Adventurously Expectant

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – (Romans 8:15, HCSB)

The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again and causes us to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us God’s chosen children. And with that Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – (Romans 8:15, ERV)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” – (Romans 8:15, MSG)

You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. – (Romans 8:15, VOICE)

I included four different translations, as I appreciate what can be gleaned from each. When we invite God to be the Lord of our life, He gives us His Spirit to dwell in us and lead us into all that He has prepared for us. It is not a thing that makes us obedient robots, but rather is the Spirit within us that helps us recognize who our loving Heavenly Father is, and grants us an adventurously expectant heart that eagerly awaits all that Daddy God has for us. No matter what our earthly experience is with fathers, our Heavenly Father is loving and kind, and only has good in mind for us. He is our help and our hope, and welcomes us with strong and loving arms. God is ever-present, and is never too busy to hear and help us. May we seek the Lord to show us more and more of His Father’s heart for us, so that we may embrace His grace and follow wherever He leads with eager expectation.

The Spirit of God,

Our sweet Tali girl, ever expecting adventure. ❤

Ought not to be feared;

But rather embraced,

In love, be revered.

Ultimate Father,

Full of love and grace;

He leads and guides us,

As we seek His face.

Our help and our hope,

Wherever we go;

The Dad that loves us,

Where true peace is known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You adopt us into Your family when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You have good in mind for us all. Forgive us for associating Your Father’s heart with that of broken earthly examples. Teach us by Your Spirit how You are perfect love, and the One that never fails us. Show us how to love as You love, and help us to make Your heart known to those around us by our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our Abba Father, and for the Spirit You give us to make Your loving kindness tangible within. Amen.

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

Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them. – Psalm 119:129

Slow Down and Celebrate

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)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Despite the turmoil that seems to be constantly swirling in our nation, the goodness of God is still evident all around us. No matter what we see or hear going on around us, we can take refuge in the Lord, for His love remains the same forever. For me, as I pause and take inventory of God’s goodness, gratitude rises for the family and friends whom He surrounds me with, and for the grace and kindness He provides, no matter the circumstances that we walk through. He is near and always good, and we can depend on Him to be our space of safety and peace. May we take time to reflect and recognize God’s goodness all around us, and choose to trust and run to Him.

Look all around you,

image by Soda Head

Choose taste and you’ll see;

The goodness of God,

His love’s given free.

Our safe place to run,

His arms full of love;

Safety, provision,

All good from above.

So, trust in the Lord,

Give all thanks to Him;

Celebrate the good,

That He’s placed within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to slow down and celebrate Your goodness, as we gather and enjoy the communities in which we’ve been placed. Thank You that You provide Your love and faithfulness wherever we go. Forgive us for not noticing the blessings that You have placed all around us. Teach us to observe Your goodness and love all around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down to taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Faithful Love in the Morning

Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You. – (Psalm 143:8, HCSB)

Show me Your faithful love this morning. I trust in You. Show me what I should do. I put my life in Your hands! – (Psalm 143:8, ERV)

Make me hear of Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Teach me how I should walk, for I offer my soul up to You. – (Psalm 143:8, VOICE)

There is something so sweet about intentional time with God in the early morning. While the world seems to still be asleep, I soak in the goodness of silence before Him. Aside from the shifting positions of the pups, all is still. The goodness of God and the faithfulness found in His word echo through the chambers of my heart when I seek Him. He shows me anew the kindness of His grace, and the promise that He will remain present forever. When the world seems upside down and things don’t make sense, God’s faithful love remains. Regardless of what we see or feel, He remains present and is the One in whom we can trust. May we ever seek the Lord at the start of our day, for He will show us how to walk if we ask Him to lead us.

Each morning I rise,

And You are so near;

Each time I seek You,

My heart knows You hear.

Your goodness is shown,

As I read Your word;

And beauty surrounds,

Through promises heard.

You’re faithful to lead,

Wherever we roam;

As we trust in You,

Make our heart Your home.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You in the morning, we experience the faithfulness and goodness of Your great love. Thank You that You show us the steps we ought to take as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Show us how to seek You first and to trust and rely on You to lead. Teach us how to walk in Your love wherever we go and with whomever we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You anew each morning and trust You to lead us well. Amen.

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

Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other. – Romans 12:10

In All Things, Pray

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

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. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as it seems to be a season of tough news about people I love and care about. Yesterday afternoon, I found out that my nephew is in the hospital and dying of renal failure. I haven’t seen him in years, but when he was a little boy, he spent quite a bit of time with our family. Learning this heartbreaking news, I had to pause and pray; for I do not know what else to do. He is my boys’ cousin, their dad’s nephew, and their aunt’s first born. Sometimes, praying is really all we can do. Though I know not every need, I am able to pray for healing, health, hope and wholeness. I can pray for peace and strength and provision for the family. Prayer does not require eloquent words or religious utterances, it is simply talking to God with your heart, mind, and if it helps, your voice. He hears every word, thought and request. Incredibly, He provides what we need to get through each next moment, hour, day and beyond. His peace brings calm in the chaos and the ability to breathe when it feels as if we cannot. May we ever reach out to the Lord who hears our prayers, and seek Him for strength and peace in spaces where we have none.

O Lord, I draw near,

Seeking You for peace;

When I can’t fathom,

How You’ll bring release.

Somehow Your peace comes,

And fills up my heart;

Your love settles in,

Hope for a fresh start.

Be it a minute,

Or for a new day;

Your love and Your peace,

Always make a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than all of the trials and sorrows we face. Thank You that You flood us with Your love, surround us with Your care, and fill us with Your peace, even when peace does not make sense. Forgive us for worrying about having the words to pray, for You hear each cry of our heart as we reach out to You. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those whom You have placed in our lives, and to pray without ceasing for Your love to be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You as we call on Your Name and pray to You about all things, trusting that You hold us in the hollow of Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

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

Quick to Listen

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, and slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided if only we all followed these directions. When we are quick to listen, we hear the heart, hope and experience of the one before us, and it provides an opportunity to understand where another is coming from. Additionally, if we pause, listen and process before we respond, we are far more likely to speak out of love and not become frustrated or angry. Our charge is to be patient and not allow anger to fly out of control. God is faithful to provide the strength and self-control necessary to listen first and respond well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intently and be slow to speak, so that anger is kept in check and our words and deeds are led by His love.

Help us to listen,

So we truly hear;

The heart of others,

All those who are near.

Show us to slow down,

To be slow to speak;

So ev’ry response,

Is kind and in peace.

Lord, help our anger,

Be under control;

So love is what leads,

And grace is our goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen to us with love every time we speak. Thank You that You respond to us in love and do not easily anger. Forgive us for the times that we have not slowed down enough to truly hear those around us, or have listened only to respond, rather than to truly hear. Please check our hearts when anger rises so that we would slow down and place all in Your hands to lead us. Show us how to listen in love well so that those around us may see Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to listen well and do all things in love and with self-control. Amen.

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

I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. – Psalm 17:6

Found in the Seeking

You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. – (Jeremiah 29:13, HCSB)

You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, ERV)

You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, VOICE)

Even when things seem the darkest or most difficult, God is near and ready to help. He is gentle and kind, and waits for us to call on Him. As we do, we discover that God is present and hears our every cry. May we ever seek the Lord earnestly, for He is faithful to be found.

In the sweet seeking, 

Photo by kinkate on Pexels.com

The Lord’s ever found;

Faithful to answer,

His love does abound.

No matter what comes,

The Lord remains near;

Our hope and our help,

Each prayer He does hear.

So call on the Lord,

Our hope, help and peace;

Earnestly seek Him,

His love will not cease.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You are ever faithful to be found. Thank You that You are for us and You remain near. Forgive us for our lack of seeking in our spaces of need. Teach us to turn to You in all things, for You are present to help and worthy of all praise. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with all of our heart, knowing that You are faithful forever. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

To Intercede

And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, HCSB)

And if My people who are called by My name become humble and pray, and look for Me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, ERV)

And (if) My people (who are known by My name) humbly pray, follow My commandments, and abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning, then I shall hear their prayers from My house in heaven, I shall forgive their sins, and I shall save their land from the disasters. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, VOICE)

Not only are we called to be in community, but we are asked to pray for one another as well. When we are intentional to pray for those around us, we are interceding on their behalf. This can be individually, for a group, a city, state, nation or the world. Incredibly, because of Jesus, there is no specific way nor are there fancy words we need to say to intercede. God hears every utterance, petition and thought lifted to Him by those who earnestly seek Him. Right now, there is much need for intercession. The needs that surround us are many, and there is much longing for God to bring healing, health, hope and wholeness to all. May we ever seek the Lord and humbly pray, turning away from our sinful ways, and trust that God will be faithful to forgive and bring help as only He can do.

Called and commanded,

To seek God and pray;

To lift up others,

Ask Him show the way.

The way for healing,

For help and true hope;

Provision and peace,

Through Him we can cope.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Humbly, to choose seek;

To pray for others,

When all seems quite bleak.

By faith, help us trust,

All that You will bring;

Hope, help and healing,

Our reasons to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to intercede for those around us, both locally and globally. Thank You that when we slow down and look at what is going on, we notice places where Your presence is desperately needed. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You to pray when we see needs that we don’t know how to meet. Teach us to turn to You in trust and ask for Your help and healing for our families, communities, nations and beyond. Show us how to help practically as well, so that we may be vessels that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to intercede for those around us. Amen.

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

All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. – Psalm 65:2

His Love is Sound

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)

God is so faithful to hear us when we present our requests in prayer. This school year has been really challenging thus far, and though I pray generally, my best day this past week came after praying specifically for individual students by name. I don’t know if it was a shift in them, me, or both, but whatever it was, there was a tangible difference that day. This reminds me that I have to call on Him and ask specifically for what I need. He is faithful to answer, even when we do not see immediate results. What I do know is that God can use all things for good, so I have to press in and continue to trust that I am in the right place for such a time as this, even when I am overwhelmed and exhausted. This morning, I am thankful for the extra day of rest, as on this particular state in-service day, I have no training that I am required to attend. Instead, I now have the opportunity to pay a much needed visit to my mom, who lives a few hours away. God is good, and today I will pray and ask Him for all that I need and give Him thanks for the abundant blessings that He has poured out in my life. May we ever seek the Lord and pray our petitions to Him, for He hears and acts on behalf of His people who call on Him.

When anxiousness comes,

Choose call on the Lord;

Let Him know your needs,

His grace He’ll outpour.

Peace in our chaos,

The calm to each storm;

Love that surrounds us,

And hope that transforms.

Goodness and mercy,

In Him may be found;

Each time we seek Him,

For His love is sound.

Give thanks for blessings,

The good that abounds;

Seek Him in struggle,

In Him hope is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and present our prayers before You, You hear our hearts and move on our behalf. Thank You for the abundant blessings that You continually pour out, as You surround us with community and provide hope, help and rest when we need it most. Forgive us for our anxiousness that we hold. Teach us to place all in Your hands. Show us anew each day, that You are the answer to all that we need. Lead us to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as You make Your goodness known. Be glorified O God, as we present our prayers before You and pour out our praise in thanksgiving for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

Peace to Anxious Spaces

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – (Psalm 139:23, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. – (Psalm 139:23, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. – (Psalm 139:23, TPT)

This is a good reminder, especially during seasons that seem to spark anxiety. Normally, I would have written something about the eagerness for the first day of school. However, yesterday, all I could do was read and pray, as I was anxious to walk into the unknown after nearly eighteen months. Yes, I had returned to hybrid school in the spring, but there were only a handful of kids in class at any given time, so the idea of full classrooms and the chaos of the “normal” start of the school year was weighty. God knows our needs and meets us where we are. Despite a bit of a bumpy morning, the day went well. Kids were excited to be back at school, and the vast majority were fantastic about masks and social distancing. I know for many, there was much anxiety about the unknown. Two-thirds of the student body had never before set foot on campus. My classes are primarily eighth graders, so most had been away since their sixth grade year that was cut short and flipped upside down. God knows each heart and what it needs. When we slow down and quiet our hearts, He whispers the words that bring peace. I can’t pretend to understand why we are in the midst of a pandemic that is still our reality, but I can trust that He has placed us all together for this season. May we ever give God the reins and ask Him to search our hearts, for He is the One who uncovers and soothes our anxiousness and brings peace to places of uneasiness.

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You know our every anxious thought. Thank You that You hear and answer us every time we call on You. Forgive us for holding on to anxious thoughts and not giving You room to bring Your peace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things don’t make sense. Show us how to love well and bring peace to all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our cares and trust Your love to lead us in Your goodness and peace. 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