Jesus is Our Peace

“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)

“I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.” – (John 16:33, VOICE)

No matter what comes our way, we can know and experience peace in Jesus. He already knew that we would face the troubles that come from a broken world, yet He endured them all on the cross and knows every trial and challenge that will come our way. Jesus, in His infinite love, has promised to be present to help and be our peace. The peace that comes from Jesus is not simply the absence of war, but is an overwhelming, all-encompassing, assurance that He is with us and for us, and because of that, calm comes and covers our entire countenance, no matter what is going on around us. True peace is internal, not external. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what we face or find ourselves in, for He is good and has promised to be present to be our peace.

Jesus has promised,

To be near, bring peace;

Calm in His presence,

Love’s blessed release.

It does not depend,

On our circumstance;

It is internal,

Not random nor chance.

For the peace of God,

Goes beyond what’s known;

Soothing to the core;

As His love is shown.

Even in chaos,

The peace of God comes;

Lays hold of our heart,

As His will be done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to not only experience the world, be in the world and overcome the world, but so that we would have One that already knows and understands everything we face, and can provide the peace we need to keep moving forward. Thank You Jesus, that Your perfect peace is not dependent on what is going on around us, for it is Your goodness, going on inside us. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize the peace that is present in You. Teach us to turn our heart to You, so that we may know and experience Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share the peace that our hearts experience in Your presence, so that they too, may know the peace that comes from You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Peace in All Things

“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)

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. 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

You Steady Me

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong and do not fear; Your God will come…” – (Isaiah 35:3-4a, NIV)

Make the weak arms strong again. Strengthen the weak knees. People are afraid and confused. Say to them, “Be strong! Don’t be afraid!” Look, your God will come…” – (Isaiah 35:3-4a, ERV)

Energize the limp hands, strengthen the rubbery knees. Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:3-4, MSG)

Yesterday, in the practice of simply being still to listen, the words, “I will steady you,” kept echoing in my heart. When the winds blow and the waves rock the boat in treacherous seas, He who can simply speak the words, “Be still,” will steady what’s rocking in me. God is the anchor that holds us secure, and the One who will steady us when our world feels shaken. He is faithful to strengthen us in spaces where strength is gone, and His presence chases away fear. The Lord is the one who comes and makes things right, even when it feels that there is no way. May we ever seek the Lord to steady us and supply the strength that we need, for He is faithful to meet us anew each day.

The Lord is faithful,

The anchor within;

He’s steady and strong,

And He brings calm in.

When storms surround us,

We can rest assured;

He is our anchor,

That keeps us secure.

Secure in His love,

Covered by His grace;

Built up in His strength,

As we seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You steady us when storms surround us, and You are the anchor that keeps us secure. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when the storms of life seem to surround us. Teach us to trust in You to be our help and our hope, for You are our Rock in whom we can find shelter and peace, even in the midst of great storms. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share Your steadiness and security, so that peace permeates every place it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to steady us through every storm, and to be our strength throughout each new day. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

To Know Peace

“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)

“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)

“I have told you these things so that you will be whole and at peace. In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order.” – (John 16:33, VOICE)

Because we live in a broken and fallen world, there will be times of trouble. However, with Christ in us, we can have peace despite what surrounds us. He has already experienced the same sort of trials, sorrows, and difficulties that we face and bore the weight of all on His shoulders. In the same way a parent can bring calm and peace to an upset child, God can be our comfort and safe place to rest in Him. His love brings comfort and calm, even through our greatest trials and places of pain. This is not just theoretical, for I have known and experienced God’s peace through heartache, hurt and helplessness. When there was nothing I could do to make my circumstances better or easier, He came alongside me and provided His strength and peace as He walked beside me and loved me through it all. Each time I have to walk through difficulty, God’s faithful, loving kindness meets me where I am at and leads me through; for He is my help, my hope, and my true place of peace. May we ever look to the Lord to be our peace, no matter what lies ahead.

Trouble comes and goes,

As it always does;

Yet God is faithful,

As He always was.

Peace in our chaos,

Calm through ev’ry storm;

Comfort in heartache,

And strength when we’re worn.

All that we’re facing,

And all we have known;

Jesus experienced,

So grace might be shown.

Lean into Jesus,

For He is the way;

To know love and peace,

He’s promised to stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our comfort and peace, no matter what challenges we face. Thank You that You know heartache, suffering, and sorrow, and are able to bring comfort and peace in places it seems impossible. Forgive us for our struggle to trust when things are overwhelming. Teach us to turn to You in all things, for You are our perfect peace no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us through every circumstance so that they too, may know Your loving kindness that brings peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

Hope We Can Hold

“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, HCSB)

Jesus said, “Don’t be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in Me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” – (John 14:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father’s home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. – (John 14:1-2, VOICE)

What Jesus told to His disciples applies to all who believe. We need not be troubled, but instead, believe in God and all that Jesus is doing on our behalf. No matter how things seem in the here and now, we have an incredible hope and future in Him. The same God who created all the beauty that surrounds us is preparing a place for us to dwell with Him forever. When I think of how incredible the mountains and seas, forests and fields, and all of the stars that He hung in the skies, I am awestruck considering what heaven must be like. To be in the very presence of He who is love, surrounded by all that He has prepared for us, the very thought leaves me in awe and wonder. May we ever remember our Savior and all He is doing to prepare a place for us, for our hope is in Him and all that He has for us.

The promise of God,

Forever shall be;

The hope we can hold,

Despite what we see.

For Jesus has gone,

To prepare a place;

For our forever,

Full of love and grace.

The good that we see,

And beauty we know;

Are but a mere glimpse,

Of what is in store.

All that lies ahead,

Our hope for today;

The goodness of God,

Will show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not allow our trials and troubles determine our hope, for You are our security and grace as we navigate each new day. Thank You that Your loving kindness is ever present to lead us and remind us that there is so much more that lies ahead. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope that we hold when life gets messy. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are unchangeable and Your love knows no end. Lead us to love as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to our hope in You forever. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Welcomed With Celebration

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

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

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Staying with God and waiting on Him is what we need to finish our race and enter into the glory of eternity with God. In our current series at church, Kingdom Come, yesterday’s message had a great analogy of how God welcomes us into His Kingdom. One of our pastors, who knew little about football, had attended her first Seahawks game the week prior. She took notice of new things and asked questions about what she was observing. As she was closing up her message on Matthew 6:1-13, one part of her analogy that she had observed at the game, challenged my thinking. She spoke of how each play was introduced by name with fireworks as they came into view from the tunnel. Her comment was that God celebrates and welcomes us in the same way. At first, I paused and thought, by name, sure, but fireworks? That is a big deal for one person. As I pondered, the first thing that came to mind was that though I do not deserve a big production, Jesus does. Jesus in me deserves all accolades. Then I considered things further. When we welcome a baby into the world, we celebrate with thanksgiving, gifts, and great cheer. God is our Father in Heaven, and He celebrates us in the same way. We are known and acknowledged with good things because we are His. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is our strength and where our courage comes from. He celebrates and acknowledges each of us by name, and with great celebration because we are His.

With celebration,

The Lord calls our name;

He ushers us in,

To goodness proclaimed.

His Kingdom is now,

And forevermore;

We’re meant to embrace,

And trust in the Lord.

For as we choose live,

Depending on Him;

He equips with strength,

To do as He did.

In Him we can live,

As is His intent;

To love each other,

With grace, enter in.

So, trust in the Lord,

Know you are enough;

Not for what you do,

But because He’s tough.

Strong to uphold us,

Grace that always loves;

Purveyor of peace,

All hope from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait on You, You show us who You are and that Your Kingdom is not only in Heaven, but is here and now as well. Thank You that You know us and call us by name, and that You celebrate us, not for what we do, but because we are Yours. Forgive us for the times that we fear that we are not enough or we lose heart in the waiting. Teach us again and again that our value is found in You because we are Yours, and that as we wait on You, You grant us strength and hope and help. Show us how to love one another as You created us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait in trust for You in tough spaces, and praise You that we are known, loved and upheld by You, our Heavenly Father. Amen.

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

I will give thanks to You, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonderful deeds. – Psalm 9:1

Hope in Hard Spaces

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

Even though this verse is committed to memory and planted securely in my heart, there is something to be said about seeing it in print and bringing it to the surface of my heart and mind. God’s timing is perfect. He knows what we need, and when we need it most. I have not been in a good space the last few weeks, in particular, the last few days, as I am struggling with believing my purpose is found in the classroom. After more than a year and a half away from a “normal” classroom routine, kids are struggling to “do school” and I am challenged more than ever before to figure out how to help kids learn and grow when they choose distraction and avoidance rather than to try. I knew I was meant to be a teacher from a very early age. Clearly God purposed and prepared me for the position, yet after twenty-five years, I have been questioning everything. His plans for me are good, and include a future and a hope. On the roughest days, I have to remember and trust Him for the truth of His promises. May we ever seek the Lord, who has good plans for us all, and has a future and a hope that He is preparing for each of us.

Each life with a plan,

Purpose to fulfill;

Crafted with intent,

With strengths and with skills.

Let not obstacles,

Deter His intent;

For challenges come,

And strength’s heaven sent.

When things go awry,

Choose trust in what’s true;

Fresh hope, a future,

Are waiting for you.

Help us rise in faith,

To trust in what’s true;

Better is coming,

O Lord, bring it soon.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our future. Thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and with purpose. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we become overwhelmed with the here and now. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our anchor through every storm. Show us how to love those around us well so that they may recognize the hope and future that lies before them is good. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for creating us each with a plan and purpose, and for being our hope both now and forevermore. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. 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

Hope is Rising

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. – (Psalm 31:24, MSG)

Be strong, and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

As I was doing my lesson planning yesterday, I did more research on the work of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who spoke at the Inauguration. Both when she shared her poem then, and while I discovered a recent poem of hers, “The Miracle of Morning”, I was in awe of her ability to tackle current events and convey hope through poetry. My sixth graders have been studying the poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, and the opportunity to spend some time studying the works of a modern-day poet seemed a perfect pairing. For me, as I listen to and read Miss Gorman’s words, I cannot help but think her message is one of choosing to be brave and strong, and to not give up. The words call upon hope to rise within us, much like God’s word, for He is where our hope is held, and our Source of courage, strength and resolve. May we seek the Lord to find the strength and courage to see His love that is all around us, and the resolve to love as we are loved by Him.

Take heart, dear ones,

For hope is rising;

Light found in darkness,

There’s no disguising.

The chaos that is,

Will not always be;

For hope is rising,

As love is released.

A choice to honor,

Sisters and brothers;

To stand hand-in-hand,

Supporting each other.

Stand up, dear young ones,

Please take it from me;

The future is yours,

Rise up and shine, so all may see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are our Source of courage, strength and resolve. Thank You that as we seek and learn to depend on You, hope rises within us. Forgive us for not being light and life in the midst of darkness. Teach us to seek You to ignite Your fire within us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread Your light that chases away the darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to raise us up as light-bearers and love givers. Amen.

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

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5