Everything Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, Who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder of this very truth. God gives us good gifts. I was blessed with time to run in the morning with my long-time running bestie to start my day after walking the pups, then was able to spend much of the day with one of my dearest friends, who is for all practical purposes, family. Though we seldom find time to get together, each time we do, we pick up where we left off. Like the goodness of God, the goodness of friendship does not change. Additionally, time with my family during a family dinner out, was yet another gift from above. Our typically quiet evening meal was disrupted, and laughter and stories exchanged. For me, that in and of itself was a gift, as dining with four big guys is usually focused on consuming what is in front of them, not on conversation with those around them. Friends and family from near and far took time out of their day to send greetings and kind wishes as I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am so grateful for the good and perfect gifts that God has granted. He knows our heart and how to bless us best. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

The Lord is so good,

His love never fails;

No matter what comes,

His love will prevail.

Goodness and mercy,

Throughout all our days;

His faithful blessings,

Show goodness and grace.

Each day is a gift,

Treasure to embrace;

Surrounded by love,

And washed by His grace.

All thanks be to God,

His love never ends;

Each time that we seek,

Sweet answers He sends.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for placing people in our lives that show us Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for taking anything for granted, for everything good comes from You and is deserving of our gratitude. Teach us to trust in Your goodness, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us perfectly. 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

To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

Strength for the Weary

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

For whatever reason, I have not slept well for the last few nights. Last night, I woke from a disturbing dream and felt very unsettled. Typically when that occurs, I try to clear my mind and go back to sleep. This time, all I could do was pray. Pray for protection, for peace, and for a covering over my family and friends. I know that God is always with me, and that I need not be afraid or anxious. It is He who strengthens and upholds us, and is faithful to be found each time we choose to seek Him. Yesterday, despite exhaustion, I was granted the strength and energy to accomplish all that was needed. Today, I will trust Him for the same. May we ever seek our Savior to help, strengthen and support us, for in Him, we have no reason to fear.

Choose not to worry,

And be not afraid;

The Lord is present,

He will make a way.

Faithful forever,

God grants what we need;

He knows and He sees,

Gives strength to succeed.

Hope for the weary,

Strength when ours is gone;

Peace in His presence,

So we may press on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength when we are weary and burdened. Thank You that we need not fear. Thank You that You see and know our needs. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and lead us in Your strength. Forgive us for staying stuck, even in the moment, as You are always available for us to seek You. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to be with us and to meet our needs. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, help and support where it is needed. Show us how to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set fears at Your feet and rely on You to be present to help in all things. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Release Your Burdens

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

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

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

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

In our weariness,

We can learn a lot from our fur babies… ❤

The Lord grants us rest;

He knows what we need,

And shows us what’s best.

May we ever seek,

For in Him we find;

Rest and refreshment,

Heart, body and mind.

Even in the times,

We want to press on;

We’re called to listen,

He provides our strong.

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

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Fruit That Feeds The Soul

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless. – (Galatians 5:22-23, TPT)

Despite what has transpired over this past weekend, my family feels surrounded and upheld by the outpouring from family and friends, both near and far. We have been showered with love, kindness and gentleness. Such fruit nourishes our souls, and we find there is peace in the midst of heartache, joy in the return of our fur babies, and self-control, despite the desire to do unto those what was done by their hands. God is good and He continues to plant and grow good fruit as we seek and trust in Him. May we ever pursue a heart that produces good fruit as we willingly allow the Master gardener to plant, prune and water the garden of our heart.

With love and support,

Settling in where they know they are safe and loved.

True joy overflows;

Not by circumstance,

But through whom we know.

A heart that’s gentle,

Purposefully kind;

Extends grace and love,

Keeps others in mind.

To choose self-control,

An act of the will;

Allowing the Lord,

To bring justice still.

A heart deep rooted,

In God’s loving grace;

Is shown how to move,

To follow His ways.

Make us a garden,

That ever bears fruit;

Plant, prune and nourish,

Lead us to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that Your will for us is to bear good fruit. Forgive us for attitudes and actions that are not fruitful. Teach us to turn to You to provide what we need to nourish those around us with the Spirit’s good fruit. Show us how to love those around us in ways that blesses, encourages and nourishes hungry souls. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to soften the soil of our hearts and grant You room to prepare us to produce fruit that honors You. Amen. 

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

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Sing Praise

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. – (Psalm 95:1-2, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, ERV)

Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns! – (Psalm 95:1-2, MSG)

Mandates that place restrictions on corporate worship are stirring an already boiling pot. However, we must remember that we are not limited in our capacity to worship by the four walls of a church building. For me, some of my sweetest times of worship are found while I am driving, as my heart is flooded with gratitude and I cannot help but sing along with the songs of praise that are playing on my radio. Yes, there is something powerful that takes place when a body of believers gathers and lifts up songs of praise together, yet He can move mightily in the midst of our own place of presenting thanks to Him. 

This pandemic is pushing people past their limits, yet the number of people impacted by illness, continues to climb. A few months ago, I did not personally know anyone directly impacted by COVID. Now, there are family members and friends who have experienced the impact personally.  In fact, an extended family member has perished, due to complications created by COVID. Absolutely, we must lift our voices in praise, yet there are ways to do so safely without worrying about increased risk of exposure. I don’t claim to know the right answer, but the God I serve, does. For now, my voice will be raised for all of my days, whether corporately or individually. May we ever seek the Lord and lift our praise to Him, trusting Him to lead us and guide us and show us how to contend for God to bring help and healing to our state, nation and world. Lead us in love, Lord.

Let every heart,

Lift praise unto You;

In song and action,

May Your love break through.

Teach us to trust You,

When things don’t make sense;

Direct all our steps,

And be our defense.

Please protect our hearts,

Body, mind and soul;

Show us how to love,

As love is the goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and kind, and worthy of all of our worship. Thank You for Your grace and strength as we grow weary of restrictions and isolation. Forgive us for forgetting that worship is not merely a corporate time of singing together, but it is a lifestyle that seeks to honor You. Show us how to worship You daily, as it is all about You. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that all might find hope, encouragement and strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worship and praise You with all that we are and all that we do. 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

Together in Peace

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV) 

Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, MSG) 

And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. – (1 Peter 3:8, TLB) 

If only the world would follow this directive… The more we seek to understand one another, the greater our love grows for each other. This requires compassion, sympathy, humility, and love. A tender heart with the intent to love, makes friends feel like family, and brings peace to wherever they are present. Being agreeable in this way does not mean that we agree nor align with everything that those around us think or believe, but it does mean that we are willing to listen and learn so that we have compassion to for those who see the world differently than we do. Our charge is not to argue, belittle nor disavow differences, but rather to seek to understand, and above all, love. May we seek the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we may live together in peace. Show us, Lord, how to be agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble towards one another. 

If we all followed, 

What God has in mind; 

We’d all be humble, 

And choose to be kind. 

The love God gives, 

Would be what is seen; 

True understanding, 

Through pure listening. 

Without agenda, 

But rather to learn; 

So compassion’s shown, 

And in love, we’d turn. 

Turn to each other, 

With love and with grace; 

Helping our neighbors, 

As peace fills this place. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us and tell us what it is to love like You. Forgive us for the horrible ways that we react toward one another, rather than seeking to understand. Show us how to listen, learn, and love like You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that create community and safety and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be agreeable, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble. Amen. 

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Listen and Learn

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, NIV) 

Pay close attention to the teaching that corrects you, and open your heart to every word of instruction. – (Proverbs 23:12, TPT) 

Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed. – (Proverbs 23:12, VOICE) 

The beautiful thing about learning is that it never ends. We are all a work in progress, with much learning and growing to be done. As we choose to be attentive and invest in trustworthy instruction, our minds are challenged and our hearts are transformed. With formal education, there may be a point where we have gone as far as we want or need to go, yet the wisdom and understanding that will propel us forward and transform our hearts and minds, knows no end. When we listen more and speak less, our grasp on the world around us grows stronger, and we are better equipped to love well. This is the space where being invested in Christ and listening to His Spirit within us, is critical. That still small voice within, guides our hearts and minds in how we ought to hear, receive, and act on words of instruction. Learning how to live a disciplined life, empowers us to be attentive to the lessons that our peers, mentors, family, friends and experiences are showing us along the way. Often, our greatest growth comes out of the most difficult of seasons. For many of us, this time of solitude has served to lead us to a greater awareness of the people and world around us. The more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to be agents of change for injustice and inequity, as we learn to love better. May we seek the Lord to guide us, so that we may continue to listen and learn all that He has for us.   

To listen and learn, 

With an open heart; 

Is how to grow wise, 

Treat love as an art. 

For wisdom, it grows, 

As we choose invest; 

Seek understanding, 

And bless as we’re blessed. 

Choose be disciplined, 

Ever seeking truth; 

Throughout our whole lives, 

Not merely in youth. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pay attention, listen and learn. Thank You that You are the ultimate teacher and example for us. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened to Your leading, or have not slowed down to listen and learn. Teach us to be lifelong learners, so that we may grow more and more like You. Show us how to love and listen well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen and trust as You lead. Amen. 

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

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – Psalm 54:4

United in Love

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no division among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV) 

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV) 

I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, MSG) 

This, this is my heart every single day, as I watch the ongoing debates on social media about the current state of our nation and our world. We are currently a nation divided. My heart breaks a little more each day, as I observe people whom I love and care for, deeply, arguing about the validity of our lockdowns, and questioning the severity of this virus. Is it reasonable to ask questions? Absolutely! Is it right to end up arguing in such a way that it becomes personal, rather than simply a discussion of information that exists? As far as I know, when people begin to bash one another for who they are, rather than civilly discuss, or agree to disagree, there is no love involved in the interaction. I do not have all of the answers, nor do I know what is best for the nation or the world, but I do know that we are called to love. Love does not name-call nor make horrible accusations of a person’s character, simply for having a different opinion. Love listens and learns and is willing to seek to understand the “why” behind each individual’s thought process. If our purpose is to love God and love people, how might we do that best, even others see things differently, or have opinions that delineate from our own, or from that which is most widely accepted? In as much as I can understand; love anyway. If our united purpose is love, then please, let us love well. Love takes the high road, turns the other cheek, and loves thy neighbor as thyself. Where can we love better? May we seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we might get along, being considerate of one another, and cultivate lives intent on loving well. 

When differing views, 

Start to cause dissent; 

One has to question, 

What is the intent? 

If love’s our purpose, 

Then let us unite; 

Choose listen and learn, 

In love, take delight. 

Each of us crafted, 

Uniquely designed; 

Created to love, 

With purpose in mind. 

Brothers and sisters, 

Let us find a way; 

To love each other, 

And mind what we say. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each created with the purpose to be united in love. Thank You that we are uniquely gifted and crafted, yet each have something significant to offer the whole. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differing views, perspectives, or opinions to get in the way of unity. Teach us how to listen and learn from one another, be okay with not always seeing eye-to-eye, and above all, how to choose to love people first. Show us how to love those around us best. Help us know when to engage in conversations that can be productive, and when to remain silent and choose to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You to lead us to be united in love with those around us. Amen.  

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ. – Colossians 2:2