Presence that Provides Peace

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – (Exodus 33:14, NIV)

The Lord answered, “I myself will go with you. I will lead you.” – (Exodus 33:14, ERV)

Eternal One: My presence will travel with you, and I will give you rest. – (Exodus 33:14, VOICE)

Though this particular verse was what God spoke to Moses in the wilderness, His faithfulness remains the same for us today. Currently, my husband and I are on a much needed escape for a portion of my spring break. After having spent the last year teaching from home with Covid restrictions, this wanderlust needed a change of scenery. Thankfully, we booked our trip months ago, so this getaway was much anticipated, and something that we have both been looking forward to. Our destination may seem unusual for one who loves to get outside and discover new places, but surprisingly, Las Vegas is conveniently located near many gorgeous parks and holds great opportunities for adventure. Yesterday, we hopped into our rental car and drove an hour to cross the border into Arizona, where we were met by the Colorado River as we entered Willow Peak. After exploring the park, we found a place to rent a tandem kayak, and spent the next few hours in the sunshine, paddling along the river as we took in the jagged cliffs that surrounded us and clear water below us. For me, being outside in this way provides rest and a remarkable reminder of His nearness. Though we both have sore shoulders this morning, I know that each of us found rest in His presence that is so evident in His creation. May we ever remember that God will go with us wherever we go, and He is the One who provides rest to all who seek Him.

Wherever we go,

The Lord will be near;

Leading us to rest,

He knows and He hears.

The cry of our hearts,

He lovingly knows;

Love everlasting,

In goodness, He shows.

Grace that surrounds us,

His presence brings peace;

God of creation,

All hope made complete.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go with us wherever we go, and bring us to places where You provide true rest. Thank You for the beauty in all that You have created, and for the ways that You place water in the wilderness. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to disrupt our peace. Teach us to trust You to bring us Your rest as we earnestly seek You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide promise, hope and help in ways that make Your heart clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and for the incredible ways that You give us the rest we need. Amen.

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

Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Before All Things and In All Things

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

The Son was there before anything was made. And all things continue because of Him. – (Colossians 1:17, ERV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

 

There are times when particular groups of people are joined together for a season, that the reality of this verse is made tangible. I am always in awe when beautifully diverse groups of people come together for a common purpose, and grow close in the process. This winter, as I participated in my first season as a high school assistant gymnastics coach, I have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in such a fantastic unfolding as this team has bonded and had a season that has far exceeded their own expectations. Last night, the ladies competed at the state gymnastics meet as a team. To qualify, they had an undefeated regular season, were among the top teams at sub-districts, and again found themselves on the podium as a team at the state-qualifying district meet. There were personal bests and disappointments, a moment of terror as a girl went down during her floor routine, (thankfully only sustaining what would be a relatively minor injury and she should good as new in a day or two) and one of our seniors qualified for the finals later today on the floor exercise. All of the girls celebrated the successes with those who achieved something they had been working for, comforted those who did not perform as well as they had hoped, and gathered around the young lady who was injured to be certain she was okay, extending comfort and care. All in all, it has been just such a season that reminds me that He goes before all things and holds all things together. I am beyond blessed to have been a part of it, and cannot wait to continue coaching with the returning underclassmen. May we all look for the ways that God makes His presence evident, as He has gone before us, and He holds all things together.

 

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The Lord always was;

With good things in mind,

Because He loves us.

Always He is near,

Wherever we go;

Whatever we do,

His presence made known.

We need only look,

In wonder, shall see;

The power of love,

God grants you and me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You prepare time and space for us. Thank You that You bless us with the people whom we are surrounded with in different seasons of our lives. Forgive us for the times that we take the gifts for granted. Teach us to appreciate each person and each season, as You show us Your heart and grow us more to reflect Your heart to others if we rely on You. Show us how to lean into You, so that we would love well, all those whom we interact with each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise and honor You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Faithfully and Unfailingly Forever

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – (Psalm 33:4-5, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. He loves goodness and justice. The Lord’s faithful love fills the earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, ERV)

For the word of the Eternal is perfect and true; His actions are always faithful and right. He loves virtue and equity; the Eternal’s love fills the whole earth. – (Psalm 33:4-5, VOICE)

 

No matter what goes on around us, the truth of who God is, remains. God’s word is right and true, as it reveals the heart of God to us, and helps direct our steps in the ways that we are meant to go. Faithfulness is synonymous with God, as He will never leave us nor forsake us. He loves goodness and justice, and empowers those who seek Him to live accordingly. The Father’s love is everywhere, if we only slow down and open our eyes to see. May we ever be people who pursue the heart of God, so that we may display His goodness, faithfulness and love through our every word and deed.

 

The word of the Lord,The Lens of Love

Is perfect and true;

He’s always faithful,

As His love shines through.

Throughout the whole earth,

God’s love is made known;

As goodness and grace,

Are lovingly shown.

May we ever choose,

Invest in His word;

Invite God to move,

So His heart is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are truth and You are love. Thank You that You love righteous and justice, and that You are faithful in all that You do. Thank You that the evidence of Your unfailing love is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked any of these things that You are always willing to give, if only we choose to seek You. Teach us to trust and turn to You in all things and at all times, so that no matter what lies before us, love will direct our steps. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the truth of who You are and how You love faithfully and unfailingly, forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – Psalm 90:14

Run Our Race

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

 

Running is a great analogy for how we are meant to live life. Encouragement comes from those who have run a similar race before us, and know how to navigate the course well. Just as no runner ever wants to run carrying any unnecessary weight or things that will burden or slow them down, so too, it is meant to be in life with the things that distract and keep us off course from running the race for which we are called to run. To do so, requires perseverance and endurance, as it is not a sprint, but rather a race we are to keep running. In the same way that a runner must stay the course, persevere, and keep running, a life lived well requires faith, perseverance, a dropping of things that distract us from the course that God calls us to, and a conviction to continue, even when it is difficult. Both take training, and require a readiness to keep running. May we learn from all those who have gone before us and run well; may we remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that makes us fall, and may we run our race with endurance, as the true prize is well worth the run.

 

We all know others,

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Ash and I as we are ready to run our 1/2 Marathon today

Who are running well;

Grace and faithfulness,

Their lives clearly tell.

Just as they have done,

May we in faith, go;

Throwing off burdens,

What won’t help us grow.

In faith, keep running,

With His strength and grace;

Press on, persevere,

The Lord sets the pace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for the example set before us by those who have lived their lives for You well. Thank You that we are only meant to run the race that You set before us. Thank You that You strengthen and equip us for whatever You ask us to do. Forgive us for the sin that weighs us down and distracts us from staying the course. Teach us to keep our eyes on Your and our feet on the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may encourage others as we are encouraged by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your strength and grace to rise up and run our race with endurance. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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

To Love, Learn and Grow

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

“I am God, your God, who teaches you how to live right and well. I show you what to do, where to go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, MSG)

 

As I sit here this morning, prayerfully, after a restless night’s sleep, I am grateful for the reminder of God’s guidance and grace. Today will mark the first day of my twenty-third year of teaching, and the last “first day” that my boys have that aligns with mine, as they begin their senior year. The night before school begins is always a bit restless, as there is an eager anticipation, along with nerves, knowing that there is much to do, and I desperately want to do my job well. This verse is an excellent reminder for me, as though there is a level of preparation that is my responsibility, and indeed the investment has been made, the part of me that knows that there is much more to learn and grow and do better, is encouraged that He will lead me, each new day. May we ever trust in the One who teaches us what is best for us, and how to live right and well; for wherever we go, others see and follow our lead.

Yesterday, mom enjoyed a day with the family at home. There was much hustle and bustle with each pitching in to purge their home in a sort of “spring-cleaning” fashion, and mom utilized some of the lessons that my sister has given her, showing her new ways to make use of her phone in a more one-handed friendly fashion. With mom, we are trusting God’s guidance to show us what to do and where to go, to get mom’s in-home therapies going.

 

Hours before dawn,

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A little “Art Therapy” for this art teacher.

Still waiting for light;

Teachers lie awake,

In hope and delight.

What will this year bring?

What stories unfold?

How will we touch lives,

These young hearts of gold?

Each year there is hope,

And joy in the new;

Potential waiting,

Lord, show us break through.

May schools and classrooms,

Provide a safe space;

To learn, love and grow,

Each know they’ve a place.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go, and that You teach us best. Thank You that as You lead us, we in turn can lead and love well. Forgive us for the times that we have not given ear to Your leading. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever be learning and growing, just as we desire to see in our kids. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us, so that each person feels safe to grow into all that they are becoming. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and listen to You as You teach us and lead us forward. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Help Us Teach Well

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. – (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)

Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path. – (Proverbs 22:6, ERV)

Point your kids in the right direction – when they’re old they won’t be lost. – (Proverbs 22:6, MSG)

 

As a mom who has always tried to point my boys in the right direction, I am especially aware of both the fruit of my investment, and the need to continue to invest, as they enter this new step into adulthood, with one having acquired their license on Friday and the other scheduled to test for it this coming Friday. I find myself in a strange space of trust and anticipation, as we have an agreement in which they text me before they leave and when they arrive, whenever they drive anywhere. For me, I pray and trust that God will keep them safe and grant wisdom and protection as they go. Additionally, it provides me such appreciation for the investment that my own mom made in my life, as I am certain that she experienced what I am going through now. She invested well in teaching us the way we should go, and by doing so, was able to release us into adulthood with the assurance that she had done what she was called to do. It is my hope that when my boys are ready to venture out on their own, that I will have the same confidence.

 

Lord, help us to teach, 0802191348a8711127607626478864.jpg

Show our kids the way;

To walk in Your grace,

And in Your will, stay.

Help us to hold fast,

To Your promise made;

Invest when they’re young,

In old age, they’ll stay.

Thank You for Your grace,

Your love and Your light;

That shows us the way,

To raise our kids right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in the way we are meant to go. Thank You that as we trust in You, You show us how to lead our kids in love, so that they will know You and not depart from You when they are old. Forgive us for the countless ways that we fall short. Teach us to trust You more. Fill the gaps where we have been lacking. Show us how to love all those around us in a way that points people to Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and lead our kids accordingly. 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

Reasons to Praise

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, NIV)

O Lord, my God! I praise You with all that I am. I will rightly honor Your great name forever. – (Psalm 86:12, VOICE)

With all my heart and passion, I will thank You, my God! I will give glory to Your name, always and forever! – (Psalm 86:12, TPT)

 

My heart is overflowing with reasons to praise. Yesterday, the day began with time seated on our couch, in our living room at home, with my husband beside me, as I did my devotions and writing. The morning followed with a joyful return to my church family after more than three months away, and the remainder of the day was spent thoroughly enjoying the ordinary errands that Sundays hold, along with a few bonus stops to celebrate Mark for his birthday. The day concluded with a great visit, seated around the fire pit at our best friends’ home.

Meanwhile, mom, Megan and Scott were making their way to Oregon. Each update that I received from my sister was excellent, as all of mom’s concerns about the long journey proved to be unnecessary. Mom did great, and took turns riding with each Megan and Scott. The trio safely arrived in Albany by mid-afternoon. I imagine the remainder of the day was spent enjoying time with my nephews, unpacking, and settling in. For all these things and so much more, we give glory to God forever.

 

Faithful is our God, img_2019-08-12_07-16-582256281050884293021.jpg

In everything;

He sees and He hears,

His goodness He brings.

Even in trials,

His presence is near;

His love evident,

And grace is made clear.

All praise unto God,

All glory, always;

Hope to ever trust,

For all of our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and meeting us where we are. Thank You that You lead us and take us the direction that You intend for us to go. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown that lie before us. Teach us to trust You more, as You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us in a way that grants hope, peace and trust in the good that lies ahead. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are, forever. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Answered with Unfailing Love

Answer my prayers, O Lord, for Your unfailing love is wonderful. Take care of me, for Your mercy is so plentiful. – (Psalm 69:16, NLT)

Answer me, Lord, from the goodness of Your faithful love. Out of Your great kindness turn to me and help me! – (Psalm 69:16, ERV)

Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good! Turn to me in Your great compassion! – (Psalm 69:16, CEB)

 

God is so kind and knows how to love us so well; individually. One of the greatest challenges in this season for both mom and myself, has been the sense of feeling stuck indoors. Add to that the inactivity, (compared to our normal race-pace) and we each have had plenty of reason to pray. Over the last several weeks, God has been showing us more and more, ways to get out of the house for a change of scenery. Our need to wander has been satiated with afternoon exploration adventures in the car, where I have driven wherever mom has directed. In the process, I have discovered beautiful back roads that I never knew existed, and the restlessness from being stuck indoors has been greatly reduced. Yesterday, after taking care of some hall-walking and stretching, mom determined that she was ready for another adventure, but uncertain as to where she’d like to go. I mentioned that I had only been to Mission Ridge once, in the winter, so I was curious to see the space in the summertime. Mom said it was only a thirty-minute drive each way, so completely doable. We had a destination in mind, so off we went. The sun was shining and the ride along the way was wonderful. Beautiful back roads led the way, as we meandered past orchards and farmland, woods and hills, all leading to the winding way up the short pass. At the top, the view of the valley below was fantastic. Mom was content to remain in the car while I climbed up to the top of the nearby hill for a quick photo, and then returned to make our way back down. We of course stopped at Dutch Bros on our way home, and enjoyed a chat with my sister (the beauty of bluetooth technology) on the way. The remainder of the evening was relaxing and uneventful, as we enjoyed dinner, a movie and soon called it a night. Today should prove to be busy, as mom has her first hair appointment since before this all began, followed by a lunch get-together with her besties. She slept fairly well, with only one wake-up in the night, rising for the day, beginning with breakfast at 5:00 am.

 

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On the loving Lord;

He’s faithful to hear,

His grace He affords.

Kindness unending,

Mercy that won’t fail;

Hope that will hold us,

As His love prevails.

In all things, choose trust,

For God’s always good;

Faithful forever,

Our hope understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and You are faithful to answer. Thank You that You are good and that Your mercy knows no end. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the time between the asking and the answer seems long. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is perfect, and You know our needs better than we know ourselves. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for answers and praise You for Your goodness and faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8