Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV) 

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT) 

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE) 

I have been in the habit of seeking a quiet retreat with God every morning for several years now, however, in this seemingly long season of COVID, I find that there has been far more down time than I am a fan of having. That being said, it has forced me to either rest in the truth of His word, and appreciate the quiet retreat, or allow my heart and mind in a frenzy of what I could and should be doing. Thor, our yellow lab puppy, grants me glimpses of how God must see me. Sometimes, he is bouncing all over the place and struggles to settle down, even after food, play and his basic needs have been met. At times, he will settle himself down and rest in the safety of home. There are times though, where redirection and correction are needed to help him find a space of quiet retreat, where he will simply settle in and rest. I know that I am the same. In the early morning, it is easy for me to seek quiet retreat with God, and rest in His presence as I soak in His word. When the days grow long, and I desperately desire to go out and be active and busy, He will correct, redirect and help me to settle into His safety and trust Him to show me what to do next. God is good, and is our refuge and place of hope. May we ever seek Him to protect, direct and show us what is best. 

Our quiet retreat, 

Safety where there’s rest; 

The Lord is our hope, 

As He loves us best. 

Brings calm in the storm, 

The truth in His word; 

Grace in our chaos, 

Love that’s seen and heard. 

He offers us space, 

To rest in His grace; 

And trust in His truth, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and shelter, and offer us truth and direction in Your word. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our own unrest. Teach us to turn to You for peace, direction and rest, as You lead us best. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to learn and rest in You. 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

Create In Me

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, NIV) 

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV) 

Create a new, clean heart within me. Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please You. – (Psalm 51:10, TPT) 

A pure heart is fairly clear, yet a steadfast spirit seems to be much more than strong. Under further investigation, steadfast is defined as: fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering faith, and firmly established. These descriptors are far more helpful in expressing the prayer of my heart, as my desire is to have a pure heart and a spirit within me that is fixed in direction, firm in purpose, unwavering in faith, and firmly established in Christ. My desire is for my heart, mind and spirit to fix on the things of God, so that I am able to love as I am called to love. Thor, our puppy, is a tangible illustration for me, as though he can be mischievous and a little crazy, his love and trust in us is unwavering. God desires for us to love and trust Him in the same way, despite our shortcomings. May we all seek the Lord to cleanse our hearts and establish a steadfast spirit within us, so that we may walk out our days in His will. 

O Lord, help my heart, 

To be clean and pure; 

So my words and deeds, 

Show Your love is sure. 

Please renew and grow, 

Steadfastness in me; 

Let all that I do, 

Show Your love clearly. 

Lead me and guide me, 

In all of my ways; 

So I reflect You, 

Throughout all my days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your willingness to cleanse our hearts and solidify steadfast spirits within us. Forgive us for our sinfulness. Teach us to invest in relationship with You, so that we may be made pure and steadfast before You. Show us how to love purely and with clear direction from You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make our hearts pure and our spirits steadfast. Amen. 

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

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. – Proverbs 4:26

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 

Align Our Hearts and Minds

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideas and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Just because something is popular or “trending”, does not mean it is right. Our charge is to seek God and allow Him to transform and renew our minds. God’s good, perfect and pleasing will revolves around loving Him and loving those around us. If what we do and say is not motivated by love, it is not what He intended. However, if the way that our mind is being transformed is to love more deeply and walk more justly, we are walking in His will. My hope is to live a beautiful life that is pleasing to God. It does not mean it will be an easy life, however, it will be one full of love. May we ever seek the Lord to transform us from the inside out, so that we will live the life that He intended. 

Do not live the life, 

Of somebody else; 

Each have a purpose, 

To live out ourselves. 

Give God full access, 

To change and renew; 

So we do His will, 

Unto Him, live true. 

May we be transformed, 

In heart and in mind; 

So we live a life, 

That’s loving and kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and trust our lives in Your hands, You transform and renew us to walk in Your good and pleasing will. Forgive us for the times that we have simply gone with what the majority think, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to seek, trust, and depend on You to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good, perfect and pleasing will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform and renew us to align our hearts and minds with Yours. Amen. 

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Not Done Yet

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV) 

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV) 

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the He who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put His finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT) 

Today, as I begin my 49th trip around the sun, I am extraordinarily grateful that God is not finished with me yet. He is faithful to continue to refine and grow us until the day that we meet Him face-to-face. Being well aware of my flaws and shortcomings, I am reassured that He is not finished with me yet. Though I can see the good that He has done in me, I know that God has not completed all that needs to be done. This is true for all of us who seek and trust in Him. God will refine us so that we may live out our days how He designed us to live. There is much comfort in His promises, for He is faithful to do what He says He will do. The Lord’s care for us is physical, emotional, spiritual and tangible. He refines us body, heart, soul and mind. Additionally, this brings great comfort, as my mom is still in process of healing from a stroke, a bit more than a year ago. He has brought her far, but I know He is not finished with her yet. She is light and life, joy and peace to all whom she meets, and I trust that He will continue to strengthen and empower her to do all that He has created her to do. May we ever be confident in the promises of God, for we are a work-in-progress that He is refining to more clearly reflect His light to the world. 

For I am convinced, 

That God is not done; 

Working, refining, 

All that He’s begun. 

As His created, 

God’s own work of art; 

He’s always faithful, 

To complete each start. 

His love is perfect, 

Always it endures; 

Challenges, changes, 

All who choose come near. 

Let our hearts respond, 

With love and with praise; 

Trusting He’s faithful, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Thank You that You love us as we are, yet love us so much that You do not leave us that way. Thank You that we are a work in progress until we meet You face-to-face. Forgive us for getting in the way of all that You want to do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace every bit of grace showered upon us to make us more like You. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You have designed us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the work You have done, are doing, and will continue, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does – Psalm 33:4

True Nourishment

Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV) 

Jesus answered him, “The scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV) 

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG) 

To live the abundant life that God intends for us, requires more than nourishing our bodies; we must also nourish our heart, mind and soul. One of the key elements in doing this includes spending time in His word and in prayer. The more deeply we have His word hidden in our heart, the more clearly we become aware of His will for us, and how He is directing us in all things. We all have a God-sized hole in our hearts that can only be filled by Him. When we hunger for things to fill it that are not of Him, we discover that nothing else truly satisfies what we actually need. As we hunger to be filled with His word and direction for our lives, He is faithful to show us how to love Him and love people best. It is through an ongoing living, loving and hearing from Him that we know what it is to be filled; filled with His peace, His purpose, His goodness, His grace, and His overwhelming love. May we ever seek the Lord to find true nourishment for our entire being through time with Him and in His word. 

It takes more than bread, 

To live satisfied; 

For all of us need, 

Love that’s not denied. 

Love that is faithful, 

That doesn’t depend; 

On our worthiness, 

But helps and defends. 

As we read His word, 

Seek Him and choose pray; 

Satisfaction comes, 

As we live His way. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we were created for so much more than eating and sleeping. Thank You that You designed each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that all people have gifts and talents and love to offer. Forgive us for the times that we have sought things that are not Your intention for us, to fill the void that only You can fill. Teach us to earnestly seek You and spend time in Your word. Show us how to live and love according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be filled by You. Amen. 

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

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV) 

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV) 

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ – and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, TPT) 

There is so much to this passage. First, it is an incredible exhortation, reminding us of the infinite power that is found in Christ and His ability to work in and through us. The part of this that baffles me is that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus from prison. He had seen and continued to know and experience the amazing power of God at work in and through both himself and fellow followers of Jesus. Additionally, as Paul recognized all that God was doing, and all that He would continue to do, He was intentional to point out where all praise is due. When Paul speaks of the church, he is referring to every body of believers. The church is not a building, but rather those who join together for the common purpose of loving God and loving people. Through the love of God, so much more than we could hope or imagine, becomes possible. 

In my life, after my first marriage ended, I did not think that sort of love was for me. My focus was on God and my boys, and that was all that mattered. Family and friends surrounded us, and God was faithful to be present and provide all that was needed and more. As I grew in a much deeper understanding of who He had created me to be, I did begin to hope, to dream, and to imagine what might be possible. Now, more than six years later, I am preparing to celebrate my second anniversary with the man that God knew I needed. In our nearly two years of marriage, we have had to navigate some crazy and difficult things; all of which God brought us through, by His strength – together. Each of us needed one another, as God had intended. Grace, support, encouragement and unconditional love have been tangible reminders of what God will do that extend far beyond what either of us could have hoped or imagined. That does not mean that it is all easy or smooth sailing, but we do have each other with God in the center, as He has shown us again and again how He works in and through us, and is worthy of all of our praise forever. 

No matter where you find yourself, God is faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, especially in the midst of the difficult. May we ever lean into the Lord and give Him all of our praise, for He is faithful to strengthen, encourage, and carry us from start to finish in all situations. God can do infinitely more than we could hope or imagine, and that is reason to praise. 

The power of God, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Is beyond compare; 

He’s faithful always, 

Love He freely shares. 

A love that strengthens, 

When we’re feeling weak; 

Encourages hope, 

As all things feel bleak. 

Provision abounds, 

For He’s ever near; 

To carry us through, 

Heartaches and our fear. 

All glory to God, 

Let our lives give praise; 

To He who’s worthy, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, our strength and supply. Thank You that You are faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine as we depend on You. Forgive us for our lack of trust, as You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our trust and praise. Continue to teach us how incredibly faithful You are, as we seek You with our lives. Show us how to love those around in ways that encourage hopes and dreams in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all glory, honor and praise forever. Amen. 

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

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! – Hebrews 9:14

Searched, Known, and Lovingly Shown

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV) 

Lord, You have tested me, so You know all about me. – (Psalm 139:1, ERV) 

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE) 

This is simultaneously comforting and terrifying. Terrifying, because we each are aware of our own faults, failures and flaws, and dread the thought of that part of us being known. However, to have the very One who made us and loves us, know us better than we know ourselves, brings comfort. In spite of our shortcomings, He loves. Additionally, being intimately known, reminds us that He knows our greatest need, and is ready and willing to refine and grow our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His. My hope in this is that God is not finished with me yet. He knows me and loves me as I am, yet loves me enough to not have me stay stagnant. God wants for us all to grow and be refined, allowing His heart to be shown to the world. May we embrace the grace that God freely offers, and seek Him earnestly to grow and change us to be better reflections of His goodness and grace. 

O great God of love, 

You see all our parts; 

The thoughts in our minds, 

Things hidden in hearts. 

Despite what You see, 

You love anyway; 

Eager to help us, 

Live and love Your way. 

Let goodness and grace, 

Be what comes from me; 

Refine mind and heart, 

So Your love is seen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know every part of us – body, heart, mind and soul, yet You love us relentlessly. Forgive us for our misguided thinking or lack of understanding that get in the way of You working in and through our lives. Teach us to pursue Your heart for the world, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love to all. Show us how to love all those around us best, and rid our hearts of anything that gets in the way of loving like You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You search us and know us, and lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You. – Psalm 119:168

May We Recognize His Goodness

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV) 

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to the Lord. – (Psalm 34:8, ERV) 

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE) 

The Lord is faithful to meet us as we seek Him. His goodness does not always manifest in the way we expect, but always, He is good. The more we trust, the more we find His comfort and presence that bless our hearts. This weekend is a strange one, as it has traditionally been a time to gather with family and enjoy time together. Today, we will share a meal and some of our favorite games with our dearest friends, while remaining very close to home. I will miss time with my mom, sister and extended family, but I know that there will still be blessings in the goodness of His presence as we trust in Him. May we all taste and see how good God is, for He is our space of comfort and safety in every season. 

The Lord, He is good, 

May all taste and see; 

Blessing and comfort, 

For you and for me. 

As we choose to trust, 

He makes His love clear; 

His goodness made plain, 

As we seek draw near. 

Let love lead the way, 

In all that we do; 

Give glory to God, 

As He makes things new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only pause to recognize how very good You are. No matter our situation or circumstances, thank You that You are present to help, protect and comfort. Forgive us for getting caught up in our own circumstances rather than trusting You. Teach us to rely on You, for You are our comfort and safety in every season. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all may taste and see how very good You are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to recognize how very good You are. Amen. 

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

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

The Power of Our Words

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. – (Proverbs 12:18, NIV) 

Speak without thinking, and your words can cut like a knife. Be wise, and your words can heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, ERV) 

Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. – (Proverbs 12:18, TPT) 

I have been the recipient and deliverer of both reckless and wise words. With each incident of recklessness, words brought harm to both the messenger and the audience. For the speaker, it either tarnishes the reputation or incites guilt at the realization of what words escaped without thinking; sometimes, it does both. However, when words are thoughtfully spoken in love, healing, help, encouragement and good are the result. Wisdom with words comes from listening and seeking to understand, prior to speaking. The ultimate healing wisdom is granted as we seek the Lord and His heart for the recipient of our words. May we ever listen to understand and seek the Lord for wisdom with our words. Let wisdom be sought and shared, and reckless responses be silenced before they are spoken. 

May each word we speak, 

Be laden in love; 

Righteous responses, 

From God up above.  

Let words without thought, 

Be silenced, not heard; 

So all that we speak, 

Be God’s loving words. 

Protect us from haste, 

Speaking without thought; 

So healing happens, 

As God’s truth is taught. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us wisdom with our words to bring healing when we are willing to be slow to speak and eager to listen. Thank You that You are the ultimate Provider of words that heal. Forgive us for every reckless word spoken. Teach us to do and be better, so that we seek You for wisdom with our words. Show us how to love others with our words, bringing healing and hope and help. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to learn and speak to bring life. 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