Value Each Other

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)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

The Rightness of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that the grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

This morning, as I peered out into the darkness and let my pup out to take care of business, I was shocked to see the ground saturated from rain, after the last few weeks of sunshine. For a moment, my heart sank a bit, as I had a minute of mourning at the passing of such sweet sunny days. Once I caught the delightful aroma of the cleansing rain, I was reminded that the change is actually a good thing, as the rain waters the earth, and it also cleanses the pollen from the air. Though I prefer the sunshine, the rain too, serves a positive purpose and is good. God gives us both, for each has a benefit to behold. New growth is necessary and good, and the sun grants light and energy to foster the growing that takes place when water has been supplied. Each new season is the same for us. We may grow fond of the season we find ourselves in, yet change is good as it challenges us to keep growing. May we seek the Lord and give Him thanks for each new season as it comes, and praise God for how He provides all that we need to be nourished and to continue to grow.

As the rains fall down,

And waters the earth;

All things are prepared,

For growth and new birth.

Cleansing refreshment,

His blessings supplied;

The changing seasons,

As grace is applied.

So, let the rains come,

Praise God for the new;

Water for our souls,

As His love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful rain that waters the earth and causes new to grow. Thank You for the blessings beheld in each new season. Forgive us for our frustration with change, for change is exactly what is used to grow us more like You. Teach us to lean into You and give You thanks for all things new, for You are present and good to lead us through. Show us how to love those around us like a refreshing rain, so that all may be nourished to grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the cleansing rain that falls to refresh and bring new growth. Amen.

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

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His Name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Grace Exemplified

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

This beautifully describes the plight of people. Failure is a reality in our broken humanity. However, Asaph reminds us that despite our failings and shortcomings, God will be our Source of strength to protect and empower us all the days of our lives. As we choose to trust in the Lord, His presence becomes the strength of our heart and leads us to move forward as we are called. We cannot control exhaustion or illness, but we can seek Him to strengthen and heal us. When we fail and fall short, God is present to pick us up, dust us off, and take our hand to lead us back in the direction we were always meant to go. May we ever pursue the Lord and allow Him to be our strength, for He is what we need to navigate each day best.

The Lord knows I fail,

Grow weak and fall short;

Yet as I place trust,

He gives strength, support.

In love, He lifts up,

My head, hand and heart;

Forgives and restores,

Again grants fresh start.

Forever He’ll be,

Our Source and Supply;

The strength to rise up,

Grace exemplified.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fail and fall short, You are ever near to forgive and strengthen us to get back up and try again. Thank You that Your loving kindness lasts forever. Forgive us for our failings, falters, and foolishness. Teach us to lean into You to lead and guide us in the ways that we ought to go. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and support to keep moving forward in the direction they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our source and our strength no matter what state we find ourselves in. Amen.

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

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Good Plans

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

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV) 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE) 

I’m not sure about you, but I really appreciate this reminder today. It is a blustery day outside, I woke up tired, and was feeling a bit weighed down by the challenges and obstacles that are ahead of me. Sometimes, I think I just need to be reminded that He has so much more in store – for me, for my family, for the people around me whom I love. Just because I cannot see the hope and future in situations and circumstances, does not mean that it is not there. In hindsight, I can see again and again, how God made a way where there seemed to be no way, and how He brought beauty from seeming ashes and despair. Our present circumstances and challenges are not forever. Though at times it may feel like a very long season, God has a plan that is good. Today, I will simply soak in the promise that He knows the plans that He has for me, (and those around me) and that they are good. May we ever trust in the Lord and His promises, for He already knows how the story ends, and it is good. 

The Lord has a plan, 

And it’s always good; 

With our best in mind, 

Our hope understood. 

For His plan is peace, 

Not evil nor harm; 

Our glorious hope, 

Through life’s ev’ry storm. 

Choose be not dismayed, 

For in Him hope’s found; 

A future that’s good, 

Where peace does abound. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what we see or feel, You have a hope and a future for us that is good. Thank You that Your promises are true today, tomorrow and forever. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to distort our view of You. Teach us to lean into You and the promises that You have for us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate hope and peace and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to Your promises that remind us that You have plans for us that are good. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Awareness of Everywhere

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV) 

“Someone might try to hide from Me in some hiding place. But it is easy for Me to see that person”, says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” This message is from the Lord. 

Am I a God anyone can hide from? Do I not see what happens in secret? Am I not everywhere, filling heaven and earth? – (Jeremiah 23:24, VOICE) 

There is both comfort and concern in knowing that God sees and knows all. Comfort comes in knowing that He is aware of all that causes fear and overwhelms us. Concern exists in the awareness of our own faults and failures. God is gracious, but He knows all that we think, say and do. When we are unkind, complacent or far from exhibiting His heart, we grieve the heart of God. In the same way that a parent grieves when their children stray from the way they know they should go, He too, is saddened. However, just as a parent will love their child all the while, He too loves us, His children. Incredibly, God sees and knows all, and still He loves. Because He loved us first, we too have the capacity to love. The more we know Him, the more we long to bless His heart with our words, thoughts and deeds. If we go off course, we need to confess to Him our wrongs, and He lovingly forgives and receives us into His arms. May we ever be aware of God’s loving presence, as He is faithful to help us navigate well.  

The Lord God above, 

He sees and He knows; 

Whatever we do, 

Wherever we go. 

There’s no place on earth, 

Where He will not see; 

All His creation, 

His vast majesty. 

So, seek the Lord’s heart, 

In all that we do; 

To love as He loves, 

He will lead us through. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You see, hear and know all that we think, say and do, You are present to help and love in all that we do. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that does not honor You. Forgive us also, for the times that we somehow thought You would not see, or neglected to give thought to Your awareness of all. Teach us to trust and lean into You, so that our every word and deed demonstrate Your loving kindness to all. 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 praise You for Your presence and seek to honor You in all. Amen. 

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

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? – Romans 2:4

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

Among Us

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. – (Zephaniah 3:17, NLT)

The Lord your God is with you. He is like a powerful soldier. He will save you. He will show how much He loves you and how happy He is with you. He will laugh and be happy about you. – (Zephaniah 3:17, ERV)

The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband. – (Zephaniah 3:17, VOICE)

 

I love the Voice translation of this passage, as the word choice speaks so clearly to my heart. As an individual who understands the deep need for every person to have someone willing to fight for them, and the joy of a new husband, God’s promises are an encouragement that stand the test of time. His presence is our comfort, and His love brings peace and joy and calms our fears. Our mighty Savior, who is like a powerful soldier, is our Protector, ever present with us. The idea that He delights over us with joyful songs, is reminiscent of when my babies were young, and how I would delight in them and sing to them and there would be peace among us as we rested. My human experience is but a glimpse in comparison to the depth of love that God has for us. The joy and delight we discover in those whom He blesses us with in our lives are but a preview of all that He has in store for us in heaven. May we fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord who is among us, present to save and rejoice over us.

 

The Lord is with us,Among Us

He’s mighty to save;

In love, celebrates,

His grace is displayed.

Each fear shall be calmed,

As in Him, we rest;

For His help and love,

Fill our needs the best.

Imagine the sound,

As the Lord does sing;

With joy over us,

All peace He does bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You are our Champion, who is willing to fight for us. Thank You that You rejoice over us with singing and calm our fears. Thank You that You are always present. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to interrupt the peace that You offer. Teach us to lean into You at all times, so that we may know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us with Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible blessings You bestow upon us with Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, finds rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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Use the Gifts

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – (1 Peter 4:10, NIV)

God has shown you His grace in many different ways. So be good servants and use whatever gift He has given you in a way that will best serve each other. – (1 Peter 4:10, ERV)

Use whatever gift you’ve received for the good of one another so that you can show yourselves to be good stewards of God’s grace in all its varieties. – (1 Peter 4:10, VOICE)

 

One of the reasons that I love to coach is because I was blessed with coaches who encouraged and inspired me to be the best version of myself, both on and off of the playing field/gym floor. A gift that I feel God has birthed and grown in me, is one of encouragement. This is an asset for a coach, and one of the things that I enjoy immensely about the job that I have partaken in for the majority of my life. There is great reward in encouraging and helping young athletes grow, and such joy in watching them discover the fruit of their labor. This morning, I have an interview for a high school assistant gymnastics coaching position at our local high school. My experience has been coaching recreational and middle school gymnastics since I was sixteen, yet the high school arena is entirely new, barring my own experience as a gymnast. As a middle school head coach, this would be an incredible opportunity to learn the sport at an entirely new level. For me, the hope is to grow that which is already within, so that I may become better equipped to lead well, and to extend what I have to offer to this group as we grow together. God is good, and He is faithful. I am embracing the opportunity to learn, and will serve in this season, whether I am hired for the paid spot or not.

 

We’re all given gifts, img_2019-11-21_04-33-541632839495721985461.jpg

In various forms;

Intended to serve,

Blessings God affords.

Whatever we have,

We are meant to use;

To extend God’s grace,

Purposeful pursuit.

May we each go forth,

And serve as we’re called;

Operate in strength,

Through God’s love installed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each one of us with strengths, gifts and purpose. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to grow and utilize that which we have been given. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to navigate in the strength that we have been granted, or attempt to be someone or something other than who we are created to be. Teach us to lean into You so that we would be confident in that which we are called and created to do. Show us how to love those around us in exactly the way that it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk out our purpose in the gifts that You have planted and purposed in each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Take Heart

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

There is something extra encouraging about words that were specifically spoken by Jesus that build up the heart. I’m not sure if it is the weird weather, the isolation, my inability to get out and run, or the long stretches of time away from home, but this morning it was seeming to wear on me a little bit more than before. Feelings are temporary, and recognition is half the battle, but it is frustrating to discover the troubles of this world are beginning to get the best of me. Thankfully, once it is identified, it is short-lived. God is faithful to meet me however I come each morning, and show Himself faithful and kind. Not only was I reminded of where my peace and strength come from, but I received tangible evidence of His grace and love for me, as I received a sweet and timely text from my husband. Sometimes, all it takes is a momentary reminder that we are known and seen and loved. Other times, it is good to identify that this will not be a trouble-free life, yet we can have peace through the One who has overcome all.

I know it is not easy for my mom. A woman who was completely independent and always active, lost her independence overnight, as well as her ability to be active at the level she has known and enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Incredibly, she is walking this long road with courage and grace; trusting in He who is faithful. Each day, she greets the day with positivity and strength, ready to invest the energy required to continue on this road to recovery and healing. Yesterday was a slower day, with speech therapy as her only appointment. Susan is wonderful, and meets mom with kindness and grace; challenging her, yet interacting as would a friend.  Beyond that, it was a typical day of stretching, exercises, resting, meal preparation, tasks around the house, and movie watching. I imagine that sometimes, simply continuing the course is exactly what is needed to perpetuate the positive trend for recovery. Last night had a few wake-ups, but we also did not have as much social interaction as the days prior. She did have a good solid stretch of sleep from one to five, so I will gladly accept four-hour stretches where we get them. Today, mom’s only appointment is physical therapy this morning. It will be interesting to see how the remainder of the week unfolds, as there are no appointments for Thursday or Friday, due to the holiday.

May we all take heart when troubles come, for He who is in us, has already overcome all. Peace is ours for the taking, we simply must seek the Source.

 

Life is not about, 63a09efb-a46a-4c36-b1af-4a9f0cf4c2e04975274388445686015.jpg

Magic guarantees;

That all will be well,

Sweet and trouble-free.

Yet we have a hope,

An anchor secure;

God’s presence always,

Promise to be near.

God grants us the strength,

And all that we need;

To rise and press on,

Follow where He leads.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind and full of grace. Thank You that You are our peace and our comfort through the storms. Thank You that though there are no promises that life will be easy, there is a promise that You will be present. Forgive us for thinking that we somehow need to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our strength and our safe harbor where we can rest and find peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and hope, peace and rest where it is difficult to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever lean into You to be our peace and our strength. 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