Rejoice, Pray, and Give Thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

This morning, at 2:45, as I heard my dog making retching sounds, joy was not exactly what came to mind; sadly, neither was prayer nor thankfulness. As I jumped out of bed and threw on some extra layers to take him outside, I groggily checked to be sure he was okay. He took care of business outside, and returned to his crate to rest. Again, rest did not come. Whining began and would not relent. Finally, after a good fifteen minutes of trying, I gave in and brought my giant pup upstairs. Again, he went outside and then returned ravenous. After he ate, he settled in a bit as I attempted to doze on the couch. When the time was nearing my scheduled wake up, I took Thor back downstairs and returned upstairs to begin my day. My celebration was that I have a roof over my head and that there is coffee in our house to brew. I am thankful that it is Friday, and that I do not need to rise as early tomorrow. God is kind, and shortly after I returned to resume my regular morning routine, my love came upstairs too. In the calm stillness of the morning, I am so grateful to God for another human that can rise early, and find joy and contentment in the silence. Early mornings are something to be celebrated, even when they come far sooner than anticipated. Before long, I will witness the early morning light, as the sun makes its appearance on the horizon. God is faithful to meet us, even in the wee hours of the early morning. He hears our heart’s cry, despite the momentary frustrations when our schedules are disrupted. Today, my heart will rejoice, for I have countless reasons to give God thanks, as I have His light, and life, and hope. May we ever celebrate the goodness of God, giving Him thanks as we are intentional to spend time seeking Him.

May our hearts give praise,

In Christ we rejoice;

Let’s prayerfully seek,

Give thanks with our voice.

No matter what comes,

We’ve reason for joy;

The Lord’s always good,

To thank is a choice.

Today I will choose,

To celebrate Christ;

For goodness and grace,

And loving advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless reasons You grant us to have joy in You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and You supply what we need to navigate each new day. Thank You that You remain present, no matter what comes our way or how our day begins. Forgive us for our frustrations and delay in seeking You when things are thrown off course. Teach us to lean into You and listen to Your heart. Show us how to love those around us in all things, and grant us patience when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and pray to You, ever giving You thanks for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing the praises of Your Name, O Most High. – Psalm 9:2

Good Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

Our charge is not to argue and dispute matters on social media, but rather it is to be an example by doing good. The reality is that actions speak louder than words. It is only when upright actions are repeated over time, that one’s reputation speaks for itself. God calls us to do good. If we are loving Him and loving those around us, what weight would foolish words hold? For me, when I know a person’s heart and character and they are continually doing good, no one has a valid voice if they speak ill of them. Character speaks volumes. The more that we seek after God’s own heart and ever work to do good wherever we go, the less anyone has to say against us. May we ever seek the Lord and His perfect will, so that we may do good and silence things spoken in spite.

Actions speak louder,

Than mere spoken words;

Steeped in God’s goodness,

The truth may be heard.

For foolish speaking,

Lacks a valid voice;

When good’s being done,

Acts in love, our choice.

So, let us choose good,

In all that we do;

Let love light the way,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You that as we follow You and navigate life through love, foolish talk and ignorant speech is silenced. Forgive us for our foolishness and lack of love. Teach us to seek to do good in all things at all times. Show us how to love in such a way that Your good silences all that is not laden in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to do the good that You call us to do. 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

Doing Right Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, RSV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. As God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, TPT)

You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. Live as those who are free and not as those who use their freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as God’s servants. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, VOICE)

The old adage, “actions speak louder than words” holds true, and is affirmed in this passage. When we live right and pursue a life of following God’s will, foolishness is silenced, and love wins. As followers of Christ, we are called to freely choose to live and love like Christ. Jesus modeled what it is to love deeply, and His ongoing example is what silenced the scoffers and nay-sayers of the times. He did not repay evil for evil, but rather extended mercy and grace and made love and light visible for all who were near. We have the freedom to choose how to live. It is up to us to choose well. Our charge is to live in the light, which eliminates darkness and illuminates love. May we ever seek to serve and honor God with our every word and deed, and may foolish ignorance be silenced as love and grace are granted to all.

By doing what’s right,

And walking in grace;

Ugly ignorance,

By love is replaced.

Though we all are free,

May we wisely choose;

To serve only God,

Let Him shape our views.

It’s only through love,

And choosing to serve;

That others see Christ,

Goodness is preserved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that living and loving freely in Your goodness and grace is what demonstrates the good that comes from seeking Your face. Forgive us for using our freedom of choice to misrepresent or be destructive with voice. Teach us to follow after You and Your heart for others in everything we do. Show us how to love those around us with all that we do as we seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what is right and love with our every word and deed. Amen.

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

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

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Align Our Hearts and Minds

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideas and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

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

Do not live the life, 

Of somebody else; 

Each have a purpose, 

To live out ourselves. 

Give God full access, 

To change and renew; 

So we do His will, 

Unto Him, live true. 

May we be transformed, 

In heart and in mind; 

So we live a life, 

That’s loving and kind. 

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

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

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

Don’t Conform; Be Transformed

Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Who do we live to please? If it is God, then we will not always share the ideas and opinions of the culture around us, yet God is the One whom we ultimately answer to; if we bend and conform to whatever is popular opinion, we are not seeking the Lord and His will. It is far better to pursue God and His best for us; for it is through our seeking that He transforms us to have a heart like His. Ultimately, it is only through knowing what is good and pleasing to God, that we are able to live our life with purpose for His glory. We all are a work in progress, and it is only through seeking and learning, changing and growing, that we are better able to become who we have been created to be. Each one of us have been designed with gifts and talents and a heart to love, so that we might love God and love people with our lives. Incredibly, as we begin to live and love how we are designed to do, we discover the beauty in and around us to share with the world. May we ever seek the Lord and His best for us, so that we may be transformed to bear His love and His light to all those around us. 

Choose not to be swayed, 

By things that surround; 

For only in Christ, 

Is our purpose found. 

We’re not meant to go, 

Along with the crowd; 

But rather choose love, 

And live it out loud. 

Popular thoughts change, 

Yet God’s shall remain; 

He’ll teach us to love, 

And honor His Name. 

For what is this life, 

Without purpose known; 

We need to listen, 

So His best is shown. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to ebb and flow with popular thought or opinion. Thank You that Your call to love does not change. Thank You that as we seek You to listen and learn, we are transformed to better reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for allowing popular opinion to sway our thoughts, rather than seeking You and Your heart. Teach us to lean into You and learn. Show us how to love those around us, as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to learn and grow according to Your plan, so that we may love well. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

Gratitude, Prayerfulness and Joy

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

 

Gratitude, prayerfulness and joy, all come from a heart invested in relationship with Christ. Each of these things are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are a result of our awareness of God in our lives. Joy is that deep-rooted hope that is held in the heart that bursts forth, even when life is hard, circumstances are maddening, or things just are not going the way that we had planned. To pray continually, is to be in ongoing communion with our Creator. In the same way that we readily have conversation with our spouse, friends, children and the like; we too, ought to be continually having conversations with Christ. When things are difficult; ask Him for help. When things are good; we ought to rejoice and praise Him for His provision and blessing. To give thanks in all circumstances is not a gratitude for what is happening, but rather for Who is walking beside us as we navigate whatever comes our way. Over the last year, I have had some incredibly difficult circumstances to navigate, yet by God’s grace, there has been joy, gratitude, and grace, as I have clung to Christ and He has carried the worst of the weight, when I could carry no more. I certainly do not have this down perfectly; for I am flawed and fallible and an ongoing work in progress, as Jesus gives me grace and grows me as I pursue His best for my life. May we be full of joy and thankfulness as we continue to prayerfully pursue our Provider.

 

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose rejoice;

No matter what comes,

With thanks, lift our voice.

For God’s always good,

Even when life’s not;

Keep seeking in prayer,

When blessed and distraught.

All thanks be to God,

Source of grace and joy;

Provider of hope,

Let praise be employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that joy is found in hope in You. Thank You that we can pray anytime and anywhere, for You hear our heart as we direct our thoughts to You. Thank You that there is always reason to give You thanks, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for confusing circumstantial happiness with true and lasting joy. Teach us to pray continually, ever seeking and praising You; for You love us and lead us through all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find lasting joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in the hope we know, and praise You for who You are and how we can freely come before You in prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9

Confidently Seek in Love

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

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

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

 

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

 

We can be certain,

The Lord hears our prayer;

Each time that we seek,

He listens with care.

With a heart for good,

Full of love and peace;

God shows us the way,

As grace is released.

So, choose seek the Lord,

Pray confidently;

With a heart of love,

God hears faithfully.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Good Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

 

This is the biblical version of “actions speak louder than words”. When we are consistent in character and choose to do good over and over again, our reputation stands among those who know us, and foolish or ignorant words spoken surrounding who we are, what we do, or what we stand for, will not be given ear by those who have observed who we are over time. It does not mean that humans are infallible, yet it reminds us to assume positive intent, especially among those who consistently choose to do good. God calls us to love one another, and choosing to extend kindness, grace and mercy in what we do and how we interact with others is paramount in pleasing God. May we seek the Lord for strength, so that we do not grow weary in doing good.

 

The Lord has called us, Ambassadors of Love

To choose to do good;

Be kind, show mercy,

Make grace understood.

For our character,

Should stand on its own;

Through consistent good,

God’s love is made known.

It is by His love,

That foolish talk falls;

As truth rises up,

Breaking down false walls.

So, let us choose good,

Again and again;

Love as the Lord loves,

So His truth shall reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good consistently over time. Thank You that as we do, our character and reputation speak louder than foolish talk spoken by those who intend harm. Thank You that what matters most is what You think of us, as Your opinion has eternal implications. Forgive us for worrying about disputing foolish talk, or engaging in banter that does not represent You well. Teach us to choose to do good in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You do, even when people speak foolishly with the intent to harm. Help us know how to do good in such a way that it silences the desire to be unkind, and grows good within the recipient. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. – Philippians 4:5 

Do Not Conform

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing and complete. – (Romans 12:2, VOICE)

 

We are called to be exactly who God created us to become; not some ideal that society sets before us. Rather than looking to the world to determine what is popular and widely accepted, God calls us to look to Him and allow Him to grow us in the gifts He birthed within us, as He transforms our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own. The more we seek the Lord and allow Him to shape who we are becoming, the better we are able to discern what is good and pleasing to Him. At the end of the day, knowing and doing God’s will is walking out God’s very best for us. He knows the plans, even when we do not, so moving in the direction He is calling will lead us to where we need to go. May we turn a deaf ear to the lies that tempt us to fit a mold not intended for us, and depend on the Lord to continue transforming us into the people that He has created us to become.

 

God has made mom a fighter, and with the loving support and encouragement of my sister and her family, mom has begun ditching her wheelchair during the day, to rely solely on her walker! This process began on Friday, and already they are seeing terrific improvement. Mark and I will go visit this weekend, and I cannot wait to witness the progress, and to see mom after far too long. We also will have the joy of delivering some of her winter clothing, as we all had a great conversation while Mark and I were gathering Mom’s requested items from her closet yesterday, prior to heading home. It has been equally long since I have seen my sister, so it will be a wonderful reunion for us all.

 

Do not choose settle, Do Not Conform

For what others want;

Instead, seek the Lord,

Our best confidant.

We’re not meant to be,

What the world expects;

But rather we ought,

Do what God directs.

For in Him we are,

Transformed and renewed;

Grown in our purpose,

With hearts He makes new.

So, do not conform,

Rather, seek the One;

Who loves us to life,

In love, get things done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds in You, rather than giving in to that which the world says we ought to do or be. Thank You that as we seek You and know You more, You help us to more clearly recognize Your will and walk it out. Forgive us for the times we seek the world’s approval rather than Yours. Teach us to worry less about pleasing others and more about honoring You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is good and pleasing unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be transformed and renewed in You. 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