Speak Truth

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

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

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

Initially, my thought was that I do speak truthfully to people. However, upon deeper reflection, sometimes not speaking up is not being honest. Telling others that everything is fine when it is not, is a sort of pretense that puts others off who would otherwise be ready and available to help. What I have discovered this week through one of my worst experiences as an educator, is that my neighbors, my fellow teachers and staff members, as well as many students, are ready to stand up for me, walk beside me, and extend kindness and support where it is needed most. Our connection to each other provides strength and support, for there is far more strength when we are connected than when we stand alone. I have been blessed to teach with incredible humans throughout the twenty-six years of my teaching career thus far. Numerous staff and students have come through our school community and left their beautiful imprints on my heart. Perhaps this is why I have stayed so long. Even on the toughest days, there are people who are near, who come alongside, and stand together, united in purpose. God is so gracious and kind. He shows us more of who He is and how He loves through the people He places alongside us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to speak truth, and to be honest about how we are and what we need. He is good, and He provides as we abide.

Choose to speak the truth,

What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are not nearly as important as who is beside us…

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place us in communities that have the capacity to work together, support each other, and thrive, rather than merely survive. Forgive us for the times that we have not been honest about how we are doing or what we truly need. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, and to share our struggles and triumphs with those whom You have placed beside us. Show us how to support, strengthen and encourage those around us in Your unwavering love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the people whom You have placed in the communities we are in, and for the ways that we can stand together, united in purpose and in love. Amen.

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

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

Supply to the Seeking

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. – (Matthew 6:33, MSG)

When God is our priority each day, and we seek Him to lead us in what we say and do, He takes care of us. He provides as we abide. Yes, we have to do our part by taking action, but He supplies what we need in ways that go beyond human understanding. It is not something we earn, but rather as we seek Him, He shows us which way to go, and grants us what we need to get there. This holds true in every area of our lives if we allow Him room to be God of all. This is an ongoing process, as we are ever a work in progress and have limitless capacity to keep learning and growing. May we ever seek the Lord and steep our lives in His reality, His initiative and His provisions, for He is faithful to meet us with every step we take.

Choose seek first the Lord,

And all of His good;

He’s faithful always,

His love understood.

We need not worry,

Forever He’s near;

To lead and help us,

Each prayer He hears.

Keep moving forward,

In all that He asks;

He grants what’s needed,

For each step, each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your ways, You meet us, lead us, and provide all that we need. Thank You that You are faithful forever, even when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Thank You that we can look back and see just how incredibly faithful You have always been. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when the road before us is rough. Teach us to trust in You and to look to You to lead us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too are able to see Your faithful love that meets us anew each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day, and trust You to lead us well in the ways that You want us to go. Amen.

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

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

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

Ever Near

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This is the goal for sure, to keep the Lord in mind always and to remember that He is ever present with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Whatever He calls us to, He will see us through. It does not mean that it will be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Whether we have known Jesus the majority of our lives or for a short while, it is good to be reminded of how very near He is. When we are aware of His presence, fear flees and we find we are equipped and empowered to move forward into all that He is asking. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to spend time with Him, as it is through our drawing near that we are reminded that the Lord is but a heartbeat away.

O Lord, You are good,

Chasing sunsets on Oahu.<3

Ever near to me;

My help and my hope,

For eternity.

As close as my hand,

You stay by my side;

Your nearness is clear,

As I choose abide.

Remind us, O God,

Of Your strength and grace;

How present You are,

When we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us and ever ready to help us and strengthen us so that we can press on. Thank You that we need not fear because You are with us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your nearness. Teach us to trust in Your goodness and grace that is ever with us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your nearness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever aware of Your nearness. Amen.

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

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. – Psalm 145:18

Rest for the Weary

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

Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest. – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Are you having a real struggle? Come to Me! Are you carrying a big load on your back? Come to Me – I’ll give you a rest! – (Matthew 11:28, NTE)

This morning, despite being a day off, I was up at the usual time. However, knowing that I do not have to work today brings a different sort of rest. The ability to have a leisurely morning doing devotions with a second cup of coffee, followed by a long walk with the pups, provides rest for my soul. Rest looks different for everyone, yet God knows what we need. When we seek Him and hand Him the weight of our burdens, He gives us rest – body, heart, soul and mind. May we all seek the Lord to lay down our burdens this long weekend, and allow Him to show us His perfect rest.

All who are weary,

We are not alone;

To God up above,

Our burdens are known.

He walks beside us,

And shoulders the weight;

He renews our strength,

His love’s never late.

He knows what we need,

In love, He provides;

A space to recharge,

As we choose abide.

Lean into Jesus,

His strength is enough;

To carry the weight,

Of our heavy stuff.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness and find Your rest. Thank You that You lovingly walk beside us and carry the weight that we cannot. Forgive us for not slowing down with intention to seek You in our spaces of need. Teach us to come to You to be our strength, rest and resolve in all things and at all times. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that bring rest to weary spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our weariness and find true rest in the light of Your perfect love. Amen.

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

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Praise for Provision

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NIV)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. He is the God of my father, and I will exalt Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

When we know the Lord as our Savior, we become acutely aware of His strength and worthiness of all of our praise. He provides as we abide in Him, no matter what our situation or circumstances. This morning, I am reminded anew of my reasons to praise Him. Though we do not have air-conditioning in the midst of a heatwave, we have a basement that stays comfortably cool. Additionally, our current weather is not a common occurrence. In some parts of the world, this is typical, and air-conditioning is not an option. There is reason to be grateful for a normally temperate climate, and for spaces of reprieve to escape the heat. May we ever sing praise to God, for He is our strength and defense, our refuge and our salvation.

My strength and my song,

Evidence of the crazy temperatures…

Belong to the Lord;

It’s His salvation,

Through love He affords.

His mercy and grace,

Forgive and set free;

Raise head, hands and heart,

To rise up and be.

He provides the strength,

Gives place to belong;

Protects, empowers,

His love makes us strong.

Strong in conviction,

Equipped well to love;

Let’s sing unto Him,

The Lord up above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our salvation, and the reason we can sing songs of praise. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things are out of sorts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always good. 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 sing songs of praise to You, our strength and our defense that saves. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Praise for Provision

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

I so appreciate the way that David expressed his praise and gratitude to God. Despite hardships and challenges, he knew that God was his safety and strength, and that the Lord’s loving kindness would carry him through whatever came his way. Whenever I need comfort or encouragement, I find myself returning to the Psalms. Each time, I am again reminded of the faithfulness of God to provide strength, safety and love, and my heart is filled with reasons to sing His praise. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through intentional time that we are again reminded of the goodness of God and our purpose for giving Him praise.

I lift up my voice,

To sing praise to You;

For You are my strength,

Where all thanks is due.

You are my safe space,

When challenges come;

In love You provide,

With each rising sun.

Ever You are near,

Always You provide;

Your loving presence,

Safe space to abide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of strength and safety. Thank You that You are our defender and provider of loving kindness, in all things and at all times. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the things we cannot control. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You are greater than anything that stands before us. Show us how to love in ways that build up and strengthen those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You lovingly provide all that we need. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Judge Not

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead. Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. – (Romans 14:13, MSG)

Our culture has become one that is very quick to judge, rather than seeking to understand. We all have been created with a free will. Each person has the choice to make their own decisions and determine their own actions. Our individual charge is to not do things that cause others to stumble or walk away from the path on which they were placed. If we each sought to understand one another, rather than judging, imagine the communities that would be built. I am blessed to be immersed in small communities where there is a seeking to understand. Different views and beliefs are celebrated, not judged. Even in my own home there are varied beliefs, and though at times, debates get heated, at the end of the day, there is love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the best decisions for ourselves, and trust that those around us are more than capable of doing the same. Lord, lead us in love.

Judge not each other,

Seek to understand;

The right path for me,

Is not where all land.

God is creative,

For each, there’s a plan;

Individual,

He’ll guide by His hand.

Don’t deter others,

For each must decide;

The way they will walk,

In whom they’ll abide.

No matter choices,

That others choose make;

Our call is to love,

Help mend each heartbreak.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us not to judge, but rather to love. Thank You that as we ask, You are faithful to show us what we are to do, and what we should not. Forgive us for thinking we have a place determining how others ought to follow where You are leading. Teach us not to judge, but rather to seek to understand and to love. Lead us to love those around us always, no matter how different they seem in how they navigate life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to choose love over judgment, and pursue Your leading to keep from getting others off track. Amen.

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:7

His Wisdom

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible is it for us to understand His decisions and His ways! – (Romans 11:33, NLT)

Yes, God’s riches are very great! His wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain what God decides. No one can understand His ways. – (Romans 11:33, ERV)

Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of His wisdom, and the marvel of His perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of His decisions or search out the mysterious way He carries out His plans? – (Romans 11:33, TPT)

 

This is arguably one of the strangest seasons in modern history. Neither our parents, nor grandparents, experienced quite a time such as the one we are living in right now. For many of us, our grandparents lived through the depression, WWII, Vietnam, Polio, and the like, but nothing that ever brought the entire world to a screeching halt, in the same way that this current pandemic has done. Many are left wondering why. Why would this happen? If God is good and just and kind, why allow so many to suffer? This is the space where it is impossible for us to understand the mysterious ways of God. He can bring beauty from something that has caused so much destruction, and good, from something seemingly so horrid. I know not what all of His plans entail, but I do see evidence of the good, all around me. People are intentional to reach out to one another. They are creative and innovative to find ways to help people feel celebrated and loved when they achieve milestones or have birthdays, and there is much philanthropy in the hearts of the community, as so many needs are being met through both individuals and various organizations that have popped up in response to known needs. The “church” is not limited to a building to thrive, and healthy churches are staying connected, holding services online, and reaching out to serve their communities in practical and tangible ways. Though I long for the freedom to travel, especially to go and see my mom, I am grateful that we live in the era we do, where we have access to one another, more than we ever have before. Communication is at the touch of a button, and there are countless methods we can use to stay connected with one another. God is good, and His wisdom supersedes that of humanity. Our plans are not His, nor our ways, His; and trusting Him is what we need most to navigate this season. May we seek the Lord in His wisdom, for He is able to provide all that we need to persevere through the wait.

 

The riches of God, Ongoing Peace

Are beyond compare;

His wisdom, kindness,

And limitless care.

Though we cannot know,

Why all things occur;

From all can come good,

For God’s love is sure.

In seasons of loss,

In love, He provides;

All that is needed,

As we choose abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all wisdom and knowledge and provision come from You. Thank You that though we do not understand the reason why things happen as they do, You love us through them. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts. Teach us to trust You; always. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as trust in Your wisdom in every circumstance. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Refuge, Strength and Help

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV)

God, You’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You. – (Psalm 46:1, TPT)

 

I try not to catch too much of the news, as more than one update per day does nothing but cause anxiety in anyone. Yes, it is wise to be aware and recognize the reality of the situation and risk that we all are living in, but bombarding ourselves with a constant barrage of numbers and images only instills fear. If we are staying at home as ordered, we ought to be okay. God is our protection and source of strength; ready to help us in times like these. If peace is lacking; He is peace. If all seems chaotic and out of control; Christ brings calm and order. When our strength is sapped, His is steadfast. It is a matter of choice as to where we turn in times of trial. As we turn to God, we find safety, strength and help; whereas when we rely on our own devices, we end up fearful, stressed out and anxious about everything. May we turn to God, who is our refuge, strength and help, as He brings peace in the places within us that need it most.

For me, what seemed like a random impulse purchase on Amazon, actually turned out to likely be some listening to the still small voice within. I struggle staying put, especially when I feel like I have to stay seated and stuck in one area for any length of time. After the addition of a long string of color-changing LED lights around the perimeter of the room where I need to spend my days during the week for work, it suddenly is a calmer, more welcome space, that I find easier to be in. More of a refuge and less of a space that I’m stuck. God cares about the little things, and it is amazing what a tremendous difference the little things make in the overall scheme of an entire day. God is good, and He provides as we abide; may we ever choose seek Him for refuge, help and strength.

 

God is my refuge, wp-15854082280268137732906669162830.jpg

In whom I abide;

He is my safe space,

Where true peace resides.

The Lord is my strength,

And help as I seek;

Ever He’s faithful,

Provider of peace.

When there is chaos,

His love brings the calm;

Unending mercy,

Our true healing balm.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You and You answer. Thank You that You are our refuge, strength and help whenever we call on Your Name. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Forgive us for our anxiousness when chaos and uncertainty surround us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are the anchor in our storms and the peace when there is chaos within. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer refuge, strength and help so that they too, may find comfort and peace in these times of such uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our refuge, strength and help in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8