Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

This morning, at 2:45, as I heard my dog making retching sounds, joy was not exactly what came to mind; sadly, neither was prayer nor thankfulness. As I jumped out of bed and threw on some extra layers to take him outside, I groggily checked to be sure he was okay. He took care of business outside, and returned to his crate to rest. Again, rest did not come. Whining began and would not relent. Finally, after a good fifteen minutes of trying, I gave in and brought my giant pup upstairs. Again, he went outside and then returned ravenous. After he ate, he settled in a bit as I attempted to doze on the couch. When the time was nearing my scheduled wake up, I took Thor back downstairs and returned upstairs to begin my day. My celebration was that I have a roof over my head and that there is coffee in our house to brew. I am thankful that it is Friday, and that I do not need to rise as early tomorrow. God is kind, and shortly after I returned to resume my regular morning routine, my love came upstairs too. In the calm stillness of the morning, I am so grateful to God for another human that can rise early, and find joy and contentment in the silence. Early mornings are something to be celebrated, even when they come far sooner than anticipated. Before long, I will witness the early morning light, as the sun makes its appearance on the horizon. God is faithful to meet us, even in the wee hours of the early morning. He hears our heart’s cry, despite the momentary frustrations when our schedules are disrupted. Today, my heart will rejoice, for I have countless reasons to give God thanks, as I have His light, and life, and hope. May we ever celebrate the goodness of God, giving Him thanks as we are intentional to spend time seeking Him.

May our hearts give praise,

In Christ we rejoice;

Let’s prayerfully seek,

Give thanks with our voice.

No matter what comes,

We’ve reason for joy;

The Lord’s always good,

To thank is a choice.

Today I will choose,

To celebrate Christ;

For goodness and grace,

And loving advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You grant us to have joy in You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and You supply what we need to navigate each new day. Thank You that You remain present, no matter what comes our way or how our day begins. Forgive us for our frustrations and delay in seeking You when things are thrown off course. Teach us to lean into You and listen to Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in all things, and grant us patience when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and pray to You, ever giving You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your Name, O Most High. – Psalm 9:2

Hope and Rest to the Seeking

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

I am standing in absolute stillness, silent before the One I love, waiting as long as it takes for Him to rescue me. Only God is my Savior, and He will not fail me. – (Psalm 62:5, TPT)

Rest and hope are two things that all of us need. Sometimes, the need for rest has nothing to do with the physical, and everything to do with our heart, mind and soul. It is God’s hope that brings peace to our places of unrest, as He restores us in His love once again. In this seemingly never ending lockdown, I am so thankful for the hope that is held in Him. Though we know not what will come of the pending changes, we can trust the One who holds the world in His hands. God is good, and His love provides and in Him, hope abides. May we ever slow down and turn to the One who ever holds hope and provides rest where we need it most.

In stillness I come,

Before God our King;

Hope is held in Him,

Maker of all things.

Where rest is lacking,

The Lord will provide;

He stills all our storms,

And brings peace inside.

When hope’s all but lost,

We need never fear;

For God in His love,

Remains ever near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our space of rest and hope forever. Thank You that no matter how we come, You meet us with open arms and bring us into Your loving embrace that provides the peace our hearts need most. Forgive us for continually running, rather than slowing down and turning to You to be our hope and rest. Show us how to rest in You to find the hope that our hearts need. Lead us to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You for rest and place our hearts in Your hands; for in You, hope is forever found. Amen.

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

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope. – Acts 2:26

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

Higher Than Ours

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:7-8, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that this is true. So often, I think things should go one way, or situations ought to be resolved as I imagine, yet God, in His infinite wisdom, brings far more beauty than I could have ever imagined. This is where we are challenged to trust the process. It is a bit easier to do each time we witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. That being said, it is a seemingly lifelong process to recognize and remember that God’s ways are for our ultimate best, even when we cannot see how good is possible. May we ever remember that God knows the outcome long before we have even begun, and that He is for us, not against us. 

Our thoughts and our ways,

May be good and bold;

Yet God’s are greater,

Our future He holds.

When we cannot see,

How things could resolve;

God is on the move,

So fears ought dissolve.

Let us turn in trust,

To the Lord above;

For His ways are best,

All is done in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, higher than ours. Thank You that You see the end before we have even begun, and You are ever available to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. Teach us to trust the process and to remember that You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Lead us to love one another in ways that strengthen, encourage and convey Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your ways, for they are always best in the end. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5

Hope Gives Reason for Gratitude

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. – (Hebrew 12:28, TPT)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakeable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Our gratitude to God ought to be abundant; not only for the life we have now, but for that which is yet to come. We have hope and love, strength and security in all that lies before us. For these things and so much more, let us give thanks and worship the One who gives us all. Our worship, from a grateful heart, pleases and delights He who is worthy of all praise and thanks. Though this Thanksgiving will look and feel far different than what many of us are accustomed to, we still have reason to give thanks. For me and my family, it is the first time in my twins’ lives that we have not spent Thanksgiving with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my nephews. We all have such fond memories of our times together, I cannot help but grieve the absence. However, we all are healthy and safe, and each family has remained gainfully employed. Though we cannot join together on this day, we have many reasons to give God gratitude. May we each give thanks to God for the hope we have in Him, and offer Him our worship and praise as we go about our days.

With hearts full of thanks,

We give God our praise;

For the hope we hold,

In Him, all our days.

His goodness and love,

Place hope in our hearts;

Remind us anew,

Each day’s a fresh start.

We worship You, Lord,

All honor and praise,

To Him who’s adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and grace, hope and presence, as You deserve all thanks and praise today, regardless of our circumstances. Thank You that our hope does not come from what we see, but what we know and have assurance of in our hearts. Forgive us for our frustrations with our present circumstances. Please help us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, rather than what is right now. Teach us to trust You and give You thanks in all things. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your hope is made evident through us. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for the hope we have in what is yet to come, and the blessings we have in the here and now. 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

The Work is Never Done

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV) 

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put His finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT) 

The same encouragement that Paul give to the church in Philippi applies to each of us who are pursuing God today. It is a promise that reminds us that we are a work in progress. I find great comfort in this, as I know that though He has done much refining in me, there is much to still be done. Not one of us “arrives” to sit idly by, but rather we need forever pursue God’s best for us and those around us. We are being made new and refined each day that we draw breath, until our days are through. I am so thankful that we get to be lifelong learners, rather than take some crash course and suddenly think that we have learned all there is to know and no longer need to grow. One of the best examples of this that I have known was my grandmother. My entire life, her purpose was to never stop learning and growing. She lived it out well, as her mind stayed sharp and her faith secure, even until her dying day, well into her nineties. Her faithful pursuit of God and a deeper understanding of everything and everyone around her, modeled for me that we should never stop learning and growing. May we never stop seeking God and His heart, so that we continue to learn and grow as He intended, until we meet Him face-to-face. 

Choose to seek the Lord, 

Throughout each new day; 

His faithful presence, 

Will show us the way. 

For it’s God’s purpose, 

His most perfect plan; 

To grow and refine, 

Show us how to stand. 

Stand in His wisdom, 

His goodness and grace; 

Learn love as He loves, 

‘til we see His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love, grow and refine us as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that this is a lifelong process. Forgive us for neglecting to listen or act upon the ways in which You are leading us to learn, change and grow. Teach us to trust You and the process by which You refine us. Show us how to love more like You every day that we draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to keep growing and refining us until the day that we meet You face-to-face. Amen. 

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

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Joy and Patience through Faithfulness

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV) 

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV) 

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT) 

My mom is the best example of this verse in action that I know. Despite living in a senior living community that has been locked down since March, she continues to exude joy, hope, patience and faithfulness. The restrictions were loosened for a few weeks, and during that time, both my sister’s family and mine were able to go and see her under strict regulations. We had to all wear masks, and could only visit outdoors, while practicing social distancing. Mom is an affectionate extrovert, so these limitations and long stretches of isolation, are particularly hard on her. I know much of the reason she is still sane is due to her unflappable faith. Currently, they are on total lockdown again, as they are awaiting the results of a second COVID test, to confirm a community member is not COVID positive, after a visit from one of his family members who did end up testing positive. Thankfully, the first test was negative, but they are extra cautious in order to keep all community members safe. This season is long and challenging for many. When we know where our hope is held, joy is present, regardless of the restrictions required to stay safe. For mom, her patience through both the COVID business and her own recovery, is inspiring. There are days that I imagine every breath and every step are offered as prayers – both thanking God for them and asking that He continue to sustain and heal her. May we ever hold fast to the hope that is found in God, for He grants us patience, peace and joy, as we continue to commune with Him in prayer. 

Such a joyful hope, 

Quick squeezes with staff approval, since we were outside and appropriately masked.<3

Is found in the Lord; 

Faithful provision, 

As grace He affords. 

Continue to seek, 

For in Him, we find; 

All that is needed, 

In Him love’s defined. 

Do not give up hope, 

Instead to choose pray; 

God’s faithful always, 

Each night and each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness through all times. Thank You that we can seek You and commune with You always. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness when times get difficult. Teach us to trust You and turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us with Your faithfulness, so joy may abound. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find joy in our hope, patience when times get tough, and a loving heart ready to hear us forever. 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

Came to Save

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NIV) 

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, ERV) 

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT) 

I am so thankful that Jesus came to save, rather than to condemn. Though our sins warrant condemnation, His mercy and grace extend love and offer new life instead. In the same way that we have been given forgiveness and grace, we are meant to go forth and do likewise. We have been rescued from the darkness we were bound in, and as God’s own, we are meant to be bearers of light who shine His love everywhere we go. Our lives ought to demonstrate what it is to walk in redemption – full of gratitude and grace, as we recognize that there is nothing, we could ever do to repay the goodness we have been shown through Christ’s love. This revelation of God’s goodness compels us to navigate each day in the fullness of His love. May we go forth in God’s love and love others in the same way that we are loved by God. 

God sent His own Son, 

But not to condemn; 

Instead to set free, 

Grace that overwhelms. 

Though judgment’s deserved, 

He gives us His grace; 

Forgiven and free, 

As we seek His face. 

May we, in freedom, 

Go forth, do the same; 

Love as we are loved, 

Honor Jesus’ Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You Jesus, for showing us what sacrificial love is. Thank You for loving us to life, so that we might go forth and love others. Forgive us for the places that we judge or condemn rather than seek to love. Teach us to trust You more, for You provide wisdom, strength and grace to know when to stay and when to walk away from situations where we should or should not remain. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made known clearly through love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming sacrifice to save us. Amen. 

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

To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:4

Guided In Love

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was such an incredibly strange day. I felt a bit lost, and quite uncertain as to what I actually was meant to do. After beginning my day with God, I went to the grocery store with my “youngest” boy, and was thankful to find restocked shelves. Upon our return, I sat and pondered and prayed a bit, to determine what to do next. Following the lead of some of my school district colleagues, I constructed a message to my students and families, providing suggested activities and drawing prompts for the coming week, as well as conveying my care for their well-being. Upon completing some other household tasks, I determined to at least begin tackling my grading pile. Just as I completed the final class for the first project that needed grading, my best friend messaged me to go take a walk out in the sunshine. For me, this was exactly what my heart needed, as our walk took us down a steep staircase to the Puget Sound, where we took in the view and soaked up some sunshine, before embracing the challenge of tackling the stairs back up to the road. In Him, I do indeed, have everything I need. He is granting me rest and refreshing my soul. Walking near the waves, comforts me, as I am reminded of His power and strength. Despite what we see, He will lead us on the right path, and show us that He is good. May we ever remember that even in the most uncertain of times, God cares for us; always. He provides, calms, comforts, restores, and leads, demonstrating His unending goodness to all who seek Him.

 

O Lord, my shepherd, wp-15844488533327357260751564309605.jpg

I choose seek Your face;

Lead me and guide me,

In Your loving grace.

Show me the planned paths,

That I’m meant to take;

Help me to love well,

Forgive my mistakes.

The comfort You give,

Help me to give too;

Rest and refreshment,

Grace that makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us beside still waters and bring us to spaces of comfort and rest. Thank You that You strengthen and restore us so that we can go forth and follow the path that You prepare for us to love others well. Forgive us for not embracing the rest You provide, or for not following where You lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You offer and go wherever You call. Show us how to love those around us tangibly in ways that make Your heart known and Your provision shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, our shepherd, to lead and guide us each step of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – Psalm 62:1

Grateful for the Gifts

We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV)

We thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do, because you give us good reason to be thankful: Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is growing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is a sweet reminder to give thanks for the people whom God has placed in my life, who show me His love in tangible ways. Yesterday, I was at our league championship gymnastics meet from mid-morning until after eight in the evening. My best friend drove all the way to where the meet was located, only to have to turn around and go home, due to the cash-only entry fee. I did not realize that the admission was cash only to let her know, and she, much like myself and so many, does not make it a habit to carry cash. Despite the mishap, I was beyond blessed that the effort had been made, and am extremely grateful for the gift of a friend who loves in such a tangible way. She knows how much coaching and the meet mattered to me, and thus, made the time and extended the effort to be present to support me and the team. When we are loved well, we are further equipped to do the same for others. God, in His great love for us, surrounds us with those whom He intended, who have hearts that are growing in faith and overflowing in love, that bless and challenge us to do the same. May we ever thank God for those He has placed in our lives that grow our faith and love to overflowing.

 

Give thanks to the Lord, wp-15812671362718302110911203159856.jpg

For He’s always good;

He grants us people,

Who love as they should.

They love with their time,

Heart, soul, mind and strength;

Increasing our faith,

Going to great lengths.

May we choose love too,

In ways that make clear;

The heart of the Lord,

And how He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people that You place in our lives to show us more of Your love and care. Thank You that Your heart for us is made tangible through the kindness and care of those who love well. Thank You that we too, have the opportunity to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You have to offer, so that Your love, kindness and grace, overflow through us. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for the sisters and brothers that we are blessed to know, and help us extend Your love to each of them as You call us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10