A Good Neighbor

Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. – (Romans 15:2, NIV)

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV)

Each of us must strive to please our neighbors, pursuing their welfare so they will become strong. – (Romans 15:2, VOICE)

How can we please our neighbors? I don’t know about you, but for me, a good neighbor is one who is kind and considerate. To help build up and grow stronger in faith requires a relationship. If we don’t know our neighbors, we cannot possibly build them up nor help them grow stronger in faith. Neighbors can be anyone we interact with daily. Interestingly, we seem to be in a day and age where we do not really know the people who live nearby in our neighborhoods. In our neighborhood growing up, we all knew each other and looked out for one another. Today, such a neighborhood is rare. My husband is good at this, as he knows everyone on our block and has a positive rapport with each of them. My “neighbors” are more the teachers in nearby classrooms, as most of my waking hours are spent there. Having worked at the same school my entire career thus far, I have the benefit of knowing my colleagues well. Though I do not see everyone each day, I have had positive interactions with them all at one time or another. Wherever we are and whatever we do, we can be good neighbors and build others up. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and show us how to be pleasing to those around us so that our kindness and care points hearts to the One who loves us best.

Wherever we are,

Whatever we do;

We all have neighbors,

That we are called to.

Called to choose do good,

And love others well;

So that all may grow,

And in goodness dwell.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to be the ones;

That lift others up,

And care as You’ve done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for calling us to be good neighbors that love well and consider those around us. Thank You that we can encourage others and help strengthen their faith as You work in and through us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to be good neighbors in the spaces You have called us live and work and dwell. Teach us to trust You more and to follow the example that You have set before us. Lead us in Your love so that we may love our neighbors as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love and care for those around us best. Amen.

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

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Galatians 5:14

Be My Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord an His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

Today is a good day to be reminded that my strength comes from God. I am tired and have a busy day ahead. As we near ever closer to spring break, holding my student’s attention during class becomes more difficult and requires more energy than usual. This morning, I am being observed, and though I have a wonderful and kind principal, I still get nervous about the process. Days like this are God’s reminder to trust in Him, as He is always faithful to meet me as I seek Him. This morning, I am trusting in Him to be my strength, provide clarity of thought as I plan, and energy to engage my kiddos in a way that helps them grasp the content. God is faithful, and this morning I trust Him anew to be my strength.

The Lord is my strength,

On Him I depend;

No matter what comes,

His strength He extends.

Whatever the need,

God already knows;

With love, He’s for us,

As kindness He shows.

Let’s rise up in faith,

His strength and supply;

All that is needed,

In love God provides.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being our strength. Thank You that You know our need and are faithful to provide as we abide in You. Forgive us for our lack of fortitude when we are weary. Teach us to trust in You to be our strength, for You are faithful always. Lead us in Your love to care for people as You do. Show us Your heart, especially for those who are struggling. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the strength You supply to help us navigate each new day. 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

Deep Roots Bear Much Fruit

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that sends out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts in Me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG)

I love this analogy, as it is a beautiful visual of what God does when we trust in Him. With roots deeply established in Christ, we won’t be swayed by the struggles of this life. In fact, we can continue to bring His good to others, no matter what we are going through, for He nourishes, equips, and strengthens us to fearlessly forge forward with Him. May we ever trust in the Lord and place our confidence in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

For He is enough,

As love overcomes.

The cool in the heat,

True strength when we’re weak;

Abundant blessings,

Are found as we seek.

The Lord is faithful,

As we choose abide;

Our hope and our help,

His arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You nourish, refresh, and equip us for all that life brings our way. Thank You that we need not fear struggles or difficulties, for You provide as we abide. Thank You that we can continue to bear fruit in every season as we trust in You. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we are only able to do good when things are going our way. Teach us to trust in You to bless and encourage those around us in the same ways that You do for us. Lead us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives in You, trusting You to grow our roots deep, and to ever supply what we need to bear Your good fruit. Amen.

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

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ my dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and how long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:16-18

It’s Going To Be All Right

You came near when I called You, and You said, “Do not fear.” – (Lamentations 3:57, NIV)

You came to me on the day that I called out to You. You said to me, “Don’t be afraid.” – (Lamentations 3:57, ERV)

You came close when I called out. You said, “It’s going to be all right.” – (Lamentations 3:57, MSG)

God is the God of all comfort and He is faithful to meet us as we call on Him. I love the Message translation of this passage, as it is exactly how it feels to know God’s comfort. His nearness surrounds and my heart hears, “It’s going to be all right.” This morning, I am at ease as I prepare to go in for a CT scan as a follow up for the procedure I had done in December. On my own, I would be freaking out a bit, yet with God, I am good. I know that He has me and will take me by the hand. He is faithful to meet us, walk beside us, and lead us through every obstacle that comes our way. May we ever call out to the Lord to be our comfort, for He is faithful to meet us and lead us along every path that we must take.

The Lord God of all,

Hears us as we call;

He comforts our fears,

And won’t let us fall.

He walks beside us,

In love, holds our hand;

Grants strength and courage,

To trust in His plan.

He is always good,

His love knows no end;

Overwhelming grace,

Is what He shall send.

So, rise up in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

He’s more than enough,

His presence outpoured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to come close each time we call on You. Thank You that You are our comfort and courage in the face of the unknown. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that we allow to creep in. Teach us to trust You more, for You are faithful forever and will not ever leave us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend strength, goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You to be our comfort and then extend the same to those around us. Amen.

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

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Seek to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

These things, faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love, are not things we somehow muster up, but rather are traits that rise up within us as we faithfully follow our Heavenly Father. Our effort is our intentional pursuit of our Provider, and the investment we make – heart, soul, and mind – to follow Him. It is only through our growth in the Lord that these other things grow too. The more we know and love the Lord, the more clearly we reflect His goodness and love to the world. May we ever be intentional in our investment in Christ, for it is through Him that we exhibit the good fruit that He calls us to bear.

Without choosing faith,

It’s impossible;

To love like the Lord,

Who teaches us all.

He gives His goodness,

Help and self-control;

His perseverance,

And love that will grow.

The more we seek Him,

The more we will grow;

In love for others,

And for Christ alone.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to freely seek You. Thank You that as we do, You transform us to more clearly reflect You through our words, thought, and actions. Forgive us for every time that any part of us did not bring honor to you. Teach us to love with patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more like You every day. Amen.

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

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

How Love’s Made Complete

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

This is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s overwhelming, never-ending, sacrificial love demonstrates to us, repeatedly, what love ought to be. Though we have not seen the face of God yet, we can clearly see His love all around us. Our charge is to love like Him so that His love may be made complete in us and give those around us the opportunity to come to know the same. Through loving God and loving people, God works in and through us to more clearly make His love known. We are imperfect vessels, yet we are perfectly loved and can extend the same to those around us as we trust and rely on God to lead us. Today, my Viking is taking the day off to accompany me to an appointment with a specialist. He did not have to, yet I am comforted in knowing he will be beside me as we discover possible next steps and a plan for continued healing and care. His loving sacrifice for me is a glimpse of just how much God loves us and is made tangible through my spouse. May we ever seek the Lord, who lives in us, to lead us in His perfect love so that we may clearly share the goodness of God.  

God’s love is perfect,

His goodness made known;

Evident through those,

Who seek to be shown.

Shown goodness and grace,

Loving sacrifice;

A love so much more,

Than just being nice.

The love of God sees,

And then reaches out;

Both actions and words,

That of goodness shout.

O Lord, please lead us,

To love as You do;

Never withholding,

The light that is You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is perfect. Thank You that You show us again and again, the goodness and fullness of Your love through those around us. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions did not clearly reflect Your heart to those around us. Teach us to listen well, so that we might make the most of every opportunity to love as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for the countless ways that You make Your love known and seek You to lead us so Your love is shown. Amen.

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

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Praise the Name of Jesus

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. – (Ephesians 1:3, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in heaven. – (Ephesians 1:3, ERV)

Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed – not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us. – (Ephesians 1:3, VOICE)

The blessings from God are far too numerous to count. He has given us faith, salvation, family, friends, home, health, life, love, peace and so much more. Jesus meets us where we are and supplies us with what we need. Grace surrounds us, goodness is poured out upon us, and peace is present through the abundance of His perfect love. For these reasons and so many more, it is right to give Him our thanks and praise. May our lives be a constant offering of worship to He alone who is worthy.

All praise to the One,

Our God and our King;

Savior, Provider,

Lord of ev’rything.

His blessings poured out,

Our reason to sing;

In love, let’s worship,

Full of thanksgiving.

For health and for hope,

For goodness and grace;

Peace, love and comfort,

Strength throughout our days.

Because You pursue,

Us with Your great love;

Forever we’ll praise,

Jesus, Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have poured out Your blessings upon us in abundance. Thank You that everything good that we see, feel and experience is a gift from You. Forgive us for neglecting to properly praise You for who You are and how You love and provide for us all. Teach us to recognize and acknowledge every good and perfect gift that comes from You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects Your goodness and is an act of worship unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You pursue and love us, for the people that You purposefully place in our lives, and for the grace that gifts us with a fresh start each new day. Amen.

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

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praise to Your Name, O Most High. – Psalm 92:1

Jesus is a Miracle-Worker

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Why are you afraid? You don’t have enough faith.” Then He stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. The wind stopped, and the lake became very calm. The men were amazed. They said, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the water obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, ERV)

Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then He stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass. The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea stand up and take notice at His command!” – (Matthew 8:26-27, MSG)

The disciples had spent much time with Jesus already, and they knew that He had the power to heal and do many great and miraculous things. However, when they were in the middle of the lake and a giant squall came upon them, what they knew to be true was somehow lost in the sound of the wind and waves. What they did know was to wake Jesus and ask Him what to do. Jesus, who had been resting after many hours of teaching crowds, woke to their fright and showed them again that He was indeed a miracle-worker, as He told the wind and waves to be still. Though they had seen and experienced His power in action, they were awestruck that even the elements had to obey Him. God knows our needs and can work miracles in all things, great and small. The same God who made the heavens and the earth, knows our names, our needs, and the hopes we hold in our hearts. Each time we see or experience God at work, we are experiencing miracles. I have seen His power heal sickness and disease and provide in ways that cannot be explained. He is always moving on our behalf. When we slow down and truly look around us, we become more and more aware of the miracle-worker that Jesus is. Tomorrow, my twins turn twenty-one. Despite being tiny preemies that spent the first five weeks of their lives in the hospital, they are alive and thriving into adulthood. They are bright, kind, healthy and whole, and are my constant reminders of the goodness and the miracle-working power of the living God. May we ever pause and take notice of God moving among us throughout our days and praise Jesus for being the miracle-worker in our lives.

Everything good,

That happens in life;

Blessings from Jesus,

All by His design.

He helps and He heals,

In love, He provides;

He shows us the way,

As we choose abide.

We pray for wisdom,

Please open our eyes;

To see You moving,

In our hearts and lives.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to show us more of who You are and how You love and care for us all. Thank You Jesus, that You are still a miracle-worker. Thank You that we have the privilege of witnessing You moving among us in all things, great and small. Forgive us for our lack of awareness in the everyday miracles that transpire all around us. Teach us to have eyes to see and hearts to treasure all of the ways that You work in and through our lives. Show us how to have faith to prayerfully contend for those all around us. Lead us in Your loving kindness so that all whom we encounter would experience the miracle of Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we count the abundant blessings and miracles in our lives and all around us. Amen.

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

Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. – Jeremiah 32:17

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

A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2