Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Dependable in Distress

When I am in distress, I call to You, because You answer me. – (Psalm 86:7, NIV)

I am praying to You in my time of trouble. I know You will answer me. – (Psalm 86:7, ERV)

When times of trouble come, I will call to You because I know You will respond to me. – (Psalm 86:7, VOICE)

I am amazed at the power held in our senses. So often, a particular scent takes me back to childhood memories of people or places that made a lasting impression. After yesterday, I am certain that it works the same for animals. The pups had been adjusting back to being home fairly well, but yesterday, after a package containing the rest of our babies’ items from board and train arrived and was opened, Thor began acting out. I quickly took their belongings down to the laundry room to wash in HOT, but aggressive and out of the ordinary behaviors continued. It was as if Thor was instantly taken back and placed in fight or flight mode. The afternoon was exhausting, and I was so grateful for my husband’s help upon his return home from work. A considerable amount of my time had been spent seated on the floor beside Thor, as he refused to enter his crate.(He normally does so very willingly.) Anguish and anger played ping pong in my heart, as I again and again had to release rage and remorse, and redirect my focus to loving my pup well. After quiet prayers were lifted for peace to return, I had a restless night’s sleep. This morning, as I began our normal routine, Thor seemed more His sweet self, and was terrific company after he ate his breakfast. When it was time to get back in his crate, he did so willingly and easily. God responds when we seek Him and He cares about what matters to us. On my part, the patience and prayers will continue, for I know the Lord will respond. May we ever seek the Savior in our distress, for He responds as we call on Him.

God has created,

Wonderfully made;

All of creation,

He loves and will aid.

The Lord hears our cries,

In love, He responds;

He heals what is hurting,

Restores broken bonds.

God sees and He hears,

Each prayer lifted up;

In love He refills,

The emptiest cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can call on You in our times of distress and You hear and respond to our heart’s cry. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us, walk beside us, and lovingly restore brokenness. Forgive us for holding onto hurts, and show us how to continually place all in Your hands. Teach us to love in ways that restore and offer hope where hurts have a hold of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in our distress and trust You to respond. Amen.

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

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

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

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

Fixed Eyes Stand Firm

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:8, NIV) 

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:8, ERV) 

Because You are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience Your wrap-around presence every moment. – (Psalm 16:8, TPT) 

This is the part that we have to remember, even when times are tough. It is as we keep our eyes on the Lord that we recognize that He is near, present, and will help us navigate every situation and circumstance. We will not be shaken if we place our confidence in Him. For me, the greatest challenge is to keep my eyes on Him, rather than allowing my attention to divert away from Him, and fixate on the challenge before me. If I look to Him in the face of struggle or adversity, I begin to see things through His lens rather than my own. Mountains look less treacherous, valleys appear less abysmal, and long stretches with no end in sight, are not so arduous nor lonely. God is faithful to meet us every moment of everyday as we seek and trust in Him. May we always keep our eyes on the Lord and remember that He is with us, so that we will not be shaken, despite the trials that come our way. 

I’ll not be shaken, 

As I know You’re near; 

With You by my side, 

There’s no room for fear. 

You are my anchor, 

In every storm; 

The light and the love, 

That keep my heart warm. 

Lord, You are the hope, 

In whom we are safe; 

Help us keep our eyes, 

On You, all our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we keep our eyes securely fixed on You, we discover our hope, our help and our security lie within You. Forgive us for the times that our gaze, our focus, shift away from You and onto what lies before us. Teach us to align our view through Your lens, so that we would remember Who is beside us, with us, and for us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that Your light gives hope wherever it is absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes securely on You, and trust You to be our help, hope and safety, always. 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

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 the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV) 

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ – and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, TPT) 

There is so much to this passage. First, it is an incredible exhortation, reminding us of the infinite power that is found in Christ and His ability to work in and through us. The part of this that baffles me is that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus from prison. He had seen and continued to know and experience the amazing power of God at work in and through both himself and fellow followers of Jesus. Additionally, as Paul recognized all that God was doing, and all that He would continue to do, He was intentional to point out where all praise is due. When Paul speaks of the church, he is referring to every body of believers. The church is not a building, but rather those who join together for the common purpose of loving God and loving people. Through the love of God, so much more than we could hope or imagine, becomes possible. 

In my life, after my first marriage ended, I did not think that sort of love was for me. My focus was on God and my boys, and that was all that mattered. Family and friends surrounded us, and God was faithful to be present and provide all that was needed and more. As I grew in a much deeper understanding of who He had created me to be, I did begin to hope, to dream, and to imagine what might be possible. Now, more than six years later, I am preparing to celebrate my second anniversary with the man that God knew I needed. In our nearly two years of marriage, we have had to navigate some crazy and difficult things; all of which God brought us through, by His strength – together. Each of us needed one another, as God had intended. Grace, support, encouragement and unconditional love have been tangible reminders of what God will do that extend far beyond what either of us could have hoped or imagined. That does not mean that it is all easy or smooth sailing, but we do have each other with God in the center, as He has shown us again and again how He works in and through us, and is worthy of all of our praise forever. 

No matter where you find yourself, God is faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, especially in the midst of the difficult. May we ever lean into the Lord and give Him all of our praise, for He is faithful to strengthen, encourage, and carry us from start to finish in all situations. God can do infinitely more than we could hope or imagine, and that is reason to praise. 

The power of God, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Is beyond compare; 

He’s faithful always, 

Love He freely shares. 

A love that strengthens, 

When we’re feeling weak; 

Encourages hope, 

As all things feel bleak. 

Provision abounds, 

For He’s ever near; 

To carry us through, 

Heartaches and our fear. 

All glory to God, 

Let our lives give praise; 

To He who’s worthy, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, our strength and supply. Thank You that You are faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine as we depend on You. Forgive us for our lack of trust, as You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our trust and praise. Continue to teach us how incredibly faithful You are, as we seek You with our lives. Show us how to love those around in ways that encourage hopes and dreams in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all glory, honor and praise forever. Amen. 

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

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! – Hebrews 9:14

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

 

 

Choose Reach Out

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

“I will tell you the kind of day I want – a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help. If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, ERV)

 

The foundation of what God asks of us has always been the same – Love God and love people. If we are fasting, let it be for the purpose of actively pursuing God and loving people. If we are praying, may it be out of faith in our Father and our desire to do good for others. As we live, may our lives clearly demonstrate our love for God and for ALL whom He has created. There are no qualifiers on loving people; He calls us to love all people tangibly and practically. If they are burdened; help carry the weight and set them free. If people are hungry; feed them. If people are in need of the basic requirements for existence; start with clothing and shelter. Furthermore, we are meant to be aware of and care for the needs of our family as well. Incredibly, as we do these things, we begin to reflect the heart of God to those around us. Our obedience leads to blessings in our own lives too. He heals and surrounds each soul that chooses to surrender and serve others as He asks. May we look to the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we go forth and tangibly love people as an extension of our love for Him.

 

May our focus be,

H182

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Intent on the Lord;

On what He’s asking,

As strength He affords.

The priority,

In all that we do;

Love God and people,

It’s what we’re called to.

Some practical ways,

His love can be shown;

Help meet other’s needs,

Leads to God’s heart known.

As we choose reach out,

God’s present within;

Healing and helping,

Makes hope rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a reason for fasting and praying is ultimately to love God and love people better. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we come and seek You. Thank You that Your word tells us practically how to love people well, and in turn, honor and love You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love people well. Teach us to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand what You would have us do practically in every circumstance. Thank You that You are far greater than our time, talent or resources, and that You take what we offer and multiply what we bring. Show us how to love the people around us tangibly, for You know every need in existence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional as we love You and love the people around us, every seeking You for ways to love practically and tangibly to meet needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Blot Out Barriers

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. – (Daniel 1:17, NIV)

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

Through all of this, God conferred upon these four young men superior abilities in literature, language, and wisdom. God had given Daniel an additional gift, too: the ability to interpret visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, VOICE)

 

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the chosen from Judah to be trained to serve in the king of Babylon’s palace. The king ordered for the men to be taught and trained in the language and literature of the Babylonians. As they were trained, they were granted rations of royal food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel, not wanting to defile himself with such things, petitioned for permission to eat only vegetables and water. Because he had found favor with the chief official over him, he agreed to try, despite his concerns about how the meager rations would affect Daniel and company’s appearance. At the end of the trial time, the young men looked healthier than the others, and had won over the official, allowing them to continue their vegetarian diet so that their focus could be on God and the learning that He would give them, rather than on what they would eat or drink at their next meal. God honored their hearts, and the four young men thrived in their learning, far above the others chosen for the same training. My take away from this story is the young men gave up fine delicacies that could distract, in exchange for focus and favor, granted by God. Food was to serve a function, rather than a focus, that way the young learners were able to set their minds on what mattered most. My prayer is that God would show me the things that are unnecessary distractions that I do not need, to set aside so that I may fully focus on what matters most. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, new insight and understanding, setting aside anything that pulls our attention away from our intended purpose.

 

When we set aside,joining-together.png

The things that distract;

The Lord is faithful,

Wisdom He’ll enact.

He’s faithful to hear,

Our heart as we ask;

Sometimes to listen,

Desires must be last.

Help us clear the way,

For all of the new;

Open minds and hearts,

To what You will do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us biblical examples of those who sought You well. Thank You that there are things that we can to do to help make way for You to move. Thank You that if we ask, You are faithful to answer and show us the things that distract us from hearing You clearly. Forgive us for allowing our own agenda to get in the way of all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are far greater than our own. Show us how to love those around us well, as we listen to Your leading and follow what You are asking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

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