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

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:29, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 118:29, ERV)

You’re my God, and I thank You. O my God, I lift high Your praise. Thank God – He’s so good. His love never quits! – (Psalm 118:29, MSG)

After more than ten hours of travel to safely arrive at our destination, we were exhausted and a bit punchy. I cannot help but give thanks to God for His goodness and protection as we traveled, and for His provision as we arrived. An added bonus is that we were upgraded to a convertible for our rental car, hence the Viking’s huge smile. Every time I see the beauty God has made, I am blessed by His protection and provision, I have to give Him thanks. May we all recognize the goodness and love of the Lord and give Him thanks each new day.

All thanks to the Lord,

For love that is true;

Goodness and kindness,

Each day that is new.

His love never quits,

So nor should our praise;

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For each brand new day.

Your blessings poured out,

Your goodness shown true;

Help my heart to hold,

Thanks for all You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love, goodness, kindness and provision are eternal. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and bless us, Your children, with a perfect Father’s love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give You praise for how You love us so well. Teach us to recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Show us how to love everyone we encounter so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and how You love us forever. Amen.

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

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

Fish Findings

This morning our day began much differently than usual. The 4:15am wakeup is normal for us, yet the why was something quite new. We parked in lot one, walked down to float eight, and boarded our fishing boat, The Blue Eyes. Full of anticipation and excitement for the adventure ahead, my Viking and I boarded and got to know the layout of the boat. Both captain and deckhand were friendly, knowledgeable, and clearly well-seasoned at all this.

5:30 am as our journey began…

Our eight-hour tour started with a 90 minute ride out to our first fishing spot. By fishing spot, I mean where the boat drifted as it was tossed to and fro by the relentless waves. We had success at the very first spot, as Viking hooked two fish with one drop of the line. (double hooks, single bait) From there, we rode over some serious rollers, and stopped at another spot. This time, we each caught multiple fish, but at some point in the process, my stomach decided it had had enough of the swirling seas. From that point on, I lost count of how many times I had to lean over the rail and “feed” the fish. Thankfully, despite my own struggle with seasickness, we were each able to successfully catch our quota and safely return to shore.

After pondering the experience, I have a sort of top five things I learned from the day:

  1. Jesus and His disciples were some seriously skilled strong men, as I cannot begin to fathom the sort of boat they used way out in the Sea of Galilee to do what we did today. 
  2. The sea is an incredible reminder of both God’s power and the beauty of His creation. (Also, I think I prefer admiring both from either the shore or in a sheltered bay)
  3. Fishermen have iron guts. No joke. 
  4. Though I am able to do many things, I cannot control whether or not I get seasick. (Even Dramamine did not do anything after my stomach decided to rebel)
  5. My husband LOVES to fish and he is a natural.
The bottom left image sums up our day – Viking was overjoyed, I was trying to grin and suck it up.

For now, I will continue to thank God for bringing us safely back to the dock, providing an abundant catch for both of us, and for settling my stomach once we were back on land. Additionally, I will be pursuing insight as to how to best prevent a repeat of seasickness the next time I venture out with my Love to fish.

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

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Direction and Refreshment

Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. – (Isaiah 43:19, HCSB)

I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:19, ERV)

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

After nearly two years of lockdown because of Covid, it does feel like God is doing something new as mandates are lifted and people are beginning to venture out. At school, it feels as if kids are caught between what they have known for the last two years, and that which they have been hoping for throughout the duration. It is a process to regain some sort of normality, yet the glimpses already are so very good. The way through the desert is the ability to get out and go, without restrictions, and for me, the rivers to dry land is seeing smiles and expression where there was only a mask for so many months. There is a sort of return to humanity, where I think it was too often forgotten, when the weight of words and actions were not fully witnessed. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us out of the wilderness and teach us to drink from the flowing waters of His goodness and grace.

Closely, help us watch,

As You make things new;

Your goodness poured out,

And mercies made new.

Lead us in Your love,

With kindness and grace;

Teach us to trust You,

Throughout all our days.

The way through deserts,

Water in dry land;

Goodness tangible,

Help hearts understand.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

As You make things new;

Help us see blessings,

Embraced in the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make ways in the wilderness and bring water to dry land. Thank You that You grant us direction and refreshment. Forgive us for our weariness when the wilderness seems unending. Teach us to depend on and hope in You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your loving ways that lead and provide for us 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

Provision

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

(We pray) that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

This morning, as I was reading my devotions, my phone began buzzing beside me. When I realized what was happening, I quickly slid the bar to access the video chat that was coming in. My dear friend was calling from Burundi. She knows that I am an early riser, so I will happily chat in the wee hours of the morning when it is well into the afternoon there. Anyway, seeing the joy on her and her husband’s faces after more than fourteen months apart, waiting, showed me a tangible example of just how prayers such as Colossians 1:11 apply. The two of them have been surrounded and covered in prayer, and have been patiently enduring the wait, and continuing to communicate, trust and wait with joy. Because of Covid, the spousal visa that should have taken a week or two, has taken well over a year. They have reached the home stretch of the wait, but have to continue to endure until the interview appointment is scheduled and done. Thankfully, the visa has been approved, and it is just one more step before they are at long last together for good. May we ever lift each other up in prayer, for strength, endurance, patience and joy. God is good, and His love endures through all things.

Patient endurance,

A gift from the Lord;

Joy in the waiting,

All grace God affords.

When we turn to Him,

His love leads us through;

Strength to press forward,

Into what is new.

All thanks be to God,

For goodness and joy;

May we turn to Him,

As love He employs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and keep us in Your loving care as we face challenges and endure hardships that require seasons of waiting. Thank You that You provide joy, despite our circumstances. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith when seasons seem far longer than anticipated. Teach us to trust and give thanks to You, for even in our challenges, You are near to love, strengthen and equip us with all that we need. Show us how to love those around us with joy and grace, so that Your goodness may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your provision in all situations and circumstances. Amen.

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

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Matthew 6:33

What Love is Meant to Be

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, HCSB)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

When we love those around us, we are walking in obedience to all that God commands. It is love that leads us along the path that the Lord has placed before us and shows us the way to navigate well. The more that we seek the Lord and receive all that He has to offer, the better equipped we are to love each person we meet. Choosing to extend kindness, is love. Believing the best in others is love. Forgiving and not holding a grudge, is love. Caring well for those around us is love. There are countless ways that we can extend love to those around us, and make God’s love tangible in places that it has been hidden. May we ever depend on the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may walk in obedience to the greatest command and show those around us what love is all about.

Love is meant to be,

Evidence of God;

Not jaded, hurtful,

Some Hallmark facade.

True love is goodness,

Kind and faithful too;

Always forgiving,

Each day it’s made new.

Patient, generous,

Full of hope each day;

In Christ, there’s enough,

To love the Lord’s way.

For as we choose love,

We do as we should;

We love others well,

And show God is good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we love You and love those around us well, we are walking in obedience to all that You command. Forgive us for each time that we have fallen short and not loved as You call us to do. Teach us how to lead with love in all that we say and do. Show us how to express Your love best to those around us, so that they might recognize Your heart in our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love our neighbors as You intended. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

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

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

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

All Made Possible

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

No matter how difficult things may appear in the natural, there is no obstacle too great or any situation that is impossible for God. The very same God who created all that is seen, (and unseen) is capable of helping us in and through all things. There are days when a task before me seems impossible, yet in His strength, things beyond me are completed. He gives strength when we are weary, hope in the midst of despair, joy when laughter feels far from us, and peace that surpasses all understanding. Additionally, He cares about the little things too. I am ever in awe of the strength I find to push up another hill, step into more new, and rest in His presence in spaces of uncertainty. May we ever remember the power found in the Lord, and call on Him to be our help, hope and strength in all things.

The Almighty God,

Photo by kinkate on Pexels.com

Creator of all;

Can do anything,

As to Him we call.

The impossible,

Is not so for Him;

Whatever He says,

Will be ushered in.

The God that we serve,

Is always enough;

He loves us through all,

And makes smooth the rough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You meet us where we are and strengthen us to press forward to all that is yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem impossible through our own eyes. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are ever-present to be our help, strength and hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, in the same way that You strengthen and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for all that You make possible in You. Amen. 

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

For no word from God will ever fail. – Luke 1:37

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