Our Present Refuge

But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do. – (Psalm 73:28, HCSB)

As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord God my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, ERV)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, VOICE)

This Psalm is a reminder of the faithfulness of God, no matter what is going on around us. His goodness is not dependent on our circumstances. In God, we can place our trust, for He is our refuge and the good we can hold onto. May we speak of the goodness and faithfulness that God has shown us, for it is a reminder of who He is and how deeply He loves.

The presence of God,

Is forever good;

Our place of safety,

Where love’s understood.

Faithful forever,

The reason to praise;

May our words speak out,

Of His faithful ways.

Love is ongoing,

In Him, hope remains;

Grace for each new day,

Forever He reigns.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your presence is the goodness that our hearts long for. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us and be our safe place whenever we call on You. Forgive us for forgetting just how good You are when our circumstances are not. Teach us to turn to You, and to share about Your faithfulness in our lives. Lead us to 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 be our safe space and tell of Your ongoing faithfulness. Amen.

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

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

To Magnify

Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, HCSB)

Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. You made all things. Everything existed and was made because You wanted it. – (Revelation 4:11, ERV)

Worthy are You, O Lord; worthy are You, O God, to receive glory and honor and power. You alone created all things, and through Your will and by Your design, they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, VOICE)

God intentionally created all things. For this and so much more, He is the One who deserves all of our honor and praise. Today, on day ten of our twenty-one days of intentional prayer, the title of the guide is Magnify God. To magnify anything, we must look closely and intentionally to see all that is. The closer and more carefully we look, the more in-focus intricate details become. With God, as we magnify Him, we discover more of His heart for us and how deeply and completely He loves. “He is our Author, our Maker, our Ransom, our Savior, our Refuge, our Hiding Place; our Hope in the shadows, our Strength in the battle, our Anchor for all our days.” (Worthy of Your Name by Passion Conferences) When I began thinking about the characteristics of God, immediately my mind was flooded with the above listed song lyrics. They beautifully capture an accurate magnification of who God is and what He does for us. May we ever be intentional to magnify God and give Him all glory and honor and praise for who He is.

Our loving Author,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Who graciously gives;

Maker, Creator,

Of all that there is.

He is our Ransom,

In love, took our place;

The Savior of all,

Who choose seek His face.

In Him, there is hope,

Even when all’s dark;

He’s strength in weakness,

Through love, He imparts.

Our Anchor to hold,

No matter the storm;

Where we shall find peace,

Our Comfort and warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can magnify You as we seek You and walk in the light of Your love. Thank You that any time that we are intentional to seek and look closely at who You are and how You love, we discover countless reasons to praise You. Forgive us for not being intentional to pause and recognize who You are and how You love often enough. Teach us to glorify You in everything that we do. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly represent Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally investigate who You are and how You love so that we can properly magnify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. – Psalm 145:1

Righteousness and Justice

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. – (Psalm 97:2b, HCSB)

Goodness and justice make His kingdom strong. – (Psalm 97:2b, ERV)

Right and justice anchor His rule. – (Psalm 97:2b, MSG)

His throne of glory rests upon a foundation of righteousness and justice. – (Psalm 97:2b, TPT)

The throne of God is established on Him being just and righteous. Glory and honor are His, for He is good and fair. Because God is these things and so much more, He deserves our worship with reverence. When we are stuck in struggles, we must remember who reigns. Though we may not see resolve in the time frame we desire, it does not mean that God is not working on our behalf. Often, it is only after we have made it through the trying time that we can look back and see how clearly He was our help and our hope to make things new. His ongoing faithfulness reminds us that He is forever good and just. May we ever seek Him and praise Him in all things, for He is right and just and loves us as His own children.

The Lord God, He reigns,

He is right and just;

Hope and salvation,

Worthy of all trust.

His throne, established,

On all that is right;

Justice comes from Him,

Creator of light.

May we ever seek,

Throughout all our days;

And give God glory,

For His faithful ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always right and just, even when our circumstances or surroundings are not. Thank You that You are ever moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for Your justice is not dependent on what we can see. Teach us to trust You to move in all things, and to know that You will have the final say, regardless of what we see now. Show us how to love those around us faithfully as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You establishing Your throne of what is right and just, and for being forever faithful to all who seek You. Amen.

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

But I will seek Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence. – Psalm 17:15

Fixed Eyes Stand Firm

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:8, NIV) 

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV) 

Because You are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience Your wrap-around presence every moment. – (Psalm 16:8, TPT) 

This is the part that we have to remember, even when times are tough. It is as we keep our eyes on the Lord that we recognize that He is near, present, and will help us navigate every situation and circumstance. We will not be shaken if we place our confidence in Him. For me, the greatest challenge is to keep my eyes on Him, rather than allowing my attention to divert away from Him, and fixate on the challenge before me. If I look to Him in the face of struggle or adversity, I begin to see things through His lens rather than my own. Mountains look less treacherous, valleys appear less abysmal, and long stretches with no end in sight, are not so arduous nor lonely. God is faithful to meet us every moment of everyday as we seek and trust in Him. May we always keep our eyes on the Lord and remember that He is with us, so that we will not be shaken, despite the trials that come our way. 

I’ll not be shaken, 

As I know You’re near; 

With You by my side, 

There’s no room for fear. 

You are my anchor, 

In every storm; 

The light and the love, 

That keep my heart warm. 

Lord, You are the hope, 

In whom we are safe; 

Help us keep our eyes, 

On You, all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we keep our eyes securely fixed on You, we discover our hope, our help and our security lie within You. Forgive us for the times that our gaze, our focus, shift away from You and onto what lies before us. Teach us to align our view through Your lens, so that we would remember Who is beside us, with us, and for us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that Your light gives hope wherever it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes securely on You, and trust You to be our help, hope and safety, always. Amen.  

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

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

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

Grace Enough

Have you ever had one of those days, a day where things are crazy busy and the day is long, and then the moment you can finally take pause and breathe, “Wham,” grief sneaks up and sucker punches you in the gut, and you can hardly catch your breath? That was me this afternoon, merely moments ago. I started this morning as usual, studying a totally different and unrelated passage in 2 Chronicles, and had to stop halfway through to go meet up for a safely socially distant run/walk. When I returned home, I had to set it aside and get started immediately on my work day; leaving little time for anything other than potty breaks for the puppy and a quick lunch bite in between meetings and emails. Everything went well, and my day was extended a bit longer than usual, due to a meeting for one of my students. Just as I had finished, my husband returned home from work, and I was ready to get back to the writing that sat undone from this morning. Somehow, as I opened my Outlook account, one particular email took me aback, and I suddenly found myself swallowed by grief. Maybe it is the timing, or perhaps the weight of the past year, but whatever it is, there was a moment of feeling sunk. Then, as nearly as the grief overwhelmed, the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9, flooded my mind, and I was anchored in truth once more.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

In that moment, I needed reminding that His grace is enough. He is enough. Grief is okay to feel, but He will not allow it to sink my soul. I don’t know that I am eagerly boasting about the flash onset of grief, or weakness, or whatever one might want to call it, but I am so grateful that Christ is with me, and He reminds me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. He comforts me in my sorrow and rejoices when I am glad. Regardless of what life brings, God is always good. May we ever seek Him in our sorrow and our joy, for He grants us grace and strength and power to persevere in all things, through every season.

 

When grief like a flood, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

In waves, crashes in;

How do we anchor,

Where do we begin?

As we seek the Lord,

He hears our heart cry;

Reminds us of truth,

Grace He won’t deny.

For great is His love,

That ever comes close;

Strength in our weakness,

His love clearly shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that comforts us in our grief and loves us through all things. Thank You that You are always near. Forgive us for not seeking or trusting You in all things. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to extend Your grace to everyone we meet, so that they may know the power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your grace that is always enough. Amen.

 

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

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. – 1 Corinthians 16:23

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

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.

 

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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

Weathering the Waves

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, NIV)

A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides of the boat, and it was almost full of water. Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with His head on a pillow. The followers went and woke Him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be Still!” Then the wind stopped and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, ERV)

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused Him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to You that we’re going down?” Awake now, He told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. – (Mark 4:37-39, MSG)

 

Though I have both read and heard the passage about Jesus calming the storm numerous times, yesterday’s message by my pastor, brought new revelation that is extraordinarily timely. The disciples were primarily a group of experienced fishermen. They had spent their years and earned their livelihood fishing on this particular body of water, so none of them were new to sudden storms. What stood out about this one was that no longer was it a storm surrounding them, but it was actually bringing water into the boat. Fear entered when the storm on the outside, began impacting the inside. As the waves began to fill the boat, they recognized their desperate need for a Savior. In their state of terror, they questioned Christ’s concern for them, as they feared their own demise. Jesus demonstrated His authority and power as He spoke to the storm, telling the wind and the waves to “Be still!”  We are no different. Often, we neglect to pray about things that are “out there, but when they come close, or affect us directly, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the storm. The beautiful thing is that Jesus will still respond to us in the same way that He did to His disciples. 

1) In the midst of the storm, we need to seek Jesus. 

2) As we do, our prayers have the power to calm the storm. 

3) In the midst of the storm, we need to anchor ourselves to God’s love. 

Jesus has the power to not only calm the storm around us, but He calms the chaos within us as well. Sometimes, they are simultaneous, yet other times we will be brought to a space of His relentless grace, simply to be at peace in knowing that He is in the boat with us. Our boat will not sink when He is aboard. May we hold fast to the Anchor who is our hope, and remember Who is in the boat with us through the storms.

 

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Take pause, choose to pray;

Fend off fearfulness,

Christ shows us the way.

Even when the waves,

Break over our boat;

If God is with us,

He’ll keep us afloat.

It takes but a word,

An act of God’s will;

Peace will be present,

And waters made still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what storms surround us, or even the waves that make way into our boat, You remain with us. Thank You that all power and authority are Yours, and that in You, we have access to be anchored in Your love and calmed in the storm. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the waves crash too close to our own boats. Teach us to come to You in both the calm and in the storm, remembering it is You to whom we need to anchor ourselves to stay afloat. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may find hope and peace and strength to weather the storms that come their way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor ourselves to Your love each day, as You keep us safe and secure through every wave that comes our way. 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

Trust for Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Trust is a tricky thing, yet peace is well worth the price. It requires an ongoing leap of faith to trust God, even when we cannot see a solution nor an end in a stormy season; however, when we lean into the Lord and place our trust in His hands, there is peace that comes, even in the midst of the storm. God is good, and He is the perfect peace for those who depend on and trust in Him. Such peace translates in every aspect of our lives that we choose to trust – both personally and professionally. As an educator, peace is needed daily to navigate the ever-changing challenges that arise in my city, school and classroom. Personally, I have to trust also, to know peace in this season of parenting young men into adulthood. With twins who are about to begin their senior year, and a bonus son who just turned nineteen, wisdom, guidance and peace are required as I choose to trust in the Lord. Though there are moments where my trust waivers, God is faithful and His peace wraps itself around my heart and mind. May we ever choose to place our trust in God, for He is the One who provides our hearts with His perfect peace.

 

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And His perfect peace;

Our hearts in His hands,

Bring Love’s sweet release.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

As we choose to trust,

He helps fend off fear.

Far greater is He,

That dwells within us;

Than storms and trials,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to trust in You, You are our perfect peace. Thank You that whether in storms or in calm, You provide peace to those who trust in You. Forgive us for our faltering faith when we cannot see solutions or the shore. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our anchor and our safe harbor, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and safety, trust and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness and Your goodness that provides our hearts and minds with Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11