All Thanks and Praise

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NIV)

Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, MSG)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Gratitude is what sets our hearts right. No matter what is going on in our lives, around us, or in the world, there are always reasons to give thanks to God. As I watch our puppies play in the living room as I write, I am thankful to God for our home and for the joy that these two pups bring to our family. It is easy to expand from there, as I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my family – both in our home and beyond. Additionally, I am grateful for the friends that surround us, and for the communities to which I belong. God is intentional in the people whom He places beside us and around us, as He knows what we each need and how to help us each navigate as He intended. May we ever be intentional to stop and give thanks to God for all that is good in our lives, for as we do, we recognize how good He is and how loved we truly are.

All thanks be to God,

For all that is good;

His loving kindness,

And grace understood.

Family and friends,

Each community;

In which we’ve been placed,

Opportunity.

A chance to be kind,

Encourage and love;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love, encourage, support and provide for us each day we draw breath. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for neglecting to give Your praise for all that You provide. Teach us to recognize the overwhelming goodness and love that You have for us, and how You care for us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

There is No Hate in Love

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If someone claims, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, then he is a liar. Anyone who does not love a brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God, whom he has never seen. – (1 John 4:20, VOICE)

We are called and created to love God and love each other. If we deny a part of this, then we deny all of it by our actions. Hate is not ours to hold for those whom God has placed in our lives. When hate enters the heart, it is blinded to love. Both cannot coexist within us. To love God and love the ones whom He has given us, requires us to invest our mind, heart and soul into learning how to love God and people. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love Him and love the people whom He places in our lives as He intended.

To truly love God,

We must heed the call;

To love each other,

Let hard feelings fall.

Each person on earth,

Was made with a plan;

With gifts and talents,

Strength and grace to stand.

Each of us unique,

Yet loved well by God;

So we need to love,

As we have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that there is no room for hate in love. Forgive us for the times that we have harbored bitterness or hurts against our brothers and sisters. Teach us to turn to You in trust so that we forgive and keep choosing love. Show us what it means to love You and those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of grievances and go forth choosing to love. Amen.

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

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8

Strength and a Clear Path

God – He clothes me with strength and makes my way perfect. – (Psalm 18:32, HCSB)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

The True God who encircled me with strength and made my pathway straight. – (Psalm 18:32, VOICE)

As so many of us return to school today after what felt like the first “real” summer in the last few years, may we be equipped with the strength of the Lord for all that lies ahead. Teaching through the pandemic made for challenge after challenge, and last year, as we all returned to buildings, there were even more trials through the process of having to reacclimate to being on campus and interacting with live humans. This morning, though it marks my 26th first day of school as a teacher, the nervousness and anticipation are still securely in place. How will I create community in my classroom, and how can I help each student feel as if they belong? We all need strength and clarity to navigate this new year, and a clear path to lead and guide well. May we all seek the Lord to be our strength and to show us the steps we need to take to help each student feel as if they belong.

O Lord, bring the new,

Better than before;

Please lead and guide us,

To open new doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Lead us in Your way;

Each step that we take,

Throughout each new day.

Help all who enter,

Feel welcomed and known;

Valued and noticed,

Let Your love be shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and the Light that leads us in the direction You want us to go. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and walk beside us as we navigate each new day. Forgive us for our fearfulness of what is not yet known. Teach us to trust in You to be our strength and lead us well. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. Give us clear direction in our classrooms so that we might create a welcoming community where every child knows that they belong. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to be our strength and seek You to direct our steps. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Each A Part

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also in Christ. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, HCSB)

A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, ERV)

Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, VOICE)

People in a community are created with the same intention as the parts of the body. Each one of us has been created with a unique purpose, passions and strengths. When we come together, we can accomplish far more than we can on our own; we need each other to function in a way that is whole and complete. Though some strengths are seen and obvious, others are behind the scenes, each helps contribute to keeping the body running. When I consider the different communities to which I belong, this truth is evident. Since my current reality is school, it is an easy comparison to this passage. It takes every staff member to make each day run smoothly, and each of us contribute differently. Additionally, because we have different strengths, talents, personalities and the like, we are able to reach different kids. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to do our part and operate in the strengths He has given, and work together with those around us to contribute to the whole group, functioning as we were intended. 

We all are a part,

Of a greater whole;

Made to contribute,

To each fill a role.

Working together,

Our strengths are made known;

Each with a purpose,

Where goodness is shown.

Lead us together,

In kindness and grace;

To work together,

Build a safe, sweet space.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with purpose and strengths that make a community complete. Thank You that each person is needed to function as the group was intended. Forgive us for the times that we have stood back or stayed stuck when we were meant to press on. Teach us to trust You more so that we would work together in the communities to which we have been called. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the ways in which we all have been uniquely designed and how You place us together in communities. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep(ing) the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

– Ephesians 4:2-3

To Be Community

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! – (Psalm 133:1, VOICE)

There are few things as wonderful as being in a community that works together and maintains peace among themselves. As an educator, I am in a unique situation, as many of my colleagues and I have worked together at our school for many years. Though different personalities and passions outside of school, we are united in purpose. Even when our circumstances have been less than ideal (think entire Covid lockdown and then navigating return) we have supported and encouraged each other. Because I have been the utility teacher that has been shuffled from subject to subject and grade to grade, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many of my colleagues over the years. It has been a blessing to get to know and work closely with each. It really does feel familial and is the reason I have spent my entire career at one school. My hope and prayer is that the students too, will feel the sense of family and learn to function together in peace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to live together in peace with those whom He has placed in our lives.

United purpose,

Helps us each to see;

To work together,

In sweet harmony.

For peace shall be found,

As we look to see;

The needs of others,

Intentionally.

Oh it is so good,

And pleasant to be;

In supportive space,

True community.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that it is good and pleasing to You when we work together for the common good and allow Your peace to reign. Thank You that as we live and work together, it feels familial. Forgive us for the times that we have done anything to upset the peace that You intended to be present. Teach us to seek You to lead us in Your love so that we may live as brothers and sisters that pursue the good You have set before us. Show us how to love as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to live as brothers and sisters to extend Your goodness and peace to all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

To Learn What is Good

You are good, and You do what is good; teach me Your statutes. – (Psalm 119:68, HCSB)

You are good, and You do good things. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:68, ERV)

You are good, and the Source of good; train me in Your goodness. – (Psalm 119:68, MSG)

You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require. – (Psalm 119:68, VOICE)

Because God is good, what He requires is also good. In our broken humanity, good is not always what comes naturally. Instead, we must invest time with God and read His word to grow in our understanding and listen as He reveals more of His heart to us. For the last eleven plus years, I have invested the start of each day into spending time in God’s word and in prayer. What I have learned and continue to learn is the importance of loving God and loving people. The more I spend time with Him, the more He reveals His heart for all of humanity. At the end of the day, what matters most is am I loving Him and loving those around me. He shows willing hearts how to love as He loves, and the process is one that takes a lifetime. No one ever arrives. We all have an ongoing need to learn and grow to become more like Him. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and love, so that we may continue to learn what He requires of us to live and love well.

The goodness of God,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Truth that shall remain;

All that the Lord does,

Shows His love explained.

It is up to us,

To choose seek the Lord;

And as we do so,

His grace is outpoured.

He shows us the way,

To live as He asks;

In all things, choose love,

Not a list of tasks.

So, choose to seek Him,

Spend time in His word;

In love, He’ll lead us,

Making His heart heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and all of Your ways are good. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love as You intended. Thank You that it is an ongoing process. Thank You that we are a work in progress. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to lead us. Teach us the value of investing time each day with You. Show us Your heart for us and for those around us. Lead us to love as You love. May many come to see and know how good You are and choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, grow us and transform us to be more like You in how we live and love each day. Amen.

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

Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

The Power in Partnerships

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, HCSB)

Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, ERV)

It is better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9, MSG)

I love how practical these words are to all. I know this to be true, and can attest to the rewards of working together in a partnership. At work, being on a grade level team for the subject I teach makes a world of difference. Together, we can make meaning of the curriculum and plan together the small steps to reach the end goal. In doing so, the load is shared and the burden is lessened. In marriage, we each bring different strengths to the partnership, and together, we can accomplish far more than we could alone. One simple example is when we need to do yard work. For one person to complete the job, it would take several hours. However, when my Viking and I share the work, we often can complete the task within an hour. Additionally, as we both work and contribute to expenses and savings, we are afforded the blessing of being able to take vacation. God is good, and when we seek Him to lead us to spaces where we can work together and share the load, we discover strength is multiplied and there are great blessings that come from partnering with people to accomplish necessary tasks. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to connect with those whom we are given to work beside, and may the pairing and sharing be a blessing to all.

Together we rise,

Accomplish great things;

Working together,

More strengths we can bring.

For work divided,

Is better a task;

When shared together,

We give and get back.

Lord, lead us to work,

Alongside others;

To share with the load,

As overcomers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be in community. Thank You that as we pair up with those around us to accomplish tasks, the work is divided and the reward is blessings. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to do things alone that You intended to be shared. Show us who and where we can walk alongside to work together and get things done. Lead us to love like You, so that we support, encourage, and challenge each other to do what You have for us to do and become who You have created us to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we work together with those whom You have placed in our lives to do what we are called to do. Amen.

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

But as for you, be strong; don’t be discouraged, for your work has a reward. – 2 Chronicles 15:7

Hearts Full of Praise

He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!” – (Luke 19:40, HCSB)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

But He said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” – (Luke 19:40, MSG)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His followers, who were many, began to praise God for all the miracles that they had seen through Jesus. The Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke His disciples and the verse above is how He responded. We were made to praise. The more we see and know and understand who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but praise Him. All of creation testifies of His goodness, and so should we. Every act of kindness, each encouraging word, all of the smiles at strangers – everything we do that is driven by His love, testifies of His goodness in our lives. May we be intentional to live His love out loud in our lives, and honor Him through all that we say and do.

We are made to praise,

Give thanks to the Lord;

For all of His love,

And grace He affords.

If we do not speak,

Represent His love;

The rocks will cry out,

Praise the Lord above.

So, seek to praise Him,

With all that we do;

May all be in love,

Represent Him true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all of our thanks and praise. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how deeply and completely You know and love us all. Forgive us for our lack of praise or lack of love as we walk out our days. Teach us to live and love as You intended. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that all that we do and say demonstrates who You are and how completely You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live out our days with hearts full of praise. Amen.

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

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – Psalm 19:1

Let Love Lead

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.” – (Luke 11:28, HCSB)

But Jesus said, “The people who hear the teachings of God and obey it – they are the ones who have God’s blessing.” – (Luke 11:28, ERV)

Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!” – (Luke 11:28, MSG)

The more we know the word of God, the better we know Jesus. Knowing Him is our greatest blessing, for it is in Him and through Him that we experience life and love and peace. For me, the more I understand God’s heart for us, the better I see others through His lens. Patience grows as peace is known. As we continue to draw closer to Easter, may we further seek to hear and understand all that Jesus endured for our sake so that we might have life everlasting in Him. 

Listen to the Lord,

For His words are true;

Examples of love,

That teach what to do.

He shows us the way,

To love people well;

Forgiveness and grace,

His example tells.

Rise up in goodness,

Let Love lead the way;

To give to others,

His kindness and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to live and love as You intended. Thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or have neglected to do what You ask of us. Show us how to live and love as You created us for. Teach us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn from Your word that instructs us to love as You do. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Pleasing Wherever We Go

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, HCSB)

Our only goal is to always please the Lord, whether we are living here in this body or there with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, ERV)

Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, VOICE)

In this passage, Paul’s letter is for instruction in life and beyond, yet it is also fitting to follow wherever we are. Do we love people near and far; when home or away? It is our charge to be light and life and love to all people everywhere. We are blessed to be traveling with our besties who do an incredible job of loving people well. Wherever we go, they are remembered for their love and kindness to all. To be pleasing to God, we ought to seek to do just that at all times and in all circumstances. May we ever follow after the Lord and the example He set through His Son, and go forth and love people well so that all that we do might be pleasing to Him.

May we ever seek,

To honor God well;

Choose love each other,

So what we do tells.

Tells of His goodness,

Exemplifies grace;

Makes the Lord’s love known,

As we love His way.

Full of acceptance,

Extension of kind;

Blessings we outpour,

With others in mind.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Help us to honor,

With hearts that are true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to honor You wherever we go. Thank You that when we choose to love and extend kindness, we are representing Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Lead us in Your love as we go about our day, and show us opportunities to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek to live and love as You intended. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3