Opportunities for Good

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, NIV)

When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, ERV)

So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family. – (Galatians 6:10, VOICE)

It always amazes me that when we take the opportunity to do good, we end up feeling blessed. Every time I choose to help, extend kindness, walk beside – whatever the good God is showing me to do – I discover my heart is filled and I feel blessed in the process. I imagine that this is why God calls us to be in community. We are provided opportunities to both give and receive His goodness through those whom He has purposefully placed in our lives. May we ever use every opportunity provided to do the good that God intended, for He is faithful to bless and encourage us all as we do.

The Lord is faithful,

To give us the chance;

To do the good things,

Just as the Lord’s asked.

The good that we do,

Becomes a blessing;

To us and to them,

His love expressing.

So, look for the good,

That we each can do;

Opportunities,

To see God’s love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You for providing opportunities for us to walk beside, help, and encourage those around us. Thank You that in the process, we end up blessed with Your goodness and faithfulness in ways we would never expect. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to do the good You were showing us to do. Teach us to trust You and Your leading, for You are faithful to show us each next step. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and faithfulness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take every opportunity to do the good that You show us to do. 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

Seek Now

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, HCSB)

So you should look for the Lord before it is too late. You should call to Him now, while He is near. – (Isaiah 55:6, ERV)

Seek God while He’s here to be found, pray to Him while He’s close at hand. – (Isaiah 55:6, MSG)

So turn your attention and seek the Eternal One while it is still possible; call on Him while He is nearby. – (Isaiah 55:6, VOICE)

The thing about this is that God is eternal and we are not. We all have an expiration date that we cannot predict. Our time to seek the Lord is now, and we can call on Him, for He is near. As we pray, we discover His nearness. This is not about being or doing enough, but rather taking the opportunity to get to know the Creator of all, personally. He knows us far better than we know ourselves and has a plan and a purpose for our lives. That being said, God is not pushy or demanding, and He did not create us to be robots. We were each individually designed with gifts and talents and a free will. It is up to us to seek Him to get to know Him. The more we know Him, the more we want to know Him. God’s grace, goodness, kindness and love go far beyond what we can comprehend. When our attention is directed to Him and our focus on being still before Him, we grow in our understanding and our heart grows in our own capacity to love as He loves us. May we ever turn our attention to God and seek Him, for He is faithful to meet us each time we do.

As we seek the Lord,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He’s near to be found;

Our time has limits,

Hope in Him is sound.

God is eternal,

On earth, we are not;

Our hope forever,

Granted as He’s sought.

So, turn to Jesus,

Lord God on His throne;

He’s waiting for us,

To make His heart known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and reveal more and more of Yourself to us. Thank You that we have access to You at all times and in all places. Forgive us for taking Your nearness for granted, or for assuming we will always have more time later to do what ought to be done now. Teach us to seek You with intention; to purposefully sit in Your presence and listen to Your leading. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your presence now, for we know not what tomorrow may hold. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

All Thanks and Praise

Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, NIV)

Sing praises over everything, any excuse for a song to God the Father in the name of our Master, Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:20, MSG)

And give thanks to God the Father every day through the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed for all He has done. – (Ephesians 5:20, VOICE)

Gratitude is what sets our hearts right. No matter what is going on in our lives, around us, or in the world, there are always reasons to give thanks to God. As I watch our puppies play in the living room as I write, I am thankful to God for our home and for the joy that these two pups bring to our family. It is easy to expand from there, as I am overwhelmed with gratitude for my family – both in our home and beyond. Additionally, I am grateful for the friends that surround us, and for the communities to which I belong. God is intentional in the people whom He places beside us and around us, as He knows what we each need and how to help us each navigate as He intended. May we ever be intentional to stop and give thanks to God for all that is good in our lives, for as we do, we recognize how good He is and how loved we truly are.

All thanks be to God,

For all that is good;

His loving kindness,

And grace understood.

Family and friends,

Each community;

In which we’ve been placed,

Opportunity.

A chance to be kind,

Encourage and love;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the countless ways that You love, encourage, support and provide for us each day we draw breath. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for neglecting to give Your praise for all that You provide. Teach us to recognize the overwhelming goodness and love that You have for us, and how You care for us individually. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. – 2 Corinthians 9:15

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

Take Time to Delight

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Even in difficulty, there is an opportunity to taste and see how good God really is. Yesterday, despite my gnarly case of seasickness throughout our day of fishing, the smile on my Viking’s face as he caught fish and lived in the moment, made it all worthwhile. It is far too easy to get caught up in the to do lists and what lies ahead, but when we slow down and simply revel in the right now that the Lord is providing, there is joy and goodness and grace. Additionally, the blessing of a bountiful catch by both of us will put fresh fish on the table throughout the coming months. Each time we prepare it, we will remember God’s goodness and provision. May we ever look to the Lord to truly see, for He shows us, again and again, how good He really is.

Take time to delight,

In all that is good;

For the Lord provides,

His love understood.

The goodness we taste,

The beauty we see;

By His loving hands,

For you and for me.

Each time we slow down,

And run to His good;

We find true blessings,

How God’s love withstood.

Even in trials,

He shows us beauty;

Goodness and His grace,

His love tangibly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can taste and see how good You truly are. Thank You that Your goodness and grace are not limited to good times, but rather You show us Your love in all things if only we look and listen. Thank You for the beauty that surrounds us, and for showing Your creativity as we witnessed whales and porpoises and a giant sunfish during our day at sea. Forgive us for the times that we fail to look to You when things get difficult. Teach us to always look to You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful to meet us when we call on You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. – Psalm 37:4

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Slow Down and Celebrate

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Despite the turmoil that seems to be constantly swirling in our nation, the goodness of God is still evident all around us. No matter what we see or hear going on around us, we can take refuge in the Lord, for His love remains the same forever. For me, as I pause and take inventory of God’s goodness, gratitude rises for the family and friends whom He surrounds me with, and for the grace and kindness He provides, no matter the circumstances that we walk through. He is near and always good, and we can depend on Him to be our space of safety and peace. May we take time to reflect and recognize God’s goodness all around us, and choose to trust and run to Him.

Look all around you,

image by Soda Head

Choose taste and you’ll see;

The goodness of God,

His love’s given free.

Our safe place to run,

His arms full of love;

Safety, provision,

All good from above.

So, trust in the Lord,

Give all thanks to Him;

Celebrate the good,

That He’s placed within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to slow down and celebrate Your goodness, as we gather and enjoy the communities in which we’ve been placed. Thank You that You provide Your love and faithfulness wherever we go. Forgive us for not noticing the blessings that You have placed all around us. Teach us to observe Your goodness and love all around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down to taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Hope Provides Peace and Joy

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, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

One of the best things about weddings and funerals is the opportunity to see and connect with those whom one has not seen in a long time. Yesterday, that held true for me as I attended a funeral. Though relatively brief interactions, I was blessed to see and greet a former teacher and colleague, a classmate and teammate, and a long-time friend with whom my path crosses regularly and randomly. There is something about being in the presence of those one has known that brings joy and peace. For those of us who hope in Christ, there is the comfort that we will see one another again; be it sooner, later, and ultimately into eternity. Goodbyes are merely “see you laters”. May God, the source of all hope, bless you with joy and peace as His love overflows in and through you.

The God of all hope,

Fills our hearts with peace;

For where there is hope,

Faith and love increase.

May we choose to trust,

And never let go;

God, our Provider,

From Whom all good flows.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our Source;

Peace, joy and comfort,

As we run our course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider of every good and perfect gift. Thank You that You grant us hope, fill us with Your peace, and provide us with joy and goodness that overflows to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for You are where hope and help come from. Show us how to love those around us in ways that pass on Your goodness and kindness and grow faith and hope in each heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with hope in You, and praise You for the peace and joy that follow. Amen.

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

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

Quick to Listen

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, and slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided if only we all followed these directions. When we are quick to listen, we hear the heart, hope and experience of the one before us, and it provides an opportunity to understand where another is coming from. Additionally, if we pause, listen and process before we respond, we are far more likely to speak out of love and not become frustrated or angry. Our charge is to be patient and not allow anger to fly out of control. God is faithful to provide the strength and self-control necessary to listen first and respond well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intently and be slow to speak, so that anger is kept in check and our words and deeds are led by His love.

Help us to listen,

So we truly hear;

The heart of others,

All those who are near.

Show us to slow down,

To be slow to speak;

So ev’ry response,

Is kind and in peace.

Lord, help our anger,

Be under control;

So love is what leads,

And grace is our goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen to us with love every time we speak. Thank You that You respond to us in love and do not easily anger. Forgive us for the times that we have not slowed down enough to truly hear those around us, or have listened only to respond, rather than to truly hear. Please check our hearts when anger rises so that we would slow down and place all in Your hands to lead us. Show us how to listen in love well so that those around us may see Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to listen well and do all things in love and with self-control. Amen.

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

I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. – Psalm 17:6

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9