To Love All

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV)

But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you – in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us – good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. – (Matthew 5:44-45, VOICE)

Though few of us have experienced persecution like the early church, we all have experienced unkindness, irritation, and attitudes that we do not appreciate. As a middle school teacher, I am reminded daily of the need to pray for my students. The unkindness they display to others is usually a response to unkindness that they have received. At that age, one typically gives what they get. If I can show kindness, goodness and grace, perhaps a seed of the same will be planted in them. It requires God’s grace to extend the same to those who are all over the place when they are meant to be engaged. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, and depend on Him to show us how to love all those whom we encounter in the same way that He loves us all.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to choose love all;

Extend Your goodness,

Let love be installed.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Despite what we get,

Let us reflect You.

Please grant us the grace,

To love as You do;

Be gracious and kind,

So good is shown true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that there are no exceptions to whom we should give kindness and grace. Thank You that You love us all, no matter who we are, where we have been, or what we have done. Forgive us for our lack of patience and grace. Grant us wisdom as to how we are meant to love those around us. Lead us in Your love so that all feel valued and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and grace for us all and seek You to love likewise. Amen.

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

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

In All Things Praise

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

This verse, paired with what I know and love about the Psalms, remind me that it is okay to struggle with and lament what is going on, yet we must ultimately fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he questioned, lamented and cried out to God, yet ever kept perspective on who God is and gave Him the thanks that belongs to God alone. Right now, I am still reeling a bit from the prognosis I received from the specialist on Wednesday. I am still grateful that the carcinoma was discovered sooner than later, yet I am very much dreading the process of the prescribed procedure. It is not the pain I fear, but rather my body’s reaction to the process. God is good, and He will supply all that I need, however, my humanity is not looking forward to any of it, and the specialist’s insistence that I be fast-tracked to have the surgery sooner than later, adds a bit of angst as well. This is the space that I can pause and remember God’s incredible faithfulness in my life thus far, and His kindness to provide a long weekend to process and prepare my heart before heading back into the work week. Additionally, there is just enough activity sprinkled in, that I will not have too much time to dwell on what lies ahead. There is time to rest, to spend time with my loved ones, to cuddle my dogs extra often, to coach my gymnasts as they are working on building routines, and to celebrate the retirement of one of our dearest friends. I am missing my mom and sister terribly this holiday weekend, but know that I can joyfully anticipate time together at Christmas. May we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, our Help and our Hope in all things, and give Him all of our praise for His faithfulness throughout all of our days.

O Lord, in all things,

Will You help me praise;

Your great faithfulness,

Throughout all my days.

Each day You are good,

Even when life’s not;

You share our burdens,

Each time that You’re sought.

Thank You for kindness,

For goodness and grace;

For hope and Your help,

On difficult days.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You’re good always;

And Your faithfulness,

Is reason to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, loving and kind, and the Provider of all that we need each day. Thank You that no matter what lies ahead, we have You to walk beside us and to carry us when we can walk no further. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, for You are known in all, even when what lies ahead is not. Teach us to trust You more each day, and lead us to live out each day trusting in Your unfailing love that never leaves us. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us in ways that make Your love tangible and Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to praise You throughout all of our days. 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

Gratitude for His Good

For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. – (1 Timothy 4:4, HCSB)

Everything that God made is good. Nothing He made should be refused if it is accepted with thanks to Him. – (1 Timothy 4:4, ERV)

For everything God made is good. That means nothing should be rejected as long as it’s received with a grateful heart. – (1 Timothy 4:4, VOICE)

This passage is in the context of certain foods, but in reality, can be applied to many things. The bottom line is a heart issue. We ought to receive all things from God with gratitude. If we cannot, then we should steer clear of whatever it is. May we ever give God our thanks and praise for the good gifts He gives.

All that’s created,

By the Lord above;

Was made with purpose,

And given in love.

May our hearts be full,

Of all thanks and praise;

As we see God’s good,

Throughout all our days.

With sweet thanksgiving,

Let our hearts receive;

God’s loving kindness,

To all who believe.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that all things that You have made are good. Forgive us for the times that we have rejected the goodness of Your creation. Teach us to appreciate all that Your hands have made, and to receive Your goodness with gratitude and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make the goodness of all You have made evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all thanks and praise for the goodness of all that You have created and given unto us. 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

All That is Good

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, HCSB)

Everything the Lord does is good. Everything He does shows how loyal He is. – (Psalm 145:17, ERV)

Everything God does is right – the trademark on all His works is love. – (Psalm 145:17, MSG)

The Eternal is right in all His ways, and He is kind in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, VOICE)

I included four different translations of this verse, as each points out the goodness of God that is made evident through His actions of love. This is what we need to remember and hold onto, as bad that happens is not caused by God, but rather by the brokenness of this world. What God does is stay with us, love us, and give us His peace as we navigate all things that come our way. The people who walk alongside us are a gift from Him, and the good we experience is because of His loving kindness. All that is good, all that is lovely, all that is loyal and kind, these are the things of God. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness, for He is faithful to show His loyal love through all that He does.

The Lord is so good,

In all of His ways;

He’s loyal and kind,

Throughout each new day.

His blessings bring peace,

His presence is love;

Our help and our hope,

His gifts from above.

So, ever choose seek,

For in Christ you’ll find;

Goodness, love and grace,

Forever He’s kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find how faithful, loyal and loving You are. Forgive us for blaming You for the bad in the world. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our anchor through the storms and our peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that loyalty and goodness make Your love evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Seeking What is Right

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, HCSB)

“All things are allowed,” you say. But not all things are good. “All things are allowed.” But some things don’t help anyone. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, ERV)

There’s a slogan often quoted on matters like this: “All things are permitted.” Yes, but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permitted,” they say. Yes, but not all things build up and strengthen others in the body. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, VOICE)

Just because something is allowed, does not mean it has benefit for all. There are things that are good for one, yet not so good for another. It is between each individual and God to know what is helpful and builds us up. We were created with a free will. When we choose God and live for Him, He leads us and guides us in our decisions and helps us determine what is good for us, personally. It is not our place to judge one another, each of us is responsible to answer for our own decisions. Instead of judging or worrying about what people do or do not do (within the bounds of what is legal), we ought to mind our own business and seek the Lord to lead us in all that we say and do. May we ever seek the Lord who gives us freedom, and ask Him to lead us in all that is good, helpful, and builds others up.

God gives us free will,

Allows us to choose;

What we say and do,

Perspective and views.

Yet, when we seek Him,

He shows us what’s best;

For us in our lives,

When to work, to rest.

It is by His love,

Wisdom and foresight;

That He’ll lead us on,

As we seek what’s right.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each uniquely created by You. Thank You that we have different strengths, talents and challenges. Thank You that You lead us individually; personally, according to what is best for each unique person. Forgive us for judging others for the choices they make, for we know not what is helpful and beneficial to them. Teach us to place our trust in You, and to seek You to lead us to what is good and helpful and beneficial. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead each of us in what is Your best, and to allow others the same freedom. 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

Ever Near

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This is the goal for sure, to keep the Lord in mind always and to remember that He is ever present with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Whatever He calls us to, He will see us through. It does not mean that it will be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Whether we have known Jesus the majority of our lives or for a short while, it is good to be reminded of how very near He is. When we are aware of His presence, fear flees and we find we are equipped and empowered to move forward into all that He is asking. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to spend time with Him, as it is through our drawing near that we are reminded that the Lord is but a heartbeat away.

O Lord, You are good,

Chasing sunsets on Oahu.<3

Ever near to me;

My help and my hope,

For eternity.

As close as my hand,

You stay by my side;

Your nearness is clear,

As I choose abide.

Remind us, O God,

Of Your strength and grace;

How present You are,

When we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us and ever ready to help us and strengthen us so that we can press on. Thank You that we need not fear because You are with us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your nearness. Teach us to trust in Your goodness and grace that is ever with us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your nearness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever aware of Your nearness. Amen.

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

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. – Psalm 145:18

Whatever is Good

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

Yesterday, my Viking and I drove more than 500 miles to spend the extended weekend with my sister and her family to watch and support her eldest son as he is living out his baseball dream. With such a long drive, there is much time to think. For both Mark and I, the thing that stood out to us was the incredible beauty that unfolded before us. Yes, there are parts of the drive that are dry and dusty, yet it took little time for green fields to unfold under clear blue skies, and at one point, we were able to see two of our area’s mountains from the opposite side. For me, anytime that I travel, see family, or get outside, I cannot help but stand in awe of the One who made it all. There is so much good, lovely and praiseworthy, even when things in the world do not seem honorable or right. God always is. His character does not change, so when we fix our eyes on Him, the things that we ought to set our sights on become obvious. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him praise, as we focus on His beauty and truth that demonstrate and grant both goodness and direction throughout all our days.

O Lord lead our hearts,

Throughout all our days;

To focus on You,

And choose give You praise.

For all that is good,

And right, pure and true;

Your very nature,

That will lead us through.

Help us to follow,

For all of our days;

Your heart, word, Spirit,

By Your loving grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy as we seek You and spend time in Your word. Forgive us for diverting our attention from the things You show us. Teach us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on the good that You intend for us. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and show us how to demonstrate Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on all that is lovely, good, pure and right, and let us give You proper praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. – 2 Peter 1:3

Trust in His Love

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as a song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Yesterday, upon our return home, we discovered our eldest broke his tibia and fibula, and was in Seattle, about to go into surgery. This was not on our radar as we arrived home, but the details quickly unfolded when the vehicle was home and he was not. What does this verse have to do with all that? After the initial fear, frustration and beyond, God came close and reminded us of the good, even in this awful situation. For example, the circumstances surrounding his injuries could have been much worse or potentially even taken his life. Additionally, he has a place to stay to recover and rehabilitate his injured leg, and will have time to take care of his schooling that has long been set aside. We are grateful that God spared his life and that his brother was with him to get him to the hospital quickly. The Lord’s help was and continues to be present, even in the midst of unexpected challenges. May we ever seek Him to lead us and strengthen us to do what we need to do. All praise and thanks to God, for His love and mercy do not end.

The Lord is my strength,

And I trust in Him;

My shield and my help,

As love enters in.

My help and my hope,

God is ever near;

Our reason to sing,

He silences fear.

As we know His help,

Reminders to sing;

Grace overflowing,

All good His love brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present to help, and that You care about all things. Thank You that You strengthen and provide for us where we need it most. Forgive us for the times that we allow our vision to be clouded by the struggles before us rather than focus on Your help and strength that are present and available to us. Teach us to trust You in every circumstance and to seek You to lead and guide us. Flood our hearts with praise unto You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point to You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your ongoing provision of help, strength and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Protection as We Come and Go

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. – (Psalm 121:8, HCSB)

The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:8, ERV)

He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always. – (Psalm 121:8, MSG)

It is good to be reminded that God will be with us with all of our comings and goings. I love to travel, as in enjoying different destinations, but I am not a fan of flying. This timely reminder is good, as this time tomorrow, we will be on a plane, in the air, traveling to spend time with family and friends in much warmer weather. God goes before us, beside us, and brings up the rear. He is present to keep us safe and remind us that He holds us in His hands. I need not be nervous, but rather I simply need to seek and trust in Him. Time away is a gift, as is a safe return. May we ever remember the Lord’s faithfulness to protect our coming and going, and trust Him to be with us, always.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord will be near,

Take us safely through.

For He knows the time,

The days of our lives;

From start to finish,

Each one is designed.

Prepared with purpose,

Goodness and His grace;

So we may choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and watch behind us. Thank You that You are near wherever we go. Thank You that we can trust You to keep and protect us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and nerves when we are not in control of how we get where we are going. Teach us to trust in You to lead us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, wherever we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and remain with us wherever we go, each and every day we draw breath. Amen.

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

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – Psalm 91:4

Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

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)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

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