Make Me Strong

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I am so grateful for this. Today is the first high school gymnastics meet in which I will be coaching as the appointed interim head coach. It is both an honor and a blessing, but it is also an entirely new role, much different than fulfilling the role of head coach in middle school. This will be a long day, yet I know that God will be faithful to provide the strength that is needed to navigate this new. Additionally, His peace is already present, despite the nervousness in the unknown. More than anything, my heart is filled with gratitude for God’s nearness and faithfulness as He walks beside me and leads me in the new. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, for He is faithful to provide the peace and strength required to continue to move forward in the direction that we have been called.

O God, make me strong,

When I’m feeling weak;

Grant wisdom and peace,

As my heart does seek.

Whatever I do,

Each step that I take;

Please lead me in grace,

In You, make me brave.

Brave to step into,

All that I’ve been called;

Strength to lead like You,

May peace be installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and peace as we seek You in all things. Thank You for the blessings of new opportunities. Thank You that You provide places for us to grow in the things we enjoy. Forgive us for attempting to do things in our own strength, rather than turning to You to lead us as You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are our supply of strength and our place of peace. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that extend strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence that provides peace, and the strength You supply to sustain us. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

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

Respond and Be Transformed

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV) 

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV) 

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT) 

We are called to listen and act upon the Word of God. He gives us instructions as to how to live our lives according to His will. What good does it do if we hear the words, yet choose to do nothing about it? The only way that we can truly become who we were created to be, is if we listen, learn, and act upon all that God is calling us to become. Our transformation is an ongoing process that comes through reading, hearing, and obeying that which is asked of us to love God and love people well. The more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to move forward in the goodness and grace that God has granted, so that we may live out our days as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, listening and acting upon what He calls us to do. Our salvation is not earned, but our transformation takes work and a heart willing to obey His word. 

Don’t merely listen, 

To God’s holy word; 

But choose to respond, 

To all that is heard. 

Through love and His grace, 

He opens our eyes; 

To the way to live, 

True love realized. 

For as we allow, 

All that the Lord says; 

To transform our hearts, 

The more we show His. 

Lord, help us listen, 

And respond in love; 

To all You’re asking, 

So we may become. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only listen to You and Your Word, but You ask us to respond and allow Your words to transform our hearts, minds and actions. Thank You that as we seek and respond to You, You change our hearts to reflect Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have listened and heard Your heart, but chose not to respond and act upon all that You were asking. Teach us to trust You more, so that all that we do and say may shine Your light of love each day. Show us how to best love those around us in the ways You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen and act upon all You are asking, so that we do not deceive ourselves, but live in truth and light and love. Amen. 

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

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34 

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

Do Good and Seek Peace

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, NIV) 

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV) 

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away. – (Psalm 34:14, MSG) 

If ever there was a time to do good and seek peace, the time is now. My heart breaks more every passing day, as the cities of our nation are being set on fire, and people can find no peace. How do we collectively turn from evil and do good?  

I am seeing examples of communities coming together in the aftermath of the destruction caused the night prior, and working together to clean up and restore the areas heavily damaged. There is good being done. It is a start, but not at all where it should end. Relationships are fragile, and choosing to look for ways to do good is one thing that we all can do. 

In this space, where peace is seemingly impossible, we must seek the Prince of Peace. We need wisdom and grace, mercy and understanding, to move forward to bring forth peace. May we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on He, who is our peace, and choose to do good so that peace may be found and embraced. 

Choose turn from evil, 

And seek to do good; 

It is how to love, 

Makes grace understood. 

In space of unrest, 

With Christ, pursue peace; 

Move forward in grace, 

Goodness be released. 

In all things, choose love, 

For it is the place; 

Where peace may be found, 

Purposeful embrace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Prince of Peace. Thank You that in times of turmoil, we can turn to You and find peace and choose to do good. Forgive us, individually, and collectively, as we need Your healing to come into our hearts, homes, cities and our nation. Show us how to do good, and bring Your peace in places where peace is lacking. Teach us to love practically and tangibly, so that healing may happen and peace may be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prayerfully pursue You, and listen to Your leading to love well and do the good that must be done. Amen. 

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Forgive in Love and Let Go

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – (Proverbs 17:9, NLT)

Forgive someone, and you will strengthen your friendship. Keep reminding them, and you will destroy it. – (Proverbs 17:9, ERV)

Love overlooks the mistakes of others, but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships. – (Proverbs 17:9, TPT)

 

Love and friendship thrive when we walk in forgiveness, but fail when we hold grudges and choose not to move on. Not one of us are perfect, and we all are in need of grace. God, in His goodness and perfect love, grants us grace and forgiveness as we ask, and remembers our sins no more. He does not remind us of our failures or past mistakes, but rather extends encouragement and builds us up. We too, are called to do the same. Faults and mistakes are not the same as intentional harm. Though we are always called to forgive, we must be wise as we move forward in love. Sometimes love has to part ways and take a different path to stay safe; body, heart, mind and soul. Most often, our relationships prosper as we forgive faults and failures, moving forward in love as we are called to do. We all fall short and desperately need grace. What a treasure when we have love and friendship that forgive faults and love us where we are, as we are. May we choose to forgive in love, letting go of the past and moving forward, allowing each new day to be a fresh start.

 

To love is a choice, Confidence in Christ

It chooses forgive;

Looks past others faults,

Loves well and lets live.

Love does not hold on,

To mistakes gone by;

Instead looks forward,

Brings grace into life.

The strongest of bonds,

Are formed by His grace;

Forgiving in love,

Completely embraced.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive our faults and failures and do not remind us of them over and over again. Thank You that when You forgive, it is finished. Thank You that You show us what it means to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked forgiveness, or have brought things back up that needed to be left in the past. Teach us how to forgive and move forward, releasing what was into Your hands. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, come to know and understand Your forgiveness and grace in a tangible way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to forgive in love and let go. Amen.

 

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

 

It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – 1 Corinthians 13:5

 

The Power of Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, TPT)

 

Love is a powerful force, created by God, to bring people together. Not only are we commanded to love, but His word unpacks for us, how to love like Him. To say that love is patient, means that love needs to contain the capacity for endurance. It is not to have an on/off switch based on circumstance, but rather love endures through all things, at all times. Love is kind, is an expectation that love will choose to be considerate, helpful, gentle and from a tendency toward tenderness. A love that does not envy, is one that rejoices in the successes and blessings of others, rather than wishing they were their own. True love does not need to place their own accomplishments on parade, nor promote self, for their heart, their love and their kindness speak for their character. This one is one that I witness far too often in middle school, and it is one of my greatest frustrations, as love does not dishonor, belittle nor disrespect others. To be easily angered is to have a short fuse, and God, in His grace, will replace the short wick with a long one, if we depend on Him. Lastly, love not keeping record of wrongs, is a curious call. Of course, we are not to hold grudges, and we must forgive, for unforgiveness is toxic to the holder, not the offender. However, it is impossible in our own strength to not be at least a bit influenced by the treatment we have received in the past from others. To love the way in which God calls us to love, we need Him, every moment of every day. We are broken and flawed; He is holy and perfect and pure. If we rely on Him, we can learn to love as we are meant to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart for others, so that we love as He first loved us.

 

Lord, help us to love, Diligent for All of Our Days

Be patient and kind;

Never to envy,

Keep others in mind.

Lead us to honor,

Each other in love;

Respect and forgive,

Love as You first loved.

Help us to let go,

Of wrongs of the past;

Forgive, move forward,

With Your love that lasts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and instruct us to love. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love the way that we are called to love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love, as our words, thoughts or actions countered the very things You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we walk in love according to Your instructions. Show us how to love patiently and with kindness, and keep envy, pride and anger far from us. Help us to meet those around us with the love that is needed most, even when their words or actions make us want to run the other direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love the way that You are calling us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Forgive One Another

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. – (Matthew 6:14-15, ERV)

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. – (Matthew 6:14-15, MSG)

 

As an educator, a willingness to forgive is a necessity for longevity in this field. Kids, particularly in middle school, are attempting to figure out who they are and what their place is in the world. Part of the process often includes foolishness that creates a disruption or distraction in the classroom. By the end of the day, I often shake my head and take a deep breath, grateful that every day provides the opportunity for a new start. I have to intentionally choose to let go of my frustrations and irritations, and reset to begin anew for each new class, every day. No, it does not always come easy, and often I have to forgive more than once for the same offense in my own heart, but as I do, it makes room for improvement in areas of struggle. Just as kids mess up and disrupt, I too, fall short. In the same way that grace and forgiveness are extended to them, I am grateful to be given likewise by God. May we ever choose to receive and extend forgiveness and grace freely; for God so loved that He gave, so that we would know and understand forgiveness for all.

 

Forgiveness is free, Forgive One Another

Yet comes at a cost;

Rights to bitterness,

With grace, are all lost.

For as we forgive,

The same’s done for us;

God’s grace upon grace,

He answers requests.

So, let us go forth,

And love as we’re loved;

Promote perfect peace,

Like God up above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us so that we might forgive one another. Thank You that You give us strength and grace to forgive others when our hearts want to hold onto offenses. Forgive us for the times that we have circled back around to an offense that has already been forgiven. Teach us to trust You more, so that we can forgive and move forward with wisdom and grace. Show us how to love as You do, extending forgiveness and grace in spaces where it is the most difficult to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the greatness of Your goodness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we forgive others in the same way that we have been forgiven by You. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. – Romans 4:7

Be Willing

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. – (Matthew 3:15, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do whatever God says is right.” Then John agreed. – (Matthew 3:15, ERV)

But Jesus said, “Please do it, for I must do all that is right.” So then John baptized Him. – (Matthew 3:15, TLB)

 

This verse is part of the story of when Jesus went to the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was baptizing people, in order to be baptized. At first, John tried to dissuade Him, for he felt the roles should be reversed. John understood who Jesus was, and did not feel worthy to fulfill such a significant role in the life of the Savior. However, Jesus let John know that it was an act of obedience to God. With that in mind, John’s mind quickly changed and he somberly moved forward in fulfilling that which was being asked of him. Because John was willing, he also was witness to heaven opening and the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, with a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” One act of willing obedience, despite it not making sense, led to a tremendous blessing that few were privileged to see. God still works the same way with us. Often, He calls us to things that seem strange or beyond our capacity, yet when we rise up and move forward in faith, we discover more of who He is and how much He loves. May we ever choose to do all that is right, according to what God asks of us; even when it does not make sense or is far beyond our capacity to complete on our own. God is faithful, and He does not lead us anywhere that He will not also meet us and see us through.

 

Be willing to walk,

DSC04506

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Into the brand new;

Despite how it seems,

God will see us through.

For He will not call,

Us where He won’t lead;

He supplies us strength,

And grace to succeed.

For in Christ there’s more,

Than our hearts can dream;

We have to choose trust,

In Him we’re redeemed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us into new things that are beyond what we think we can do. Thank You that in You, we are granted the strength, wisdom, grace and help we need to keep moving forward in all that is asked of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we look at what we can see, rather than who You are. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how love, encourage and support those around us in the same way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and move forward into the new that You call us to. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – Psalm 106:3

Statements of Praise

 

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – (Psalm 107:8, NIV)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Any time that there is repetition in scripture, I recognize the need to take notice. In this particular Psalm, the same sentence is repeated four times by David, as he tells of a long list of God’s faithfulness to those who belonged to Him. I imagine many of us, particularly in this season, could create our own list of ways that God has shown His unfailing love and mercy, and follow each remembrance with a statement of praise. For me, in spite of much heaviness that has found our household this year, there has been in equal measure, God’s faithful provision, joy, peace, comfort, and abundant blessing. Perhaps it is why I so often find myself settling in the Psalms, as David understood the highest heights and the deepest depths, yet sought the Lord and praised Him through it all. He was human and fell short, yet searched for God, and was receptive to the Lord’s correcting and redirecting as he continued to move forward and give thanks. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His miracles of mercy that He pours out upon those whom He calls His own.

 

When life knocks us down,Statements of Praise

Takes wind from our sails;

The Lord’s love and grace,

Comes near, never fails.

In seasons of loss,

Struggle and heartache;

The Lord’s love remains,

And miracles take.

Where blessings abound,

And grace is made known;

Again, it’s God’s love,

And His power shown.

Rise up and give thanks,

For love that won’t end;

For wonderful deeds,

That move God’s love in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and for the wonderful things that You do for those who follow You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and move mightily on our behalf. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Forgive us for allowing discouragement or sorrow to cause us to question Your love or care for us. Teach us to trust You through every high and low, as You remain present through all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may make Your unfailing love and marvelous kindness tangible in spaces where it is difficult to access. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and Your miraculous deeds, done on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13