Run Our Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

 

Running is a great analogy for how we are meant to live life. Encouragement comes from those who have run a similar race before us, and know how to navigate the course well. Just as no runner ever wants to run carrying any unnecessary weight or things that will burden or slow them down, so too, it is meant to be in life with the things that distract and keep us off course from running the race for which we are called to run. To do so, requires perseverance and endurance, as it is not a sprint, but rather a race we are to keep running. In the same way that a runner must stay the course, persevere, and keep running, a life lived well requires faith, perseverance, a dropping of things that distract us from the course that God calls us to, and a conviction to continue, even when it is difficult. Both take training, and require a readiness to keep running. May we learn from all those who have gone before us and run well; may we remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that makes us fall, and may we run our race with endurance, as the true prize is well worth the run.

 

We all know others,

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Ash and I as we are ready to run our 1/2 Marathon today

Who are running well;

Grace and faithfulness,

Their lives clearly tell.

Just as they have done,

May we in faith, go;

Throwing off burdens,

What won’t help us grow.

In faith, keep running,

With His strength and grace;

Press on, persevere,

The Lord sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for the example set before us by those who have lived their lives for You well. Thank You that we are only meant to run the race that You set before us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. Forgive us for the sin that weighs us down and distracts us from staying the course. Teach us to keep our eyes on Your and our feet on the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage others as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and grace to rise up and run our race with endurance. 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 paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

In Trust, I Rise

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life. – (Psalm 119:147, TPT)

 

Early mornings have been my favorite time of day for many years. When I was a small child, rising early meant the promise of watching cartoons prior to whatever plans the day held. As I grew older, I discovered the beauty found in the silent stillness, while most of the world still sleeps. For an introvert in a highly interactive role, rising early to ready myself for the day, is essential. Some days, it is praying, and others, it is a sort of crying out for help, as I seek strength and wisdom to find the fortitude to forge forward in faith. No matter how I wake and approach God, He is faithful to meet me as I am. His word is alive and active; ever teaching, correcting, and challenging me to be more of who He is calling me to become. I trust Him and place my hope in He who is faithful forever. May we ever pursue our Provider, and trust His word to work in our lives.

 

Before dawn appears, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

In faith, I choose rise;

To call on the Lord,

Have Him lead my life.

For as I choose trust,

Always I have found;

He’s faithful and true,

His wisdom is sound.

Help me to live well,

A life built on trust;

Renewed each morning,

Wise, faithful and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whenever we come to You and pray to You, You are faithful to hear us. Thank You that we can trust in Your word. Thank You for the gift of early mornings and the capacity to rise early. Thank You for the gift of the silence of early mornings, while the world still sleeps. Forgive us for not being intentional in our pursuit of You and Your word. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be purposeful in prayer and seek to study and know Your word. Show us how to love those around us with faithfulness and grace, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You and choose to spend time seeking You, because You are faithful and worthy of all of our trust. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

New Mercy Every Morning

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)

We are still alive because the Lord’s faithful love never ends. Every morning He shows it in new ways! You are so very true and loyal! – (Lamentations 3:22-23, ERV)

How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, VOICE)

 

Today, I am thankful that each morning God’s mercies are new, and we have a fresh start as the new day dawns. He is faithful and compassionate, and His love lifts us up and leads us to begin again. Sometimes, we need only be reminded that the day is new, to change our perspective when the week has been long and wearying. Incredibly, despite the crazy pace of the week, we have reached Thursday, with only one more full scheduled day after today. God is good, and He carries us with His strength and compassion when we grow weary, and renews us to begin again at the start of each new day. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His loyal love and mercies that know no end.

 

Because God’s loving, New Mercy Every Morning

And makes mercy new;

Each day’s a fresh start,

As grace is renewed.

Boundless compassion,

Faithful all our days;

God’s love never ends,

Let us choose give praise.

Praise to the Father,

For mercies made new;

Praise for His goodness,

That’s forever true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithful love knows no end. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us with kindness and compassion that is unending. Forgive us for the times that we fail to embrace the new mercy that You grant us each day. Teach us to release yesterday into Your hands and to trust today and each day that is yet to come in Your strong, capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes Your mercy, goodness and compassion evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for Your mercies that are new every morning. Amen.

 

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

 

For great is Your love, reaching to the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies. – Psalm 57:10

 

Every New Step

I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. – (Philippians 4:13, NIV)

Christ is the one who gives me the strength I need to do whatever I must do. – (Philippians 4:13, ERV)

For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. – (Philippians 4:13, TLB)

 

Do you ever wake at the start of the week and wonder how you will get from the now to the close of the week? It is not a lack of faith thing, nor a whoa is me situation, but rather a recognition of the demands that lie before me, and the need for Christ to be present every step of the way. The week ahead is like that for me, particularly as I step into the new and unknown. I am excited and eager, yet uncertain of how all will unfold. God is good, as He grants me the strength to do the He is leading me to, and He makes plain the path that He has prepared in advance for me to walk. Today, I am trusting His strength for each next step as I navigate the new in this season.

Mom understands this far better than most, as she continues to trust in Christ and His strength each new day for every new step that she is to take on this road of healing and recovery. Each week, she is trying a bit more as she gets out of the house and engages in social activities with my sister and brother-in-love. More and more, there is a return to self, as Christ’s strength continues to grow and be made known in Mom.

 

The strength of the Lord, Strong Heart

Is present and free;

For all who choose seek,

He gives what we need.

All that the Lord asks,

We’re equipped to do;

His power and grace,

Ever see us through.

So, trust in the Lord,

Answer what He asks;

You’ll find you’ve the strength,

For every task.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us the strength and power to do all that You call us to do. Thank You that You have a perfect plan and purpose for each of us. Forgive us for our moments of being a bit overwhelmed by all that we see that lies ahead. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to go before us and walk beside us, every step of the way. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and empower each to do all that is asked of them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your power and strength to supply all that we need for each step we are meant to take of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Ask for Direction

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, NIV)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path. – (Psalm 143:10, VOICE)

 

This morning, I am enthusiastically mulling over a new opportunity that was set before me yesterday evening. By all appearances, it seems as though God ordained the timing, as paths crossed at just the right moment for need and skill set to collide. For me, it would be a hope long held; realized, and a connection to grow something I already love, even greater. Between full familial support and a heart that is thrilled and the possibility, I am full of hope that this is His will and the path on which I am being led. The next few days will tell the tale, as all would come to fruition by Tuesday of next week, if it is the path that I am meant to take in this season. My prayer is that I would know clearly what His will is, and that I would follow whatever direction I am meant to go, with passion and strength to persevere.

 

O Lord God on high, Ask for Direction

Show me what to do;

Lead me on Your path,

So, I honor You.

Direct each next step,

Show me where to go;

Make directions clear,

So, Your will, I’ll know.

Thank You for new things,

Chance encouragement;

Opportunities,

Blessings, heaven sent.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the thrill of new opportunities that You set before us. Thank You that You know our hearts and love to bless us. Thank You for loving and supportive family. Thank You that You answer when we ask, and I am asking for clear direction before diving in, despite my desire to charge straight ahead. Forgive us for allowing our desires to get ahead of us. Show us how to slow down and ask for answers, so that we make the best decisions that You have for us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that all whom we encounter would be encouraged and lifted up in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our desires to You and ask for direction, as You make our path plain. Amen.

 

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

 

In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6

Thankful for Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, NIV)

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, ERV)

Our faith in Jesus transfers God’s righteousness to us and He now declares us flawless in His eyes. This means we can now enjoy true and lasting peace with God, all because of what our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, has done for us. – (Romans 5:1, TPT)

 

This morning, as I enjoy the “extra time”, courtesy of daylight savings time versus my internal clock, prior to preparing for church, I am extraordinarily grateful for the power and presence that come through faith. When we choose to place our faith in God, we are justified and seen as right before Him. His perspective provides us lasting peace in and through God, which makes all the difference in how we navigate our days. In the same way that our children know that they are loved and valued, no matter what they do or have done, we too are viewed likewise through the eyes of Christ. If we as humans have the capacity to love and forgive and see our children or loved ones in a positive light, how much more does our Creator view us, His created, through His own eyes, when we have faith in Him? May we give our gratitude to God for the power provided through faith in Him.

Faith is mentioned 458 times (according to my Bible Gateway App search), and another verse that stands out, particularly in regards to Mom, is: If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22, NIV) This verse follows the passage where Jesus had made a fig tree wither with merely a word, and the disciples had been amazed. He went on to tell them that they had the very same power within them, if they would have faith and not doubt. Jesus then continued on to the following verse (Mt 21:22) about having faith for what you ask for in prayer. This is what we need to put into practice daily with Mom, as we have faith that she will be fully restored and able to return to life as she knew it before the stroke. There are days that it is easier to believe than others, as recovery is slow, by human standards. However, I know that we have faith that is the size of at least a mustard seed, and with that, God can grow it to something far greater than we can hope or even imagine. For today, let us lay hold of the faith that we have, and place it in His hands to grow it greater still; as His plans are far greater than our own.

 

Faith gives rise to grace, img_2019-11-03_08-07-554884861374886407706.jpg

From the Lord above;

Who forgives and saves,

And views us in love.

When we trust in faith,

God takes what we bring;

He blesses our trust,

Lord of everything.

He grants us His peace,

For in Him we know;

That each step of faith,

Is how our faith grows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of faith. Thank You that when we have faith in You, You transform our hearts and lives. Thank You that when we offer the faith that we have, You grow it far greater. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters, as we forget that faith is not by sight. Teach us to trust in You, not in what we see in the moment. Show us how to love those around us in a way that encourages faith and promotes peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our faith in You alone. 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 33:5

Heaven’s Handiwork

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

Though I seldom feel like a masterpiece, I know that I am clay in the Potter’s hands. I am His, and He is continually etching heaven’s poetry on my heart and in my life. Watching my children grow into young men, has been the greatest reminder of my charge to do the good that God prepared for me in advance. In spite of my flaws and failures, God has grown my boys into kind, thoughtful, intelligent, loving, handsome young men, with hearts that are set on loving people well. Each one is a masterpiece that I have been blessed to witness in the works. The beautiful thing for all of us, is that we are His handiwork that is continually being crafted and honed, until the day we meet Him face-to-face. We do not have to be in “final form” to be effective in doing the good work that He calls us to do; rather as we do each next thing, our hearts are further shaped to mirror His. May we delight in the hands that hold and shape us into our best selves as we seek Him, and ever pursue opportunities to carry out good works to which we are called.

The masterpiece that is my mom, was excited to view the sneak peek photos from my boys’ senior photo shoot. For those who know mom, it is clear that pictures are a priority for her, as she has family photos hung throughout her home, with an enormous shelf at the end of the hallway, full of photo albums. Christmas gifts for mom this year will be a bit easier to choose. 😉 We kept missing one another with phone calls, but thankfully, the text full of photos made the needed connection yesterday.

 

For we each are called, img_2019-10-30_04-43-17994737177984006958.jpg

God’s own work of art;

Made with a purpose,

He’s known from the start.

When God looks at us,

He calls His work good;

The Lord’s masterpiece,

Purposed livelihood.

Heaven’s poetry,

Etched upon each heart;

How can we argue,

Or question His art?

Rise up in wonder,

In awe, choose embrace;

The call to do good,

Love others with grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose to do good works as Your intentionally and purposefully handcrafted works of art. Thank You that we are constantly being refined so that we may more clearly reflect heaven’s poetry through how we live our lives. Forgive us for questioning Your handiwork or for neglecting to do the good that You created us to do. Teach us to trust Your hands and Your leading, as You provide all that we need to do whatever it is that is asked of us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may understand the work of art that they truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the plans and purpose that You have for each of us, and for the intentional art that You have created each of us to become as we move forward according to Your calling. Amen.

 

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

 

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. – Psalm 33:11

Return to Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

 

I’m not sure if it has been an extraordinarily long week, or if my lack of rest finally caught up with me. Either way, by the time I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon, I was done. Heavy eyes and weary body, for once, I chose to listen to my body and lie down to rest. Typically, if I attempt to take a rest, my efforts last about twenty minutes before my mind and body determine that it is time to get moving again. Yesterday, that was not the case. Two hours later, my loving spouse wandered into our room and asked if I was planning on getting up, as it was already 6pm. As I woke, shocked that so much time had passed, I realized that I had desperately needed the rest. God knew what I needed, and by His grace, there was nothing scheduled, nor anything that I had to do, besides just rest. The evening was spent relaxing, and I had zero difficulty falling asleep at our typically early bedtime. When I woke this morning, there was a moment of wishing I could roll back over and sleep more. Not normal for me, but I can assume that meant I slept soundly. Though it may seem trivial, for me, the ability to relax and rest is clear evidence of the Lord caring for me. Rest and relaxation may look different on any given day, but He knows our need, and cares for us individually. May we seek the Lord to find rest for our weary souls, and relax in the blessings He pours out upon us.

 

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O my weary soul;

For the Lord is good,

His love makes us whole.

He knows all our needs,

By grace, He provides;

Strength that’s enduring,

And faith to abide.

Relax in God’s rest,

For our needs are known;

Trust and see He’s good,

As His grace is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care for us in ways that provide rest. Thank You that we can relax and rest in You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen when our heart, mind, body or soul needs rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and find rest in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide opportunities for rest and relaxation, reminding them of the blessings that You bring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and give You praise for the blessings that You continually bring. Amen.

 

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

 

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

The God of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

God’s hope fills us with joy and peace, and empowers us to trust in Him. As our trust grows, hope flows from us, and becomes a beacon in our lives. This process is ongoing, and there is always room to grow. Though I trust God, I certainly find myself in moments where I lose sight of His peace and have to take pause to remember what matters eternally. Yesterday at school, this was my reality for a few minutes. Just as my students had left my classroom and I was beginning to settle in and make preparations during my planning period, one of my colleagues entered my room and handed me a sub folder for a class. I took pause, in frustration asked, “Are you kidding me, right now?” And then proceeded to process the fact that I was losing my planning with no notification. At first, I was completely stressed about how I would get everything done, but then stopped and settled into trust, recognizing that I could utilize my lunchtime to do the planning I still needed to do. Peace arrived, the moment I slowed down and chose trust. The lack of notice was an oversight on the part of very busy, lovely humans, and grace is the only thing warranted in such circumstances. All worked out and the planning required was completed, reminding me, yet again to trust and keep my hope in He who gives me strength. May we ever hope in God, our ever-trustworthy place of peace.

Mom is continuing to push along on her road to recovery. Yesterday, my brother-in-love posted the best photo of my sister and mom that I have seen in a long while. Mom was actually at the island helping Megan prepare dinner! This is huge for so many reasons; mom standing and balancing, engaging in what she used to love to do, and recognizing that she is able to do exceedingly more than she may have thought possible. My prayer is that His peace would continue to flood their home as trust and hope grow greater still.

 

May the God of hope, fb_img_15711398132665000935021918141.jpg

Fill you with all joy;

May peace be present,

As hope is employed.

May His hope rise up,

Flood each heart and mind;

To overflowing,

As God’s love is kind.

Let God empower,

Your mind and your heart;

Hope overflowing,

Where peace and joy start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace and joy that come and fill us with all hope as we trust in You. Thank You that hope rises and overflows. Forgive us for the times that we take our eyes off of You and lose sight of where trust belongs. Teach us the power found in trusting You, so that we would not waiver in our faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your peace and joy, where by hope overflows where it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and hold fast to the hope we know in You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Authenticity

Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. “You must always speak the truth to each other,” because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

 

Yesterday, as our pastors continued in their series “DNA” (The core beliefs we are made of at our church), the topic covered was “Authenticity”. Pastor Misty began by unpacking that authenticity, in the context of the body of Christ, is fully knowing and understanding who you are in Christ, and living accordingly. The verse she began with, was Ephesians 4:25. We have to set aside our idea of what we think we “ought to be”, and choose to live out the life of who we are called to be. Do we seek to live up to the world’s expectations, or God’s design? It seems like a tall order, yet when we allow our hearts and minds to be made new in Christ, it is far easier to be “real” than attempt to fit in a mold that was not designed for anyone to actually fit. We are each uniquely designed with different gifts and purposes. As we operate in the strengths that God has intentionally granted, others benefit and we continue to grow. Some common telltale signs of those who are actively seeking to be authentic, are those who: speak the truth in love, forgive time and time again, actively pursue peace, and continue to seek to grow as they allow others to speak into their lives in ways that encourage positive growth as life-long learners. May we be fearless in our pursuit to authentically be the people of purpose, for which we were each uniquely and wonderfully designed.

 

Seek the face of God, Authenticity

And choose to be true;

Walk in your purpose,

Authentically you.

Lay down pretenses,

And all the “ought to’s”;

Discover your gifts,

Then put them to use.

Speak the truth in love,

Always choose forgive;

Seek peace and new growth,

Authentically live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You designed each one of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and grow in You, we begin to understand how to walk out our days authentically as who You have intentionally created us to be. Forgive us for the times that we have held back or tried to be something other than who You have designed us to be. Show us how to love those around us well with the gifts, talents and purposes that You have placed within each of our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we actively pursue a life of authenticity in You. Amen.

 

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

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11