Remember to Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me – body, emotions, mind, and will – every part of who I am – praise His holy name. O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. – (Psalm 103:1-2, VOICE)

For so many, I know this pandemic is a very long season of struggle. Isolation and financial hardships have not been a positive pairing. However, even so, God is good. Difficult seasons have a way of bringing out the good in people. I have witnessed generosity and grace, kindness, goodness and compassion, in spaces where it was needed most. As we praise God and remember His blessings, it inspires us to do the same for those around us. The more we recognize the goodness of God, the greater our desire becomes to praise Him with all that we are. May we ever seek to know God more, and allow our lives to sing out our gratitude for who He is and all that He has done, as we intentionally love people and love God, the way that He intended.

Lord, I lift my praise,

All up unto You;

For Your mighty love,

And all that You do.

Your kindness and grace,

Give reason to sing;

All thanks unto You,

Our praise offering.

Let our very lives,

Be songs that give praise;

For Your mighty love,

Outpoured each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to praise. Thank You for Your goodness and grace, love and merciful ways, shown to us again and again throughout all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix on the difficulties before us, rather than on the One who is our Provider. Teach us to turn to You, recognizing the power of Your love and provision. Show us how to love those around us in ways that glorify You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are through all that we do and say. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

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

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

Help In All

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV) 

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV) 

God, You are such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in times of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You. – (Psalm 46:1, TPT) 

In this extraordinarily long season, I think everyone needs a space of refuge and strength, and help in these troubling times. For some, it is for provision; for others, companionship; still others, for help and protections and strength. Whatever the need, God is able to provide in abundance. The hardest part is that it seems like we are stuck in a space of waiting. Often, it is in our waiting, that God grows us the most and helps us in ways that we cannot always see. For the upcoming school year, I feel as if I am in a holding pattern of “wait and see” to know and understand what the expectations and format will look like. I am not a fan of feeling ill-prepared, yet it is difficult to prepare for the unknown. All I can do is seek the Lord and choose to read all that I can to make certain that my heart is ready, even if my mind does not yet know the details. As for my Mom, she too is trusting God to be her refuge, strength and help, as she waits and prepares for next steps. She is more than ready to be back in her own home, but knows that details must first be aligned, before it is safe for her to return. God is faithful to grant her strength and resolve, even on the longest and most mundane of days. In all circumstances, God is more than enough. May we ever seek the Lord to be our refuge and strength, and to be our help, no matter our need.  

There’s no other place, 

In the same way this sweet pup seeks and finds refuge in our arms, we can do the same with Christ. ❤

That I’d like to be; 

Than when I am safe, 

With God, who holds me. 

He is my comfort, 

When all is unknown; 

My safe Provider, 

Whose love’s always shown. 

Shown as He grants grace, 

And keeps my heart safe; 

He loves as He guides, 

Even on dark days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when we cannot feel it, You are working. Thank You that You are our space of refuge and comfort, and You provide for our every need. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the wait seems long. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always good. Show us how to love those around us well, and help us to provide safety and peace and provision as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for how You love us so well. Amen. 

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

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. – Psalm 62:8

Be Filled With Kindness

I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. – (Hosea 11:4, NIV) 

A despondent person deserves kindness from his friends, even though he strays from the fear of the Highest One. – (Job 6:14, VOICE) 

With every sun’s rising, surprise us with Your love, satisfy us with Your kindness. Then we will sing with joy and celebrate every day we are alive. – (Psalm 90:14, VOICE) 

The Lord is righteous in everything He does; He is filled with kindness. – (Psalm 145:17, NLT) 

Kindness is synonymous with benevolent, generous, charitable, sympathetic, compassionate, and tender. The act of being kind, or operating with kindness is to see others where they are and choose to love as God loves us. The four verses that I recorded above, demonstrate a variety of ways to show kindness. Hosea compares kindness to caring for kids – loving and feeding them. Job highlights that kindness is not about giving based on the behavior of the recipient, but rather is a choice to give as God gives. David, in the Psalms, talks about God’s kindness satisfying us to the point where we ought to sing with joy and celebrate the life we have been given. He goes on further to identify that everything the Lord does is filled with kindness. We have a standard set before us as to how we ought to operate in kindness. Kindness sees need and acts upon it in love. I love when popular culture grabs onto something biblical and runs with it. “Be kind” and “Choose kindness” are but a few of the phrases that one can find on t-shirts, posters and mugs, as a battle cry to humanity. Kindness is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and a way demonstrate God’s fruitfulness in our lives. As we choose to extend kindness to those around us, we are making God’s love tangible to those who may not know Him. In this long season of uncertainty, there is plenty of room for kindness to be extended. School is going to begin as never before, and parents, students and teachers alike, have reservations and fears, as there are so many questions that need to be answered to successfully navigate it all. The same remains true for businesses, jobs, and making ends meet for so many. Everywhere we look, there is room for kindness. Though we cannot do or be all things, we each can choose to be kind. Kindness may look different to each person that we opt extend it, yet the heart behind each act of kindness must be to love as God loves us. Sometimes, it is simply asking someone how they are doing, and then really listening to their reply. Other times, it is seeing a need and meeting it. Always, kindness is a reflection of a heart of love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best be kind to everyone we encounter. 

May true kindness rule, 

And reign in our hearts; 

Let us act in love, 

Each choose do our part. 

In spaces where kind, 

Is needed the most; 

Help our words and deeds, 

Show Your heart is close. 

Close in our chaos, 

Our spaces of need; 

As kindness brings peace, 

If in love, we lead. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kindness leads us to repentance, which ultimately brings change and beautiful new. Thank You that You show us again and again how we are able to be kind and extend kindness where it is needed the most. Forgive us for the times that we have not opted to be kind. Show us how to choose kindness in every interaction, word and deed. Lead us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be kind to all. Amen. 

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12 

Far Better to Finish

It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be gentle and patient than to be proud and impatient.  – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, ERV)

Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride. – (Ecclesiastes 7:8, NLT)

 

The much anticipated finish to the school days of 2015 has at long last arrived. Between our return from Thanksgiving and today, it can tend to feel like one of the longest stretches of the school year. Perhaps it is the changing seasons, where our world dips into darkness for so much more of our waking hours, or the gloom of so many rainy days.  Whatever the reason, it is a very long season in the world of academia. This final two weeks prior to Christmas break, tend to be the longest of all. For some, it is the eager anticipation of all of the great things that lie ahead, that keep their young minds wandering. However, for others, there is a fear and trepidation of losing two meals each day, and a safe space that is certain and routine. For these kiddos in particular, I have learned the value of being gentle and patient. Just when I feel completely exasperated with the behaviors of some of my students who act out the most, I find that if I continue to respond gently and patiently (despite how I feel), I am often pleasantly surprised by a decision to delve into the work for the day. It does not happen every day, but small steps in the right direction, keep moving all of us closer to finishing well – which is far greater than having to begin again. May we all keep pressing forward, with the finish line in mind, remembering that gentleness and patience carry us far better than our pride.

 

Keep running the race,Far Better to Finish

with patience, be kind;

far better, finish,

than keep running blind.

With great gentleness,

may we move ahead;

with the end in mind,

as we choose be led.

Far better the end,

than where we began;

for when we finish,

we’ve walked out His plan.

Likewise is patience,

far better than pride;

for in our waiting,

we learn to abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the benefits of finishing our race, and the grace that comes through gentleness and patience. Thank You that You do not just tell us that this way is best, but You sent Your Son to show us what it is to live a life of gentleness and patience; who finished all that He began. Forgive us for our lack of perseverance when things become difficult, or our lack of gentleness and patience when people and circumstances overwhelm us. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would rely on You for all that we need to be gentle and patient, having the strength and endurance necessary to finish all things to which we are called. Show us how to love others well for our entire existence, so that many may see You through the way that we show love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are gentle and patient; persevering to finish all that to which we are called. Amen.

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

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15