Don’t Conform; Be Transformed

Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Who do we live to please? If it is God, then we will not always share the ideas and opinions of the culture around us, yet God is the One whom we ultimately answer to; if we bend and conform to whatever is popular opinion, we are not seeking the Lord and His will. It is far better to pursue God and His best for us; for it is through our seeking that He transforms us to have a heart like His. Ultimately, it is only through knowing what is good and pleasing to God, that we are able to live our life with purpose for His glory. We all are a work in progress, and it is only through seeking and learning, changing and growing, that we are better able to become who we have been created to be. Each one of us have been designed with gifts and talents and a heart to love, so that we might love God and love people with our lives. Incredibly, as we begin to live and love how we are designed to do, we discover the beauty in and around us to share with the world. May we ever seek the Lord and His best for us, so that we may be transformed to bear His love and His light to all those around us. 

Choose not to be swayed, 

By things that surround; 

For only in Christ, 

Is our purpose found. 

We’re not meant to go, 

Along with the crowd; 

But rather choose love, 

And live it out loud. 

Popular thoughts change, 

Yet God’s shall remain; 

He’ll teach us to love, 

And honor His Name. 

For what is this life, 

Without purpose known; 

We need to listen, 

So His best is shown. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to ebb and flow with popular thought or opinion. Thank You that Your call to love does not change. Thank You that as we seek You to listen and learn, we are transformed to better reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for allowing popular opinion to sway our thoughts, rather than seeking You and Your heart. Teach us to lean into You and learn. Show us how to love those around us, as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to learn and grow according to Your plan, so that we may love well. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

Free to Humbly Love

You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV) 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV) 

Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base of operations in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do. – (Galatians 5:13, TPT) 

Because Christ so loved, all who choose to accept what He freely offers are set free from sin and shame. We are forgiven and equipped to overcome the snares that sin once held. Freedom does not mean we ought to do whatever we desire and then rely on goodness and grace, but rather we need to allow His love to compel us to humbly love one another as He loves us. Fleshly indulgences are temporary, and still leave us wanting more. Loving others as we are loved by God, has a lasting impact. Not only does it bless the recipient, but it draws the giver into a deeper understanding of the power of His love within us. May we seek the Lord to consider one another in our freedom of choice, so that our every word and deed are a reflection of His voice. Let us humbly choose to love. 

Freedom in the Lord, 

What we’re called to be; 

Able to choose love, 

With grace, humbly. 

For as we choose love, 

Others are set free; 

Immersed in goodness, 

Intentionally. 

So, let us go forth, 

And in freedom choose; 

To love as we’re loved, 

And sinfulness, lose. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the freedom we have in You. Forgive us for using the freedom we have been given through Your sacrifice, for anything other than loving as You have loved us. Teach us to choose well, so that we would love You and love others as we are called to do. Show us how to love all those around us, with humility and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to understand the freedom we are granted by Your love. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to humbly love all those whom You have placed around us. Amen. 

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

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. – John 8:36

We Wait in Hope

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – (Psalm 33:20, NIV) 

So we will wait for the Lord. He helps us and protects us. – (Psalm 33:20, ERV) 

The Lord alone is our radiant hope and we trust in Him with all our hearts. His wrap-around presence will strengthen us. – (Psalm 33:20, TPT) 

This certainly feels like a season of waiting. Waiting to advance in phases of reopening; waiting to freely visit with friends and loved ones; waiting to celebrate major milestones and birthdays in the way in which we all are accustomed to do so; and waiting for answers as to what the coming year will look like for so many impacted by the public education system. With Christ, we are able to wait in hope, trusting that He has a plan and will protect and strengthen us for all that lies ahead. Though the road ahead feels long and uncertain, we can move forward, one step at a time, with hope in knowing Who is ultimately in control. May we wait on the Lord with hope, ever trusting in He who surrounds us with His presence, and strengthens us as He protects. 

May we ever turn, 

With hope, to the Lord; 

As we have to wait, 

In grace He affords. 

When it seems we’re stuck, 

A space of on hold; 

Hope grants us the strength, 

To trust and be bold. 

Bold in the unknown, 

Recognizing grace; 

Protection and peace, 

Granted all our days. 

Keep moving forward, 

However He calls; 

For there is a plan, 

As strength He installs. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us hope as we trust in You. Thank You that You are our strength and protection. Forgive us for our impatience in the waiting. Teach us to trust You with all of our days, ever aware of Your protection and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that present hope that inspires trust in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait with hope for all that is yet to come. Amen. 

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Joy and Patience through Faithfulness

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV) 

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV) 

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT) 

My mom is the best example of this verse in action that I know. Despite living in a senior living community that has been locked down since March, she continues to exude joy, hope, patience and faithfulness. The restrictions were loosened for a few weeks, and during that time, both my sister’s family and mine were able to go and see her under strict regulations. We had to all wear masks, and could only visit outdoors, while practicing social distancing. Mom is an affectionate extrovert, so these limitations and long stretches of isolation, are particularly hard on her. I know much of the reason she is still sane is due to her unflappable faith. Currently, they are on total lockdown again, as they are awaiting the results of a second COVID test, to confirm a community member is not COVID positive, after a visit from one of his family members who did end up testing positive. Thankfully, the first test was negative, but they are extra cautious in order to keep all community members safe. This season is long and challenging for many. When we know where our hope is held, joy is present, regardless of the restrictions required to stay safe. For mom, her patience through both the COVID business and her own recovery, is inspiring. There are days that I imagine every breath and every step are offered as prayers – both thanking God for them and asking that He continue to sustain and heal her. May we ever hold fast to the hope that is found in God, for He grants us patience, peace and joy, as we continue to commune with Him in prayer. 

Such a joyful hope, 

Quick squeezes with staff approval, since we were outside and appropriately masked.<3

Is found in the Lord; 

Faithful provision, 

As grace He affords. 

Continue to seek, 

For in Him, we find; 

All that is needed, 

In Him love’s defined. 

Do not give up hope, 

Instead to choose pray; 

God’s faithful always, 

Each night and each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible faithfulness through all times. Thank You that we can seek You and commune with You always. Forgive us for our lack of faithfulness when times get difficult. Teach us to trust You and turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us with Your faithfulness, so joy may abound. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find joy in our hope, patience when times get tough, and a loving heart ready to hear us forever. Amen. 

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

But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. – Hebrews 3:6

Waiting Seasons

The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. – (2 Peter 3:9, NIV) 

The Lord is not being slow in doing what He promised – the way some people understand slowness. But God is being patient with you. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He wants everyone to change their ways and stop sinning. – (2 Peter 3:9, ERV) 

Now the Lord is not slow about enacting His promise – slow is how some people want to characterize it – no, He is not slow but patient and merciful to you, not wanting anyone to be destroyed, but wanting everyone to turn away from following His own path and to turn toward God’s. – (2 Peter 3:9, VOICE) 

It seems that naturally, humans are not terribly patient creatures. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, we struggle to wait longer than we think we should. This whole COVID situation makes it abundantly clear how impatient we really are. Being shut down for several months, not only as a city, state or nation, but nearly the entire world, has caused a restlessness in so many of us. That being said, it seems that for many, it has been a season of awakening; a time to read, reflect, and gain fresh perspective on the ills that have existed for far too long. Also, it has been a forced space of trust, as those of us who have loved ones in senior living communities, have not be allowed to go and visit and spend time with one another. Despite the frustration, He has been merciful and faithful to care for each. Additionally, this time in history has provided room for churches to love their communities well. It has always been God’s intention, and we are seeing this in action at a greater capacity than ever before. For those who have seized the opportunity to lean into God, He has been refining and realigning hearts and minds. God is ever faithful to prepare our hearts to be more like His, so that we will be living and loving well when we at last see Him, face to face. May we turn to God in this season of seeming slowness, and recognize the opportunity that this time is providing to learn better how to live and love as we are called to do. 

The Lord is not slow, 

How He would like us to trust in the waiting…<3

In keeping His word; 

But rather, He waits, 

‘til lessons are learned. 

God gives us the time, 

To seek and embrace; 

His great heart of love, 

With kindness and grace. 

Let us keep seeking, 

Pursuing His best; 

Embracing each change, 

Instead of unrest. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not slow, but rather extending patience so that we may seek and know, learn and grow, being ever refined to walk in Your ways. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us wherever we are as we seek You, and You change us from the inside out. Forgive us for our lack of patience in seasons of waiting; for You use each one to grow and change us to better reflect Your heart to the world, if only we are willing to put in the work. Teach us to press in when seasons of waiting seem long, as You are forever faithful and kind. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and trust You in waiting seasons, because You have a plan and a purpose for all. Amen. 

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

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

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

Renewed Resolve

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) 

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV) 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG) 

We are in the midst of a long and heavy season. Staying home, not spending time with those we love outside of our immediate family, seeking to learn and grow, and trying to determine what is and is not safe and wise, all of these things and more, are exhausting. Thankfully, as we navigate each day as it arrives, we have a Savior who will renew our strength and resolve, and empower us to keep moving forward in faith. Our hope is not in any particular people, but rather it is in Christ alone. He is the One who leads us, loves us and shapes us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, for He is willing and able to renew our strength and grant us all that we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. 

Choose wait on the Lord, 

For He is our strength; 

Ever making new, 

His path we’re to take. 

God’s power and grace, 

Are granted to us; 

As we seek the face, 

of the Lord Jesus. 

So, spread wide our wings, 

And take to the air; 

His grace is enough, 

to love anywhere. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You renew and strengthen us for all that You are calling us into, so that we may keep moving forward. Thank You for Your love and grace that fill where we are lacking. Forgive us for not turning to You for strength in our weariness. Teach us to hope in You. Show us how to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You. Amen. 

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

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Evidence of Present Help

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV) 

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

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE) 

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my sweet puppy is sleeping soundly. All around me are reminders that God is present to help. It is amazing how well we can become aware of God and His help, if only we pause and take in the beauty that surrounds us. The very same God who created such vast artistry is willing and available to be our help and our hope. Today, may we look to the mountains, the ocean, or simply the sky overhead, and be reminded of the One who is our help as we seek Him. 

God’s given us eyes, 

So that we may see; 

All of creation, 

Hand-crafted beauty. 

It’s not just our eyes, 

But our hearts that know; 

All we experience, 

God’s love to behold. 

Each of our senses, 

Truly testify; 

Of all that is good, 

Proof that God’s nearby. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we look around and take in the beauty of all that Your hands have made, we cannot help but remember that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to blind us to Your nearness and willingness to help. Teach us to trust You more, as we learn to lean into You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your power and presence tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look up and out to see the evidence of Your hand. Amen. 

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

Look up to the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. – Job 35:5

The Father’s Shelter Brings Rest

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. – (Psalm 91:1, NIV) 

You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection. – (Psalm 91:1, ERV) 

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. – (Psalm 91:1, VOICE) 

God’s shelter is anywhere we choose to seek to intentionally be present with Him. He is in all who invite Him, and we become aware of His nearness as we press in. As we embrace and receive God’s mighty love, we are able to rest in the safety of His nearness. I think that this is why God gives us fathers, uncles, grandfathers, husbands and good men who step up to lead and love well. Good fathers make their families feel safe and protected, creating a sanctuary of safety when they are around. Though I know that there are those whose human fathers did not create such a sense of security, God is able to make up for wherever there is lack. God, in His great love, is able to provide protection and a space where we can rest. May we ever run to Him for refuge and rest in the shadow of His loving strength. 

God’s loving shelter, 

Our place to find rest; 

True sense of safety, 

As the Lord loves best. 

Held in His nearness, 

Hope found in His grace; 

Ultimate Father, 

Through His loving ways. 

All thanks be to God, 

Our refuge for rest; 

And for the fathers, 

Who pursue His best. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate father. Thank You that You are our safety and shelter, as You surround us with Your love. Thank You for the men who have Your heart to love and protect as You intended. Forgive us for not embracing Your safety and protection, for in You we are able to find rest. Help us to love those around us in ways that make Your safety and security known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your protection and peace that comes as we run to You for rest. Amen. 

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

But whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. – Proverbs 1:33