Incredibly Known

He counts the number of stars; He gives names to all of them. – (Psalm 147:4, HCSB)

He counts the stars and knows them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He counts all the stars within His hands, carefully fixing their number and giving them names. – (Psalm 147:4, VOICE)

In my own limited understanding, I know I am guilty of making God too small, or limiting what I think He can do. Verses like the one above are a reminder of just how big God really is. God, the Creator of all, created, placed, counted and named each of the stars in the sky. I don’t know about you, but any time that I get away from the city/suburb lights and look at the sky at night, I stand in awe, as the longer I look, the more stars I see; far too many to count. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. The same God that knows each star by name, knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. Intentionally, He formed each of us and knows us better than anyone. Designed with a plan and a purpose, I cannot help but stand in awe. The more I know Him, the more I want to know. One who knows and loves so deeply and personally is worth pursuing more. May we ever seek to know the Lord more and more, and may we discover how He sees us and calls us to be who He has created us to become.

Each star with a name,

Both numbered and known;

The Lord placed each one,

Love’s light being shown.

He who hung the stars,

Also made us all;

With plan and purpose,

Each one of us called.

May we choose seek Him,

With wonder and awe;

Praise Him for His love,

And grace for us all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created, placed, named and know each star in the sky – both those we can see, and those we cannot. Thank You that You know each person on the planet in the same way. Forgive us for making You too small. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are so much more than we can think or imagine. Lead us to love those around us with a love like Yours so that all might feel and know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue knowing You more, and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

The Beauty of Intentional Design

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do you even think about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? – (Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation – on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals – sons and daughters of men – specks of dust floating about the cosmos. – (Psalm 8:3-4, VOICE)

Between living in the Pacific Northwest, and having been blessed with numerous opportunities to see new locations around the world, I share David’s sentiment of awe and wonder at how people are considered the priority to God, who created so much magnificent beauty. We are but a speck of dust in comparison to the entire universe. The glory that surrounds us in His creation is clear evidence of God’s existence. As humans, we are still learning and discovering just how vast God’s creation actually is, and I imagine the discoveries will not end. God, who is timeless and endless, created more than our minds can conceive, yet intentionally hand-crafted each one of us to be unique with strengths, talents, personalities and more. We all were created with purpose and possibilities, accompanied with a free will to determine just how we might use what we have been given. The more I learn, the more I desire to honor and serve the Lord. His goodness and love are as vast as the universe, and His capacity to care for us knows no end. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and all that He has done so that we might recognize and honor God as we should.

May we choose look up,

No filter, Sunrise in Belize taken on my phone…<3

Survey all we see;

All that surrounds us,

God’s own majesty.

The stars in the sky,

Created and known;

The mountains and seas,

The Lord’s power shown.

Each work of His hand,

Intentionally;

Formed with a purpose,

Beyond what we see.

Each human on earth,

Is by God’s design;

Made with a purpose,

His love intertwined.

May we stand in awe,

Of all that He’s made;

Give all thanks to Him,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of all that You have created! Thank You for so much beauty all around us. Forgive us for making You too small, for the God who created everything and everyone is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things around us seem crazy or impossible. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of how You love and care for us. Amen.

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Unlikely Allies

While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!” – (Matthew 27:19, HCSB)

While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him. It said, “Don’t do anything with that man. He is not guilty. Last night I had a dream about Him and it troubled me very much.” – (Matthew 27:19, ERV)

While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message. “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about Him.” – (Matthew 27:19, MSG)

I have read the account of all that Jesus endured on His way to the cross countless times. For whatever reason, what stood out to me this morning is that the most unlikely of people seemed to be in His corner. After enduring two trials and three denials, I imagine it felt like no one was for Him. Both Pilate and his wife spoke on His behalf, recognizing and declaring His innocence. Though Pilate eventually gave into the chaos of the crowd, he had spoken out about Jesus and had declared that He had done nothing worthy of death. These things make me wonder what life was like for them after Jesus had died, risen and ascended. My heart hopes that because they had been in His presence and had witnessed the heart, humility and grace that Jesus displayed, that their lives were forever changed. This morning, my prayer is that all those around us will see Jesus in us and be drawn into His goodness and grace.

Unlikely allies,

A judge and his wife;

Knew what really was,

And fought for His life.

Yet despite their words,

That which had to be;

The life of Jesus,

For you and for me.

There was not a way,

To bypass the cross;

He was not willing,

For us to be lost.

The joy of it all,

Arrived the third day;

Death couldn’t hold Him,

For He is the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You show us new things each time we are intentional to invest time in Your word. Thank You that You use unlikely people to show us more of You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder or for rushing ahead when You always have something for us to learn. Teach us to be intentional in our seeking and listening. Show us more of You in everyday and unexpected places. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace and penetrate the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause, ponder, and praise You for all that You have done in our lives. Amen.

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

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35

Worth the Wait

Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said: Now, Master, You can dismiss Your slave in peace, as You promised. For my eyes have seen Your salvation. You have prepared it in the presence of all peoples – a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory to Your people Israel. – (Luke 2:28-32, HCSB)

Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, Your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, ERV)

Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied: “Lord and Master, I am Your loving servant, and now I can die content, for You have fulfilled Your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen Your Word, the Savior You sent into the world. He will be glory for Your people Israel, and the Revelation-Light for all people everywhere!” – (Luke 2:28-32, TPT)

Imagine the joy, wonder and awe that Simeon must have felt as he took Jesus into his arms to bless Him, only to have God reveal to him that the baby he was holding was the Savior of the world. God had promised Simeon that he would not die before seeing the Savior with his own eyes. At this point, Simeon was an old man who had faithfully served, waited and trusted that God would do what He’d said He would do. What a joy in the fulfillment, and what a wonder to behold the promised Messiah in his own arms. The faithfulness of God has not changed. What He has promised, He will fulfill to those who trust and wait on Him. Sometimes, the promises are fulfilled quickly, yet other times, we may wait much of our lives to see the fulfillment of something that God has promised. For all of us, God has given each of us a plan and a purpose, a hope and a future. Our charge is to listen, wait and trust as we move forward each day in all that God has called us to do. If it is to serve, serve with all your heart; if it is to love, love with all your heart; whatever it is, do all as unto the Lord. May we ever seek the Lord with trust and anticipation, knowing that He is faithful to fulfill each promise that He makes, no matter how long it takes.

The blessing that comes,

Through trust in the Lord;

Promises fulfilled,

All grace He affords.

The Lord is faithful,

What He says, He’ll do;

His answers will come,

He will follow through.

Sometimes it’s quickly,

Other times seem slow;

God’s time is perfect,

For the best, He knows.

God, help us to trust,

To wait with Your grace;

For all that You say,

Will fall into place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us again and again that You are faithful to fulfill Your promises. Thank You that what seems slow to us, is actually Your perfectly planned time. Forgive us for our lack of patience when answers seem slow or promises seem far from fulfilled. Teach us to trust You and wait with faith like Simeon’s. Lead us to love those around us faithfully, for that is one thing that You have purposed for us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the waiting and remain faithful to do all that You call us to do each new day. Amen.

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

On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him. Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” – Isaiah 25:9

Christmas Miracles

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. – (Luke 2:16-19, HCSB)

So they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:16-19, ERV)

So they hurried off and found their way to Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in a feeding trough. Upon seeing this miraculous sign, the shepherds recounted what had just happened. Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was astonished by what they were told. But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. – (Luke 2:16-19, TPT)

Christmas miracles are an actual reality. This morning, my own miracle was sleeping in until 6:00am. We have dear friends who waited for years for the miracle of a child of their own. On Christmas Eve one year ago, they had their own son, born as an incredible gift to them on the mother’s own birthday. As I have watched the beauty of this blessing in their lives and recall the joy and wonder in the arrival of my own babies, I cannot help but understand all that Mary must have pondered as she was a part of this miracle that had been foretold and had now arrived. There are miracles all around us, if only we take the time to look and see. The wonder of a newborn baby, the stars placed intentionally in the sky… So many things that point to the power of the loving Savior that became God with us. May we pause and ponder the miracles all around us, and give thanks for the greatest miracle ever given. Merry Christmas and may we all come to adore Him today and forever.

This blessed season,

Created with joy;

As God, the Father,

Sent us His own boy.

Born in a manger,

Angels did proclaim;

The Lord’s arrival,

On that very day.

Miraculous birth,

God’s very own Son;

Sent to save us all,

The Most Holy One.

O what a wonder,

For Mary to see;

What had been promised,

Had now come to be.

Let’s look in wonder,

And give the Lord praise;

All that He has done,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible miracle of Christmas. Thank You for the miracles You continue to do in and around us. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the work of Your hand, for all that exists is because of Your great love. Teach us to pause and ponder all that You have done and the unending love that You lavish upon us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Christmas miracles, and for the miraculous You continue to do every day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests. – Luke 2:14

Flooded With Love

Love us, God, with all You’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on. – (Psalm 33:22, MSG)

Let Your love and steadfast kindness overshadow us continually, for we trust and we wait upon You. – (Psalm 33:22, TPT)

O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love, even now as we wait for You. – (Psalm 33:22, VOICE)

Finally, this morning, after sleeping in until 5:00am, I am finally beginning to feel like it is actually Christmas break. It is strange how it takes a few days to settle in and realize that it is time to relax and decompress from the craziness that this year has held. This is the time to rest in Him, for His love floods our hearts and minds when we are intentional to seek time with the Lord. God surrounds us with His love through all things, great and small, if only we look to Him to be our Source and Supply. May we look to the Lord and depend on Him, for His love floods our hearts as we depend on Him.

O come, Lord Jesus,

Flood our hearts and minds;

With Your endless love,

And grace to be kind.

Lead us in all things,

Wherever we go;

Let Your goodness shine,

So all come to know.

Know of the wonder,

Of love that will last;

Peace never ending,

With lifelong impact.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and depend on You, You flood us with Your overwhelming, never ending love. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to lean into You in seasons of busy and times of rest. Show us Your faithfulness in the unexpected, and lead us to love those around us in ways that show Your amazing love made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in every season and give praise for Your amazing love. Amen.

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

So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. – Romans 9:16

Beautiful Strength and Help

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

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)

It is no wonder that when my eyes take in the beauty all around us, that I am reminded again and again of the power, creativity and love that God had as He created all. The very same God who made the mountains and seas, stars and skies, is available and willing to love and help us, if only we allow Him in. I am so grateful that the same power that formed all with His hands, is near and ever helping and holding us up. May we look to the mountains and the stars, and recognize that the same power that made everything, is available to help and hold us all.

Majestic mountains,

Sparkling the seas;

Twinkling the stars,

Show His majesty.

All were created,

Formed by the Lord’s hands;

With loving intent,

As part of His plan.

The very same God,

Of power and might;

Loves each one of us,

Our Father’s delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty of creation that reminds us of both Your power and love. Thank You that You are willing and available to help and hold us up whenever we call on You. Forgive us for the times we either try to power through on our own, or make You too small. Thank You that You are bigger than anything and everything we face. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends strength and support to those who need it most. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty of creation and the powerful and loving hands of You, Who made all. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord, He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

The Heavens Make It Known

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told, written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story through the marvel of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

Each morning, as I walk our dogs, I witness the beauty of all that God has made. The skies transform before my eyes, and the colors unfold like the opening of a fresh box of crayons. At night, as the day comes to a close, the moon and stars shine bright through the darkness, blinking of the brilliance of the hands that hung them each in the sky. Even when the blue is hidden by clouds, the weight of them waters the earth and restores green to the grass and trees. All it takes is but a moment of looking up to be reminded of the greatness of God and the glory of His majesty. May we ever take in all of His creation and recognize that the same God who created such beauty was intentional to create all those whom we encounter.

All heaven declares,

The glory of God;

The work of His hands,

Leaves my heart in awe.

Each star in the sky,

On purpose was placed;

To remind us all,

Of God’s endless grace.

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose look up;

Give thanks to the Lord,

As He fills our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, power and creativity. Thank You that all we need to do is look up to become aware of the wonders of Your power and goodness. Forgive us for neglecting to take time to take in all of the wonder at what Your hands have made. Teach us to be intentional to appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have created. Show us how to recognize the beauty of Your creation, and to help others value themselves, as we all are among Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your glory as we observe the world around us.  Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Agony and Wonder

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split. – (Matthew 27:50-51, NIV)

Again Jesus cried out loudly and then died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. – (Matthew 27:50-51, ERV)

Jesus passionately cried out, took His last breath, and gave up His spirit. At that moment the veil in the Holy of Holies was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth shook violently, rocks were violently split apart. – (Matthew 27:50-51, TPT)

Good Friday was a day full of agony and wonder. Jesus endured tremendous suffering in the temple courts, before the Sanhedrin, Pilate and the soldiers, and went on carrying His cross to the horror on the hill. There Jesus was hung upon a cross between two criminals, mocked and rejected, yet all the while chose to remain in place for a purpose. Not only did He bear the weight of all our sin, but He cried out for God to forgive all who caused Him to endure the agony upon the cross. When He had accomplished all that was intended, He cried out to God and gave up His Spirit. Darkness had overcome the land, the veil in the Temple was torn in two, there was an earthquake, and rocks were split apart. The tearing of the veil was incredibly significant, as the split opened the curtain to the Holiest of Holies, thus removing the barrier between God and people. Christ’s death on the cross removed the sin and shame that had been cause of the need for the barrier from the beginning. Because He bore our sin and shame, our own behavior that created the divide between us and God, had been removed. In the same way that the rocks were shaken and split, our hearts ought to be stirred to split away from that which keeps us from closeness with Christ. May we be intentional to look to all that Christ endured upon the cross, and give Him praise with awe and wonder at the depth of love that would compel Him to bear all of our sin and make the way for a right relationship with God.

Willing to suffer,

He bore all our sin;

To open the way,

Let new life begin.

It was through His pain,

And all He endured;

That we’ve been made clean,

Granted hope secure.

The goodness that day,

Was promised in three;

A soon empty tomb,

Power to set free.

Let’s look to the cross,

Thank the Lord with praise;

Receive forgiveness,

True hope for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that sacrificed and endured for our sake. Jesus, thank You for suffering in our place to make the way for relationships to be restored with You. Forgive us for every portion of pain that our thoughts, words and deeds heaped upon You on the cross. Teach us to live in the freedom of forgiveness and grace that grows our hearts to love like You. Show us how to love all those around us in ways that make Your heart visible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done, still do, and will continue to do, to make the path clear as we seek to serve and honor You. Amen.

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

(Let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

To Truly Trust

She said to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 9:21-22, NIV)

She was thinking, “If I can touch His coat, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw the woman. He said, “Be happy, dear woman. You are made well because you believed.” Then the woman was healed. – (Matthew 9:21-22, ERV)

She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on His robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned – caught her at it. Then He reassured her. “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on. – (Matthew 9:21-22, MSG)

Every time I read passages about Jesus healing people, I take pause and wonder why we see it so seldom now. What I find remarkable is that it seems to occur most often when there is no other option for restoration. Years ago, when I was in India with Youth With a Mission, we would find ourselves in remote villages, surrounded by people who were hungry to know more about God. After sharing with the people through an interpreter, we would make ourselves available to pray for people. Often, we would have little idea what exactly we were praying for. Our only choice was to pray by faith, knowing that God knew their needs. In one of these instances, a father and his young daughter stood before two friends and myself, while the interpreter had a brief conversation with the father. He turned, told us to pray for the girl’s ears, and went on to the next person. Having little idea of how to pray, we lifted up our prayers, trusting that God would do what God does. A short time later, the interpreter returned. He began speaking with the father and daughter. At first, they were standing face to face, then he kept backing up and continued speaking with them. The three of us looked at him with puzzled expressions on our faces. He turned, looked at us with joy on his face, and told us that the girl had come completely deaf, and that God had restored her hearing. I imagine our jaws were just about touching the ground as we stood there in amazement. We had not done anything spectacular; we simply trusted and believed. The father and daughter had come believing that she would be restored, and she was. Throughout my time in Asia, there were several accounts of such healings. Sight was restored, limbs were healed, and various infirmities – gone. There was nothing that any of us could have done to make it so. It was God moving as He moves when His people pray and trust in Him. I know He still heals today; the challenging part is that we do not get to determine when or for whom. Sometimes God heals the physical need, yet other times He does a work in the heart.

 My own Mom suffered a stroke a year and a half ago. Myself and many others have prayed unceasingly for her complete and total restoration. Right now, she is far better than she was a year ago, yet we are still waiting and longing for the healing of her right arm, and continued healing of her right leg. She is able to walk with a cane and communicate well, and do most things independently. However, there are still things that require assistance. Our greatest gratitude is that she is still here with us. I know for all of us, God has used this season to challenge and grow us. In all things, may we seek and trust in Him for the healing that He holds for each of us.

Lord, teach us to trust,

In Your healing hands;

For You long to touch,

As love is Your plan.

Lead us to seek You,

Grant wisdom and faith;

Help us and hold us,

As we seek Your grace.

Show us Your power,

Bring healing each day;

Make our hearts anew,

As we walk Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer our faithful seeking. Thank You that though we don’t always understand why healing does not always happen this side of heaven, that You are always good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when calamities come. Teach us to trust and rely on You as we walk forward in faith in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love and support and pray for those who are in need of Your touch. Lead us to love well and pray faithfully. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as that is the space where hearts are healed and lives are changed. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. 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 path straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6