United Together

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! – (Psalm 133:1, TPT)

There is nothing quite so sweet as when a group of people lives, works, and goes about their days in unity. Unity does not mean that all see eye-to-eye on all things, but rather that there is mutual respect and appreciation, as all are aiming for a similar goal. If we love, respect and prefer one another, unity naturally follows. God was intentional in how we were each designed. We each have strengths and purposes that contribute to the whole when we exist in community. May we ever pursue peace as we navigate each new day with the intent to love well, so that we may walk in unity with those whom God has placed around us.

United in peace,

Surrounded in love;

God grant us the grace,

To walk well with love.

For we were designed,

To live side by side;

Shoulder to shoulder,

With God as our guide.

He shows us the way,

To live and love best;

Care for each other,

Give grace and find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us for community. Thank You that You show us how to live and love in a way that brings unity. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to see others through Your eyes. Teach us to turn to You first, so that we may gain perspective and capacity to listen and love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may feel included and valued in the community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to live and love in a way that unites and brings peace. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Rest in His Care

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

This needs to be an ongoing reminder every single time the challenges of life come our way. There will always be trials and struggles, yet in the midst of them, God is near and His goodness never ends. For the last week, our home has been without water. Our water main to the house burst and we had to have the water main shut off until it could be replaced. Yes, it was inconvenient and the cost of the repair was not in our budget, yet even so, God has been good and has provided what we have needed. Yesterday, the repairs were made and I don’t think I have ever appreciated a shower in my own bathroom and the ability to do laundry and dishes more. Additionally, I was reminded that our week-long inconvenience was many people in the world’s reality. It is a luxury and a blessing to have access to clean running water that comes into our homes. No matter what comes our way, God is with us, and there are always blessings to count. May we take time to relax and rest in Him, and remember the blessings and care the Christ has for us all.

No matter what comes,

The Lord’s always near;

Present to help us,

And overcome fear.

The Lord, He provides,

He meets all our needs;

Our love and comfort,

Despite what we see.

Lord, settle our souls,

Help us rest in You;

Notice each blessing,

As You lead us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest in You, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You are present to help and that You provide what we need. Forgive us for our frustration when things go awry, and teach us to relax and trust in You to lead us through. Show us how to love, support and encourage others well in all things, so that Your blessings may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest and relax in You, knowing that Your presence and love will lead us through. Amen.

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

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Tend Well the Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT)

It is the love and faithfulness of God that ought to compel us to treat our minds and bodies and His temple. When we love God and invite Him into our lives, He is present with each thing that we take in, be it exposure, what we eat, and how we care for what we have been given. That reminder alone inspires me to care well for my body and to use caution with the things to which I choose to expose my heart and mind. God has made me a very visual creature, so I know that I cannot watch anything that I don’t want to live over and over again. Rather than a filter, my mind is more like a recorder that can get stuck on repeat when exposed to graphic violence and gore. Because of this, I will not and cannot watch violent shows, games, etc. Rather, I am intentional to begin each day with Him and focusing on His word, so that my heart and mind are equipped with His goodness and love. We are all a work in progress. It is an ongoing labor of love throughout our lives, not just a quick fix for the here and now. The healthier and stronger our bodies and minds are, the better equipped we are to walk out our purpose. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to tend well the temples that we have been given.

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell within us when we invite You. Thank You that You call us to tend our temples well, so that we are best equipped to honor, love and serve You. Forgive us for the times that we either neglect to care for our bodies, or expose our minds and hearts to things that do not glorify You. Teach us to ever seek to honor You through the care of our body and mind. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to tend the temple we have been given in a way that honors You. Amen.

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

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:11

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

The Goodness of God

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

I am constantly in awe of the goodness of God. His goodness is not dependent on our circumstances, rather He is good, despite our circumstances and in the midst of them. God knows what we will face, long before challenges come our way, and He prepares blessings to strengthen and uphold us as we continue moving forward with Him. Yesterday, as my Viking and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary, I cannot help but be reminded of God’s goodness. I was at a place in my life where I was completely content being single, and had no aspirations of joining the dating scene. God had different plans for me, and in His kindness and gentleness, orchestrated a love story that resulted in a marriage that supplied the support, love and encouragement that my heart did not even know it needed. Together, we have navigated trials and triumphs, heartaches and great joy, and hand-in-hand are ever moving forward in all that God has called us to do. It is not always easy, but it is always easy to see the blessings and goodness of God. May we depend on the Lord and His glorious goodness, for He upholds us and brings blessings through His overwhelming love.

In sickness and health,

Through trials and joy;

God’s goodness is found,

As His love’s employed.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

I’m certain that’s why,

He sent us Jesus.

For in Him we learn,

Blessings, love and grace;

We can taste and see,

God’s wonderful ways.

So, turn to the Lord,

Seek to taste and see;

Just how good He is,

He loves perfectly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know what we need, long before we have even an inkling of an idea. Thank You that You bless us with Your goodness and love that carries us through trials and triumphs. Thank You for the gift of those whom You have placed in our lives to love us well. Forgive us for fears and doubts, for You already know how You will carry us through every season. Teach us to trust You and give thanks for the countless ways that You show us Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make it easy for others to taste and see how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the tangible goodness that You place in our lives to remind us of who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Always Good

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

Then I will sing to the Lord because He was so good to me. – (Psalm 13:6, ERV)

I will sing to the Eternal, for He is always generous with me. – (Psalm 13:6, VOICE)

There is something about reaching a Friday after a busy week that floods my heart with gratitude. Right now, days are long, especially when my sleep is disrupted, yet somehow, God always grants me the strength I need to navigate whatever comes my way. In this season of new, I am so grateful for God’s goodness. I am ever aware of Him holding me up by His loving hands. From the early onset of daylight in the mornings so that I can get outside and walk the dogs before work, to the ability to share dinner together as a whole family, these are but an example of how I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. May we ever recognize the goodness of God in our lives that surround us, and sing Him praise for His great love.

I sing to the Lord,

For He is so good;

His love is outpoured,

Kindness understood.

In busy seasons,

He shows us His grace;

Grants strength when weary,

Throughout all our days.

When things seem slow down,

The Lord provides rest;

His love is lavish,

For He knows us best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that meets us where we are and provides what we need. Thank You that You are present and bless us with Your peace and strength to navigate each new day. Thank You for the songs in our hearts that remind us to give You the glory. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize Your goodness when things seem overwhelmingly busy. Teach us to pause and breathe in Your grace, for You meet our needs throughout all our days. 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 sing praise unto You, for You are so good. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Wonderfully Made

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:14, ERV)

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:14, VOICE)

This is an important reminder for us all. Not one of us was an accident; for all are intentionally created. Each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all hand-crafted with gifts and talents that are unique to our design. All that God has created is good. What we do with His creation is up to us, yet the more we recognize the wonder of His works, the more we value all that His hands have made. Perhaps we would all be a bit gentler with one another if we viewed each other as His handiwork, rather than categorized by beliefs, affiliation, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on. ALL are created with purpose, and ALL must be valued. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we value each intentional detail in those around us, and celebrate the wonderful way each human has been made.

My heart will give thanks,

For all You have made;

Each with a purpose,

Gifts to celebrate.

Help my eyes to see,

The beauty that lies;

Within ev’ry soul,

Value realized.

O God, You are good,

All made by Your hands;

May we choose cherish,

Each life You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have wonderfully and intentionally made all of us. Thank You that You have uniquely designed every human on the planet with purpose. Forgive us for allowing differences to warp our view. Teach us to recognize and value the gift of every individual we meet. Show us how to love in a way that values and celebrates the gifts that You have given in all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us Your heart and Your eyes to view the gifts to celebrate in all whom You have created. 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

Help in the New

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. – (Philippians 4:6, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as I have been feeling a bit anxious about a new role that I will be filling. I am excited and overjoyed, yet nervous because I feel ill-equipped and want to do things well. God knows my heart, and I have been blessed with the opportunity. Even now, as I anticipate what is yet to come, I need to place it all before Him and trust, for He knows what I need before I do, and is faithful to meet me each time I seek Him. My part is to do all that I can to properly prepare, and to continue to seek the Lord as I trust in Him to lead and guide me well. He is faithful and I will trust in Him. May we ever present our requests before our Redeemer, for with Him, we need not worry nor be anxious, but rather give Him thanks for all that is yet to come.

Do not be anxious,

About anything;

Instead, go to God,

Give all to our King.

Every request,

He’s faithful to hear;

God leads and guides us,

Ever He is near.

So, give God the praise,

Thank Him for all things;

Opportunities,

He lovingly brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to step out, learn and grow. Thank You that we need never walk alone, for You are faithful to be present and provide the help we need. Forgive us for the anxious ways in us, as anxiety comes when we think about navigating the new on our own. Teach us to seek You and to place all our concerns in Your hands. Lead us to move forward in faith. Show us how to strengthen, support and encourage those around us in ways that make Your overwhelming love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead and guide us in all that we do. Amen.

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

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4