True Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. – (Proverbs 31:30, TPT)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

God wants our hearts, not our appearance nor charisma. Incredibly, the most beautiful and charming people I know are those who have a heart after God’s own. Media tends to place the most value on beauty and charm, yet God looks at the heart. Our most important investments are the ones that last. Loving God and loving people well is what teaches us to live in wonder and awe of the Lord. It requires our dependence on Him to live as He calls us to live. Fear of the Lord is not a space of terror, but rather is a healthy respect that recognizes who God is and the capacity of His power. When we allow God to be God, we begin to live and move and interact the way that we were designed to do. In this context, being praised means being approved. The most critical message in this verse is that we are approved by God when we focus on relationships rather than appearances. May we ever seek the Lord in awe and wonder, depending on Him to grow us in how we live and love.

May we ever aim,

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

To love like the Lord;

Beauty from within,

As grace is outpoured.

With respect and awe,

Let love for God lead;

In all that we do,

Each word and each deed.

The God of all grace,

In love, does approve;

When we seek to love,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to focus on what lasts. Thank You that true beauty comes from within, not from the exterior. Thank You that we are approved by You as we earnestly seek to walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to be swayed by the world’s definition of beauty rather than Yours. Teach us to have beautiful hearts that love and respect You and all those around us. Show us how to love people best as we invest our heart into learning how to love as we were created to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the beauty all around us, but more importantly, for the beauty created within us all to honor You and love well. Amen.

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

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:18

Time to Treasure

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. – (Luke 12:34, MSG)

Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well. – (Luke 12:34, VOICE)

Our treasure is what we place value upon and where we spend our time, talent, and resources. Throughout the last year, I have spent more time at home than ever before. This whole pandemic situation has been a catalyst to investing more into my family, home and community. It has required intentional focus to navigate life at home with three people and two dogs that are always present. I have always treasured the stillness of early mornings, so my time alone with God has not changed nor been compromised. My kids choose to be present and help out with the puppies as they navigate their own way through college online. As for the pups, who could help but invest time and resources into loving them well? It is not all easy, but it is indeed worthwhile. May we treasure the gifts that God has given, and prioritize praising Him for His goodness and grace. May we pursue the Lord and His best for us, ever placing our treasure in Him.

These treasured moments,

God glimpses through time;

Intentional acts,

of love being kind.

For as we value,

God’s gifts here on earth;

We discover peace,

And to Him, our worth.

Value exceeding,

All that we have known;

A promised future,

Of glories unknown.

May we spend our gifts,

Time talents and trust;

Investing in things,

That don’t turn to dust.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to treasure. Thank You that loving You and loving those around us is the greatest investment we could ever make. Forgive us for the times that we have squandered our time, talent and resources on things that will not last. Teach us to prioritize and be intentional. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our time, talents and resources to love and to honor You. 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

Timeless Faithfulness

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your Name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. – (Isaiah 25:1, NIV)

Lord, You are my God. I honor You and praise Your Name, because You did amazing things. The words You said long ago are completely true; everything happened exactly as You said it would. – (Isaiah 25:1, ERV)

Eternal One, You are my God. I will lift You up and praise Your Name. Because You have made wonderful marvelous and beautiful – the most ancient designs holding strong and sure. – (Isaiah 25:1, VOICE)

The faithfulness of God is timeless. All of creation announces His love as He has done, does, and will continue to do wonderful things. What was planned in the beginning, He faithfully fulfills. God, who in His infinite wisdom and love, created each of us with a plan and a purpose. As we follow Him, we see His kindness and grace through the outpouring of His love, as He leads us to walk out all that He has prepared for us. I know it seems like the wonderful things are far off when obstacles come our way, but if we slow down, take a deep breath, and truly take inventory, the visibility of His incredible blessings are abundantly clear. In the darkest times, His light remains, for if we open our eyes we are genuinely able to see. May we ever lift up praise to He who carries out the wonderful and beautiful in each of our lives.

Lord, I will praise You,

For all of my days;

Your tender mercies,

Lead us in Your ways.

Thank You for kindness,

When hope’s feeling gone;

You bless us and keep us,

Help us carry on.

Your word is the truth,

Faithful without end;

No matter what comes,

Love and strength You send.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our God and that Your faithfulness never ends. Thank You that You are the same yesterday, today and forever. Thank You for what You promise, as You fulfill. Forgive our fears and frustrations when we cannot see the beauty that is going to come from our ashes. Teach us to trust You and praise You, even in the storms. Show us how to love those around us well, so that hope and faith rise up, no matter how things appear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love so well. Amen.

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

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Awareness of Everywhere

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV) 

“Someone might try to hide from Me in some hiding place. But it is easy for Me to see that person”, says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” This message is from the Lord. 

Am I a God anyone can hide from? Do I not see what happens in secret? Am I not everywhere, filling heaven and earth? – (Jeremiah 23:24, VOICE) 

There is both comfort and concern in knowing that God sees and knows all. Comfort comes in knowing that He is aware of all that causes fear and overwhelms us. Concern exists in the awareness of our own faults and failures. God is gracious, but He knows all that we think, say and do. When we are unkind, complacent or far from exhibiting His heart, we grieve the heart of God. In the same way that a parent grieves when their children stray from the way they know they should go, He too, is saddened. However, just as a parent will love their child all the while, He too loves us, His children. Incredibly, God sees and knows all, and still He loves. Because He loved us first, we too have the capacity to love. The more we know Him, the more we long to bless His heart with our words, thoughts and deeds. If we go off course, we need to confess to Him our wrongs, and He lovingly forgives and receives us into His arms. May we ever be aware of God’s loving presence, as He is faithful to help us navigate well.  

The Lord God above, 

He sees and He knows; 

Whatever we do, 

Wherever we go. 

There’s no place on earth, 

Where He will not see; 

All His creation, 

His vast majesty. 

So, seek the Lord’s heart, 

In all that we do; 

To love as He loves, 

He will lead us through. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You see, hear and know all that we think, say and do, You are present to help and love in all that we do. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that does not honor You. Forgive us also, for the times that we somehow thought You would not see, or neglected to give thought to Your awareness of all. Teach us to trust and lean into You, so that our every word and deed demonstrate Your loving kindness to all. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and seek to honor You in all. Amen. 

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

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? – Romans 2:4

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

Establish the Work

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands. – (Psalm 90:17, NIV)

Lord, our God, be kind to us. Make everything we do successful. Yes, make it all successful. – (Psalm 90:17, ERV)

O Lord our God, let Your sweet beauty rest upon us and give us favor. Come work with us, and then our works will endure, and give us success in all we do. – (Psalm 90:17, TPT)

 

This is a fitting verse this morning, as I prepare to head back to my classroom to begin the process of preparing for the school year. My prayer is that I can create a space that is safe, comfortable and welcoming, and that as students enter my room, we are able to establish a caring community that fosters growth and learning, bringing out the best in each of us. Such a request is no small ask, and it will require God’s hand to be upon my heart, daily. God is so good, and He is able to do abundantly more than we can ever ask or imagine, and I am asking and imagining that an amazing space of peace be ever present in my classroom. I am trusting Him to establish the work of my hands both now, and in the days to come. Each investment sown in love, does not come back void, but rather finds way to fill in dark spaces with much needed light. May we ever seek our Savior to be our strength and source in all that we do, so that He may establish the good we hope to see.

As for mom, it sounds as if God’s beauty is resting upon her in her new space as well. Though the weariness from travel seemed to have caught up with her a bit yesterday, it was still a good day for mom. My sister arrived home from work to find Terry (mom’s in-home care provider) and Skyler (my nephew) playing Dirty Marbles (family favorite game – cross between Sorry and Chinese Checkers) at the kitchen table. Her new medical insurance card finally arrived in the mail yesterday, so the process of seeing a new physician and establishing in-home therapies should follow soon. It was wonderful to talk to mom and Megan on the phone last evening, as mom sounded good, and as if all is well within her. God continues to be so faithful in every step of the process in this journey for mom. We are trusting the same to be true as an appointment is set to see a new physician, and in-home therapies are sought after.  God will continue to bring mom success on her road to recovery, as she models such faith and trust in Him.

 

May the Lord’s favor, 10221815182971527373307308191.jpg

Be present with us;

As we pursue Him,

Seek love like Jesus.

Establish our work,

Lord, all that we do;

So, Your love’s made clear,

And Your heart shines through.

God, show us the way,

To best persevere;

And work unto You,

As You’re always near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and place our trust in You, You establish the work of our hands that is intended to honor You. Thank You that You lead us and guide us and love us throughout each day. Forgive us for the times that we deceive ourselves and try to go our own way. Teach us to trust You and stay true to the truth we know. Show us how to establish all that we do in the love and grace that You intend. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they might come to understand what grace, goodness, hope, peace and love look like for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to establish the work of our hands, so that we may honor You in all that we do. Amen.

 

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

 

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

The Unlikely Chosen

Then he told me, “The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and hear Him speak. For you are to be His witness, telling everyone what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, NLT)

Ananias told me, “The God of our fathers chose you long ago to know His plan. He chose you to see the Righteous One and to hear words from Him. You will be His witness to all people. You will tell them what you have seen and heard.” – (Acts 22:14-15, ERV)

Then he said, “You have been chosen by the God of our ancestors to know His will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the voice of God. You will tell the story of what you have seen and heard to the whole world.” – (Acts 22:14-15, VOICE)

 

Paul, who was previously known as Saul, had a divine encounter with God on the road to Damascus. His experience interrupted his entire system of belief. Where Paul had been persecuting people who were claiming this new Way, rather than living by a strict code of rules and rituals, he now too, had a first-hand encounter with the living God, and could not go back to what he formerly had known. God chooses seemingly unlikely people to interrupt in their tracks and touch hearts and lives. The incredible thing is, no one can dispute our own personal experiences. I imagine that is what made Paul’s testimony so powerful. People knew who Paul had been, were seeing a man transformed, speaking of grace and forgiveness, where he had once likely spoken of following the law or else. The remainder of his life was used to do exactly that – to tell the whole world of what he had seen and heard. Paul traveled far and wide for the times, and recorded much of God’s faithfulness in the New Testament. May we walk out our days with hearts wide open, ever willing to share our own story of God’s faithfulness to us.

 

With eyes wide open, Chosen With Purpose

May we walk along;

Trusting our Savior,

As He makes us strong.

When chances arise,

Share His faithfulness;

So others may know,

There’s help in the mess.

Help us to love well,

Be Your heart and hands;

Extend hope to those,

Who need see Your plan.

For You are so good,

No matter what comes;

Let us rest in You,

’til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call the equipped, but You equip the called. Thank You that we do not have to measure up to serve and honor You, but rather You transform us from the inside out as we pursue a life in You. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of walking out that which You are calling us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and obey. Show us how to love those around us in a way that points hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we tell our own stories of Your faithfulness in our lives so that people may know of Your goodness and grace. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19