The Courage to Hope

So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, HCSB)

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

Remember this, and do not abandon your confidence, which will lead to rich rewards. Simply endure, for when you have done as God requires of you, you will receive the promise. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, VOICE)

This confidence is the courage that comes from trusting in God. He provides as we abide, and He will lead us through all that He has called us to do. Our reward is the hope and help that we have in the here and now, and the promise to be in His presence for eternity. The Lord blesses and keeps us, helps and holds us, and loves us through all that comes our way. May we ever hold fast to the confidence we have in Him, and keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. He is faithful, and will see us through all things.

The courage to hope,

In what is unseen;

Is true confidence,

God says what He means.

His presence, promised,

And hope for much more;

Grace to keep going,

Love that He outpours.

Endurance given,

So we persevere;

Trust in His goodness,

And that He is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You and have courage to keep pressing forward because You are with us. Thank You that our ability to persevere comes from You, not from our own strength. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and walk alongside us to where You are leading. Forgive us for our frustration when the road is not smooth. Teach us to hold fast to You, and to trust that You will continue to be faithful as You bring us to the places of promises fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, especially when the way does not seem to be headed where we thought we would go. Show us how to love, encourage and walk alongside all those whom You have placed in our lives in this season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do what You say You will do, and lean into Your love that holds us up. Amen.

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

To Locate Lasting Peace

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, HCSB)

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, ERV)

Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 5:1, VOICE)

When we place our faith in Jesus, we are forgiven and set free from the guilt and shame of our poor decisions and granted true and lasting peace in Him. The more we know Him, the deeper our understanding becomes of love, forgiveness and peace. Knowing that we have been declared right before God through our trust in Him provides lasting peace, as we come to know that anything that we struggle through now will not last, but our future is secure. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for lasting peace is found in Christ alone.

The true peace that lasts,

Is through God alone;

In Him, forgiveness,

Is graciously shown.

We are deemed righteous,

Not through what we’ve done;

But rather through faith,

True trust in the Son.

So, ever seek Christ,

The One who is true;

Savior, Redeemer,

For me and for you.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace that cleanses us and makes us right before You. Thank You for Your perfect peace that is found as we come before You. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when the world feels like it has flipped upside down. Teach us to trust in You and Your faithfulness, for Your love knows no end. Show us how to love those around us with Your grace and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of peace as You make Your presence known to those who seek You. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

How Harmony Happens

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – (Romans 15:5, HCSB)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but endurance, encouragement, perseverance and patience are all necessary for me to navigate each new day. Each morning, I am encouraged and strengthened anew as I invest the start of my day with God. He is the source of each of these, and is faithful to supply what is needed. Harmony with those around me is always a goal, for there is wisdom and grace and goodness in those whom God places in our lives. Not only that, but this is what Jesus wants for us. Agreeing with one another does not mean that we must see eye-to-eye on every detail in our lives, but rather that we be like-minded on what truly matters. Loving God and loving people ought to be our priority. If we are alike in our care and concern for others, harmony happens. May we ever seek the Lord to be our source of endurance, encouragement, perseverance, patience and peace, as we pursue Him to lead us well.

The Lord is faithful,

To meet us each day;

He gives what we need,

For work and for play.

He shows us His heart,

For those who are near;

And calls us to love,

And set aside fear.

Strength and endurance,

Patience and His peace;

All that is needed,

For love’s sweet release.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to supply all that we need. Thank You that as we do, You show us the strength in the community that surrounds us, and how to live in harmony together. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have not sought to love. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us best, for You know the needs in every heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You have placed before us and the peace that surrounds us as we do. Amen.

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

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. – Psalm 133:1

Grace, Love and Presence

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, HCSB)

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE)

This verse is the conclusion of Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth. I so appreciate how he parts out the goodness of God. His separation of the three parts of the trinity and their attributes provide clarity on our need for each. We all need grace, love and the presence of fellowship in our lives. As we walk with the Lord, we grow in understanding of who He is and how He loves. His grace is more than enough for all that we need, His love, surrounds and fills us to overflowing, and His presence is the peace that settles our hearts no matter what lies before us. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is the provider of grace, love, and the very presence of peace.

Jesus, we need You,

Celtic Knot that represents The Trinity – intertwined without end

Your unending grace;

The good that leads us,

Throughout all our days.

O God, our Father,

We receive Your love;

The warmth that surrounds,

From You up above.

The Holy Spirit,

Ever-present peace;

Your nearness supplies,

All that our hearts need.

God You are so good,

May all come to know;

Your love, grace and peace,

That each day You show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in one. Thank You that Your Son grants us the grace to navigate each new day, Your Father’s heart loves us without limits, and Your perfect presence is our peace in all things. Forgive us for not recognizing the fullness of who You are and how You love. Teach us to ever seek to know You more, so that we might grow in our understanding of who You are and how great Your love, grace and presence truly are. Show us to love those around us well, so that we may be Your vessels of love, grace and peace that is made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for how You make Yourself known to us. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Shifting Seasons

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. – (Joel 2:23, HCSB)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

Living in the Pacific Northwest, these words resonate with me. Right now, we are enjoying a typically extended summer. Though summer did not begin until after the 4th of July, it usually continues until the close of September. That being said, the chill of fall is in the air in the mornings. For those of us who love summer, there is a bit of mourning as the seasons shift. This passage is a great reminder that the rain that though it will come, for it always does, is a gift from God. Seldom has our area had issues with water shortage. The rains that come truly are a gift, for they are what keep our area so green throughout the year. My takeaway is simply to recognize and appreciate the shift in seasons as a gift, for it is a reminder that God is faithful.

As autumn rains come,

For they always do;

Know that God’s faithful,

As His grace shines through.

The rains have purpose,

Blessings from above;

In season, water,

That shows us His love.

The lush of the green,

Ev’rywhere surrounds;

Reminders of God,

Where true hope is found.

So, let us give thanks,

As the seasons shift;

For God’s faithfulness,

As our praise we lift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to supply what we need in every season. Thank You that You grant us rain in the fall and springtime to help things grow and thrive. Help us to remember that You do the same for our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for begrudgingly trudging through seasonal shifts, for we would not fully appreciate the glory of summer without the gray, rainy days. Teach us to love those around us in ways that bring refreshment and new life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful provision in each new season. Amen.

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

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. – Psalm 104:19

Purposeful Words

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

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

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

What we say matters. When we are negative or use ugly words, we are not building anyone up, and in reality, we are bringing ourselves and those around us down. It is better to say nothing than to be toxic with our words. We are called to build each other up and help strengthen them. Our words matter, and it is an intentional decision to be kind and encouraging or to remain quiet. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us so that our words are a gift that build others up and are beneficial to the hearers.

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your words. Thank You that You, lead, encourage, guide, and reside within us, and use Your words to fill our hearts with Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have used words to hurt, cut down, or complain, rather than to build up. Teach us to speak with grace and kindness, and to be silent when we cannot. Show us how to love those around us with our words in ways that encourage, strengthen and build up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our words as You intended, to encourage and build others up. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

There is No Hate in Love

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If someone claims, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, then he is a liar. Anyone who does not love a brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God, whom he has never seen. – (1 John 4:20, VOICE)

We are called and created to love God and love each other. If we deny a part of this, then we deny all of it by our actions. Hate is not ours to hold for those whom God has placed in our lives. When hate enters the heart, it is blinded to love. Both cannot coexist within us. To love God and love the ones whom He has given us, requires us to invest our mind, heart and soul into learning how to love God and people. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love Him and love the people whom He places in our lives as He intended.

To truly love God,

We must heed the call;

To love each other,

Let hard feelings fall.

Each person on earth,

Was made with a plan;

With gifts and talents,

Strength and grace to stand.

Each of us unique,

Yet loved well by God;

So we need to love,

As we have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that there is no room for hate in love. Forgive us for the times that we have harbored bitterness or hurts against our brothers and sisters. Teach us to turn to You in trust so that we forgive and keep choosing love. Show us what it means to love You and those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of grievances and go forth choosing to love. Amen.

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

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8

Respond Gently

A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. – (Proverbs 15:1, HCSB)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

This is a game-changer in every area of our lives if we abide by it. When someone who is enraged is responded to gently, it seems to flip a switch and bring them back to reality. We tend to match the way that others are speaking to us, so if we are yelling or speaking out in anger and then have someone answer us gently, it is as if the steam that had been built up, is suddenly released, and the press of the fury has fled. I know this to be true in both my home and in my classroom. The challenge is to remember to keep calm and speak with kindness, even when chaos seems inevitable. This is not something we can just do, but rather as we seek God to equip us, He floods us with His peace, and grants us gentle words, even when we desire to do otherwise. We are all a work in progress, and not one of us has this entirely mastered, yet the more we practice, the more natural it becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in grace so that we may always have a gentle response to bring calm to the chaos around us.

A gentle response,

Makes wrath disappear;

It calms the chaos,

And soothes away fear.

For God is our peace,

Ever He is near;

He grants us the words,

To make His love clear.

Help us keep seeking,

To respond like You;

Make grace abundant,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that Jesus showed us over and over again how to respond gently and to love deeply. Forgive us for the times that we have answered anger with anger instead of responding with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to trust You to provide the sort of peaceful response that brings calm and promotes peace for all. Show us how to love others with how we respond in all situations and circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to respond gently when someone around us is riled up. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Where Help Comes From

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, HCSB)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

Lifting our eyes is a way to take our gaze off of what lies directly before us, and to look beyond to what could be. Each time I see the majestic mountains, I am reminded of the power and goodness of God. The same God who formed the mountains, is the One who comes and dwells within us as we invite Him in. He is our help and our hope, and the One in whom our future rests. To look to the mountains is to gaze upon the tangible evidence of God. For me, when I look upon the beauty of creation, I am reminded of the One who made it all. He is so much more than we see, yet the tangible evidence of His goodness makes the unseen easier to grasp. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, help and hope, and readily receive the reminders all around us as we gaze upon the beauty of all that He has made.

When we choose look up,

Our eyes truly see;

All of creation,

Made purposefully.

Our help and our hope,

Come from God above;

He sees and He hears,

And answers in love.

Majestic mountains,

And sparkling seas;

Glimpses of the Lord,

And His majesty.

His power and grace,

Are visibly seen;

To show us His love,

As He meets our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us Your power through the beauty of creation all around us. Thank You for such incredible reminders of Your power and strength that are available to all who seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have looked to anything other than You to be our strength, and for the times that we have somehow made You too small. Teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, for You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in ways that lift up and encourage everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and praise You for the tangible reminders of Your power and grace. 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 I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7