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

To See What is True

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. – (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. – (Philippians 4:8, TPT)

If we can keep our hearts and minds focused on that which is good and worthy of praise, our words and actions follow accordingly. This is far easier said than done, especially when what stands before us clouds our view of good. It requires intentional pursuit of God and the grace that He provides to see past the difficulties and recognize the beauty and goodness that surround us. Years ago, when I was a part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), I had the rare opportunity to spend time in India, not once, but twice. The first time I was there, all I could see was the lack, the loss, and the hardships the people had to constantly endure. However, when I returned a year later, God showed me the incredible beauty that was all around me. The joy that people had, despite their circumstances, the lush green vegetation everywhere, the bold, bright and beautiful colors found on the fabric that people wore, the kindness and generosity of those whom we worked with, and the countless glorious works that God was doing before our own eyes. May we ever seek the Lord to help us fix our eyes on the things of Him, so that we may see all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.

Lord, open our eyes,

So we truly see;

The good around us,

That ever brings peace.

The honorable,

And all that is true;

The just and the pure,

His ways to pursue.

May all that’s lovely,

Remind us what’s true;

The commendable,

All that we can do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of what is important and what should capture our attention. Thank You that no matter our situation or circumstances, there is always evidence of You that surrounds us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your good in the throes of the difficult. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You and all that You have brought into being that reflect Your glory and goodness to the world. Show us how to be Your ambassadors of love, as we fix our eyes on You and reflect back the good You have given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us eyes to see all of the good and wonderful that You have placed all around us. Amen. 

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

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

Given to the Seeking

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

When we pursue the heart and will of God for our lives, He provides all that we need. In times that I have worried about a lack, God has provided. In seasons that I have had more than enough, He has shown me how to utilize the abundance for blessing. God is faithful to meet us where we are and provide all we need as we seek to walk in His will. Though in this passage Jesus was speaking about physical needs being met, He is faithful to meet our spiritual and emotional needs as well. The Lord supplies strength when we are weary, hope when we feel lost, and peace when chaos seems to reign. It is in the seeking that we truly find, and in the pursuit of doing right by God that we discover all that we need is faithfully provided. May we ever seek the Lord and His will for our lives, for it is in our pursuit of His path that we find there He is present to help and supply what we need.

In seeking the Lord,

Is where we shall find;

God’s ways are perfect,

And His love is kind.

He makes clear a path,

For us to move on;

Grants us what we need,

And makes our hearts strong.

Each need that we have,

Is seen and is known;

By grace the Lord gives,

As His love is shown.

Strength when we’re weary,

Supply in our lack;

Peace in our chaos,

Hope to stay on track.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need as we faithfully seek You and Your will for our lives. Thank You that You show us the ways in which we are meant to go, and You remain present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear a foothold based solely on what we could see, rather than trust You and all that You do in the unseen. Teach us to trust You more, as we discover the abundant and unending faithfulness that is forever found in You. Show us how to lavishly love those around us, so each may be encouraged and built up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue Your heart and will for how we walk out each day. Amen.

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

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

Let Go of Fear

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, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. – (Isaiah 41:10, MSG)

Fear is a funny thing, for fear does not simply involve being scared for your life or safety, as there are times that it can be a subtle anxiousness about the unknown that sneaks up on us. For me, the subtle anxiousness about the new or unknown is far more common than the other. It seems that I cannot avoid this ongoing walking into seasons of new. Some are announced, yet others come out of nowhere. I imagine that for the last year and a half, we all have had some sort of fear creep in. Not knowing how to navigate promotes anxiousness within me. This is the space where I must lean into God and trust that He will provide the support and help that I need to keep moving forward. In my experience, He has always shown up. He has provided peace, direction and help to lead me through whatever obstacle has been set before me. It is in this space of remembering His faithfulness that I find the fortitude to release fear and choose to trust in the One who helps and holds us up. May we ever seek the Lord as we stand in the face of fear, and remember Who is holding us securely in His hands.

Let go of the fear,

That holds a heart back;

Creates anxiousness,

Highlights what we lack.

For though on our own,

We’ve reason to fear;

Yet as we trust God,

We know He is near.

Our strength and supply,

The Lord remains near;

He grants us His peace,

In Him, there’s no fear.

Ever He’s holding,

Us up in His hands;

To walk in His strength,

Follow His commands.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we’ve no reason to worry or be fearful, for You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for allowing what we see and perceive to give fear a foothold. Teach us to trust in You and Your strength to supply us with all that we need to navigate the new and uncertain spaces. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, may come to know Your faithful love that never leaves us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of fear and anxiousness and trust in Your strong hands. 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

Purposed To Love

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – (Luke 6:37, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. Don’t condemn others, and you will not be condemned. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” – (Luke 6:37, ERV)

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.” – (Luke 6:37, MSG)

If Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but rather to save it, how much more ought we do our best to follow His example? We are told in the book of Luke how to follow Jesus’ example. What we give, is the very thing that we will be given in return. We celebrate Easter to remember that rather than being judged, Christ took our place and withstood the punishment we all deserve. He died, so we might live. Incredibly, in His power, He rose again and ascended to be seated at the right hand of the Father. In His goodness, Jesus loves, listens and moves on our behalf. There is nothing we have done to deserve His love, yet He loves anyway. It is our call to love in the same way. We cannot judge, condemn and harbor unforgiveness and simultaneously love. May we ever seek the Lord to learn how to love best, and turn to Him every time that we struggle with our opinions of others. To see people through Christ’s lens, is to see and understand the beauty in every being. God created because He loved, He sent His Son, because He loved, and Jesus took the punishment that we all deserved, again, because He loved.

Don’t judge nor condemn,

Or hold onto hurts;

Such things block the way,

From seeing true worth.

For how we choose give,

Will be given back;

Let love be our choice,

Give where there is lack.

Because of Jesus,

We each have been shown;

What God’s love looks like,

He has made it known.

Each word of kindness,

Every good deed;

All love we have felt,

God meeting our need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to save the world, not to condemn it. Thank You Jesus, for demonstrating what love ought to be. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our hearts to entertain judgement, condemnation and unforgiveness. Teach us to love and embrace ALL people, recognizing the incredible creations that You have made. Every person on the planet was formed and planned with purpose. Show us how to better walk in love, so that all may experience Your goodness, kindness and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek to grow in love and allow You to move and change our view of others to mirror Your own. Amen.

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

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save it through Him. – John 3:17

No Separation From Love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, NIV)

Can anything separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or problems or persecution separate us from His love? If we have no food or clothes or face danger or even death, will that separate us from His love? But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown His love for us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, ERV)

Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish His love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love. Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! – (Romans 8:35, 37, TPT)

This is our reminder of just how powerful the love of God truly is. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love. When we go through struggles and trials and hardships of every kind, He is with us, loving us through. In our weakness, God is our strength. In our heartache, He is our comfort. No matter what we face or what comes our way, God will be present and loving us through. Often, it is difficult to recognize, yet if we open our eyes and our heart, His loving presence becomes clear. Beyond God’s presence, He grants us His wisdom and strength so that we may see victory, even when all seems to point to defeat. May we ever hold onto the promises of God’s word, and trust in He who is greater than every trial that we face; for in His love, we are able to navigate every struggle that happens upon our path.

There’s nothing on earth,

That ever can come;

Between the Lord’s love,

The battle’s been won.

He already knows,

The giants we’ll face;

In love, He will give,

Love, peace, strength and grace.

So, let us rise up,

Choose to trust in Him;

His love leads the way,

Strength granted within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that no matter what struggle or hardship or trial we face, You are present to help and love us through. Forgive us for the times that we doubt the depth of Your love or are blinded by what lies before us instead of looking up to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and goodness in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the tremendous power of Your unending love to lead us through all that comes our way. Amen.

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

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

To Forge Forward Without Fear

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV) 

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) 

Fear is a funny thing – it sneaks in when we take our eyes off of God, and fixate on the unknown that lies before us. Thankfully, we never need remain stuck, as God is for us and strengthens, encourages, and loves us as we look to Him. The more we choose invest our hearts in Him, the more we recognize His power, love and self-control that is planted within us. God cares about all things, great and small. For me, the big and potentially fearful unknown, is the pending school year online. We are entering uncharted territory, yet as I look to the Lord to be my strength, I discover that love and being disciplined are present for all that lies ahead. Additionally, I am surrounded by incredible colleagues, with whom I get to discover, plan and process along side, so rather than fear, I feel peace. Yes, there is some nervousness, but it is more of a curious excitement, than a space of fear. May we look to the Lord to be Source and Supply, as He grants us all that we need to forge forward, fearlessly. 

Let’s be not afraid, 

Instead, turn to God; 

Who supplies our needs, 

Despite how we’re flawed. 

No expectations, 

To always be right; 

But rather seek Him, 

To know His delight. 

For where we have lack, 

In Him there is gain; 

Strength, love, discipline, 

As He makes paths plain. 

Let’s turn to the Lord, 

Give Him all our fears; 

He’s always faithful, 

Throughout all our years. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not fear, for You are faithful to supply the strength, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate every situation and circumstance. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You in the midst of the unknown. Show us how to firmly fix our focus on You, as You provide what we need to move forward into the unknown. Teach us to love those around us in ways that strengthen, encourage and lighten loads. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You in every circumstance to provide all that we need to live and love as You call us to. Amen. 

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 

One Day At A Time

Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.” – (Isaiah 35:4, NIV)

“Courage! Take heart! God is right here, right here, on His way to put things right and redress all wrongs. He’s on His way! He’ll save you!” – (Isaiah 35:4, MSG)

Tell those who worry, the anxious and fearful, “Take strength; have courage! There’s nothing to fear. Look, here – your God! Right here is your God! The balance is shifting; God will right all wrongs. None other than God will give you success. He is coming to make you safe.” – (Isaiah 35:4, VOICE)

 

Right now, life feels surreal. It is as if we are all caught in a bizarre dream, and are merely waiting to wake up. For me, I am a one-day-at-a-time sort of person anyway, so my brain is already wired to not get too hung up on what may lie ahead over the next several weeks. When life is operating as usual, taking things one day at a time allows me to be present and focused on only what lies directly before me. If I permit my mind to wander too far ahead, it only breeds anxiety as to how everything will be accomplished in the time granted. Now, more than ever, I need to remain focused on each day as it comes. Yes, it is wise to prepare and plan in general, but there is no need, nor any point, in attempting to map out details that are too far off to determine. God grants us wisdom and insight as we ask, and He provides what we need to navigate each new day. The Lord is our strength and our strong tower; in Him we are safe and find we have what we need. May we give all of our worries and fears to God, as He comes to put all things right, and saves us with His goodness and love.

 

Take strength, have courage,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There’s nothing to fear;

All is in God’s hands,

His presence is near.

Despite what we see,

God will make a way;

Over rough terrain,

He’ll lead us each day.

The wrong things made right,

In His faithful hands;

Safety and our strength,

Firm in Him, choose stand.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are mighty to save. Thank You that as we seek You, You are our strength, courage and safety. Thank You that You provide where we lack, and Your love leads us in the direction we are meant to go. Forgive us for our fears and anxiety in the face of so many unknowns. Teach us to trust You more, as You are for us and faithful to lead us, always. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your strength and courage, goodness and grace in the midst of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place all things in Your capable hands, and trust You to lead and guide us each day, one day at a time. Amen.

 

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

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6 

Working Everything for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

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God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Ask for Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – (James 1:5, NIV)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but He will overwhelm your failures with His generous grace. – (James 1:5, TPT)

 

Twice over the past week, I have found myself in meetings where I needed the right words to communicate clearly. God’s wisdom and grace were necessary to navigate each situation, and God was faithful to grant me the words to speak that reached the hearts of those who were meant to hear. It was nothing that I had mapped out or planned, for neither situation warranted a script, nor included a predictable narrative. Rather, I had prepared for each encounter by covering the time in prayer, asking for God’s wisdom and grace to go before me and be present with me, so that all would go well, according to His will. God is faithful to grant us the wisdom that we lack when we ask, for He always wants the very best for His children. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, as He is faithful and generous to joyfully give all that we lack.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic afternoon together with my sister, brother-in-love, and mom in Portland. Mark and I drove down to meet the trio for lunch, as they drove a bit north from Albany. The food was excellent, and the company and conversation, even better. We had the opportunity to discuss important next steps in mom’s healing journey, and she is very much looking forward to this upcoming chapter. (Stay tuned, as I do not want to steal mom’s thunder. 😉) After lunch, mom, Meg and I went to have a little shopping adventure, while the fellas ventured off together in a direction a bit more intriguing to them. Later, we all reconvened at Starbucks to say our “see you laters”, and our two vehicles headed back for our respective homes.

 

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Grants us what we lack;

If we only seek,

Come to Him and ask.

When we are unsure,

Don’t know what to do;

Ask God for wisdom,

He’s faithful and true.

He provides the words,

Whatever we need;

To follow the path,

Where His best will lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lack wisdom and seek You for answers, You are faithful to meet us and lead us. Thank You that You love to bless Your children with wisdom to know Your best in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You for help or answers. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to show us Your best for our lives. Direct our steps so that we may love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom, and wait on You for answers; as You so clearly speak to our hearts and minds. Amen.

 

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

 

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