Reason to Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV)

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV)

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let your joy overflow! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT)

The key to this is Whom we rejoice in, not our circumstances. To rejoice is to be glad and take delight in, which is how our hearts feel when we understand who God is, and how He loves. Joy and rejoicing are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are present despite our circumstances as we look to and lean on the Lord. True joy is found in Him, and is not swayed by what goes on around us. Though rejoicing is not dependent nor determined by our circumstances, I think He often uses the people in our lives to remind us of His goodness, grace and loving ways. Yesterday, I was in need of a reminder of the joy found in every season. It was a long week, and the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with my youngest, blessed my heart and reminded me of my reasons to rejoice in He who has provided me with my family. Though each day and season presents its own set of challenges, there is always reason to rejoice in the Lord. May we ever seek to know Him more, for the more we know Him, the better our heart holds onto the joy provided through His love.

Rejoice in the Lord,

Be glad for His grace;

Give thanks unto Him,

Throughout all our days.

For blessings we know,

All come from the Lord;

Our reasons to praise,

Him who we adore.

His gift of children,

A love that delights;

Each season given,

Wonder in plain sight.

Let all that’s in me,

Rejoice and give praise;

For love unending,

That lasts for all days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to rejoice in every season. Thank You for the tangible blessings that point our hearts back to You with gratitude. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to overshadow our hope that is held in You. Teach us to continue to trust and pursue You, as You are our Source of strength and hope, love and light. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may understand the delight that is held in Your nearness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in the goodness of Your love, and praise You for the hope we have in You forever. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – Psalm 105:3

The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Strength and Song

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But as for me, Your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of Your love will fill the air! For You have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress. – (Psalm 59:16, TPT)

I am so grateful that all is new every morning. No matter what took place yesterday, last week, last month or last year, we have a fresh start each new day. Sometimes, it takes a simple change of scenery to remind us of all the good that God has provided. God knows our hearts, and blesses us with the things that remind us of His care and concern for us, individually. For me, I am very much a quality time person that craves time outdoors near water. On Saturday afternoon, my Viking and I went for a drive. We ended up in Gig Harbor, driving in sunshine and salt air, with the wind whipping through our vehicle. There is something about seeing the water, green trees, blue skies and Mount Rainier in the background that reminds me of the goodness of God. Yesterday, between church, a scooter ride, dog walking and visiting with our besties, my heart feels renewed and recharged. It is this goodness that God gives that inspires the new each morning and grants songs of praise to rise from my heart. He knows our worries, heartaches, and hopes, and provides safe space to navigate. May we ever seek the Lord, anew every morning, for He is our strength, song and space of safety.

Each morning I rise,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

And find new again;

Your strength and Your song,

Fresh grace to begin.

You know well my heart,

How to bless, lift up;

With goodness in love,

You choose fill my cup.

For from a full heart,

I’m equipped to pour;

Your goodness and love,

To those who need more.

Lord, help me to walk,

In strength and resolve;

So I might love well,

As I have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength and song are our sources of joy. Thank You that You bless and renew our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to steal the joy that You have deeply rooted within us. Teach us to trust in You and lean into You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to rejoice in the goodness of Your loving kindness, and to give generously the love that You have overwhelmingly given to us to share with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and depend on You to be our strength and song as each new day begins. Amen.

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

I love You, Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1

Present in All

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, NIV)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

The reminder in this verse is that God is with us all of the time; when it is light and when things are going well, also, He remains present in darkness and through challenging times. His faithfulness is not dependent on circumstance nor timing. God is greater than all. Our song to Him flows out of our response to His nearness. As we look to the Lord with thanks or to be our help in time of need, He makes His nearness known. There is something that rises up within us when we are aware that God is present and moving on our behalf. No matter what lies before us, God is within us. The wisdom, strength and fortitude needed to persevere are available to us all. It is through our seeking that we find the Lord’s help and nearness, and reason to give Him praise. In this ever-changing, seemingly endless season of uncertainty, the Lord is the certainty that we can always count on. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Rock and the love that surrounds us, no matter what lies ahead.

With each new sunrise,

God’s love is made known;

His grace and goodness,

Clearly they are shown.

When the darkness falls,

God will remain near;

His strength and comfort,

In love, He makes clear.

In uncertainty,

His presence remains;

God’s love that comforts,

And makes our paths plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your nearness and goodness are not dependent on timing or circumstances. Thank You that You are present, night and day, and ready to hear us, be it praise or petitions. Forgive us for making You too small, for You are greater than all. Teach us to trust and praise You in all seasons, for Your goodness does not change. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too might understand the goodness of Your love and faithfulness of Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Tend Well the Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT)

It is the love and faithfulness of God that ought to compel us to treat our minds and bodies and His temple. When we love God and invite Him into our lives, He is present with each thing that we take in, be it exposure, what we eat, and how we care for what we have been given. That reminder alone inspires me to care well for my body and to use caution with the things to which I choose to expose my heart and mind. God has made me a very visual creature, so I know that I cannot watch anything that I don’t want to live over and over again. Rather than a filter, my mind is more like a recorder that can get stuck on repeat when exposed to graphic violence and gore. Because of this, I will not and cannot watch violent shows, games, etc. Rather, I am intentional to begin each day with Him and focusing on His word, so that my heart and mind are equipped with His goodness and love. We are all a work in progress. It is an ongoing labor of love throughout our lives, not just a quick fix for the here and now. The healthier and stronger our bodies and minds are, the better equipped we are to walk out our purpose. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to tend well the temples that we have been given.

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell within us when we invite You. Thank You that You call us to tend our temples well, so that we are best equipped to honor, love and serve You. Forgive us for the times that we either neglect to care for our bodies, or expose our minds and hearts to things that do not glorify You. Teach us to ever seek to honor You through the care of our body and mind. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to tend the temple we have been given in a way that honors You. Amen.

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

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:11

Blessings of Grace

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – (John 1:16, NIV)

Yes, the Word was full of grace and truth, and from Him we all received one blessing after another. – (John 1:16, ERV)

And from the overflow of His fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace! – (John 1:16, TPT)

Grace is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God. (dictionary.com) Though we do not deserve it, God freely gives. In the same way that we are given such lavish grace, we are called to do likewise. The more we understand the grace upon grace that we have been given, the more we desire to give the same to those around us. Puppy training is an ongoing saga in our household. We have one extraordinarily intelligent and mischievous pup, and one that is super sweet, yet reactive to other dogs. Much grace is required to remain sane, as we work to train our fur babies to behave and peacefully coexist. When I take pause and think of the lavish grace that God has given and continues to give to me, I find that I am better equipped to be gracious to others. This holds true with the pups and with other humans, as each new day requires much grace. Though there is only One who perfected such grace, we can improve every day as we seek Him. May we ever look to the Lord, our incredible giver of grace, so that we too, may extend grace upon grace to those around us.

It’s freely given,

God’s great gift of grace;

Undeserved favor,

And welcome embrace.

Just as we receive,

We also should give;

Extending goodness,

Each day that we live.

Love that’s undeserved,

Is valued the most;

Beautiful blessings,

From heaven’s own Host.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love and give grace;

Embrace all others,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that You give to us all. Thank You that as we receive, we are equipped to give the same. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked grace in how we have interacted with others. Teach us to love and be full of grace with everyone we encounter. Show us how to love lavishly and without expectations of anything in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the grace that You lovingly give, and extend the same to all those around us. Amen.

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

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:2

Guided By Love

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, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give praise to your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, TPT)

This aligns with one of my favorite quotes: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi) Our charge is not to simply speak of our faith, but rather it is to live it out. If people see Christ in us through how we live and care for others, they will ask questions and provide opportunities for us to use words. However, if there is nothing that separates us from anyone else then anything we say will fall on deaf ears. This does not mean that we have to be perfect, or that we have to fear our human flaws, but rather it frees us to walk in God’s grace and choose to love big. When all that we do is guided and steeped in love, His light shines through us and is made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in His love so that we may shine brightly before all.

O Lord help Your light,

Shine brightly through us;

As we grow and learn,

To love like Jesus.

Let all that we do,

Be guided by love;

So others may know,

It’s from You, above.

Thank You for Your grace,

For the times we fail;

Love that leads us on,

So Your love prevails.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your son to show us what it is to lead a life of love. Thank You that as we invest in our relationship with You, You increase our capacity to love well and live out a life in You. Forgive us for our faults and failures, the words and actions that have been lacking Your love. Show us how to love all people in all circumstances, and to live a life according to Your loving plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives into knowing more of You so that we may be a reflection of Your love. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Time to Notice

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

In today’s fast-paced society, I think it is far too easy for people to lose sight of the blessings and beauty that are all around us. When our eyes divert to “things” or agendas, we become blind to that which truly matters. However, when we set our hearts and minds on loving well and being grateful, there is suddenly no denying the goodness of God. This morning, as I write, our two dogs remind me of the intentional love God placed in creation. In the still and silent morning, sweet snuggles remind my heart of just how good God is. He loves us so much that He created creatures that love without hesitation, and desire nothing more than to be in our presence. Soon, the two doggos and I will get outside and walk, and the scenery that we will witness again points to His glory. May we ever seek to love and give thanks, so that our eyes and hearts will be open to the tangible evidence of God all around us.

Though all is not seen,

The heart truly knows;

The goodness of God,

As creation shows.

Beautiful landscapes,

And those whom we love;

Sweet, loving creatures,

The gifts from above.

Take time to notice,

In wonder and awe;

The goodness of God,

Blessings He foresaw.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your existence all around us. Thank You for the beauty and blessing that You placed in creation for all of us to enjoy. Forgive us for losing sight of the intention of all that Your hands have made. Teach us to appreciate and care for all of creation well. Show us how to love all those around us and to be good stewards of all that You have created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your goodness and love through all that You’ve created and through the love You have deposited in us to give away. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made and seek You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

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

Unwavering Love

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. – (Psalm 116:5, NIV)

The Lord is good and merciful; our God is so kind. – (Psalm 116:5, ERV)

He was so kind, so gracious to me. Because of His passion toward me, He made everything right and He restored me. – (Psalm 116:5, TPT)

Kids and dogs have a way of reminding me of God’s graciousness and compassion for us. In the same way that we love those in our care, despite how much they might frustrate us sometimes, our love for them does not waiver; I imagine how much more God loves us. If we, in our broken humanity can love and give grace, mercy and compassion to others, how much more does God do those things for us? God’s mercy is unending and His kindness is ever ready to be extended to us. He knows our hearts and what blesses us, and He takes joy in providing that which encourages and helps us know the abundance of His love for us. I am reminded of this each morning as I walk my dogs, watching the pure delight on their faces to get out and explore. Though their craziness and early morning wake-ups prior to the alarm frustrate me at times, their joy in getting outside, and the adoring snuggles they give, end up blessing me and reminding me of how much I love them. God’s kindness, grace and passion for us is even more. May we ever remember the Lord’s goodness and kindness in every blessing, for He restores us and loves us perfectly.

Abundant in grace,

The Lord is so kind;

His love is outpoured,

And goodness combined.

He blesses with peace,

Overwhelms with love;

Heals up hurting hearts,

Our Father above.

Remember His love,

And look for His grace;

In all things, always,

He’s present each place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your overwhelming goodness and grace that we do not deserve. Thank You that You bless us and have compassion on us, even when we are a mess. Forgive us for forgetting just how good You are. Teach us to trust You and ever seek after You. Show us how to love those around us as You do, with compassion, kindness and mercy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us in Your amazing love. Amen.

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

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

Spoken to Be

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of His mouth. – (Psalm 33:6, NIV)

The Lord spoke the command, and the world was made. The breath from His mouth created everything in the heavens. – (Psalm 33:6, ERV)

The unfathomable cosmos came into being at the word of the Eternal’s imagination, a solitary voice in endless darkness. The breath of His mouth whispered the sea of stars into existence. – (Psalm 33:6, VOICE)

The very same God who spoke creation into being, intentionally made us all. There is a plan and a purpose for each of us, and if God created all that is both seen and unseen, how vast and powerful are His plans for us? Though what we are called to do with our lives may seem insignificant, if our lives show His love to people, we are granting glimpses of God and walking out our purpose. Each time I spend time outdoors, I am reminded of the power, goodness and intention of God. Creation displays God’s majesty. New blooms opening, the sun glistening on the water, the sun setting and painting the colors of the sky – so much goodness has been created to remind us of the work of God’s hands. May we ever take time to look around us and recognize the loving intention breathed into every living thing around us, and give praise to the One who made it all.

All that our eyes see,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

And so far beyond;

The work of God’s hands,

Call hearts to respond.

Respond with all thanks,

Love and lift up praise;

Such purposeful good,

For all of our days.

May we choose to love,

As the Lord loves us;

All thanks to the One,

Who knows and loves best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty in all that You have purposefully created. Thank You that we cannot even begin to fathom all that Your hands have lovingly made. Thank You that You created all of us with the same intentionality. Forgive us for not recognizing the beauty all around us, and that which is in every living creature. Teach us to love and care well for all that You have made. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your powerful, unending love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for the incredible work of Your hands – both around us and in us. 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