Set Aside Distractions

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, NIV)

But King David answered Araunah, “No, I will pay you the full price. I will not take anything that is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not give offerings that cost me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, ERV)

David replied to Araunah, “No. I’m buying it from you, and at the full market price. I’m not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, MSG)

 

The back story prior to King David determining to give an offering at that particular place, is that he had just been spared the full brunt of God’s wrath on Israel. David’s lack of trust in God led to a seemingly severe punishment, yet God relented prior to the complete fulfillment of what He had said would be done. David contended for mercy and an angel of the Lord told him to go up and build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice at that particular place. Being a man who understood what it meant to offer a sacrifice, he knew it required a cost on his part. When King David approached Araunah about purchasing the parcel of land to use to present sacrifices to God, Araunah was ready to give the land as a gift. David could not accept the land as a gift if it was part of a sacrifice, because for him, it had to have a cost. King David needed to be acutely aware of the expense, as a reminder of the mercy extended to him and all of Israel. When we make a sacrifice, it does not necessarily have to be monetary, yet it ought to be something that makes us aware of its absence so that we are expectant in wait of the better that is yet to come. For David, it was mercy for all of Israel. That was indeed far greater than the cost of a space to offer sacrifices. Today, the same principle still applies. When we are seeking answers, giving something up as we seek the Lord so that we might fully focus on Him, helps remind us what matters most. What are the answers you are seeking or the help you are needing? What is getting in your way? Identifying the distraction may be the first step in knowing what to set aside for a time, in order to seek the Lord for the help that is needed most. May we look to the Lord for the help and answers that we seek, and set aside that which distracts us from fully pursuing Him.

 

Seek the Lord our God, Set Aside Distractions

And all of His ways;

Remove distractions,

As we give God praise.

Pursue the Lord’s best,

As we set aside;

Barriers to Him,

Draw near, choose abide.

For when we focus,

On God and His will;

He leads and guides us,

And peace comes to fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and set aside the things that distract us, You answer us and show us more of Yourself. Thank You that You only ask us to lay things down so that we can have something better in You. Forgive us for allowing so many things to draw our attention away from You. Set our hearts and minds on You so that we live and love according to Your plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless and encourage and illuminate Your heart to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to sacrifice things that distract us from You and wholeheartedly pursue You and all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, Lord, for it is good. – Psalm 54:6

Recognize and Become Wise

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. – (Psalm 90:12, TLB)

 

Love and loss are phenomenal teachers, as they show us tangibly, the importance of each new day that we are given. Though I have walked through the end of life with one too young before, we were reminded again this past year, just how important each new day is, as we lost Mark’s dad too soon, and nearly lost my mom when she had a stroke. When we navigate seasons of struggle and loss, we can either dwell on the devastation, or embrace the gift of each new day that we are given. In the case of Mark’s father, grace, goodness, forgiveness and healing happened, as there was a recognition of numbered days, and wisdom gained in how to utilize the time. Mark and his dad were able to mend what had been broken, and though there was loss at the death, there is peace. As for mom, we have embraced with gratitude, each new day we have been given. Recovery is slow, by human standards, yet each new step and gain of strength, is reason to celebrate and give God glory. It is interesting that we typically associate older individuals with wisdom, yet now that I think about it, the older we get, the more aware we are that our days are numbered. When we know that we have a finite amount of time remaining, we desire to do the best we can with what we have. Wisdom is gained when we recognize that we are not immortal and are in need of the Savior. May we ever recognize that though our days are limited, they are each intended to count. Show us Lord, how to spend each day in a way that honors You.

 

Lord, help me number, The Wisdom We Seek

Each one of my days;

To make each one count,

May my life bring praise.

And help me to seek,

Ever choose pursue;

The wisdom that comes,

From time spent with You.

Help me to honor,

You Lord, as I live;

Let Your love and grace,

Be what I choose give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of life. Thank You that we are given a limited amount of time to live and love and extend goodness and grace as You call us to do. Thank You that as we ask, You grant wisdom to know how to navigate. Forgive us for the times that we just drift along, rather than actively pursue Your best for each new day. Teach us to recognize the gift that each new morning holds. Grant us wisdom to know how to live and love best. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to those around us, so that they too, may understand the depth of Your love and the importance of embracing the time that we have. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how finite our time here, and pursue Your wisdom as to what to do with each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Choose Praise

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

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

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

 

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

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Use the Gifts

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

One of the reasons that I love to coach is because I was blessed with coaches who encouraged and inspired me to be the best version of myself, both on and off of the playing field/gym floor. A gift that I feel God has birthed and grown in me, is one of encouragement. This is an asset for a coach, and one of the things that I enjoy immensely about the job that I have partaken in for the majority of my life. There is great reward in encouraging and helping young athletes grow, and such joy in watching them discover the fruit of their labor. This morning, I have an interview for a high school assistant gymnastics coaching position at our local high school. My experience has been coaching recreational and middle school gymnastics since I was sixteen, yet the high school arena is entirely new, barring my own experience as a gymnast. As a middle school head coach, this would be an incredible opportunity to learn the sport at an entirely new level. For me, the hope is to grow that which is already within, so that I may become better equipped to lead well, and to extend what I have to offer to this group as we grow together. God is good, and He is faithful. I am embracing the opportunity to learn, and will serve in this season, whether I am hired for the paid spot or not.

 

We’re all given gifts, img_2019-11-21_04-33-541632839495721985461.jpg

In various forms;

Intended to serve,

Blessings God affords.

Whatever we have,

We are meant to use;

To extend God’s grace,

Purposeful pursuit.

May we each go forth,

And serve as we’re called;

Operate in strength,

Through God’s love installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with strengths, gifts and purpose. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to grow and utilize that which we have been given. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to navigate in the strength that we have been granted, or attempt to be someone or something other than who we are created to be. Teach us to lean into You so that we would be confident in that which we are called and created to do. Show us how to love those around us in exactly the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our purpose in the gifts that You have planted and purposed in each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

In Trust, I Rise

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life. – (Psalm 119:147, TPT)

 

Early mornings have been my favorite time of day for many years. When I was a small child, rising early meant the promise of watching cartoons prior to whatever plans the day held. As I grew older, I discovered the beauty found in the silent stillness, while most of the world still sleeps. For an introvert in a highly interactive role, rising early to ready myself for the day, is essential. Some days, it is praying, and others, it is a sort of crying out for help, as I seek strength and wisdom to find the fortitude to forge forward in faith. No matter how I wake and approach God, He is faithful to meet me as I am. His word is alive and active; ever teaching, correcting, and challenging me to be more of who He is calling me to become. I trust Him and place my hope in He who is faithful forever. May we ever pursue our Provider, and trust His word to work in our lives.

 

Before dawn appears, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

In faith, I choose rise;

To call on the Lord,

Have Him lead my life.

For as I choose trust,

Always I have found;

He’s faithful and true,

His wisdom is sound.

Help me to live well,

A life built on trust;

Renewed each morning,

Wise, faithful and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whenever we come to You and pray to You, You are faithful to hear us. Thank You that we can trust in Your word. Thank You for the gift of early mornings and the capacity to rise early. Thank You for the gift of the silence of early mornings, while the world still sleeps. Forgive us for not being intentional in our pursuit of You and Your word. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be purposeful in prayer and seek to study and know Your word. Show us how to love those around us with faithfulness and grace, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You and choose to spend time seeking You, because You are faithful and worthy of all of our trust. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Share and Share Alike

Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. – (1 Timothy 6:18, NIV)

Tell those who are rich to do good – to be rich in good works. And tell them they should be happy to give and ready to share. – (1 Timothy 6:18, ERV)

Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. – (1 Timothy 6:18, TLB)

 

These words were written in Paul’s first letter to Timothy, as he encouraged and instructed his “son” in the faith, while he (Timothy) was traveling from town to town to meet with and encourage the churches. At the time, believers were under such severe persecution, that they had to help and depend on one another for survival. The churches that were thriving, despite horrendous persecution, were those that lived closely in community and cared for one another, sharing with each other, whatever God had given them. Though times have changed, the call to have a heart of generosity, has not. Whatever we have has been entrusted to us, so that we might love well. Part of loving well is a generous heart that is ready to share that which we have. Our sharing does not need to be all about money. In fact, our time, our love, our support, our energy, and our ongoing care invested, are the very things that lead to the good works God intended all along. Nothing we have should be held too tightly; for all is a gift. May we seek the Lord to show us best, how to be generous and share with others, according to His good and perfect will; at all times and in all circumstances.

As far as examples of living a life according to these principles, my mom is one of the best that I know. Her home has always been a welcoming oasis for family, friends and neighbors nearby, and to those traveling through. She loves and serves and gives with an enormous heart of love, and all who enter her presence, feel rich for keeping company with her. Currently, as she continues on the road to recovery, my sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, are following in her footsteps as they give of their time, talent and resources, to love, encourage and help care for mom well. I know it is a challenge for mom to not fulfill the role she is accustomed to keeping, but her perseverance and the love that surrounds her, is what she needs to get back to a space where she is able to resume her role. May prayers for total healing continue…

 

A generous heart, Ambassadors of Love

Is to what we’re called;

To give out of love,

The gifts God’s installed.

Wherever we’re rich,

Opportunity;

To share and to give,

Most generously.

Be it gifts of love,

Time, talent or things;

May we choose to share,

And honor our King.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the generous gifts that You give to us all – be it time, talent, resources, encouragement, or an incredible heart to love. Thank You that You call us to share with those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have believed the lie that we had nothing to give, or have chosen to ignore a need around us. Teach us to keep our eyes and hearts open, so that we would see needs and hear Your heart for what we have to offer. Show us how to love and share well with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we share with others out of that which You have so generously given to us. Amen.

 

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

 

The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. – Proverbs 22:9

Sharing Shoulders

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

It is overwhelmingly obvious that God’s very best plan for us is to be invested in community. What I have discovered, is that the more I invest my heart, my time, and my willingness to be transparent, the more burdens are divided and overcome. This is true in my marriage, family, and in close friendships. The imagery of shouldering each other’s burdens is powerful, as it is a reminder to walk alongside and help bear the weight. In college, I was on our crew team. When we carried our racing shell down the hill to the dock, it was not a heavy burden if each rower stepped up and helped shoulder the weight. However, if members were missing, slacking off, or slow to get to the boathouse, the weight of the boat in our shoulders became extraordinarily taxing. It is no wonder we are called and commanded to help each other. The hope is that none become too heavily weighed down, as every heavy burden is shared. Sadly, the caveat is that the sharing of burdens is only possible if people are known. Community is key. To love people well, we need to know people and be known. May we ever invest in those whom Christ has placed in our community, so that we may love well and help shoulder one another’s burdens in accordance to God’s law of perfect love.

 

To walk side-by-side,img_2019-10-23_03-59-095236091504307344571.jpg

Or move hand-in-hand;

Helping each other,

Is what the Lord planned.

We are created,

For community;

To know and be known,

Let love be what’s seen.

Help one another,

With burdens we bear;

For weight divided,

Doable when shared.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear our burdens alone, nor are we to watch others struggle through theirs. Thank You that we have been created to be in community. Thank You that as we invest and know one another, we are equipped to help each other carry the weight of whatever comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we have attempted to shoulder our burdens alone, or have neglected to walk beside one whom You are calling us to help shoulder a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your nudging. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we would be in the sort of community that walks side-by-side and hand-in-hand. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to grant us strength to have the shoulders needed to be the spouse, parent, family member and friend that You call us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Ongoing Peace

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – (Isaiah 26:12, NIV)

Lord, You have succeeded in doing everything we tried to do, so give us peace. – (Isaiah 26:12, ERV)

Lord, grant us peace; for all we have and are has come from You. – (Isaiah 26:12, TLB)

 

I so appreciate the way the various translations are phrased, as each utilizes a slightly different tense, reminding us that what God does, has done, and will do, continues. He is faithful to work in and through us, and to provide His peace. Our part is to seek Him and trust in Him, and allow the Lord to work in and through us. As we do, God accomplishes far more than we could ever hope or imagine on our own. His peace we find present, even in the most tumultuous of time. May we ever seek the Lord to establish His peace for us, and give Him praise for all He has done and will continue to do for us.

God has been faithful to accomplish much for Mom as well. He has provided ongoing time for her to continue along her recovery journey, as God is working through my sister and her family as they faithfully love and care for Mom. Communication has been a bit of a challenge, as life moves at a race pace in my sister’s world. Despite her insane schedule, she is loving Mom well, and she, my brother-in-love and Mom were able to get out last evening to one of their favorite places. It was wonderful to see a photo of their smiling faces, and recognize that peace was present as they were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company.

 

All peace established, Ongoing Peace

A gift from the Lord;

Grace made tangible,

As love is outpoured.

All that we have done,

The good we have shown;

Is by God’s great grace,

Lest His heart be known.

Rise up in kindness,

Choose go forth in peace;

Seek love as we’re loved,

So good may increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You establish peace for us and move mightily in and through us as we depend on You. Thank You that You can do so much more than we could ever hope or imagine on our own. Forgive us for attempting to power through on our own, or for seeking peace anywhere other than in Your presence. Teach us to trust and rely on You, as You work in mighty ways. Show us how to love all those whom we encounter, so that Your peace may be made known and Your amazing grace, shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to move in and through us and to be our perfect peace. 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

Remember With Thanks

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy. – (Philippians 1:3-4, NIV)

I thank God every time I remember you. And I always pray for all of you with joy. – (Philippians 1:3-4, ERV)

All my prayers for you are full of praise to God! When I pray for you, my heart is full of joy. – (Philippians 1:3-4, TLB)

 

Last evening, my wonderful husband accompanied me to my 30-year, high school reunion. It was the informal, post-homecoming game, meet up, and incredible to see and recognize faces; even though for some it had been twenty, or even thirty years. What I loved about both participating in, and observing, was the mingling of all sorts of people. Individuals who either did not know each other in high school, or ran in separate circles, interacted and celebrated the presence of one another. After thirty years, life has happened to us all – tragedies and triumphs, celebrations and heartaches, children, marriages, jobs, and a great deal of discovering what truly matters. Occasions such as these, are what I appreciate about social media. With some classmates, I had already felt a bit of connection, as we have kept in touch over the years and followed one another’s lives, via Facebook. Though some are put off by the whole social media venue, what it does for me is exactly what the verse expresses. It reminds me of those for whom I am thankful, as each contributed to a part of my formative years. I am reminded to pray for those near and far, and give thanks for the good that goes on in their lives. Each new day is a gift, and my heart is full of joy for the privilege of reconnecting with people thirty years later.

 

Each time I recall, fb_img_1570286184673570243275686313723.jpg

Those met on my way;

I have to give thanks,

For the gifts God gave.

The greatest treasures,

Found throughout our lives;

Are beautiful souls,

Who’ve treated us kind.

For each, I give praise,

My heart full of joy;

Please bless each dear heart,

With good to enjoy.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of people that You bring throughout our lives. Thank You for the opportunity to reconnect and celebrate life together, so many years later. Thank You for the blessed ones that are far away and cannot join us. Thank You for the joy that You bring to us through the presence of others. Forgive us for neglecting to lift our loved ones up before You. Bring to mind all those whom we are meant to remember. Show us how to love well, all the people that You have placed around us today, so that they may feel Your joy and peace in our presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we remember with praise the people You have placed along our path, and thank You for the joy that each one brings. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Realigned for Gratitude

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19b-20, NIV)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, TPT)

 

Some days, a reminder to give thanks is well-timed, particularly when the “crud” is still lingering, and I wake up not quite ready to embrace the day. Regardless of how I feel, there are countless reasons for which I can give God thanks. This morning, the simple reminder in His word, helped realign my heart with gratitude. Each new day is a gift, and I am incredibly grateful for the people He has placed in my life. I have an incredibly loving and supportive husband, bright and kind children, loyal and caring friends, colleagues that are included in my circle of friends, extended family that is close despite the distance, a church in which we are firmly rooted, and a job that I enjoy, even on the difficult days. For each of these things and countless more, I give God praise, both today and always.

Mom is one of the greatest reasons to give praise. First and foremost, I am overwhelmingly grateful that she is with us and on the road to recovery. Though the road is long and painfully slow by human standards, she is here, and she is making positive progress. Mom embraces opportunities to work on growing stronger, and remains hopeful, ever trusting in He who is her strength. May we ever give thanks to God for all that He has done.

 

All thanks be to God,img_2019-10-03_05-05-362923133453325865323.jpg

Each day we draw breath;

For light, life and love,

Defeater of death.

Praise Him for the good,

The blessings that come;

Each beautiful soul,

That helps us become.

Become so much more,

Than we would alone;

Encouragement grows,

As people feel known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You have surrounded me with an incredible community of support and encouragement. Thank You that even on days that I don’t feel great, I have so much to be thankful for and reasons to give You praise. Forgive us for the times that we allow our frustrations or challenges to overshadow the blessings that You bestow upon us. Teach us to see the good, even in the shadowy spaces. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers encouragement and support in the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all of the blessings that You bring into our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

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