A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

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

Beyond Understanding is Love

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. – (Job 37:5, NIV)

God’s thundering voice is amazing! He does great things we cannot understand. – (Job 37:5, ERV)

The voice of God that is thundering wondrously. He does magnificent things, beyond our comprehension. – (Job 37:5, VOICE)

Who can grasp the greatness of God? If Job, who understood God’s greatest blessings, endured the most difficult hardships, and again found himself blessed beyond what he had known before speaks about how marvelous and unfathomable God is, we cannot begin to pretend to understand all of His ways. The difference for us is that we have the benefit of knowing Jesus, who showed us great glimpses of who God is and how He loves. Jesus chose ordinary men and women to share His love with the world, not the “great” religious leaders of the time. Fishermen, tax collectors and tent-makers, to name a few, were those whom Jesus placed in roles to share His good news with the world. God brought all of creation into existence with His voice, and the intricate details of all that He has made go beyond our realm of understanding. May we ever stand in awe of the greatness of God, and give Him all honor and praise for His marvelous ways as we navigate each new day.

Both in the stillness,

And through mighty roars;

God can silence seas,

And bring end to wars.

He makes mountains move,

And the rain that falls;

Can free the captives,

Our great Lord of all.

Though we cannot see,

All that He can do;

We can trust in faith,

For His word is true.

So, rise up in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

For He’s always good,

He whom we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You have a voice that thunders with power and might, yet also one that can whisper in the stillness to our hearts. Thank You that Your ways are higher than our own, and that though we cannot grasp all of Your magnificent ways, we can trust in Your goodness and faithfulness and love. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we do not understand. Teach us to trust in You and the power that You hold in the hollow of Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your power and might, and for all of Your ways that go beyond what we can comprehend. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

No Barrier

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, HCSB)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is (as the high priests did in the days when reconciliation flowed from the sacrifices in the temple). – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

God is the hope that anchors our lives. He is strong and secure and keeps us safe. Typically, I pause there, as knowing that I have Christ as the anchor to steady me is of great comfort. However, this morning as I ponder further the second half of the verse, I am reminded that Jesus goes where we cannot; He sees what we cannot; and He is able to do the things that we are not equipped, empowered, or allowed to do. The curtain, in Old Testament times, was the separation between God and man. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn in two and there no longer was a divide between us and God. Jesus made the way for us to fully access God, personally, rather than having to have a go-between that was only allowed in His holy presence once a year. We can seek and approach the Lord any time, for Jesus is the lens through which the Father sees us as holy and acceptable. This is not through anything that we have or have not done, but rather all because of Jesus. May we ever hold fast to Him who is the anchor of our hope, and the One who has removed the barrier that kept us separated from God.

Hope is the anchor,

That keeps us afloat;

No separation,

With Christ in our boat.

He’s our safe harbor,

Throughout each new storm;

Our hope and our help,

To keep keeping on.

No longer is there,

A limit for us;

All times and places,

Right there is Jesus.

Cling to the anchor,

The barrier’s gone;

In Christ there’s a way,

For He makes us strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the anchor of our hope, and that because of Jesus, there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to have full access to God. Forgive us for being our own barrier. Teach us to trust in You, Lord, that Your sacrifice and Your grace are enough to steady us and grant us access to ever come before You. Show us how to love like there is no barrier standing in our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, our anchor, and praise You for the ongoing access we have to come before You on Your throne, without fear or barrier to keep us from You. Amen.

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

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take rest in safety. – Job 11:18

Show Us What is Right

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. – (Hebrews 4:15, HCSB)

Jesus, our high priest, is able to understand our weaknesses. When Jesus lived on the earth, He was tempted in every way. He was tempted in the same ways we are tempted, but He never sinned. – (Hebrews 4:15, ERV)

For Jesus is not some high priest who has no sympathy for our weaknesses and flaws. He has already been tested in every way that we are tested; but He emerged victorious, without failing God. – (Hebrews 4:15, VOICE)

The encouragement in this is that Jesus, who was tested and challenged in every way, knows how to successfully navigate the trials and temptations that we face because He has faced them without sin. He calls us unto Himself, and He moves on our behalf. The Lord will strengthen us to withstand temptation and will make a way out when it is more than we can endure. Jesus knows our needs far better than we do, and when we seek Him, He shows us the way in which we are meant to go and the things that we must avoid. Though not one of us is without sin, we can go to the One who is. At the cross, Jesus already paid the price for our transgressions, and endured the weight upon Himself. In doing so, He set us free from the sins that so easily entangle us and made the way for us to be in right standing before the Father. Our seeking is needed daily, hourly, and at times, moment to moment so that we do what is right. May we ever seek the Lord, in every circumstance, and rely on Him to lead us out of the places and things that are not beneficial, and into the places and spaces that sharpen our focus on His goodness and love.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To walk in Your way;

Keep us from falling,

Or going astray.

Show us what is right,

The things that are good;

Keep us far from sin,

Just as You withstood.

Grant us an option,

A way to get out;

So that our choices,

Will make Your heart proud.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, who lived without sin despite being tempted in every way. Thank You Jesus, that You who were tempted and without sin, took on the burden of all of our sin so that we might come to know You and be found right before the Father. Forgive us for every time that we walk out our own will instead of Yours. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us in the ways that are good and right and loving. Show us how to steer away from sin and to walk in Your love as we choose to love those around us as You created us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and seek You to steer clear of the sin that so easily entangles us, so that we might walk in Your way and do Your will. Amen.

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

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

Open the Eyes of Our Hearts

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who  believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19a, NIV)

I pray that God will open your minds to see His truth. Then you will know the hope that He has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised His holy people are rich and glorious. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19a, ERV)

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19a, VOICE)

This is a great prayer for all of us, as everyone needs hope to hold onto. God’s hope is that which is an anchor for our souls. The glorious riches of His inheritance include an eternity that goes beyond what our minds can fathom. As we begin to grasp hope in Christ, His power is made evident in and for us as we walk out our days. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves so that we may hold fast to His hope that holds us secure forever.

In Christ, there is hope, 

For all who believe;

Blessed assurance,

To Him we can cleave.

Glorious riches,

In God’s great power;

Peace that is present,

In our Strong Tower.

Let us run to Him,

Ever seek His face;

Faithful, He meets us,

And shows us His grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to open the eyes of our hearts to see who You are and how You love when we choose to seek You. Thank You that we have eternal hope in You. Forgive us for losing sight of how temporary the here and now is in comparison to forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective on all that we face, and teach us to trust You to bring good from all things. Lead us in Your unending love, so that we might love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to show us more and more of who You are and how You love, leading us to securely place all of our hope in You. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Words to Heal

The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, HCSB)

Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, ERV)

A word of encouragement heals the one who receives it, but a deceitful word breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, VOICE)

There is something to be said about encouraging words. They truly give life in the midst of difficulty, especially when the one who extends encouragement is genuine. Conversely, devious or deceitful words can be devastating. As an educator, I am witness to both types of communication. Far too often, kids are speaking crushing words to one another. Intentionally, I choose to speak encouragement at every opportunity possible, as my hope is to combat the negative messages they are receiving. The thing is, words have the power to bring life or destruction to all of us. I imagine we all can recall the way words have impacted us. Even if I do not recall the specific things that those who have spoken life-giving words to me said when I needed it most, I do remember how their kindness made me feel. My hope is that I can extend the same to the people whom God places along my path. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to offer encouragement to those around us that is life-giving. 

O Lord, help us speak,

Though I have no recollection of what he said, it is clear how his words made me feel.

Encouraging words;

Words that offer life,

That love may be heard.

Please silence the thoughts,

That need not a voice;

Words that would bring harm,

Let love be our choice.

Lead us in Your love,

To speak as You would;

To lift, encourage,

Choose highlight the good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that words have the power to encourage and build up. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us words to speak and eyes to see where it is needed most. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken words that have done harm. Show us how to silence the words that wield wounds, and to speak the healing words that You place on our hearts to encourage those around us. Lead us to love people as You do, and use our words to bring light and life and joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us ways to offer encouragement and speak life into the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63 (Jesus was our ultimate example of life-giving words)

Eternal Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

May Jesus Himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, MSG)

Because we have hope in Christ, we are loved and given grace after grace to be encouraged and strengthened in all that we do and say. God is our comfort and source to rise up and walk in His love that provides encouragement and good hope. May we ever pray to the Lord and trust in Him, for He is the One who comforts our hearts and strengthens us for good in all that we do and say.

The Lord is faithful,

To meet us each day;

With courage and strength,

To love in His way.

Good deeds and good words,

Purposed in our call;

So those whom we meet,

Know that He loves all.

Help us each morning,

To seek as we rise;

Learn to love anew,

Make hope realized.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and You give us eternal hope to which we can hold fast. Thank You that You encourage and strengthen us to do the good and speak the words that You have for us. Forgive us for the times that we have acted or spoken in our own strength instead of in Yours. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us well. Show us how to love all whom we meet in ways that convey the goodness of Your grace and the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and praise You for Your encouragement and strength. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. – Psalm 37:4

The Courage to Hope

So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, HCSB)

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what He promised you. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, ERV)

Remember this, and do not abandon your confidence, which will lead to rich rewards. Simply endure, for when you have done as God requires of you, you will receive the promise. – (Hebrews 10:35-36, VOICE)

This confidence is the courage that comes from trusting in God. He provides as we abide, and He will lead us through all that He has called us to do. Our reward is the hope and help that we have in the here and now, and the promise to be in His presence for eternity. The Lord blesses and keeps us, helps and holds us, and loves us through all that comes our way. May we ever hold fast to the confidence we have in Him, and keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. He is faithful, and will see us through all things.

The courage to hope,

In what is unseen;

Is true confidence,

God says what He means.

His presence, promised,

And hope for much more;

Grace to keep going,

Love that He outpours.

Endurance given,

So we persevere;

Trust in His goodness,

And that He is near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in You and have courage to keep pressing forward because You are with us. Thank You that our ability to persevere comes from You, not from our own strength. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and walk alongside us to where You are leading. Forgive us for our frustration when the road is not smooth. Teach us to hold fast to You, and to trust that You will continue to be faithful as You bring us to the places of promises fulfilled. Teach us to trust You more, especially when the way does not seem to be headed where we thought we would go. Show us how to love, encourage and walk alongside all those whom You have placed in our lives in this season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do what You say You will do, and lean into Your love that holds us up. Amen.

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

Purposeful Words

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV)

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV)

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG)

What we say matters. When we are negative or use ugly words, we are not building anyone up, and in reality, we are bringing ourselves and those around us down. It is better to say nothing than to be toxic with our words. We are called to build each other up and help strengthen them. Our words matter, and it is an intentional decision to be kind and encouraging or to remain quiet. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us so that our words are a gift that build others up and are beneficial to the hearers.

O Lord, let my words,

Bring encouragement;

Help me be silent,

When that’s not what’s meant.

Let each word be kind,

Purposeful, build up;

May goodness and grace,

Free what’s been bound up.

For strength can be found,

Through words of others;

When used to lift up,

And love each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your words. Thank You that You, lead, encourage, guide, and reside within us, and use Your words to fill our hearts with Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have used words to hurt, cut down, or complain, rather than to build up. Teach us to speak with grace and kindness, and to be silent when we cannot. Show us how to love those around us with our words in ways that encourage, strengthen and build up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our words as You intended, to encourage and build others up. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Lead Me To Level Ground

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, HCSB)

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)

As I ponder this, what comes to mind is not necessarily the smoothest path, but rather one where my footing is secure. Level ground is the space on which our pace stays steady. When we seek the Lord to lead us and show us what to do, He leads us to His level ground. For me, this means that as I seek Him and trust Him, He will guide me to the spaces where I find my footing and am able to press on. Right now, I find myself needing this more than ever. Teaching a subject in a grade that I have never taught, and having extraordinarily full, high energy classes at the end of the day for the two periods that I teach something familiar, leads me to feel as if I am climbing a mountain by the close of the day. I need Him to be my strength and to guide me by His grace into the new and challenging, so that I may find my footing and move forward at an appropriate pace. God is good, and He is faithful to teach us as we seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to walk in His will and lead us along the path that He has prepared for us. 

O God, please show me,

To move in Your way;

By Your loving grace,

Lead me each new day.

Lord, teach me to walk,

On Your level ground;

With footing secure,

For Your way is sound.

Guide me by Your grace,

That’s made ever new;

Help me and lead me,

Show me what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that leads and strengthens us to spaces where our way is clear. Thank You that You can secure our steps, even when the road is rocky. Forgive us for our objections to obstacles, for they are often necessary to help us recognize and appreciate clear paths. Please show us which way to go, and grant us Your strength to step securely on the path that You place before us. Lead us in Your lavish love and grace, so that we may extend the same to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified  O God, as we seek You to lead us and find the way that You have set before us. 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