To Be Community

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! – (Psalm 133:1, VOICE)

There are few things as wonderful as being in a community that works together and maintains peace among themselves. As an educator, I am in a unique situation, as many of my colleagues and I have worked together at our school for many years. Though different personalities and passions outside of school, we are united in purpose. Even when our circumstances have been less than ideal (think entire Covid lockdown and then navigating return) we have supported and encouraged each other. Because I have been the utility teacher that has been shuffled from subject to subject and grade to grade, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many of my colleagues over the years. It has been a blessing to get to know and work closely with each. It really does feel familial and is the reason I have spent my entire career at one school. My hope and prayer is that the students too, will feel the sense of family and learn to function together in peace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to live together in peace with those whom He has placed in our lives.

United purpose,

Helps us each to see;

To work together,

In sweet harmony.

For peace shall be found,

As we look to see;

The needs of others,

Intentionally.

Oh it is so good,

And pleasant to be;

In supportive space,

True community.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that it is good and pleasing to You when we work together for the common good and allow Your peace to reign. Thank You that as we live and work together, it feels familial. Forgive us for the times that we have done anything to upset the peace that You intended to be present. Teach us to seek You to lead us in Your love so that we may live as brothers and sisters that pursue the good You have set before us. Show us how to love as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to live as brothers and sisters to extend Your goodness and peace to all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

Promoting Peace and Building Each Other Up

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19. NIV)

This is important in every aspect of our lives, and we all are an ongoing work in progress. It requires an intentional decision to seek and depend on God to lead us to do and say things that promote peace and build others up. As we do, there is opportunity for faith to be fortified. To do this requires a never-ending cycle of seeking God, listening to Him, and a willingness to be corrected and redirected. Right now, my husband and I are on vacation. We are two very different types of people; though this is good, as it creates balance for both of us, it is an ongoing work to recognize one another’s needs and desires. For me, when I go somewhere new, I want to see and experience everything humanly possible in the short time we are provided. My husband, bless his heart, wants to slow down and simply relax. He is a champion at being willing to go out and explore, and I am learning to slow down and accept the need to rest. It is an ongoing battle, as I don’t want to miss out, yet know that if I just remain present in the moment, there will be peace and both of us will be built up. God is good, and He shows us what we ought to do to promote peace and build one another up. It is our task to listen and follow His lead. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best promote peace and build up those around us.

We’re called to pursue,

That which promotes peace;

Willing compromise,

As grace does increase.

Each time that we choose,

To bless each other;

Both are encouraged,

Sisters and brothers.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love, promote peace;

Build each other up,

As Your love’s increased.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You call us and show us how to promote peace and build each other up in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have either not listened to You or have only sought after our own selfish ambitions. Teach us to be a blessing as we make decisions that promote peace and encourage those around us. Show us how to love and make choices as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in promoting peace and building those around us up in the goodness of Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Trust in the Wait

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

There is a delicate balance in this, for to wait for the Lord AND be strong and courageous, means that we need to trust the Lord and His leading and keep moving forward without running ahead of where we are meant to be. It takes courage to keep pressing on, especially when you want to quit or walk away. What God calls us to do, He will see us through, even when we are uncertain of how it can be done. God is worth waiting for. His plans are always greater than ours, and His ways lead to so much more than we could hope or imagine. It is the wait in between that requires us to be strong and brave. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage, and the One to direct our every path. 

Choose wait on the Lord,

Take courage, be strong;

Not in your own strength,

But in God, press on.

The Lord is faithful,

To supply our needs;

He leads and guides us,

Our hopes He exceeds.

So, seek Him with hope,

Trust in His great care;

He provides for us,

So we too can share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to trust in You in strength and courage, for You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our frustration with Your timing, as it rarely is the same as our own. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, and You see beyond what we can see. Teach us to trust in You and to stay the course until You direct us to turn, detour, or abandon the route. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness, hope and love, and grant courage to press on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with strength and courage, knowing that You are faithful always. Amen.

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

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. – Psalm 37:5

All Through Him

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, HCSB)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him; everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. – (Romans 11:36, MSG)

As we draw ever closer to the close of what has been the most challenging school year yet, I cannot help but give God praise for all He has done throughout every day. He has provided strength in our weariness, and hope in spaces of despair. Today, we begin the twenty-day countdown. Twenty more school-day wakeups and the year will be done. I don’t know about you, but when the days remaining are countable on our fingers and toes, it seems far more manageable. This morning, as I prepare for my day, not only do I present my requests for strength and peace and patience and love, but also, I give God praise for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. May we rise with purpose and make the most of each day that we draw breath.

Twenty days remain,

Home stretch…

Until we are through;

Year never-ending,

Almost done, it’s true.

God has been faithful,

To provide our needs;

His grace, sufficient,

And His love exceeds.

On the darkest days, 

In Him, was still light;

The song in our hearts,

Hope, love and delight.

Let us choose rise up,

With purpose, go forth;

Love one another,

And bask in God’s warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all things are in You, from You, with You and through You; for You lead, guide, sustain and strengthen us to do more than we ever hoped or imagined. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth of who You are and how You carry us when our strength is gone. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may know glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for who You are and how You lovingly lead us through all things. Amen.

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

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. – John 1:3

In All Things, Pray

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as it seems to be a season of tough news about people I love and care about. Yesterday afternoon, I found out that my nephew is in the hospital and dying of renal failure. I haven’t seen him in years, but when he was a little boy, he spent quite a bit of time with our family. Learning this heartbreaking news, I had to pause and pray; for I do not know what else to do. He is my boys’ cousin, their dad’s nephew, and their aunt’s first born. Sometimes, praying is really all we can do. Though I know not every need, I am able to pray for healing, health, hope and wholeness. I can pray for peace and strength and provision for the family. Prayer does not require eloquent words or religious utterances, it is simply talking to God with your heart, mind, and if it helps, your voice. He hears every word, thought and request. Incredibly, He provides what we need to get through each next moment, hour, day and beyond. His peace brings calm in the chaos and the ability to breathe when it feels as if we cannot. May we ever reach out to the Lord who hears our prayers, and seek Him for strength and peace in spaces where we have none.

O Lord, I draw near,

Seeking You for peace;

When I can’t fathom,

How You’ll bring release.

Somehow Your peace comes,

And fills up my heart;

Your love settles in,

Hope for a fresh start.

Be it a minute,

Or for a new day;

Your love and Your peace,

Always make a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than all of the trials and sorrows we face. Thank You that You flood us with Your love, surround us with Your care, and fill us with Your peace, even when peace does not make sense. Forgive us for worrying about having the words to pray, for You hear each cry of our heart as we reach out to You. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those whom You have placed in our lives, and to pray without ceasing for Your love to be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You as we call on Your Name and pray to You about all things, trusting that You hold us in the hollow of Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Made Right and Granted Peace

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, HCSB)

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, ERV)

Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 5:1, VOICE)

Our faith, our trust in God to be Lord of our lives, is the very thing that makes us right before Him. Because of Jesus, we can have peace with God, and are able to understand what His everlasting peace is all about as we experience it in the midst of chaos and of calm. He is good and faithful in all. May we ever seek the Lord and invest our lives in Him, for He is where true peace is found.

Because of Jesus,

We have been made right;

It’s not what we do,

But who’s our delight.

For it is by faith,

He calls us enough;

God’s own precious kids,

No matter how rough.

And more than just right,

He grants us His peace;

The kind that remains,

He meets all our needs.

No matter what comes,

His peace can be found;

As we trust in Him,

Promise proven sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, we are made right before You and granted Your everlasting, unshakeable peace. Thank You that Your peace is not circumstantial, but is present wherever You are welcomed in. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to be our peace in places of unrest. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we ever know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your perfect peace may be made known in the spaces it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and depend on You to be our perfect peace. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Strong Roots Sustain

The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends roots out toward a stream, it does not fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, HCSB)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They will know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They will have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts Me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG)

When we trust in God, He meets us where we are, and provides what we need, even when our circumstances feel impossible. His presence is like a stream in the desert, for He supplies hope and help and removes the worries we hold when we cannot see a solution to what is before us. God is good, and the blessings found in Him remind us that He is our Provider and Sustainer throughout all our days. May we ever seek the Lord in trust, knowing that He will supply all that we need, as He grows deep roots within us that nourish and water our soul, even when we are in a space of seeming drought. 

When weary and worn,

The Lord is so good;

He meets all our needs,

True hope understood.

Like water in droughts,

His love does provide;

All we are needing,

By grace, He supplies.

So trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’ll walk beside us,

The true Faithful One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that Your faithfulness remains in every season and circumstance. Thank You that You nourish our roots and help hope to spring forth, for You are our Source and Supply in all things. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when things seem hopeless or never ending. Thank You that You are greater than all that we face. Teach us to trust You more, for You are forever faithful. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that remove fear and flood with hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things, and witness the beautiful blessings that You supply to sustain and grow us strong in You. Amen.

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

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19

A Time for Everything

There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, HCSB)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ERV)

For everything that happens in life – there is a season, a right time for everything under heaven. – (Ecclesiastes 3:1, VOICE)

This is such a strange truth. It amazes me how there can be a loss and a gain, a death and new life, mourning and celebrating – all in the same season. Yesterday was the first time in twenty-five years that I was not present and coaching gymnastics for the first day of practice at my middle school. Meanwhile, I was happily coaching at the high school. An exchange had to be made in positions, as there is an overlap in seasons. Incredibly, our athletic director figured out a way for me to join my friends at the middle school once my high school season is over. God raised up the right person to take my place, and blessed me to still be a part of it. I know that it is good for me to embrace the new, and wonderful to have someone new spread their wings and soar. There is a strange sort of mourning and celebrating simultaneously. When there is a shift in what we know, we are meant to live in the moment and experience whatever the change may bring. In every season, God is good. He is faithful to walk beside us, and to lead us into the new. May we ever seek the Lord in every season, and praise Him for His faithfulness forever.

A time for all things,

Each season to grow;

Blessings and mourning,

God makes His grace known.

Ever He’s faithful,

In love, He will lead;

Supplying goodness,

Meeting all our needs.

Let’s keep hearts open,

In each time of new;

Welcome God in it,

Watch what He will do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful in every season we walk through. Thank You that You provide Your goodness, kindness and grace, even in seasons that we are not sure how to navigate. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for Your grace covers us and Your love provides. Teach us to trust all that You are doing in every new season, and to reflect back on all that You have faithfully done before. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in whatever season they are in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

You shower him with blessings that last forever; he finds joy in knowing Your presence and loving You. – Psalm 21:6

Do Not Worry

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” – (Matthew 6:25-26, HCSB)

“So I tell you, don’t worry about the things you need to live – what you will eat, drink or war. Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it. Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are?” – (Matthew 6:25-26, ERV)

“This is why I tell you to never be worried about your life, for all that you need will be provided, such as food, water, clothing – everything your body needs. Isn’t there more to your life than a meal? Isn’t your body more than clothing? Consider the birds – do you think they worry about their existence? They don’t plant or reap or store up food, yet your heavenly Father provides them each with food. Aren’t you much more valuable to your Father than they?” – (Matthew 6:25-26, TPT)

When we worry, we are doing one of two things: we are either depending on our own self-sufficiency, or we are doubting the power and love of God to help us. In Christ, we have all that we need to navigate each new day. He is our Provider, and will meet us where we are with what we need. His love is greater than anything and everything that might come against us, and He is willing and ready to show us the way. Our part is to trust Him and do what He asks of us. Just as He guides the birds to fly south during the winter months so that they may have all that they need to survive, He too, will direct our steps to do our part to walk into His provision. May we ever seek the Lord in our spaces of need or worry, for He is faithful and loving and will lead us in goodness and grace to a place of plenty for each new day. 

We need not worry,

In God there’s enough;

To meet all our needs,

And smooth what is rough.

The God of heaven,

Is He who supplies;

All that is needed,

Where hope’s realized.

No matter the ask,

The Lord always hears;

He’s ready to help,

And calm ev’ry fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that just as the birds need not worry about what they will eat or wear, we too need not worry about anything, for You hear our every prayer. Forgive us for doubting Your provision or for trying to do everything in our own strength. Teach us to turn to You in trust and ask You to lead us with all that we need. Show us how to love those around us tangibly, so that Your heart will be made plain to all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cast all our cares upon You and seek You to lead us and supply us with all that we need each day. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Love Answers With Action

Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. – (1 John 3:18, HCSB)

My children, our love should not be only word and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Beloved children, our love can’t be an abstract theory we only talk about, but a way of life demonstrated through our loving deeds. – (1 John 3:18, TPT)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

Love is a funny thing. We can say it all we want, but until we see and experience it for ourselves, it is merely a theory that holds little value. God designed us intentionally. Our hearts are created to give and receive love. People have varying ideas as to what love is, for in our broken human condition, the word often becomes skewed and hollow rather than something to embrace, give and receive. Most of us really begin to understand what real love is when it is shown through the actions of others who have no expectation of anything in return. Amazingly, the more we know and experience love, the more we are filled up and ready to love others in the same way. With God, we grow in our understanding of the magnitude of His love for us; a love that gave all so that we might have life in abundance. If we desire to truly love as Christ loves us, we must make love and grace a way of life. God spells out for us what love is and is not. 

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it is not boastful, it is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)

May we ever look to the Lord to lead us to love, not with mere words, but with our every decision, action, and lifestyle.

O Lord let our love,

Be far more than words;

May our actions speak,

Beyond what is heard.

Lead us and guide us,

To love as You do;

Let our very lives,

Give praise unto You.

As we choose love well,

With actions and deeds;

May Your love be clear,

The answer to needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that You not only call us to love, but You show us how and You equip us to do so. Forgive us for the times that our words have been hollow or our actions have not been a reflection of the love that You give to us. Teach us to love others as You first loved us. Show us how to live a life of love that makes Your love evident through our every action and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to lead us to love well with our lives. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31