Strength and Song

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love, for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But as for me, Your strength shall be my song of joy. At each and every sunrise, my lyrics of Your love will fill the air! For You have been my glory-fortress, a stronghold in my day of distress. – (Psalm 59:16, TPT)

I am so grateful that all is new every morning. No matter what took place yesterday, last week, last month or last year, we have a fresh start each new day. Sometimes, it takes a simple change of scenery to remind us of all the good that God has provided. God knows our hearts, and blesses us with the things that remind us of His care and concern for us, individually. For me, I am very much a quality time person that craves time outdoors near water. On Saturday afternoon, my Viking and I went for a drive. We ended up in Gig Harbor, driving in sunshine and salt air, with the wind whipping through our vehicle. There is something about seeing the water, green trees, blue skies and Mount Rainier in the background that reminds me of the goodness of God. Yesterday, between church, a scooter ride, dog walking and visiting with our besties, my heart feels renewed and recharged. It is this goodness that God gives that inspires the new each morning and grants songs of praise to rise from my heart. He knows our worries, heartaches, and hopes, and provides safe space to navigate. May we ever seek the Lord, anew every morning, for He is our strength, song and space of safety.

Each morning I rise,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

And find new again;

Your strength and Your song,

Fresh grace to begin.

You know well my heart,

How to bless, lift up;

With goodness in love,

You choose fill my cup.

For from a full heart,

I’m equipped to pour;

Your goodness and love,

To those who need more.

Lord, help me to walk,

In strength and resolve;

So I might love well,

As I have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your strength and song are our sources of joy. Thank You that You bless and renew our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to steal the joy that You have deeply rooted within us. Teach us to trust in You and lean into You, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to rejoice in the goodness of Your loving kindness, and to give generously the love that You have overwhelmingly given to us to share with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and depend on You to be our strength and song as each new day begins. Amen.

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

I love You, Lord, my strength. – Psalm 18:1

Intentional In Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” – (John 13:34-35, MSG)

It seems only appropriate that the verse of the day has to do with love on Valentine’s Day. In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called “Friendship Day”. I love that idea, as the love we have for those around us does not have to be romantic love. Friends, family, acquaintances and beloved ones are all among those with whom our love is meant to be shared. To love as we are loved by God is to lift up, encourage, bless, honor and strengthen those around us without any expectation of return. We are meant to choose to love out of the overflow that we have freely been given. May we be intentional in our obedience to God’s commands to love so that all may see Him through us.

Let’s love each other,

As the Lord loves us;

Freely outpouring,

As done by Jesus.

When we choose to love,

With grace, each other;

God’s love’s clearly shown,

One to another.

May we celebrate,

All that we’re given;

Generously give,

Each day we live in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generous and overwhelming love. Thank You that You call and command us to love those around us. Thank You that as we do, people see You and the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we should. Teach us to seek You and receive all that You offer so that we may love like You. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional to love well. Amen.

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

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Done to Others is Done Unto You

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for my people here, you also did for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Don’t you know? When you cared for one of the least important of these, My little ones, My true brothers and sisters, you demonstrated love for Me.’” – (Matthew 25:40, TPT)

This ought to be our motivation. Whenever we love others, we are also demonstrating our love for God. Every single time we love, help, encourage, lift up, show kindness, give grace – God sees it as if we were doing these very things unto Him. What this shows us is how deeply God loves all of His creation. Our closest comparison is how we feel when others extend kindness, grace, generosity, encouragement, and more to one whom we love deeply. I know for me, when someone does these things for one of my children, I am blessed as well. My heart swells with gratitude, simply knowing that another sees and values my child like I do. Imagine the depth of what God feels in comparison. God who loved so deeply that He sent His Son to reestablish a right relationship with us, recognizes every act of kindness and extension of love as words and deeds given directly to Him. For me, that both defines and dictates how I ought to treat everyone I meet. Do I have it down to a science? Of course not. I fall short and fail daily, yet can always seek to do and be better. God, in His loving kindness, hears our petitions presented before Him, and honors our desire to love well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and equip us to love as He loves us.

Whatever we do,

In word, thought or deed;

We do unto God,

Let’s follow His lead.

The God of all grace,

Does all things in love;

May we love like Him,

Give good from above.

For each time we choose,

To help each other;

We live with purpose,

Sisters and brothers.

The times that we fail,

Neglect or ignore;

It too is to God,

Things that He abhors.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love well, each other;

Choose extend Your love,

One to another.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love us. Thank You that as we do, You recognize our love extended to those around us as love for You. Forgive us for the times that we have been unloving or callous or have neglected to reach out where we knew You called us to love. Teach us to trust and follow Your lead as we aspire to love like You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that exhibit the width, depth and breadth of Your everlasting love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reach out to love like You. Amen.

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

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – Matthew 7:12

Persist in Prayer

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 15:28, NIV)

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! You will get what you asked for.” And right then the woman’s daughter was healed. – (Matthew 15:28, ERV)

Jesus gave in. “Oh woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well. – (Matthew 15:28, MSG)

This exchange between Jesus and a Canaanite woman is a great example of persistent faith. The woman’s daughter was suffering, and she knew that Jesus could heal her. Despite being a Canaanite (not God’s chosen people), the woman sought Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus went back and forth with the woman about who is deserving, and she kept responding in a way that demonstrated her faith in His ability to heal. He recognized and admonished her for her trust in Him, and healed her daughter immediately. So often, I think we disqualify ourselves from His help, as we think that we are somehow unworthy of His touch if our request is not answered right away. What this shows us is that we need to keep asking, keep pursuing the help and healing we are hoping for, as often there is a wait that grows our faith. Perhaps the wait occurs to provide time for healing of our hearts, rather than just a quick fix. I cannot claim to truly understand why some healings are immediate, some are gradual, and some do not happen on this side of heaven. What I do know is that God is good. May we ever continue to seek Him to meet our needs, and praise Him for His goodness and love.

The heart of a mom,

That holds fast to hope;

Demonstrates great faith,

Grace granted to cope.

We must keep asking,

Choose trust and believe;

God’s loving kindness,

Is what we receive.

O Lord, please lead us,

Help us choose to pray;

Ever keep seeking,

For You are the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and heal us in Your timing. Thank You that You listen to our persistent prayers. Forgive us for our frustration when answers don’t come as soon as we think they ought. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, and to contend for the help and healing that is needed. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up those around us with ongoing persistence. May many find healing and hope as they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we continually trust and lean into You. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

To Treasure What Matters Most

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

“Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also.” – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

If we focus on loving God and loving people, our treasure will be found in doing just that. Our treasure is our time, talent and resources. When we invest what we have and who we are into that which God is calling us to, our lives become fully invested. This can be a tricky road to navigate, for when we truly look around and open our eyes and hearts, the need can become overwhelming. God does not ask us to solve the world’s woes alone. Rather, He calls us to love one person at a time, as our paths cross. If we treasure our time and remember that others are a gift from Him, we end up loving God and those around us as He intended. 

Currently, many of us are in a season of great loss; loss of loved ones, loss of security, loss of normalcy, and more. In the last two days of conferencing, I have met with a grieving family, and heard devastating news of another family’s loss, whose daughter I had in class. Additionally, a very dear family friend is in his final hours. My heart grieves for each family, and I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. As we recognize that our days are limited, we are reminded who holds each day in His hands. When all that I am begins the day seeking God, I am better equipped to remember the gift that each day holds in Him and in time with those whom He has given me. May we ever treasure what matters most, and seek to love as we are loved by God.

May our hearts treasure,

That which matters most;

God and all people,

As we keep each close.

Each near in our hearts,

Let us lift and pray;

Value each other,

And love in God’s way.

For God so loves us,

That to us, He gave;

Love, light and freedom,

Grace to walk His way.

Lord, help us to bring,

Each prayer and concern;

Teach us to love well,

As we grow and learn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our greatest treasures are found in You and those whom You place in our lives. Thank You that You show us and grow us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to hoard the treasure You intended for others. Show us how and where to invest our time, talent and resources. Help us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize where true hope is found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to treasure what matters most. Amen.

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

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21

Strength in the Waiting

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NIV) 

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up; don’t be impatient; be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep on waiting – for He will never disappoint you! – (Psalm 27:14, TPT)

As usual, a verse from my daily reading stands out in the timeliness of the message presented. While there have been so many jokes and memes about the neverending year that is 2020, I find I can relate to the sentiment of this being a very long season. We just passed the seven-month mark of the closure of traditional schooling and society functioning as we had always known before. While I understand the necessity to protect our most fragile population, I also see, first hand, the detrimental effect that isolation is having on our young people. Untimely deaths have impacted numerous communities, including our own, and the rate of depression and anxiety have skyrocketed. Lack of contact and community for our teens and young adults is taking a horrendous toll. For me, I have had to be intentional to get outside and exercise, find ways to connect with my own family and community, and seek strength anew every morning. Getting out of the house, even if it is only for a drive, walk or run, makes a world of difference for my heart and mind. I can only imagine the angst and frustration this causes young people, as few have the option or luxury of simply getting in the car and going just to find a change of scenery. Add to that the lack of interaction with their peers, and it is no wonder we are seeing such struggle. I know I have taken a bit of a detour as I am attempting to process the application of this verse. Perhaps it is a reminder to lift up those around us, and to encourage strength and hope in the waiting, and dependence on He who is our help and hope. May we seek the Lord each new day, and extend the strength and hope that He grants us in the waiting, to all those around us.

O Lord, I’m seeking,

Your hope and Your strength;

Comfort to pass on,

Your grace through great lengths.

Lead us in goodness,

May we each take heart;

Trusting Your kindness,

As strength You impart.

Help us be patient,

In You, as we wait;

Remind us again,

That You’re never late.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us in the waiting, and that You are our hope and our strength.  Thank You that we can be brave and take heart in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the waiting seems so long. Teach us to trust You more, as You do great things in us as we wait and trust in You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, especially those who are feeling stuck or isolated. Grant them hope and strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in the waiting and reach out to love well, all those around us. Amen.

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

Lord, I wait for You; You will answer, Lord my God. – Psalm 38:15

Let Go and Love

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV) 

“Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV) 

“Don’t seek revenge or carry a grudge against any of your people. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am God.”  – (Leviticus 19:18, MSG) 

Revenge and grudges do not bring change. Love, however, does. If we truly love our neighbors as we are called to love, how can society help but change? Wrongs cannot always be righted, yet changed behavior can make the present and future far better. The more we understand one another, the better we are able to love. I imagine that the reason God says to love our neighbors as ourselves is because we know well, how we want to be treated and loved. Not one of us wants to be treated as less than, so we ought to always aim to love more. To love as God loved us means that we put others first, and seek to do good in ways that help and bless and lift our sisters and brothers up. We are all a work in progress, but we must do our part to pursue God’s best for one another. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, so that we are solution seekers rather than those who seek revenge. 

Do not seek revenge, 

Or carry a grudge; 

But instead, love well, 

Let God be the judge. 

Seek always love well, 

Sisters and brothers; 

Let’s choose to love first, 

Help one another. 

Find ways to lift up, 

Encourage others; 

Bless and do not curse, 

Goodness discovered. 

For just as God loves, 

We’re called to the same; 

Give goodness and grace, 

To honor God’s name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us better than we could love ourselves. Thank You that You call us to the same. Forgive us for the times that we have sought revenge or held a grudge. Teach us to give our anger and frustration to You, and lean on You to lead us to love well. Show us how to bless, encourage, lift up and love well, all of those whom You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of ugliness and embrace one another in love. Amen. 

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

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

A Love Like No Other

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together. – (Psalm 34:3, NIV)

Praise the Lord with me. Let us honor His name. – (Psalm 34:3, ERV)

Come and lift up the Eternal with me; let’s praise His name together! – (Psalm 34:3, VOICE)

 

A little over a year ago, we could have lost our mom. She suffered a massive stroke, and the circumstances surrounding her survival, are nothing short of miraculous. Mother’s Day last year was barely two weeks after her stroke, and though still a bit shell-shocked, we were overflowing with gratitude that we still had our mom. This year, there is even more to be thankful for on this Mother’s Day. Mom continues to gain strength and mobility, and is doing phenomenally well; she has come incredibly far over the last year. Additionally, I know that both my sister and I are so grateful to have not only our mom thriving, but our mother’s-in-love, and bonus (step) mom, doing well, also. We are full of gratitude to have healthy children, who are thriving, despite the frustration of our current circumstances. Even with three seniors between us, a freshman, and a nineteen-year-old, gratitude is in the forefront of our hearts and minds, as we know we have so many reasons to glorify God and give Him praise. Though I know not everyone shares the same story of blessing associated with Mother’s Day, I imagine we all know women who have had a powerfully positive influence in our lives. Whatever our experience, may we begin this day with praise for what He has done, is doing, and that which is yet to come.

 

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Love like no other;

I glorify God,

For my own mother.

I am beyond blessed,

Through her precious life;

As she models love,

And quickly ends strife.

Further the thanks goes,

For those brought along;

Women who love well,

Show how to love strong.

All praise to the Lord,

On this Mother’s Day;

For loving women,

Blessings on our way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You this morning and every day for the overwhelming ways that You meet me and bless me with Your presence and Your provision. Thank You for the incredible gift of mothers. Thank You for the women that You place in our lives to show us how to love and seek You for strength as we navigate our journey with You. Forgive us for taking our mother’s for granted, even for a moment, for they are a blessing and a gift from You. Teach us to seek You and praise You all the more for who You are, daily. Show us how to love well, so that we might be people who demonstrate the sort of love that You intended each of us to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and thank You for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone. – Proverbs 31:31, GNT

Prioritizing Peace and People

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

On one hand, if I observe what is going on in our neighborhood, our schools, our community, our church, our city and beyond, I see much effort being set forth to encourage and strengthen one another. Cheerful greetings to neighbors when out for fresh air, kind words of encouragement for essential workers around town, breakfast and lunch provision for all students in our area, groceries provided by local churches and businesses to families in need, and an outpouring of support for the medical and emergency services community – these all are beautiful efforts to get along and help one another. However, if I turn on the news, I am bombarded with stories seemingly intent on division. Yes, it is important to remain informed, but perhaps small doses are best to avoid being zapped of our resolve to remain invested in doing good. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Though we may not see the results, we never know the impact a generous gesture, kind word, or simply a smile can have on a person. As so many of us are in positions of having to learn an entirely new way of doing our jobs, there are others that are grieving the loss of theirs, and still others who are essential and continue reporting to work as usual, though nothing is usual, all while kids attempt to do remote learning, parents attempt to monitor, help and teach, and everyone needs kindness and encouragement in the process. If we can get along and be at peace in the process, each will be able to successfully navigate their own new. Support and encouragement are beneficial to all, so perhaps we can each be extra generous with kindness in this season. May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, so all may rise better than when we began.

 

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Encourage, lift up;

A blessing of peace,

Fills everyone’s cup.

No act of kindness,

Is ever for naught;

For love and goodness,

Sometimes need be taught.

Taught through our actions,

Not just spoken words;

It requires motion,

For love is a verb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate provider of peace and encouragement in our lives. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to find peace in our relationships and how to best encourage and lift up those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the things that lead to or maintain peace, or have stayed silent when we were meant to encourage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue peace through You, and ever look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen those around us. Show us how to love others best, so that they may know Your perfect peace through encouragement and edification. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to get along with others and to encourage and lift each other up. 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

Our Oasis

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

“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 weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

And there is a resounding “yes”, followed by a heavy sigh and a bit of coughing. Weary indeed… The heavy burdens I continually attempt to lay down, yet somehow, I seem to find new weights that have managed to be slung on my shoulders. Each morning, I rise with intention, to seek the Lord and give all to Him. He promises to give rest and refreshment, and an oasis sounds blissful about now. This is where trust must enter in.  At times, the provision is the supplication of what we need for the day to make it through. There are other times, when we find ourselves smack dab in the center of an oasis, after what has felt like an eternity in the desert. God knows what we need and when we need it most. He provides and sustains, refreshes and grants rest. Today, I am trusting Him for what I need to navigate this day, and looking forward to some much-needed rest, that is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord when we are weary and heavy burdened, for He will walk beside us and grant us rest.

 

Jesus tells us, “Come”,Our Oasis

Bring burdens to Me;

Lay heaviness down,

Set all at His feet.

For He is our Source,

Strength, hope, life and light;

Who grants us the rest,

To stay in the fight.

His hands can hold us,

When our strength is gone;

He’s our oasis,

His love makes us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Thank You that You call us to bring our burdens to You; for You are willing and able to carry the load that we were never meant to bear. Thank You that You provide rest and refreshment when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for growing weary in our resolve to keep seeking Your help when all is heavy. Teach us how to lay down the burdens that we are not even aware we are shouldering. Show us how to come alongside those around us, to love, encourage and lift up, so that they may know Your refreshment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and lay our burdens before You, seeking You for real rest. Amen.

 

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

 

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