As I Rise

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)

 

This morning, there is a choice to trust and praise involved as I rise. The day holds an overwhelming amount of new, which requires strength of heart, mind and body, to navigate as I go. For me, a new semester means three brand new classes of students to get to know, as well as the first day of middle school gymnastics. No matter how many times one has experienced such firsts before, there is always a bit of nervous anticipation for how all will unfold. Yes, there is wisdom in experience, yet each new group has its own dynamics and set of personalities. There is never a “one-size-fits-all” in establishing a positive classroom culture. This is the space where I rely on God’s grace to lead and guide me as I go. Of course, I prepare the things that I need to have ready, but I trust in the Lord to guide me as I navigate the new. Today I praise God, the Source of my strength, and trust in His loving kindness and provision as I prepare for the new that this day has in store.

 

This morning I rise, Statements of Praise

And choose to sing praise;

For God is my strength,

Throughout all my days.

Faithful forever,

No matter what comes;

His presence promised,

Loving, Holy One.

Ever I will seek,

For in Him I find;

All that is needed,

To press on, be kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending faithfulness to be our strength and security in our spaces of the unknown. Thank You that You empower and equip us to navigate the new, and help us to do as You call us to. Forgive us for our anxiousness at all that lies before us, when we take our eyes off of You and allow our minds to fix on the size of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You with all, as You are more than enough to navigate every circumstance and situation with wisdom, strength and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your strength and loving mercy may be made evident in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength, for who You are and how You provide for us. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Justice and Mercy Mean More

This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” – (Zechariah 7:9, NIV)

This is what the Lord All-Powerful said: “You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, ERV)

Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, MSG)

 

The context of this verse takes us back to the time of King Darius, as Zechariah received a word from the Lord regarding the traditional season of mourning and fasting. God spoke to Zechariah about the heart behind what the people were doing, and let him know that He would far prefer the people extend true mercy and justice, rather than partaking in religious rituals for themselves. Things are no different today, as God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is after our hearts, desiring that we extend His love, mercy, compassion and justice to others in the same way that He so generously and unreservedly loves each of us. Yes, there are seasons for mourning and fasting, but it must be with a heart intent on seeking Him, rather than simply jumping through some sort of religious hoop. May we seek the Lord and His love, so that we may treat one another justly, love our neighbors, and be compassionate with one another in the same way that He is with us.

 

For we are all called, Justice and Mercy Mean More

In kindness, choose love;

Show mercy and grace,

As God does for us.

Treat others justly,

Be compassionate;

Love one another,

To kindness, commit.

What matters the most,

In all that we do;

Is our heart to love,

Honor God in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love one another. Thank You that throughout Your word You unpack what it means to love. Thank You that mercy, compassion and justice are all part of loving as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in any of these areas. Teach us how to extend mercy, be compassionate, and to treat one another justly in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You love, for You extend all these things and more, though we do not deserve them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love like You – extending mercy, choosing compassion, and treating one another justly, regardless of what we receive. Amen.

 

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

 

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Good Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

 

This is the biblical version of “actions speak louder than words”. When we are consistent in character and choose to do good over and over again, our reputation stands among those who know us, and foolish or ignorant words spoken surrounding who we are, what we do, or what we stand for, will not be given ear by those who have observed who we are over time. It does not mean that humans are infallible, yet it reminds us to assume positive intent, especially among those who consistently choose to do good. God calls us to love one another, and choosing to extend kindness, grace and mercy in what we do and how we interact with others is paramount in pleasing God. May we seek the Lord for strength, so that we do not grow weary in doing good.

 

The Lord has called us, Ambassadors of Love

To choose to do good;

Be kind, show mercy,

Make grace understood.

For our character,

Should stand on its own;

Through consistent good,

God’s love is made known.

It is by His love,

That foolish talk falls;

As truth rises up,

Breaking down false walls.

So, let us choose good,

Again and again;

Love as the Lord loves,

So His truth shall reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good consistently over time. Thank You that as we do, our character and reputation speak louder than foolish talk spoken by those who intend harm. Thank You that what matters most is what You think of us, as Your opinion has eternal implications. Forgive us for worrying about disputing foolish talk, or engaging in banter that does not represent You well. Teach us to choose to do good in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You do, even when people speak foolishly with the intent to harm. Help us know how to do good in such a way that it silences the desire to be unkind, and grows good within the recipient. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5 

Choose to Not Argue

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – (2 Timothy 2:23, NIV)

As a servant of the Lord, you must not argue. You must be kind to everyone. You must be a good teacher, and you must be patient. – (2 Timothy 2:23, ERV)

For a true servant of our Lord Jesus will not be argumentative but gentle toward all and skilled in helping others see the truth, having great patience toward the immature. – (2 Timothy 2:24, TPT)

 

This verse is a practical application verse for teachers everywhere, and a great reminder to start off the week. We cannot engage in arguments, or all will be lost. Kindness to everyone opens doors, ears, and hearts. When kids feel cared for, they are more likely to allow us to come alongside them and help guide them in new learning. All of this requires patience. Though in the forefront of my mind for teaching, these principles also apply in parenting, friendships, and every sort of familial relationship as well. Kindness and patience, willingness to help teach or guide in what is true, and choosing to not engage in arguments helps strengthen bonds and increase trust. May we ever depend on the Lord and His strength to help us walk out our days in this very way.

 

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And walk in His will;

We will need kindness,

The sort Christ instills.

Choose to not argue,

Be patient, always;

Help others see truth,

As we extend grace.

May goodness and light,

Flood all that we do;

So God’s love is known,

And His word shown true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and remind us of the things that matter most. Thank You that we are called to kindness and love, with patience and endurance as we seek to honor You with our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have senselessly argued with those around us, or have neglected to extend kindness or patience of goodness, according to Your plan placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and learn how to best avoid arguments and loving with kindness and patience as we come alongside each other. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn in trust to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – Matthew 5:9

How to Love

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, NIV)

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. – (1 Peter 3:8, MSG)

 

I love how God grants us tangible examples of amazing humans in our everyday experiences to show us exactly what He means in His word. Last night, as we arrived at our hotel near midnight, we discovered that there was a major snafu with our booking through Expedia, and the hotel had no record of our reservations. The next hour and a half were spent straightening out the mess with our incredible concierge, Fontaine, here at our hotel. She went above and beyond what one would expect, and with kindness and compassion, made phone calls to Expedia, found take-out menus to a restaurant that delivered late, and gifted us refreshments as we waited. Her kindness and compassion toward us diffused our frustration, and granted us the patience, in the midst of our exhaustion, to rally. Rather than anger at the end of our ordeal, all we felt was gratitude. If that was not enough to drive the point home, this morning, as I woke early to partake in my typical routine, I discovered that my laptop was a mess, as a result of my futile attempt to download the inflight entertainment app from yesterday. My loving Viking patiently offered his assistance, and he took the time to figure out how to remove all of the junk that had consequently downloaded on my laptop, due to my failed mess brought on by an unsecured network at the airport. Mark’s kindness and patience with me, calmed my frustration and helped me remember the purpose in the first place. We are in Minnesota to love, and that ought to start from the moment I wake. God is so good. May we ever seek Him to show us best how to understand each other and love each other like brothers and sisters, in kindness and humility.

 

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May we choose to see;

Each other in love,

With humility.

Be compassionate,

In kindness, choose love;

Grant grace to others,

Like the Lord above.

For each time we see,

Kindness, love and grace;

We too are inspired,

To set love in place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, kindness and compassion that You make tangible through those whom we meet. Thank You that every day we have the opportunity to be Your ambassadors to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have not shown kindness, grace or compassion. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your heart for those around us. Show us how to love those around us like sisters and brothers, in the way that You intend us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to love as we are loved. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

All in Love

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TPT)

 

It is amazing how much better life goes when love is the motivation behind every word and deed. Though there are times that love feels like the farthest thing from what we want to extend, it is a choice. Last night, my Viking and I landed in Reno, shortly before midnight. His brother and the love of his life greeted us at the airport and handed off one of their vehicles, so that we would not have to rent one. They are early risers, so not only was the sacrifice of a vehicle an act of love, but the decision to stay up late and abandon opportunity for a full night’s sleep, also demonstrated a clear choice of love in action. When we arrived at our accommodations for the night, a lovely occasion to choose to speak and act in love, presented itself. Exhausted, the Viking and I quickly checked in and received our room keys. Upon arrival at our door, we soon discovered that the key cards did not work in the door to which they were assigned. Frustrated, we walked the quarter-mile back to the office with our things, with a less-than-loving attitude, only to communicate kindly to the gentleman who apologetically reprogrammed our room keys and sent us back to our room. Sadly, the keys still would not work. With even more aggravation, combined with the lack of sleep, I was not sure how it would go, as we walked back, yet again, to the office to remedy the situation. This time, Mark simply asked if we could please be placed in a different room, as it appeared that there was a problem with the lock on the other room’s door. The concierge obliged willingly, and we thanked him and were on our way. Sometimes love is found in what we choose to not say as well. We are grateful for the blessing of time with family, and the opportunity to love and be loved well. May we all seek our Heavenly Father for His strength and grace, so that we may go forth in love in every word and deed.

 

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We have all our days;

In word, thought and deed,

At work, home and play.

Each time that we choose,

To love and be kind;

We show the Lord’s heart,

For all of mankind.

Lord, help us to love,

To choose love like You;

Prefer each other,

Let Your light shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Thank You that You loved us first. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit that dwells in us and reminds us what it is to love in each circumstance we encounter. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly and have not spoken or acted in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Show us how to love those around us in ways that communicate love to them best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and love You, so that we may in turn love others too. Amen.

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Establish the Work

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

Lord, our God, be kind to us. Make everything we do successful. Yes, make it all successful. – (Psalm 90:17, ERV)

O Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

This is a fitting verse this morning, as I prepare to head back to my classroom to begin the process of preparing for the school year. My prayer is that I can create a space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming, and that as students enter my room, we are able to establish a caring community that fosters growth and learning, bringing out the best in each of us. Such a request is no small ask, and it will require God’s hand to be upon my heart, daily. God is so good, and He is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, and I am asking and imagining that an amazing space of peace be ever present in my classroom. I am trusting Him to establish the work of my hands both now, and in the days to come. Each investment sown in love, does not come back void, but rather finds way to fill in dark spaces with much needed light. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and source in all that we do, so that He may establish the good we hope to see.

As for mom, it sounds as if God’s beauty is resting upon her in her new space as well. Though the weariness from travel seemed to have caught up with her a bit yesterday, it was still a good day for mom. My sister arrived home from work to find Terry (mom’s in-home care provider) and Skyler (my nephew) playing Dirty Marbles (family favorite game – cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers) at the kitchen table. Her new medical insurance card finally arrived in the mail yesterday, so the process of seeing a new physician and establishing in-home therapies should follow soon. It was wonderful to talk to mom and Megan on the phone last evening, as mom sounded good, and as if all is well within her. God continues to be so faithful in every step of the process in this journey for mom. We are trusting the same to be true as an appointment is set to see a new physician, and in-home therapies are sought after.  God will continue to bring mom success on her road to recovery, as she models such faith and trust in Him.

 

May the Lord’s favor, 10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

Be present with us;

As we pursue Him,

Seek love like Jesus.

Establish our work,

Lord, all that we do;

So, Your love’s made clear,

And Your heart shines through.

God, show us the way,

To best persevere;

And work unto You,

As You’re always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and place our trust in You, You establish the work of our hands that is intended to honor You. Thank You that You lead us and guide us and love us throughout each day. Forgive us for the times that we deceive ourselves and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You and stay true to the truth we know. Show us how to establish all that we do in the love and grace that You intend. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to understand what grace, goodness, hope, peace and love look like for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to establish the work of our hands, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Persevere in Doing Good

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, NIV)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

 

The first person that came to mind as I read this verse this morning, is my vice principal at school. She is the person who did some of the most difficult work on campus, yet did not grow weary in doing good, with a positive attitude and a heart for people. Her kindness and heart for people draws others in, and I consider her a friend as well as a colleague. Part of not growing weary in doing good, is knowing when to take a rest. For her, the opportunity to take a year’s sabbatical has presented itself in the coming school year, and I imagine God has an incredible harvest of blessings for her as she enjoys a new season of rest and is able to spend far more quality time with her wonderful family.

This same principle applies with mom and all who are in her corner. Each person who is investing or has invested time to help with her healing and recovery, is aiding in her ultimate good. The willingness of others to walk alongside mom has encouraged her to rise up and press on with a determination and resilience that few would find in such a situation. Yesterday was a changing of the guard day for my sister and me. I returned after time at home to close out the school year, and she now needs to get back to her home to her family and work. There is good to be done in each space, and our call is to do what we can, wherever we are – no more, no less. God is faithful to grant us the strength; it is our charge to keep moving forward. May we ever continue to press on in the good that lies before us, for every act of kindness goes out and can be utilized by God.

 

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In choosing do good;

For God grants us strength,

To do as we should.

He helps us to rise,

Encourage, be kind;

To help each other,

With their best in mind.

When the day is done,

And it’s time to rest;

May we truly say,

We gave God our best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good; not because we have to do or be anything to earn Your favor, but rather because You want others to see You through us. Thank You that we can be Your ambassadors of love to those who need to know what love and kindness and grace truly means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the good that You have for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be a living reflection of who You are to those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Lord, Grant Me Patience

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

Daily, we are granted the opportunity to set the standard contained in this verse into practice. Our charge to be humble, patient, gentle, accepting and loving toward those around us, is meant to be carried out in every component of our lives. For me, it means being intentional in choosing my words carefully, and extending grace and gentleness, even when I would rather unleash my momentary thoughts aloud. It can be especially trying when those around us choose poorly, again and again. Our charge is to patiently persist, whether it is in gentle correction, redirection, or simply taking time to listen to the one in front of us who may be challenging our desire to be kind. Between teaching middle schoolers, raising teens, sharing space with my Viking, and navigating way out in the community, there are plenty of moments where I am afforded a turn to put these things into practice. When I am purposeful to put these things into practice, I am able to walk away from situations and circumstances that were trying with the comfort of knowing that I chose well. However, when my patience is pushed to the point where there is not a nerve left and I respond in a less-than-loving way, I end up feeling awful and discover need to make amends, even when my response was seemingly justified. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us, so that we may walk in tender humility and quiet patience, containing the capacity to demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward those around us, particularly those who try our endurance.

 

Lord, grant me patience, willful obedience

Where patience runs thin;

Help me to choose love,

Again and again.

Show me Your great strength,

So I will be kind;

Humble and gentle,

With Your love in mind.

Help me see others,

As You want me to;

Ever choosing love,

To guide my way through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You don’t already do. Thank You that You are willing to strengthen and equip us to walk in humility, extending patience and gentleness through Your love. Forgive us for the times that our response to those around us has lacked patience, gentleness, humility or love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives mercy and grace, just as we have been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to help us walk in humility, extending patience, gentleness and acceptance in love. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Clothed with His Character

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV) 

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So, your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV) 

You are always and dearly loved by God! So, robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT) 

 

When we know God, we are called and chosen to walk in His ways. This past week, I have been intentional to pray for specific students before the school day has even begun. What I have observed this week, has been a shift in a few individuals who were my most difficult. Two eighth grade boys have caused much struggle and strife this semester. For the first time in a long while, they were calm and attempting to actually work on the projects that have been assigned. Each one was given room to enter and settle, allowing them to get set in their space. Once students are set and working, I have sought to be compassionate and gentle in my approach. With one, I gather the materials needed for the day’s project and set them before him, extending my availability to answer questions or provide help if needed. For him, it seemed to make a way to focus and complete work. With the other, I have likewise chosen compassion, and simply asked what project he would like to work to complete each day. He too has been calm and attempting to work, rather than sitting idly by on his phone. Though I was gentle and kind previously, a slight shift in my approach seems to have been met with a shift in them as well. There are still others in that class that are “acting a fool”, but the simple transformation in the two is an example of my prayers heard and answered. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Source and Supply, allowing Him to clothe us in compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience and humility, keeping us from becoming offended by the actions of others. 

 

Because we are loved, Sowing Seeds of Peace

We also are called; 

To be the Lord’s light, 

For one and for all. 

Called to compassion, 

Equipped to give grace; 

Kindness and patience, 

Granted in our space. 

With a humble heart, 

Let no one’s offense; 

Deter us from love, 

His grace is immense. 

So, be clothed in love, 

That chooses extend; 

The heart of our God, 

On Whom we depend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and equip us to carry out all to which we are called. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot see the change You are making. Teach us to trust and rely on You more, as Your love covers all. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who are most challenging to love. Grant us Your eyes to see them, and Your heart to extend kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to supply us with kindness, patience, humility and love for all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in Your providence watched over my spirit. – Job 10:12