Align Our Hearts and Minds

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 ideas 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) 

Just because something is popular or “trending”, does not mean it is right. Our charge is to seek God and allow Him to transform and renew our minds. God’s good, perfect and pleasing will revolves around loving Him and loving those around us. If what we do and say is not motivated by love, it is not what He intended. However, if the way that our mind is being transformed is to love more deeply and walk more justly, we are walking in His will. My hope is to live a beautiful life that is pleasing to God. It does not mean it will be an easy life, however, it will be one full of love. May we ever seek the Lord to transform us from the inside out, so that we will live the life that He intended. 

Do not live the life, 

Of somebody else; 

Each have a purpose, 

To live out ourselves. 

Give God full access, 

To change and renew; 

So we do His will, 

Unto Him, live true. 

May we be transformed, 

In heart and in mind; 

So we live a life, 

That’s loving and kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and trust our lives in Your hands, You transform and renew us to walk in Your good and pleasing will. Forgive us for the times that we have simply gone with what the majority think, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to seek, trust, and depend on You to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good, perfect and pleasing will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform and renew us to align our hearts and minds with Yours. Amen. 

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Called to Better

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – (Psalm 103:8, NIV) 

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV) 

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

God’s compassion, grace, kindness and mercy are exactly what the world needs right now. With all of the recent human ugliness, “…a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness”, is exactly the sort of love and patience we need to have with one another. We are a broken people, full of fault and failure, desperately in need of God’s mercy and love. God is all of these things and more, yet we have the choice to either receive from Him and pass it on, or stay stuck in our broken state of being. As we accept what the Lord freely gives, we are driven to do better; be better. May we ever pursue the Lord and His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all with whom we interact. 

Kindness, compassion, 

Patience and great love; 

All from the Father, 

Our Lord up above. 

All these are granted, 

Though we don’t deserve; 

May it compel us, 

To listen and serve. 

For as we receive, 

We’re equipped to give; 

Love as intended, 

Grace and peace to live. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that as we seek You and receive from You, You equip us to go forth and love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion or grace, and allowed anger to get in the way of love. Show us how to love like You – with compassion, grace, patience, and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us how to be and do better, each day that we draw breath. Amen. 

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

He has caused wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – Psalm 111:4

Confidently Seek in Love

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we present any request agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

 

At first read, this can be a bit intimidating. Who am I to truly know God’s will? The more I read and ponder and pray, the more I recognize that if whatever I am asking God is aligned with loving Him and loving people, then my prayers will be heard. His will not always revealed to us, yet we do know that what He commands of us, desires of us, and has created us for – loving Him and loving those around us. It seems that the bottom line as we approach God for anything, is what is the condition of our heart? What I mean by that is what is our intention for what we are asking. Is it for the good our heart toward Him? Will it help or better the life of another? What I have learned is that God is gracious and kind and full of love, and He hears our heart cry as we come before Him with honesty and truth. He leads and guides in the ways we are meant to go, and blesses us with His peace. May we ever confidently seek the Lord in prayer, trusting that He hears and cares about what we ask as we pursue His best for every circumstance.

 

We can be certain,

The Lord hears our prayer;

Each time that we seek,

He listens with care.

With a heart for good,

Full of love and peace;

God shows us the way,

As grace is released.

So, choose seek the Lord,

Pray confidently;

With a heart of love,

God hears faithfully.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and showing us what is good. Thank You that if our heart is for loving You and loving people, You hear our prayers with a heart of love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have sought You out of selfishness. Teach us to trust and follow You in all things. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love us so well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with a heart of love, ever pursuing Your will. Amen.

 

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

 

For You have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

 

 

Recognize What is Good

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

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, ERV)

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

There is no better time than now, to recognize what goodness is, and walk it out. The things that God asks of us are the very same things that He grants to us in abundance. He is just and merciful and full of love, compassionate and kind. We are charged to humbly walk with God and do as He asks, so that we too, might be equipped to extend the same to all whom we encounter. Incredibly, these things are contagious. Random acts of kindness have a domino effect, as the recipient of one small act is often compelled to do something kind for someone else, and so on. In this space of “staying at home”, we may think we have little opportunity to do good and have any sort of impact, however, our kids, our families, our neighbors, and even the checker at the grocery store when we need to restock supplies, will remember how we made them feel during this season. If we are compassionate and loyal in love, choosing fairness and kindness in all that we say and do, it will have a positive and lasting impact on those around us. It does make a difference, as even in our Zoom meetings, knowing my 6th grade team and I all love Jesus, there is a positivity, kindness and compassion toward one another and genuine concern for our students, that binds us together in common purpose. We are all willing to trust one another and try new things, as we each know the intention of the others is good. May we recognize the opportunity that we each have in this season to do as the Lord has shown us; for He will clearly show us what is good, what loyalty in love looks like, how to extend kindness, how to grant mercy, and how to walk humbly with Him.

 

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The Lord clearly shows;

What we are to do,

And which doors to close.

He shows us mercy,

So we’ll do the same;

To love, give kindness,

It honors His Name.

As we walk with Him,

And humbly pray;

He leads and guides us,

He shows us the way.

His plan’s always good,

Full of love and grace;

We’re meant for the same,

As we walk His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is good and what You require of us. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not also willing to give us and equip us to do. Thank You that You first loved us and made the way for us to do as You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not represented You well, or have done nothing when we were meant to reach out. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have Your eyes to see the opportunities to operate justly, love mercy, give kindness, love with loyalty, and ever walk humbly with You. Show us specific and tangible ways to demonstrate Your goodness and love everywhere we go, with everyone whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to love others like You do. Amen.

 

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

 

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

For Beautiful New

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

 

I am not big on resolutions nor bandwagon ideas for the coming year. However, as I sat down to prepare to do my devotions this morning, I pondered the overarching word that could capture the heart of this past year. Right away, the word that came to mind was hope. Hope has been the anchor for my soul through some seriously stormy seas that I never thought I’d need to navigate. God’s grace has been abundant, and His hope – overwhelmingly present. Looking forward, I paused, for only a moment, and prayed, asking what word might be one to look for in the coming year. Right away, the word “new” came to mind. For most, I know that new would make sense for a new year, but as a teacher, the new year falls only halfway through the school year, so it really never feels “new”. It is simply a return, rested and recharged for part two. That being said, as I opened my Bible app to go to the day’s reading, and immediately I was greeted by the verses listed above. I do not think that the verse and the word that came to mind and heart are a coincidence. God is doing something new, and I am going to eagerly anticipate all that awaits in the new year. Growth is always good, and possible where things seem impossible – excellent! May we ever watch closely and take notice, for God is doing new things – making a way where there seems no way, and providing beyond what we thought possible.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of accompanying Mom to her therapy appointments. It was incredible to watch all of the “new” that she is doing in occupational, speech and physical therapies. Additionally, Saturday morning, Mom determined to try out her new cane, rather than her walker. Since then, she has not looked back, and is now only using the cane to walk! That includes going out for appointments, quick errands, and even when we went out to dinner last evening. God continues to do the “new” in Mom, and we are anticipating an incredible year ahead for her as well.

 

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That is yet to come;

God’s making a way,

He’s only begun.

Where impossible,

Was how it all seemed;

God’s making the way,

Realizing dreams.

We know not the way,

He’s working for us;

But He’s full of love,

And faithful to bless.

So, rise up in trust,

Have faith His word’s true;

God’s making a way,

For beautiful new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love. Thank You that You make a way where there seems to be no way, and grow us beyond what we ever imagined possible. Thank You that You are always doing something new on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that question the possibility of anything more than where we are right now. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would view life through Your lens rather than our own. Show us how to love those around us in ways that support, encourage, and strengthen all whom we meet with reason to believe there is more in store. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all the new that is yet to come in 2020. Amen.

 

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

 

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 11:19

The Significance of a Shepherd

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11, NIV)

That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you – news that will make everyone happy. Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord.” – (Luke 2:8-11, ERV)

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. – (Luke 2:8-11, MSG)

 

It is so interesting that God chose to announce the arrival of the birth of His Son to a group of shepherds who were out in their fields, guarding their flocks at night. The more I pause and ponder, the more fascinated I become with the significant roles and references to shepherds throughout the Bible. David was a shepherd boy who became a great king. Jesus was from the line of David, which is why Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem for the census in the first place. Additionally, there are many references throughout the New Testament where Jesus is referred to as the good shepherd, as He tends to us and watches over us as His flock. Shepherds care for and protect their sheep, and know them each by name. Back then, shepherds had to fight off wild animals and protect the sheep from all harm, as well as tend to the sick and injured among them. Their livelihood was dependent on the well-being of their sheep, and from what I have read, the shepherds that tended their own flocks, did so in much the same way as Jesus did for the people all around Him. The shepherds in the fields that night, though well-trained in fending off predators, had no exposure to a visit from heavenly hosts. It is no wonder that the first words prior to announcing the arrival of Jesus, was “Do not be afraid.” Between shock and awe, the shepherds took in the announcement and acted upon it. With great urgency, they hurried off to see what the heavenly hosts had proclaimed.  Lastly, in the same way that shepherds care for their sheep and that Jesus modeled for us what it is do love and shepherd those around us well, we too are called to be shepherds of God’s flock; watching over them and caring well out of our own eagerness to serve. (see 1 Peter 5:2) May we seek the Lord to have the heart of a shepherd; humble, protective, and willing to go to great lengths to love and care for those who are placed in our reach.

 

Fiercely protective,

With hearts full of love;

We’re called to shepherd,

Like the Lord above.

Watch and extend care,

Throughout night and day;

Listen to God’s lead,

So none go astray.

For God chose the hearts,

Of the faithful ones;

In love, tending flocks,

To announce His Son.

He seeks the faithful,

To shepherd and keep;

All His beloved,

His people; His sheep.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose the faithful and protective ones to be the recipients of the great news of the arrival of Your Son. Thank You that You call each of us to faithfully love and protect those around us in much the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not been as vigilant as we ought to for those who we are called to care for and protect. Teach us to love and protect like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your comfort, protections, peace and presence known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, the Good Shepherd, to direct our steps as we seek to love those around us as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve. – 1 Peter 5:2

Love Because…

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – (1 John 4:11, NIV) 

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. – (1 John 4:11, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. – (1 John 4:11, MSG)

 

So far, this weekend has been exactly what Mark and I both needed. It is the first weekend in months that we have not had plans nor an agenda. Yesterday turned into a wonderful day of quality time catching up with friends. After my love and I took care of some errand and returned home, I was able to escape and get mani/pedis with my best friend. Between us, our work schedules have kept us from spending the time together that we would most enjoy, so an afternoon together was a great way to catch up. In the evening, Mark and I met up with one of my dearest friends from childhood (our bonus sister), along with her husband and son, and spent a wonderful evening together, sharing life and enjoying each other’s company. The love that God gives us to love one another was made evident throughout the day in each interaction. His love runs deep, and it is not limited by how often we see one another. His goodness and grace are abundant, and relationships long ago established, remain full of love by His grace. May we ever recognize the depth of love that God has for us, and extend the same to those with whom we interact.

 

May the love of God, Love Because

Move our hearts and minds;

To love as we’re loved,

With grace, choose be kind.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

His heart is made known,

As good is outpoured.

So, let us choose love,

Just as God loves us;

Grace to each other,

Through hope we express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the depth and breadth of Your love that envelops us and empowers us to love. Thank You for the gift of friendships that exemplify the greatness of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that You place Your love for people within us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen not to extend all that You have given us to others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible love that You give so that we can turn and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39

Sing of His Strength

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

 

This needs to be my focus this morning, as I am still weighted down by this bug. He is my strength, and His love is overwhelming. The Lord is my help, and I have to trust His timing. Though visiting a Redi-Clinic or Check Medical is not high up on my list of favorite ways to spend a Sunday, I am grateful that they exist and I can go and be seen. God is good, He knows what I need, and I trust Him to provide. Tomorrow is the first day of second semester and the first day of turnouts for gymnastics. As a teacher who will be receiving three new art classes, and the head coach of gymnastics, I cannot be absent. It seems a bit overwhelming to think about remaining upright for an entire day, but that is still more than twenty-four hours away. He is good, and make way where there seems to be no way. May we ever sing of the Lords strength, love, and help, as He is faithful, always.

 

The Lord is for us, Strong Heart

Our strength, full of love;

Help in times of need,

Most gracious above.

May we ever sing,

Of all that He does;

Provider of all,

Our Giver of love.

All glory to God,

Full of love and grace;

Ever beside us,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and that You pour Your love upon us. Thank You that You are our help in times of struggle. Forgive us for not seeking You for all that we need, or questioning Your capacity to be our help. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength, help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing of Your strength and love, and give You praise for Your ever-present help. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

The Love that Knows No End

But You, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 86:15, NLT) 

My Lord, You are a kind and merciful God. You are patient, loyal, and full of love. – (Psalm 86:15, ERV) 

But You, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and You never, never quit. – (Psalm 86:15, MSG) 

 

Some mornings it is far more challenging to get up and get moving than others. Because I rise quite early, there are morning that I think my body is confused, and I wake up several times prior to my alarm alerting me with an Irish jig. Today was that sort of morning. The actual getting out of bed is not so much the struggle, but rather the seeming ability to function well, prior to my coffee kicking in, is where I find myself right now. As I sit and read the various translations/interpretations of this verse, I am blessed and encouraged, for God is for me and is faithful to meet me, even in my exhausted state. He is not angered that I feel weary, but rather His grace washes over me, and I am equipped with all that I need to continue each step of what He calls me to do. God cares about the minute details just as much as He is concerned with the big stuff. I know this to be true, as His love washes over me while I sit and focus on His word. May we ever seek the Lord and His unfailing love, for His kindness knows no end and His patience does not pass away.  

 

On difficult days, Wisdom from Heaven

You still are with us; 

Ever granting strength, 

The love of Jesus. 

You never give up, 

Your love never fails; 

When we’re feeling stuck, 

You’re wind in our sails. 

We thank You, O Lord, 

For all of our days; 

For all that You are, 

And Your faithful ways. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and meet us, no matter how we come before You. Your love lifts us up and carries us through each day. Forgive us for our moments of doubt or dismay, when all around us seems too much. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace Your grace as we rise each new day. Show us how to love those around us in a way that conveys Your faithfulness and willingness to love without limits. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each new morning, and praise You for Your faithful and unending love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Appropriated Praise

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV) 

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV) 

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG) 

 

This tends to feel like an extraordinarily long week, as we all adjust to being back at work and school after having had a several-day stretch of a break. Between the cold, dark, drizzly days to the extra meetings that have taken place, or the pursuit of personal fitness goals that have increased my running mileage, by the end of each day, I have found myself thoroughly exhausted. Through it all, God deserves my gratitude. Because of His faithfulness, I am gainfully employed, working at a job that I have loved for more than twenty years. His grace grants us seasons that nourish the earth, and make us appreciate warmer weather all the more. Finally, His goodness has granted me a body that is strong and healthy and able to work harder and be pushed farther to attain new milestones in my own personal pursuit of wellness. May we ever thank God for His goodness and love, as His faithfulness lasts forever and He is worthy of all of our praise. 

 

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When all’s going well; 

And still give Him thanks, 

When things aren’t so swell. 

Even in darkness, 

God’s love light does shine; 

It is up to us, 

Allow Him headline. 

All praise to the Lord, 

For all of our days; 

His hope, grace and help, 

Love that lights our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love for us, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that Your love lasts forever. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when we are weary of all that weighs us down. Teach us to give You praise, no matter how we feel, as You are the reason we have life and breath and hope, both now and forever. Show us how to love those around us practically, so that Your goodness, faithfulness and love are made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13