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

Love Beyond What is Seen

For we walk by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, HCSB)

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

When we know God and trust in Him, we need not fear what we see with our eyes, but rather hold fast to the truth of all that He has promised. What we see is only a small part of the big picture; we only know in part what God knows in whole. He knows the outcome before things begin, and He holds us in the hollow of His hands. In Him, we can trust that He will lead us, guide us, and stay beside us, through every step of every day. So often, things have looked bleak or hopeless or impossible through my own eyes, yet with Christ, the bleak became beautiful; the hopeless, full of hope; the impossible was indeed possible and my perspective was persuaded to see beyond what my eyes could take in. Walking in faith is not blind, but rather it is seeing through His eyes rather than our own. May we ever walk in faith, trusting beyond what we cannot see, for God sees and knows all and has our very best in mind.

O Lord help us walk,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

By faith and not sight;

For we’ve but a glimpse,

Of all You make right.

Seasons of heartache,

And mountains we climb;

All with a purpose,

Holy and divine.

Each new obstacle,

You grant us the strength;

To keep on moving,

Through height, depth and length.

As our view changes,

And we have moved past;

You show us purpose,

Your love beyond our ask.

So, trust in the Lord,

Not in what we see;

For God’s always good,

In love He will lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith helps us to trust beyond what we can see, for we only see in part what You see in whole. Forgive us for our lack of faith when what we see seems far beyond what we are capable of navigating. Teach us to recognize that You can do far more than we could ever hope or imagine. Show us how to walk by faith and live out Your love for all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust beyond what we can see, for You are good and far greater than anything that comes before us. Amen.

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

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift. – Ephesians 2:8

To See What is True

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. – (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)

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)

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. – (Philippians 4:8, TPT)

If we can keep our hearts and minds focused on that which is good and worthy of praise, our words and actions follow accordingly. This is far easier said than done, especially when what stands before us clouds our view of good. It requires intentional pursuit of God and the grace that He provides to see past the difficulties and recognize the beauty and goodness that surround us. Years ago, when I was a part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), I had the rare opportunity to spend time in India, not once, but twice. The first time I was there, all I could see was the lack, the loss, and the hardships the people had to constantly endure. However, when I returned a year later, God showed me the incredible beauty that was all around me. The joy that people had, despite their circumstances, the lush green vegetation everywhere, the bold, bright and beautiful colors found on the fabric that people wore, the kindness and generosity of those whom we worked with, and the countless glorious works that God was doing before our own eyes. May we ever seek the Lord to help us fix our eyes on the things of Him, so that we may see all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.

Lord, open our eyes,

So we truly see;

The good around us,

That ever brings peace.

The honorable,

And all that is true;

The just and the pure,

His ways to pursue.

May all that’s lovely,

Remind us what’s true;

The commendable,

All that we can do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of what is important and what should capture our attention. Thank You that no matter our situation or circumstances, there is always evidence of You that surrounds us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your good in the throes of the difficult. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You and all that You have brought into being that reflect Your glory and goodness to the world. Show us how to be Your ambassadors of love, as we fix our eyes on You and reflect back the good You have given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us eyes to see all of the good and wonderful that You have placed all around us. Amen. 

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

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

To Become His Poetry

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

This verse makes me think of “in one ear and out the other”, as hearing does not equate to doing or making adjustments. Anyone can hear instruction, advice and direction, but only those who follow it truly have listened with intention. The One who created us, also has a plan and a purpose for our lives. It is up to us to seek Him, listen, and then do what He says. I so appreciate The Passions Translation, as the idea of allowing God’s word to “become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life” is a powerful and beautiful notion. In Ephesians 2:10, (same translation) we are reminded again that “We have become His poetry, a recreated people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us…” It is up to us to not just hear His Word and His instructions, but it requires faith in action to move forward accordingly. I don’t know about you, but I long to live out the poetry that God has intended to spring forth from my life. May we ever seek the Lord to both listen and obey all that He is asking of us, for His every word is meant to lead us to live out a life of love.

The Word of the Lord,

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Is righteous and true;

By His loving grace,

Shows us what to do.

He leads us in love,

To choose do the same;

To walk in His grace,

And honor His Name.

Lord, teach us to love,

To listen and learn;

Put faith in action,

In wisdom, discern.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not simply give us instructions and bid us luck, but rather You teach, equip, empower and lead us through all that we are called to do. Forgive us for the times that we “heard” Your Word, but did nothing to act upon it. Teach us to live a life of love and grace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that all whom we meet encounter Your loving kindness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your Word and seek You to show us how to live it out. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

True Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. – (Proverbs 31:30, TPT)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

God wants our hearts, not our appearance nor charisma. Incredibly, the most beautiful and charming people I know are those who have a heart after God’s own. Media tends to place the most value on beauty and charm, yet God looks at the heart. Our most important investments are the ones that last. Loving God and loving people well is what teaches us to live in wonder and awe of the Lord. It requires our dependence on Him to live as He calls us to live. Fear of the Lord is not a space of terror, but rather is a healthy respect that recognizes who God is and the capacity of His power. When we allow God to be God, we begin to live and move and interact the way that we were designed to do. In this context, being praised means being approved. The most critical message in this verse is that we are approved by God when we focus on relationships rather than appearances. May we ever seek the Lord in awe and wonder, depending on Him to grow us in how we live and love.

May we ever aim,

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

To love like the Lord;

Beauty from within,

As grace is outpoured.

With respect and awe,

Let love for God lead;

In all that we do,

Each word and each deed.

The God of all grace,

In love, does approve;

When we seek to love,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to focus on what lasts. Thank You that true beauty comes from within, not from the exterior. Thank You that we are approved by You as we earnestly seek to walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to be swayed by the world’s definition of beauty rather than Yours. Teach us to have beautiful hearts that love and respect You and all those around us. Show us how to love people best as we invest our heart into learning how to love as we were created to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the beauty all around us, but more importantly, for the beauty created within us all to honor You and love well. Amen.

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

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:18

All Can Be For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

Though at times this is seemingly impossible, I have seen it again and again in my own life. My greatest trials, hardships and heartaches have been used to grow me, encourage others, and have led to something beautiful. Incredibly, God is always able to work ALL things for our good, if only we are willing to place them in God’s hands. He takes our hurts and creates opportunities to help; He takes our trials and turns them into victories; and He takes our heartaches and brings us to something far more wonderful than we could have hoped or imagined. Additionally, this is available for all who accept His invitation and choose to follow after Him. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He brings beauty from our ashes and joy from our sorrows.

The Lord can work all,

For our ultimate good;

Beauty from ashes,

True grace is understood.

During our trials,

The Lord’s present to help;

God’s great faithfulness,

Is our story to tell.

May we ever seek,

For always we shall find;

His help to hold us,

Ever loving and kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work ALL things for good for those who love and trust You. Forgive us for our lack of faith when all we can see is the struggle. Teach us to trust in You and to hold fast to the hope of Your promises. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and watch for You to work all things for good. Amen.

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

“…God has sent me to give them a beautiful crown in exchange for ashes, to anoint them with gladness instead of sorrow…” – Isaiah 61:3

Timeless Faithfulness

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – (Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

Lord, You are my God. I honor You and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonderful marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

The faithfulness of God is timeless. All of creation announces His love as He has done, does, and will continue to do wonderful things. What was planned in the beginning, He faithfully fulfills. God, who in His infinite wisdom and love, created each of us with a plan and a purpose. As we follow Him, we see His kindness and grace through the outpouring of His love, as He leads us to walk out all that He has prepared for us. I know it seems like the wonderful things are far off when obstacles come our way, but if we slow down, take a deep breath, and truly take inventory, the visibility of His incredible blessings are abundantly clear. In the darkest times, His light remains, for if we open our eyes we are genuinely able to see. May we ever lift up praise to He who carries out the wonderful and beautiful in each of our lives.

Lord, I will praise You,

For all of my days;

Your tender mercies,

Lead us in Your ways.

Thank You for kindness,

When hope’s feeling gone;

You bless us and keep us,

Help us carry on.

Your word is the truth,

Faithful without end;

No matter what comes,

Love and strength You send.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God and that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You for what You promise, as You fulfill. Forgive our fears and frustrations when we cannot see the beauty that is going to come from our ashes. Teach us to trust You and praise You, even in the storms. Show us how to love those around us well, so that hope and faith rise up, no matter how things appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love so well. Amen.

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

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Live Purposefully

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is incredible to watch and be a part of a group of people who are all walking out their purpose. Yesterday, despite the challenges of separation, new learning, and all of the trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand with remote education and running a household (many with children of our own), there was a clear demonstration of so much good, as choosing to love people was and continues to be a clear priority. Our office manager, finance wizard, vice principal, and likely a few others, orchestrated a birthday parade for our principal. Many staff members gathered in the designated parking lot a short distance from her home to coordinate, decorate and caravan together in a parade of cars through her neighborhood. Seeing the smiling faces of fellow staff members and catching up with these dear friends, filled my heart with so much good. The look of surprise and joy on our principal’s face as the parade of vehicles kept rounding through her cul-de-sac, was fantastic. Despite the struggle of being apart and not being able to do our jobs in the way we all are accustomed to doing them, there is good that is coming out of this season, none the less. Personally, I am so grateful that these are the people who are chosen to walk out a similar purpose in this season with me. Though each of us come from different places, spaces and experiences, we are united in purpose as we seek to teach kids and love our community well. God really is able to orchestrate good and beautiful things in every season, as we earnestly seek Him and walk out the life to which we have been called. May we ever listen to the Lord’s leading and continue ever moving forward in love.

 

We know that the Lord, wp-15887743558471974361042245095214.jpg

Can work ALL for good;

We need to pursue,

Live the life we should.

For we are each called,

And made with intent;

With strength and purpose,

Designed, heaven-sent.

Even in hard times,

There’s much good to see;

As we seek to serve,

Live purposefully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created each of us with purpose, as we seek to love You and love people well. Thank You that as we move forward in these things, we see the good that You bring, even in trying times. Forgive us for our frustration with timing and circumstances. Teach us to trust Your timing – for You alone know the beginning and the end, and what is best. Show us how to love those around us well in the waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for purpose and for the good that You can bring in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26