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

To Know is To Love

But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, HCSB)

But whoever loves God is known by God. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, ERV)

But if someone loves God, it is certain that God has already known that one. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, VOICE)

To know God is to love God, and to be known by God is to be loved by Him. The more we know God, the more we want to know. Love pursues knowing more. God, in His wisdom and grace, knows all who seek Him and loves all who choose to belong to Him. I love that God uses healthy earthly relationships to give us glimpses of the fullness of His love and kindness. For example, in a marriage, when we realize that we love our spouse, we are drawn to know them more. Likewise, when we love another, we are known by them. This is true with close friendships and family bonds as well. If we can be known by the people we love, how much more can we be known by the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb? He knows the number of hairs on our head, and everything about us. The good, the bad and everything in between, yet He loves us still. May we ever pursue the Lord, who is love, so that we learn even more to love as He loves us.

As we choose love God,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

We soon come to know;

How well we are known,

Through the grace He shows.

Ever He meets us,

With mercy and grace;

He shows us kindness,

As we seek His face.

To know and love God,

Is the greatest gift;

He shows us His heart,

And how He uplifts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even before we knew You, we were loved and known by You. Thank You that as we seek You and come into a relationship with You, You show us that we are known and loved. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You call us to love. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we may love likewise. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that many may come to know You personally. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and ever seek to know You more. Amen.

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

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

Created With Purpose

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us  to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

God created each of us with a purpose. He uniquely designed us all with different gifts and talents that He intended us to use for His glory. When we look to God and His leading as we navigate our days, we begin to walk in the good works that He prepared for us to do. This applies to all things, big and small. Sometimes, a good work prepared for us is to extend kindness, to have a conversation with someone that just needs to be heard, or simply a smile or a hello. Often, we have no idea of the impact our decisions have on others. However, I can look to my own life and interactions and give God glory for the times that He clearly placed people along my path to be encouraged, strengthened and supported. Who we are is heaven’s poetry etched on our lives. For me, that is powerful imagery that strengthens my desire to walk out my purpose every minute of every day. May we ever seek the Lord to show us the good He is calling us to do, and then walk forward in obedience to Him.

Made with a purpose,

Each of us are known;

Uniquely crafted,

So love might be shown.

Lord, help us to walk,

On the path You’ve made;

Let Your good be done,

Throughout all our days.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To walk as You do;

Each day as a gift,

To show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us is uniquely designed with a plan and a purpose for our lives. Thank You that we don’t have to have it all figured out, but rather we are meant to be in communication with You and listen to Your leading each new day. Forgive us for the times that we just go, rather than seek You first to lead. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that Your heart may be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us each new day so that we might walk out our purpose. Amen.

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

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

Adventurously Expectant

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – (Romans 8:15, HCSB)

The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again and causes us to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us God’s chosen children. And with that Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – (Romans 8:15, ERV)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” – (Romans 8:15, MSG)

You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. – (Romans 8:15, VOICE)

I included four different translations, as I appreciate what can be gleaned from each. When we invite God to be the Lord of our life, He gives us His Spirit to dwell in us and lead us into all that He has prepared for us. It is not a thing that makes us obedient robots, but rather is the Spirit within us that helps us recognize who our loving Heavenly Father is, and grants us an adventurously expectant heart that eagerly awaits all that Daddy God has for us. No matter what our earthly experience is with fathers, our Heavenly Father is loving and kind, and only has good in mind for us. He is our help and our hope, and welcomes us with strong and loving arms. God is ever-present, and is never too busy to hear and help us. May we seek the Lord to show us more and more of His Father’s heart for us, so that we may embrace His grace and follow wherever He leads with eager expectation.

The Spirit of God,

Our sweet Tali girl, ever expecting adventure. ❤

Ought not to be feared;

But rather embraced,

In love, be revered.

Ultimate Father,

Full of love and grace;

He leads and guides us,

As we seek His face.

Our help and our hope,

Wherever we go;

The Dad that loves us,

Where true peace is known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You adopt us into Your family when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You have good in mind for us all. Forgive us for associating Your Father’s heart with that of broken earthly examples. Teach us by Your Spirit how You are perfect love, and the One that never fails us. Show us how to love as You love, and help us to make Your heart known to those around us by our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our Abba Father, and for the Spirit You give us to make Your loving kindness tangible within. Amen.

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

Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them. – Psalm 119:129

Teach Me Your Paths

Make Your ways known to me, Lord; teach me Your paths. – (Psalm 25:4, HCSB)

Lord, help me learn Your ways. Show me how You want me to live. – (Psalm 25:4, ERV)

Demonstrate Your ways, O Eternal One. Teach me to understand so I can follow. – (Psalm 25:4, VOICE)

God is faithful to show us the ways in which we are meant to go and how to navigate every step. It is up to us to listen and follow where and how He leads. He gave us His Spirit to dwell in us, and His still small voice, that check in our spirits, is Him leading and guiding us as we go. May we ever seek the Lord and His leading so that we might learn His ways and follow His paths that He has set before us.

Help us, Lord Jesus,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To learn well Your ways;

Teach us Your wisdom,

As we wake each day.

Lead us and guide us,

Where we’re meant to go;

Give understanding,

To things we need know.

Show us each step, Lord,

In all that we do;

May each word and deed,

Reflect Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your ways and how You want us to live when we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You are faithful to answer when we ask. Forgive us for the times that we have asked and ignored Your leading, and for the times that we have neglected to even seek You. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Grow us in Your wisdom and understanding so that we may follow the path that You set before us well. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide us as You teach us more and more of who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

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

Love Matters Most

Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. – (Colossians 3:14, HCSB)

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG) 

This is a good reminder as we go into our final Friday of the school year. Final project and assignments and make-up work is all due today, and I imagine for some, will be a stressful day. The best way to approach the day is with love. Through God’s love we can be patient and kind, gentle and protective, full of hope, and persevere. As we extend these things to those around us, calm comes and hope rises. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect love so that all whom we encounter may feel His goodness and grace.

The garment we wear,

That matters the most;

Is not external,

But goodness exposed.

A smile, a kind word,

Are such simple things;

And yet their impact,

True joy they can bring.

For goodness and love,

Are what help hope grow;

Making value known,

As His love we show.

So, look for places,

To give love away;

Choose kindness and grace,

Let love lead the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to put on the garment of love. Thank You that to do so is to choose to allow Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Forgive us for the times and spaces that our words and deeds have been lacking in love. Show us how to love everyone around us well, so that Your heart is made clear through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we adorn ourselves with Your lavish love so that we can go forth and choose to love those around us well. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Rest for the Weary

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

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 having a real struggle? Come to Me! Are you carrying a big load on your back? Come to Me – I’ll give you a rest! – (Matthew 11:28, NTE)

This morning, despite being a day off, I was up at the usual time. However, knowing that I do not have to work today brings a different sort of rest. The ability to have a leisurely morning doing devotions with a second cup of coffee, followed by a long walk with the pups, provides rest for my soul. Rest looks different for everyone, yet God knows what we need. When we seek Him and hand Him the weight of our burdens, He gives us rest – body, heart, soul and mind. May we all seek the Lord to lay down our burdens this long weekend, and allow Him to show us His perfect rest.

All who are weary,

We are not alone;

To God up above,

Our burdens are known.

He walks beside us,

And shoulders the weight;

He renews our strength,

His love’s never late.

He knows what we need,

In love, He provides;

A space to recharge,

As we choose abide.

Lean into Jesus,

His strength is enough;

To carry the weight,

Of our heavy stuff.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness and find Your rest. Thank You that You lovingly walk beside us and carry the weight that we cannot. Forgive us for not slowing down with intention to seek You in our spaces of need. Teach us to come to You to be our strength, rest and resolve in all things and at all times. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that bring rest to weary spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our weariness and find true rest in the light of Your perfect love. Amen.

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

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Community Brings Comfort

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – (Matthew 18:20, HCSB)

Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

For when two or three gather together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – (Matthew 18:20, VOICE)

This is one of the reasons we are meant to be in community. When we join together with one another, God is present among us. It does not mean that He won’t be with us on our own, but there is a powerful awareness of His presence when we gather with others. There is something tangible about the nearness of God when there are at least one or two others with You. I imagine that is the reason that we gather for weddings, funerals, baby showers, bridal showers, birthdays and the like – all are occasions to join with others in celebration, grief, expectation or gratitude. Tomorrow will be just such an occasion, as a friend, classmate, teammate and fellow coach has to lay her husband to rest. My hope and prayer is that God is tangibly present to comfort, provide, grant wisdom and His perfect peace. He is always good, even when our circumstances are not, so we can trust that He will move in the hearts of all who join together in remembrance. 

O Lord, we invite,

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Your presence come in;

Your hands to hold us,

As Your love floods in.

May peace be present,

In the midst of loss;

Your hope tangible,

As love comes across.

Across the heartache,

And what should have been;

In the loneliness,

May Your peace come in.

Lord, be ever near,

Your heart truly known;

May comfort surround,

And hope in You grown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to gather in Your Name, for when we do, You promise to be present. Thank You that You are already preparing the way for tomorrow, as You know every need that will arrive. Forgive us for isolating when we are meant to allow others in. Show us how to reach out and be present with others so that they may experience Your love, comfort and peace, even when it does not make sense. Lead us in Your love to lift others up and be Your hands, feet, heart and voice made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for knowing our needs and surrounding us with community in every season. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

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

Cultivate Beautiful Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

The fruit of the Spirit is always sweet and in season. God cultivates His fruit in us to nourish, encourage and more clearly reflect His heart to the world in a way that is sweet and pleasing to those around us. When we live life according to the fruit that Christ plants and grows in us, the people around us come to know His heart as they experience His nature offered through us. May we ever pursue the Lord and His fruit, so that we may be nourished to extend the same nourishment to others. 

Lord, please grow in us,

The fruit of Your love;

Unconditional,

These gifts from above.

For love, joy and peace,

Patience, kindness too;

Display the Lord’s love,

And make our hearts new.

Then there is patience,

And kindness that’s true;

Goodness, faithfulness,

God’s fruit to pursue.

Add His gentleness,

And true self-control;

Ways to make love known,

Through fruit that we show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and empower us to grow in and live out the fruit of Your Spirit. Thank You that all of these things are already seeds within us that need Your nourishment to grow and bear visible fruit. Thank You that as we are intentional to pursue You, You cultivate Your heart for the world in us. Forgive us for neglecting to give You access to grow us to be more like You. Show us how to tend to the fruit You are calling us to grow in, for You are faithful to prune, water and nourish us so that we bear beautiful fruit. 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 seek You to share the fruit of Your Spirit with everyone around us. Amen.

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

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace. – James 3:18