Called to Be Kind

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

We are called to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other, in the same way that God is unto us. Our decision to extend grace and goodness to those around us speaks the heart of God without words. Kindness and compassion are more easily extended when we recognize both how much has been given to us by God, and the incredible weight that is removed when we are fully aware of the forgiveness and grace that we are afforded by and through God. I know that I need all of these things every single day. Each morning, I set my heart on the Lord and seek Him, yet throughout the day, challenges and obstacles come that require dependence on God to navigate with kindness and compassion, and the strength to choose to forgive. There is a constant battle between human nature and the divine. God is gracious and full of love, and will supply all that we need to walk in His way if we choose to depend on Him. May we ever seek our Savior, who forgives and loves us beyond what we can comprehend, and allow Him to lead us and guide us in His everlasting love.

Let kindness and grace,

Help us choose forgive;

To love as God loves,

Each day that we live.

For it is by grace,

That the Lord does save;

Imagine the world,

If we gave the same.

We’ve been created,

To love like the Lord;

So His heart is seen,

As good is outpoured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your goodness and grace, and You forgive us each time that we ask. Thank You that Your love changes our hearts and empowers us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have reacted rather than sought to respond like You. Teach us to slow down, breathe deep, and allow Your love to flow through us to all. Show us how to extend forgiveness, kindness and compassion to all, so that Your love may be evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to soften our hearts and lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Loving Healer

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! He forgives all our sins and heals all our sickness. – (Psalm 103:2-3, ERV)

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, VOICE)

This morning, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My son, who was battling double pneumonia and on 2.5 liters of oxygen on Monday, is now breathing without oxygen and is likely going to be released to come home this evening or tomorrow morning, after his final treatment is administered today. God is so kind. Despite our flaws and failures, He loves us and holds us in His hands. The Lord forgives and loves and heals. David, the person who penned most of the Psalms, was a man who understood his own faults and failures, and the great goodness of God. Any time that life brings storms that seem insurmountable, I find comfort in the Psalms, as they are real and raw and poetic. God is faithful to show me over and over again in His word, how deeply He loves and how freely He forgives. The more firmly these truths are rooted in my heart, the greater my desire is to serve and honor Him in all that I say and do. I fail and fall short, yet He picks me up, dusts me off, and shows me again how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart made plain through His word to lead us, guide us and comfort us in all things.

How great is the Lord,

To Him I give praise;

Who loves and forgives,

Brings healing our way.

When life brings the storms,

That rattle our core;

He shows us His love,

As peace is restored.

Give praise, O my soul,

Praise His Holy Name;

Our loving Healer,

May our hearts proclaim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You forgive and heal us. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are healing and restoring my son. Forgive us for our faults and failures, and for the times that we struggle to trust what we know is true. Teach us to turn to You in all things. Show us again and again, Your goodness, kindness and grace. Lead us to love those around us with an unflappable faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Healer and the One who deserves all of our praise. 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

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Trust Completely

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, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

Well, my suspicions were confirmed, and not only did I break my toe, but I broke it in two places. For me, this is a space where I find myself having to choose trust over and over again, as my hope and goal of running a marathon in June seems to have an enormous obstacle in the way. That being said, I know that God can do the miraculous, and I will continue to trust in Him. In a few short weeks, my friend and I were able to build up mileage from a couple of miles, to confidently running nine. If this healing process takes four weeks, we will still have more than two and a half months to build to the distance necessary to accomplish the goal. However, that is merely my human understanding, not His. Each day, I will choose again to seek and listen to His leading. I know not how this healing process will all  go, but I do know that God will be with me and will direct my steps. He knows the desires of my heart and will lead me in the way I am meant to go. My prayer is that recovery will be quick and I will be back to running in no time, yet even so, I will trust in Him. My deadlines and timelines are not His, and I will allow Him to lead. May we ever seek the Lord in all things and at all times, for He will be with us and lead us wherever we go.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

For He paves the way,

To what’s to become.

Lean not on what’s known,

But rather, seek Him;

He directs our path,

Through where things seem grim.

He can make a way,

Where it seems there’s none;

Our strength and our hope,

The most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You through all things. Thank You that You lead us and guide us on paths You make clear. Forgive us for our frustration and fears when obstacles seem insurmountable or our path becomes unclear. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they gain strength and perseverance to press forward to where You are leading. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You with all our heart and depend not on our limited understanding, but rather rely on You to lead us well. Amen.

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Hold Our Heaviness

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

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

Life is heavy and wearying right now. More than ten months of shutdowns with the announcement that it has yet again, been extended. It is easy to allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel. The truth is, there is only one Source where we can find rest and hand over the weight of what currently is our reality. Jesus calls us and comforts us, if only we are willing to seek Him. No, it does not mean that our circumstances instantly change, but it does mean that our hearts and minds can find comfort and rest, despite our circumstances. Sometimes rest comes through being out in creation, while other times it is through intentional time that is set aside to seek Him. For me, both are necessary. We all need oasis in the midst of the seeming desert. God alone, provides this best. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us rest and refreshment, no matter what weight comes our way.

When weariness comes,

And the weight’s just too much;

Choose seek our Savior,

And His loving touch.

For rest truly comes,

As we seek God’s face;

His peace overwhelms,

Through His endless grace.

O Lord, we need You,

To show us the way;

Help us and guide us,

Hold us up each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come to You when we are weary and the heaviness is too much. Thank You that You help us, hold us, and grant us rest in You. Forgive us for turning to anyone or anything else to find relief. Teach us to come before You in faith, for it is in that space, that we come to know peace and rest in You. Show us how to walk beside those around us in ways that strengthen, encourage, and demonstrate love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us rest in our weariness and heaviness. Amen.

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

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12

Sing Praise

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. – (Psalm 95:1-2, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, ERV)

Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns! – (Psalm 95:1-2, MSG)

Mandates that place restrictions on corporate worship are stirring an already boiling pot. However, we must remember that we are not limited in our capacity to worship by the four walls of a church building. For me, some of my sweetest times of worship are found while I am driving, as my heart is flooded with gratitude and I cannot help but sing along with the songs of praise that are playing on my radio. Yes, there is something powerful that takes place when a body of believers gathers and lifts up songs of praise together, yet He can move mightily in the midst of our own place of presenting thanks to Him. 

This pandemic is pushing people past their limits, yet the number of people impacted by illness, continues to climb. A few months ago, I did not personally know anyone directly impacted by COVID. Now, there are family members and friends who have experienced the impact personally.  In fact, an extended family member has perished, due to complications created by COVID. Absolutely, we must lift our voices in praise, yet there are ways to do so safely without worrying about increased risk of exposure. I don’t claim to know the right answer, but the God I serve, does. For now, my voice will be raised for all of my days, whether corporately or individually. May we ever seek the Lord and lift our praise to Him, trusting Him to lead us and guide us and show us how to contend for God to bring help and healing to our state, nation and world. Lead us in love, Lord.

Let every heart,

Lift praise unto You;

In song and action,

May Your love break through.

Teach us to trust You,

When things don’t make sense;

Direct all our steps,

And be our defense.

Please protect our hearts,

Body, mind and soul;

Show us how to love,

As love is the goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and kind, and worthy of all of our worship. Thank You for Your grace and strength as we grow weary of restrictions and isolation. Forgive us for forgetting that worship is not merely a corporate time of singing together, but it is a lifestyle that seeks to honor You. Show us how to worship You daily, as it is all about You. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that all might find hope, encouragement and strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worship and praise You with all that we are and all that we do. 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

The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

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Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

Wisdom, Strength and Self-Discipline to Love

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

As usual, this morning’s passage is appropriate and timely. We are not called to be fearful, but rather to be wise and strong. With so much mixed information running rampant right now, it is as if the media is attempting to isolate and instill fear in folks. Yes, there is reason to be cautious and use wisdom. Those who have compromised immune systems or are among the high-risk groups ought to be extra-vigilant and follow whatever guidelines they feel safest following; and those of us who are not, must respect and honor their need to use caution and care, yet the fear that drives massive hoarding, rather than loving others, is not a space that we are meant to live. Self-discipline is the space within us that expects the best, prepares for the worst, and extends a hand to those around us in need.

This morning, I am grateful for time over the weekend to love and enjoy being with people. Incredibly, my Viking, our best friends and I went to watch the Sea Wolves (our Seattle Rugby team) play on Saturday night. It is a somewhat small venue, yet the stands were packed. After the game, we went to go have dinner together, and the first place we attempted to go had a 30 to 40-minute wait, so we ended up going to another spot not far from there, that was far less crowded. It amazed me to see people out seeming to operate in life as usual on Saturday, and then on Sunday, to see the clear evidence of the concern in my own community. Church was much lighter than usual, (yet I know there are those who must stay home per their doctor’s recommendation, and still others who stayed home as they are fighting colds and the like), followed by a trip to the grocery store where we discovered a completely sold out toilet paper isle. May we ever seek the Lord and His Spirit, for in Him we need not fear. He grants us power, wisdom and self-discipline, and shows us how to love people best, even in the worst of times.

 

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A spirit of fear;

For God is with us,

He is always near.

In the Lord, there’s peace,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Power the Lord gives,

His grace from above.

All of these great things,

We’re given indeed;

To love people well,

Give as we’ve received.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not give us a Spirit of fear, but rather one of power, wisdom and self-discipline. Thank You that You give each person what they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families to stay safe and well. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the unknown can be a scary space. Teach us to trust You more, and to listen to Your leading as You guide us through uncharted waters. Show us how to love those around us well, as each of us have different needs in different circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You for wisdom, strength and self-discipline to love as You love us all. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13