Why We Gather

“For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

“Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

“And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – (Matthew 18:20, MSG)

 

This verse is a reminder of why it is so important to gather with other believers. Church is not about religion and rules, it is an opportunity to join together and recognize the presence of God. Yes, God is with us, always, but there is something powerful that transpires when a group of people gathers to seek the heart of God. His presence is made known, and those in the midst of it are strengthened, encouraged and equipped to go out in His power. We were created for relationship. Isolation for too long, causes the heart to grow weary, and faith to become frail. God is faithful and loving no matter what, but He invites us to lay hold of the power of His presence through gathering together with others who seek Him. May we ever pursue opportunities to gather with others who are seeking the Lord, so as to mutually encourage and edify one another as He makes His presence known.

 

Let us seek gather,

Peace Through Understanding

With others, pursue;

The heart of the Lord,

As His word is true.

When people choose join,

Their hearts and their minds;

To seek our Savior,

His presence, they find.

Our God is faithful,

His word ever true;

He makes Himself known,

Collective pursuit.

Let’s seek with intent,

And join together;

For God will be found,

Most gracious treasure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to join together to seek You. Thank You that You are faithful to make Your presence known, each time we gather to pursue You. Forgive us for thinking that we can handle life on our own, rather than joining with others to seek and find Your faithful presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest in relationships that support and encourage a life lived in pursuit of You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, would want to pursue Your heart with others to experience the power made known as we gather. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather in Your Name, recognizing the power of Your presence that comes when we join together to seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise. – Psalm 106:47

Fresh Freedom Has Come

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV) 

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV) 

 

As we step into day one of this new year, there is promise of fresh starts and brand-new beginnings in all that is yet to come. A sense of hope and resolve rise when we recognize that we are free to begin again. I am not big on resolutions, but rather desire to continue to learn and grow in all that the Lord has for me. My personal life has been made new in a beautiful way that I could not have imagined only a few short years ago. He makes new all that we are willing to place in His hands, and grant Him reign. God does exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, as we allow Him room to rule. May we all recognize the opportunity for fresh starts and restoration as we walk boldly into 2019, trusting that God will do amazing things as we place our hope and our lives in His mighty hands. 

 

For all who trust Christ,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Fresh freedom has come; 

God makes all things new, 

By grace through His Son. 

The old things are gone, 

And we are made new; 

As we allow God, 

To reign and to move. 

As the sun shall rise, 

To start a new day; 

So too, we’re made new, 

As we walk His way. 

Let us choose to trust, 

Find hope in His Name; 

For new life has come, 

Let God on high reign. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are ever made new in You. Thank You that new life in You is not dependent on a day or a year, but rather on us allowing You to lead us and reign in our hearts. Thank You that new may begin each day, each moment, as we trust in You. Forgive us for our faltering faith, when new beginnings seem unobtainable. Help us to trust You, even when we cannot see hope, help or possible change in our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates new life in You and offers the hope of the same for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You reign and embrace each change, as You ever make us new. Amen.

 

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

 

You must be made new in your hearts and in your thinking. Be that new person who was made to be like God, truly good and pleasing to Him. – Ephesians 4:23-24 

Goodness and Love Flourish Forever

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

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV) 

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG) 

 

The love of God continues forever, and is not dependent on us. God loves us because we are His created, not because we have “done enough” or “been enough” to satisfy some sort of check list. For me, that is a tremendous reason to give thanks. As a wife, mom, teacher, friend, daughter, sister and more, I wear many hats and fill many roles. That being said, I often feel stretched and spread thin, leaving little to offer to anyone. Thankfully, God’s love for me is not portioned out based on my performance. He loves on my best days and on my worst. His faithfulness knows no end. No matter how things unfold on a particular day, God is good, and the next day is made new once again. May we give thanks to the Lord for His goodness and love that never quit, even on our most difficult days. 

 

Faithful forever,

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Photos by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The Love of God’s true; 

Endures for all times, 

Each day, it’s made new. 

Always He is good, 

Deserving of praise; 

He loves endlessly, 

Throughout all our days. 

All thanks unto Him, 

For goodness and grace; 

Present where we are, 

In blessing, give praise. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that know no end. Thank You that Your grace is not dependent on our performance. Forgive us for thinking we have to do or be enough to receive all that You have to freely offer. Teach us to embrace Your goodness and grace, as You lavish us with Your love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps hearts to receive the good that You intend for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Give Worry Away

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT) 

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB) 

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE) 

 

This is far more easily spoken than actually carried out. Often, we don’t even recognize the burdens that we are bearing until they begin to take a toll on us, physically. Tension headaches, illness and exhaustion can all be symptomatic of unnecessary burden bearing. Yes, we have responsibilities and obligations as adult members of society, however, we are not called to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. First and foremost, we ought to present our cares and concerns to Christ. He cares and has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. The Lord’s strength surpasses our understanding, and He is more than able to carry the burdens too weighty for us to bear. May we ever seek the Lord and lay our worries and cares in His capable hands, as He cares for us all. 

 

May lofty burdens,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Be given away; 

To He who’s able, 

To carry the weight. 

Our God is willing, 

With arms open wide; 

To receive our cares, 

As we choose abide. 

So, cast each worry, 

All burdens on Him; 

And watch in wonder, 

As His grace pours in. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to give you our burdens and worries. Thank You that You are far better equipped to bear the weight than we are. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own when life gets too heavy. Teach us to trust and rely on You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps lighten loads, and reminds others that they need not bear burdens alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring our burdens before You and trust Your strength, grace and love to carry that which we are not meant to bear. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Peace and Thanksgiving

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to be peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG)

 

As we gather together with family and friends to celebrate our reasons to give thanks, may the peace of Christ be present to lead us and guide us. When we allow Christ to rule in our hearts, the motivation behind our words and deeds is love. Love is patient and love is kind, and such things are proponents of peace. Each time we encounter a gathering where love reigns, gratitude and grace grow greater than any insignificant irritant. May we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and lead us as we gather together, giving thanks to Him for all that He has done to provide the people present among us.

 

May His peace prevail, img_2018-11-22_06-23-588320532747532005523.jpg

Wherever we are;

For it is a space,

Of Love’s reservoir.

Where His peace is known,

So too, is His grace;

Love freely given,

Fills hearts full of praise.

Go forth and gather,

In His grace and peace;

With hearts full of thanks,

May blessings increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace will rule in our heart as we seek and rely on You. Thank You that Your grace covers our lack. Thank You for the gift of family and friends with whom we are blessed with time to gather. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected Your leading and disrupted the peace You intended, or have not given You thanks for all that You are and all that You do in our lives. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in peace and to have a thankful heart. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may promote peace and gratitude through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to rule our hearts and give all of our gratitude to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:11

Not Meant to Shoulder Alone

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NLT)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TPT)

 

This is a timely reminder, as school feels really heavy right now. The academic demands feel unapproachable to some, and the behaviors displayed in response, disrupt and distract, making the teaching process extremely challenging. Inadvertently, I begin to carry the weight of the worry as to how to help all kids learn and grow. Though it is critical that I care, it is not my burden to bear alone. First and foremost, I need to give the weight of the worry and stress to the Lord, and allow Him to hold the heaviness. Second, I must ask for what I need. If it is strength or clarity or perspective, God is faithful to meet us where we are. When it is a tangible need that can be met in the moment by a colleague or simply by creating a built-in break, then each avenue ought to be utilized. May we cast all our cares to the Lord, for He is able and willing to walk us through, bearing the weight we are not meant to shoulder alone.

 

When worry and stress,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Begin to weigh down;

Give all to the Lord,

In Him, help is found.

Help in our struggles,

Strength when we feel weak;

In love and in grace,

He answers who seek.

So, go to the Lord,

With stress and concern;

He’s ever for us,

Unto Him, let’s turn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear the weight of the world on our shoulders. Thank You that we can come to You and give You our worries and cares, and You will shoulder the weight and grant us the help we need to navigate whatever we face. Forgive us for attempting to bear heavy burdens on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and peace, no matter what storm we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides help, peace and hope in the places where stress or anxiousness were weighing heavily on their heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worry and stress to You, and trust You to be our strength. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Trust and Pray

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – (Psalm 25:1, NIV)

To You, O Lord, I pray. – (Psalm 25:1, TLB)

Always I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One. – (Psalm 25:1, VOICE)

 

Yesterday evening, after we had finished dinner, I began chatting with my son about the details for his homecoming dance that I thought was nearly two weeks away. As we began speaking about specifics, it came to light that the dance is actually taking place this Saturday evening. Normally, that would be no problem, but this weekend I have long since planned to be at the women’s retreat with my church. What is a mom to do when her child is going to his first dance with a date, and is scheduled to be away for the weekend?! The first prayer that flooded my heart was, “Please let him have the date wrong!” Once it was confirmed that the dance was indeed this weekend, I simply and silently called out for help. My sweet husband was nearby and was witness to this new information. As soon as the actual date was discovered, he cancelled his plans for Saturday to help facilitate preparation and transportation for my boy and his date. Though I am not yet certain how every detail will be orchestrated, I am confident that God will make a way. My retreat is in a town that is only 45 minutes away, and we have a sizeable break on Saturday afternoon. It is possible for me to drive home to help him prepare and take photos at the beginning of the evening, prior to returning to my retreat. God is good, and I trust Him to provide a way for this to work for all of us. Perhaps seemingly small, but to my son who adores this sweet young lady, and to this momma who loves her son with her whole heart, the care and provision granted matter more than mere words can express. It is a reminder that He cares about us; about what matters to our heart. God hears each prayer, even those whispered in frustration. May we ever present our prayers and petitions to our Provider, and give Him all glory for His goodness.

 

Let us choose lift up,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

All things as we pray;

For God always hears,

In love, makes a way.

He grants us His grace,

When we need find rest;

Provides solutions,

For His heart knows best.

The things still unseen,

He already knows;

As we pray, we’ll find,

A way He will show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that we can come to You for all things, no matter how great or small. Forgive us for thinking that the small things are ones that we can “handle” on our own, rather than relying on Your wisdom and grace to lead us and guide us through. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You in prayer, knowing that You can make a way where there seems to be no way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope that make Your love and faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and place our trust in You. Amen.

 

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

 

 

 

 

 

To Rest and Recharge

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

Oh, I must find rest in God only, because my hope comes from Him! – (Psalm 62:5, CEB)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

Yesterday was an unusual day for me. Though I easily woke at the typical time, the more I moved around, the more I became aware of my own weariness from my lack of sleep the night prior. After doing my devotional reading, and even determining which verse stood out to me, I was struggling to stay alert as my fingers kept missing the keys they were aiming for on the keyboard. Thinking perhaps a shower would help, I set aside finishing my reflecting and writing, and went downstairs. However, after that, my head felt heavy, and all I wanted to do was lie down; so, I did. At first, I thought a short “power nap” would do, but soon discovered that my body really needed real rest. What I realized is that He was providing me time to recharge, as God did not demand that I finish writing, and that He was ready to grant me the rest needed if I would only slow down and just rest. The extra hour plus of sleep that I gained yesterday morning carried me through a full day of meetings, followed by a long union meeting in a hot high school gym to learn about and vote upon our newly proposed teaching contract. The vote was ratified and our district is pleased to have a nearly unanimous “Yes” vote on the new three-year contract. I went to sleep easily, knowing that hope in Him and the rest I’d found had carried me through a day that would have otherwise been difficult. May we ever seek the Lord to be our rest, for our hope comes from Him alone.

 

When weariness comes,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

We need to find rest;

In Christ, choose recharge,

For His grace is best.

The Source of all hope,

On God we depend;

As His love for us,

Does not know an end.

So, ever choose seek,

The Lord God above;

Our hope and our rest,

He grants us in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing faithfulness and love. Thank You that You see us and know us, and are ever ready to grant us the rest and hope that we need. Forgive us for not slowing down to recognize our own spaces of need or for neglecting to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our grantor of hope and rest. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides the help and hope that is needed to lighten hearts and loads, and ultimately draw people unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we find our rest in You, our holder of hope. Amen.

 

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

 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Each One a Part

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV)

All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, ERV)

Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TLB)

You are the body of the Anointed One, and each one of you is a unique and vital part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TPT)

 

In this busy season, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that each of us have a purpose for which we were uniquely designed. As we walk out our days doing the things which we are called and created to do, we are being part of the bigger body of Christ, that would not function as it were meant to if we did not do our part. Though our part may seem insignificant, it is vital to the big picture. Just as a person becomes acutely aware of the absence of the use of a finger due to an injury (though a seemingly small part of the body), we too are noticed if we are not present or able to function as we were designed, regardless of the size of the body to which we belong. May we each remember that we are part of the body of Christ, uniquely designed with a purpose and a place that is needed to help the body function as it is intended.

 

The body of Christ, Love Made Known

Is both vast and wide;

Each person crafted,

With purpose inside.

We’re called to go forth,

And live out our days;

Living our purpose,

As this brings God praise.

And as we do this,

We become as one;

The body of Christ,

Familial union.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and create us to be part of Your body. Thank You that You do not expect us to navigate this life on our own, but rather You surround us by people who have different strengths and giftings so that we can be stronger together in You. Thank You that we are designed to do life together. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do things on our own, or that we do not have anything to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our best self to all that we do, and trust that who You have created us to be is exactly the part of the body that we are meant to bring each day to the community where we are planted. Show us how to love well the people who surround us. Help us to encourage and build up the body as You build up and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part for which we have each been uniquely created and called. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Conveyors of Calm

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV) 

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV) 

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG) 

 

We need God and we need each other. Humans are not created to take on the trials that life brings on our own. God grants us His peace as we seek Him and provides people to walk beside us if we choose to invest in community as we are called. Additionally, one of the greatest conveyors of calm in the midst of chaos is to begin to express our gratitude for the good in our lives. Suddenly, even in the middle of a storm, we find our hearts holding peace. As we set our sight on that which is secure and He who endures, the temporary trials become less overwhelming. May we seek the Lord and His peace as we walk in gratitude together with the people He has purposefully placed in our lives. 

 

O Lord let Your peace, 

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Come reign in our hearts; 

Lead us side-by-side, 

As strength You impart. 

Help us to give thanks, 

Despite what we see; 

For true gratitude, 

Sets anxiousness free. 

Help us to trust You, 

On Your strength depend; 

Walk with each other, 

And Your peace extend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rule in the hearts of all who seek You. Thank You that You call us to peace together as one body. Thank You that we were created for community. Thank You that gratitude combats fear and anxiousness and sets our hearts on what truly matters. Forgive us for allowing what we see to dictate how we respond, rather than trusting You and what we know to be true. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk together in gratitude, ever pursuing Your peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that peace and thankfulness become contagious. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks that You are the God of peace who rules in our hearts and provides us with community and reason to give You praise for all of our days. Amen. 

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7