Gifts to Succeed

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This is an interesting verse to land upon on the Friday of a very long week. Exhaustion is throbbing throughout my frontal lobe, and my resolve needs renewing in a supernatural way. That being said, I know my charge is to lean into God; and as I do, He will supply the strength, wisdom and love to navigate today. The Lord removes hesitations and frustrations, as I give them to Him, and grants me what I need to rise up and run. In the power, love and strength that Christ provides, I am going to choose to enjoying being present with those who are placed around me. I am blessed to work with a phenomenal group of colleagues, have some incredible students and artists, and am gifted with a fantastic group of gymnasts, who support and encourage one another. May we all seek the Lord for strength, as He removes our hesitations and replaces them with power, love and self-discipline.

 

Our God makes a way, Gifts to Succeed

Where it seems there’s none;

He grants us the strength,

To rise, get things done.

He takes away fear,

Provides what we need;

Wisdom, power, love,

His gifts to succeed.

When our strength is gone,

He won’t let us fall;

God grants strength and hope,

To love one and all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know our needs far better than we do. Thank You that as we lean on You, You supply the strength, wisdom, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate each next step. Forgive us for our frustration with our own weariness, for we are fallible and desperately need You. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times, for You are all that we need. Show us how to love others with the strength, power and grace that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our timidity and hesitations, and trust You to provide all that we need to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5

Set Aside Distractions

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, NIV)

But King David answered Araunah, “No, I will pay you the full price. I will not take anything that is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not give offerings that cost me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, ERV)

David replied to Araunah, “No. I’m buying it from you, and at the full market price. I’m not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, MSG)

 

The back story prior to King David determining to give an offering at that particular place, is that he had just been spared the full brunt of God’s wrath on Israel. David’s lack of trust in God led to a seemingly severe punishment, yet God relented prior to the complete fulfillment of what He had said would be done. David contended for mercy and an angel of the Lord told him to go up and build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice at that particular place. Being a man who understood what it meant to offer a sacrifice, he knew it required a cost on his part. When King David approached Araunah about purchasing the parcel of land to use to present sacrifices to God, Araunah was ready to give the land as a gift. David could not accept the land as a gift if it was part of a sacrifice, because for him, it had to have a cost. King David needed to be acutely aware of the expense, as a reminder of the mercy extended to him and all of Israel. When we make a sacrifice, it does not necessarily have to be monetary, yet it ought to be something that makes us aware of its absence so that we are expectant in wait of the better that is yet to come. For David, it was mercy for all of Israel. That was indeed far greater than the cost of a space to offer sacrifices. Today, the same principle still applies. When we are seeking answers, giving something up as we seek the Lord so that we might fully focus on Him, helps remind us what matters most. What are the answers you are seeking or the help you are needing? What is getting in your way? Identifying the distraction may be the first step in knowing what to set aside for a time, in order to seek the Lord for the help that is needed most. May we look to the Lord for the help and answers that we seek, and set aside that which distracts us from fully pursuing Him.

 

Seek the Lord our God, Set Aside Distractions

And all of His ways;

Remove distractions,

As we give God praise.

Pursue the Lord’s best,

As we set aside;

Barriers to Him,

Draw near, choose abide.

For when we focus,

On God and His will;

He leads and guides us,

And peace comes to fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and set aside the things that distract us, You answer us and show us more of Yourself. Thank You that You only ask us to lay things down so that we can have something better in You. Forgive us for allowing so many things to draw our attention away from You. Set our hearts and minds on You so that we live and love according to Your plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless and encourage and illuminate Your heart to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to sacrifice things that distract us from You and wholeheartedly pursue You and all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, Lord, for it is good. – Psalm 54:6

Praise in the Process

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Let every detail in your lives – words, actions, whatever – be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. – (Colossians 3:17, MSG)

 

Our purpose is to honor God in all that we say and do, and praise Him in the process. Everything we are, all that we have, and our capacity to do all things, is courtesy of Christ and all that He gave on our behalf. Because of God’s great love for us, it is only fitting and right that every word, thought and deed of ours is with the intent to honor the Lord. Without Him, there would be no life, no love, and no hope. In Christ, we have all these things and so much more. May we ever seek to honor the Lord in all that we do and say, giving thanks to God every step of each new day.

Today, I am extraordinarily grateful for a short work week, as I can hardly stand the wait to go and see my mom and sister and family for Thanksgiving. The short week is quite full, so I anticipate the days moving rather quickly, with Thursday being upon us before we know it. Our family has a list of favorites together, and mom reminded me last evening of the preparations being made, and how ready my sister and brother-in-love’s household are for our arrival. May we honor the Lord in the wait, and give Him thanks as we navigate our time between now and when we gather.

 

May all of my life, Be Full of Joy

Each word, thought and deed;

Give honor to God,

And follow His lead.

May each step I take,

Remind me to praise;

To thank God above,

For life all my days.

All that I can do,

In this life given;

May the Lord’s light shine,

Through each decision.

With thanks I choose rise,

And begin this day;

Place all in His hands,

Seek walk in His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You remain God with us. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in our every word, thought and deed as we seek Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and have spoken or acted in ways that are not pleasing to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rely on You to lead and guide us to walk in Your light. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are, and give thanks for Your goodness and grace that leads us and guides us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Run Our Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

 

Running is a great analogy for how we are meant to live life. Encouragement comes from those who have run a similar race before us, and know how to navigate the course well. Just as no runner ever wants to run carrying any unnecessary weight or things that will burden or slow them down, so too, it is meant to be in life with the things that distract and keep us off course from running the race for which we are called to run. To do so, requires perseverance and endurance, as it is not a sprint, but rather a race we are to keep running. In the same way that a runner must stay the course, persevere, and keep running, a life lived well requires faith, perseverance, a dropping of things that distract us from the course that God calls us to, and a conviction to continue, even when it is difficult. Both take training, and require a readiness to keep running. May we learn from all those who have gone before us and run well; may we remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that makes us fall, and may we run our race with endurance, as the true prize is well worth the run.

 

We all know others,

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Ash and I as we are ready to run our 1/2 Marathon today

Who are running well;

Grace and faithfulness,

Their lives clearly tell.

Just as they have done,

May we in faith, go;

Throwing off burdens,

What won’t help us grow.

In faith, keep running,

With His strength and grace;

Press on, persevere,

The Lord sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for the example set before us by those who have lived their lives for You well. Thank You that we are only meant to run the race that You set before us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. Forgive us for the sin that weighs us down and distracts us from staying the course. Teach us to keep our eyes on Your and our feet on the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage others as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and grace to rise up and run our race with endurance. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

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I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Return to 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)

 

I’m not sure if it has been an extraordinarily long week, or if my lack of rest finally caught up with me. Either way, by the time I arrived home from work yesterday afternoon, I was done. Heavy eyes and weary body, for once, I chose to listen to my body and lie down to rest. Typically, if I attempt to take a rest, my efforts last about twenty minutes before my mind and body determine that it is time to get moving again. Yesterday, that was not the case. Two hours later, my loving spouse wandered into our room and asked if I was planning on getting up, as it was already 6pm. As I woke, shocked that so much time had passed, I realized that I had desperately needed the rest. God knew what I needed, and by His grace, there was nothing scheduled, nor anything that I had to do, besides just rest. The evening was spent relaxing, and I had zero difficulty falling asleep at our typically early bedtime. When I woke this morning, there was a moment of wishing I could roll back over and sleep more. Not normal for me, but I can assume that meant I slept soundly. Though it may seem trivial, for me, the ability to relax and rest is clear evidence of the Lord caring for me. Rest and relaxation may look different on any given day, but He knows our need, and cares for us individually. May we seek the Lord to find rest for our weary souls, and relax in the blessings He pours out upon us.

 

Return to your rest, img_2019-10-17_04-44-322420476979709143818.jpg

O my weary soul;

For the Lord is good,

His love makes us whole.

He knows all our needs,

By grace, He provides;

Strength that’s enduring,

And faith to abide.

Relax in God’s rest,

For our needs are known;

Trust and see He’s good,

As His grace is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You care for us in ways that provide rest. Thank You that we can relax and rest in You. Forgive us for neglecting to listen when our heart, mind, body or soul needs rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and find rest in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide opportunities for rest and relaxation, reminding them of the blessings that You bring. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and give You praise for the blessings that You continually bring. Amen.

 

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

 

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Countless Expressions of Love

Many, Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. – (Psalm 40:5, NIV)

Lord my God, You have done many amazing things! You have made great plans for us – too many to list. I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count. – (Psalm 40:5, ERV)

O Lord, our God, no one can compare with You. Such wonderful works and miracles are all found with You! And You think of us all the time with Your countless expressions of love – far exceeding our expectations! – (Psalm 40:5, TPT)

 

After spending yesterday afternoon with my boys and dear friend, who is an incredible photographer, as she captured fantastic photos of each of my blessings for their senior pictures, I find the above verse from Psalm 40 incredibly fitting this morning as I reflect. These boys are two of the most incredible gifts that I have ever received, and the works and miracles that have taken place from their premature entry into the world up to now, more than seventeen years later, account for countless wonders that have shown me God’s love, over and over again. Creative and kind, tenderhearted and wise beyond their years, to witness their lives unfold as they navigate near adulthood floods my heart with gratitude and awe. Each time I catch a glimpse of either of my children, I am reminded of the goodness of God. May we remember with gratitude, the wonderful works and miracles found in God, and the countless expressions of love that He shows us each new day that we are granted.

The boys and I were delighted to catch mom on our drive home, as she and my sister’s family were a few minutes away from dinner, so the timing seemed to work well. Mom loved hearing about her grandsons’ senior photoshoot, and we were thrilled to hear the excitement in her voice about her new-found capacity to stand at the island in the kitchen and lend a hand with dinner preparation. For each of us, we sat in a space of gratitude for the works that God is doing.

 

The wonderful works, img_2019-10-16_03-55-198198983554930588560.jpg

Of God’s mighty hands;

Too many to count,

For His love is grand.

A love that exceeds,

All depth that we feel;

Grace, strength and goodness,

His blessings reveal.

In awe and wonder,

May we give God praise;

One beyond compare,

His love, all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonders You have done for us and planned for us. Thank You that the work of Your hands on our behalf is limitless. Forgive us for even a moment of taking Your goodness and blessings for granted. Teach us to appreciate every single blessing; for You know our hearts and bless us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart for them known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the countless wonders and blessings You have granted in our lives, and for how perfectly, You love. Amen.

 

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Ongoing Peace

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

Lord, You have succeeded in doing everything we tried to do, so give us peace. – (Isaiah 26:12, ERV)

Lord, grant us peace; for all we have and are has come from You. – (Isaiah 26:12, TLB)

 

I so appreciate the way the various translations are phrased, as each utilizes a slightly different tense, reminding us that what God does, has done, and will do, continues. He is faithful to work in and through us, and to provide His peace. Our part is to seek Him and trust in Him, and allow the Lord to work in and through us. As we do, God accomplishes far more than we could ever hope or imagine on our own. His peace we find present, even in the most tumultuous of time. May we ever seek the Lord to establish His peace for us, and give Him praise for all He has done and will continue to do for us.

God has been faithful to accomplish much for Mom as well. He has provided ongoing time for her to continue along her recovery journey, as God is working through my sister and her family as they faithfully love and care for Mom. Communication has been a bit of a challenge, as life moves at a race pace in my sister’s world. Despite her insane schedule, she is loving Mom well, and she, my brother-in-love and Mom were able to get out last evening to one of their favorite places. It was wonderful to see a photo of their smiling faces, and recognize that peace was present as they were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

 

All peace established, Ongoing Peace

A gift from the Lord;

Grace made tangible,

As love is outpoured.

All that we have done,

The good we have shown;

Is by God’s great grace,

Lest His heart be known.

Rise up in kindness,

Choose go forth in peace;

Seek love as we’re loved,

So good may increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You establish peace for us and move mightily in and through us as we depend on You. Thank You that You can do so much more than we could ever hope or imagine on our own. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, or for seeking peace anywhere other than in Your presence. Teach us to trust and rely on You, as You work in mighty ways. Show us how to love all those whom we encounter, so that Your peace may be made known and Your amazing grace, shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to move in and through us and to be our perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Help Us Teach Well

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

As a mom who has always tried to point my boys in the right direction, I am especially aware of both the fruit of my investment, and the need to continue to invest, as they enter this new step into adulthood, with one having acquired their license on Friday and the other scheduled to test for it this coming Friday. I find myself in a strange space of trust and anticipation, as we have an agreement in which they text me before they leave and when they arrive, whenever they drive anywhere. For me, I pray and trust that God will keep them safe and grant wisdom and protection as they go. Additionally, it provides me such appreciation for the investment that my own mom made in my life, as I am certain that she experienced what I am going through now. She invested well in teaching us the way we should go, and by doing so, was able to release us into adulthood with the assurance that she had done what she was called to do. It is my hope that when my boys are ready to venture out on their own, that I will have the same confidence.

 

Lord, help us to teach, 0802191348a8711127607626478864.jpg

Show our kids the way;

To walk in Your grace,

And in Your will, stay.

Help us to hold fast,

To Your promise made;

Invest when they’re young,

In old age, they’ll stay.

Thank You for Your grace,

Your love and Your light;

That shows us the way,

To raise our kids right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in the way we are meant to go. Thank You that as we trust in You, You show us how to lead our kids in love, so that they will know You and not depart from You when they are old. Forgive us for the countless ways that we fall short. Teach us to trust You more. Fill the gaps where we have been lacking. Show us how to love all those around us in a way that points people to Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and lead our kids accordingly. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Come with Confidence

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. – (Ephesians 3:12, NIV)

In Christ we come before God with freedom and without fear. We can do this because of our faith in Christ. – (Ephesians 3:12, ERV)

Now we can come fearlessly right into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome when we come with Christ and trust in Him. – (Ephesians 3:12, TLB)

 

Though we fall short and are fallible, when we are rooted and established in Christ, we can approach God with freedom and confidence, knowing that He will welcome us; not because we are worthy, but because we are covered and made clean as we come with His Son. There is such comfort in knowing that we may approach our Maker, no matter how we come, and we will be heard and accepted by Him. Christ bridged the great divide between heaven and earth, and because of Him, there is no prayer too great or small to miss the ear of God. He hears and He cares, and we can be confident that He is moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what is being done. May we hold fast to our faith and trust in the freedom and confidence that we have been granted through Christ.

It has been a strange couple of days with a lack of communication between mom and myself, as my days have been filled with back-to-school meetings and planning time with my colleagues, and my evenings booked with concerts and a football game. Not at all our usual, and it put a wrench in timing for talking. What I did happily observe, however, is that my brother-in-love took mom out for a walk in the sunshine. They made it to a park nearby, and watched a helicopter take off as they traveled. I know how much she loves and needs to be outdoors, so it was a blessing to see that she was out and enjoying the weather. We are still waiting and praying for all of the details to be coordinated for her in-home therapies, and continuing to fearlessly enter His presence with these requests.

 

Unworthy alone,

Yet covered in Christ;

Granted confidence,

As He paid the price.

His goodness and grace,

Covers all our sin;

Makes the way for us,

To pray, enter in.

For God, the Father,

Does not see our flaws; 

He sees Christ in us,

Not what our heart was.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can confidently and fearlessly come before You, because of Christ. Thank You that rather than our flaws, You see the perfection of Your Son. Forgive us for forgetting the enormity of the price that was paid for us to freely enter Your presence, or for somehow discounting the fact that it has been done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our requests before You and praise You for the work You are doing, and that which You have already done. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be acutely aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently come to You, trusting You to hear our every prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6