Whatever is Good

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

Yesterday, my Viking and I drove more than 500 miles to spend the extended weekend with my sister and her family to watch and support her eldest son as he is living out his baseball dream. With such a long drive, there is much time to think. For both Mark and I, the thing that stood out to us was the incredible beauty that unfolded before us. Yes, there are parts of the drive that are dry and dusty, yet it took little time for green fields to unfold under clear blue skies, and at one point, we were able to see two of our area’s mountains from the opposite side. For me, anytime that I travel, see family, or get outside, I cannot help but stand in awe of the One who made it all. There is so much good, lovely and praiseworthy, even when things in the world do not seem honorable or right. God always is. His character does not change, so when we fix our eyes on Him, the things that we ought to set our sights on become obvious. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him praise, as we focus on His beauty and truth that demonstrate and grant both goodness and direction throughout all our days.

O Lord lead our hearts,

Throughout all our days;

To focus on You,

And choose give You praise.

For all that is good,

And right, pure and true;

Your very nature,

That will lead us through.

Help us to follow,

For all of our days;

Your heart, word, Spirit,

By Your loving grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy as we seek You and spend time in Your word. Forgive us for diverting our attention from the things You show us. Teach us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on the good that You intend for us. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and show us how to demonstrate Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on all that is lovely, good, pure and right, and let us give You proper praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. – 2 Peter 1:3

Hearts to Love and Endure

May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, MSG)

In such tumultuous times, my prayer is that God’s love and Christ’s endurance would be made evident to all. The challenge for many of us is that we love people deeply who are on both sides of the political divide that seems to be growing in our nation. If we are truly loving God and loving people, we can disagree on issues and still care deeply for one another. God gave us each a brain, a heart and His Spirit to listen and learn for ourselves to what is right. Life circumstances and upbringing are often deciding factors in how we determine what is good and right. That being said, Jesus was friends with those whom many determined were not worthy of His time or attention. His choice to love is the model that we are meant to live by. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord to lead us in love, and may our hearts be open to all, no matter what their beliefs. May we have endurance to continue to love, even when dissension around us makes us want to hide away. Lord, lead us in Your love, always.

O Lord, be the light,

That leads us in love;

For one another,

Like You, God, above.

Without conditions,

Choose love anyway;

People are people,

May love lead our way.

Let God’s kindness reign,

In all that we do;

Compassion and grace,

Are what show love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us without limits or conditions. Thank You that in our brokenness and sinfulness, You love. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not display Your love. Grant us Your love and endurance to care for those around us well. Show us how to love one another, even when we do not see eye to eye on what is going on around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us endurance to love as You call us to love. Amen.

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

He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the Lord’s unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5

Strength and Peace to the Seekers

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, HCSB)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

God is faithful to strengthen us and supply His perfect peace when we seek Him. It does not mean that peace will necessarily surround us, but we can experience peace within us, despite our circumstances. The Lord equips us with the strength we need to navigate each new day. There is much going on in the world that screams for our attention and can easily pillage our peace. However, when we seek His strength and peace, God settles our hearts and grants us words to pray. He strengthens us and places His peace within us, despite what is going on around us. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, and pray for strength and peace for those around us, both near and far.

God grants us His strength,

As we choose to seek;

Floods us with His love,

When we’re feeling weak.

In space of unrest,

God’s peace can be found;

He’ll fill up our heart,

Bring calm that astounds.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To ever seek You;

Strengthen us with Your peace,

Grant us hope anew.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to strengthen us and provide Your perfect peace when we seek You. Forgive us for allowing what is going on around us to steal the peace that You place within us. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our strength and the Provider of perfect peace. Teach us to lean into You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace that extends strength and peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to supply Your strength and to be our peace in the chaos that comes our way. Amen.

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

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. – Lamentations 3:25

All That We Can

When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one it belongs to. – (Proverbs 3:27, HCSB)

Do everything you possibly can for those who need help. – (Proverbs 3:27, ERV)

Do not withhold what is good from those who deserve it; if it is within your power to give it, do it. – (Proverbs 3:27, VOICE)

The thing is, we can always give good. Our kindness, attention and grace cost us nothing, yet provide much to those who need it most. God is the ultimate giver of all good, and we are called to love in the same way. Sometimes, it is through tangible giving of things, yet often, it is our time, energy and love that are truly needed. As we seek the Lord and receive His goodness and grace, we are compelled to love those around us in the same way. During this most wonderful season, there are always needs to be met. It is up to us to look around us and do what we can, with what we have, wherever we are. May we open our eyes to see the need around us and do what we can to give good to all.

Lord, open our eyes,

So that we may see;

The needs we can meet,

By grace, faithfully.

Teach us to choose love,

To honor and serve;

To love as we’re loved,

Kindness not deserved.

For all deserve good,

Not for what’s been done;

But rather because,

We’re daughters and sons.

All of creation,

You’ve made and called good;

So help us to love,

Each one as we should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and give good gifts, not because we deserve them, but because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for neglecting to do the good that we can, and lead us in Your love to give of our time, talents and resources wherever You ask. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can love those around us as You first loved us. Show us how to love like You wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do everything we possibly can, with what we have, wherever we are. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion for one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Sing in the Strength He Supplies

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 me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

There are days when this resonates a little more clearly than others. Each morning as I rise before the sun, I am intentional to seek and spend time with our Savior. Small things can distract my attention, and I have to choose to focus on Him and time in His word. As I do, He is faithful to show me His loving kindness anew, and there is not a day that I seek Him that I do not find Him. I cannot even begin to count the numerous times that He has been my place of safety and my defender when troubles have come. In all things, He remains faithful to be present and pour out His goodness and love. It does not mean that all is easy and without obstacles, rather in those obstacles I have a guide to lead me through. For this, and so many other things, I have reason to hold songs of praise in my heart, celebrating His strength when I had none, and His presence when I felt alone. May we ever remember who is our source of strength and mercy and goodness, as we call on Christ to be our place of safety in every storm.

O Lord each new day,

May I rise and sing;

Of goodness and strength,

The hope that You bring.

Teach me to see You,

With each rising sun;

Give thanks unto You,

Our strong Holy One.

Thank You for safety,

That is held in You;

For Your sweet presence,

That carries us through.

Help songs to rise up,

Flood my mind and heart;

With praise unto You,

Gratitude impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to sing, as You are our source of strength and our space of safety. Forgive us for not giving praise where praise is due, and for forgetting how powerful Your presence is to strengthen and uphold us. Teach us to trust in You through every season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that supply strength and hope and resolve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find shelter in the safety of Your love and sing praise to You for each new day we are granted. 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

Where Treasure Lies

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

Your heart will be where your treasure is. – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also. – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

 

My heart, as I have discovered more deeply than ever before, is for God and people. Each morning, my priority continues to be to seek the Lord and spend time in His word to set the tone for the day. What I miss most in this time of “stay at home”, is the ability to get out and be with people whom I enjoy most. I think many of us took for granted, and we are now finding out, how much we truly treasure the luxury of navigating a “normal” day among a vast array of individuals. My time with my husband and children has been really good, and I am grateful for the time together that would likely not have occurred otherwise; yet I struggle with the sedentary staying in place, when I am accustomed to walking about campus before school, during my planning, at lunch, and when the school day closes. Each walk about would result in friendly exchanges with different staff members and students, that I value and enjoyed each day. Now, I am often seated in silence for hours at a time, as I attempt to navigate the new, eagerly waiting for the next collaborative Zoom meeting, so that I will see and work together with my friends and colleagues. My boys are present in my work space with me until their work for the day is complete, then they disappear to do their own thing, while the other two members of our household are essential workers, and spend their days away from home. All this to say, though I was intentional most of the time to say hello or at least smile and wave to people as I passed by, I imagine that I will treasure the freedom to do so all the more when the stay at home orders are lifted. In the meantime, I will look for ways to reach out and connect with people as they come to mind, and continue to lean on the Lord for strength and sanity. May we all place our treasure in the gifts of people whom God has given us, and in the Giver Himself.

 

May we seek treasure, Love Made Known

Things of the most worth;

Not things, but people,

Greatest gifts on earth.

Love God and people,

The greatest command;

Purpose intended,

What the Lord had planned.

For what we value,

Where our hearts are found;

Let’s choose what matters,

So good may abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us where our treasures lie, as we look at what has our time, attention and affection. Thank You that You treasure people first, and show us how to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our priorities get out of order, and we set aside what matters most. Teach us to seek You first in all things, so that we may live and love according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first so that we may love You and love those around us in the same way that You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

He Answers

I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me. – (Psalm 120:1, NIV)

I was in trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me! – (Psalm 120:1, ERV)

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayers. – (Psalm 120:1, NLT)

 

After waking from a disturbing dream about school, there is comfort in the reminder to call on the Lord; He is faithful to help and answer our prayers. I know that God’s plans are far greater than my own, and He is faithful to lead me in the direction that I am meant to go. That being said, I am also in my current space for such a time as this. Though I know not why the year has unfolded into such a battle, there is good to see in each and every day. One of the ways that God has answered, has been through the opportunity that I was given to take on a new coaching role at the high school. No matter how my school day had gone, walking into the gym brought joy and hope, excitement and strength, as we worked together toward a common goal. Now, a week post-high school, I just enjoyed the first meet of our middle school season, yesterday afternoon. The very same blessings that were bestowed upon me as I walked into the high school gym, I find in the gym at the middle school where I teach and coach as well. One of my answers currently, is the joy in helping girls discover what they are capable of doing when they are determined to work hard and stick with it. I do have the same moments of blessing in the classroom, but they are often tainted by poor behavior choices that demand my attention, in order to keep the classroom safe. In the gym, that is not the case. As I wait and trust, I will continue to call on the Lord, knowing that He has answers that will lead me to a space of peace. May we ever seek the Lord and place our troubles in His hands, for He hears and answers our prayers.

 

Choose call on the Lord,

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Photo courtesy of Pictured Memories

He’s faithful to hear;

When there is trouble,

His help’s ever near.

The Lord’s plans are good,

His heart is to bless;

To strengthen, lift up,

Remove our distress.

He leads us places,

Beyond what we’ve known;

To show us His strength,

As our faith is grown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in our troubles and distress, You hear our prayers and answer us. Thank You that Your answers are far greater than what we could ask or imagine. Forgive us for losing perspective in the midst of our struggles, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust that You are always moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us who are struggling, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged in the wait for Your new. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and thank You for the blessings that You bring, even in the midst of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18

Blot Out Barriers

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. – (Daniel 1:17, NIV)

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

Through all of this, God conferred upon these four young men superior abilities in literature, language, and wisdom. God had given Daniel an additional gift, too: the ability to interpret visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, VOICE)

 

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the chosen from Judah to be trained to serve in the king of Babylon’s palace. The king ordered for the men to be taught and trained in the language and literature of the Babylonians. As they were trained, they were granted rations of royal food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel, not wanting to defile himself with such things, petitioned for permission to eat only vegetables and water. Because he had found favor with the chief official over him, he agreed to try, despite his concerns about how the meager rations would affect Daniel and company’s appearance. At the end of the trial time, the young men looked healthier than the others, and had won over the official, allowing them to continue their vegetarian diet so that their focus could be on God and the learning that He would give them, rather than on what they would eat or drink at their next meal. God honored their hearts, and the four young men thrived in their learning, far above the others chosen for the same training. My take away from this story is the young men gave up fine delicacies that could distract, in exchange for focus and favor, granted by God. Food was to serve a function, rather than a focus, that way the young learners were able to set their minds on what mattered most. My prayer is that God would show me the things that are unnecessary distractions that I do not need, to set aside so that I may fully focus on what matters most. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, new insight and understanding, setting aside anything that pulls our attention away from our intended purpose.

 

When we set aside,joining-together.png

The things that distract;

The Lord is faithful,

Wisdom He’ll enact.

He’s faithful to hear,

Our heart as we ask;

Sometimes to listen,

Desires must be last.

Help us clear the way,

For all of the new;

Open minds and hearts,

To what You will do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us biblical examples of those who sought You well. Thank You that there are things that we can to do to help make way for You to move. Thank You that if we ask, You are faithful to answer and show us the things that distract us from hearing You clearly. Forgive us for allowing our own agenda to get in the way of all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are far greater than our own. Show us how to love those around us well, as we listen to Your leading and follow what You are asking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Ask for Answers

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. – (Jeremiah 33:3, VOICE)

 

So often we struggle with the that which we do not understand, yet neglect to seek answers from He who holds all in the hollow of His hands. What I have discovered, time and time again, is that if I ask the Lord for understanding, and seek Him for insight, clarity will come. Often, He speaks in the quiet unexpected moments, when there is little else vying for my attention. Clarity, insight or understanding come to mind while I am available to hear. Typically, it seems as though I hear best as I am preparing for the day. It is during the simple and mundane tasks of showering, drying my hair, brushing my teeth, or driving into work, that I suddenly see something that I could not comprehend previously. Ideas and insight come to a mind that is clear and open to hear. May we ever call on the Lord and ask for insight, trusting that He is faithful to answer, as He shows us things we could not know on our own.

Yesterday evening I was able to catch up with both mom and my sister. It is exciting to hear steps of progress that mom is making, as each new step, is a move toward restoration and full recovery. On Friday evening, when Meg, Scott and Mom left to go to dinner, Mom, for the first time, navigated the front porch steps herself, (with her walker) rather depending on Meg and Scott on either side of her. Additionally, for the last three nights, mom has slept all the way through the night. This is huge, as sleep is restorative and healing for Mom, and helpful for my sister as well. All of us are excited to finalize our plans for Thanksgiving, as we cannot wait to all be together again soon!

 

Choose call on the Lord,

Asking for Amazing Answers

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Ever seek His face;

To know the unknown,

By His loving grace.

For God is faithful,

To answer our call;

He hears and sees us,

Knows us, one and all.

So, seek God in faith,

For answers unknown;

He’ll grant us insight,

As the truth is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and grace. Thank You that we can call on You and ask for answers when we do not understand what lies before us. Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You impart wisdom and understanding to those who seek You. Forgive us for sitting in our frustration or for not seeking You first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask You for answers, and trust Your faithfulness to keep Your word. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your grace and faithfulness. Use us as Your instruments of truth and of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness to provide insight and answers in spaces where we do not understand. Amen.

 

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

 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8