Purposeful Peace

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

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. Thant’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

When we truly seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect peace, we are equipped and empowered to bring His peace wherever we go. People recognize there is a difference when we operate from a position as a peacemaker, rather than as one who seek only to be right or to be heard. Peacemakers prioritize people. Their mode of operation is loving kindness and grace. Above all else, when we extend God’s peace to those around us, He calls us His own sons and daughters. Our place is in His family, and our hearts begin to more closely resemble His own as we follow after Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His peace in all things, and may we recognize and receive who we are as His beloved children.

Cooperation,

And purposeful peace;

Are brought together,

As grace is released.

The Lord equips us,

To in love, bring peace;

Living with purpose,

His good does increase.

The more we choose love,

As it’s meant to be;

The more peace will spread,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip and empower us to pass on Your perfect peace to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our egos to get in the way of showing love and grace as You intended. Teach us to depend on You to provide wisdom, strength, and peace in all things. Show us how to love those around us in ways that promote Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and those around us, and by Your grace, extend Your purposeful peace wherever we go. Amen.

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

For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. – Ephesians 2:14

Relax in Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

Yesterday was a great reminder of this. I woke early enough to do my devotional reading, but not quite early enough to write as well. After more months than it should have been, my dear friend and long-time running buddy and I met to get out and move. Dressed for the weather, we decided that a walk and talk would be far safer than a run, as the roads and sidewalks were quite icy. Nothing quite blesses my soul as much as connecting and catching up as if no times has passed. Sharing life with dear friends is so good for the soul. What made it all the sweeter was after we were done, we ended at another dear friend’s home, who had invited us in for coffee. More connecting and catching up was done, and I drove home with a smile on my face and peace in my heart. After walking the dogs and coaching my gymnasts, my love and I went to get some Christmas shopping done. Again, I was reminded of how good the Lord is to me, and how much He cares. Upon our return, he made dinner for the family, and we enjoyed a silly Christmas movie with snuggling pups. It amazes me how God can bring us rest through the busy, the ordinary, and simply through being present. He is good and has showered me with incredible blessings in those whom He has placed around me. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us throughout our days, and trust in Him to provide rest for our souls as He cares so well for us.

Relax, O my soul,

For the Lord is near;

He brings us His peace,

Comfort, love, and cheer.

He pours out blessings,

As He grants us rest;

Calm to the spirit,

For He knows us best.

In kindness and love,

Let us persevere;

Move forward in faith,

For God, You are near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good to us. Thank You that You provide rest for our souls as we seek You. Thank You for the blessing of community that You call us to invest in. Forgive us for the times that we allow the worries of the world to overwhelm us rather than choosing to be still before You, as You are the One who settles the soul. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love those around us as You intended, and help us to be the hands, heart and voice of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the blessings You have poured out upon us, and the rest that You alone bring to the soul. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Thankful For The Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Gratitude ought to be our mode of operation throughout each new day. A thankful heart is not dependent on merely that which we are walking into, but rather gratitude can look back and see the incredible ways that God has moved on our behalf, and look ahead to the faithfulness of God and the hope that is yet to come through eternity spent in His presence. Even in the here and now of difficulty, there are always things to be thankful for. For me, that includes the people whom God has placed around me, and those He has blessed me with as family. To worship God in a way that will please Him is all about the state of our heart. When our heart is full of awe and reverence for who God is and how He loves, our every act of worship is a reflection of such, and is pleasing to Him who we worship. May we ever let our hearts overflow with gratitude for He who deserves all of our worship forever. 

All thanks be to God,

Who sits on the throne;

Our help and our hope,

Through Whom love is shown.

He’s faithful always,

No matter what comes;

So let us give thanks,

For all He has done.

Even through heartache,

And difficulty;

His presence is clear,

Magnificently.

God’s presence gives hope,

Strength, life and His love;

Our anchor secure,

We are His beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are receiving Your kingdom both now and forevermore. Thank You that this means that we have help and hope in You, no matter what lies ahead. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that block our view of who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope and demonstrate gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1

Opportunities for Good

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, NIV)

When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, ERV)

So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family. – (Galatians 6:10, VOICE)

It always amazes me that when we take the opportunity to do good, we end up feeling blessed. Every time I choose to help, extend kindness, walk beside – whatever the good God is showing me to do – I discover my heart is filled and I feel blessed in the process. I imagine that this is why God calls us to be in community. We are provided opportunities to both give and receive His goodness through those whom He has purposefully placed in our lives. May we ever use every opportunity provided to do the good that God intended, for He is faithful to bless and encourage us all as we do.

The Lord is faithful,

To give us the chance;

To do the good things,

Just as the Lord’s asked.

The good that we do,

Becomes a blessing;

To us and to them,

His love expressing.

So, look for the good,

That we each can do;

Opportunities,

To see God’s love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You for providing opportunities for us to walk beside, help, and encourage those around us. Thank You that in the process, we end up blessed with Your goodness and faithfulness in ways we would never expect. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to do the good You were showing us to do. Teach us to trust You and Your leading, for You are faithful to show us each next step. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and faithfulness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take every opportunity to do the good that You show us to do. Amen.

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

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

Speak Truth

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

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

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

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

Choose to speak the truth,

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

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

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

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

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

Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Devoted to One Another

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – (Romans 12:10, HCSB)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

True devotion looks different to everyone, but to me, it is shown in recognizing the needs and desires of one another and being willing to share in their joy, even if it is not your own. Some of you were around to read about my Viking and my fishing adventure in Westport. Sadly, despite catching our limit in fish, I was extremely seasick and had to dig deep to rally. Yesterday, for his birthday, I purchased a three-hour deep sea fishing adventure for the two of us. Prior to arriving in Hawaii, I had spoken with a seasoned fisherman for advice as to how to prevent a repeat experience the next time. I followed ALL of his advice, and am thrilled to report that I felt great out on the water! It is awesome how God helps us and answers prayers through practical help and divine intervention. Because I was willing to try again, I was blessed with a far better experience. I went into the trip with the attitude that I would be okay either way, as it was only going to be three hours of my life. Mark was blessed and overjoyed to be out on the water, and thankful that I was able to enjoy the experience as well. He honors me with all of my wild wants to wander and explore, so how could I not at least try? May we ever find practical ways to show devotion to one another in love, and give room to put others first, in the same way that Jesus did for us all.

To be devoted,

In brotherly love;

We look past ourselves,

To God up above.

Love is in choosing,

To put others first;

To love with actions,

Is how love’s dispersed.

Just as Lord Jesus,

Chose to give us all;

May we be willing,

Help others stand tall.

Even in challenge,

The Lord sees our hearts;

He grants us the strength,

To do what’s our part.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You set the standard of what it means to live sacrificially and to love completely. Thank You that as You call us to do the same, You supply what we need to be a blessing to those around us. Forgive us for fearing what could be lost, rather than that which can be gained. Show us how to be devoted to one another in love in ways that make Your heart tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us and rely on You to supply all that we need to be devoted to You and to one another. Amen.

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

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:29, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 118:29, ERV)

You’re my God, and I thank You. O my God, I lift high Your praise. Thank God – He’s so good. His love never quits! – (Psalm 118:29, MSG)

After more than ten hours of travel to safely arrive at our destination, we were exhausted and a bit punchy. I cannot help but give thanks to God for His goodness and protection as we traveled, and for His provision as we arrived. An added bonus is that we were upgraded to a convertible for our rental car, hence the Viking’s huge smile. Every time I see the beauty God has made, I am blessed by His protection and provision, I have to give Him thanks. May we all recognize the goodness and love of the Lord and give Him thanks each new day.

All thanks to the Lord,

For love that is true;

Goodness and kindness,

Each day that is new.

His love never quits,

So nor should our praise;

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For each brand new day.

Your blessings poured out,

Your goodness shown true;

Help my heart to hold,

Thanks for all You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love, goodness, kindness and provision are eternal. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and bless us, Your children, with a perfect Father’s love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give You praise for how You love us so well. Teach us to recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Show us how to love everyone we encounter so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and how You love us forever. Amen.

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

Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

The Beauty of Intentional Design

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do you even think about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? – (Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation – on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals – sons and daughters of men – specks of dust floating about the cosmos. – (Psalm 8:3-4, VOICE)

Between living in the Pacific Northwest, and having been blessed with numerous opportunities to see new locations around the world, I share David’s sentiment of awe and wonder at how people are considered the priority to God, who created so much magnificent beauty. We are but a speck of dust in comparison to the entire universe. The glory that surrounds us in His creation is clear evidence of God’s existence. As humans, we are still learning and discovering just how vast God’s creation actually is, and I imagine the discoveries will not end. God, who is timeless and endless, created more than our minds can conceive, yet intentionally hand-crafted each one of us to be unique with strengths, talents, personalities and more. We all were created with purpose and possibilities, accompanied with a free will to determine just how we might use what we have been given. The more I learn, the more I desire to honor and serve the Lord. His goodness and love are as vast as the universe, and His capacity to care for us knows no end. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and all that He has done so that we might recognize and honor God as we should.

May we choose look up,

No filter, Sunrise in Belize taken on my phone…<3

Survey all we see;

All that surrounds us,

God’s own majesty.

The stars in the sky,

Created and known;

The mountains and seas,

The Lord’s power shown.

Each work of His hand,

Intentionally;

Formed with a purpose,

Beyond what we see.

Each human on earth,

Is by God’s design;

Made with a purpose,

His love intertwined.

May we stand in awe,

Of all that He’s made;

Give all thanks to Him,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of all that You have created! Thank You for so much beauty all around us. Forgive us for making You too small, for the God who created everything and everyone is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things around us seem crazy or impossible. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of how You love and care for us. Amen.

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

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

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

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