Courage for the Calling

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, HCSB)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

God did not mean that fear never comes our way, but rather that when He calls us to things that seem beyond our own abilities, He will be with us and we need not fear. Yesterday, I lost my planning period because a teacher was absent and no substitute had accepted the job. When I found out I had to cover that particular class, my heart was filled with dread. The last time I covered that class, it was a nightmare. This time, as I walked in, I discovered that the majority of the students are either in my second semester art classes or are gymnasts. Suddenly, what I had feared was far from reality. I knew the majority of students by name, and their response to me was kind and pleasant. Because I knew them and they knew me, the interactions were entirely different. The path had been prepared for me. For some, it might be a little thing, but for me, it was a reminder that God has me. May we ever trust in Him and seek the Lord for all that we need, for we need not fear, as He will be with us, always.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

He grants us His strength,

To overcome fear.

Despite what we think,

God will make a way;

For us to press on,

Embrace each new day.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and grace;

To navigate well,

All that comes our way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our need and You strengthen and equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You care about the little things too. Forgive us for our fear or dread when we walk into what we think we know. Teach us to trust You, for You can do wondrous things that we would never anticipate. Show us how to love all those around us well, so that they too, might be strengthened and encouraged in all that they do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and know that You are greater than all that we face. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, HCSB)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

The first day of a new year is a time that many reflect on what has passed and set goals to focus upon in the coming year. That being said, resolutions tend to fizzle after a few weeks, and frustration and disappointment typically transpire. However, if we set our sights on Christ and all that He has in store for us, each new thing is something to embrace. It does not require a change in the calendar, but rather a change of heart. When we are planted and rooted in our Redeemer, we become new in Him. Jesus gives us new life and new hope each new morning. Just as most of us are more than ready to move past 2021 and anticipate 2022 with hope, we can release old habits, ideas and mindsets that were not of Christ, and cling to Him and all that He is ready to reveal to us. In Him, we are a work in progress that is becoming more and more of whom He has created us to be. May we ever embrace the forgiveness and grace that Jesus offers, and cling to the new He is doing in all who earnestly seek Him.

When we are in Christ,

Beautiful new lies ahead, if only we trust in His direction.

In love we’re made new;

The old fades away,

As He leads us through.

Through all the heartache,

Frustration and fear;

Into the future,

He has for us here.

A hope and future,

That changes our heart;

To be more like His,

Each day a fresh start.

Rise and be ready,

To follow in love;

All that He’s asking,

Trust in Him above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and trust in You, the old fades away and new we become. Thank You that each day is a fresh start and an opportunity for You to make us more like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen and follow what You are asking. Teach us to hold fast to You and Your promises, for in You there is hope, goodness, light and life as You love us perfectly. 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 seek You to continue to make us new each day that we are given, so that we may shine Your light into the world. Amen.

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

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

Hope Nourishes Joy

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – (Psalm 40:16, NIV)

But may those who come to You be happy and rejoice. May those who love being saved by You always be able to say, “Praise the Lord!” – (Psalm 40:16, ERV)

But may all who look for You discover true joy and happiness in You; may those who cherish how You save them always say, “O Eternal One, You are great and are first in our hearts.” – (Psalm 40:16, VOICE)

The rejoicing and gladness comes from the seeking and finding. Each time we seek the Lord, He is faithful to be found. He waits for us, patiently, and is faithful to help restore the joy that gets stolen by our circumstances, or hidden by our hurts. Joy is not dependent on that which is going on around us, but rather it is planted deep within us as we learn and lean into the Lord. It is in the recognition that we are not alone and that we have a faithful friend and father to walk beside us and lead us until He calls us home. Joy is rooted in hope, and hope is held as we choose to trust in Him. In this seemingly never-ending season of Covid and of national and international crisis, there is still joy because God is our hope. May we seek the Lord new every morning, and praise Him for the joy that He places in our hearts.

Choose cherish the Lord,

He’s where joy is found;

It’s all about hope,

In Christ, it abounds.

Give Him the sorrow,

The stress and the fear;

Allow the Lord in,

He always is near.

Let us discover,

Our hope held in Him;

That’s where joy rises,

Shines out from within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are where our hope is held, and that because of the hope we have in You, joy rises within us. Thank You that joy is not dependent on our circumstances nor station in life, but rather is held in knowing how deeply we are loved by You. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope we have in You. Teach us to lean into You, no matter what comes. Show us how to allow the joy within us to rise up and overflow as we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You, for You bring us joy and are the one deserving all of our praise. Amen.

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

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – Psalm 119:114

Guided By Love

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give praise to your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, TPT)

This aligns with one of my favorite quotes: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi) Our charge is not to simply speak of our faith, but rather it is to live it out. If people see Christ in us through how we live and care for others, they will ask questions and provide opportunities for us to use words. However, if there is nothing that separates us from anyone else then anything we say will fall on deaf ears. This does not mean that we have to be perfect, or that we have to fear our human flaws, but rather it frees us to walk in God’s grace and choose to love big. When all that we do is guided and steeped in love, His light shines through us and is made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in His love so that we may shine brightly before all.

O Lord help Your light,

Shine brightly through us;

As we grow and learn,

To love like Jesus.

Let all that we do,

Be guided by love;

So others may know,

It’s from You, above.

Thank You for Your grace,

For the times we fail;

Love that leads us on,

So Your love prevails.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your son to show us what it is to lead a life of love. Thank You that as we invest in our relationship with You, You increase our capacity to love well and live out a life in You. Forgive us for our faults and failures, the words and actions that have been lacking Your love. Show us how to love all people in all circumstances, and to live a life according to Your loving plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives into knowing more of You so that we may be a reflection of Your love. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG)

It should not be easy to overlook this fact, but there are times that I make God too small. I think I get caught up in the frustration, fear, or a funk, forgetting what I know to be true. God has ALWAYS been faithful, and He ALWAYS uses our trials as testimonies and our struggles as ways to show us just how mightily He can move. Incredibly, as we seek Him and allow Him to work in us, through us and around us, He exceeds our hopes and expectations every time. Though His answers and solutions may not look like we had hoped or imagined, they ultimately are far better than what we hoped would be so. As we give God room to move, He is given glory through His church (all of us), and through His Spirit (working in us). Whether we are faithful and trusting or not, He forever remains worthy of all glory and praise. May we ever seek the Lord and allow Him room to be God, for He will do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine.

God’s more is so much,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Immeasurable;

Beyond all our hopes,

Power enabled.

All we imagine,

Is still nowhere near;

What the Lord can do,

When we release fear.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Watch all that He does;

More than we could dream,

Power through His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine; in us, through us and around us. Thank You that Your glory lasts forever, and You love never quits. Forgive us for thinking our hopes, dreams, trials and difficulties are insignificant to You. Teach us to trust You more, for Your love and ability to move on our behalf are beyond what we could hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant glimpses of the depth and breadth of Your unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory forever for all that You have and will ever do. Amen.

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

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Release Your Burdens

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

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

Everyone seems to be carrying extra burdens these days, be it from fear, job loss, job change, or simply the loss of what we have always known. With the start of hybrid learning scheduled for Monday, there is the weight of the unknown. It is amazing how God places us in community to grant us rest. At work, I am blessed with a community of colleagues whom I also call friends, as we encourage, help and support one another. In my home, I no longer carry the weight of running the entire household, as it is a shared burden that is done in love. When I am tired or not feeling well, the help and support increase; rest is granted as it is needed. The last thing that I wanted to do on this gorgeous sunny weekend is slow down and rest, but clearly it is what my body needs. I am going to trust He who knows far better than me, and simply relax and see what I am meant to do.

In our weariness,

We can learn a lot from our fur babies… ❤

The Lord grants us rest;

He knows what we need,

And shows us what’s best.

May we ever seek,

For in Him we find;

Rest and refreshment,

Heart, body and mind.

Even in the times,

We want to press on;

We’re called to listen,

He provides our strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we are weary, we find rest in You. Thank You that despite our resistance, You know best what we need. Forgive us for not always listening to Your leading to slow down and rest. Show us how to rest in You and trust what You have for us. Lead us to love others around us so that we may encourage, walk beside, and lessen burdens. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us the rest we need in You. 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

Faithful Answers

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

Now happily home…

When we ask the Lord, He answers. Friday evening, we were in communication with the trainers who were caring for our dogs during their board and train program. By the end of the back and forth conversation, I could not shake the gnawing feeling that had formed in my gut. As I prayed and sought the Lord, I knew that we needed to bring our dogs home the next day as we were scheduled for a private lesson to work on what the dogs had been doing throughout their training thus far. Yesterday, after having run an errand, we returned home to take care of some projects around the house, prior to heading to our meet up location at a park. Out of the blue, I received a phone call that I would never have expected. An animal control officer contacted me to let me know that there was a case involving our pup, Thor. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed me as I listened to the officer unpack what had transpired. A kind citizen had called animal control and submitted video footage of Thor being continually mistreated and harmed for somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. The officer let me know that the initial officer who took the case had to hand it over to him, as she could not watch the footage due to the horror it portrayed. By this time, I was shaking and could not fathom the sort of people who would do such things. Prior to leaving for the park, we messaged the trainers and asked that they please bring our dogs belongings with them. Upon arrival at the park, we restlessly watched and waited. I knew that I was not to even speak to the trainers, for God had prepared me to focus only on my dogs, and have my husband speak to them. Thankfully, the kind animal control officer arrived prior to our pups, so we were able to speak more with him about what had taken place and what would happen next. He remained with us when the trainers arrived, and I immediately went to the back door of the car and took Thor’s leash to get him out. He joyfully came to me, and could not get away from the car fast enough. Once my husband had Tali, our other precious pup, he calmly took our belongings to load in the car, and then matter-of-factly informed the trainers that they would be granting us a full refund and covering the vet bill we would incur as our next stop was to be a wellness check with our vet for both dogs, to be certain there were no lasting injuries, or, we would be seeing them in civil court. With looks of fear and horror, they simply shook their heads in the recognition that we knew what had taken place. Thankfully, both pups were uninjured, but both had lost a dramatic amount of weight. Thor was down ten pounds, and Tali, six, after nine days in their “care”. Both horrified and tremendously grateful, we brought our babies home and have been loving them ever since. Though this has been a traumatic ordeal, I can see God’s faithfulness, protection and provision, despite the evil intent of the trainers. From the good citizen who reported and submitted what they saw, to the animal control officer who went out of his way to help us and be certain that our dogs were safely returned to our care, God was with us as He provided and protected, and showed us the way to deal with this horrific situation. Both pups are happily home, and have returned to their normal sweet and mischievous ways. God is good, and He is forever faithful to answer as we ask and seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer our cries. Thank You that You open doors that we knock upon, and make Your heart and plan evident as we ask. Thank You for returning our fur babies safely. Forgive us for the fear and anger that arose as we discovered what had taken place. Continue to teach us how to trust You more, as You are always with us and working on our behalf. Show us how to love all those around us, even when we think others are undeserving of love. Please work in the hearts of the trainers so that they may come to understand Your love and kindness that heals hurts and changes hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to ask, seek and knock all of our days. Amen.

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

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

A Fine Line Between Fearlessness and Foolishness

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, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TPT)

There is a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to know the difference. As we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we grow in understanding of what His power, love and self-discipline do for us. When we realize the power of Christ within us, we discover that fear has no place to set up camp. Fear may creep in at times, but His Spirit in us will not allow fear to remain. How then, do we use the power, love and self-control that God grants us to best love people? As a peacemaker, it is easy to default to silence, while the idea of conflict brings fear. However, if we look in God’s word to the example of Christ, He was not afraid to speak truth and stand firm. His actions were in love and with self-discipline, while He was fully aware of the power within Him. This is where dependence on Christ is a must. We need His Spirit within us to identify His will, not our own, and to move in His power and love with self-control. May we ever seek the Lord to keep fear at bay, and rely on His power, love and self-discipline to lead us to love like Him.

God’s not created,

Us to live in fear;

His power and love,

Forever are near.

We need only seek,

For our hearts to find;

He’s always with us,

Heart, body and mind.

His love gives us strength,

To conquer our fear;

His love evident,

As His grace appears.

Power in weakness,

Love where it seems lack;

Self-discipline too,

God helps as we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not created us to be afraid. Thank You that You infuse us with Your power, love and self-discipline as we seek You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for the times that we have neglected to seek You. Show us how to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to rely on Your Spirit within us to grant us the power, love and self-control that we need to navigate our days as You intended. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for all You provide by Your love. Amen.

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

Trust Completely

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, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

Well, my suspicions were confirmed, and not only did I break my toe, but I broke it in two places. For me, this is a space where I find myself having to choose trust over and over again, as my hope and goal of running a marathon in June seems to have an enormous obstacle in the way. That being said, I know that God can do the miraculous, and I will continue to trust in Him. In a few short weeks, my friend and I were able to build up mileage from a couple of miles, to confidently running nine. If this healing process takes four weeks, we will still have more than two and a half months to build to the distance necessary to accomplish the goal. However, that is merely my human understanding, not His. Each day, I will choose again to seek and listen to His leading. I know not how this healing process will all  go, but I do know that God will be with me and will direct my steps. He knows the desires of my heart and will lead me in the way I am meant to go. My prayer is that recovery will be quick and I will be back to running in no time, yet even so, I will trust in Him. My deadlines and timelines are not His, and I will allow Him to lead. May we ever seek the Lord in all things and at all times, for He will be with us and lead us wherever we go.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

For He paves the way,

To what’s to become.

Lean not on what’s known,

But rather, seek Him;

He directs our path,

Through where things seem grim.

He can make a way,

Where it seems there’s none;

Our strength and our hope,

The most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You through all things. Thank You that You lead us and guide us on paths You make clear. Forgive us for our frustration and fears when obstacles seem insurmountable or our path becomes unclear. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they gain strength and perseverance to press forward to where You are leading. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You with all our heart and depend not on our limited understanding, but rather rely on You to lead us well. Amen.

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

To Still Our Storms

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, NIV)

They were very afraid and asked each other, “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and water obey Him!” – (Mark 4:41, ERV)

But they were overwhelmed with fear and awe and said to one another, “Who is this man who has such authority that even the wind and waves obey Him?” – (Mark 4:41, TPT)

This verse follows the account of Jesus and the disciples immediately after they had been caught in the midst of a giant squall, feared for their lives, and Jesus had stood and spoke to the wind and sea to “be still”. The wind and water stopped immediately as He spoke, and the disciples were awestruck and afraid. Most of the disciples were experienced fishermen and were overwhelmingly aware of the sudden danger of a storm that started with little warning. Additionally, the very notion of such a squall being silenced by the mere words of a man did not make sense. The wind and waves did not simply stop, but there, in that experience with Jesus, they did. Though the disciples had been with Jesus and seen Him perform miracles for many people, speaking to a storm and the sea was beyond what they likely could have ever imagined. Perhaps the silencing of the storm experience was an “aha” moment in which they began to grasp just how powerful Jesus truly was. For us, today, we have the benefit of beholding a collection of the experiences of those who walked with Jesus, and the opportunity to experience a life with Him, by His Spirit within us. We may not see squalls at sea silenced, but many are the storms that He has calmed within. Christ is our peace in the places of chaos, and our hope when we feel helpless. His power to be present and bring peace is beyond what we can fathom until we begin to experience it for ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord, both in the midst of storms and in the calm, for He is faithful to be present to help us and hold us, no matter what life brings our way.

When storms are raging,

Outside or within;

We need our Savior,

To bring peace again.

And when all is calm,

May we too delight;

In He who’s present,

The Maker of right.

Let us stand in awe,

Of all He has done;

Give glory to God,

The most Holy One.

Please never forget,

The power that’s found;

Through merely His words,

As His grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Your Son to show us the incredible power of Your love through Him. Please forgive us for the times that we allow the storms around us or within us to create fear and steal our peace. Teach us to trust in Your power and goodness, as You walk with us all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend peace and comfort and make Your power and heart for all known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn how to lean into You through the storms and in our spaces of calm. 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