Kind, Loving and Forgiving

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

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

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

 

Typically, I am quite even tempered, as I seldom get overly upset or worked up about things; usually, I choose to take a deep breath, and keep pressing forward. However, like anyone, I do have my breaking point. When I reach a space where no matter how hard I work, and how much I try, I still feel grossly inadequate, it is then that I begin to withdraw, and the sarcasm spews out as an ugly coping mechanism. Thankfully, my Viking is kind and compassionate to me. He sees me wherever I am, and grants grace and extends love, with some humor, in a way that helps pull me out of my place of frustration and back into a space of depending on God’s abundant grace. Somehow, I am blessed with tremendous friends that do the same as well. In this season of adjusting and adapting to staying at home and working remotely, we all need to be kind, compassionate and forgiving. It is easy to extend these things to others, but much more difficult to offer the same to ourselves. God, in His outrageous grace, sent His Son for us, so that we might truly know and understand the depth of His forgiveness and love. My hope is that as we set our sights toward Easter, we might look to the cross and recognize that the forgiveness and redemption extended to all is a gift that we are meant to embrace, and then extend to those around us. May we each look for ways to be loving and kind to one another; graciously forgiving each other in love, just as we have been loved and forgiven by God.

 

Kindness, compassion,

wp-15860080495045996625406504401627.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Extended in grace;

The Lord’s forgiveness,

New, every day.

We all are chosen,

To love the same way;

Give love and forgive,

God’s grace on display.

As we extend love,

God’s love and light’s shown;

Forgiveness and grace,

In kindness, made known.

So, keep reaching out,

Choose love and forgive;

In kindness grant grace,

Where hope truly lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and compassionate toward us, forgiving us in love. Thank You that You call us and empower us to do the same. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives who show us these things in tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion, kindness or forgiveness toward those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend the very things that You have so lavishly granted to us, to those around us. Show us how to best love those around us with kindness and compassion. Point out the places where we need to walk in forgiveness with one another. Grant us Your grace and strength to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be kind and compassionate, and forgive one another as You have forgiven us. Amen.

 

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

 

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

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

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

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 for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

Be strong and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Weathering the Waves

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, NIV)

A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides of the boat, and it was almost full of water. Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with His head on a pillow. The followers went and woke Him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be Still!” Then the wind stopped and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, ERV)

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused Him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to You that we’re going down?” Awake now, He told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. – (Mark 4:37-39, MSG)

 

Though I have both read and heard the passage about Jesus calming the storm numerous times, yesterday’s message by my pastor, brought new revelation that is extraordinarily timely. The disciples were primarily a group of experienced fishermen. They had spent their years and earned their livelihood fishing on this particular body of water, so none of them were new to sudden storms. What stood out about this one was that no longer was it a storm surrounding them, but it was actually bringing water into the boat. Fear entered when the storm on the outside, began impacting the inside. As the waves began to fill the boat, they recognized their desperate need for a Savior. In their state of terror, they questioned Christ’s concern for them, as they feared their own demise. Jesus demonstrated His authority and power as He spoke to the storm, telling the wind and the waves to “Be still!”  We are no different. Often, we neglect to pray about things that are “out there, but when they come close, or affect us directly, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the storm. The beautiful thing is that Jesus will still respond to us in the same way that He did to His disciples. 

1) In the midst of the storm, we need to seek Jesus. 

2) As we do, our prayers have the power to calm the storm. 

3) In the midst of the storm, we need to anchor ourselves to God’s love. 

Jesus has the power to not only calm the storm around us, but He calms the chaos within us as well. Sometimes, they are simultaneous, yet other times we will be brought to a space of His relentless grace, simply to be at peace in knowing that He is in the boat with us. Our boat will not sink when He is aboard. May we hold fast to the Anchor who is our hope, and remember Who is in the boat with us through the storms.

 

When the storm surrounds, wp-15849697395664983915925030867878.jpg

Take pause, choose to pray;

Fend off fearfulness,

Christ shows us the way.

Even when the waves,

Break over our boat;

If God is with us,

He’ll keep us afloat.

It takes but a word,

An act of God’s will;

Peace will be present,

And waters made still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what storms surround us, or even the waves that make way into our boat, You remain with us. Thank You that all power and authority are Yours, and that in You, we have access to be anchored in Your love and calmed in the storm. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the waves crash too close to our own boats. Teach us to come to You in both the calm and in the storm, remembering it is You to whom we need to anchor ourselves to stay afloat. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may find hope and peace and strength to weather the storms that come their way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor ourselves to Your love each day, as You keep us safe and secure through every wave that comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a

Wisdom, Strength and Self-Discipline to Love

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

We’ve not been given, wp-15837552643821979517268994098331.jpg

A spirit of fear;

For God is with us,

He is always near.

In the Lord, there’s peace,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Power the Lord gives,

His grace from above.

All of these great things,

We’re given indeed;

To love people well,

Give as we’ve received.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Our Oasis

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

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

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

 

And there is a resounding “yes”, followed by a heavy sigh and a bit of coughing. Weary indeed… The heavy burdens I continually attempt to lay down, yet somehow, I seem to find new weights that have managed to be slung on my shoulders. Each morning, I rise with intention, to seek the Lord and give all to Him. He promises to give rest and refreshment, and an oasis sounds blissful about now. This is where trust must enter in.  At times, the provision is the supplication of what we need for the day to make it through. There are other times, when we find ourselves smack dab in the center of an oasis, after what has felt like an eternity in the desert. God knows what we need and when we need it most. He provides and sustains, refreshes and grants rest. Today, I am trusting Him for what I need to navigate this day, and looking forward to some much-needed rest, that is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord when we are weary and heavy burdened, for He will walk beside us and grant us rest.

 

Jesus tells us, “Come”,Our Oasis

Bring burdens to Me;

Lay heaviness down,

Set all at His feet.

For He is our Source,

Strength, hope, life and light;

Who grants us the rest,

To stay in the fight.

His hands can hold us,

When our strength is gone;

He’s our oasis,

His love makes us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Thank You that You call us to bring our burdens to You; for You are willing and able to carry the load that we were never meant to bear. Thank You that You provide rest and refreshment when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for growing weary in our resolve to keep seeking Your help when all is heavy. Teach us how to lay down the burdens that we are not even aware we are shouldering. Show us how to come alongside those around us, to love, encourage and lift up, so that they may know Your refreshment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and lay our burdens before You, seeking You for real rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Better Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, MSG)

 

I am so grateful that this is the truth. God is not limited to human insight and understanding; for He sees and knows far beyond what we can even begin to imagine. Though we often think we know what would be best, when we give it to God, He reveals that there is so much more. His ways are far greater than ours, and He knows the best way to take us from where we are to where He planned and purposed for us to end up. This is particularly comforting when things do not seem to make sense. When we are caught in the space of “Why?” and need Him to lead, guide, strengthen and equip us to press on to the space that He is bringing us into, and we are not there yet. May we seek the Lord for His thoughts and His ways, for they are far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

The thoughts of the Lord, Statements of Praise

Are higher than mine;

His love so much more,

He’s holy, divine.

So too are His ways,

Far above my own;

His plan is greater,

Beyond what I’ve known.

Let us seek the Lord,

In all and always;

For His plans are good,

To bless and give grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are so much higher than mine, and Your plans, beyond what my mind can fathom. Forgive us for doubting the goodness that You have in store for us when we are in a season of struggle. Thank You that Your love is not limited by our circumstances. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that they need love most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your thoughts and Your ways in all things, for they are so much greater than our own. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Blessed in the Bittersweet

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.

 

No matter the day, Daily Provision

Or how my heart cries;

God remains faithful,

And grants strength to rise.

Rise up from weakness,

Step out of despair;

Enduring presence,

Strengthens as He cares.

Faithful Provider,

Our God of all grace;

Our help and our hope,

For now, and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. 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

He Answers

I call on the Lord in my distress, and He answers me. – (Psalm 120:1, NIV)

I was in trouble. I called to the Lord for help, and He answered me! – (Psalm 120:1, ERV)

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to Him, and He answered my prayers. – (Psalm 120:1, NLT)

 

After waking from a disturbing dream about school, there is comfort in the reminder to call on the Lord; He is faithful to help and answer our prayers. I know that God’s plans are far greater than my own, and He is faithful to lead me in the direction that I am meant to go. That being said, I am also in my current space for such a time as this. Though I know not why the year has unfolded into such a battle, there is good to see in each and every day. One of the ways that God has answered, has been through the opportunity that I was given to take on a new coaching role at the high school. No matter how my school day had gone, walking into the gym brought joy and hope, excitement and strength, as we worked together toward a common goal. Now, a week post-high school, I just enjoyed the first meet of our middle school season, yesterday afternoon. The very same blessings that were bestowed upon me as I walked into the high school gym, I find in the gym at the middle school where I teach and coach as well. One of my answers currently, is the joy in helping girls discover what they are capable of doing when they are determined to work hard and stick with it. I do have the same moments of blessing in the classroom, but they are often tainted by poor behavior choices that demand my attention, in order to keep the classroom safe. In the gym, that is not the case. As I wait and trust, I will continue to call on the Lord, knowing that He has answers that will lead me to a space of peace. May we ever seek the Lord and place our troubles in His hands, for He hears and answers our prayers.

 

Choose call on the Lord,

wp-15829890321781040980143880517549.jpg

Photo courtesy of Pictured Memories

He’s faithful to hear;

When there is trouble,

His help’s ever near.

The Lord’s plans are good,

His heart is to bless;

To strengthen, lift up,

Remove our distress.

He leads us places,

Beyond what we’ve known;

To show us His strength,

As our faith is grown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we call on You in our troubles and distress, You hear our prayers and answer us. Thank You that Your answers are far greater than what we could ask or imagine. Forgive us for losing perspective in the midst of our struggles, as You never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust that You are always moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Show us how to love those around us who are struggling, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged in the wait for Your new. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and thank You for the blessings that You bring, even in the midst of our trials. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. – Psalm 145:18