Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16

To Trust the Prince of Peace

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, NIV) 

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” – (Luke 1:30-33, ERV) 

 

Always, I am in awe as I reread the unfolding of the Christmas Story, and how it all began. Mary, a young and innocent bride-to-be, was visited by an angel of God. More than that, she was told that she would conceive and give birth to a son that would one day rule forever. There are multiple points that would leave any of us with eyes wide open and our jaw hanging toward the floor. First, she was visited by and had an actual conversation with a messenger of God! Since the angel led with “Do not be afraid,” I can only venture to imagine that the extraordinary sight found in the presence of God’s messenger was a bit overwhelming. Add to that, the message that was being delivered. She was then admonished for being highly favored with God. A bit later in the story, we recognize her bewilderment in being chosen and recognized by the Lord. Additionally, to be told that one would conceive and bear a child, let alone one that would rule forever, when there had been no participation in the process, would be beyond perplexing. Even so, Mary was willing, knowing in full, the potential ostracization, or far worse, that could result from this unknown walk of obedience. As we know, God protected her, and Jesus was born, even in the most unassuming of circumstances. Her strength and willingness to do whatever she was called to do, are likely the very character traits that led to her finding such favor with God. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, with willing hearts, ready to do whatever He asks. 

 

An angel appeared, Better is One Day

Imagine the sight; 

Such curious news, 

To be Mary’s plight. 

To conceive and birth, 

A forever king; 

Her choice to obey, 

True self offering. 

God’s favor is found, 

Where hearts are willing; 

To trust and serve Him, 

Always, in all things. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us such incredible examples of people who are willing to walk where You call, even when it does not make sense at all. Thank You that as we take steps of willing obedience, we discover Your goodness, grace and faithfulness as well. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to do what You have asked, or have attempted to make our own way. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and the Prince of Peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your goodness and faithfulness, and grants courage to seek You for strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and obey all that You ask of us each day. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

A Longing Fulfilled

After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” – (Luke 1:24-25, NIV) 

Later, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth became pregnant. So, she did not go out of her house for five months. She said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! He decided to help me. Now people will stop thinking there is something wrong with me.” – (Luke 1:24-25, ERV) 

Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for the next five months. She said with joy, “See how kind it is of God to gaze upon me and take away the disgrace of my barrenness!” – (Luke 1:24-25, VOICE)

 

God’s miracle for Elizabeth and Zechariah, through granting them a son after many years of being barren, was a magnificent prelude to the miracle arrival of the soon-to-follow birth of Jesus. Elizabeth had gone from years of longing and hoping and waiting, to a space of hope fulfilled, when she likely no longer thought it possible. Though I have not experienced the heartache of infertility personally, I have had several friends walk through a similar season of waiting and hoping and longing. Like Elizabeth, some received their own miraculous blessing through conception, others discovered their miracle through adoption, whereas others, still remain in a space of waiting. My heart cannot help but celebrate at the thought of Elizabeth’s joy, at such a longing fulfilled. May we give thanks for the gifts all around us, and for those that are yet to come.  

 

A longing fulfilled, The Mirror of the Heart

Such wonder indeed; 

A hope that’s answered, 

God’s grace meeting needs. 

Needs birthed within us, 

Desires of the heart; 

Treasured reflections, 

Of where His grace starts. 

Seek Him in longing, 

Place hope in His Name; 

Wait and choose trust Him, 

He does what He claims. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples of real-life heartache and hope that You give us in Your word. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You that You are the same God who has done countless miracles throughout the ages, and are present to make the impossible possible still. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of faith based on what we see. Teach us to trust You more, knowing that You are moving, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages hope, despite the way that things may appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness, grace and presence that remains the same forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. – Joshua 21:45

Purposeful Reign

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, NIV) 

Rain and snow fall from the sky and don’t return until they have watered the ground. Then the ground causes the plants to sprout and grow, and they produce seeds for the farmer and food for the people to eat. In the same way, My words leave My mouth, and they don’t come back without results. My words make the things happen that I want to happen. – (Isaiah 55:10-11, ERV) 

 

It has been a typically torrential week, weather-wise, in the great Pacific Northwest. Rain has poured down daily, and the mountains are gaining significant snow to help us all remember that December is actually here. Though I prefer the sunshine and sweeter, more leisurely days of summer, there are blessings to behold as the rains come down. Yesterday, as my best running buddy and I were braving the elements on a run, we hit a favorite sweet spot that is an actual decline (as everywhere we run in our town is hilly) an old song I love kept going through my head – Send Your Rain”. As the lyrics were on repeat as we ran, I thought about the benefit and beauty that our wet winter weather affords our area. It is lush and green and gorgeous, and there is a view of either the mountains or water, (or both!) nearly everywhere one goes. In the same way, as I immerse myself in His word each morning, what I learn seems to be recalled at the most opportune moments, when I need to be reminded most. God is a God of intention, and He is able to use everything for good. Even the wet, cold days of winter serve a purpose, as they bring bounty as we walk into spring. (The jury is still out on spiders though, just sayin’…) May we ever seek the Lord and His word, recognizing that what He says is true and what He promises, He will do. May we allow Him reign in our hearts. 

 

Each raindrop that falls, fb_img_15445766468148440667160544576070.jpg

Has purposed intent; 

To water the earth, 

This grace, heaven-sent. 

The same with God’s word, 

Each spoken with care; 

To guide and instruct, 

Love, help and prepare. 

Both are sent for growth, 

For their yield is great; 

Each to be absorbed, 

New life, generate. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your rain and Your word. Thank You that both are used to nurture and grow. Thank You that You give us tangible, visible examples in the world around us to grasp that which might not be clearly seen. Forgive us for not absorbing all that we can from Your word, as You generously give us all that we need to navigate well. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You and rely on Your word. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may feel refreshed and grow in the grace that You so lovingly give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your reign in our lives and soak in all that You speak to our hearts. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice. – Psalm 97:1

 

 

Strength and Peace Supplied

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV) 

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV) 

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG) 

 

In this busy season, where the chaos often leaves us feeling depleted, God is faithful to strengthen and grant peace to those who seek and depend on Him. He is gracious and kind, and is our ever-present Prince of Peace, if only we allow Him room. So often, when I cannot fathom how I am going to get through an intensely long week, His strength is provided and I am able to look back and recognize the places where He made His peace present and His provision, tangible. May we all seek the Lord and His strength, as He is our Source and Supply and in whom we find peace is present. 

 

O Lord, make us strong, The Heart of a Shepherd

When we’re feeling weak; 

Please grant unto us, 

Your glorious peace. 

For in Your presence, 

We have all we need; 

The strength to press on, 

And follow Your lead. 

May we come to know, 

The light of Your grace; 

As You love us well, 

Both now and always. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and peace. Forgive us for seeking what You freely give, anywhere other than from You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You in all things and at all times to provide all that we need. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and supplies peace in places where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and our peace, and give You praise for Your faithful provision. Amen.

 

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

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Comfort for the Mourning

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV) 

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV) 

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)  

 

This morning, I woke to discover the devastating news of another former student’s passing. His sweet mama posted the news on Facebook, likely as a quick way to communicate, without having to retell the heartbreak time and time again. When the seeming natural order of life is disrupted, and a parent outlives their child, the heartache over what should have been can steal all hope, if comfort is not sought through Him alone, who is our Comforter. Sadly, I have seen both sides of this sorrow as it has run its course in the lives of people near me. For some, comfort came as they pursued God and were not afraid to ask “WHY?!” For others, something within them died at the loss, as they seem to be stuck in a space where they cannot be comforted and restored. Though there is nothing nor anyone that can ever take the place of a loved one lost, God can heal the hole that is left in our heart over time. He turns the grief into grace, and utilizes it to comfort others in a way that only one who has walked such a road, can do. May peace and grace be poured out upon the mourning, as God is our Comfort and ready to embrace every hurting heart. 

 

In the midst of grief, Compassion in Confrontations

May we seek the Lord; 

True Source of comfort, 

All peace He affords. 

Present in heartache, 

Faithful, He won’t leave; 

He’ll love us to life, 

Grant hope to believe. 

Allow His embrace, 

Bring comfort and peace; 

He’ll carry the weight, 

Yield sorrow’s release. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless those who mourn with Your comfort. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our Source. Teach us to turn to You in our every need, and to offer Your comfort and peace to those around us. Show us how to be Your hands, heart and voice to the hurting by loving people through their sorrow and loss. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our comfort in mourning. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

 

 

Will to Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast. It is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Help in the Heaviness

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we are able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT) 

He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, ERV) 

He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:4, VOICE) 

 

There are times that the weight of loss or struggle or hardships around us, find a way of seeping into our soul, causing sorrow to set heavy on our heart. Yesterday, as we heard the devastating news that a former student from our school, a boy who was in my own boys’ grade and classes, died Tuesday night, from gunshot wounds. Though I did not ever have him as a student, I did teach his younger sister and currently teach his younger brother. As I hesitantly pulled out an old yearbook to place a face with the name, the weight of the grief rested heavily through the recognition of the familiar smiling face of the young man. My own experience with loss has taught me that time eases the pain, however, that is likely little comfort for those closest to him who are only beginning to process the permanence of this tragic loss. I pray that God would surround each hurting heart with the comfort needed most, and that every need would be provided as they navigate this devastating reality. May we all be extra kind and compassionate in this season, as heavy hearts are hidden among us. 

 

God of all comfort, Being Made New

We call on Your Name; 

To hold heavy hearts, 

Love well through the pain. 

Lord, will You show us, 

What we’re meant to do; 

To extend Your grace, 

Help see others through. 

Show us how to love, 

Others through their pain; 

Let us be Your light, 

That through all remains. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, even when the circumstances that surround us are not. Thank You that You see every heartache, and You hear every prayer. Thank You that You comfort us the way our hearts need it most. Forgive us for avoiding painful places that we see in others, rather than being present to offer comfort, just as You have comforted us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would know how to be present in heaviness, and how to comfort those who are hurting. Show us how to love those dealing with loss in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Comforter. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your comfort to share with others, and thank You for the comfort that You continue to provide for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. – Revelation 21:4

Only Love Makes Love Known

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. – (1 John 4:7, NLT) 

Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child. And so everyone who loves knows God. – (1 John 4:7, ERV) 

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him. – (1 John 4:7, TPT) 

 

We are called to love each other. If we know and love God, we are equipped and empowered to love those around us. In fact, how we love people, is an outward sign of the inward condition of our heart and an indication of the love we understand from the Father. Our capacity to love well grows exponentially when we know that we are loved unconditionally. How much more does this hold true when we begin to grasp the kindness and grace that we are granted through our loving Heavenly Father? May we love one another well as we receive the love that God continually pours into all who seek Him. 

 

Let us each choose love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

One to another; 

It’s God’s intention, 

Sisters and brothers. 

For the love He gives, 

In us, ought to grow; 

To love others well, 

So everyone knows. 

Knows of His goodness, 

Understands His grace; 

Receives and gives love, 

Throughout all our days. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so well. Help us to love one another the way that You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love in practical ways that make Your love tangible to those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your unending love, and seek You to show us how to love others best. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12