Where Strength Comes From

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, HCSB)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

Toward the end of Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, he reminded them where their strength comes from. The same God that strengthened His people back then, is willing and able to do the same for us today. All that stands before us is nothing compared to He who is in us. This is not to discount the struggles and obstacles we face, but rather to remind us that nothing is too big for God. I don’t know about you, but this whole Covid season has felt like a series of mountains to climb and barriers to navigate. That being said, we are a week and a half away from April! Masks are optional, travel is open, and the whispers that life would not be in Covid mode forever are turning into conversations at a normal voice level. Though I am sure that few of us would ever want to navigate such a season again, each of us has stories to tell of how God provided His strength when we needed it most. He is faithful, and we can trust in Him. May we ever rely on the Lord to be our strength, for He is stronger than anything that we have ever and will ever face.

The Lord is our strength,

We need not let fear;

Take hold of our hearts,

For He’s ever near.

The mountains we face,

Are never too large;

Our God is greater,

If we give Him charge.

Invite Him to take,

His place on the throne;

As Lord of our lives,

In Him, strength is known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength is far greater than any struggle or obstacle that we face. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us where we are, and lead us to where we need to go. Thank You that all things are possible with You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when what lies before us seems too much. Teach us to trust in You, for You are greater than anything and everything that lies ahead. Lead us in Your love so that we might love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage people in places where there is fear and feelings of defeat. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and trust You even when things seem impossible. Amen.

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

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

A New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly everything is new! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, VOICE)

When we give our hearts to God, He makes us new in Him. Beauty replaces ashes and hope rises from our spaces of despair; in Christ, all is made new. This does not mean that the struggles and trials disappear, but it means that we come to know that we never need to navigate them alone. We discover that even in the midst of darkness, we have the Light that cannot be extinguished. The Holy Spirit equips us with peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, love, self-control and joy. All of these things and more, grant us hope to persevere and pursue a life lived in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the new He places within us, so that we might live and love as the new creation that God has made way for us to be.

United with Christ,

Our lives become new;

Hope everlasting,

Through love that is true.

In Christ, hope rises,

For He is our peace;

The Light in darkness,

Where goodness won’t cease.

He brings us beauty,

Where ashes once stood;

Hope out of heartache,

In Him there is good.

Good that delights us,

That brings what we lack;

Presence unending,

Love never held back.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are a new creation. Thank You that You forgive us, redeem us, and make us new in the light of Your love. Forgive us for not seeking or for not embracing all that we have in You when we invest our hearts and lives in You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things, for You are our hope and our help in all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do. Show us how to share Your hope, light and love with everyone we meet through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the new we become in You. Amen.

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

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – Galatians 5:22-23

Righteousness and Justice

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. – (Psalm 97:2b, HCSB)

Goodness and justice make His kingdom strong. – (Psalm 97:2b, ERV)

Right and justice anchor His rule. – (Psalm 97:2b, MSG)

His throne of glory rests upon a foundation of righteousness and justice. – (Psalm 97:2b, TPT)

The throne of God is established on Him being just and righteous. Glory and honor are His, for He is good and fair. Because God is these things and so much more, He deserves our worship with reverence. When we are stuck in struggles, we must remember who reigns. Though we may not see resolve in the time frame we desire, it does not mean that God is not working on our behalf. Often, it is only after we have made it through the trying time that we can look back and see how clearly He was our help and our hope to make things new. His ongoing faithfulness reminds us that He is forever good and just. May we ever seek Him and praise Him in all things, for He is right and just and loves us as His own children.

The Lord God, He reigns,

He is right and just;

Hope and salvation,

Worthy of all trust.

His throne, established,

On all that is right;

Justice comes from Him,

Creator of light.

May we ever seek,

Throughout all our days;

And give God glory,

For His faithful ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always right and just, even when our circumstances or surroundings are not. Thank You that You are ever moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for Your justice is not dependent on what we can see. Teach us to trust You to move in all things, and to know that You will have the final say, regardless of what we see now. Show us how to love those around us faithfully as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You establishing Your throne of what is right and just, and for being forever faithful to all who seek You. Amen.

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

But I will seek Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence. – Psalm 17:15

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG)

It should not be easy to overlook this fact, but there are times that I make God too small. I think I get caught up in the frustration, fear, or a funk, forgetting what I know to be true. God has ALWAYS been faithful, and He ALWAYS uses our trials as testimonies and our struggles as ways to show us just how mightily He can move. Incredibly, as we seek Him and allow Him to work in us, through us and around us, He exceeds our hopes and expectations every time. Though His answers and solutions may not look like we had hoped or imagined, they ultimately are far better than what we hoped would be so. As we give God room to move, He is given glory through His church (all of us), and through His Spirit (working in us). Whether we are faithful and trusting or not, He forever remains worthy of all glory and praise. May we ever seek the Lord and allow Him room to be God, for He will do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine.

God’s more is so much,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Immeasurable;

Beyond all our hopes,

Power enabled.

All we imagine,

Is still nowhere near;

What the Lord can do,

When we release fear.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Watch all that He does;

More than we could dream,

Power through His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine; in us, through us and around us. Thank You that Your glory lasts forever, and You love never quits. Forgive us for thinking our hopes, dreams, trials and difficulties are insignificant to You. Teach us to trust You more, for Your love and ability to move on our behalf are beyond what we could hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant glimpses of the depth and breadth of Your unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory forever for all that You have and will ever do. Amen.

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

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

Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Take Joy in the Journey

For You make me glad by Your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what Your hands have done. How great are Your works, Lord, how profound Your thoughts! – (Psalm 92:4-5, NIV)

No wonder I’m so glad; I can’t keep it in! Lord, I’m shouting with glee over all You’ve done for me: what mighty miracles and Your power at work – just to name a few! Depths of purpose and layers of meaning saturate everything You do. – (Psalm 92:4-5, TPT)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. Your works are marvelous, O Eternal One! Your thoughts are unfathomable. – (Psalm 92:4-5, VOICE)

Each new day, we have a choice – we can either focus on our struggles, or we can take joy in the faithfulness of God. Some days, this is more difficult than others. This morning as I woke from a very restless night’s sleep, I found myself frustrated and grumpy. It took little time to ponder how God has provided for what my heart has needed, and I could not help but smile and find myself aware of how God works on our behalf. God’s thoughts and plans are not our own, and He can use every test as a testimony. If I pause and reflect, there have been countless times that the Lord has taken my struggles and turned them into strengths, and He has turned my trials into triumphs. In the midst of my challenges, I must remember that God is faithful and is ever working on my behalf. He does a work in my heart as well, and leads me through whatever obstacle lies before me. The Lord is loving and kind, working mightily in us, before us, and through us, even in the moments that we are oblivious to how He might move. May we ever praise the Lord for His love and faithfulness, even when we cannot see how He will work things out.

The work of Your hands,

Is faithful and true;

You help and hold us,

As You lead us through.

My heart sings for joy,

At all You have done;

Our loving Father,

The Most Holy One.

Help us to reflect,

Remember with praise;

Your presence and help,

Miraculous ways.

Lead us with Your love,

When we cannot see;

How things will work out,

May we trust in Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that Your ways are so much higher than our own. Thank You that You work on our behalf, and lead us through the deserts and valleys that are a part of our journey. Forgive us for not lifting praise when troubles come; for You are always worthy. Teach us to depend on You in faith, and to ever praise You for what You have done, are doing, and will continue to do. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and all that You have done, trusting that You will forever remain our faithful Father. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

Let Faith Remain Strong

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – (James 1:12, NIV)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life. – (James 1:12, MSG)

If your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! – (James 1:12, TPT)

Life is full of trials, challenges and difficulties. We can either persevere and place our faith in Christ, or we can fold under the weight the world wields our way. God is faithful as we trust in Him. Our experiences during the struggles help our hearts recognize the beautiful blessings that He has for us as we remain in Him. Not only do we have hope for eternity, but we have hope for the here and now. No matter what lies before us, Christ has promised to be with us, if only we choose to let Him in. Some of my greatest blessings have come after struggling and trusting God through my darkest days. I would not recognize the true joys I have been given, if it were not for the times where He walked beside me in the difficult and painful. We are blessed as we persevere. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is, and will do what He promises He will do. 

Blessed are the ones,

Who choose persevere;

Through trials they face,

Trusting God is near.

Ever He’s present,

To give strength and peace;

We must keep trusting,

For He holds the keys.

Keys to our freedom,

The doors to all grace;

Life in abundance,

As we seek His face.

Allow His love in,

No matter what comes;

His promises stand,

‘Til our time is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are blessed as we persevere through trials trusting in You. Thank You that You are faithful to Your promises, for You grant us help and hope every day that we draw breath. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the truth of who You are and how You love. Teach us to turn in trust to You through all times. Show us how to love, support and encourage all those around us, in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You through the trials and praise You for Your presence and blessings that lie before us each new day. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

No Separation From Love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, NIV)

Can anything separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or problems or persecution separate us from His love? If we have no food or clothes or face danger or even death, will that separate us from His love? But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown His love for us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, ERV)

Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish His love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love. Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! – (Romans 8:35, 37, TPT)

This is our reminder of just how powerful the love of God truly is. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love. When we go through struggles and trials and hardships of every kind, He is with us, loving us through. In our weakness, God is our strength. In our heartache, He is our comfort. No matter what we face or what comes our way, God will be present and loving us through. Often, it is difficult to recognize, yet if we open our eyes and our heart, His loving presence becomes clear. Beyond God’s presence, He grants us His wisdom and strength so that we may see victory, even when all seems to point to defeat. May we ever hold onto the promises of God’s word, and trust in He who is greater than every trial that we face; for in His love, we are able to navigate every struggle that happens upon our path.

There’s nothing on earth,

That ever can come;

Between the Lord’s love,

The battle’s been won.

He already knows,

The giants we’ll face;

In love, He will give,

Love, peace, strength and grace.

So, let us rise up,

Choose to trust in Him;

His love leads the way,

Strength granted within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that no matter what struggle or hardship or trial we face, You are present to help and love us through. Forgive us for the times that we doubt the depth of Your love or are blinded by what lies before us instead of looking up to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and goodness in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the tremendous power of Your unending love to lead us through all that comes our way. Amen.

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

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Zoom into Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life. – (Philippians 4:6, TPT)

 

Today will be the first official day of remote learning. The first day of instructing online; the first day of posting parent instructional videos; and the first opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices of my students on Zoom. I would be lying if I said I have not been a bit anxious the last few weeks, as we have been unpacking and preparing to go “live”. Learning an entirely new way of instructing and how to organize and upload and post everything, for three different preps has stretched and challenged me beyond what I thought I could handle. With much prayer and the blessed provision of professional learning communities, I think that I am ready to launch. As I was finishing up my final video posts for parents last evening, I checked my school email. To my surprise, there was a wonderful message from one of my Language Arts and Social Studies students, letting me know how excited he is to get started with remote learning today! He filled me in on a bit of what he has been doing under his mom’s tutelage, and informed me that he was pretty much an expert on Zoom, having watched his mom participate in countless meetings over the past several weeks. I imagine that you too, can understand the power held in the encouraging words of my 6th grade student. All of the struggles over the past several weeks to navigate this new learning, suddenly did not matter. Knowing that at least one student is eager and ready to get started, makes it all worthwhile. It is easy to forget that we are often God’s hands or His voice to soothe anxiety and bring calm to those around us. He utilizes His people to make His heart tangible so that we may know His peace. Prayers are often answered through the people He provides, and one of those for me was a simple email from a sixth grader. Yes, I am still a bit nervous about today, but it is a first-day-of-school, can’t-wait-to-meet-them, sort of feeling. These are my kids whom I have not seen in more than a month. Today, I get to begin to reconnect and see and hear them for myself. More than an email – live voices and smiling faces. It will be good, and I am glad. May anxiety melt away as we lift our concerns to God. He hears and He cares, and He is the perfecter of our peace.

 

Choose lift to the Lord,

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Classroom vs. Virtual Room Preparations…

Each anxiety;

For He hears and cares,

Is near and ready.

He brings us His peace,

Most generously;

His kindness and grace,

Sets anxiousness free.

Come before the Lord,

Seek His help and grace;

His goodness and strength,

He’ll fill up our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that Your goodness and grace wash away our anxiousness when we bring our concerns before You. Thank You that You utilize people to make Your heart tangible. Forgive us for allowing our anxiousness to overwhelm us, rather than slowing down and setting all at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide all that we need to navigate every new circumstance and situation when we rely on You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be the encouragement, strength, or peace that is needed to ease away anxiousness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for Your care and concern for us, individually, and the peace that is provided through Your incredible love. Amen.

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Be Glad, Lovely Sky

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – (Isaiah 49:13, NIV)

Heavens and earth, be happy! Mountains, shout with joy! The Lord comforts His people. He is good to His poor people. – (Isaiah 49:13, ERV)

Oh joy! Be glad – sky! Take joy – earth! Burst into song – mountains! For the Eternal, moved to compassion, has comforted and consoled His people. – (Isaiah 49:13, VOICE)

 

Though we may not feel it in the midst of our struggles, God is moving with compassion and supplying His comfort. Perhaps that is the “why” to rejoice, for when we do, it further comforts us, despite our circumstances. Additionally, even if we do not choose to rejoice and be glad, “…the very rocks would start to shout!” (Luke 19:40, VOICE) The truth of who God is will be made known, with or without us. We are in a unique position to demonstrate joy, despite our circumstances; rejoice in the truth that we know, and hold fast to the hope of all that is yet to come. It does not mean that we will be “Miss Susie Sunshine” all the time, but what it does mean is that there is an underlying joy and hope, deep-rooted within us, that shines forth somehow, even on the most difficult of days. May we set our sights on He who is good to His people and has compassion and comfort for those in need. Let us take joy in the truth that we know and be glad in ways that spread goodness to those around us.

 

Be glad, lovely sky, wp-15856580783495833011096505555461.jpg

Take joy, all the earth;

For God sees us each,

With infinite worth.

In His holy love,

Comfort He does bring;

Full of compassion,

Our reason to sing.

So, sing out with praise,

All the earth rejoice;

Lift praise to the Lord,

One heart and one voice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of heaven and earth has reason to rejoice and be glad, as You bring comfort and compassion to the afflicted and those in need. Thank You that You hear every prayer and see every need. Forgive us for our lack of praise in spaces of struggle. Show us how to rejoice and hold hope in tangible ways that spread joy to those around us. Help us to love all those whom we have contact with in ways that encourage and strengthen them with joy and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts, full of hope, as You are our Comforter, full of compassion in every season of our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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