the same joys and pains as we do and understands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all before You in faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your purposes that are accomplished through that which does not seem to make sense. Amen.

 

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

 

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to us from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

 

 

Appropriated Praise

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV) 

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV) 

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG) 

 

This tends to feel like an extraordinarily long week, as we all adjust to being back at work and school after having had a several-day stretch of a break. Between the cold, dark, drizzly days to the extra meetings that have taken place, or the pursuit of personal fitness goals that have increased my running mileage, by the end of each day, I have found myself thoroughly exhausted. Through it all, God deserves my gratitude. Because of His faithfulness, I am gainfully employed, working at a job that I have loved for more than twenty years. His grace grants us seasons that nourish the earth, and make us appreciate warmer weather all the more. Finally, His goodness has granted me a body that is strong and healthy and able to work harder and be pushed farther to attain new milestones in my own personal pursuit of wellness. May we ever thank God for His goodness and love, as His faithfulness lasts forever and He is worthy of all of our praise. 

 

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When all’s going well; 

And still give Him thanks, 

When things aren’t so swell. 

Even in darkness, 

God’s love light does shine; 

It is up to us, 

Allow Him headline. 

All praise to the Lord, 

For all of our days; 

His hope, grace and help, 

Love that lights our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love for us, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that Your love lasts forever. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when we are weary of all that weighs us down. Teach us to give You praise, no matter how we feel, as You are the reason we have life and breath and hope, both now and forever. Show us how to love those around us practically, so that Your goodness, faithfulness and love are made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

Grow Roots of Gratitude

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:7, ERV)

Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, VOICE)

 

As we depend on Christ and draw life and strength from Him, our roots grow deep and our foundation, strong. Consequently, the deeper our understanding, the more our heart begins to overflow with gratitude. This week marks the kickoff of the whirlwind that is the holiday season. Life tends to become extraordinarily busy with the bonus activities and added gatherings the season supplies. If we stand strong in our faith, just as we were taught, our hearts cannot help but overflow with thankfulness. May we press into our Provider and allow our roots to grow deep down into Him, so that we draw life and strength from the true Source and overflow with thankfulness at His abundant provision of all that we need and more.

 

For in Christ alone, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Our roots shall grow deep;

Safe, strong and secure,

Our hearts His grace keeps.

As we learn and grow,

His love will abound;

Reason to give thanks,

His leading is sound.

With hearts full of praise,

Give thanks forever;

For God is faithful,

Beyond all measure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we grow our roots in You, You build a firm foundation within us. Thank You that as we grow strong in our faith, our heart begins to overflow with thankfulness for You and all that You have done. Forgive us for not pursuing growth in You, or for neglecting to give thanks for all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our Strength and Supply and give You praise in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes gratitude contagious. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all that You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Give Rise to the Songs

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

Sing songs from your heart to Christ. Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God our Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, MSG)

 

Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs are all ways that wise words of truth can be transferred from mind to heart, when given a voice. Music has a magnificent way of moving us from one frame of mind to another. When chosen wisely, songs selected can lift the spirit from chaos to calm, desperate to determined, sorrowful to steady, and from wounded to warrior. As we sing and give thanks to God, something shifts within us and our resolve rises up. The purpose of praise is to acknowledge and celebrate the Lord, yet in doing so, we end up strengthened and encouraged as well. May we ever choose to allow the song in our heart to rise, granting words of truth the room to rejuvenate our resolve.

 

O Lord, let our hearts, Give Rise to the Songs

Give rise to the songs;

You’ve planted in us,

To make resolve strong.

Let all that we say,

Be girded in truth;

Our words, a blessing,

In all that we do.

May Your words of love,

Flood our hearts and minds;

So the songs that rise,

Are gracious and kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of music. Thank You that Your truth can be sealed in our hearts through songs. Forgive us for not allowing the truth planted in our hearts to rise and flow from us to encourage and lift others up. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would give ear to the songs that resonate in our hearts, allowing Your love, grace and encouragement to flood every part of our being. Show us how to love those around us well, extending the same encouragement and grace to others that You so generously pour out to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing the songs that You have planted deep within us, and encourage others with Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. – Psalm 96:1

Restoring Joy

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – (Psalm 51:12, NIV)

Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey You. – (Psalm 51:12, ERV)

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough You bring to me. Hold me close to You with a willing spirit that obeys whatever You say. – (Psalm 51:12, TPT)

 

Currently, I am on our Sisterhood Retreat with my church. It is a time for the ladies to gather, connect, worship and grow together. Interestingly, it seems that each time there is intentional gathering to connect, the very words of this verse come to life for those who had been walking in a dry and weary place. We have been created for relationships. God intended that we not walk the path set before us, alone. He is gracious and kind, and provides people to surround and walk beside us, if we are only willing to invest and allow others in. Part of maintaining a passion and a joy in who God has created us to be and our ability to obey what He asks, come from the strength we gain through the blessing of being connected. I have found that this applies in every area of my life, be it at home, work, church, my neighborhood, the community or any other place I find Him leading.  The more invested and connected I am, the more my joy remains, despite the circumstances that come and go. May we ever seek the Lord to restore and uphold the joy of our salvation, and lead us to the connections that encourage and strengthen us as we walk out each day.

 

Oh Lord, may we come, fb_img_15400123159817887031286001252606.jpg

With hearts seeking You;

Restore unto us,

Your joy that is true.

Joy that is lasting,

Despite ups and downs;

A heart that’s certain,

Of Your rightful crown.

Make our hearts willing,

To trust and obey;

Surround us with those,

Seeking do the same.

O Lord, You are good,

All joy’s found in You;

Restore any space,

That need be renewed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself so that we may know the depth of joy found in a hope and future in You. Thank You that You have created us for relationships and You provide us opportunities to invest and deepen them as we pursue the path that You have placed before us. Forgive us for not seeking You to restore our joy when it feels lost, or for retreating when You call us to move boldly and invest in those whom You have placed around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be routinely restored as we walk in obedience to all that You ask. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and spreads joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to restore and uphold the joy we have in our hope in You, and strengthen our relationships as we willingly step out and obey that which You ask of us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7

Worth the Wait

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for He will never disappoint you! – (Psalm 27:14, TPT)

 

Waiting is one of the most challenging things that humans are called to do. Strength and courage are necessary to be upheld as we stand by in hope for what is yet to come. Without the Lord’s grace and strength and courage, it would be seemingly impossible to hold-up for that which has not yet happened. I imagine that whomever originally spoke (or penned) the words, “Good things come to those who wait,” had experienced the joy that arrives when hope long awaited is at last realized. God is good, and He has good things in store for us. Often, we have to walk through trials or seasons of waiting before we discover the blessing that comes when the wait is done. As we choose to patiently trust in the Lord, our hearts are strengthened and we grow in our capacity to hope. The grace and presence of the Lord ultimately lead us to the beautiful blessing He intended all along. May we ever wait patiently for the Lord with courage and strength, for He is faithful, always.

 

With patience, choose wait, Made With Purpose

For the Lord is good;

Faithful to meet us,

Our need understood.

Though the wait may be,

Seemingly too long;

God’s courage and strength,

Will help keep us strong.

So, wait on the Lord,

Trust His love and grace;

Now and forever,

He is worth the wait.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You are faithful to grant us courage and strength as we standby. Thank You that You are good, always. Forgive us for our impatience and our desire to see things done on our timeline rather than Yours. Teach us to trust You and Your timing. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give courage and strength in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your faithfulness, even when we cannot see answers on the horizon. Amen.

 

 

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

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

 

Resolve to Love

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NLT)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, ERV)

May the Lord flood you with an unending, undying love for one another and for all humanity, like our love for you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, VOICE)

 

In Paul’s first letter to the church of Thessalonica, he admonished them to love one another, and let them know that love for one another and for people everywhere, would be his priority in prayer for all. The very same encouragement and lasting love that Paul had for the body of Christ, ought to be our example that leads us to allow love to direct our steps and choose to pray and lift up one another. A resolution to love, results in God’s love being made known. May we pray and encourage and love one another, just as the Lord loves each one of us.

 

Let love and His grace, The Mirror of the Heart

Lead us each along;

For the Lord is good,

His grace makes us strong.

Strong in the spaces,

Where love can be tough;

Hope in the places,

Where we aren’t enough.

Only by His grace,

Will love in us grow;

So, ever seek Him,

That His love’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You love us with an unending love that You plant deep within us so that we too, may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to love. Show us how to choose to love all people at all times, even when it is the last thing we desire to do. Direct our steps so that those around us may know the greatness of Your grace and the endless depth of Your lasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love as we are loved by You, and pray for others to be equipped to do the same. 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

Our Faithful Forever Rock

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal. – (Isaiah 26:4, NIV)

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is a rock for all ages. – (Isaiah 26:4, CEB)

 So trust in the Eternal One forever, for He is like a great Rock – strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting. – (Isaiah 26:4, VOICE)

 

The Lord was and is and always will be the One in whom we can trust. Because God is strong, we can depend on Him for strength. His stability steadies us when life brings the sort of storms that shake us to the core. Our trust is secure in the hands of He who knit us together and knows the number of hairs on our head. Each time I have placed my trust in the Lord, rather than my circumstances or own strengths, He has been faithful to meet me and provide what was needed to carry me through, according to His good and perfect will. Even through the seasons of struggle, I can look back and see His hands and His heart that held me and delivered me, as He grew my understanding of His faithfulness and His grace. God is good, and He is strong and secure for all who trust in Him, forever.

 

Choose trust in the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For He is our Rock;

Strong, ever steady,

Faithfulness won’t stop.

He has always been,

Is now and shall be;

The One we can trust,

To eternity.

No matter what comes,

In good times and bad;

Trust in the Lord God,

Faith and grace He’ll add.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You forever to be our Rock, who is strong, steady and secure. Thank You that Your faithfulness knows no end. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to trust in You and have either attempted to power through difficulty on our own or changed direction due to the challenge we were designed to walk through. Teach us to trust and depend on You more. Show us how to love those around us, so that they may come to know and understand Your goodness and faithfulness through how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and stand firm in Your promises. Amen.

 

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

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? – Psalm 18:31

Stand Firm and Love Well

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NIV)

Listen, stay alert, stand tall in the faith, be courageous, and be strong. Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, VOICE)

Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of courage. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, TPT)

 

With so many ideas and influences bombarding us day in and day out, it is critical that we guard our hearts and minds, and know with certainty, what we believe. It takes courage and strength to remain strong in our convictions, yet when we remember, above all, to allow love to lead in every part of our being – our life, our words and our actions, there are less often challenges to the faith on which we stand. Because I know what I believe and try to allow love to be my motivation behind all that I say and do, I have had amazing, peaceful and kind conversations with friends that hold opposing viewpoints to my own. We do not need to view the world the same way to choose to love, and love and kindness do not soften the strength of one’s faith. May we listen and be aware of what influences are surrounding us so that we can have courage to stand strong in our faith. Above all, let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that we do.

 

We need to listen,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Choose to be aware;

Know well our beliefs,

And cover with prayer.

In strength, choose to stand,

By faith, for what’s true;

Take courage in Christ,

He’s always with you.

Let love and kindness,

Above all, prevail;

In word, deed and life,

Love shall never fail.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word and Your Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us in what is good and true. Thank You that You not only call us to be strong and courageous in our faith, but You equip and empower us to do so. Thank You that the greatest call we are given is to love You and love people. Forgive us for the things that have not demonstrated love to You or to Your created. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to be our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us with our words, deeds and the very life we lead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in our faith and lead lives of love. Amen.

 

 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Bound Together

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV)

Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one, for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up; but if a man falls when he is alone, he’s in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, TLB)

 

For years, this verse has been my hope and prayer, held in my heart, especially the last sentence about a cord of three strands being so strong. As my Viking and I prepared to wed, we did a bit of research about Nordic wedding traditions. Incredibly, we found that often, in Nordic weddings, there is a hand-tying portion of the ceremony where the bride and groom’s hands are bound together in a triple-braided cord to represent the two coming together and be bound to one another with God. The visual representation of this joining together very closely matched an image that has stuck with me for a very long time. Consequently, together with our Pastor, we incorporated this tradition into our wedding ceremony.

Already, as we drove home from Wenatchee yesterday, (where our wedding took place) this verse proved itself true for us. We came upon horrendous traffic, and the typical two-and-a-half hour drive turned into eight hours. On our own, either one of us would have been ready to tap out; however, with the support of one another and the grace of God, we successfully navigated our way home through the heat and traffic, unscathed and still speaking to one another.  The wonderful thing about the promise held in two being better than one, is that it perpetuates our charge to be engaged in the body. If we love God and love one another, we are not alone and have the strength of that three-strand cord. May we ever invest in our relationship with God and one another so that we may stand together in His strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Our God has designed, wp-15323501515116858327490790099683.jpg

Us not be alone;

Binds us together,

In heart and in home.

Wherever two stand,

Their strength is greater;

As joined by the Lord,

Loving Creator.

Let two choose unite,

And in God abide;

For their strength shall stand,

With grace found inside.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in relationship with You and with each other. Thank You that when two join together and invite You to be the center, You come and intertwine Your heart with ours and grant us strength. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to take on what lies before us on our own. Teach us to trust You and those whom You have given us to walk beside. Show us how to love each other in a way that joins hearts and minds in Your purpose to walk out Your plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand with You as a three-strand cord, bound in Your strength, hope and love. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth  (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing,

May 2011 – present

 

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together. – Psalm 34:3