Created for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 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) 

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT) 

As God’s handiwork, His poetry, we have been created to do all things in love. If love is our motivation, the good will be evident in all that we do. This applies from simple things to great things, for all ought to be done in love. Each day, as we live and move and are being, the decisions we make ought to be determined through Christ’s lens of love. Will our words, thoughts and actions clearly reflect His heart for those around us? If so, then we are doing the good He has prepared for us. Often, it is the seemingly smallest of gestures, that have the greatest impact. When others see us, care for us, and act in a way that makes us feel known and that we matter, God’s heart is made tangible. God uses our willingness to bless others in the same way. May we go forth in the knowledge that we have been made the way that we are for a purpose, and as we do all things in love, good works will be done that fulfill His purpose in us, for us, and through us. 

We are created, 

God’s own works of art; 

Made to do good things, 

His love we impart. 

As we allow God, 

To love and to lead; 

We’re equipped to do, 

Loving acts, good deeds. 

So, rise each morning, 

Pursue the Lord’s best; 

For as we seek Him, 

His love is expressed. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us to do good and be the good that the world sees. Forgive us for the times that we have turned away from the good we knew we should have done. Help us to lean into You, so that we would constantly pursue You to lead us and equip us to love as You love. Show us how to do good wherever we are and with whomever we are with. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do the good that You have created us to do. Amen. 

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

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Gaze at the Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV) 

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV) 

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks of His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT) 

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. Amen. 

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

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Protected Peace

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

The peace Jesus was speaking of is His perfect peace. It is peace in the midst of the storm, calm during chaos, and the blessed assurance that He is near, even when all seems in turmoil. In our human understanding, we think of peace as the absence of chaos; where calm reigns and good is proclaimed. Incredibly, we need not fear nor allow our hearts to be weighed down by the chaos around us, but rather we may rest in the calm that He places within us, despite trials and tribulations. There is much comfort in knowing His presence. Right now, with tensions running high and uncertainty all around us, peace comes when I seek the Lord to be with me as I invest my energy into learning and growing, so that I may be a bridge builder toward the sort of peace He intended. In the same way that my sweet puppy looks for me and seeks me to be his space of comfort and peace, we need to do the same with God. The Lord will hold us and comfort us and bring calm to the chaos within. As we grow in our understanding of His peace, we are better equipped to go forth and bring comfort and kindness and healing where turmoil is trying to triumph. May the love of the Lord lead us, as we learn and grow to be and do better, so that we may become vessels of His perfect peace. 

The peace of the Lord, 

Always ever near; 

Our place of comfort, 

And calmer of fear. 

As we seek the Lord, 

His peace becomes known; 

A love magnified, 

His goodness is shown. 

As we choose invest, 

Seek to learn and grow; 

We’re equipped to love, 

His kindness, we’ll sow. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our peace. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances, nor on what surrounds us. Thank You that Your perfect peace comes and dwells within. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed trials and tribulations to steal our peace, rather than turn to You. Show us how to trust and rely on You more, so that we may know Your peace and pass it on to all whom we meet. Teach us to love with kindness, and grace, so that we may build bridges to Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for peace in both calm and the storms, so that we may be peace bearers to the world. 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

Came to Save

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NIV) 

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, ERV) 

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT) 

I am so thankful that Jesus came to save, rather than to condemn. Though our sins warrant condemnation, His mercy and grace extend love and offer new life instead. In the same way that we have been given forgiveness and grace, we are meant to go forth and do likewise. We have been rescued from the darkness we were bound in, and as God’s own, we are meant to be bearers of light who shine His love everywhere we go. Our lives ought to demonstrate what it is to walk in redemption – full of gratitude and grace, as we recognize that there is nothing, we could ever do to repay the goodness we have been shown through Christ’s love. This revelation of God’s goodness compels us to navigate each day in the fullness of His love. May we go forth in God’s love and love others in the same way that we are loved by God. 

God sent His own Son, 

But not to condemn; 

Instead to set free, 

Grace that overwhelms. 

Though judgment’s deserved, 

He gives us His grace; 

Forgiven and free, 

As we seek His face. 

May we, in freedom, 

Go forth, do the same; 

Love as we are loved, 

Honor Jesus’ Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You Jesus, for showing us what sacrificial love is. Thank You for loving us to life, so that we might go forth and love others. Forgive us for the places that we judge or condemn rather than seek to love. Teach us to trust You more, for You provide wisdom, strength and grace to know when to stay and when to walk away from situations where we should or should not remain. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made known clearly through love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming sacrifice to save us. Amen. 

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

To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:4

Love Builds Up

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT) 

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV) 

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT) 

In order to help others and build them up in the Lord, we must be invested and growing in the Lord ourselves. The more deeply we understand and receive the love He has for us, the better equipped we are to empower others to do what is right and encourage them to be their best selves. I know I keep coming back to loving God and loving people, but this is the greatest command. If we do this, all else will follow. When we love people, we want to help them do what is best for them. When we love God, we want others to know and understand the beauty and blessing that is held in a relationship with Christ. May we invest in our relationship with the Lord and allow Him to grow us in our love, so that we may go forth and love others in the way that He is calling us to love. 

May we choose to love, 

In Christ’s righteous way; 

Building others up, 

God’s grace on display. 

Empower others, 

To do what is right; 

Support, encourage, 

Shine bright, God’s love light. 

For as we love God, 

And love each other; 

Good and grace rise up, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to build each other up and encourage one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to build others up. Teach us to invest in our relationship with You, so that we might love as we are called to love. Show us how to best encourage and build up those around us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13

To Be Clothed Well

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

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The times that I feel like I am the very best version of myself, are those in which I am led by the mercy that God has overwhelmingly shown me, again and again, so that I might interact with others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Some of these attributes seem to be more abundant than others, and I clearly have “hot buttons” that when pushed, deplete my seeming supply to love as I am called to love. Constant bickering (when my boys were younger), or a teething puppy that struggles with impulse control to nip, are a few of the things if on repeat all day long, wear me down and deplete my capacity to feel merciful. Thankfully, much in the same way that patience and perseverance carried my boys and me through their younger years when they fought often, I know the same is true with this short-lived stage in puppyhood. The Passions Translation version drives it home well for me, as it is an ongoing reminder of how to operate in the struggle: “Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all.” It is a reminder that there is always a root reason for the unwanted behaviors, and through patience, compassion and kindness, a solution may be discovered and better way be made. Incredibly, sometimes, it is merely consistent kindness that transforms the heart of one who needed it most. May we embrace the blessing we behold in knowing that we have been shown mercy unending and love beyond what our hearts can hold, and go forth choosing to be merciful; ever extending compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all those with whom we interact.

 

Because we are loved, wp-15892942076306151823366680093252.jpg

We need to love too;

Extend great mercy,

Compassion, exude.

With humility,

May we choose be kind;

Gentle and patient,

With others in mind.

May those whom we meet,

Through our love come know;

What God’s love is like,

Through mercy we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with kindness and compassion, mercy and patience beyond measure. Thank You that because of Your love, we can love others. Forgive us for the places where we are lacking compassion, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness or mercy. Teach us how to love more like You. Show us the places and space where there is a greater need for mercy, compassion, humility, patience, kindness and gentleness, and help us to love in a way that represents Your heart tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and mercy, and rely on You to help us love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

Be strong and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“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

Guided In Love

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was such an incredibly strange day. I felt a bit lost, and quite uncertain as to what I actually was meant to do. After beginning my day with God, I went to the grocery store with my “youngest” boy, and was thankful to find restocked shelves. Upon our return, I sat and pondered and prayed a bit, to determine what to do next. Following the lead of some of my school district colleagues, I constructed a message to my students and families, providing suggested activities and drawing prompts for the coming week, as well as conveying my care for their well-being. Upon completing some other household tasks, I determined to at least begin tackling my grading pile. Just as I completed the final class for the first project that needed grading, my best friend messaged me to go take a walk out in the sunshine. For me, this was exactly what my heart needed, as our walk took us down a steep staircase to the Puget Sound, where we took in the view and soaked up some sunshine, before embracing the challenge of tackling the stairs back up to the road. In Him, I do indeed, have everything I need. He is granting me rest and refreshing my soul. Walking near the waves, comforts me, as I am reminded of His power and strength. Despite what we see, He will lead us on the right path, and show us that He is good. May we ever remember that even in the most uncertain of times, God cares for us; always. He provides, calms, comforts, restores, and leads, demonstrating His unending goodness to all who seek Him.

 

O Lord, my shepherd, wp-15844488533327357260751564309605.jpg

I choose seek Your face;

Lead me and guide me,

In Your loving grace.

Show me the planned paths,

That I’m meant to take;

Help me to love well,

Forgive my mistakes.

The comfort You give,

Help me to give too;

Rest and refreshment,

Grace that makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us beside still waters and bring us to spaces of comfort and rest. Thank You that You strengthen and restore us so that we can go forth and follow the path that You prepare for us to love others well. Forgive us for not embracing the rest You provide, or for not following where You lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You offer and go wherever You call. Show us how to love those around us tangibly in ways that make Your heart known and Your provision shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, our shepherd, to lead and guide us each step of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – Psalm 62:1

Live Out Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

 

Talk is cheap. The older I get, the more I know this to be true. Love is made evident through consistent actions over time, as the things we do demonstrate the truth of who we are. It is only after we see and know the truth of a person’s love through their actions, that we can begin to believe words that say the same. Everything we do – every deed and action, testifies the truth of who we are. What do we tell the world through the things we do? If our goal is love, then all that we do must be aligned with that in mind. No one is perfect and all fall short, yet if we invest in the One who is love, and pattern our lives according to His will, we cannot help but operate in the truth of His love as we navigate our days. May we ever seek the Lord and the depth of His love, so that we may go forth and love not merely with words, but with actions and in truth.

 

Lord, help us to love,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

As You call us to;

Not only with words,

But actions in truth.

For the deeds we do,

Speak louder than words;

Love is truly seen,

Not just idly heard.

Show us the way, Lord,

To love others best;

Let all that we do,

Help others feel blessed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us in Your word how to love people best. Thank You that You showed us first what it is to love in action and in truth, as You sent Your Son to love and restore relationships as He loved not just with words, but with everything He did. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing, so that we may go forth and do the same as we trust and rely on You. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted in love, or have spoken hollow words that were not backed up with acts of love. Teach us to love consistently and completely. Show us how to put love in action everywhere we go, with everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to live out love in the same way that You continuously love all of us. Amen.

 

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

 

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