Live “Otherly”

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

 

If this were truly the standard that people were following, I do not think that we would have empty store shelves and discover shortages of basic necessities. Before all of this COVID-19 craziness hit, stores were seldom out of the items that people needed on their typical grocery list. Now, however, grocery shopping online is not even an option, as such a large portion of one’s list is unable to be filled. Thankfully, we are well, and have all that we need. Being an early riser is helpful in more ways than one. That said, it matters how we conduct ourselves as we venture out to find what we need for our families. We must only take what is needed, so that others too may have what they require for their families. Also, how we treat these essential employees matters. Yesterday morning after I ran, I made a quick stop at Rite Aid to purchase Vitamin C for my family. The store was quiet, and the sweet cashier looked uncertain as she made her way to the register as I approached. We engaged in friendly conversation, and before I left, she was expressing her gratitude for my kindness. I had not done anything unusual, I simply was polite and respectful, and let her know that I appreciated her hard work, as it is likely a challenge right now in the midst of these circumstances. She informed me that she had been yelled at multiple times, for things that were completely beyond her control. I imagine I had a look of shock and horror on my face as she told her story, that I followed with an understanding apology for the ugly that comes out of humanity when fear enters in. Though our exchange was brief, I am further reminded of just how important it is to prefer others and make sure they know that they are valued and appreciated. This passage in Philippians is written to the church in Philippi, yet it can be applied to all of us and how we treat one another. It is amazing to see the shift in people as they are the recipients of being a priority and treated with respect and dignity. May we all seek the Lord to show us how to steer clear of selfishness and pride, and how best to honor and prefer others around us, above ourselves.

 

Let not our motives, Ambassadors of Love

Be driven by pride;

Lay down selfishness,

Seek the Lord to guide.

For He will show us,

How to choose to serve;

Prefer each other,

Help each see their worth.

Choose live “otherly”,

With kindness and grace;

Look for ways to bless,

As we live each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to live life this way through Your Son. There was no selfish ambition nor pride within Him, and He walked out His days humbly and sought to serve. Forgive us for the times that pride or selfishness get in the way of who You want us to be. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we prefer one another and extend kindness and grace in humility, without selfishness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lay down our selfishness and own ideas of how things ought to be, and look for opportunities to prefer others by extending kindness and care in tangible ways. Amen.

 

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

 

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17

Guided In Love

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, NIV)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

The Eternal is my shepherd, He cares for me always. He provides me rest in rich, green fields beside streams of refreshing water. He soothes my fears; He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His Name. – (Psalm 23:1-3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was such an incredibly strange day. I felt a bit lost, and quite uncertain as to what I actually was meant to do. After beginning my day with God, I went to the grocery store with my “youngest” boy, and was thankful to find restocked shelves. Upon our return, I sat and pondered and prayed a bit, to determine what to do next. Following the lead of some of my school district colleagues, I constructed a message to my students and families, providing suggested activities and drawing prompts for the coming week, as well as conveying my care for their well-being. Upon completing some other household tasks, I determined to at least begin tackling my grading pile. Just as I completed the final class for the first project that needed grading, my best friend messaged me to go take a walk out in the sunshine. For me, this was exactly what my heart needed, as our walk took us down a steep staircase to the Puget Sound, where we took in the view and soaked up some sunshine, before embracing the challenge of tackling the stairs back up to the road. In Him, I do indeed, have everything I need. He is granting me rest and refreshing my soul. Walking near the waves, comforts me, as I am reminded of His power and strength. Despite what we see, He will lead us on the right path, and show us that He is good. May we ever remember that even in the most uncertain of times, God cares for us; always. He provides, calms, comforts, restores, and leads, demonstrating His unending goodness to all who seek Him.

 

O Lord, my shepherd, wp-15844488533327357260751564309605.jpg

I choose seek Your face;

Lead me and guide me,

In Your loving grace.

Show me the planned paths,

That I’m meant to take;

Help me to love well,

Forgive my mistakes.

The comfort You give,

Help me to give too;

Rest and refreshment,

Grace that makes us new.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us beside still waters and bring us to spaces of comfort and rest. Thank You that You strengthen and restore us so that we can go forth and follow the path that You prepare for us to love others well. Forgive us for not embracing the rest You provide, or for not following where You lead. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You offer and go wherever You call. Show us how to love those around us tangibly in ways that make Your heart known and Your provision shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, our shepherd, to lead and guide us each step of every day. Amen.

 

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

 

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. – Psalm 62:1

In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

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

Better Ways

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

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

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

 

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

 

The thoughts of the Lord, Statements of Praise

Are higher than mine;

His love so much more,

He’s holy, divine.

So too are His ways,

Far above my own;

His plan is greater,

Beyond what I’ve known.

Let us seek the Lord,

In all and always;

For His plans are good,

To bless and give grace.

 

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

 

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

 

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

Filter the Flow

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” – (Mark 7:15, NIV)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15, TLB)

“There is nothing outside someone that can corrupt him. Only the things that come out of a person can corrupt him.” – (Mark 7:15, VOICE)

 

The things that surround us do not defile us by their mere existence. It is what we do with what we take in that determines the outcome. Our thoughts, words and deeds are what demonstrate the condition of our heart, not what we eat or where we happen to be planted. We all have a choice as to what we do with what we take in – we either embrace whatever it is and it seasons that which we say and do, or we recognize the need for a Godly filter, and cast aside that which is of no benefit to us or others. May we seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, allowing room for His heavenly filter to decipher what is beneficial and what needs to be let go, so that what comes out of us is wrapped in the love of God.

 

Our heart is the space, Enter With Thanksgiving

Where we all decide;

Which words and actions,

In life, be applied.

It is these choices,

Not things that surround;

That lift or corrupt,

As the truth is found.

May we all choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

May our words and deeds,

Provide love’s embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what is outside of us and even what we take in is not what corrupts us. Thank You that it is a matter of the heart and what we do with our thoughts and actions that determine whether we are walking in line with You or far from You. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered on our own with our words, thoughts or actions. Please repair the damage done by our lack of listening. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take pause and listen to Your leading in every word, thought and deed. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide us in our thoughts, words and actions. May we ever honor You in all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:2

Choose to Do Good

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NIV)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

We reap what we sow. If our plans are for the good of others, love and faithfulness find way back to us. However, if our intentions are to harm or are unkind in any way, we begin to veer off of the path that God has for us. It is a slippery slope, and one ill-intended word, deed or action, can lead to many more. Thankfully, the same is true of operating in kindness and truth. The more we seek to be pure in all of our ways, the more we recognize the good in walking out our lives according to God’s perfect plan for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in what is good, so that we may operate in kindness and truth for all of our days.

 

The ways of the Lord, To Bear Good Fruit

Are good and with love;

Led by faithfulness,

Graced from God above.

Choosing unkindness,

Is far from God’s way;

Those who plot evil,

Find they’ve gone astray.

Instead, seek the Lord,

And choose to do good;

In kindness and truth,

Do as Jesus would.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and trust in You to lead us to do good, love and faithfulness find way back to us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly in word, thought or deed. Teach us to turn to You for strength to do the right thing; always. Show us how to do all things with kindness in truth for all whom we meet, so that each may come to understand the power of Your love for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in kindness and truth as we walk out each day trusting You. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

As I Rise

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

I will sing praises to You, my Source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

 

This morning, there is a choice to trust and praise involved as I rise. The day holds an overwhelming amount of new, which requires strength of heart, mind and body, to navigate as I go. For me, a new semester means three brand new classes of students to get to know, as well as the first day of middle school gymnastics. No matter how many times one has experienced such firsts before, there is always a bit of nervous anticipation for how all will unfold. Yes, there is wisdom in experience, yet each new group has its own dynamics and set of personalities. There is never a “one-size-fits-all” in establishing a positive classroom culture. This is the space where I rely on God’s grace to lead and guide me as I go. Of course, I prepare the things that I need to have ready, but I trust in the Lord to guide me as I navigate the new. Today I praise God, the Source of my strength, and trust in His loving kindness and provision as I prepare for the new that this day has in store.

 

This morning I rise, Statements of Praise

And choose to sing praise;

For God is my strength,

Throughout all my days.

Faithful forever,

No matter what comes;

His presence promised,

Loving, Holy One.

Ever I will seek,

For in Him I find;

All that is needed,

To press on, be kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending faithfulness to be our strength and security in our spaces of the unknown. Thank You that You empower and equip us to navigate the new, and help us to do as You call us to. Forgive us for our anxiousness at all that lies before us, when we take our eyes off of You and allow our minds to fix on the size of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You with all, as You are more than enough to navigate every circumstance and situation with wisdom, strength and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your strength and loving mercy may be made evident in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength, for who You are and how You provide for us. Amen.

 

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

 

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

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.

 

The God of all grace, wp-15806529391015656408296651316835.jpg

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

True Love Forgives

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

 

Forgiveness is an essential element of loving well. Jesus does not look at us and determine at some point that we have reached our quota of sin, and He suddenly will no longer forgive; therefore, we are called to do the same for those around us. That being said, we must use wisdom as we navigate. If someone is intentionally causing harm, we are capable of forgiving without remaining in a position to continue to be in harm’s way. Forgiveness is far more easily carried out with some, than with others. To forgive is to let go of our anger, cease resentment, and give up all claim on rights to retaliate or recover what has been lost. It is to extend pardon and release the burden, whether the offender has asked to be forgiven or not. “…Love is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:5) If we want to truly live and love as God has called us, we must forgive in the same way that He forgives each of us. May we be encouraged and empowered by the goodness and grace of God to go forth and forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven.

 

If we truly love, The Favor of Forgiveness

By grace, we’ll forgive;

Release each other,

With true pardon, give.

For no one’s perfect,

All in need of grace;

To rise, get better,

And walk in God’s way.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Grant strength to forgive;

Choose love lavishly,

As His grace we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved and forgave us, before we were even repentant. Thank You that it is Your kindness that leads us to repentance. Thank You that You call us to extend the same forgiveness to those around us that You so lavishly extend to us. Forgive us for the times that we struggle to forgive, or have to do so over and over again. Show us how to place all in Your hands. Teach us how to navigate offenses according to Your perfect love. Lead us to love and forgive those around us in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to forgive others, whether they ask or not, and move forward in love, just as You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14