Formed By His Hands

In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. – (Psalm 95:4-5, NIV) 

The deepest caves and the highest mountains belong to Him. The ocean is His – He created it. He made the dry land with His own hands. – (Psalm 95:4-5, ERV) 

In one hand He holds the mysteries of the earth and in the other He holds the highest mountain peaks. He’s the owner of every ocean, the engineer and sculptor of earth itself. – (Psalm 95:4-5, TPT) 

Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I am reminded again, of the beauty and diversity of all that God’s hands have made. Being a Pacific Northwest native, I love the color and variation that can be observed in our area. We have mountains and streams, oceans and forests, and lush green all around us. In the desert, there is, at a first glance, a seeming lack of variety. However, upon closer investigation, there are wonders for the eyes to take in with the rock formations and canyons, hills and spaces of oasis. Additionally, it takes little time to get out of the city lights in the desert, where stars are in full view at night. There is something about warm nights, clear skies, and countless stars overhead, that reminds me of the incredible power of He who formed it all. May we ever look around in wonder, and notice all of the beauty that God has created. 

All of creation, 

Formed by the Lord’s hands; 

Mountains and forests, 

Oceans and all land. 

Each with His imprint, 

His power displayed; 

Great variety, 

In all He has made. 

All thanks be to Him, 

For all we can see; 

The Lord’s handiwork, 

Rich diversity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty, creativity and diversity in all that Your hands have made. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to notice or have taken for granted, the beauty all around us. Show us how to recognize all of the splendor found in that which was created by Your hands. Teach us to love those around us and care for all that You have made, with intention. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:39

Where Trust Belongs

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. – (Psalm 118:8, NIV) 

It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in people. – (Psalm 118:8, ERV) 

Lord, it is so much better to trust in You to save me than to put my confidence in someone else. – (Psalm 118:8, TPT) 

Surrounding ourselves with people whom we love and trust is good, but ultimately, our trust must be in God alone. He is our refuge and strength; perfect and infallible. Humans, though wonderfully made, are imperfect and subject to sin. God does not get too busy, nor distracted, and He is always present to be our help and our hope. I am blessed to have incredible humans in my corner, yet, I cannot transfer my trust from God to them. He has to come first. Too often, when our trust is misplaced, we discover disappointment, sorrow and frustration. Humans are fallible. It is not to say that there ought not be people whom we trust, but rather we must trust God first. May we ever place our trust and confidence in the Lord, for His love never fails us. 

Far better it is, 

To trust in the Lord; 

For He’s ever near, 

Faith’s promised reward. 

Though people are good, 

And we need to trust; 

Our ultimate faith, 

In God is a must. 

His love never fails, 

As He is the One; 

Our safety, shelter, 

Faithful, risen Son. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One in whom we can place our trust. Thank You that Your love is unending and will never fail us. Thank You that Your trustworthiness is not dependent upon our capacity to trust. Forgive us for the times that we have placed our faith in anyone or anything other than You. Teach us to seek You first as the One in whom we trust. Show us how to love others in ways that demonstrate Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our trust in You and Your unfailing love. Amen. 

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

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You. – Psalm 84:12

True Peace Through Trust

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

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV) 

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE) 

In the midst of this ever-changing world, true peace can often feel impossible. However, as we set our minds and hearts to depending on God to be our peace, He is faithful to meet us and grant us peace within. This feels even more important than ever, as nothing seems certain in the midst of a pandemic. Our jobs, our schools, our communities, our states, and our nation, each have to change and adapt in order to function. For many, change alone disrupts peace; navigating the new when all seems uncertain, points people more than ever, to seek peace in the middle of it all. When I fix my eyes on He who is my peace, and choose to trust in Him, rather than what I see or hear around me, I discover a peace that does not make sense. Calm in the storm and comfort in the chaos, despite our circumstances and surroundings. May we ever look to the Lord to be our peace, and trust in Him, as He meets us and brings His perfect peace to our minds and hearts, regardless of what surrounds us. 

The God of all peace, 

Always, He is near; 

To settle our hearts, 

And make our path clear. 

As we choose to seek, 

Ever we shall find; 

God’s goodness and grace, 

Brings peace to our minds. 

Lord, help us recall, 

In the midst of storms; 

That You are ready, 

To comfort and warm. 

All glory to God, 

Our place of true peace; 

Where chaos finds calm, 

And love is released. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and trust in You to be our peace, regardless of what surrounds us. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances or surroundings to steal our peace, when You alone are our true peace. Teach us to always turn to You, for You are our true peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace and comfort where there is unrest. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to keep perfect peace in our minds and hearts, no matter what lies ahead. Amen. 

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

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

Purposed for Community

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV) 

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV) 

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, TPT) 

I love how God granted wisdom to those who recorded the letters of the Bible in ways that were relateable and applicable throughout the ages. For me, these verses apply to so many areas in life; any organization or group that we fall into, requires just such thinking for success. What I mean is simply that we all have different gifts, strengths, talents, and more to contribute, yet it is when we work together as a whole, good things occur. In a family unit, when each of us do our best with the strengths and gifts that we have been given, with the intent of contributing to the family as a whole, things are accomplished and peace and love prevail. In the school setting, this holds true as well, as each person who enters campus has a function to contribute to both the process and the progress of the purpose being carried out. From administrators to counselors, teachers to security officers, custodians to librarians, support staff to specialists, students and parents alike – all can either help or hinder the functionality of a school. In the same way that I listed the various roles of the body that makes up a school community, so too, does the Bible speak of the various roles and functions of those who join together as a church community, with the common purpose of loving God and loving people well.  

As I prepare for day one of back-to-school training, I am considering my own role and function, and what I might be able to contribute to the whole. For me, I live, love and fulfill my role best, when I am investing in growing – body, heart, soul and mind. Growth only occurs when we are intentional to invest our time into learning and placing what we learn into action. This is true for physical training, academic advancement, and living and loving in ways that not only contribute to the whole, but that spur others on to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and grow us in Him, so that we may contribute to our communities with purpose, and see the great value in each of those around us as they do the same. 

We all have a role, 

That we’re to fulfill; 

Wherever we are, 

There’s room for growth still. 

God made us to grow, 

To improve, to thrive; 

To love each other, 

Do more than survive. 

In order to thrive, 

We need each other; 

Mother and father, 

Sister and brother. 

So, let us each rise, 

And purpose to grow; 

Body, mind and heart, 

Let God’s best be shown. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to thrive in community. Thank You that You designed each of us with a role and purpose in each “group” to which we belong – be it church, family, neighborhood, city and more. Forgive us for the times that we have remained stagnant, or have not sought to grow and contribute in the ways in which we have been created to do, as well as for the times that we placed some sort of hierarchy on those around us and the roles that they fulfill. Not one is more important than the other; for all are needed to function and fulfill their purpose best. Show us how to learn and grow, value and live out the very best that You have for our communities. Lead us to love one another in such a way, that each member feels valued and encouraged to do their best and invest in ongoing growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest, value, and contribute to each body that we are blessed to be considered a member. Amen. 

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

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:10

Pray and Pursue Understanding

May my cry come before You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:169, NIV) 

Please, Lord, hear my prayer and give me the understanding that comes from Your word. – (Psalm 119:169, CEV) 

Lord, listen to my prayer. It’s like a sacrifice I bring to You; I must have more revelation of Your word! – (Psalm 119:169, TPT) 

In this ever-changing world, there is tremendous comfort in knowing God, for He remains the same forever. No matter what goes on around us, He who dwells within us, is constant. The better we know God and understand His word, the greater we are prepared to navigate whatever comes our way. As we call out to God, pray, and read His word, He grants us greater understanding of how to see people and situations through His lens of love. May we constantly pursue the Lord in prayer, and invest time in His word so that we may live and love well, in ways that are pleasing to Him. 

O Lord, hear my cry, 

As I come to You; 

Grant understanding, 

So that I’ll love true. 

As I read Your word, 

Help me understand; 

How to apply it, 

And walk out Your plan. 

Please give me insight, 

To live and love well; 

So words aren’t needed, 

As loving acts tell. 

Tell of Your goodness, 

Display well, Your grace; 

Let all that we do, 

Show Your loving ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cry out to You and invest time in Your word, You grant us insight and understanding so that we may be a clearer reflection of Your lavish love. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You and have acted upon our own selfish tendencies. Teach us to seek You in all things for the insight and understanding that is needed to love well. Show us how to love all those whom we encounter, so that Your love may be evident through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You for understanding, and gain new revelation through Your word. Amen. 

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

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:23

Be Kind to All

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, NIV) 

‘’You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves. This is what God does. He gives His best – the sun to warm and the rain to nourish – to everyone, regardless: the good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that. In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” – (Matthew 5:43-48, MSG) 

Yesterday, the message delivered by one of the pastors at our church, resonated so clearly with me. (Link here, if you wish to listen.) His message mirrored the cry of my heart and what I have felt compelled to and ascertain to accomplish, for as long as I can recall. The bottom line is to love as God loves us. That means EVERYONE! Does this mean that I am successful every minute of every day? No. However, I am ever seeking to learn and grow and be established and rooted more deeply in Christ, so that I may do and be better each day. This is the reason that I refuse to engage in political banter on social media. When it is words being spewed into the oblivion, it seems to get really ugly, really rapidly. There is no capacity to see and hear the heart of the “speaker”, therefore it becomes a matter of attempting to prove why one’s own position is right, and the other is wrong. Kindness and love fall away, and what we are called to do, is far from done. We are not called to attempt to prove why our thinking is right and the other person’s is wrong. We are called to LOVE. Period. End statement. Love acts justly, loves mercy, and walks humbly. (Micah 6:8) Love is patient, kind, protective, honest, full of hope, and always perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor others, have a “me-first” attitude, is not easily angered, and does not keep record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Jesus loved the sinners and the saints; shared meals with both the despised and the embraced, and He shared much with the masses. He helped, He healed, He accepted, and He loved. What Jesus did, is what we are called to do. Our charge, as children of the Almighty God, is to LOVE. No matter who it is or what circumstances surround us, we must be kind and figure out how to love. Incredibly, when we ask and actually listen for answers, He will teach and equip us to love as He is calling us to love. Every act of kindness is an investment in others. As we sow love and kindness and generosity, God works in the hearts of those who receive. We are not called to preach at people, but rather we are called to love as Jesus loved. If we do so, according to His call, hearts can be changed and minds renewed. May we seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us each day, so that we may go forth and love one another according to His good and perfect will. 

We are not just called, 

To love those who love; 

But also, those who, 

Challenge us above. 

Jesus has shown us, 

To love enemies; 

For as we choose to, 

Both sides are set free. 

Set free from anger, 

From ugly dissent; 

For kindness disarms, 

Leads us to repent. 

Lord teach us to see, 

Others with Your love; 

To live as You lived, 

Give kindness above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You equip and empower every willing heart to love as You loved, as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that our words or deeds did not reflect a love like Yours. Teach us to love both friend and foe in the same way that You love each of us. Show us what it means to love like You, and how to be kind and loving, even to those who make it difficult. May hearts be changed and relationships mended, as we seek to love ALL, as You love us; and may many come into a lasting relationship with You, the One who loves forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us in Your love for others. Amen. 

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Glory Where It Is Due

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 115:1, NIV) 

Lord, You should receive the honor, not us. The honor belongs to You because of Your faithful love and loyalty. – (Psalm 115:1, ERV) 

God, glorify Your Name! Yes, Your Name alone be glorified, not ours. For You are the one who loves us passionately, and You are faithful and true. – (Psalm 115:1, TPT) 

Everything good, everything that is praiseworthy, comes from God alone. We are His created and when we pursue a life lived to please and honor Him, He uses our willingness for good. Nothing that we say or do that is excellent or favorable come from us on our own, but rather is only possible because of God’s love and faithfulness. May we ever seek the Lord and His will, and give all glory to Him. 

All glory to God, 

We lift up Your Name; 

For Your worthiness, 

Deserves our acclaim. 

Glory and power, 

Alone, God, are Yours; 

All good that exists, 

Through love that endures. 

Teach us to seek You, 

To follow Your lead; 

To love as You do, 

So Your glory’s seen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us in ways that can lead to incredible good. Thank You that all is because of You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to give glory to You, or live in such a way that Your good is not being made known. Show us how to live and love in such a way, that You are glorified for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do the good You intend for us to do, and give You the glory in all things that reflect who You are and how You love. 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

Love That Will Not Cease

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, NIV) 

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV) 

Yet all day long God’s promises of love pour over me. Through the night I sing His songs, for my prayer to God has become my life. – (Psalm 42:8, TPT) 

No matter what is going on, it never ceases to amaze me how God makes His love tangible. He provides His peace, His comfort, His strength and His grace to navigate whatever comes our way. It is in this space at the end of the day, that I cannot help but give Him praise for His loving ways. As I pray, the peace that settles is like a song for the soul; His song. May we ever seek the God of all comfort and lift our prayers unto Him, for He shows us His faithful love each day. 

Each day the Lord’s near, 

With His faithful love; 

His presence surrounds, 

With songs from above. 

The God of my life, 

Gives comfort and peace; 

Faithful forever, 

His love will not cease. 

So, lift up a song, 

To Him give all praise; 

Life, love and prayer, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that surrounds us each day. Thank You that You are our strength and our song, as You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith, for You remain the same, always. Teach us to trust You and sing praise to You, as Your love surrounds us each day. Show us how to love one another as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become increasingly aware of Your loving presence, and give You praise for who You are. 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

Fixed Eyes Stand Firm

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:8, NIV) 

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV) 

Because You are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience Your wrap-around presence every moment. – (Psalm 16:8, TPT) 

This is the part that we have to remember, even when times are tough. It is as we keep our eyes on the Lord that we recognize that He is near, present, and will help us navigate every situation and circumstance. We will not be shaken if we place our confidence in Him. For me, the greatest challenge is to keep my eyes on Him, rather than allowing my attention to divert away from Him, and fixate on the challenge before me. If I look to Him in the face of struggle or adversity, I begin to see things through His lens rather than my own. Mountains look less treacherous, valleys appear less abysmal, and long stretches with no end in sight, are not so arduous nor lonely. God is faithful to meet us every moment of everyday as we seek and trust in Him. May we always keep our eyes on the Lord and remember that He is with us, so that we will not be shaken, despite the trials that come our way. 

I’ll not be shaken, 

As I know You’re near; 

With You by my side, 

There’s no room for fear. 

You are my anchor, 

In every storm; 

The light and the love, 

That keep my heart warm. 

Lord, You are the hope, 

In whom we are safe; 

Help us keep our eyes, 

On You, all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we keep our eyes securely fixed on You, we discover our hope, our help and our security lie within You. Forgive us for the times that our gaze, our focus, shift away from You and onto what lies before us. Teach us to align our view through Your lens, so that we would remember Who is beside us, with us, and for us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that Your light gives hope wherever it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes securely on You, and trust You to be our help, hope and safety, always. Amen.  

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

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

All That He Has Made

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

He assigned the moon to mark the months and the sun to mark the days. – (Psalm 104:19, TLB) 

You made the moon to mark the months and the sun to measure the days. – (Psalm 104:19, TPT) 

The 104th Psalm was written by David, as he was praising God for all that He has made. As I was driving to go meet my running buddy early this morning, I could not help but give thanks in awe, as I took in the gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier, with the rising sun, streaking it with pastel colors. Additionally, I was reminded that the days are beginning to grow shorter, as last week’s departure time was in daylight, whereas today, it was still dark. Months pass and seasons change, yet His love remains. The same God who cares enough to give us ways to measure time, cares for us and how we spend our days. May we all make time to pause and take in the ways that God created such beauty and function in all that His hands have made, and give Him praise for the depth of His great love. 

Each month that goes by, 

Creation does show; 

The changing seasons, 

And where the days go. 

Sun up and sun down, 

Bookmark all our days; 

Array of colors, 

On brilliant display. 

The moon’s clear phases, 

Usher in and out; 

Days and weeks and months, 

God’s faithful throughout. 

So, let us give praise, 

To the Lord above; 

Thank Him all our days, 

For amazing love. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all of creation, and the incredible beauty and functionality that it holds. Forgive us for all of the times that we have not appreciated or not given You praise for all that You have made with Your loving hands. Teach us to appreciate all that You have done, and to be good stewards of all that is around us. Show us how to love everyone You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made. – Psalm 145:9