Joyful Confidence

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, NIV) 

And we are also happy with the troubles we have. Why are we happy with troubles? Because we know that these troubles make us more patient. And this patience is proof that we are strong. And this proof gives us hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, ERV) 

But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. And patient endurance will refine our character, proven character leads us back to hope. – (Romans 5:3-4, TPT) 

This morning, as I made my way in the wee hours of darkness, to go dog walking with a dear friend, I heard these very same verses being spoken on the radio. Both this morning and when I did my devotional reading this evening, I took pause and determined that I have so far to go. The Passions Translation is the one that I can most closely relate to, as it points to the joyful confidence in the midst of struggle, and that something good can come from pressure or pain. When we place our confidence in Christ, even in the mist of struggle, we discover that there is joy in Him. Patient endurance, character and hope, are all part of the beauty that come from our ashes. Right now, what I have spent the last twenty-four years of my life doing, has been flipped upside down and makes me feel like a brand-new teacher all over again. The learning curve required is cumbersome and challenging, yet I know that the more that I patiently persevere, the greater the chance that I will learn and grow. It is in that space of growing, that I find hope again. Hope that I can reach and teach kids, regardless of whether it is online or in person, and hope that one day, I will get to teach in a regular classroom again, face-to-face with my students. God uses our trials and difficulties to grow and refine us. It is always far easier to look back and see what He has done, than it is to recognize that He can work all things together for good in the middle of the messy. May we seek the Lord in our suffering and in our blessings, knowing that He can move mightily in all things, and produce the hope that shows our heart how to endure and overcome. 

No matter what comes, 

May our hearts find joy; 

Not in the heartache, 

But God’s grace employed. 

Beauty from ashes, 

Is what we all need; 

Character building, 

In hope, He will lead. 

May we each rise up, 

In Christ, persevere; 

For He overcomes, 

Always, He is near. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can utilize our every experience and circumstance to produce good in us and through us. Forgive us for our desire to get out of difficult situations the moment they strike. Teach us to trust You more so that we might joyfully embrace You and all that You provide in the midst of our messes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage patience and perseverance, every pointing to hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to take joy in You in the midst of difficult, as You grow patience, perseverance, character and hope within us Amen. 

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

…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair… – Isaiah 61:3

Reveal Your Loving Ways

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV) 

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel.  – (Psalm 119:64, MSG) 

Give me more revelation of Your ways, for I see Your love and tender care everywhere. – (Psalm 119:64, TPT) 

This morning, I had the joy of getting out to get some exercise before the sun was up. Driving to meet up with my running buddy, I was in awe of the enormous full moon and planets that were in plain view. Everywhere I look, there is evidence of God’s love and care. Because of the very same love that made the moon and hung the stars in the sky, I long to live according to His good and perfect will. The more I recognize His love, the greater my desire is to live likewise. In order to do so, I must invest time and energy into learning and growing in His love. The more I observe His love in action, the more compelled I am to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we may love one another as He first loved us. 

The whole earth is filled, 

With God’s fingerprints; 

Throughout creation, 

His love, He imprints. 

Lord, help me to see, 

To learn and to grow; 

To love as You love, 

So Your heart is shown. 

Help me seek counsel, 

For in You, I find; 

How I’m meant to love, 

And how to be kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the whole earth is filled with Your love, if only we open our eyes to see it. Thank You that You lovingly and willingly teach us to live and love according to Your will as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have been blind to Your good, or have chosen to wander on our own. Teach us to trust You and follow Your leading to live and love well. Show us how to love those around us as You do. Grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become acutely aware of Your love all around us, and learn to walk in Your ways. Amen. 

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

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – Psalm 119:18

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

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

Everything That Has Breath

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. – (Psalm 150:6, NIV) 

Everything that breathes, praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! – (Psalm 150:6, ERV) 

Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah! – (Psalm 150:6, MSG) 

God is worthy of our praise every minute of every day. David was a weaver of words and writer of truth. As the final verse of the final Psalm, it is only fitting that the reader be reminded that everything that has breath ought to give Him praise. Everything and everyone who breathes was created by Him and should give praise to Him. The preceding verses speak of ways to give Him praise. Our words, our voice, our life and our every breath ought to be a reflection of His goodness. For me, the best way to praise Him is through the singing of worship songs. It is the intentional act of lifting my voice to Him, and allowing my heart and mind to be entirely fixed of giving Him praise. Often, my favorite times of praising Him come as I am driving down the road, taking in the spectacular views all around me, and singing along with songs that were written and composed to speak of His glory and give Him praise. May we take time each day to praise the One who gives us life and breath and love.  

All praise unto You, 

Our great God above; 

Alone You’re worthy, 

Creator of love. 

You love us with breath, 

Strength, hope and our lives; 

Everything good, 

From You, it derives. 

We lift up our hearts, 

Each voice and each word; 

To give praise to You, 

So our thanks are heard. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that created all things. Thank You that with every breath, we have the capacity to give You praise. Forgive us for not being intentional with our worship, as You deserve all our thanks and praise. Teach us to have hearts that recognize Your goodness and grace in every day, and choose to reflect and give thanks for all of Your ways. Show us how to love those around us so well, that Your heart is made clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as all that has breath gives You praise. Amen. 

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

Eternal Truth

All Your words are true; all Your righteous laws are eternal. – (Psalm 119:160, NIV) 

Every word You say can be trusted. Your laws are fair and will last forever. – (Psalm 119:160, ERV) 

Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth. Your righteous decisions are eternal. – (Psalm 119:160, MSG) 

I am so thankful that God does not change. His word is true and what He says and He decides, last forever. There are so many things that surround us that are constantly changing – expectations, working conditions, parameters of jobs, growing children and puppies… The one thing that we can count on from the world, is change. However, from God, we can rely on His word, His truth and His promises remaining the same. For this, I am truly grateful. No matter what goes on around us, His love remains the same. God’s righteous laws for us boil down to loving Him and loving each other. He has a plan and a purpose for us all. As many of us look forward with anticipation and a bit of trepidation, may we remember that God is for us, and His love, help and presence forever remain. 

Let’s look to the Lord, 

For His words are true; 

His laws good and just, 

For His love shines through. 

No matter the time, 

Season, circumstance; 

All that the Lord is, 

Our reason to dance. 

Dance in His presence, 

Give glory to Him; 

Unchanging His love, 

Our hope, never dimmed. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your words are true and Your laws last forever. Thank You that You never change. Forgive us for somehow thinking that our ever-changing circumstances are somehow a reflection of You. Teach us to trust in the truth – that You are good and just and loving. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate the truth and trustworthiness of Your word. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your words that are eternal. Amen. 

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Patient Hope

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, NIV) 

But we are hoping for something we don’t have yet, and we are waiting for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, ERV) 

So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. – (Romans 8:25, TPT) 

Hope is that beautiful space within us that believes and trusts that what is promised, the things that are longed for, will one day be fulfilled or come to pass. Our ultimate hope, the very thing we long for and have been promised, is an eternity in heaven if we choose believe and receive all that the Lord is offering. We have a lifetime to wait for it, yet it is hope worth holding. Hope is housed in that which is yet to be seen. In pregnancy, though the season of waiting feels long, especially near the end, the patient waiting is well worth the hope that has been held, when at last the newborn child is placed in one’s arms. Currently, one of my hopes that I am waiting for is to have a puppy that will listen and not be bitey. Though I don’t always see the well-mannered, obedient puppy yet, I have hope that with training and patience, what I desire most for our sweet Thor, will be realized. Incredibly, in the same way that I see glimpses of good behavior and obedience in our puppy, God grants us glimpses of His glory. All of creation reflects His beauty and majesty, reminding us of all that is yet to come. May we hold fast to the hope we have in Jesus, as He is faithful to all His promises. 

Anticipation, 

With patience, we wait; 

The Lord is faithful, 

Grows hope as we pray. 

All that He’s promised, 

Will soon come to pass; 

The Lord’s never late, 

He hears what we ask. 

God brings us beauty, 

Where ashes once stood; 

His love never ends, 

His promises, good. 

Let us choose to seek, 

It’s how hope is found; 

Patience, persistence, 

God’s glory surrounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can hold fast to the hope we have in You, for Your promises are true and You are faithful to fulfill as that You say You will do. Forgive us for our lack of patience when the fulfillment is a longer wait than we think it should be. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would patiently wait for all of the good that is yet to come. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may recognize Your goodness and grace through how we love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold onto hope, and patiently wait for all that is yet to come. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

He Reigns

God reigns over the nations; God is seated on His holy throne. – (Psalm 47:8, NIV) 

God sits on His holy throne, He rules all the nations. – (Psalm 47:8, ERV) 

Our God reigns over every nation. He reigns on His holy throne over all. – (Psalm 47:8, TPT) 

This is what we have to remember, even when the world around us seems to be in turmoil. God is still good, and He is in charge.  The One who made heaven and earth is more than able to see us through trying times. Though it is difficult to understand why the world is the way it is right now, with God, we can trust that His presence will never leave us, and His plans and purposes will come to pass. Each new day we must choose to trust in He who is greater than anything that is in the world. Some days it is easier than others. May we seek first, His kingdom, for in Him and through Him all things exist. 

Above all nations, 

The Lord God, He reigns; 

Faithful forever, 

He is who He claims. 

Despite what we see, 

His word’s always true; 

Throughout each trial, 

He’s making things new. 

Choose hold onto hope, 

And look to His throne; 

He’ll strengthen and lead, 

‘til we make it home. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are on Your throne over the nations, as You are ultimately the One in control. Forgive us for losing heart when we look around and see the state of the world today. Teach us to trust You and Your plan and follow wherever and however You lead. Show us how to love those around us best, in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to rule and reign, even when we cannot see how You are working. Amen. 

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Be Filled With Kindness

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. – (Hosea 11:4, NIV) 

A despondent person deserves kindness from his friends, even though he strays from the fear of the Highest One. – (Job 6:14, VOICE) 

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE) 

The Lord is righteous in everything He does; He is filled with kindness. – (Psalm 145:17, NLT) 

Kindness is synonymous with benevolent, generous, charitable, sympathetic, compassionate, and tender. The act of being kind, or operating with kindness is to see others where they are and choose to love as God loves us. The four verses that I recorded above, demonstrate a variety of ways to show kindness. Hosea compares kindness to caring for kids – loving and feeding them. Job highlights that kindness is not about giving based on the behavior of the recipient, but rather is a choice to give as God gives. David, in the Psalms, talks about God’s kindness satisfying us to the point where we ought to sing with joy and celebrate the life we have been given. He goes on further to identify that everything the Lord does is filled with kindness. We have a standard set before us as to how we ought to operate in kindness. Kindness sees need and acts upon it in love. I love when popular culture grabs onto something biblical and runs with it. “Be kind” and “Choose kindness” are but a few of the phrases that one can find on t-shirts, posters and mugs, as a battle cry to humanity. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and a way demonstrate God’s fruitfulness in our lives. As we choose to extend kindness to those around us, we are making God’s love tangible to those who may not know Him. In this long season of uncertainty, there is plenty of room for kindness to be extended. School is going to begin as never before, and parents, students and teachers alike, have reservations and fears, as there are so many questions that need to be answered to successfully navigate it all. The same remains true for businesses, jobs, and making ends meet for so many. Everywhere we look, there is room for kindness. Though we cannot do or be all things, we each can choose to be kind. Kindness may look different to each person that we opt extend it, yet the heart behind each act of kindness must be to love as God loves us. Sometimes, it is simply asking someone how they are doing, and then really listening to their reply. Other times, it is seeing a need and meeting it. Always, kindness is a reflection of a heart of love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best be kind to everyone we encounter. 

May true kindness rule, 

And reign in our hearts; 

Let us act in love, 

Each choose do our part. 

In spaces where kind, 

Is needed the most; 

Help our words and deeds, 

Show Your heart is close. 

Close in our chaos, 

Our spaces of need; 

As kindness brings peace, 

If in love, we lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kindness leads us to repentance, which ultimately brings change and beautiful new. Thank You that You show us again and again how we are able to be kind and extend kindness where it is needed the most. Forgive us for the times that we have not opted to be kind. Show us how to choose kindness in every interaction, word and deed. Lead us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be kind to all. Amen. 

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 

How Love Abounds

My beloved is mine and I am his… – (Song of Songs 2:16a, NIV) 

My love is mine, and I am his. – (Song of Songs 2:16a, VOICE) 

Song of Songs captures the blessings beheld in love as God intended. Over the last four years, I have come to understand such love in a very tangible way, especially over the last two years, as today my Viking and I celebrate our second wedding anniversary. Genuine love establishes a bond that requires the dedication and devotion of both partners, so that no matter what comes, it can be faced together. For me, God provided the man that I never knew I needed. He loves fiercely, gently and with a devotion that I have never questioned. We have had to navigate some serious challenges over the last two years, between the loss of his father, my mom’s stroke, and various other familial health concerns. Additionally, we have shared great joys. Our three children have all now graduated from high school and are on their way to navigating adulthood well. One is working full-time, and the other two are preparing for their first year of college in the fall. There have been births, deaths, weddings and milestones that we have celebrated and grieved together. Even in this crazy season of COVID-19, we have found comfort, security and safety in Christ and one another. There is no one that I would rather navigate this life with, and I am so grateful that God blessed me with such love. May we all seek the Lord as our provider of love the way He intended, and give Him praise all of our days, as we discover together, how great His love truly is. 

To fully embrace, 

All that God’s love is; 

We must choose to trust, 

And know we are His. 

As we come to know, 

His kindness and grace; 

Our hearts are opened, 

To God’s loving ways. 

Such blessings are found, 

The more that we know; 

His heart is for us, 

To bless and to grow. 

O what a treasure, 

To have and to hold; 

The one He’s given, 

Such love does unfold. 

Today I give thanks, 

For the love I’ve found; 

As I’m fiercely loved, 

And goodness abounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for first loving us and for designing us to love and be loved. Thank You for the incredible blessing of a husband that loves me completely, despite all of my flaws and shortcomings. Forgive me for the times that I have failed to love as You intended. Show me how to love completely, each and every day that I draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made known through willing hearts. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as You created us to love. Amen. 

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

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:16