Choose Reach Out

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

“I will tell you the kind of day I want – a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help. If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, ERV)

 

The foundation of what God asks of us has always been the same – Love God and love people. If we are fasting, let it be for the purpose of actively pursuing God and loving people. If we are praying, may it be out of faith in our Father and our desire to do good for others. As we live, may our lives clearly demonstrate our love for God and for ALL whom He has created. There are no qualifiers on loving people; He calls us to love all people tangibly and practically. If they are burdened; help carry the weight and set them free. If people are hungry; feed them. If people are in need of the basic requirements for existence; start with clothing and shelter. Furthermore, we are meant to be aware of and care for the needs of our family as well. Incredibly, as we do these things, we begin to reflect the heart of God to those around us. Our obedience leads to blessings in our own lives too. He heals and surrounds each soul that chooses to surrender and serve others as He asks. May we look to the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we go forth and tangibly love people as an extension of our love for Him.

 

May our focus be,

H182

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Intent on the Lord;

On what He’s asking,

As strength He affords.

The priority,

In all that we do;

Love God and people,

It’s what we’re called to.

Some practical ways,

His love can be shown;

Help meet other’s needs,

Leads to God’s heart known.

As we choose reach out,

God’s present within;

Healing and helping,

Makes hope rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a reason for fasting and praying is ultimately to love God and love people better. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we come and seek You. Thank You that Your word tells us practically how to love people well, and in turn, honor and love You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love people well. Teach us to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand what You would have us do practically in every circumstance. Thank You that You are far greater than our time, talent or resources, and that You take what we offer and multiply what we bring. Show us how to love the people around us tangibly, for You know every need in existence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional as we love You and love the people around us, every seeking You for ways to love practically and tangibly to meet needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Intentional Time to Grow

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word I like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

Psalm 119, in its entirety, is all about the word of God and how it directs our steps. As we follow His word, we find protection and direction, so pausing and on verse 105 seemed appropriate. The more we invest time in prayer and the word of God, the more clearly we understand His heart for those around us. Our mode of operation begins to take on His heart rather than our own, and the lens through which we view the world, becomes shaped by that of our loving heavenly Father. Beyond our view, that which grows within us is transformative as well. The nourishment we taking in produces good fruit that will last. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, are all the sort of fruit that the Spirit grants those who earnestly seek Him. May we be intentional to invest time in the word of God, so that we may have a clearly lit path on which to navigate all of our days.

 

The word of the Lord,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Helps make our path plain;

As we seek His will,

Direction we’ll gain.

He shows us the ways,

That we’re meant to go;

Each time that we ask,

He’ll make sure we know.

By His love and grace,

In us, He will grow;

Traits that bless others,

His love clearly shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Thank You that as we seek You and invest intentional time in Your word and Your presence, You grow in us, more of that which reflects Your heart to the world. Forgive us for neglecting to nourish the soil of our hearts. Teach us to prioritize time with You, so that we are ever growing and more clearly reflecting Your heart to those around us. Show us how to love others in ways that make Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional with our time and spend time growing in our understanding of who You are and how You love. 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

Clear Acts of Mercy

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Live kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – (Micah 6:8, ERV)

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

 

Last evening, I had the pleasure of going to see the new Star Wars movie. What I love about the Star Wars series is that there is an ongoing theme of “good triumphs over evil” as the saga between the Imperial Empire and the Rebellion continues throughout with new generations of Jedi. Without being a spoiler, it was clear acts of mercy and choosing good that brought about Jedi success – both at pivotal moments in the movie, and as the story concluded. In real life, the same holds true when we choose to extend mercy and goodness, denying our initial thought of revenge or retaliation. God’s grace enters in, and something happens in the hearts of both the merciful and the one receiving grace, to change the circumstance for the better. It may not be immediate and dramatic, but such acts of love and mercy make their way into hearts, and one cannot help but be changed as the recipient of undeserved mercy. That is how Christ came to us. While we were yet sinners, He loved. In our darkness and ugliness, He brought light and life and love. May we choose to go forth in the goodness of God, acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, all of the days of our lives.

 

The Lord has shown us,Clear Acts of Mercy

What it is to love;

Act justly, give grace,

Like God up above.

As we humbly walk,

And follow the Lord;

We love as He loves,

Mercy is outpoured.

For each act of grace,

And mercy we choose;

Is a way to show,

God’s blessed good news.

For He came to us,

Full of love and grace;

Teaches us mercy,

As we run our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Thank You that You modeled a life lived accordingly through Your Son, and equip us to do the same by Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for the times that we neglect Your still small voice within that tells us how to act justly and live mercifully in You. Teach us to listen and follow Your leading, so that we may humbly walk beside You, extending mercy, grace and goodness to all. Show us how to love those around us in this way, even when it is difficult. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the kindness and mercy that You continually show unto us. Let our lives be an offering of the overflow of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

Recognize and Become Wise

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. – (Psalm 90:12, TLB)

 

Love and loss are phenomenal teachers, as they show us tangibly, the importance of each new day that we are given. Though I have walked through the end of life with one too young before, we were reminded again this past year, just how important each new day is, as we lost Mark’s dad too soon, and nearly lost my mom when she had a stroke. When we navigate seasons of struggle and loss, we can either dwell on the devastation, or embrace the gift of each new day that we are given. In the case of Mark’s father, grace, goodness, forgiveness and healing happened, as there was a recognition of numbered days, and wisdom gained in how to utilize the time. Mark and his dad were able to mend what had been broken, and though there was loss at the death, there is peace. As for mom, we have embraced with gratitude, each new day we have been given. Recovery is slow, by human standards, yet each new step and gain of strength, is reason to celebrate and give God glory. It is interesting that we typically associate older individuals with wisdom, yet now that I think about it, the older we get, the more aware we are that our days are numbered. When we know that we have a finite amount of time remaining, we desire to do the best we can with what we have. Wisdom is gained when we recognize that we are not immortal and are in need of the Savior. May we ever recognize that though our days are limited, they are each intended to count. Show us Lord, how to spend each day in a way that honors You.

 

Lord, help me number, The Wisdom We Seek

Each one of my days;

To make each one count,

May my life bring praise.

And help me to seek,

Ever choose pursue;

The wisdom that comes,

From time spent with You.

Help me to honor,

You Lord, as I live;

Let Your love and grace,

Be what I choose give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of life. Thank You that we are given a limited amount of time to live and love and extend goodness and grace as You call us to do. Thank You that as we ask, You grant wisdom to know how to navigate. Forgive us for the times that we just drift along, rather than actively pursue Your best for each new day. Teach us to recognize the gift that each new morning holds. Grant us wisdom to know how to live and love best. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to those around us, so that they too, may understand the depth of Your love and the importance of embracing the time that we have. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how finite our time here, and pursue Your wisdom as to what to do with each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Treasure the Blessings

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, NIV)

Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:19, ERV)

But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. – (Luke 2:19, TPT)

 

Can you begin to fathom all that Mary had to hold in her heart and ponder? A young girl, most likely in her mid-teens, had been visited by an angel, conceived by the Holy Spirit, traveled some ninety miles to the city of David, discovered there were no rooms available, given birth in a barn, visited by shepherds who had been told of the Savior’s birth by an army of heavenly hosts singing praise, and there she was, left gazing at the face of God in her newborn infant son. What a crazy, wonderful, whirlwind of a journey to arrive at that space. I imagine there was great reassurance as the shepherds came near, after the young couple had been ostracized and rejected for Mary being with child out of wedlock. To treasure things is to hold them in great value, and it reveals to us even more, the heart of the young girl who was well-chosen to carry Christ and bring Him into the world. I love that God chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. By human standards, why one so young? However, God saw her heart. Mary was willing to walk the difficult road, despite not knowing where it would lead. She chose to say yes, understanding the risks involved in being with child as a virgin, and treasured the faithfulness of God each step of their journey. May we pause and ponder the power and presence of God in our own lives, and take time to treasure all of the times that we can testify of His goodness and faithfulness unto us.

 

Angelic visit, Treasure the Blessings

Hard to fathom news;

Called to carry Christ,

What would this girl do?

“Let your word be so,”

Her faithful reply;

With no thought for self,

Except perhaps, why.

For just a young girl,

With little to give;

A heart, so willing,

For Christ, she chose live.

It all came to pass,

As it was foretold;

Mary was with child,

A treasure to hold.

In meager stable,

Christ entered the earth;

Among the cattle,

The humble Lord’s birth.

Swaddled and set down,

Where animals fed;

It’s what Mary had,

For Jesus’ bed.

Army of angels,

Announced the Lord’s birth;

To nearby shepherds,

Who would see Him first.

So much to take in,

In awe and wonder;

Mary chose treasure,

Each step, to ponder.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that He lived and loved and grew in ordinary ways so that He would know and understand what we go through, personally. Thank You that He did all without sin in order to take all of ours upon Himself. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder all of the treasures we have in You. Teach us to slow down and reflect upon Your goodness, grace, love and light that floods our hearts and lives with evidence of You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your love, goodness and grace to all, so that they too may pause and ponder the treasures that You place in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure the blessings and ponder the powerful ways You move in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Today the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. – Luke 2:11

Safety and Strength

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

But let those who trust in You be happy forever. Protect and strengthen those who love Your Name. – (Psalm 5:11, ERV)

But let those who run to You for safety be glad they did; let them break out in joyful song. May You keep them safe – their love for You resounding in their hearts. – (Psalm 5:11, VOICE)

 

Having a refuge, a space of safety, grants us reason to rejoice and be glad. Just as there is nothing quite so sweet at the end of a long day as going home and relaxing in the comfort of one’s own space with the people who love them best, there is peace that comes when we run to our Redeemer to be our Comforter, Protector and Provider. He protects and strengthens those who seek Him, and His loving kindness grants reason to rejoice. May we ever take refuge in the Lord, for He is our strength and our salvation; and as we seek Him, we are filled with gladness by His love.

 

Mom is still working hard at her new outpatient therapies. Her favorite is when she has all three therapies (physical, occupational and speech), on the same day. When that trifecta of tough is on her day’s schedule, she tends to sleep really well at night. The most challenging therapy for mom is speech, as they have narrowed down the area most affected by the stroke, and are specifically focused on such. She is embracing the challenge, and we are all looking forward to gathering to celebrate Christmas together soon. It is a joy to pick up on the little things, as when I called yesterday morning, mom was walking around the house, opening window shades, and was able to pause and answer the phone. I was incredibly impressed, as that is a bit of a juggling act with a walker and one uncooperative arm. Yet another testament to her resilience and determination as she keeps working to regain her strength.

 

Seek safety in God, Our Help and Defense

For He is our strength;

A refuge in storms,

Who’ll go to great lengths.

For there is no place,

That God cannot go;

To bring peace and joy,

Make His great grace known.

Sing of His goodness,

With thanks, let us raise;

Joyful thanksgiving,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and our strength. Thank You that You are our joy and reason to praise. Forgive us for not seeking You in the storms, or for not giving praise where praise is due. Teach us to run to You, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your safety, peace, strength, and blessing. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your loving kindness that loves, protects and blesses us throughout all our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge. – Psalm 16:1

Blessings of Strength

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

 

Today, this is a reminder to myself. We have arrived at the midpoint of the busiest week of the season, as it is the final week of school, prior to Christmas break. In our household, that means grocery and errand running had to be done last evening, there is a gymnastics meet tonight, and tomorrow evening, two of our boys have a holiday music concert, each following a full day of school/work and coaching (or in my husband’s case, commuting). By Friday, we all will be ready for a long winter’s nap. Though each day feels a bit like a marathon, God provides the strength that is needed to navigate each day, and His peace along the way. The challenge is to slow down, take a deep breath, and allow His strength and peace to flood our hearts so that there is no room for chaos and doubt and weariness. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord to be our strength, as He provides what we need to navigate each new day, and grants us His perfect peace along the way.

 

The Lord grants us strength, Anchor with Compass Engraving Illustration

Where all strength seems gone;

Grants us what we need,

To keep keeping on.

And more than His strength,

He blesses with peace;

Brings calm to chaos,

As love is released.

No matter the time,

Day, week or season;

Hope ever abounds,

God’s grace shows reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank You that even on our days that we feel weary and worn, You come and provide what we need to keep moving forward. Thank You that as we trust in You, You meet us wherever we are, and demonstrate Your faithfulness; always. Forgive us for our lack of faith when chaos comes. Teach us to turn to You in trust, allowing You room to move in and through us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend strength and peace where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, thank You and give You praise for Your goodness throughout all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

United in Peace

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

You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, ERV)

Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of life for my father-in-law with my husband, sister-in-law, her husband, and my brother-in-law. Incredibly, despite the eclectic collection of family brought together by loss, there was a sense of peace in the room, despite normal tensions between some of the various family members. Everyone seemed to set aside their differences for the sake of celebrating their eldest sibling/uncle. Stories were shared around tables, and much laughter filled the room. I think Donald would have been pleased to see smiling faces, rather than tears, and delighted at the distance that so many traveled to gather in his honor. The sentiment that Mark, his brother and I walked away with, was gratitude. We were thankful for the opportunity to see the aunts, uncles and cousins all together in one place, and to have had a positive and peaceful gathering together with family.

 

Each chance that we get,

img_2019-12-15_09-06-097590851263573878757.jpg

6/7 of the remaining siblings in top photo. Their children in photo below.

Rise up and choose peace;

Preserve what God gives,

Allow grace release.

A spirit of peace,

Invites others in;

Broadens your circle,

It’s how grace begins.

Go forth in God’s grace,

Sow always, His peace;

Let God’s love be known,

For it shall not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us peace in places it seems unlikely. Thank You for empowering us with Your Spirit to extend peace wherever we go. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected our role as purveyors of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to go before us, walk beside us, and dwell within us in peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that promote Your peace wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and share Your peace wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Inspired to Love

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

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

This is a season in which people are either most readily willing to step out and love greater and do good works in the name of “the Christmas Spirit”, or are most in need of being blessed, as lack or loss or absence makes this season extraordinarily difficult for them. Giving trees and Random Acts of Kindness are just a few of the simple ways that we are able to demonstrate love through good deeds. Being intentionally aware of those around us is a wonderful way to start. It is not difficult to find someone in need of encouragement or a kind word. Such things take little from us, yet have the capacity to turn a day around, simply by allowing another to know that they are seen and that they matter. As we continue to walk out these last few weeks leading to Christmas, may we consider how to spur one another on in love and good deeds, so all may know the kindness of Christ this sacred season.

 

May we consider, Inspired to Love

How to best inspire;

To choose love greater,

Spread good like wild fire.

Look for the spaces,

Reach out and do good;

Help one another,

Just as we each should.

One act of kindness,

A sweet spoken word;

Make the difference,

Of how truth is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your goodness and kindness are present throughout all of our days, if we only slow down and look around to take notice. Thank You that You call us to do the same, so that we may encourage one another. Forgive us for the opportunities to do good or love well that we did not take. Teach us to rise up and love like You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that bless tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we consider how to love, encourage and do good, as You are calling us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Faithfully and Tangibly Good

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)

 

He really, truly is good. Despite loss, frustration, trials and exhaustion, there are blessings and goodness, and above all, there is love. The Lord is faithful to show His kindness and grace as we take refuge in Him and seek His face. In this season, I have been blessed with new opportunities, as I am taking on a new role as a high school assistant gymnastics coach at my alma mater. Before this season, I have only coached recreational gymnastics since age sixteen, and middle school gymnastics for the last twenty-three years. This sort of new learning is a wonderful joy, and includes the added bonus of working not only with fantastic coaches, but great girls, some of which who were my gymnasts when they were in middle school. Additionally, God has blessed us with the means and time from our jobs to travel across the country next week for my father-in-law’s memorial. Though there is sorrow in the loss, I know there will be joy in the remembering, and peace in the blessing of time together for closure. In all things, God is good. It is up to us to open our eyes, minds and hearts to notice His willingness to meet us when we seek Him, and witness how He moves on our behalf. May we ever look to the Lord to be our refuge, and be quick to notice the goodness and blessings that God bestows upon us all.

 

Taste of His goodness, fb_img_15572013665455142348901490916085.jpg

For God is so kind;

Our refuge and strength,

Where grace is designed.

In Him, there’s blessing,

To know and be known;

He loves us to life,

And calls us His own.

In good and trial,

The Lord’s ever near;

We need choose seek Him,

For His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that when we seek You, we come to know that You are our refuge, as You love us through all things well. Thank You that You make Your loving kindness tangible through those whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our sorrow, or withheld the good that You have for us to offer those around us. Teach us to seek You in all things, so that we may receive all that You have to offer, and in turn, extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see just how very good You truly are. 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