Great Things

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – (Psalm 126:3, NIV)

Yes, we will be happy because the Lord did a great thing for us. – (Psalm 126:3, ERV)

We shook our heads/ All of us were stunned – the Eternal has done remarkable things for us. We were beyond happy, beyond joyful. – (Psalm 126:3, VOICE)

After months of waiting and planning, tomorrow is now only a day away! Our dearest friends moved to Texas on January 1st, and we have been waiting for spring break to arrive. At long last, tomorrow is the day. God has provided the time and resources to travel to spend our break together. Our joy is increased in the anticipation of being reunited. The thing is, He has done great things in the waiting, and the ultimate joy is found in knowing Him. He has supplied the strength and stamina to press on, even through the most challenging times, and has brought us to a space where rest and refreshment are within reach. This morning, I am refreshed in His presence and renewed in the hope of all that He has for us. Though today will be a very long day, I am looking forward to it, as conferences are a great time to see students with their parents, and to catch up on paperwork in between. God is good, and He is the One who fills us with His joy. May we ever take notice of all that He has done, and give thanks from hearts full of joy from knowing how good He truly is.

So great are the things,

God has done for us;

He has brought us here,

Showed us we can trust.

Trust in His goodness,

Know He will provide;

In Him there is joy,

As we choose abide.

Abide in His love,

Give thanks for all things;

Hope everlasting,

Through love He does bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your outpouring of goodness and grace that carries and sustains us through all of our days. Thank You for the joy that You plant deep within us, and then water and grow it as we come to know You more. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to steal our joy. Please fill us anew as we go forth today and lead us in the overwhelming love that You have given so that we may do likewise. Show us how to love and care for those around us as You intended, and may each come to know the joy found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the great things You have done and continue to do, and may our joy be contagious to those around us. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Hope Now and Always

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” – (John 11:25-26, NIV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection. I am life. Everyone who believes in Me will have life, even if they die. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never really die. Martha, do you believe this?” – (John 11:25-26, ERV)

“You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, the Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in Me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in Me does not ultimately die at ll. Do you believe this?” – (John 11:25-26, MSG)

This was part of the conversation between Jesus and Martha before He raised Lazarus from the dead. Her understanding was limited to the hope she held in heaven, but then Jesus showed her even more of who He is and the power found in Him. With mere words, Jesus brought back to life the one who had died and gave a glimpse of the more that is found in Him. His words, “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” were made tangible in a new way for her and those who witnessed what transpired. The same God who raised Lazarus from the dead, is the One who provides us hope for all eternity. When we know Him and have a relationship with Him, we are promised life forever with Him both now and forevermore. This hope is so much more than “fire insurance”. Knowing God personally provides hope, help, power, peace, goodness and grace each moment that we draw breath. His nearness is promised, and His presence provides for all that we need to navigate each new day. May we ever seek the Lord anew each day, and trust in Him to be our life everlasting.

The power of God,

Not just in some day;

It’s ever-present,

To show us His way.

For Christ is our hope,

He’s more than enough;

He leads and guides us,

Through easy and tough.

His presence made known,

Through unexplained peace;

And love that surrounds,

As grace is released.

The Lord is our hope,

Both now and always;

Power and comfort,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our hope in You is not just for some day, but You are present to help us now and forever. Forgive us for our limited understanding that places parameters on what we think You can and cannot do. Thank You that You are so much more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to press into You more and more, for it is in the knowing that our hope grows. Show us how to love those around us as You do, for it is Your love that gives light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the hope and help You provide each moment that we draw breath, and the promise we have in forever with 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

Choose to Shine

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

It’s the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. – (1 John 2:10, MSG)

I appreciate the Message translation of this verse tremendously, as it is a powerful reminder that when we choose love, we allow God’s light to shine, yet when we do not, we can actually block the light that God’s love intended for them to receive. God calls and equips us to love yet created us with a free will to choose. As we choose to love, we choose to allow the loving light of God to shine through us to the world. The people around us become more like family, and our hearts expand to give and receive as we were designed through allowing love to lead in all that we say and do. This is not always easy or natural, yet it is always worthwhile. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we may shine His loving light on all who are near us.

When we choose to love,

Christ’s light is made clear;

His love is poured out,

To all who are near.

Brothers and sisters,

Family and friends;

All who cross our path,

For love to extend.

What’s incredible,

Is there’s always more;

The light of God’s love,

Will always endure.

Lord, help us to choose,

To share well Your light;

And love each other,

For Your love delights.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and share Your light wherever we go and whatever we do. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing when we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love and have hidden the light that You intended to shine through us. Teach us to ever trust in You and to follow the path that You have placed before us. Lead us to love well so that all around us may know the lavish light of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love one another as sisters and brothers as we allow Your light to shine. Amen.

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

The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. – Proverbs 13:9

Persevere

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB)

This is such an important reminder when we are in a trying season, or are walking through a difficult situation. God uses all things to grow us and show us more of Himself, and the lessons we learn as we press on in Him, teach us of His unending faithfulness. Incredibly, when we get through the season or circumstance, we discover that we are closer to God and are better able to reflect His love and faithfulness to those around us. Character grows as we walk through struggles, not in the seasons of status quo. May we ever persevere with the Lord through challenging seasons, for He is faithful to use all things to grow us and make us more complete in Him.

No matter what comes,

Choose to persevere;

Not in our own strength,

But through Him who’s near.

Trust in His goodness,

On His strength, rely;

Keep moving forward,

His love is our “why”.

It’s easy to see,

From the other side;

How God got us through,

Our help from inside.

Always He’s near us,

With strength and His grace;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we persevere through all that comes our way, You grow us to more clearly reflect Your light to the world. Thank You that You are always faithful to be present as we navigate all things. Forgive us for the times that we want to sit down and quit instead of trusting You. Teach us to keep moving in the direction to which we are called, and show us how to trust You to be our strength and our help throughout every day. Lead us in Your love to bless, encourage, and strengthen those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to walk beside us and strengthen us to persevere in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Be My Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord an His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

Today is a good day to be reminded that my strength comes from God. I am tired and have a busy day ahead. As we near ever closer to spring break, holding my student’s attention during class becomes more difficult and requires more energy than usual. This morning, I am being observed, and though I have a wonderful and kind principal, I still get nervous about the process. Days like this are God’s reminder to trust in Him, as He is always faithful to meet me as I seek Him. This morning, I am trusting in Him to be my strength, provide clarity of thought as I plan, and energy to engage my kiddos in a way that helps them grasp the content. God is faithful, and this morning I trust Him anew to be my strength.

The Lord is my strength,

On Him I depend;

No matter what comes,

His strength He extends.

Whatever the need,

God already knows;

With love, He’s for us,

As kindness He shows.

Let’s rise up in faith,

His strength and supply;

All that is needed,

In love God provides.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being our strength. Thank You that You know our need and are faithful to provide as we abide in You. Forgive us for our lack of fortitude when we are weary. Teach us to trust in You to be our strength, for You are faithful always. Lead us in Your love to care for people as You do. Show us Your heart, especially for those who are struggling. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength You supply to help us navigate each new day. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Inner Beauty

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, NIV)

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, ERV)

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, VOICE)

God’s perspective is far different than the world’s; He delights in a beautiful heart and a gentle spirit that is gracious and kind. Such beauty does not fade, but rather it grows with wisdom and the deepening of our relationship with Him. There is nothing wrong with dressing up and wanting to present ourselves well, yet our heart, how we adorn our spirit with the fruit of the Spirit, is far more important than how we look. The most beautiful people I know are gentle and kind and are a peaceful presence to all who are near them. Looks are fleeting, but our spirit is eternal. May we ever invest our time and energy into growing in God’s goodness and grace, rather than fixating on the external that fades.

Gentle and quiet,

Beautiful the heart;

That extends kindness,

As each new day starts.

For external looks,

Will over time, fade;

But a loving heart,

Is valued always.

Lord help us focus,

On that which will last;

An inner beauty,

With loving impact.

Transform our hearts Lord,

So we would love true;

Let beauty within,

Be what reflects You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about our inner beauty, the part of us that chooses to love, extend kindness, and bring about a quiet calm, simply by being present. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the standards of the world to skew our perspective of what truly matters. Show us how to continue to invest our hearts in You so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Lead us in Your love, for it is love that transforms and renews. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we focus on You and give You room to cleanse and change our hearts to more clearly mirror Your own to all whom we encounter. Amen.

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

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Purposefully Produced

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

I so appreciate that these things – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – are all things the Holy Spirit produces in us, rather than us having to somehow will these things into existence in our lives. Rather than pursuing fruit, we are to pursue the One who grow such things within us as we follow Him. Every morning is new and He deposits fresh fruit within us as we give Him room. The more we allow God access to our hearts and lives, the more evidence of His fruit is produced within us. May we ever seek our Savior, for He grows and produces in us, good things.

The goodness of God,

Is grown from within;

Planted and rooted,

To overcome sin.

The fruit from the Lord,

Everything good;

To share with others,

His love understood.

So, seek Him each day,

All good is made new;

The fruit He’s planted,

Signs of His love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good thing comes from You. Thank You that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control all come from You. Thank You that as we seek and depend on You, You grow these things within us. Forgive us for the times that we have not given You access to the spaces within us that need tending or pruning. Teach us how to open our hearts and lives to You so that You can transform us to bear good fruit and reflect Your love to the world around us. Show us how to love like You in everything we do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow good fruit within us to share with those around us. 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

Filled

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)

I pray that God, the Source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

Hope, joy and peace through Christ are the very things that strengthen us to persevere when things are difficult. Joy is deep-rooted within us and is not dependent on our circumstances. The joy is found in knowing God and trusting that His plans are good. His peace, true peace, is an anchor through our storms and a green pasture to lie in beside still waters when we need rest. All around us are reminders of God’s goodness and grace. This morning, despite being woken up twice in the night by a restless dog, I am surrounded and snuggled by him and his sister, as I am enjoying the sweet silence of the morning and watching the morning sky change colors as I sip on hot coffee. God knows all of the little things that bless our hearts and reminds us of His love and tender mercy anew every morning, if only we look around as we seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord to open our eyes to His goodness all around us and recognize the hope we have in Him that infuses our lives with joy and peace.

Each day as we rise,

May we find anew;

The joy that we have,

In knowing the truth.

Hope overflowing,

For all that’s ahead;

Joy in the journey,

Peace as we are led.

His goodness abounds,

In all things, always;

No matter the road,

Beside us He stays.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope, joy, and peace in all things, always. Thank You that Your nearness is not dependent on our circumstances. Forgive us for our lack of faith when the road before us is rough. Teach us to trust You to lead us every step of our journey. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share the hope, joy, and peace found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy. – Psalm 65:8

The Good Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, ERV)

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again. – (Psalm 23:1-3a, VOICE)

A shepherd looks after, cares for, and protects their sheep. God is the ultimate shepherd of all who choose to follow after and trust in Him. He is faithful to supply what we need as we need it and provides spaces of rest to refresh us when we are weary. Over the last several months, I have gone through an unexpected ordeal with skin cancer. A spot of concern turned into a removal surgery that required plastic surgery to close the removal site. From there, what was removed was sent to be tested genetically to determine the likelihood of the cancer metastasizing. The outcome deemed that I was at moderate risk, which resulted in orders for a CT scan. Yesterday, after a very long day of teaching and coaching, followed by a car issue that delayed heading home by more than an hour, I was able to login to MyChart to read the outcome of the scan. Through the process of all these things, I knew He was holding me in His hands. He brought me to a space of knowing that no matter what, He had me. Thankfully, the results of the scan were delivered electronically rather than by a specialist, as that is an indicator that things are good. Indeed, all is well. Additionally, we are two weeks away from Spring Break, and I know rest is coming. May we ever trust in the Lord to be our shepherd, for He leads us, guides us, protects us, and provides for us, every day we draw breath.

God’s our good shepherd,

He leads and provides;

Protects and directs,

As we choose abide.

He’s faithful always,

Forever is near;

To supply us strength,

And calm all our fears.

No matter what comes,

In Him we can trust;

His love knows no end,

He’s faithful and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our good shepherd. Thank You that You lead us through all things with love, kindness and grace, and You remain present always. Forgive us for giving fear a foothold when facing the unknowns. Teach us to ever trust in You, for You care for us far better than we can care for ourselves. Lead us to spaces of rest when we are weary and strengthen us anew with Your love. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all may experience the fullness of Your overwhelming goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You every morning to be our strength, supply, and space of rest, so that we may love as You love us. Amen.

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

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and encouragement they provide we might have hope. – Romans 15:4

Train in Trustworthy Traits

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

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

Since you are all set apart by God, made holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a holy way of life: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, VOICE)

If we know God, we are His chosen people. It is only by His great love that we are made holy through Him and equipped to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient. This way of life is a choice and it requires us to invest our heart in Him. As we do, we grow in our capacity to be kind and loving, gently and patient, humble and full of mercy for those around us. The process is an ongoing, lifelong journey to ever be refined to more clearly reflect the Father. May we ever pursue the Lord with passion, being intentional to seek Him anew each day, for it is through our seeking that we come to find the One who gives us all.

Because we are loved,

We know to love too;

With patience, kindness,

As mercy shines through.

Ever we’re to walk,

In humility;

With a gentleness,

That brings sweet relief.

Relief from the harsh,

That the world does bring;

A generous love,

In everything.

O Lord, please lead us,

Throughout all our days;

With Your tender love,

To walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us Your children and teach us to live as Your own. Thank You that Your love equips us to be compassionate, kind, patient, humble, and gentle with those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have been lacking any of these in our interactions with those around us. Teach us to listen to Your loving leading in all things. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and compassion, patience and gentleness, ever walking in humility knowing You are our Source for all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You alone give, and continually pursue the traits that You call us to carry throughout all of our days in every circumstance. Amen.

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

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promises for both the present life and the life to come. – 1 Timothy 4:8