Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Our Calls For Help Are Heard

But I call to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets You. – (Psalm 88:13, HCSB)

Lord, I am asking You to help me! Early each morning I pray to You. – (Psalm 88:13, ERV)

But I am calling out to You, Eternal One. My prayers rise before You with every new sun! – (Psalm 88:13, VOICE)

God is faithful to hear us when we call on Him. Each day, as I rise before the sun, I call on God to be my help and my hope. If you have been following here, you know that the start to this school year has had its challenges. Yesterday, there was a bit of a change. It was far from perfect, yet how I felt at the end of the day was far better than the previous two. I am hopeful that today will be even better. May we ever call on the Lord for help, for He is faithful to hear us and help us in and through all things.

Each morning I rise,

Before daylight’s come;

I pray to the Lord,

The most Holy One.

I seek Him for strength,

My Help and my Hope;

To lead and guide me,

So love is evoked.

Ever He’s faithful,

To meet me each day;

His strength and goodness,

Lead me in His way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear our prayer. Thank You that even when we do not see it, You are moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things are heavy and feel as if we are in the throes of a never ending fight. Teach us to rise and pray to You, for You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us well. Lead us in the light of Your gracious goodness for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each morning as we rise, trusting that You hear us and will be with us as we go. Amen.

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

Lord, hear my prayer. In Your faithfulness listen to my plea, and in Your righteousness answer me. – Psalm 143:1

Lead Me To Level Ground

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, HCSB)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path. – (Psalm 143:10, VOICE)

As I ponder this, what comes to mind is not necessarily the smoothest path, but rather one where my footing is secure. Level ground is the space on which our pace stays steady. When we seek the Lord to lead us and show us what to do, He leads us to His level ground. For me, this means that as I seek Him and trust Him, He will guide me to the spaces where I find my footing and am able to press on. Right now, I find myself needing this more than ever. Teaching a subject in a grade that I have never taught, and having extraordinarily full, high energy classes at the end of the day for the two periods that I teach something familiar, leads me to feel as if I am climbing a mountain by the close of the day. I need Him to be my strength and to guide me by His grace into the new and challenging, so that I may find my footing and move forward at an appropriate pace. God is good, and He is faithful to teach us as we seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to walk in His will and lead us along the path that He has prepared for us. 

O God, please show me,

To move in Your way;

By Your loving grace,

Lead me each new day.

Lord, teach me to walk,

On Your level ground;

With footing secure,

For Your way is sound.

Guide me by Your grace,

That’s made ever new;

Help me and lead me,

Show me what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that leads and strengthens us to spaces where our way is clear. Thank You that You can secure our steps, even when the road is rocky. Forgive us for our objections to obstacles, for they are often necessary to help us recognize and appreciate clear paths. Please show us which way to go, and grant us Your strength to step securely on the path that You place before us. Lead us in Your lavish love and grace, so that we may extend the same to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified  O God, as we seek You to lead us and find the way that You have set before us. 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

You Hold My Hand

Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, HCSB)

But I am always with You. You hold my hand. You lead me and give me good advice, and later You will lead me to glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, ERV)

I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. – (Psalm 73:23-24, MSG)

David’s words are a reminder to us that when we choose God, He is always with us and takes our hand to lead us. As He leads, He guides us in His wisdom and tenderness and makes the eternal hope we have in Him, evident. There is much peace knowing that God is with us and will guide and advise us whenever we seek Him. Ultimately, His leading will lead us into eternal glory with Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us, so that we may walk in His ways and become who He has created us to be.

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

He’s loving and kind;

He leads and guides us,

With His good in mind.

His hands to hold us,

As gently He leads;

His love to bless us,

As He meets our needs.

Ever God is near,

He’s present to lead;

His love knows no end,

His goodness exceeds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and in love, You take our hands and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Thank You that Your direction is to grow and bless us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to do things our own way. Teach us to trust and listen to You in all things and at all times, for in doing so, we come to understand the hope and help that is found in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend our hands to You and trust You to lead and counsel us as we walk out each new day. Amen.

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

He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

The Helper

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – (Romans 5:5, HCSB)

And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us. – (Romans 5:5, ERV)

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor began a new series titled, “The Helper”, with the purpose of unpacking who the Holy Spirit is. Too often the Holy Spirit is viewed as the manifestation of gifts that He gives rather than as the One who gives so much more. As he spoke, the thing that came clearly to mind for me is that the Holy Spirit is God made tangible to us. The concept of three-in-one is challenging to grasp. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate parts that are each fully God. This in and of itself requires faith, as it is above what our thoughts can fully grasp. However, when we look at the roles that each person of the Trinity plays in the world and in our lives, it is a bit more graspable. That still small voice, the check in our spirit, the gut-feeling – these are all tangible examples of how the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us in the ways we are meant to go. The songs that rise in our hearts, the flood of warmth, the feeling of knowing that we are completely loved – are also ways that the Holy Spirit makes God’s nearness known. Hope is made evident as we come to recognize the Holy Spirit moving in and through us. Honestly, I don’t think I am adequately sharing, but am hopeful that the simple explanation of who the Holy Spirit is provides a desire to know Him more. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves so that we might go and love likewise.

The Lord, our Helper,

The Spirit of God;

Is ever-present,

And love is the bond.

Three persons are One,

Though it’s hard to see;

How it’s possible,

Holy Trinity.

God is our Father,

Creator of all;

His Son, Lord Jesus,

Redemption for all.

The Holy Spirit,

Our Helper and Guide;

God made tangible,

In our hearts resides.

Fear not the unknown,

Higher are His ways;

Instead seek to learn,

Throughout all our days.

For God is faithful,

Ever He is near;

To help, lead and guide,

As love removes fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in One. Thank You that You are our Creator, Redeemer, and ever-present Helper. Forgive us for our misunderstanding or fear of what we cannot fully grasp. Teach us to ever seek You to reveal more and more of who You are and how You love as we intentionally pursue You. Show us who You are through all that You have made; help us to grasp the greatness of Your love as we spend time in Your Word, and teach us to recognize the goodness and presence of You through Your Holy Spirit whom You have given to us. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally seek You for new understanding and insight as to who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

And the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love, with You I am well pleased.” – Luke 3:22

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

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

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Room to Roam and Rest

Trust in the Lord and do what is good; dwell in the land and live securely. – (Psalm 37:3, HCSB)

So trust in the Lord and do good. Live on your land and be dependable. – (Psalm 37:3, ERV)

Believe in the Eternal, and do what is good – live in the land He provides; roam, and rest in God’s faithfulness. – (Psalm 37:3, VOICE)

Wherever we are, and whatever we are called to do, we ought to do our best as unto the Lord. Sometimes, doing so is staying right where we are, even when things are challenging. God is faithful to provide what we need, and we can trust Him as we choose to keep doing good. Today is the final full day of the school year. It has been one of challenges and change, yet here we are on the second-to-last day, still standing. As a teacher, it is difficult not to look ahead to next year and anticipate what the year will hold, but right now, we simply need to choose to continue to do what is good and be present. His faithfulness will see us through whatever the year will hold, but for now, we are approaching our time to roam and to rest as we recharge for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in the Lord and continue to be dependable in what we are called to do, for He is faithful, always.

Choose rise up in faith,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Keep doing the good;

Where we have been called,

God’s love has withstood.

Near in the struggles,

His strength was given;

And now there’ll be rest,

His peace to live in.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For all You provide;

Your rest and the room,

To roam as You guide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us where we are and lead us to where we need to be. Thank You that You bring us out of seasons of struggle and into times of rest and refreshment. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when uncertainty lies ahead. Teach us to trust You and Your faithfulness. Show us how to build up, encourage, and love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for time to roam and rest. Amen.

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

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

All Through Him

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, HCSB)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him; everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. – (Romans 11:36, MSG)

As we draw ever closer to the close of what has been the most challenging school year yet, I cannot help but give God praise for all He has done throughout every day. He has provided strength in our weariness, and hope in spaces of despair. Today, we begin the twenty-day countdown. Twenty more school-day wakeups and the year will be done. I don’t know about you, but when the days remaining are countable on our fingers and toes, it seems far more manageable. This morning, as I prepare for my day, not only do I present my requests for strength and peace and patience and love, but also, I give God praise for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. May we rise with purpose and make the most of each day that we draw breath.

Twenty days remain,

Home stretch…

Until we are through;

Year never-ending,

Almost done, it’s true.

God has been faithful,

To provide our needs;

His grace, sufficient,

And His love exceeds.

On the darkest days, 

In Him, was still light;

The song in our hearts,

Hope, love and delight.

Let us choose rise up,

With purpose, go forth;

Love one another,

And bask in God’s warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all things are in You, from You, with You and through You; for You lead, guide, sustain and strengthen us to do more than we ever hoped or imagined. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth of who You are and how You carry us when our strength is gone. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may know glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for who You are and how You lovingly lead us through all things. Amen.

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

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. – John 1:3

How to Pray

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:9-13, HCSB)

Today is the first day of twenty-one days of intentional prayer and fasting with my church. Each day there is a focused passage and it is only fitting that day one covers “The Lord’s Prayer”. This five-verse passage provides us with a framework of how we ought to pray. First, we ought to acknowledge who God is. Next, we are to seek His will, not our own. After that, we should ask Him for what we need. Next, we are to confess to Him and request forgiveness, as we also must forgive others in the same way. He is gracious to help as we ask. None of us are beyond the reach of temptation and ought to ask that God help us avoid or overcome all that tempts us away from His will for our lives. Being delivered from the evil one is an ongoing ask for protection – mind, body, and spirit. Lastly, we ought to again point back to who God is and remember all that He can do. May we each be intentional to begin the new year well, for our help and hope is in Christ.

O God in heaven,

Most holy are You;

Our Savior and King,

Who makes all things new.

May Your will be done,

In our hearts and lives;

Help us to honor,

Without compromise.

Be our Provider,

Throughout each new day;

For in You we find,

What’s needed each day.

For our wrongdoings,

Please love and forgive;

Help us do likewise,

Each day that we live.

Protect our choices,

From going astray;

Lead us and guide us,

To walk in Your way.

The kingdom is Yours,

Love, power and grace;

All praise forever,

For Your loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our every prayer. Thank You that You have provided guidance for when we are uncertain as to how to pray. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek You in all things. Teach us to entrust all things into Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow Your leading as we pray and choose to trust You more each day. Amen.

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

The Lord has heard my plea for help; the Lord accepts my prayer. – Psalm 6:9