Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. 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

Loving Healer

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! He forgives all our sins and heals all our sickness. – (Psalm 103:2-3, ERV)

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, VOICE)

This morning, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My son, who was battling double pneumonia and on 2.5 liters of oxygen on Monday, is now breathing without oxygen and is likely going to be released to come home this evening or tomorrow morning, after his final treatment is administered today. God is so kind. Despite our flaws and failures, He loves us and holds us in His hands. The Lord forgives and loves and heals. David, the person who penned most of the Psalms, was a man who understood his own faults and failures, and the great goodness of God. Any time that life brings storms that seem insurmountable, I find comfort in the Psalms, as they are real and raw and poetic. God is faithful to show me over and over again in His word, how deeply He loves and how freely He forgives. The more firmly these truths are rooted in my heart, the greater my desire is to serve and honor Him in all that I say and do. I fail and fall short, yet He picks me up, dusts me off, and shows me again how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart made plain through His word to lead us, guide us and comfort us in all things.

How great is the Lord,

To Him I give praise;

Who loves and forgives,

Brings healing our way.

When life brings the storms,

That rattle our core;

He shows us His love,

As peace is restored.

Give praise, O my soul,

Praise His Holy Name;

Our loving Healer,

May our hearts proclaim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You forgive and heal us. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are healing and restoring my son. Forgive us for our faults and failures, and for the times that we struggle to trust what we know is true. Teach us to turn to You in all things. Show us again and again, Your goodness, kindness and grace. Lead us to love those around us with an unflappable faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Healer and the One who deserves all of our praise. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Fruit That Feeds The Soul

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, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

Despite what has transpired over this past weekend, my family feels surrounded and upheld by the outpouring from family and friends, both near and far. We have been showered with love, kindness and gentleness. Such fruit nourishes our souls, and we find there is peace in the midst of heartache, joy in the return of our fur babies, and self-control, despite the desire to do unto those what was done by their hands. God is good and He continues to plant and grow good fruit as we seek and trust in Him. May we ever pursue a heart that produces good fruit as we willingly allow the Master gardener to plant, prune and water the garden of our heart.

With love and support,

Settling in where they know they are safe and loved.

True joy overflows;

Not by circumstance,

But through whom we know.

A heart that’s gentle,

Purposefully kind;

Extends grace and love,

Keeps others in mind.

To choose self-control,

An act of the will;

Allowing the Lord,

To bring justice still.

A heart deep rooted,

In God’s loving grace;

Is shown how to move,

To follow His ways.

Make us a garden,

That ever bears fruit;

Plant, prune and nourish,

Lead us to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that Your will for us is to bear good fruit. Forgive us for attitudes and actions that are not fruitful. Teach us to turn to You to provide what we need to nourish those around us with the Spirit’s good fruit. Show us how to love those around us in ways that blesses, encourages and nourishes hungry souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to soften the soil of our hearts and grant You room to prepare us to produce fruit that honors You. Amen. 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

Done to Others is Done Unto You

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for my people here, you also did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these, My little ones, My true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, TPT)

This ought to be our motivation. Whenever we love others, we are also demonstrating our love for God. Every single time we love, help, encourage, lift up, show kindness, give grace – God sees it as if we were doing these very things unto Him. What this shows us is how deeply God loves all of His creation. Our closest comparison is how we feel when others extend kindness, grace, generosity, encouragement, and more to one whom we love deeply. I know for me, when someone does these things for one of my children, I am blessed as well. My heart swells with gratitude, simply knowing that another sees and values my child like I do. Imagine the depth of what God feels in comparison. God who loved so deeply that He sent His Son to reestablish a right relationship with us, recognizes every act of kindness and extension of love as words and deeds given directly to Him. For me, that both defines and dictates how I ought to treat everyone I meet. Do I have it down to a science? Of course not. I fall short and fail daily, yet can always seek to do and be better. God, in His loving kindness, hears our petitions presented before Him, and honors our desire to love well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and equip us to love as He loves us.

Whatever we do,

In word, thought or deed;

We do unto God,

Let’s follow His lead.

The God of all grace,

Does all things in love;

May we love like Him,

Give good from above.

For each time we choose,

To help each other;

We live with purpose,

Sisters and brothers.

The times that we fail,

Neglect or ignore;

It too is to God,

Things that He abhors.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love well, each other;

Choose extend Your love,

One to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love us. Thank You that as we do, You recognize our love extended to those around us as love for You. Forgive us for the times that we have been unloving or callous or have neglected to reach out where we knew You called us to love. Teach us to trust and follow Your lead as we aspire to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit the width, depth and breadth of Your everlasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reach out to love like You. Amen.

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

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Take Joy

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Depend on the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will help you. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

When we delight, depend on, and take great joy in the Lord, we desire what He desires, and we trust Him to help us walk into all that He has for us. All that we are and all that we long for become aligned with God as we earnestly seek Him. The more we understand who He is, the more deeply we delight in Him. God is good, and His love endures forever. As we seek and depend on Him, He shows us more and more of who He is and how He loves. Our desires become intertwined with loving Him and loving His creation. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, depend and delight; for He helps us become who we have been created to be, and walk into the desires that align with His.

Take joy in the Lord,

In Him we can trust;

Our help and our hope,

The Savior is just.

When our hearts align,

As God’s very own;

Hopes and dreams fulfilled,

For His love is shown.

Be near us, Lord God,

As we seek to know;

Your heart for all things,

Your help so we grow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You show us more and more of who You are and how You love. Thank You that it is in this space of knowing, that we recognize the desires of our hearts coming to pass. Forgive us for our selfishness and our lack of seeking You. Teach us to not only seek, but to depend on and delight in You. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in You and all that You have in store for us. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Grace, Love and Fellowship

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV) 

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV) 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE) 

Grace, love and fellowship – who doesn’t need these? I love that Paul ended each of his letters in similar fashion, expressing his desire for God’s best to be granted to all. Right now, in this space of so much uncertainty and disruption from the norm, I am forever grateful for each of these three things that are freely given by God. Every day, I am abundantly aware of my need for grace. With so much new and such long days, I do not always react or respond in the way that I ought to. His grace picks me up and dusts me off, and His love encourages me to press on. As for the fellowship, it is amazing that no matter how I feel, I know that I am never truly alone. The promised presence of God sustains and covers me. May we ever seek the Lord, for His grace and love are poured out upon those who seek Him, and His presence is promised always. 

Wherever you are, 

In all that you do; 

May blessings pour out, 

As you seek the truth. 

It is in that space, 

Grace and love are found; 

God’s peaceful presence, 

Comes close and surrounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that exhortation of Paul to people everywhere is the same heart that You have for us all. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the nearness and presence of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize all that You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may receive all that You offer. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that Your grace, love and nearness may be made known through our very being. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the grace, love and fellowship that You lovingly provide. Amen. 

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

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) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Reveal Your Loving Ways

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV) 

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel.  – (Psalm 119:64, MSG) 

Give me more revelation of Your ways, for I see Your love and tender care everywhere. – (Psalm 119:64, TPT) 

This morning, I had the joy of getting out to get some exercise before the sun was up. Driving to meet up with my running buddy, I was in awe of the enormous full moon and planets that were in plain view. Everywhere I look, there is evidence of God’s love and care. Because of the very same love that made the moon and hung the stars in the sky, I long to live according to His good and perfect will. The more I recognize His love, the greater my desire is to live likewise. In order to do so, I must invest time and energy into learning and growing in His love. The more I observe His love in action, the more compelled I am to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we may love one another as He first loved us. 

The whole earth is filled, 

With God’s fingerprints; 

Throughout creation, 

His love, He imprints. 

Lord, help me to see, 

To learn and to grow; 

To love as You love, 

So Your heart is shown. 

Help me seek counsel, 

For in You, I find; 

How I’m meant to love, 

And how to be kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the whole earth is filled with Your love, if only we open our eyes to see it. Thank You that You lovingly and willingly teach us to live and love according to Your will as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have been blind to Your good, or have chosen to wander on our own. Teach us to trust You and follow Your leading to live and love well. Show us how to love those around us as You do. Grant us Your eyes to see and Your heart to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we become acutely aware of Your love all around us, and learn to walk in Your ways. Amen. 

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

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. – Psalm 119:18

To Use What We’ve Been Given

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies. – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV) 

You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit that you received from God and that lives in you. You don’t own yourselves. God paid a very high price to make you His. So, honor God with your body. – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ERV) 

Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who comes from God and dwells inside of you? You do not own yourself. You have been purchased at a great price, so use your body to bring glory to God! – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, VOICE) 

When we give our lives to God, He comes and dwells in us and makes our heart His home. He is not pushy, rather He waits for the invitation to clean house and make our heart more like His. To honor God with our bodies is a charge that looks different for everyone. For some, honoring God with the body is to sing, play music, or create. For others it is to get out and move. Each of us have been gifted with different strengths, talents and desires, and as we pursue them with a heart after Him, we are honoring the Lord with our entire being. Tending to His temple is to care best for the body that we have been given. I don’t know about you, but this whole COVID situation has made the normal rhythm of fueling the temple healthfully, far more difficult. My saving grace has been my desire to get outside and move. Thor, our sweet puppy, helps with that as well. Everything we do has the capacity to honor God, if we are seeking Him and following His will in what we do. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of God and His best for us, so that we may honor God by caring well for our temple. 

Lord, help me to care, 

For this body well; 

With all that I do, 

May Your goodness tell. 

Help me to choose well, 

With what’s allowed in; 

So that You’re honored, 

And I’m kept from sin. 

Let moderation, 

And wisdom guide me; 

Please keep me moving, 

With thanks, faithfully. 

Let also these hands, 

Bring glory to You; 

Writing, creating, 

Please keep my heart true. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we receive the gift that You have freely given of Yourself, we become the temple for Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that as we seek You, You teach us to tend the temple and utilize our bodies to give You glory through how we make use of what You have given us. Forgive us for becoming lazy, or gluttonous, or allowing garbage in, rather than seeking to honor You in all. Show us how to best tend to the temple that You have given, and show us how to honor You in all that we do. Lead us to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to best care for and utilize all that You intended for that which we have been given. Amen. 

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

In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears. – 2 Samuel 22:7