Beauty Within

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, HCSB)

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, ERV)

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, VOICE)

It is what is inside that determines a person’s beauty, not the way that the exterior is decorated. The things that God deems beautiful are characteristics that grow as we invest our hearts and minds in knowing more of Him. The better we know the Lord, the more beautiful our hearts become. A gentle spirit that is full of grace rises up in us to be shared with those around us. The most beautiful people that I have ever known had hearts that were loving and kind, gentle and full of grace. Their beauty was not determined by the outside, but rather by the love their heart could not help but share. Incredibly, the interior seems to glow outward, making the whole human beautiful. May we ever seek the Lord to adorn our hearts with His character – love, grace, gentleness and peace, for it is such things that make us beautiful in His eyes.

May beauty and grace,

Be what’s in our hearts;

Characteristics,

In love God imparts.

For when we give grace,

God’s love is made clear;

Good overwhelming,

As gentle comes near.

Lord, help us focus,

On that which will last;

Beautiful spirits,

That show that love lasts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true beauty comes from within. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You to grow our heart more like Yours, or have placed our focus on the exterior, rather than on what truly lasts. Teach us to always seek and invest our hearts and time in You, so that we may more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Lead us in Your gentleness and grace to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to increase the beauty within, and lead us to love as You love each of us. Amen.

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

By His breath the heavens gained their beauty… – Job 26:13a

The God of All Comfort

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, HCSB)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, VOICE)

I am so thankful for the comfort that God provides, and that He calls us to offer the same to those around us. Every time I have experienced hardships, struggles or affliction, He has provided people to make His comfort tangible to me. We are in a season where so many have suffered, be it due to hardship, isolation, illness or strife. For each time that we have known comfort in these things, we have been prepared to extend the same comfort to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, for He has shown us how to love and comfort those around us through His ongoing goodness and grace.

All praise to the Lord,

The God of all grace;

Our peace and comfort,

Throughout all our days.

Each time we struggle,

The Lord’s ever near;

Holds us in heartache,

And calms all our fears.

He shows us goodness,

When goodness seems gone;

Hope when we’re hopeless,

Strength to carry on.

Just as He shows us,

His love, hope and grace;

He leads and equips,

So we do the same.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You comfort us with Your faithful ways. Thank You that You call us and empower us to comfort others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not reached out to those in need. Teach us to have Your eyes to see what we can do to comfort those around us, and Your heart to love as You love us. Show us how to love each other well, in good times and in bad, so that all might know the healing and help that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift up those around us, and extend our hands and hearts to show Your tangible and unfailing love. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Seek to Start Well

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – (Matthew 6:33-34, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries. – (Matthew 6:33-34, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. – (Matthew 6:33-34, TPT)

Intentionally seeking God at the start of the day does make a difference. Doing so, helps set the heart and mind on what matters most so that everything else can be taken in stride. Yesterday, I had to get to work early to complete some extra planning for the day, and my morning devotional time was cut short. God is good and full of grace, yet I felt less resilient in the challenges that I encountered throughout the day. The love of the Lord is with us, but we need to be aware of it to function as He intended. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of His kingdom first so that we may do His will, and allow the worries for tomorrow to fall away and rest in His capable hands.

Choose to seek the Lord,

To start well each day;

Don’t let tomorrow,

Disrupt what’s today.

Each day we’re given,

A gift to live well;

With God beside us,

Of love, let us tell.

Not just with our words,

But may ev’ry deed;

Show of His kindness,

As we let Love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we set our hearts and minds on You and Your goodness and love, You provide all that we need to navigate each new day well. Forgive us for trying to operate in our own strength, or for neglecting to recognize our need for You each day. Teach us to turn to You in trust as we rise each morning, and to hold fast to Your goodness and grace as we go through our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day and trust You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Make Time

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

A child has been born for us; a son has been given to us. The responsibility of complete dominion will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be: The Wonderful One! The Extraordinary Strategist! The Mighty God! The Father of Eternity! The Prince of Peace! – (Isaiah 9:6, TPT)

The promise of the arrival of Jesus was foretold long before it came to pass. However, when He arrived, people were surprised that He arrived in such humble beginnings and as He grew, He did not lead as people expected. Jesus was humble and kind, loving and full of grace, with no interest in being seated on an earthly throne. Instead, Jesus came to save us and make the way for us to be in a right relationship with the Father. His life, death, resurrection and ascension created the opportunity for us to be forgiven and made new, so we can come before the throne of God and understand Him as our Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Eternal Father, and our Prince of Peace. As the Christmas season unfolds before us, may we recognize and celebrate the true reason for this most wonderful season, and give praise to the Holy Living God.

Lowly beginning,

Most humble His birth;

Quite unexpected,

How God came to earth.

Born in a stable,

With livestock around;

Shepherds and wise men,

Sought Him and were found.

Angelic visits,

A star overhead;

Goodness and wisdom,

Is how they were led.

The baby, He grew,

In wisdom and grace;

He gave and suffered,

To open the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to know You and understand the eternal hope we have in You. Forgive us for making You too small, for though You came as a baby, You did not stay that way. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and our Prince of Peace. Teach us to remember and trust in all that You are and how great Your love truly is. Show us how to love one another with the love that pours out from a heart that knows and understands the power of Your overwhelming kindness, goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to make time to celebrate and worship You, giving all thanks and praise for coming near to us and giving us hope that lasts forever. Amen.

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

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Speaking With Grace

Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NIV)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith. – (Colossians 4:6, TPT)

When the pressure feels great in every area of life, this is not the easiest thing to do. Grace is great, but there are moments and days that I have to refrain from speaking, as I know that what is churning in my heart and head is not gracious nor wise. This is a space where God’s grace is necessary to navigate well. On my own, I do not have the answers to much of anything. By His grace, words come when they are needed if I am tuned in and dependent on Him. This morning, I again turn in trust to the Lord to be the grace and truth and clarity that is a part of all that I say and do. May we ever seek Him to lead us and guide us with every word that leaves our lips.

Lord, grant me the words,

Of goodness and grace;

The words that bring life,

Throughout each new day.

When my heart’s heavy,

Please keep my mouth closed;

Let only kindness,

Words of love be told.

May Your heart be shown,

Through each word and deed;

As the light of grace,

And Your goodness lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to extend light and life through speaking with kindness and wisdom. Thank You that You willingly supply the words to speak when we are dependent on You. Forgive us for every thought, word and deed that was not gracious, loving or kind. Teach us to depend on You to provide the words when we are uncertain of what to say, and grant us wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent. Show us how to love those around us well, as we extend kindness, goodness and grace through our every word. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak the way You call us to communicate. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Gain in Grace

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, NIV)

This is the way we should live, because God’s grace has come. That grace can save everyone. It teaches us not to live against God and not to do the bad things the world wants to do. It teaches us to live on earth now in a wise and right way – a way that shows true devotion to God. – (Titus 2:11-12, ERV)

God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, TPT)

It is God’s grace that grants us each the opportunity to believe and receive, and enter the folds of His salvation. Being saved does not mean we have reached perfection, but rather it means that He who is perfect, is present and available to lead and guide us throughout all our days. God has given all people a free will; it is our decision alone to either receive all that He has to offer, or not. For those who actively receive, God teaches us what we ought not do, and what we need to do, to walk in the way He intended. We need wisdom, grace, and self-control to live upright and demonstrate our devotion to Him. Each word and deed that we extend that demonstrates God’s overwhelming love, is a manifestation of God’s goodness and grace that is available for everyone. However, when we get caught up in the ways of the world, there is nothing about us that leads anyone closer to the loving embrace of God. All that we say and do matters. May we ever pursue He who is pure and loving and full of grace, so that we too, may navigate each day His way.

Lord, help us receive,

Salvation in You;

For each brand new day,

Show us to live true.

True to Your goodness,

Your love and Your grace;

Upright and godly,

Help us walk Your way.

Lord as we listen,

You lead us in truth;

Steer us from evil,

As You make us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending grace that grants us salvation in You. Thank You that as we seek and grow in our understanding of You, You show us what we should and should not do. Forgive us for forging our own way without seeking Your wisdom, or for allowing ourselves to get caught up in the ways of the world, rather than staying true to who You are calling us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us well, as it is Your love that demonstrates the goodness and kindness that leads people into lives full of the hope that only Your salvation provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your grace that is freely given, and trust in You to lead and direct us in all of the ways that are meant to go. Keep us away from that which was not meant for us. In Your precious name we pray, Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Ponder in Wonder

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – (Luke 2:6-7, NIV)

While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped Him up well and laid Him in a box where cattle are fed. She put Him there because the guest room was full. – (Luke 2:6-7, ERV)

When they arrived in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor, and there she gave birth to her firstborn son. After wrapping the newborn baby in strips of cloth, they laid Him in a feeding trough since there was no available space in any upper room in the village. – (Luke 2:6-7, TPT)

 

This portion of the Christmas Story always leaves me in awe and wonder at the miraculous that took place, out among the animals. A young girl, her first child, no modern conveniences nor medical assistance, and a tremendous trust in God, are but a few of the standouts to me as I ponder the sacred stable scene. I cannot even fathom traveling on foot and donkey, ninety miles, in the heat, very pregnant, only to discover there were no rooms available – anywhere. Then, after your new husband finds someone who will give you room out with their animals, the time comes and there is no stopping what is next. By God’s grace alone, they birth takes place, and after swaddling the newborn King, Mary had only a feed box to lay Him in. Probably not the scene that she had envisioned when the angel had appeared to her and told her what would take place. That being said, she persevered faithfully to all she had been called to do. Perhaps the takeaway this morning is to be faithful in all circumstances, and choose trust, despite what we see.

 

Weary arrival, Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

No where vacant room;

The baby would come,

They needed space soon.

Placed in a stable,

Where animals lay;

Our Savior was born,

God’s plan underway.

The sacred infant,

Grew into the man;

Savior, Redeemer,

Fulfilled the Lord’s plan.

He lived and He loved,

Sinless, full of grace;

Took all upon self,

Then died in our place.

On the third day rose,

Death He overcame;

So that we might live,

As we trust His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the Christmas Story does not end with the birth of baby Jesus, but rather it is only the beginning of the beautiful road to redemption that You created for all who choose to trust in You. Thank You Jesus, for leaving You heavenly throne to come to earth and live as we live and die in our place. Thank You for the incredible gift of Your amazing grace. Forgive us for pondering Your birth, without going beyond the miracle of an infant, born in a stable; for the story is so much more. Show us how to live and love in a way that makes the truth of Your story tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the humble and faithful beginnings and the powerful life, death, resurrection and ascension that brought us to relationship and the hope of eternal life with You. Amen.

 

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

 

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name, Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins. – Matthew 1:20

Let Love Have a Voice

Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, NIV)

Words from the wise bring praise, but words from a fool bring destruction. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, ERV)

The words of a wise person are gracious. The talk of a fool self-destructs. – (Ecclesiastes 10:12, MSG)

 

As today’s passage continues to point to the power that is packed in our words, again I am reminded of how much we need wisdom to guide each word that we make audible. Words spoken in wisdom are heard and received as a gift, yet those that are not, bring destruction to our reputation. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, so that we may have a filter that weeds out foolish thoughts before we speak them, and insight to communicate gracious words in love.

 

Lord help us to speak, Weighing the Why

Wise words, full of grace;

Spoken in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

Please seal our lips,

When foolish thoughts come;

Protect us, we pray,

So Your will be done.

Grow us in wisdom,

Let love have a voice;

Lead us in Your light,

So all may rejoice.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak in Your wisdom and truth. Thank You that as we do, Your love and light and life are shared with those around us. Forgive us for the times we have allowed the foolishness of our own selfishness to have a voice and wound those around us. Teach us to trust and rely on You to guard our hearts and help filter our words, so that what we say offers wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to guard our hearts and guide our words, so that each word we speak is a reflection of You. Amen.

 

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

 

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:11

Light in Darkness

Even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You. – (Psalm 139:12, NIV)

Even the darkness is not dark to You. The night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same. – (Psalm 139:12, ERV)

You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes. For You the night is just as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes. – (Psalm 139:12, VOICE)

 

There is such power in being reminded of the truth of God. It matters not what season we are in, be it one of joy or sorrow; God is present and He sees and knows our need. The people in my life are in a variety of spaces and seasons. For some, they are enjoying a time of blessing and peace, whereas others are in a space of struggle or sorrow or trial. Incredibly, the Lord is near for all, no matter the state we find ourselves in. He is faithful and kind, loving and full of grace. Peace is possible, even in the eye of the storm, and He light can illuminate the darkest of circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in His love to light the way.

For mom, the light that God is using to demonstrate His nearness, is the connection of her best friend in Wenatchee. She is so faithful to call and be intentional to contact mom, that every time mom mentions that she has spoken with June, her heart sounds lighter and more encouraged. I know there are others as well, she just happens to be the one that has been the most consistent and already had such a closely established friendship with mom.

 

Whatever season,

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More poster-making fun for my classroom.

We find ourselves in;

God will be present,

If we welcome Him.

Even our darkness,

Is not out of reach;

Of His loving light,

That provides peace.

So, turn to the Lord,

Whose love is complete;

In His perfect light,

We find safe retreat.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us the same, no matter what season we are in, and that darkness and light are the same to You. There is nothing nor any place too dark for You to see. Thank You that Your love illuminates dark spaces. Forgive us for forgetting that Your light dwells within us, even on our darkest days. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to strengthen and carry us through the storms. Show us how to love those around us, so that we may bring light and life to places that have become dark. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and invest in our relationship with You, as that is what fuels our light within. Amen.

 

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

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Take Heart

“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)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

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Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. Amen.

 

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

 

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