To Be Acutely Aware

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Even in the midst of the hard and the horrible, God remains good. He surrounds us with His goodness and provides His peace when it ought not be found. Yesterday, I found myself in the midst of a horrible mom moment. My son was not doing well, and it was clear that an ER run was going to be needed. Unfortunately, due to the nature of his symptoms, no one was permitted to be with him. Having to drop off my heart outside my body and place him in the hands of someone else’s care, was gut wrenching. It matters not that he is a young man; he is still my child. We waited in the parking lot for hours. At first, we were hearing nothing. I had my phone and noticed that he was active on social media, so I tried messaging him that way. Incredibly, it worked, and we discovered a way to communicate. After x-rays and a laundry list of tests, they determined that he was to be admitted. My heart sank, and I had no choice but to trust. From discussing the treatment plan to learning to be an adult and advocate for himself, God has been showing me His goodness. When my heart did not know what to pray, He still heard me. Though it is still extraordinarily difficult to not be with my son, I see evidence of God’s goodness surrounding him and all around me, and trust that my boy is exactly where he needs to be. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in His goodness, for He holds us up in His hands.

The Lord, He is good,

We need taste and see;

He surrounds with love,

And grants us His peace.

The Lord makes a way,

When we cannot see;

What way is the best,

He meets all our needs.

Today I choose trust,

I will taste and see;

Goodness in action,

And know the Lord’s peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good. Thank You that we simply need to open our eyes and hearts to all that is around us to be acutely aware of Your love. Thank You that as we seek You to be our help and hope, You hold us up in Your hands. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears, for You love our children even more than we do. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love visible and tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how good You are, and run to You to be our shelter and perfect peace. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

The Rightness of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that the grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

This morning, as I peered out into the darkness and let my pup out to take care of business, I was shocked to see the ground saturated from rain, after the last few weeks of sunshine. For a moment, my heart sank a bit, as I had a minute of mourning at the passing of such sweet sunny days. Once I caught the delightful aroma of the cleansing rain, I was reminded that the change is actually a good thing, as the rain waters the earth, and it also cleanses the pollen from the air. Though I prefer the sunshine, the rain too, serves a positive purpose and is good. God gives us both, for each has a benefit to behold. New growth is necessary and good, and the sun grants light and energy to foster the growing that takes place when water has been supplied. Each new season is the same for us. We may grow fond of the season we find ourselves in, yet change is good as it challenges us to keep growing. May we seek the Lord and give Him thanks for each new season as it comes, and praise God for how He provides all that we need to be nourished and to continue to grow.

As the rains fall down,

And waters the earth;

All things are prepared,

For growth and new birth.

Cleansing refreshment,

His blessings supplied;

The changing seasons,

As grace is applied.

So, let the rains come,

Praise God for the new;

Water for our souls,

As His love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful rain that waters the earth and causes new to grow. Thank You for the blessings beheld in each new season. Forgive us for our frustration with change, for change is exactly what is used to grow us more like You. Teach us to lean into You and give You thanks for all things new, for You are present and good to lead us through. Show us how to love those around us like a refreshing rain, so that all may be nourished to grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the cleansing rain that falls to refresh and bring new growth. Amen.

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

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Success in Our Savior

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV)

But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! – (1 Corinthians 15:57, ERV)

But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, TPT)

There are times when we are moving forward, ever seeking to do what we are meant to do, and still obstacles come our way. It does not mean we are off course; often it is an indication that there is more that God wants to show or teach us as we press on. He does not cause frustrating things to stand in our way, but He does allow mountains and valleys before us to show His strength that equips us to overcome as we seek Him. One of my goals before my “big” birthday this summer is to run a marathon. About six weeks ago, I fractured all three bones in my little toe. This created a month-long hiatus from running, and some serious frustration. Over the last week or so, I had finally been able to get back to running and was working to rebuild endurance. On my first run back at it, we ended up running our usual pace (prior to the fracture) and I was encouraged and grateful for God’s grace and faithfulness. Fast forward to Friday evening, and out of nowhere I felt feverish and had a sore throat. I was supposed to get a long run in over the weekend, and at long last, return to teaching on campus. Sadly, neither took place, and I am again deterred by a setback. Thankfully, this race we are running is not a sprint, but is an ultra marathon. It requires ongoing forward momentum, even if our steps seem miniscule. God is faithful and grants us victory in Christ. This season may look nothing like I had hoped or imagined, but I know that He is good and will lead me forward according to His plan. He knows the desires of my heart and will not leave me or forsake me. I know not what victory in Him will look like in this season, but I know that God is good. Each new day, I will trust Him to lead me forward, and be my strength to keep moving in the right direction. May we ever thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, for we have the ultimate victory in Him.

All thanks be to God,

Our true victory;

For He is our strength,

The One that we need.

No matter the course,

Our race seems to take;

God will be faithful,

With goodness and grace.

Setbacks and detours,

And bumps in the road;

He grants us His strength,

Helps carry the load.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are faithful to be present and see us through. Thank You that even when obstacles lie before us, the road You have set us on remains the same. Forgive us for our frustration with setbacks and obstacles that come our way. Teach us to trust You to remain faithful as You lead us forward, despite how things appear. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they run the race that You have set before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to successfully lead us along the path You have placed before us; for victory is already ours in Christ. Amen.

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

Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our King to the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 89:18

Redeemed to Love

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through His powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away His righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! – (Romans 3:23-24, TPT)

We all are broken and fall short. However, Jesus came so that we could be forgiven and free from all of our sin and shame, and find new life in Him. This is available for all people, for the hardened criminal and the good citizen alike; it is up to us to receive what He freely offers, and pursue a life following after Him. Today, this is my reminder to not allow anger or frustration a foothold, for the ones who did such such horrible things are received and forgiven if they repent and turn to God, in the same way it is available for you and me. If I am truly to have a heart like Christ, this indeed must be my hope for them. There are consequences for criminal behavior, as there should be, yet the heart can be forgiven and set free from all. Though I would be willing to guess that they do not know Jesus, I can pray that they would come to know Him. Eternal freedom is far more important than the temporary satisfaction of revenge or retaliation. The law is clear and there will be consequences for their actions, so my responsibility is to keep loving God and loving people, even when it means praying for those who inflicted harm on the defenseless. It is a process, daily, and at times, hourly; for I know what I must continue to do. May we ever seek the One who sets us free from our sin and shame, and allow Him to soften our hearts and love bigger than we ever thought possible.

O Lord help our hearts,

To forgive, set free;

Place all in Your hands,

Lord Jesus, help me.

A sin is a sin,

And I’m not the judge;

Help me to release,

A hold of a grudge.

For true forgiveness,

Sets our own hearts free;

So sins ugly grip,

No longer holds me.

For justice belongs,

To the Lord above;

True freedom is found,

Through grace, hope and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made the way for all to know freedom and forgiveness in You. Thank You that none are disqualified from receiving redemption in You, regardless of our sin. Forgive us for our desire to retaliate and return evil for evil. Teach us to trust You and the laws that are established to take care of what is just. Show us how to love like You so that we would willingly pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You and discover the overwhelming mercy, goodness and love that You pour out upon all who receive what You offer and pursue eternity with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You access to transform our hearts so that we may mirror You lavish love to the world. Amen.

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Lead Us In Your Love

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesian 4:2, TPT)

This verse is a reminder for us all. After so many months of being away from what we have always known as “normal”, patience, gentleness, humility and love are things that only occur when we make an intentional choice to extend them. It can be especially trying when part of the family has upheld some normalcy, as their jobs require their in-person attendance, whereas the twins and I have remained working and going to school from home. As one who has a wanderlust heart and a passion for adventure, this season of always being at home has been exhausting. It takes everything in me to be patient, gentle and loving, as my frustration often gets the better of me. Without God’s grace and loving kindness, none of these traits would ever be evident. I need His grace to fill me anew each day, and even so, there are days that I am depleted and do not demonstrate the love, gentleness and patience that I ought to. Again this morning, I must humbly seek the Lord, and ask for a fresh filling of goodness and grace so that I might see and interact with others as He intended.

Lord, come and fill us,

Renew us again;

Teach us to love well,

Lord, yes and amen.

Show us Your goodness,

Equip us with grace;

Patience and kindness,

Throughout all our days.

Lead us in Your love,

May we humbly give;

Love just as You do,

With grace and forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow us in patience, humility and love as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You demonstrate Your patience, grace and love for us each new day. Forgive us for being harsh or unkind toward those around us. Teach us to turn to You to lead and equip us to love like You. Show us how to be humble, patient, loving and accepting of all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform our heart into one that loves like Yours. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Simply Be Still

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)

The context of this passage is such a powerful reminder of who God is and how He loves. As the Israelites had escaped Egypt and traveled into the desert, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army decided that they had made a mistake in allowing the people to go, and were pursuing them with chariots and horses. In fear and frustration, the Israelites began second-guessing their departure to the desert, and Moses called on the Lord. The response Moses was given was the above verse that he was to share with his people. God demonstrated His power and provision to His people, as He parted the Red Sea and threw the Egyptian army into confusion. The Israelites safely crossed through, and once the Egyptians were all in the middle of the sea, God released the Red Sea and covered the entire military movement, leaving no Egyptian survivors. Often, when we are in the midst of our biggest battles, God tells us the same, “Be still and I will fight for you.” What I have discovered over and over again, is that when I am meant to be still, and actually listen, God moves in miraculous ways. There are times that He calls us to fight or to move as He leads us and strengthens us, yet there are times when we are simply meant to be still and seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His voice, as He instructs us to be still before Him and observe all that He will do.

Let us seek the Lord,

When we’re overwhelmed;

For God has a plan,

In Him, we’re upheld.

Sometimes in trials, 

He tells us, “Be still,”

The Lord is greater,

With grace He will fill.

Our battles belong,

To the Holy One;

Who loves us so much,

That He sent His Son.

All trials we face,

In Him, they are won;

He overcame death,

So we’d overcome.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, yet powerful and ready to fight on our behalf. Thank You that often You call us to be still and give You room to move. Forgive us for the times that we try to keep fighting in spaces that were meant to be Yours. Teach us to seek You and truly listen, so that we may know when to fight and when to be still. Show us how to love all those around us, for everyone has battles that are meant to be Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our laments before You and listen for Your leading, every step of the way. Amen.

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

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Peace At All Times

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

Jesus came so that we would know His peace, no matter what troubles come our way. We are not guaranteed a trouble-free life, rather, we are promised that He who is our peace will be present, always. The last few years have provided their fair share of trouble. Despite the trials that have come our way, God has shown us His peace, grace and love in tangible ways. All that we go through, Jesus has already experienced. Heartache, loss, frustration, anger, despair – He has been there. Because He knows, He is able to be our peace in the storms. Jesus took it all to the cross, buried it in the grave, and rose so that we would know His hope and peace, no matter what comes our way. God affords us courage when the giants stand before us, for He has already overcome them all. May we turn to Christ in all things, as He is our mighty Prince of Peace.

Though troubles will come,

One thing remains true;

The God of all peace,

Is for me and you.

His grace is enough,

To weather the storms;

He says, “Peace, be still,”

As His love informs.

So, trust in the Lord,

For His peace is true;

Present for us all,

And strength He renews.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face and endure troubles and trials, we can know Your perfect peace in the midst of all. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our storms, but rather our storms are in desperate need of Your peace. Forgive us for seeking peace anywhere other than through You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace to those around us. Lead us in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your perfect peace that is ever available when we seek Your presence. Amen.

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

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

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