Our Greatest Treasures

For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be. – (Matthew 6:21, NIV)

Your heart will be where your treasure is. – (Matthew 6:21, ERV)

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. – (Matthew 6:21, MSG)

The older I get, the more I find that my treasure is in God and all that He has made. Stuff is just stuff, but salvation, relationships, people, pets, and community are truly the greatest gifts we have been given. When I focus my time and energy on Him and those that He has placed in my life, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, not want. The things that matter to me are not ones of monetary value, but rather are either gifts or reminders of those who matter most. I understand now why photos have always been so important to my mom. Each snapshot is a reminder of God’s faithfulness in a moment in time that was captured. To look at the images is to be reminded that God is good. May we ever look to the Lord with thanksgiving and seek Him to help keep our priorities in order so that our treasures are eternal, and not temporary.

Lord, help us treasure,

That which is from You;

Life and creation,

Eternity too.

May our hearts choose hold,

All of our lives through;

Treasures from heaven,

That point us to You.

Show us Your own heart,

All that matters most;

Lead us in Your love,

Through grace, peace and hope.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our greatest treasure and that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Forgive us for the times that we have been more concerned with stuff than with that which matters eternally. Teach us to have a heart after You. Lead us in Your love so that we would treasure You and Your created, as these are the things that last. 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 recognize our greatest treasures are found in You and from You. Amen.

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

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

Present Joy

When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, NIV)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

In this second week of Advent, the focus shifts to joy. In the context of Christmas, the joy of the world has come. I appreciate the reminder in this verse, as anxiety and worries have been an ongoing battle within me for the last few weeks. The space of waiting between a diagnosis and the procedure to solve it is long. Unknowns bring concern, and waiting makes anxiety increase. However, when God’s joy rises, anxiety slips away. The two cannot coexist. When one is in the forefront, the other fades into the background. Joy is the great delight in something good, and when we know Jesus, we always have something good to delight in, thus joy dwells within us. The challenge is to not lose sight of the joy we know in Jesus. Challenges, trials, heartache and hurt all try to steal our joy, yet Jesus, for the joy set before Him, endured it all. He knew the hope held in eternity, and the knowing is what brings joy. Though we know not what tomorrow will bring, we can be certain, and find joy, in the promises of all that is yet to come and in the ongoing presence of our Savior. May we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him took all upon Himself so that we might know true joy in and through Him.

Joy’s always present,

If we look around;

Evidence of God,

Is easily found.

Because Jesus came,

On the cross, bore all;

Hope is forever,

Through Him joy’s installed.

As we fix our eyes,

On Jesus alone;

Anxieties flee,

And joy is made known.

So, lift up your eyes,

With hope embrace joy;

It’s not a feeling,

But truth to employ.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son into the world. Thank You that Jesus demonstrated the joy that is found in knowing You. Forgive us for allowing our fears and anxieties to steal our joy, for You have planted Your joy deep within us, and it is not dependent on how we are feeling or what is going on. Teach us how to choose joy in all circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in ways that communicate the joy that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they discover the joy that comes from knowing and being loved by You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the joy that we have in You and help us to spread joy wherever we go. Amen.

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

(Let us) fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Whatever is Good

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

Yesterday, my Viking and I drove more than 500 miles to spend the extended weekend with my sister and her family to watch and support her eldest son as he is living out his baseball dream. With such a long drive, there is much time to think. For both Mark and I, the thing that stood out to us was the incredible beauty that unfolded before us. Yes, there are parts of the drive that are dry and dusty, yet it took little time for green fields to unfold under clear blue skies, and at one point, we were able to see two of our area’s mountains from the opposite side. For me, anytime that I travel, see family, or get outside, I cannot help but stand in awe of the One who made it all. There is so much good, lovely and praiseworthy, even when things in the world do not seem honorable or right. God always is. His character does not change, so when we fix our eyes on Him, the things that we ought to set our sights on become obvious. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him praise, as we focus on His beauty and truth that demonstrate and grant both goodness and direction throughout all our days.

O Lord lead our hearts,

Throughout all our days;

To focus on You,

And choose give You praise.

For all that is good,

And right, pure and true;

Your very nature,

That will lead us through.

Help us to follow,

For all of our days;

Your heart, word, Spirit,

By Your loving grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy as we seek You and spend time in Your word. Forgive us for diverting our attention from the things You show us. Teach us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on the good that You intend for us. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and show us how to demonstrate Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on all that is lovely, good, pure and right, and let us give You proper praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. – 2 Peter 1:3

My Strength and Shield

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as songs. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Some days, it takes everything in me to simply utter, “God, please help.” Incredibly, even in the difficult, He makes His heart and His help known. At the end of the day my heart can rejoice and praise Him, as He has been with me through another day. Each morning as I rise and look to Him, I am reminded anew of His goodness and my reasons to give thanks. May we ever fix our eyes on God and look to Him to be our strength and protections. He is faithful, and provides help to navigate each new day.

O Lord, fix my eyes,

Securely on You;

For You are my strength,

And where hope’s made new.

God, You are my shield,

Safety through the storms;

My reason to praise,

As Your love transforms.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain present, no matter where life leads. Thank You that You see and know every challenge and heartache, and You faithfully provide peace and reason to praise. Forgive us for our struggle with trust when we are in the throes of life’s storms. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You supply all that we need. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us well, so that Your love is tangible in places it is hard to see. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and shield, and praise You for Your unending faithfulness and love. Amen.

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

But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:14

To Stay Steadfast

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with You; they confidently trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, TPT)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

As I read the first translation of this verse, I really paused to think about what it means to have a mind that is steadfast. I even went so far as to look it up, so that I might ponder the meaning further. According to dictionary.com, steadfast is to be fixed in direction, firm in purpose, and unwavering. To be fixed in direction and firm in purpose without wavering does indeed protect His perfect peace. It is in that space of knowing Who is leading us in the direction to which we are called, and Who has created us with purpose that we find His peace is present as we trust in Him. Our peace wavers when we trust what we see rather than who holds us in the hollow of His hands. Though my heart and mind are dedicated to Christ, my eyes deceive my heart when I allow my peace to be found in what I see. For the last couple of years, what has been seen has not pointed to peace. However, each time I slow down, fix my eyes and heart on Him, His perfect peace is present and my mind returns to the steadfast state to which I have been called. It is an ongoing battle, particularly when few things are as anticipated or hoped for. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to be steadfast in Him, so that we may know His perfect and ongoing peace.

Lord, help us trust You,

To keep perfect peace;

In each steadfast heart,

That faithfully seeks.

You’re ever present,

To hear all we pray;

In love, You answer,

As peace comes to stay.

Help us fix our eyes,

Securely on You;

Let not what surrounds,

Take away the truth.

In You there is peace,

A hope that’s secure;

Future forever,

Knowing You’ll be near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that the peace You provide is not dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that You bring peace to us amidst chaos, and settle our weary hearts. Forgive us for allowing the trials of this world to steal the perfect peace that You offer. Teach us to continually, steadfastly fix our eyes and hearts on You, for in that space of trust, we find Your peace is present. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer Your peace, even when it seems impossible to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our minds steadfast on You because You are trustworthy, and Your promises true. Amen.

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

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Prayer and Pursuit

Teach me Your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, NIV)

Lord, teach me Your ways, and I will live and obey Your truths. Help me make worshiping Your Name the most important thing in my life. – (Psalm 86:11, ERV)

Teach me more about You, how You work and how You move, so that I can walk onward in Your truth until everything within me brings honor to Your Name. – (Psalm 86:11, TPT)

This is an ongoing prayer and pursuit. The more I learn, the more I recognize how much more I need the Lord and His faithful love to grow in me an undivided heart. In our fast-paced world, it is far too easy to become distracted by all that surrounds us. It requires intentional time set apart to fix our eyes on Him, and to invest in reading and understanding His word. As we do, we become more aware of the Lord’s hand in everything. May we ever set our eyes and hearts on the Lord as we seek Him, so that we might learn to have undivided hearts and bring honor to His Name in all that we say and do.

O Lord, please teach me,

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

To walk in Your way;

Heart undivided,

So I seek and pray.

Show me more and more,

The way I’m to live;

To honor Your Name,

Through love that I give.

May all that I am,

And all that I do;

Seek You to guide me,

So I might love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we seek You. Thank You that You show us the way that we are meant to live and love, so that we may glorify You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to have an undivided heart, free from all that competes for our attention. Show us how to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that we may honor You and love well. Lead us to love those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life focused on You and seek to love others well. Amen.

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

Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. – 1 Chronicles 16:10

To Treasure What Lasts

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)

“Don’t save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy them. And thieves can break into your house and steal them. Instead, save your treasures in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, ERV)

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, MSG)

This is the ever-challenging passage that deems it necessary for each of us to take inventory of our priorities. How are we spending our time, talents and resources? Are we hiding them, keeping them for ourselves, or are we looking outward and identifying places where we can love and serve like Jesus? There are many “thieves” out there. For example, comparison is the thief of joy. In a nation that is bursting with so much, the desire to keep up with those around us can take our eyes off of what matters and bring our heart to an ugly space. Rather, if our eyes are fixed on Jesus and all that He has for us, we see the blessings that we already hold, and celebrate the blessings that those around us are given.  Each of us has an inheritance waiting in heaven. It is up to us to embrace the gift that God gives to know that it is already ours. Our perspective shifts when we recognize that this is not our home. We are merely visitors in the here and now, and will spend all of eternity elsewhere. Where we end up will be ours to determine. Will we choose to love God and love people as we are called to do, or will we focus only on what lies before us in hope of ever amassing more? The place that we treasure is demonstrated by how we use what we have been given. I don’t know about you, but I am an ongoing work in progress. I begin my days looking to the Lord, yet life spins quickly around me, and has a way of distracting from that which matters most. Impatience in traffic, frustration with the outspoken, unrest in the isolation… The list goes on and on, as the treasure trolling is in full force. We need God’s grace to grow in His love. He is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, yet it is up to us to pursue Him. May we ever grow closer to He who is our true treasure, and fix our eyes on that which matters most – loving God and loving people.

O Lord, please show us,

Above all to love;

In grace, redeem us,

Set our gaze above.

Help us to treasure,

The things that will last;

Love, grace and kindness,

Doing what You ask.

Lead us in mercy,

Teach us to be kind;

To listen in love,

So hope all may find.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the things You offer are eternal and worth treasuring. Thank You that faith, hope and love are gifts from You that last. Forgive us for the times that we allow earthly things to steal our focus and take our eyes off of You and what matters most. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on that which You intend for is forever. Show us how to love those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to store up our treasures in heaven, for those are the things that last forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord has declared this day that you are His people, His treasured possessions as He promised, and that you are to keep all His commands. – Deuteronomy 26:18

Hard Hearts Made New

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, NIV)

Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, ERV)

Jesus responded, “I promise you – this very day you will enter paradise with Me.” – (Luke 23:43, TPT)

The response of Jesus to the criminal beside Him who was repentant, reminds us how great His grace truly is. Though He himself was hanging from the cross in agony, Jesus still heard the call of a repentant soul, and let it be known that the promise for all who turn away from their sinful ways and turn to God, remained true, even as they were living out their last breaths of life. No matter how far from God someone may appear, their salvation could be but a few breaths away. God works in mysterious ways. If He can touch the heart of a hardened criminal as he is having his death sentence carried out, God can do the same for anyone. We celebrate Christ’s arrival at Christmas, but this season ought to remind us why He came. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy to all who are willing to receive. May we fix our eyes on the greatest gift ever given, and celebrate as we walk in forgiveness, extending peace, love, hope and joy to all those around us.

The promise through Christ,

Was given for all;

So love might be known,

Through us, great and small.

For nothing we do,

That’s done with great love;

Goes without notice,

By the Lord above.

The Lord takes our gifts,

In love, multiplies;

The impact they have,

His grace maximized.

Lord, help us to rise,

With purpose each day;

Let our love spread hope,

Lead us in Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to save us. Thank You that You receive us as we call on Your Name and recognize our desperate need for You. Forgive us for frustration and lack of faith when things seem impossible through our own eyes and understanding. Thank You that You are so much greater than we realize. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant peace, hope, love and joy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension in awe and wonder and gratitude. Amen.

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

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

So Much More

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – (Luke 3:16, NIV)

John’s answer to this was, “I baptize you in water, but there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” – (Luke 3:16, ERV)

But John made it clear by telling them, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. He is supreme. In fact, I’m not worthy of even being His slave. I can only baptize you in this river, but He will baptize you into the Spirit of holiness and into His raging fire.” – (Luke 3:16, TPT)

As we have begun to march our way through December, I have decided to join in and read the corresponding chapter of Luke each day, leading to Christmas eve. This morning, as I read through Luke 3, verse sixteen stood out to me as a reminder of how we ought to view the season. In this season of Advent, the waiting for “The Arrival”, there is a powerful opportunity to look back on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Even before Jesus began His ministry, there were indicators along the way that pointed out just how powerful and significant Jesus would be. John, the cousin of Jesus, had been raised up to faithfully follow God, and grew in wisdom and boldness as he faithfully taught and baptized all who were ready to hear and follow after God. Despite his following, John always pointed people to look forward to Jesus and the mighty power He would hold. In the same way, we ought to fix our eyes on Jesus, as He came to us as a baby, but returned to heaven as our Eternal King. May we marvel at God’s goodness this season, as He sent His Son to save us so that we might know the power of His Spirit within and among us.

The good we see now,

Is merely a glimpse;

Of what is to come,

That yet to exist.

Our hope, heavenward,

Where light and love dwell;

Let our hearts choose Him,

As we’re loved so well.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to dwell among us and show us the love and power, goodness and hope that is found in You. Forgive us for losing sight of the reason for the season. Teach us to look at the entire picture, not just the snapshot of a baby in a manger. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and study Your word to better grasp the goodness held in life with You. Amen.

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

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. – John 16:13

Do Good and Seek Peace

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, NIV) 

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV) 

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away. – (Psalm 34:14, MSG) 

If ever there was a time to do good and seek peace, the time is now. My heart breaks more every passing day, as the cities of our nation are being set on fire, and people can find no peace. How do we collectively turn from evil and do good?  

I am seeing examples of communities coming together in the aftermath of the destruction caused the night prior, and working together to clean up and restore the areas heavily damaged. There is good being done. It is a start, but not at all where it should end. Relationships are fragile, and choosing to look for ways to do good is one thing that we all can do. 

In this space, where peace is seemingly impossible, we must seek the Prince of Peace. We need wisdom and grace, mercy and understanding, to move forward to bring forth peace. May we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on He, who is our peace, and choose to do good so that peace may be found and embraced. 

Choose turn from evil, 

And seek to do good; 

It is how to love, 

Makes grace understood. 

In space of unrest, 

With Christ, pursue peace; 

Move forward in grace, 

Goodness be released. 

In all things, choose love, 

For it is the place; 

Where peace may be found, 

Purposeful embrace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Prince of Peace. Thank You that in times of turmoil, we can turn to You and find peace and choose to do good. Forgive us, individually, and collectively, as we need Your healing to come into our hearts, homes, cities and our nation. Show us how to do good, and bring Your peace in places where peace is lacking. Teach us to love practically and tangibly, so that healing may happen and peace may be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully pursue You, and listen to Your leading to love well and do the good that must be done. Amen. 

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27