Where Help Comes From

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

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

Lifting our eyes is a way to take our gaze off of what lies directly before us, and to look beyond to what could be. Each time I see the majestic mountains, I am reminded of the power and goodness of God. The same God who formed the mountains, is the One who comes and dwells within us as we invite Him in. He is our help and our hope, and the One in whom our future rests. To look to the mountains is to gaze upon the tangible evidence of God. For me, when I look upon the beauty of creation, I am reminded of the One who made it all. He is so much more than we see, yet the tangible evidence of His goodness makes the unseen easier to grasp. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, help and hope, and readily receive the reminders all around us as we gaze upon the beauty of all that He has made.

When we choose look up,

Our eyes truly see;

All of creation,

Made purposefully.

Our help and our hope,

Come from God above;

He sees and He hears,

And answers in love.

Majestic mountains,

And sparkling seas;

Glimpses of the Lord,

And His majesty.

His power and grace,

Are visibly seen;

To show us His love,

As He meets our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us Your power through the beauty of creation all around us. Thank You for such incredible reminders of Your power and strength that are available to all who seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have looked to anything other than You to be our strength, and for the times that we have somehow made You too small. Teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, for You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in ways that lift up and encourage everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and praise You for the tangible reminders of Your power and grace. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Praise for Perpetual Goodness and Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:1, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good! His faithful love will last forever! – (Psalm 118:1, ERV)

Thank God because He’s good, because His love never quits. – (Psalm 118:1, MSG)

Give thanks to the Eternal because He is always good. He never ceases to be loving and kind. – (Psalm 118:1, VOICE)

Each day that we wake up and draw breath, we have reason to thank God for His goodness. His faithful love has carried us through the night, and His presence remains as we rise. The Lord’s loving kindness grants us a brand new day, and His faithfulness causes the sun to rise again and again. Everywhere we look, there is evidence of the Lord’s goodness and love. Right now, I am flanked by our sweet pups, one on either side of me as I am writing. There is evidence of God’s goodness everywhere, and He is faithful to show us again and again how much He loves us as we intentionally seek Him. May we ever look to the Lord as we begin each new day, and give Him thanks and praise for who He is and how He loves.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He’s always good;

His love knows no end,

He’s hope understood.

Wherever we look,

We can’t help but see;

God’s loving kindness,

For you and for me.

Each new day we wake,

His presence so near;

His love evident,

As hope is made clear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and loving and kind. Thank You that evidence of Your nearness is everywhere. Thank You that You make Your heart known to us. Forgive us for not recognizing Your goodness and grace that grants us each new day. Teach us to praise You with each new breath, for You alone are worthy of all thanks and praise. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart and hope evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and Your faithful love forever. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

All for Good

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, HCSB)

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

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

This does not say that all things happen for good, or have been caused by God. However, God can bring good from even the worst of things if we allow Him room to move. For example, there is nothing good about sickness, disease, or injuries. The good is how God can use such things to grow our faith, show us His power, and lead us to something more than we imagined before. Additionally, He shows us He is good as He loves, supports, encourages and surrounds us. Love is made tangible, even in the midst of great struggle or suffering. Our circumstances are not always good, but God always is good. May we ever seek the Lord to show us who He is, even in the midst of challenges and difficulty; for He is faithful to be present for those who seek Him.

Because God is good,

He moves through all things;

Hope in our heartache,

Strength and peace He brings.

In love, He takes hold,

Of extended hands;

He lifts and He leads,

So we again stand.

Choose look to the Lord,

In each circumstance;

Watch how the Lord moves,

When given the chance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work all things out for good for those who love and trust in You. Thank You that You are the same God that brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You have shown Yourself faithful time and time again. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see past our circumstances. Teach us to look to You, for You grant us Your eyes to see the hope held beyond what we are seeing or experiencing right now. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too come to know and understand that You bring good, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us, and trust the hope that we hold in You forever. Amen.

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

But You are near me, Lord, and all Your commands can be trusted. – Psalm 119:151

Help Each New Day

But I call to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets You. – (Psalm 88:13, HCSB)

Lord, I am asking You to help me! Early each morning I pray to You. – (Psalm 88:13, ERV)

But I am calling out to You, Eternal One. My prayers rise before You with every new sun! – (Psalm 88:13, VOICE)

When we start the day seeking God, our hearts are in the right space and we are making room for God to move. No, He does not need our permission, yet His Father’s heart for us is that He wants His kids to seek and ask, inviting Him into every part of our day. As we do, He is faithful to meet us, walk beside us, and remind us of His loving kindness. The state of the world today is our ever-present reminder to seek Him. May we look to the Lord to be our help, for His mercies are new every morning.

O Lord, each morning,

We seek You anew;

To help and lead us,

And see the day through.

We call upon You,

Our help and our hope;

To begin each day,

With promises spoke.

Your promised presence,

And love that abounds;

Purpose empowered,

In You, help is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each new day we can rise and seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us when we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You. Teach us to trust You and turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us Your power and Your loving kindness anew. Lead us to love those around us in ways that give help and strength to persevere in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and pray to You at the start of each new day. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Look to the Lord

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (Psalm 105:4, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (Psalm 105:4, ERV)

Seek the Eternal and His power; look to His face constantly. – (Psalm 105:4, VOICE)

Seek, look to, and depend on the Lord, for He is our source of strength. He is faithful to meet us wherever we are and ready to walk beside us, strengthening us, so that we may continue moving in the direction to which we have been called. We are in the home stretch of the school year, with only six more wake-ups remaining. Students are all over the map, as they are sad to leave, anxious about what lies ahead in high school, and equally restless and weary from the longest school year ever. It has been an incredibly challenging year, as students have had to adapt to being back in classrooms after nearly two years online. Our seventh graders never had the introduction to what it is to be in middle school on campus, as they transitioned from losing the spring of their fifth grade year, to sixth grade being nearly entirely online. Fast forward to this year, and there were two entire grades of kids who had never been on campus, and our eighth graders had only spent about three quarters of the year on site as sixth graders. It has been a year of intense transition, as expectations and routines had to be relearned after so much uncertainty. For many, it is still a season of recovery from loss. In all of this, our task has been to come alongside kids and help them reacclimate to school in classrooms, and navigate extreme restrictions and rules for safety that have gradually gone away as we have made our way to this point in the year. Sometimes, I have to remind myself of all that these kiddos have been dealing with as they have returned to us in-person. It is my hope that as we close out this year, we can look back and see the Lord’s faithful provision of His strength and help each step of the way. May we ever remember what He has brought us through, and continue to seek Him to provide all that we need for all that lies ahead.

We look to You Lord,

To lead us in love;

For strength and resolve,

To choose care enough.

Help us keep seeking,

Relying on You;

Always You’re faithful,

To strengthen, renew.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To rise, finish strong;

To give all we’ve got,

Throughout the day long.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek, look to, and depend on You to strengthen us for all that lies before us. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning, and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Forgive us for allowing our weariness to determine our resolve. Teach us to lean into You, for You walk beside us and supply all that we need. Show us how to love well as we finish strong. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You and depend on You to strengthen us and lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

The Reward in Repentance

The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, HCSB)

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. – (Proverbs 28:13, NASB)

Whoever tries to hide his sins will not succeed, but the one who confesses his sins and leaves them behind will find mercy. – (Proverbs 28:13, VOICE)

Repentance is a powerful and necessary part of our walk with God. It is the admission of our lack of trust and self-reliance, and a turning to God to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. This is an ongoing process, for we have a free will and a fallen nature. It requires intentional seeking and purposeful self-awareness to recognize not only our need for God, but an awareness of the times that we have sought to build our own kingdoms and relied on our own strength. We need God’s wisdom, mercy and grace to walk in His way and do His will. May we ever seek the Lord with open hearts and sincere honesty, confessing not only our need for Him, but also asking forgiveness for the times that we have relied on ourselves instead of seeking the Lord to do what is good and right before Him. We must surrender our own plans and agendas and look to the Lord to lead us according to His good and perfect will.

O Lord, we repent,

From all we have done;

That dishonors You,

The Most Holy One.

Forgive the selfish,

Self-reliant things;

That shadow Your light,

The only True King.

Help us turn away,

From trying alone;

For in You we find,

Your way is made known.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

Lead us in Your love,

So people see You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and repent for our self-reliance and selfish ways, You forgive us and lead us in Your goodness and grace. Teach us to seek and rely on You in all things, for You are ever-present to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You want us to. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent from all that does not honor You, and depend on You to show us what to do in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. – Acts 3:19

Assured By Love

Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. – (Luke 1:30, HCSB)

Then the angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. – (Luke 1:30, ERV)

But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift.” – (Luke 1:30, TPT)

As I continue to ponder the role that Mary played in Christmas, I imagine that she must have been quite startled by the appearance of an angel, and felt fear in the presence of God’s own messenger standing before her. I love that her immediate need was met, as he assured her that she had nothing to fear, for God was pleased with her and she had found His favor. In the present day, we have little understanding of the fear of appearing before a king. Back then, if a person appeared before a king without being summoned, they could be killed if the king was not pleased with them. How much more would they have had a similar fear in being in the presence of the King of the Universe’s messenger? The loving kindness of God was made known through Gabriel as He reassured Mary. To hear that God is delighted with you and has a wonderful gift for you, would likely bring peace in the panicked places. Incredibly, when we seek the Lord and pursue a life of love through Him, He is pleased with us as well. He has good gifts to give us if only we are ready and willing to receive them. Peace, joy, love and hope are the gifts that we celebrate as we anticipate the celebration of Christ’s arrival. May we ever look to the Lord to be our peace, for He is our hope and grants us joy through His love as we seek Him.

Imagine the sight,

Before Mary stood;

God’s angelic host,

With news that was good.

To be called favored,

One whom God called blessed;

Quite overwhelming,

Assured in distress.

Little did she know,

The news he would bear;

Lives changed forever,

God would soon be there.

He’d come in the flesh,

Miraculous plan,

A new baby born;

Where hope soon began.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see us where we are and meet us in our need. Thank You that You see our heart and show us Your great love and grace that provide hope, peace and joy. Forgive us for not turning to You in both our joy and our times of need, for You hear every prayer and are ever near. Teach us to trust You like Mary, for though she did not know what was ahead, she knew and trusted You. Show us how to be willing to listen and give our best yes to You. Lead us to love one another as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside fears and trust big in You and all that You have for us. Amen.

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

This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us: He has given assurance to us from His Spirit. – 1 John 4:13

Love Deeply

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, HCSB)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

This is critically important in culture today. Currently, it is the seeming norm for people to blast those who do not share the same opinion as themselves rather than choosing to love and simply scroll past. Humans are allowed to have their own opinions. No one truly knows what has led a person to view the world through their lens, so name-calling or worse on social media is not going to change their view. Rather, if we love intensely and deeply, we can accept our differences and forgive or look past perceived faults. The more we love, the more willing we become to forgive, and consequently, we begin to value differing opinions and perspectives. Every day is new, and we are meant to treat it accordingly. If we hold onto hurts and disdain for another person, we are only poisoning ourselves. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love one another deeply and allow His love to cover us and teach us to forgive.

Choose to love deeply,

Forgive and give grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

We are created,

To love as God loves;

Forgive each other,

Like the Lord above.

God, give us Your eyes,

So we truly see;

The power love gives,

To set our hearts free.

Help us to choose love,

Despite what is done;

Grant us Your wisdom,

God, most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another. Thank You that love like Yours forgives and covers sin. Thank You that You first loved us in this way, as You forgive us each time we ask, and love us no matter what. Forgive us for our lack of love when people cross us or have different values than our own. Show us how to love well, no matter how others view the world. Lead us to bless and encourage and begin everyday with a clean slate. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love deeply and forgive as we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. 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