Good Words and Hard Work

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, MSG)

Yesterday was one of those days that words spoken brought life, and the reward of hard work was evident. Students were engaged in conversations with enthusiasm for our end-of-the-year project, and my gymnasts had a fantastic practice. New skills were achieved and fears were overcome. As I was preparing for a meet up to run, my Viking sent me a text that he wanted to do a date night. By the time we had gone to dinner, run into and visited with friends, returned home and walked the dogs, my heart was overflowing with the good things spoken and the reward of hard work that had filled my day. Even on the days that things don’t flow as smoothly, or the work seems to be in vain, I can speak good things and remember that there are days that simply knowing the hard work is being done brings its own reward. God is good, and He encourages us to speak blessings and work hard, for through each we witness Him moving in us, through us and for us. May we ever seek the Lord to fuel our hearts with His words, and strengthen us to do the work that we have been called to do.

Our words and actions,

Have power to give;

Goodness and blessings,

As each day we live.

May we speak kindness,

Let our words bring life;

For encouragement,

Ends internal strife.

Teach us to invest,

To work unto You;

Give our very best,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of people You place around us who speak life and bring good things, and for the reward that is felt as we work as if unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have not spoken life to those around us, or have not worked with our heart invested in what we are doing. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our encouragement, for You speak life and love and strength to those who seek You. Show us how to speak good into those around us, and to work in a way that encourages others to invest as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our lips to speak life and our hearts to fully invest in all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Praise for Provision

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

I so appreciate the way that David expressed his praise and gratitude to God. Despite hardships and challenges, he knew that God was his safety and strength, and that the Lord’s loving kindness would carry him through whatever came his way. Whenever I need comfort or encouragement, I find myself returning to the Psalms. Each time, I am again reminded of the faithfulness of God to provide strength, safety and love, and my heart is filled with reasons to sing His praise. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through intentional time that we are again reminded of the goodness of God and our purpose for giving Him praise.

I lift up my voice,

To sing praise to You;

For You are my strength,

Where all thanks is due.

You are my safe space,

When challenges come;

In love You provide,

With each rising sun.

Ever You are near,

Always You provide;

Your loving presence,

Safe space to abide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of strength and safety. Thank You that You are our defender and provider of loving kindness, in all things and at all times. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the things we cannot control. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You are greater than anything that stands before us. Show us how to love in ways that build up and strengthen those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You lovingly provide all that we need. 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

Be Transformed

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, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

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

Live “Otherly”

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, 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. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

 

If this were truly the standard that people were following, I do not think that we would have empty store shelves and discover shortages of basic necessities. Before all of this COVID-19 craziness hit, stores were seldom out of the items that people needed on their typical grocery list. Now, however, grocery shopping online is not even an option, as such a large portion of one’s list is unable to be filled. Thankfully, we are well, and have all that we need. Being an early riser is helpful in more ways than one. That said, it matters how we conduct ourselves as we venture out to find what we need for our families. We must only take what is needed, so that others too may have what they require for their families. Also, how we treat these essential employees matters. Yesterday morning after I ran, I made a quick stop at Rite Aid to purchase Vitamin C for my family. The store was quiet, and the sweet cashier looked uncertain as she made her way to the register as I approached. We engaged in friendly conversation, and before I left, she was expressing her gratitude for my kindness. I had not done anything unusual, I simply was polite and respectful, and let her know that I appreciated her hard work, as it is likely a challenge right now in the midst of these circumstances. She informed me that she had been yelled at multiple times, for things that were completely beyond her control. I imagine I had a look of shock and horror on my face as she told her story, that I followed with an understanding apology for the ugly that comes out of humanity when fear enters in. Though our exchange was brief, I am further reminded of just how important it is to prefer others and make sure they know that they are valued and appreciated. This passage in Philippians is written to the church in Philippi, yet it can be applied to all of us and how we treat one another. It is amazing to see the shift in people as they are the recipients of being a priority and treated with respect and dignity. May we all seek the Lord to show us how to steer clear of selfishness and pride, and how best to honor and prefer others around us, above ourselves.

 

Let not our motives, Ambassadors of Love

Be driven by pride;

Lay down selfishness,

Seek the Lord to guide.

For He will show us,

How to choose to serve;

Prefer each other,

Help each see their worth.

Choose live “otherly”,

With kindness and grace;

Look for ways to bless,

As we live each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to live life this way through Your Son. There was no selfish ambition nor pride within Him, and He walked out His days humbly and sought to serve. Forgive us for the times that pride or selfishness get in the way of who You want us to be. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we prefer one another and extend kindness and grace in humility, without selfishness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lay down our selfishness and own ideas of how things ought to be, and look for opportunities to prefer others by extending kindness and care in tangible ways. Amen.

 

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

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

A Fountain of Hope

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, NIV)

I pray that God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

A fountain of hope is something that we all could use about now. To be filled with uncontainable joy and perfect peace is exactly where I long to be. In all honesty, I am not there yet. I have moments, hours even, where I trust God and feel His peace, yet then I hear word of what may happen next, or what I can and cannot do to help my students, or think about my own children who are missing out on their senior year of high school, and the peace is disrupted. Thankfully, God is far greater than my questions, fears, frustrations and doubts. He patiently waits for me to stop and seek Him. Each time, the Lord is ready and waiting to restore hope and flood my heart with His perfect peace. Joy comes as I lay down my expectations of what things were supposed to be, and simply choose to trust and give God room in the right now. He provides as we abide, and there is no better place to be than soaking in His fountain of hope that fills us to overflowing, so that we may extend hope to those around us. May we allow the Lord to fill us with His hope, peace and joy, so that we may overflow the same to all whom He has placed in our lives.

 

God, You’re the fountain, A Fountain of Life and Light

Where our hope comes from;

Joy we can’t contain,

From You, Holy One.

You are our true Source,

To find perfect peace;

In You, we’re given,

You meet all our needs.

Help us to trust You,

When nothing makes sense;

For You are our Rock,

In each circumstance.

Today, we choose trust,

In You, hope’s renewed;

Joy overflowing,

As Your peace ensues.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope, and that You fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in You. Thank Your that as we do, Your hope overflows through us to those around us. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that get in the way of allowing Your hope to show. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would continually operate from a space of hope as You fill and renew us with joy and perfect peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that share hope and joy and peace in spaces where it is needed most. Lead us to encourage others well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our hope and fill us with joy and hope that is overflowing and spills over to everyone whom our influence may reach. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

 

 

How We Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NIV)

The light of God’s love shined within us when He sent His matchless Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, TPT)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

 

We know love, because God first loved us. Jesus made the way for all who choose believe and receive, to access a love so great, that once it is known, it must be shared. The beauty of God’s love is that it is so all-encompassing that we are filled to overflowing and cannot help but give love as we have been given. Our challenge is to actually receive what is being extended. When we truly take the time to taste and see how good God is and how vast His love is for each one of us, it is impossible to not be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is in that space of grace, when we are fully aware, that we long to give that which we have been given. May we each take pause and allow God’s love to wash over us so that we may view others through His lens of love.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is granted to us;

Ready to receive,

Through His Son, Jesus.

In Him there is life,

Grace and lasting love;

Floods both heart and mind,

As we trust above.

And as we receive,

We expand and grow;

Equipped to love well,

So grace overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us love and to equip us with the capacity to love others as we are loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view others through Your lens of love, and extend all of Your goodness and grace to each person we meet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your light and love in ways that bless their hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have to give so that we may go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Poetry Lived Out

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. -Proverbs 1:5

 

Great Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and a hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

 

God is so kind. As I tiptoed into the kitchen at mom’s house this morning, practically holding my breath, as I took in the view and attempted to hold all the memories that accompany me in this space and sat down, I could not help but grieve that I am at mom’s house while she is not. When I opened my Bible app, as I always do, the verse that greeted me was Jeremiah 29:11. This morning, it felt like God’s reminder to me that His word is true for mom too. He knows her need and where she is currently in her recovery, and He has good plans for her. God’s intent is to continue to give her a future and a hope. Being in this space, I needed the reminder. I know how much mom longs for her “normal” life. My sister and her family are doing an incredible job of loving and supporting mom well. The challenge, I imagine, is mom missing her own home, community, and way of life when she was completely independent. The Lord knows the desires of her heart, and I see Him honoring her heart and hard work as she continues to trust in Him. Our greatest challenge comes in the waiting. May we ever remember that God knows the plans that He has for us all, and they include a future and a hope.

 

When the road seems long,

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Backyard views at mom’s.

And the path unclear;

Try never forget,

That still, God is near.

He has a good plan,

A future in mind;

Filled with His great hope,

For the Lord is kind.

Try not to dismay,

When the way’s unknown;

In God’s perfect time,

His best will be shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind and that You have a hope and a future that is good for each of us. Thank You that You remind us of Your love and care for us when we need it the most. Forgive us for our frustration, sorrow and discouragement in the waiting. Teach us to trust You more, even in the longest seasons. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your hope and future for all of us as we journey through this gift of life that we have been given. Amen.

 

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

 

I will remember the kind things the Lord has done, and I will remember to praise Him. – Isaiah 63:7a