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

Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. – (Zephaniah 3:17, VOICE)

 

I love the Voice translation of this passage, as the word choice speaks so clearly to my heart. As an individual who understands the deep need for every person to have someone willing to fight for them, and the joy of a new husband, God’s promises are an encouragement that stand the test of time. His presence is our comfort, and His love brings peace and joy and calms our fears. Our mighty Savior, who is like a powerful soldier, is our Protector, ever present with us. The idea that He delights over us with joyful songs, is reminiscent of when my babies were young, and how I would delight in them and sing to them and there would be peace among us as we rested. My human experience is but a glimpse in comparison to the depth of love that God has for us. The joy and delight we discover in those whom He blesses us with in our lives are but a preview of all that He has in store for us in heaven. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord who is among us, present to save and rejoice over us.

 

The Lord is with us,Among Us

He’s mighty to save;

In love, celebrates,

His grace is displayed.

Each fear shall be calmed,

As in Him, we rest;

For His help and love,

Fill our needs the best.

Imagine the sound,

As the Lord does sing;

With joy over us,

All peace He does bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You are our Champion, who is willing to fight for us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm our fears. Thank You that You are always present. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to interrupt the peace that You offer. Teach us to lean into You at all times, so that we may know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us with Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible blessings You bestow upon us with Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Focus on Forever

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, NIV)

So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, ERV)

Because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal. – (2 Corinthians 4:18, TPT)

 

At times, even with the very best intentions, our focus gets lost on what we see directly in front of us, rather than trusting in what we know to be true, that we cannot yet see. Yesterday, though my morning began well, and my eyes were fixed on God as I began my day, it became a slippery slope as I found myself caught in the monotony of staying home, with all my guys caught up in their own things. Two were out in the shop working on a vehicle, and the other two were downstairs enjoying an online game with old friends. Discouragingly, that left me to far too much solitude, and I was about to lose it. After two weeks of staying home, with the exception of morning running and a rare trip to the store for needed groceries, I was ready to jump in my vehicle and just drive away. I didn’t care where, just somewhere; anywhere. Desperately, I needed a change of scenery, and really, I think my heart needed to be outdoors, where I am far more aware of the unseen. Thankfully, my best friend called, and we wandered to the water. We found a path that had few people, so social distancing was not difficult, and just walked. Breathing in the salty air, with a slight breeze and a gentle drizzle of rain sporadically falling, the weight of feeling stuck fell away, and I was free to move and breathe and be. For some of the walk we spoke and caught up with one another, yet, there was a sweet comfort in silence as well. Time, space, and being outdoors, granted fresh perspective, that there is so much more than right now. God is good, and He places eternity in our hearts. It is up to us to seek Him so that we might know Him, ever growing in our understanding that He has prepared a place for us that is beyond what our minds could begin to conceive. May we turn to the Lord in our struggles with what we are seeing now, and trust Him in faith; for what is unseen is an incredible forever that we cannot even begin to fathom.

 

It is not about,wp-15854930675978120052737617085496.jpg

Just what our eyes see;

But also unseen,

All eternity.

Our circumstances,

In the here and now;

Are temporary,

And will end somehow.

But the things unseen,

God and all His good;

Do not know an end,

Through all times, withstood.

So, choose trust in God,

And what is unseen;

For trials right now,

Will no longer be.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving and eternal. Thank You that the struggles and trials that we face in the here and now are temporary. Thank You that the things we see are temporary, and even the best of them are but a glimpse compared to the good that we cannot see yet. Forgive us for losing perspective. Teach us to hold fast to eternity in our hearts, especially when what we see right now is overwhelming. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they may find hope in despair and peace in times of turmoil. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to fix our hearts and minds on that which we cannot see that lasts forever. Amen.

 

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

 

But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. – 2 Peter 3:13

 

 

Blessings of Strength

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

Today, this is a reminder to myself. We have arrived at the midpoint of the busiest week of the season, as it is the final week of school, prior to Christmas break. In our household, that means grocery and errand running had to be done last evening, there is a gymnastics meet tonight, and tomorrow evening, two of our boys have a holiday music concert, each following a full day of school/work and coaching (or in my husband’s case, commuting). By Friday, we all will be ready for a long winter’s nap. Though each day feels a bit like a marathon, God provides the strength that is needed to navigate each day, and His peace along the way. The challenge is to slow down, take a deep breath, and allow His strength and peace to flood our hearts so that there is no room for chaos and doubt and weariness. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord to be our strength, as He provides what we need to navigate each new day, and grants us His perfect peace along the way.

 

The Lord grants us strength, Anchor with Compass Engraving Illustration

Where all strength seems gone;

Grants us what we need,

To keep keeping on.

And more than His strength,

He blesses with peace;

Brings calm to chaos,

As love is released.

No matter the time,

Day, week or season;

Hope ever abounds,

God’s grace shows reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank You that even on our days that we feel weary and worn, You come and provide what we need to keep moving forward. Thank You that as we trust in You, You meet us wherever we are, and demonstrate Your faithfulness; always. Forgive us for our lack of faith when chaos comes. Teach us to turn to You in trust, allowing You room to move in and through us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend strength and peace where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, thank You and give You praise for Your goodness throughout all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26