Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Prepare

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, in which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

 

As the calendar turns another page and we are now making our way into December, the word that keeps coming to my heart and mind, is “prepare”. I did a quick biblical word study, and discovered that the many mentions of preparing or preparation were for battles, arrivals, departures, deaths, feasts, sacrifices, celebrations and ceremonies. In each instance, those preparing were the ones whom had been called. The tenth verse of the second chapter of Ephesians, helps us recognize that we all have been called, created and prepared to do good works that God has planned for us. It is not difficult to find places where good is needed during this holy season, and we are each meant to step in and offer what we have to give – be it our time, our talents or our resources. Our heart is what requires preparation the most frequently, as the distractions all around us can dull our awareness to the places we have been prepared to extend good. May we slow down often in this sacred season, to prepare our hearts, so that we are ready and available to do the good things that God has for us to do.

 

This sacred season,Prepare

May we rise, prepare;

Set our hearts on good,

And how we can share.

For we’re created,

Each of us prepared;

With plan and purpose,

In God’s loving care.

Let us each choose seek,

So that we may find;

The good we can do,

In love for mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the same way You prepared each one of us with a plan and a purpose, may we too, prepare our hearts this season, to walk out the good that You have for us to give. Thank You that we all have something to offer, be it our time, talent or resources. Forgive us for the times that we think we have nothing to give, or we neglect to slow down and look for ways to extend Your heart to others in this sacred season. Teach us to take time to listen to Your leading, and to be willing to walk out whatever You ask of us. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways this season, that make Your goodness and grace evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prepare our hearts in the same way that You prepared each of us, to do good and represent You well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Place All Hope

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

 

This is where the “rubber meets the road”, as we have to make a decision to hold hope in the proper place, no matter what we see. Every time I find myself discouraged or disappointed in how things appear to be unfolding, I have to check myself and evaluate exactly where I am placing my hope. What I find each time, is that the let down or seeming “loss of hope” is due to hope misplaced. When I place my hope in people or things, I will always end up disappointed. Humans are flawed and things are empty. Hope belongs in Christ alone. He who makes promises, is faithful to fulfill them, and God is the One in whom our hope belongs. If I place my hope in Him, and give Him my dreams, desires, and aspirations, He will do abundantly more than I could ever do on my own. Even when it appears that what I desired most is dead in the water, He can turn it around for something good. It has to be a matter of trust, and placing hope where hope belongs. May we hold fast to the hope we confess, without wavering; for He who has promised, is faithful forever.

The process feels a bit different when it comes to someone else, whom we love with all of our heart. It seems that it boils down to a matter of trust. With Mom, and her recovery, I have to trust that God’s word is true, and that He loves her even more than I do. He has a plan and a purpose for her, and it is good, and that reminds my heart that I have every reason to hope in Him for all that He is and continues to do for Mom on her road to recovery. He who promised is faithful, and daily there is tangible evidence of His love and grace as He encourages and strengthens Mom.

 

Let us hold the hope, Anchor

Found in God alone;

He’s faithful always,

And our hearts are known.

It’s placing our trust,

In God and His will;

Not in other things,

For they won’t fulfill.

People are broken,

We fall short and fail;

But God, in His grace,

Will always prevail.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Place all hope in Him;

His love never fails,

Once we let Him in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope. Thank You that You have plans and purposes for our lives that are greater than we could hope or imagine. Thank You that Your plans go far beyond what we can see with our eyes or own understanding. Thank You that You are always good. Forgive us for the times that we place our hope in people or things, rather than in You. Teach us to trust You more, for You alone deserve our trust. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless, encourage and inspire hope in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and hope in You alone. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:19a

Ask for Direction

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, NIV)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path. – (Psalm 143:10, VOICE)

 

This morning, I am enthusiastically mulling over a new opportunity that was set before me yesterday evening. By all appearances, it seems as though God ordained the timing, as paths crossed at just the right moment for need and skill set to collide. For me, it would be a hope long held; realized, and a connection to grow something I already love, even greater. Between full familial support and a heart that is thrilled and the possibility, I am full of hope that this is His will and the path on which I am being led. The next few days will tell the tale, as all would come to fruition by Tuesday of next week, if it is the path that I am meant to take in this season. My prayer is that I would know clearly what His will is, and that I would follow whatever direction I am meant to go, with passion and strength to persevere.

 

O Lord God on high, Ask for Direction

Show me what to do;

Lead me on Your path,

So, I honor You.

Direct each next step,

Show me where to go;

Make directions clear,

So, Your will, I’ll know.

Thank You for new things,

Chance encouragement;

Opportunities,

Blessings, heaven sent.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the thrill of new opportunities that You set before us. Thank You that You know our hearts and love to bless us. Thank You for loving and supportive family. Thank You that You answer when we ask, and I am asking for clear direction before diving in, despite my desire to charge straight ahead. Forgive us for allowing our desires to get ahead of us. Show us how to slow down and ask for answers, so that we make the best decisions that You have for us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that all whom we encounter would be encouraged and lifted up in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our desires to You and ask for direction, as You make our path plain. Amen.

 

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

 

In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6

Everything. Everyone. Every Day.

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

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)

 

I love that these three various translations place the emphasis on three distinct things. The first, reminds us to give thanks for everything, the second, to be thankful for all that God has done, every day, and lastly, to give thanks for every person that the Lord brings into our lives. Each of these interpretations of the original text provide plentiful prose to promote praise. If we were to sit down and begin listing EVERYTHING we are thankful for, the list ought to continue for days… The second and third translations remind us to give thanks daily to God for the people He provides, and all that He has done. When I take pause and consider either of those, again, my list grows exponentially. God is so good and He is faithful and worthy of our gratitude forever. Though my life has not gone the way I might have imagined, I am blessed beyond what I could have hoped for, and loved lavishly. God has done immeasurably more than I ever hoped or dreamed, and to be real, even prayed. He sees and knows the desires of our heart and hears even the prayers that are but a mere whisper. He is so, so good. All thanks to God the Father every day for everything and all that He has done, and for every person that He has brought into our lives.

 

Always be thankful,

img_20191031_054841_6232209488813426161746.jpg

I am thankful for this sweet moment captured by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography during by boys’ senior photo shoot.

For everything;

For all that God’s done,

The countless blessings.

For people He’s placed,

Throughout all our days;

To navigate life,

And share well His grace.

For those who have taught,

And those who have cared;

Each who has chosen,

To love and to share.

For so many things,

To the Lord, we praise;

All thanks be to God,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You bless us and give us reason to lift our thanks and praise to You. Thank You for everything and everyone that You have done and brought into our lives. Forgive us for forgetting just how gracious and generous You are. Teach us to recognize Your kindness and grace, so that we choose to daily, give You all of our praise. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may feel reason to give You gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for everything and everyone, every day. 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

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

Desires Fulfilled Through Delight in Him

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and He will provide for you what you desire most. – (Psalm 37:4, TPT)

 

The caveat to this verse is to be mindful of the first half, prior to fixating on the second. It is only when we delight in the Lord and take pleasure in that which pleases Him, that our heart’s desires transpire, as they are aligned with His good and perfect will for us. This is a great reminder on days that life doesn’t seem to go our way, as one day does not define our eternity. Yesterday, I had one of those days that required me to dig deep and choose to delight in God, as various circumstances sprinkled throughout my day, challenged my heart. God is faithful, and He provided good in the midst of the trying. Sweet reminders of His goodness and faithfulness were made evident through the people He has placed around me. Lovely colleagues and sweet students were mingled in between a migraine and a handful of students who were struggling behaviorally. At last, once the school day was done, my love and I were able to load the car and begin our journey to mom in Oregon. Traffic was terrible, yet I was able to take joy in the beauty along the way, and behold the blessing of the company I was keeping. What I desired most was to see Mom, and by 9:00 pm, we arrived and were greeted with such joy, my heart could hardly contain it. God is so good, and He blesses our hearts as we earnestly seek Him.

 

Delight in the Lord, img_2019-10-19_09-09-587156151120664397351.jpg

In Him, seek true joy;

Ever He’s faithful,

Blessings He employs.

As we seek the Lord,

Our hearts shall align;

With His pleasing will,

His goodness we find.

For all things give thanks,

Each day we draw breath;

The Lord is so good,

By grace we are blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You and seek to find joy in You, we discover the desires of our heart are met in You. Forgive us for fixing our eyes on the obstacles that attempt to steal our joy. Teach us to recognize the blessings, even in the trials; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us with Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take delight in You and give Your praise for the blessings You pour upon us. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him. – Psalm 37:23

Blessings of Grace and Love

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV)

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, ERV)

The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, MSG)

 

This is my hope and prayer for all, and especially to my brother-in-love and sister today, as we celebrate him on his birthday. Though this day looks far different than anyone might have imagined, it is good, and holds time to celebrate and appreciate the blessings beheld in who God has created him to be. For the family and for mom, life has changed dramatically. Adjusting to life away from all that she knows is challenging for mom; and adapting, supporting and caring well for mom brings a change requiring adjustment for all. My prayer is that God’s grace and love and fellowship will flood each member of the household, providing for each need, both spoken and unsaid, as they navigate the ongoing road of recovery together. The love is great, as they all are loving incredibly well, and His strength is sustaining each family member as they forge forward in this fight. May God’s grace be present with us, one and all, and may it be an extraordinary new year of blessing for Scott and the family.

 

The grace of the Lord, img_2019-09-21_10-29-504974735689341613265.jpg

Be with each of you;

May also His love,

Refresh and renew.

Let time spent with Him,

Fill our hearts again;

So we may love well,

Through His grace attained.

Be blessed with goodness,

Rest well in His grace;

All glory to God,

For His loving ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the tremendous blessing of family. Thank You for the gift of those that You give to us through our loved ones. Thank You that You hear our prayers to bless and keep those we lift before You. Forgive us for not admonishing those You give as gifts to us in our lives nearly often enough. Show us how to love others in ways that refresh, renew and bless with the same grace that You give to each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift others up and ask You to make them acutely aware of Your grace, love and fellowship. 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

Rely on His Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – (1 John 4:16, NIV)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

 

Today we will have the opportunity to visit with Mark’s mom’s side of the family. We are going to meet his aunt and a cousin and family for breakfast, and will spend more time with his mom’s sister again this afternoon, prior to returning to the airport to fly home this evening. There is much love and nostalgia in this place for my Viking, as he spent the first seven years of his life here. His aunt and mom are very close, making the love between them tender too. Just as God has loved us so well, and granted us opportunities to be present to see and love family, may we move forward, living in the very same love, so that God’s love is made evident to all.

Mom, Meg and family are doing well, as they are preparing for Monday’s new beginnings with the addition of in-home therapies. They ended the week with a night out all-together, and it is wonderful to hear and know that mom is enjoying time out to dinner and being out of the home again, this has taken some time and adjustment.

 

The great love of God, The Mirror of the Heart

Indeed’s trustworthy;

For He defines love,

All it embodies.

If we live in love,

Likewise, we’re in God;

For He’ll live through us,

Graciously responds.

Live well in the Lord,

Extend love to all;

To live life with love,

We need heed God’s call.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the love that You freely give. Thank You that as we seek You, we are found by You. Thank You that the more we love, the more there is to give. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be Your ambassadors of love and peace and grace wherever we go. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your love to love others well. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Trust for Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Trust is a tricky thing, yet peace is well worth the price. It requires an ongoing leap of faith to trust God, even when we cannot see a solution nor an end in a stormy season; however, when we lean into the Lord and place our trust in His hands, there is peace that comes, even in the midst of the storm. God is good, and He is the perfect peace for those who depend on and trust in Him. Such peace translates in every aspect of our lives that we choose to trust – both personally and professionally. As an educator, peace is needed daily to navigate the ever-changing challenges that arise in my city, school and classroom. Personally, I have to trust also, to know peace in this season of parenting young men into adulthood. With twins who are about to begin their senior year, and a bonus son who just turned nineteen, wisdom, guidance and peace are required as I choose to trust in the Lord. Though there are moments where my trust waivers, God is faithful and His peace wraps itself around my heart and mind. May we ever choose to place our trust in God, for He is the One who provides our hearts with His perfect peace.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, img_2019-08-27_04-25-214429094360914476009.jpg

And His perfect peace;

Our hearts in His hands,

Bring Love’s sweet release.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

As we choose to trust,

He helps fend off fear.

Far greater is He,

That dwells within us;

Than storms and trials,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to trust in You, You are our perfect peace. Thank You that whether in storms or in calm, You provide peace to those who trust in You. Forgive us for our faltering faith when we cannot see solutions or the shore. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our anchor and our safe harbor, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and safety, trust and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness and Your goodness that provides our hearts and minds with Your 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