A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

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 has been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

This feels like life right now. After nearly a year and a half of my children being home and isolated, each of the twins will begin a new job today. One will be working at Lowes, and the other at Kohls. The opportunity for each to get out in the community and begin working feels like new life is coming. Where there was isolation, there will now be interactions. Where there was little, there is now opportunity for more. There is something so good as we enter adulthood and begin to earn our own wages and can contribute to expenses. Though both kids have been wise with their money, they were relying on gifts they had been given for graduation, Christmas and birthdays to supply the things that they needed (and parents of course). Beginning today, they will be able to save for school and have spending money of their own. Even more importantly, they will be out in the community and engaging with people again. I know both are nervous, yet I am certain that they will each thrive in the new.

The Lord is faithful,

He brings us the new;

Forward momentum,

Shows us what to do.

New life and blessings,

When all has seemed dim;

He makes a new way,

When we let Him in.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His promises true;

Quenches the thirsty,

And safely leads through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide a way where there seemed to be no way, and You bring new life where all seemed lost. Thank You that our hope is secure in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your promises when tough seasons are long. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give light and life and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make all things new and to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17

Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. Amen.

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

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. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Help in the New

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

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. – (Philippians 4:6, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as I have been feeling a bit anxious about a new role that I will be filling. I am excited and overjoyed, yet nervous because I feel ill-equipped and want to do things well. God knows my heart, and I have been blessed with the opportunity. Even now, as I anticipate what is yet to come, I need to place it all before Him and trust, for He knows what I need before I do, and is faithful to meet me each time I seek Him. My part is to do all that I can to properly prepare, and to continue to seek the Lord as I trust in Him to lead and guide me well. He is faithful and I will trust in Him. May we ever present our requests before our Redeemer, for with Him, we need not worry nor be anxious, but rather give Him thanks for all that is yet to come.

Do not be anxious,

About anything;

Instead, go to God,

Give all to our King.

Every request,

He’s faithful to hear;

God leads and guides us,

Ever He is near.

So, give God the praise,

Thank Him for all things;

Opportunities,

He lovingly brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful to hear our every request. Thank You that You provide new opportunities for us to step out, learn and grow. Thank You that we need never walk alone, for You are faithful to be present and provide the help we need. Forgive us for the anxious ways in us, as anxiety comes when we think about navigating the new on our own. Teach us to seek You and to place all our concerns in Your hands. Lead us to move forward in faith. Show us how to strengthen, support and encourage those around us in ways that make Your overwhelming love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead and guide us in all that we do. Amen.

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

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

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. 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

Hope is Rising

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. – (Psalm 31:24, MSG)

Be strong, and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

As I was doing my lesson planning yesterday, I did more research on the work of Amanda Gorman, the poet laureate who spoke at the Inauguration. Both when she shared her poem then, and while I discovered a recent poem of hers, “The Miracle of Morning”, I was in awe of her ability to tackle current events and convey hope through poetry. My sixth graders have been studying the poem, “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, and the opportunity to spend some time studying the works of a modern-day poet seemed a perfect pairing. For me, as I listen to and read Miss Gorman’s words, I cannot help but think her message is one of choosing to be brave and strong, and to not give up. The words call upon hope to rise within us, much like God’s word, for He is where our hope is held, and our Source of courage, strength and resolve. May we seek the Lord to find the strength and courage to see His love that is all around us, and the resolve to love as we are loved by Him.

Take heart, dear ones,

For hope is rising;

Light found in darkness,

There’s no disguising.

The chaos that is,

Will not always be;

For hope is rising,

As love is released.

A choice to honor,

Sisters and brothers;

To stand hand-in-hand,

Supporting each other.

Stand up, dear young ones,

Please take it from me;

The future is yours,

Rise up and shine, so all may see.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are our Source of courage, strength and resolve. Thank You that as we seek and learn to depend on You, hope rises within us. Forgive us for not being light and life in the midst of darkness. Teach us to seek You to ignite Your fire within us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread Your light that chases away the darkness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to raise us up as light-bearers and love givers. Amen.

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

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. – Psalm 71:5

Gain in Grace

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, NIV)

This is the way we should live, because God’s grace has come. That grace can save everyone. It teaches us not to live against God and not to do the bad things the world wants to do. It teaches us to live on earth now in a wise and right way – a way that shows true devotion to God. – (Titus 2:11-12, ERV)

God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, TPT)

It is God’s grace that grants us each the opportunity to believe and receive, and enter the folds of His salvation. Being saved does not mean we have reached perfection, but rather it means that He who is perfect, is present and available to lead and guide us throughout all our days. God has given all people a free will; it is our decision alone to either receive all that He has to offer, or not. For those who actively receive, God teaches us what we ought not do, and what we need to do, to walk in the way He intended. We need wisdom, grace, and self-control to live upright and demonstrate our devotion to Him. Each word and deed that we extend that demonstrates God’s overwhelming love, is a manifestation of God’s goodness and grace that is available for everyone. However, when we get caught up in the ways of the world, there is nothing about us that leads anyone closer to the loving embrace of God. All that we say and do matters. May we ever pursue He who is pure and loving and full of grace, so that we too, may navigate each day His way.

Lord, help us receive,

Salvation in You;

For each brand new day,

Show us to live true.

True to Your goodness,

Your love and Your grace;

Upright and godly,

Help us walk Your way.

Lord as we listen,

You lead us in truth;

Steer us from evil,

As You make us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending grace that grants us salvation in You. Thank You that as we seek and grow in our understanding of You, You show us what we should and should not do. Forgive us for forging our own way without seeking Your wisdom, or for allowing ourselves to get caught up in the ways of the world, rather than staying true to who You are calling us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us well, as it is Your love that demonstrates the goodness and kindness that leads people into lives full of the hope that only Your salvation provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your grace that is freely given, and trust in You to lead and direct us in all of the ways that are meant to go. Keep us away from that which was not meant for us. In Your precious name we pray, Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Making Our Days Matter

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

A common thread among us is that I think we are all far more aware that our days are numbered. There is nothing quite like a pandemic to remind us that none of us are immune to the reaches of the affects, as I know few folks who do not at least know someone impacted by COVID19. We have the opportunity to respond to the realization that none of us are guaranteed a long life on earth, so how we spend our days matters. In order to use the time we are given well, we need God’s wisdom. He is faithful to grow us and show us more and more of His love and grace, as we choose to follow after Him. The Lord is faithful to direct and correct, if we are willing to pursue Him and respond to His promptings. I desire to live each day with intention, and am acutely aware of my need for God’s intervention to do so. May we ever recognize that we are not promised tomorrow, so that we might live each day with wisdom and grace, according to God’s good and perfect plan.

O Lord, I thank You,

For each day thus far;

As Your love and grace,

Meet us where we are.

Grant us Your wisdom,

Help us to live well;

Let each brand new day,

Be love’s show and tell.

May each day we rise,

Be seen as a gift;

Each moment a chance,

For spirits to lift.

Lord, show me Your heart,

In each circumstance;

Make me wise with love,

To live out Your plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for each of us. Thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and You grant us wisdom to navigate our days well. Forgive us for the times that we take our days for granted. Teach us how to live with intention, each new day that we draw breath. Show us how to live and love with wisdom and grace, so that all might seek Your welcome embrace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each new day, and seek You to live it out with wisdom, love and grace. Amen.

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

How many are Your works, Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. – Psalm 104:24

Grow Us in Grace

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, TPT)

For the last few years, I have taken time to seek God and ask Him for a word for the coming year. Last year, the word that was placed on my heart was “new”. Though the “new” that we all experienced was nothing like any of us might have imagined, there certainly was a recurring category of “new”. We entered a new season as the world shut down and life as we knew it changed. In the midst of it all, much new had to be learned. For me, a brand new way of doing my job accompanied the new season of the twins graduating from high school, and the addition of two new fur babies to our family. Though there has been struggle with the new, God’s grace was all the more. It seems that we each have the opportunity to become new as we navigate the challenges that come our way. Each obstacle provides room for us to seek the Lord and pursue the new He is growing in us as we are faithful to continue looking forward to all that lies before us. This process of becoming “new”, has brought me to the word that God has given me for 2021. The word that kept crashing around in my heart and mind is “grace”. In order to continue to move forward in all that I have been called, His grace will be required. There needs to be an ongoing growth in grace – both in the giving and receiving of “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.(dictionary.com definition of grace) I don’t know about you, but I will absolutely welcome the freely given favor and love of God, and know that I am called to do the same for those around me. Grace is a gift; not something that needs to be earned. May we actively seek to both give and receive the grace of God, so that we may ever grow in grace and love, according to God’s good and perfect will.

May we grow in grace,

As He makes us new;

Receive all He gives,

So we might give too.

To grow in goodness,

We need know His ways;

Make willing our hearts,

To trust God always.

Though sometimes the new,

Is not what we dreamed;

His grace is enough,

To make all redeemed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make all things new and You grow us in Your lavish grace. Forgive us for our resistance to the new and our stubbornness that neglects to give and receive the grace You intended. Teach us how to grow in grace so that we may love as You call us to love. Lead us to love others in ways that are full of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You are growing in us to navigate this new year. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18