Search, Know and Lead

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. – (Psalm 139:23-24, HCSB)

God examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life. – (Psalm 139:23-24, MSG)

When we invite God to be Lord of our lives it is an invitation to lead us, guide us, redirect and correct us so that we can walk in His way and do His will. God has given us a free will and allows us to make our own decisions as we navigate our days. However, He is available and willing to lead us and direct us as we allow Him access. David, the author of this Psalm, was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” He loved and followed the Lord, yet had seasons where he succumbed to sin and needed correction and redirection. I think the reason he was known as “a man after God’s own heart” was his willingness to give God access to all. Though David did not always enjoy the intervention that he invited, he knew that God was God and he was not. It requires a daily decision to release our own desires to seek God to lead and guide us in all things. His ways lead to eternal life; not only for us, but can impact the outcome of those around us too. When we seek Him to live and love as He does, others become aware of His goodness and grace. May we ever invite the Lord to search us, know us, correct, redirect and lead us so that we live out our days with eternity in mind.

O God, search my heart,

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Show me what is true;

Lead me in Your love,

In all that I do.

Show me where changes,

Are needing be made;

In love, You’ll guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Remove from my heart,

What is not of You;

Flood me with Your love,

Help me walk in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call, and that You lead, direct, correct and call us to walk in Your ways and do Your will when we seek You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that is not of You, and for allowing things to distract us from the course that You have called us to walk. Lead us to draw ever closer to You. Show us how to live out Your love with those around us, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and invite You to be Lord of all areas in our lives. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name. – Psalm 31:3

Set Free

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. – (Romans 8:1-2, HCSB)

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, ERV)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE) 

No matter what we have done or where we have been or what poor decisions we have made in the past, when we invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, He covers all of our shame and sin, and sets us free from the punishment that our sins deserve. His forgiveness brings freedom and compels us to live out the life of love that God intended all along. May we embrace the grace that God freely has given us through Jesus, and seek Him to lead us to love as He created us to do.

No condemnation,

For those who choose Christ;

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Blessed Redeemer,

His love paid the price.

The price for our sin,

And cleansed us from shame;

Grace freely given,

When we call His Name.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Give grace and goodness,

Through love that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation in You, for You sent Jesus to bear the burden of all of our sin and shame. Thank You Jesus, for Your overwhelming sacrifice on our behalf, and for the place You have taken to ever contend for us as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we do not receive what You freely offer, or we neglect to walk in the love that You given. Teach us to seek You to be our strength in all things, so that we might love like You. Show us how to love those around us well, and point each person we encounter to the goodness and grace that is offered as we seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your forgiveness and ongoing goodness, and seek You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. – Psalm 22:5

Upheld

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

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)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

The Spirit of God that dwells within us when we invite God to be Lord of our lives is one of power, love and self-control. With God in us, we need not fear, for He empowers us with strength, love and self-discipline. Right now, there are many situations and circumstances surrounding us that can cause fear, yet God within us is greater. When fear creeps in and anxiety rises, it is God who is able to steady our hearts and soothe our spaces of unrest. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust to be our strength, love and peace of mind, for in Him, we have all that we need to persevere.

For God’s within us,

We need not choose fear;

He helps, upholds us,

Remains ever near.

Lord, help us rise up,

And hold fast to You;

Our anchor of hope,

That’s steady and true.

When fear finds a way,

To make waves, roll in;

Bring peace and Your strength,

Help and hope within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not fear, for You provide the help that we need to overcome whatever lies before us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust in You, for You are our Source of power, love and self-discipline. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and keep fear far from us. Show us Your power and love in every space we find ourselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You our fears and receive Your strength, hope and love that bring peace in its place. Amen.

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

God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life. – Psalm 54:4

Let Him In

As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me. – (Revelation 3:19-20, HCSB)

I correct and punish the people I love. So show that nothing is more important to you than living right. Change your hearts and lives. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. And you will eat with Me. – (Revelation 3:19-20, ERV)

All those I dearly love I unmask and train. So repent and be eager to pursue what is right. Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come into you and feast with you, and you will feast with Me. – (Revelation 3:19-20, TPT)

Real love is honest, and always has our best in mind. Because God is love, He corrects us so that we can live our very best life with Him. The God of all wants to be in an ongoing relationship with us. Having dinner together represents so many good things; for it is a source of meeting a basic need as well as providing a place to come together and share with one another all that has transpired throughout the day. God wants that sort of space with each of us. He calls us unto Himself so that we can hear His voice and be with one another throughout all of our days. It is up to us to invite Him into our hearts and lives. When we do, everything changes. Love brings forth beauty from ashes and hope from despair. We become the person whom God intended all along when we listen to His voice and understand His heart for us all. May we ever be quick to repent and ready to listen to His leading in all that is right. For His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts, higher than ours. Our best life is lived when we truly let Him in.

To let the Lord in,

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Means opening doors;

To all that we are,

In Him, there is more.

Forgiveness and grace,

Correction in love;

Ever He’ll lead us,

By His way above.

So, choose to seek Him,

Allow the Lord in;

Life everlasting,

In Christ shall begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we let You in, You correct, direct, and lovingly lead us to become who You created us to be. Thank You that You do not leave us where we are, but rather You enter in and show us so much more. Forgive us for attempting to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust in You more, and to listen and follow all that You have for us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified as we let You in and choose to listen to You in all things. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Be Transformed

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – (Romans 12:2, HCSB)

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)

We need God to know what is best and then to actually do it. As we seek the Lord and invite Him to transform our minds, He grants us wisdom and insight to know what is good and pleasing to Him, and how to follow His will in every area of our lives. This does not happen overnight, but rather it is a lifelong process. Every day that we seek the Lord with intention, we are transformed a bit more to reflect His heart, love and light to the world. It is impossible to shine for Him if we are imitating what we think the world wants. His loving kindness, goodness and grace flows from those who seek to be authentically who He has made them to be. May we invest our hearts and lives in seeking the Lord, for it is through our seeking that He empowers us to live the beautiful life that He intended.

Lord, protect our hearts,

Show us what is best;

Transform and renew,

And grant us Your rest.

Teach us to seek You,

In all things, always;

So we walk Your way,

Our lives give You praise.

Protect us from lies,

That seem to be true;

Lead us in Your love,

Show us what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in Your ways, if only we seek and depend on You. Thank You that through our seeking, You transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for allowing the patterns of this world to influence our decisions instead of You. Show us how to continually seek You and Your will in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to transform us more and more to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

Peace to Anxious Spaces

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

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

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

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

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

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

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

The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Time Leads to Hope

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. – (1 Timothy 4:10, NIV)

We hope in the living God, the Savior of all people. In particular, He is the Savior of all those who believe in Him. This is why we work and struggle. – (1 Timothy 4:10, ERV)

This is what we work so hard for! This is why we are constantly struggling: because we have an assured hope fixed upon a living God who is the Savior of all humankind – especially all of us who believe. – (1 Timothy 4:10, VOICE)

To invest in any relationship, it takes effort. We must be intentional to invest time and energy to maintain what has been established. It is no different with God. Deepening our understanding and growing in His grace only takes place when we consistently spend time with Him. As we do, our hope is firmly secured in the Savior. God is for all people, yet He does not force His way in. We all have a free will and are given the choice as to whether we receive all that He offers or not. This is not an easy road, but it is one that is well worth the while. God is faithful, no matter what comes our way, and He is present to help, hold and see us through all things. I am so grateful for who God is and how He loves, as it is in the ever-increasing knowledge of Him that my hope is securely held. May we ever be intentional to invest our love and lives in the living God, for He is our hope forever.

Let us seek the Lord,

Our true living hope;

The more we invest,

The more we feel known.

Creator of all,

Is waiting for us;

To spend time with Him,

Our Savior, Jesus.

Always worth the while,

The time we invest;

His love overwhelms,

Our peace and our rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to be in relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us as we seek You. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that carries us through every challenge that comes our way. Forgive us for not investing as we should in the most important relationship of all. Show us how to be intentional with our time, so that we may grow in Your goodness and grace as we deepen our walk with You. Teach us to love those around us as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to invest our hearts and lives into our relationship with You. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

The Temple Within

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – (1 Chronicles 16:27, NIV) 

He lives in the presence of glory and honor. His Temple is a place of power and joy. – (1 Chronicles 16:27, ERV) 

Honor and majesty precede Him; strength and beauty infuse His holy sanctuary. – (1 Chronicles 16:27, VOICE) 

When 1 Chronicles was written, the splendor and majesty of God were found externally. People had to go to a physical location to see and experience the power and presence of the glory of God. However, once Jesus came and gave His life for all, that same power and joy that required a temple visit, had become the very manifestation of God that dwells within all who earnestly seek Him. We can experience the splendor and majesty of the living God anywhere and everywhere. He is no longer confined to a structure or specific location (not that He ever was, but rather made His presence known in specific spaces), but rather He dwells within the hearts of people who invite His presence into our lives. Because He is within us, we can experience His majesty, strength and beauty all around us. May we ever seek the Lord and His majesty, as we witness His splendor, power and beauty found all around us, and dwelling within. 

Splendor, majesty, 

The presence of God; 

True beauty beheld, 

May our hearts applaud. 

His power is found, 

As His heart we seek; 

Strength in our struggles, 

And when we feel weak. 

Such power revealed, 

As we seek God’s face; 

He’s present to help, 

With love and with grace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we no longer have to go to a specific location to witness and experience Your powerful presence. Thank You that You dwell in the hearts of all who place their trust in You. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters, for You never leave us nor forsake us, even in the darkest of times. Show us how to trust You more, and to lean into You, as You are with us; always. Teach us how to love in such a way that Your presence and Your goodness is made evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your presence within us for all that we need. Amen. 

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

My dwelling place with be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. – Ezekiel 37:27

Search to Show

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – (Psalm 139:23-24, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to Your glorious, everlasting ways – the path that brings me back to You. – (Psalm 139:23-24, TPT)

 

God is faithful to show us our anxious ways if we are actively pursuing Him. For me, it seems that the time I am most able to recognize or perhaps, best able to hear, is when sleep is disrupted by dreams that relate to real life, or while I prepare for the day and do not yet have the distractions of a typical day’s busy routine. Although the idea of having our every thought examined can be a bit intimidating, knowing that God does not using it to condemn us, but rather to lead us away from painful paths and back to His ways that are right and everlasting, are well worth the discomfort. May we ever invite the Lord to search, test, redirect and lead us; for His ways bring light, life and love forever.

 

Search my mind, O God, given-to-show-goodness

Examine my heart;

Take the anxiousness,

Show me a fresh start.

Please lead me away,

From paths that are wrong;

And show me the way,

To follow, be strong.

For where You lead, Lord,

Forever is good;

Bring peace to my mind,

As love’s understood.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and invite You in, You show us the things that get in the way of us fully knowing all that You have for us. Forgive us for allowing anxiousness and distractions to get in the way of the path You have placed before us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You, know You, and follow wherever You lead. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point them to Your path of perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invite You to search us and know us, redirect us and lead us in the ways that You have lovingly prepared for us to go. Amen.

 

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

 

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – Psalm 139:1