Prepare, Guide and Direct

Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, NIV) 

Guide me, as You promised. Don’t let evil rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, ERV) 

Prepare before me a path filled with Your promises, and don’t allow even one sin to have dominion over me. – (Psalm 119:133, TPT) 

Prepare, direct and guide are all necessary components to walk in God’s will and live according to His word. The thing that prevents us from fully walking in His way and following His path, is sin. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment or movement, and do not look to the Lord for His leading, sin can creep in and find a foothold in our heart. Our culture, today, makes this blaringly evident. Rather than having civilized discussions when differing or opposing opinions present themselves, many are choosing to engage in arguing, name-calling, or worse, rather than listening in love. Sin creeps in when we allow our thoughts to determine what is best, instead of seeking the Lord and asking Him. Angry arguing and belittling commentary are not ways to share the love that the Lord intended us to give. The ugliness is not what He is asking. Absolutely we are to speak up when wrongs are being done, but it ought to be about the sin and what God actually wants, not the person who is walking the wrong way. “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Kind, civilized, and loving words and modeling go much farther to show the way, than demeaning and destructive verbiage. Our intentions matter not if our words and deeds are tainted by sin. May we ever seek the Lord to prepare us, guide us and direct our steps, so that no sin finds a foothold in our hearts. 

O Lord, prepare me, 

Please show me Your heart; 

Cleanse me and lead me, 

And Your grace impart.  

Direct ev’ry step, 

Keep sin far away; 

So Your love is shown, 

And I love Your way. 

Guide me on Your path, 

Make each next step clear; 

Let each word and deed, 

Show love perseveres. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word prepares, guides and directs us so that sin may not find a foothold in our hearts. Forgive us for the times that we allow our own will to overrule Yours, and end up thinking, speaking or doing things contrary to Your ways. Teach us to seek and follow You, allowing You room to transform our hearts and make us acutely aware of what is Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to direct our every step and keep us free from being trapped into the ugliness of sin. Amen. 

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

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4

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

Familial Ties

Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. – (John 1:12, NIV) 

But some people did accept Him. They believed in Him, and He gave them the right to become children of God. – (John 1:12, ERV) 

But those who embraced Him and took hold of His Name were given authority to become the children of God! – (John 1:12, TPT) 

What a crazy, wonderful truth for us to hold onto! If we receive what God offers us through Jesus, and believe He is who He says He is, we are given the right to become His children. As God’s children, we are heirs to His Kingdom. All power, authority, and promised hope are ours in Him, so that we may walk in His way and do His will. We do not earn our way into His good grace, but rather we need believe and receive what He freely gives. This is such a wonderful encouragement. He takes us as we are and transforms us into who we are created to become. It is a lifelong process, yet we are His, the moment we receive Him. May our hearts be open to all that He offers, as we embrace the grace that He gives to His children. 

To each is a choice, 

Believe and receive; 

All that God offers, 

Our hope and reprieve. 

His grace is granted, 

Freely He does give; 

To all who seek Him, 

Help and strength to live. 

Live in His goodness, 

Aware of His grace; 

Annointed His kids, 

As we seek His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to believe and receive all that You freely offer, You call us Your sons and daughters. Thank You that our inheritance in You is everlasting life in Your presence. Forgive us for losing sight of what is promised in You. Help us to fix our eyes on You and the promises that You have for us in You. Teach us how to love those around us in a way that honors and represents well, You, our Heavenly Father. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and receive all that You offer, and gratefully embrace our inheritance through our familial ties to You. Amen. 

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

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:18

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

Confident Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) 

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV) 

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT) 

Everywhere I look, I see the need for hope. Faith in what we cannot yet see, provides hope for better. For many of us in education or impacted by education, hope is much needed. This ongoing space of unknown and unfamiliar territory makes the coming year a bit nerve-wracking. However, when our hope and assurance come from Christ, we can be confident that He will be with us, every step of the way. Though we know not what the coming year will hold, He knows. In hindsight, though the spring quarter of school was nothing like any of us would have hoped or imagined, good still was present in the crazy unknown that we could not see. For our family, it was the addition of a puppy, two seniors who graduated, and a season of navigating much time at home together. God has been good and faithful, reminding us all that He is present, despite how things appear. My faith and hope must be in Him, though I cannot see Him yet, as the evidence of His love, care and provision are ever near. May we all find faith in He who is our hope, despite what we cannot yet see. 

May we rise in faith, 

Holding fast to hope; 

In that yet unseen, 

God’s our safety rope. 

He is the anchor, 

That holds us secure; 

In the great unknown, 

His presence is clear. 

Always He loves us, 

God’s grace is made known; 

As He grows our faith, 

And hope’s made our own. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith grows our hope, even in the spaces where we cannot see better or different. Thank You that You are always working and moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot see different than what we are living in. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and our hope. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may come to know the hope that is held through faith in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow You in faith, and trust You in the unseen. Amen. 

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Seek to Know

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV) 

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG) 

Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of Your word makes my pathway clear. – (Psalm 119:105, TPT) 

When we are at a loss or do not know what we should do, God is faithful to lead and guide us in the direction that is best. He will reveal His will to light our way as we earnestly seek Him. The more we are intentional to spend time in His word and in prayer, the more readily we are equipped to know and discern His voice and His direction. God is our light in the darkness, and He will show us which way to go, and what is best. We need not fear, even on the darkest days, as He is light, life, hope and help. May we ever be intentional to invest in His word and seek Him in prayer, for He is the lamp for our feet and the light on our path. 

When all that’s ahead, 

Seems dark and unclear; 

Seek and trust the Lord, 

For He’s ever near. 

Near us as the light, 

That lovingly shows; 

What we ought avoid, 

And where we need go. 

God’s word is the lamp, 

That will light the way; 

Let us ever seek, 

His best for each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present and ready to show us the way in which we are meant to go, both in small things and great things. Thank You that You always have our ultimate best in mind. Forgive us for our independent stubbornness that attempts to power through, rather than seek and listen to You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things. Show us how to love those around us according to Your perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and in prayer so that we may understand Your will for our lives. Amen. 

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Generosity and Justice

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. – (Psalm 112:5, NIV) 

It is good for people to be kind and generous and to be fair in business. – (Psalm 112:5, ERV) 

Life is good for the one who is generous and charitable, conducting affairs with honesty and truth. – (Psalm 112:5, TPT) 

We are called to live a life of generosity and justice. This requires that we are kind and generous, honest and fair. Each of these things are part of the lifestyle that Jesus modeled for us. We are called to love, and how He loved is the ultimate example. Jesus was generous with His time, talent and resources, and He was quick to identify things that were right and those that were not, and operated justly; always. With so many things out of our control right now, our best defense is to live a life of love. Where we have plenty, we ought to be generous. As we navigate our way through our ever-changing jobs, we must do so with honesty, truth and fairness. Being an educator, this is especially important, as what we do, demonstrates to the next generation, how things ought to be done. If we are kind, generous and fair, the same is given in return. Even when it is not, our hearts can hold fast to choosing what is right and knowing that we have done our best to do what we are called to do. May we ever pursue God’s heart, so we will know best how to be kind, generous and just. 

It is always good, 

To live such a life; 

Where true justice reigns, 

And giving ends strife. 

For we have been called, 

And lovingly shown; 

What God has required, 

His way’s been made known. 

To choose act justly, 

Love mercy as well; 

Walk humbly with God, 

So good, our lives tell. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tell us in Your word and have shown us through Your Son, how to be generous and just in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked a generous heart, or have not considered what is most just, equitable and fair. Show us how to live our lives with generosity, kindness and truth in all things. Help us to love those around us with generosity, humility, honesty and justice. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live the life You are calling us to lead. Amen. 

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

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8 

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 

Counsel In All Things

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. – (Psalm 32:8, NIV) 

The Lord says, “I will teach you and guide you in the way you should live. I will watch over you and be your guide.” – (Psalm 32:8, ERV) 

I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there; I will give you good counsel, and will watch over you. – (Psalm 32:8, VOICE) 

God is faithful to instruct and teach us, and to show us which way is best for our lives. When we are invested in Him – learning and growing, seeking and knowing – He leads us and guides us in the ways in which we are to go. Sometimes, even when things seem to be what we are hoping for, He steers us away, and we later come to understand why. We are walking through a season of this right now. A direction I thought I was to go, is not; and my love is being led into a possible new. I trust and know He has our very best in mind, so we are following in the directions as He shows us the way. God cares about the little things and the big things. As we learn to trust Him in the small things, we recognize that He is trustworthy for the bigger things. May we ever seek the Lord to teach us and show us the ways that are best, for He is our wise counsel and will watch over us. 

God’s ever faithful, 

To show us the way; 

He directs, instructs, 

All night and all day. 

We need only ask, 

Choose listen and learn; 

He’s faithful and near, 

His grace is not earned. 

Love that’s unending, 

Counsel and His peace; 

Direction to trust, 

Presence that won’t cease. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, love, guidance and protection. Thank You that we can always come to You and trust. Forgive us for going our own way, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to turn to You and ask You to lead and show us the way. Show us how to love and support those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust Your counsel for all things – great and small. Amen. 

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

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

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