Justice and Mercy Mean More

This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” – (Zechariah 7:9, NIV)

This is what the Lord All-Powerful said: “You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, ERV)

Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, MSG)

 

The context of this verse takes us back to the time of King Darius, as Zechariah received a word from the Lord regarding the traditional season of mourning and fasting. God spoke to Zechariah about the heart behind what the people were doing, and let him know that He would far prefer the people extend true mercy and justice, rather than partaking in religious rituals for themselves. Things are no different today, as God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is after our hearts, desiring that we extend His love, mercy, compassion and justice to others in the same way that He so generously and unreservedly loves each of us. Yes, there are seasons for mourning and fasting, but it must be with a heart intent on seeking Him, rather than simply jumping through some sort of religious hoop. May we seek the Lord and His love, so that we may treat one another justly, love our neighbors, and be compassionate with one another in the same way that He is with us.

 

For we are all called, Justice and Mercy Mean More

In kindness, choose love;

Show mercy and grace,

As God does for us.

Treat others justly,

Be compassionate;

Love one another,

To kindness, commit.

What matters the most,

In all that we do;

Is our heart to love,

Honor God in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love one another. Thank You that throughout Your word You unpack what it means to love. Thank You that mercy, compassion and justice are all part of loving as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in any of these areas. Teach us how to extend mercy, be compassionate, and to treat one another justly in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You love, for You extend all these things and more, though we do not deserve them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love like You – extending mercy, choosing compassion, and treating one another justly, regardless of what we receive. Amen.

 

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

 

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Blessings and Strength to the Seeking

Great blessings belong to those who depend on You for strength! Their heart’s desire is to make the trip to Your Temple. – (Psalm 84:5, ERV)

Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. – (Psalm 84:5, TLB)

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey. – (Psalm 84:5, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder that our blessings of peace, joy and contentment come when we seek the Lord for strength. When the desire of our heart is to spend time in His presence, we begin to treasure each day and find joy in the journey. That does not mean that each day is easy, or that we somehow suddenly skate through life; but it does determine our true Source of strength and hope and joy, which makes all of the difference as we navigate each new day. May we depend on the Lord for strength each day, and treasure the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father as He blesses us with His presence and His peace as we persevere through all things.

 

May we ever learn,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Of blessings we’ll find;

As we seek Your strength,

With soul, heart and mind.

Your great faithfulness,

Will always be found;

By those who choose seek,

Your grace is profound.

All that we shall need,

To keep keeping on;

Your blessings and strength,

Our hope and our song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength as we seek You. Thank You that You bless our hearts and lives with Your presence and Your peace as we pursue time with You. Thank You that we no longer have to make a pilgrimage to a holy place to find You, for You are wherever we are when we call on Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking Your strength in our struggles. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of strength and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Blot Out Barriers

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. – (Daniel 1:17, NIV)

God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, ERV)

Through all of this, God conferred upon these four young men superior abilities in literature, language, and wisdom. God had given Daniel an additional gift, too: the ability to interpret visions and dreams. – (Daniel 1:17, VOICE)

 

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the chosen from Judah to be trained to serve in the king of Babylon’s palace. The king ordered for the men to be taught and trained in the language and literature of the Babylonians. As they were trained, they were granted rations of royal food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel, not wanting to defile himself with such things, petitioned for permission to eat only vegetables and water. Because he had found favor with the chief official over him, he agreed to try, despite his concerns about how the meager rations would affect Daniel and company’s appearance. At the end of the trial time, the young men looked healthier than the others, and had won over the official, allowing them to continue their vegetarian diet so that their focus could be on God and the learning that He would give them, rather than on what they would eat or drink at their next meal. God honored their hearts, and the four young men thrived in their learning, far above the others chosen for the same training. My take away from this story is the young men gave up fine delicacies that could distract, in exchange for focus and favor, granted by God. Food was to serve a function, rather than a focus, that way the young learners were able to set their minds on what mattered most. My prayer is that God would show me the things that are unnecessary distractions that I do not need, to set aside so that I may fully focus on what matters most. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, new insight and understanding, setting aside anything that pulls our attention away from our intended purpose.

 

When we set aside,joining-together.png

The things that distract;

The Lord is faithful,

Wisdom He’ll enact.

He’s faithful to hear,

Our heart as we ask;

Sometimes to listen,

Desires must be last.

Help us clear the way,

For all of the new;

Open minds and hearts,

To what You will do.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us biblical examples of those who sought You well. Thank You that there are things that we can to do to help make way for You to move. Thank You that if we ask, You are faithful to answer and show us the things that distract us from hearing You clearly. Forgive us for allowing our own agenda to get in the way of all that You have for us. Teach us to trust You more, as Your plans are far greater than our own. Show us how to love those around us well, as we listen to Your leading and follow what You are asking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness forever. 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

Be Strong and Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting on the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

So cheer up! Take courage all you who love Him. Wait for Him to break through for you, all who trust in Him! – (Psalm 31:24, TPT)

 

God’s timing is always perfect, even though we often desire a different timeline. Yesterday was an amazing day for hope, as Mom took a giant leap of faith, that took tremendous courage and strength, as she continues to persevere and wait for full healing and restoration to come. In the morning, prior to my guys arrival, Mom determined that she wanted to give the new cane we had purchased on Friday (per the physical therapist’s request), a try. Not only did she “try”, but she opted to utilize the cane as her only assisting tool for walking for the entire day! She did multiple laps around the house, was in and out of various rooms, and later we ventured into Corvallis to a favorite shop and then to dinner together. Mom navigated beautifully, and did not relent, as she joyfully joined us all for family game night when we returned home. She is a bit sore this morning, as muscles were utilized differently than they have been, yet she continues to be determined, and insisted on using the cane from the moment she woke up. Post-stroke, progress is slow by human standards, yet God knows what we need and we are placing our hope and trust in Him. He is good, and He continues to grant us beautiful reminders of His faithfulness and grace, and show us how He is working in and through Mom to strengthen and heal her. May we choose to be strong and take heart in He who is our hope forever.

 

Be strong in the Lord,wp-15776371307814632775469537060756.jpg

For He makes us brave;

Grants us what we need,

To float through the waves.

The Lord is our hope,

He hears each heart cry;

He moves far beyond,

What’s seen with our eyes.

God strengthens each heart,

And builds up resolve;

Helps us keep moving,

As grace is installed.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Take courage, be strong;

He’s ever moving,

Our Hope and our Song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be strong and courageous in You, as You are our hope. Thank You that You move on our behalf, even when we cannot see what You are doing. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith that grows weary when things do not move according to our desired timeline. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is perfect and You have good in store for those who love You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage strength, courage and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hope in You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

 

 

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

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. 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

Ask for Direction

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, NIV)

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)

 

This morning, I am enthusiastically mulling over a new opportunity that was set before me yesterday evening. By all appearances, it seems as though God ordained the timing, as paths crossed at just the right moment for need and skill set to collide. For me, it would be a hope long held; realized, and a connection to grow something I already love, even greater. Between full familial support and a heart that is thrilled and the possibility, I am full of hope that this is His will and the path on which I am being led. The next few days will tell the tale, as all would come to fruition by Tuesday of next week, if it is the path that I am meant to take in this season. My prayer is that I would know clearly what His will is, and that I would follow whatever direction I am meant to go, with passion and strength to persevere.

 

O Lord God on high, Ask for Direction

Show me what to do;

Lead me on Your path,

So, I honor You.

Direct each next step,

Show me where to go;

Make directions clear,

So, Your will, I’ll know.

Thank You for new things,

Chance encouragement;

Opportunities,

Blessings, heaven sent.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the thrill of new opportunities that You set before us. Thank You that You know our hearts and love to bless us. Thank You for loving and supportive family. Thank You that You answer when we ask, and I am asking for clear direction before diving in, despite my desire to charge straight ahead. Forgive us for allowing our desires to get ahead of us. Show us how to slow down and ask for answers, so that we make the best decisions that You have for us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that all whom we encounter would be encouraged and lifted up in Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our desires to You and ask for direction, as You make our path plain. Amen.

 

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

 

In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6

Pleased with Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

 

As I continue to move forward throughout this month with a heart turned toward intentional gratitude, I am overwhelmed with thanks that God’s plans go far beyond what we see at any given moment. So often, we have to walk through dark spaces to truly appreciate the glory of the light that is waiting on the other side. His plans are good. God grants us hope and a future that is eternal. Not only does He bless us here, but He holds our eternity in His hands. Each season in my life that I have walked through that has been difficult, or seemingly devastating, has led to a new season of hope and beauty and blessing. It is through the trials and challenges and heartaches that we see, know and understand the enormity of the blessed hope we hold in the future as it unfolds. God is good and He has good plans for us that include a hope and a future. May we ever give Him thanks for our lives through His lens, rather than our own.

Mom, though she has moments of frustration and heartache over what was lost, she also holds fast to the hope and promise of a future that is good. God has good plans for her too. We are beyond grateful that her life was spared, and that she is doing well and fighting hard on this journey to recovery. Today, I am hopeful to catch up with both mom and my sister, and discover all of the new that has taken place and that lies ahead.

 

With a thankful heart, Pleased with Good Plans

Gratitude I raise;

A future and hope,

In Christ, ours always.

His plans, they are good,

Even in our mess;

God ever is near,

To help and to bless.

Give thanks to the Lord,

All praise for His grace;

For hope we can hold,

Today and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have a hope and a future in You. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that You come near and walk beside us through our darkness and show us the beauty of Your incredible light. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope in what lies ahead with You. Teach us to trust Your plans, even when we cannot see or imagine how our circumstances could possibly lead to good. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they too, may see light and hope and love, even in difficult spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your faithfulness to be present and have a good plan for our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Begin With Thanks

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, ERV)

Give thanks to God – He is good and His love never quits. – (1 Chronicles 16:34, MSG)

 

This morning, I woke twenty minutes prior to my alarm. I am uncertain as to whether it was my full bladder or my strange dream that disrupted my slumber, but either way, I was not pleased to be awake at that time, knowing that I would be up for the day in such a short time. As I felt a toasty blast of heat on my way to the restroom, I had a quick check in my heart as to what really matters. Above all else, I have so many reasons to give thanks. So often, we need to take pause and take inventory. God’s goodness and love know no end. For me, in that moment, I remembered that this is the first day of November, a month often dedicated to giving thanks. Upon further pondering, my mental list of gratitude has grown, exponentially, and I could likely spend the month writing about all of the reasons that I am thankful. At 2:57 am, my list included a home with heat, a warm, comfortable bed, a roof over my head, a loving husband, wonderful children, our moms, siblings, and extended family, as well as an incredible circle of familial-like friends. We all have struggles and challenges and trials to face, yet in the midst of them all, we have God and His unending grace. For all of these things, and so many more, may we give thanks to God.

As for mom, her progress provides yet another reason to give God thanks. This week she had the very last of her in-home therapy appointments, as she is now going to transition to out-patient therapy. The switch is significant, as physical and occupation therapy providers have resources, tools and equipment that expedite mobility and strength, and we are eager to see how mom grows in this new chapter of her stroke recovery. Our prayer now is that the timing of the transition is seamless. We are hopeful that because she is in the same city, insurance will process and appointments will be available quickly. Above all, we give thanks to God that mom is with us, and is on the road to recovery, working hard and growing stronger every day.

 

Give thanks to the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

For He’s always good;

His love’s forever,

Through all times, withstood.

Every good gift,

Comes from God above;

Blessings from heaven,

Surrounded in love.

For all that is good,

And help when it’s not;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Who amply allots.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You for the ways that You bless, sustain and help us throughout all of our days. Forgive us for losing sight of Your goodness when things don’t go our way. Teach us to look to You with gratitude, trusting that even in the struggles, trials, inconveniences and the like; You are with us and will see us through. Show us how to love those around us in a way that multiplies gratitude in others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and for Your goodness and love that know no end. Amen.

 

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

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Colossians 3:17