Unfailing Love

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. – (Psalm 33:22, NIV)

Lord, we worship you, so show your great love for us. – (Psalm 33:22, ERV)

O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love, even now as we wait for You. – (Psalm 33:22, VOICE)

This weekend has been an opportunity to feel this well. My hope and my praise are in God, as He has blessed me with tangible evidence of His endless and unfailing love. Nearly fifty years of friendship and family, our sister retreat has been an incredible blessing of laughter and love. To know and be known is one of the ways that God gives us glimpses of Him through those around us. Connection in the comfort of a slowed pace with no agenda have provided a retreat and refreshment that each of us needed most. Sharing meals together with easy-flowing conversation, with comfort in silence and in chatter, my heart is full as we prepare to part ways a little later this morning. God’s goodness and love have been tangibly evident, from the sweet little space that we have stayed in, nestled neatly in the woods with the sounds of a creek flowing nearby, the rain rhythmically falling on the roof, and through the opportunity to gather and share life together with lifelong loved ones. May we ever worship the Lord, who is our hope, for all blessings flow from His heart of love.

O Lord, unto You,

May our praises flow;

As You are with us,

Wherever we go.

Your presence made known,

Through tangible love;

Each blessing poured out,

From You, up above.

Ever we thank You,

For love that You give;

Hope through each heartache,

Joy and strength we live.

For times to gather,

And truly feel known;

The blessings outpoured,

As Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that as we hope in You, You show us Your overwhelming and unending love. Thank You for the blessing of loved ones near and far, as You place people in our lives with purpose. Thank You for the gift of family and lifelong friendships, for each are evidence of Your goodness and love. Forgive us for neglecting the relationships that You have established. Help us to prioritize time with You and time together. Show us how to love one another well, in the same way that You love us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your heart is made evident through goodness, hope and love. Amen.

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

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Joyful Wonder

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NIV)

People all around the world are amazed at the wonderful things you do. You make all the people east and west, sing with joy. – (Psalm 65:8, ERV)

Those who inhabit the boundaries of the earth are awed by Your signs, strong and subtle hints of Your indelible presence. Even the dawn and dusk respond to You with joy. – (Psalm 65:8, VOICE)

Last evening, we arrived in a wooded wonderland. As my sisters and I unloaded our belongings and groceries into our tiny home for the weekend, I was in awe of both our accommodations and surroundings. Between the sound of the rain on the roof and the creek outside, the soothing sounds of creation comforted as we all spent the evening catching up and sharing life. Evening faded and we were all lulled to sleep by the surrounding sounds. This morning, I slept in (for me) and woke feeling fully rested and ready to embrace the gift of more time that we each have been provided. We are each in awe of the wonder of the world that surrounds us, and joyfully grateful for the gift of time we have been granted together. May we ever take in the beauty around us and sing praise with joy for the blessings He provides.

The world around us,

Is beauty and grace;

Abundant blessings,

Are the good Lord’s ways.

Gifts of His goodness,

Wherever we go;

People and places,

How His love is shown.

With joy, may we sing,

All thanks and give praise;

For all the wonders,

O Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the overwhelming blessings that You provide us through all that Your hands have made. Thank You for the gift of time with loved ones and the beauty of creation that surrounds us. Forgive us for the times that we do not pause and appreciate the goodness and glory of all that You have made. Teach us to slow down and sit in awe at the wonder of Your works. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to joyfully give You thanks and praise for the beauty that surrounds us through all that Your hands have made. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Thankful For The Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Gratitude ought to be our mode of operation throughout each new day. A thankful heart is not dependent on merely that which we are walking into, but rather gratitude can look back and see the incredible ways that God has moved on our behalf, and look ahead to the faithfulness of God and the hope that is yet to come through eternity spent in His presence. Even in the here and now of difficulty, there are always things to be thankful for. For me, that includes the people whom God has placed around me, and those He has blessed me with as family. To worship God in a way that will please Him is all about the state of our heart. When our heart is full of awe and reverence for who God is and how He loves, our every act of worship is a reflection of such, and is pleasing to Him who we worship. May we ever let our hearts overflow with gratitude for He who deserves all of our worship forever. 

All thanks be to God,

Who sits on the throne;

Our help and our hope,

Through Whom love is shown.

He’s faithful always,

No matter what comes;

So let us give thanks,

For all He has done.

Even through heartache,

And difficulty;

His presence is clear,

Magnificently.

God’s presence gives hope,

Strength, life and His love;

Our anchor secure,

We are His beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are receiving Your kingdom both now and forevermore. Thank You that this means that we have help and hope in You, no matter what lies ahead. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that block our view of who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope and demonstrate gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1

Dependent for Peace

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, HCSB)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

Early mornings are my favorite time of the day. The world is still sleeping and the house is silent. My mind and heart have intentional time to focus on He who is our peace, and I am typically flanked by two sweet sleeping puppies. In the same way that they trust me to provide for them and keep them safe, we too need to trust in God. It is in the space of trusting Him that we understand His peace, regardless of what goes on around us. By starting each day in the silent stillness with God, my heart is filled and equipped to navigate the day. May we ever keep our minds dependent on God, for it is in trusting and depending on Him that we know His perfect peace.

There is perfect peace,

That we all may know;

It’s found in Jesus,

Where His love is shown.

As we choose seek Him,

Surely we shall find;

His loving kindness,

That gives peace of mind.

So, choose to trust Him,

He’s faithful and true;

His grace abundant,

As He leads us through.

Throughout each new day,

He will remain near;

And give us His peace,

And make our paths clear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are where we find peace as we trust and depend on You. Thank You for quiet spaces to seek You. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, as peace is disrupted when we depend on anything other than You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we can share Your goodness, grace and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to be our perfect peace. Amen.

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

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Forgive and Love

All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, HCSB)

Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, ERV)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, MSG)

Being kind and compassionate takes practice and dependence on God. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are doing or what we need to accomplish or where we need to go, that we forget that everyone around us is doing the same, and we know not what is going on in their world. From the slow or distracted driver in front of us, to the person who has parked their cart in the center of the aisle, we are called to be kind and gentle. I have been both the giver and the recipient of both types of responses – frustration and anger, and those of gentleness and kindness. The difference a kind, gentle or loving response makes, especially on difficult days, compels me to seek God to help me do likewise. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities to practice. I have not “arrived”, but I continue to seek God for strength and compassion so that I might respond as Jesus responds to us. May we ever seek the Lord and His love for one another so that all anger and frustration are kept in check, and His love leads us in all that we say and do.

Let go of anger,

All malice and rage;

Instead, choose kindness,

Lovingly engage.

As Christ has loved us,

We need love others;

Extend care and grace,

To sisters, brothers.

Each has a story,

That we do not know;

Our kindness offered,

Is how love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to release anger and ugliness and equip us to give love, kindness and gentleness as You do for us. Forgive us for our anger, frustration and impatience that comes when we focus on ourselves. Teach us to be otherly with all those around us. Give us compassion and love to extend to all. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to be the people that You have called and created us to be. Amen.

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

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:13

Perfect Love

“If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, TPT)

“Even you who are bad know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to the people who ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, ERV)

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! – (Luke 11:13, VOICE)

This is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, despite our flaws, failures and shortcomings. Whether a parent to children or fur babies, we all know how to give good gifts to those in our care, despite being broken and sinful. How much more does God, who is perfect in all His ways, know how to give us all that He has to offer when we seek Him? The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us. If God is for us, who can be against us? God’s Spirit within us will lead us, guide us, protect us and help us as we earnestly seek Him. May we always remember the depth and power of our Heavenly Father’s love, so that we may ever seek Him.

Despite all our flaws,

The Lord’s ever near;

Ready to help us,

Making His way clear.

Just as a parent,

Knows how to love well;

Our perfect Father,

Will in us, come dwell.

It is in nearness,

That we’re led and known;

Grace overflowing,

As His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the ultimate gift as we ask. Thank You that Your presence is the greatest provider ever known. Thank You that by Your Spirit, You lead us, guide us, bless and protect us, as we place our heart in Your hands. Forgive us for forgetting how exceedingly powerful Your love is, and lead us to love likewise. Show us how to give good gifts to all, so that each who crosses our path may witness glimpses of You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with Your Spirit, so that Your path will be made clear in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Prepare, Guide and Direct

Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, NIV) 

Guide me, as You promised. Don’t let evil rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, ERV) 

Prepare before me a path filled with Your promises, and don’t allow even one sin to have dominion over me. – (Psalm 119:133, TPT) 

Prepare, direct and guide are all necessary components to walk in God’s will and live according to His word. The thing that prevents us from fully walking in His way and following His path, is sin. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment or movement, and do not look to the Lord for His leading, sin can creep in and find a foothold in our heart. Our culture, today, makes this blaringly evident. Rather than having civilized discussions when differing or opposing opinions present themselves, many are choosing to engage in arguing, name-calling, or worse, rather than listening in love. Sin creeps in when we allow our thoughts to determine what is best, instead of seeking the Lord and asking Him. Angry arguing and belittling commentary are not ways to share the love that the Lord intended us to give. The ugliness is not what He is asking. Absolutely we are to speak up when wrongs are being done, but it ought to be about the sin and what God actually wants, not the person who is walking the wrong way. “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Kind, civilized, and loving words and modeling go much farther to show the way, than demeaning and destructive verbiage. Our intentions matter not if our words and deeds are tainted by sin. May we ever seek the Lord to prepare us, guide us and direct our steps, so that no sin finds a foothold in our hearts. 

O Lord, prepare me, 

Please show me Your heart; 

Cleanse me and lead me, 

And Your grace impart.  

Direct ev’ry step, 

Keep sin far away; 

So Your love is shown, 

And I love Your way. 

Guide me on Your path, 

Make each next step clear; 

Let each word and deed, 

Show love perseveres. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word prepares, guides and directs us so that sin may not find a foothold in our hearts. Forgive us for the times that we allow our own will to overrule Yours, and end up thinking, speaking or doing things contrary to Your ways. Teach us to seek and follow You, allowing You room to transform our hearts and make us acutely aware of what is Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to direct our every step and keep us free from being trapped into the ugliness of sin. Amen. 

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

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4