Pause and Praise

We give thanks to You, God; we give thanks to You, for Your name is near. People tell about Your wonderful works. – (Psalm 75:1, HCSB)

We praise You, God! We praise You because You are near to us. We tell about the amazing things You have done. – (Psalm 75:1, ERV)

We thank You, O True God. Our souls are overflowing with thanks! Your name is near; Your people remember and tell of Your marvelous works and wonders. – (Psalm 75:1, VOICE)

There are always reasons to give thanks to God. As we wake and draw breath to begin another day, we have reason to give thanks. For the roof over our heads, the comfort of our own beds, friends and family near and far – so many reasons to praise the One who provides it all. God is as close as our next breath, as present as each beat of our heart, and the wonder of His works does not end. He gives us life, love, joy, peace, strength and more. All the beauty that surrounds us is the work of His loving hands. May we take time to give God thanks for His presence and all that He has done as we begin each brand new day. 

God, we give You thanks,

For all that You do;

How love provides all,

All goodness from You.

Each time we’ve conquered,

In You, overcome;

The strength You’ve given,

The battles You’ve won.

All by Your strong hands,

Full of love and grace;

Hope made tangible,

Let us praise Your Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are ever near, and that You move on our behalf. Thank You for the countless blessings You have given us. Forgive us for not making the time to simply give You thanks. Teach us to always have a long list of gratitude for You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may recognize Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally pause and praise You for who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Upheld

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

The Spirit of God that dwells within us when we invite God to be Lord of our lives is one of power, love and self-control. With God in us, we need not fear, for He empowers us with strength, love and self-discipline. Right now, there are many situations and circumstances surrounding us that can cause fear, yet God within us is greater. When fear creeps in and anxiety rises, it is God who is able to steady our hearts and soothe our spaces of unrest. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust to be our strength, love and peace of mind, for in Him, we have all that we need to persevere.

For God’s within us,

We need not choose fear;

He helps, upholds us,

Remains ever near.

Lord, help us rise up,

And hold fast to You;

Our anchor of hope,

That’s steady and true.

When fear finds a way,

To make waves, roll in;

Bring peace and Your strength,

Help and hope within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we need not fear, for You provide the help that we need to overcome whatever lies before us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust in You, for You are our Source of power, love and self-discipline. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and keep fear far from us. Show us Your power and love in every space we find ourselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to give You our fears and receive Your strength, hope and love that bring peace in its place. Amen.

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

God is my helper; the Lord is the sustainer of my life. – Psalm 54:4

Success in Our Savior

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV)

But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! – (1 Corinthians 15:57, ERV)

But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, TPT)

There are times when we are moving forward, ever seeking to do what we are meant to do, and still obstacles come our way. It does not mean we are off course; often it is an indication that there is more that God wants to show or teach us as we press on. He does not cause frustrating things to stand in our way, but He does allow mountains and valleys before us to show His strength that equips us to overcome as we seek Him. One of my goals before my “big” birthday this summer is to run a marathon. About six weeks ago, I fractured all three bones in my little toe. This created a month-long hiatus from running, and some serious frustration. Over the last week or so, I had finally been able to get back to running and was working to rebuild endurance. On my first run back at it, we ended up running our usual pace (prior to the fracture) and I was encouraged and grateful for God’s grace and faithfulness. Fast forward to Friday evening, and out of nowhere I felt feverish and had a sore throat. I was supposed to get a long run in over the weekend, and at long last, return to teaching on campus. Sadly, neither took place, and I am again deterred by a setback. Thankfully, this race we are running is not a sprint, but is an ultra marathon. It requires ongoing forward momentum, even if our steps seem miniscule. God is faithful and grants us victory in Christ. This season may look nothing like I had hoped or imagined, but I know that He is good and will lead me forward according to His plan. He knows the desires of my heart and will not leave me or forsake me. I know not what victory in Him will look like in this season, but I know that God is good. Each new day, I will trust Him to lead me forward, and be my strength to keep moving in the right direction. May we ever thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, for we have the ultimate victory in Him.

All thanks be to God,

Our true victory;

For He is our strength,

The One that we need.

No matter the course,

Our race seems to take;

God will be faithful,

With goodness and grace.

Setbacks and detours,

And bumps in the road;

He grants us His strength,

Helps carry the load.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are faithful to be present and see us through. Thank You that even when obstacles lie before us, the road You have set us on remains the same. Forgive us for our frustration with setbacks and obstacles that come our way. Teach us to trust You to remain faithful as You lead us forward, despite how things appear. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they run the race that You have set before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to successfully lead us along the path You have placed before us; for victory is already ours in Christ. Amen.

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

Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our King to the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 89:18

Seek His Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Ephesus is still an encouragement for us today. We are not meant to be strong on our own, but rather by the strength He provides through His presence, both in and through us. Strength on our own is not sustainable, yet in Him, we are able to endure and overcome all things. This does not mean that all will be easy, but it does mean God will be present to supply what we need when we need it most. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, recognizing that His mighty power provides what is required to press on.

Let’s look to the Lord,

For He is the place;

We are granted strength,

To run well our race.

Power that endures,

Through the toughest days;

A love that surrounds,

And grace that remains.

The Lord is the One,

On whom to depend;

To rise, overcome,

As strength He extends.

So, look to the Lord,

For all that we need;

Seek His strength, not ours,

In Him we succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength as we learn to depend on You. Thank You that Your power is present and made evident in our weakness. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to power through on our own, rather than seeking our true Source of strength. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You supply all we need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our Source of strength in all things and at all times. 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

Simply Be Still

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)

The context of this passage is such a powerful reminder of who God is and how He loves. As the Israelites had escaped Egypt and traveled into the desert, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army decided that they had made a mistake in allowing the people to go, and were pursuing them with chariots and horses. In fear and frustration, the Israelites began second-guessing their departure to the desert, and Moses called on the Lord. The response Moses was given was the above verse that he was to share with his people. God demonstrated His power and provision to His people, as He parted the Red Sea and threw the Egyptian army into confusion. The Israelites safely crossed through, and once the Egyptians were all in the middle of the sea, God released the Red Sea and covered the entire military movement, leaving no Egyptian survivors. Often, when we are in the midst of our biggest battles, God tells us the same, “Be still and I will fight for you.” What I have discovered over and over again, is that when I am meant to be still, and actually listen, God moves in miraculous ways. There are times that He calls us to fight or to move as He leads us and strengthens us, yet there are times when we are simply meant to be still and seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His voice, as He instructs us to be still before Him and observe all that He will do.

Let us seek the Lord,

When we’re overwhelmed;

For God has a plan,

In Him, we’re upheld.

Sometimes in trials, 

He tells us, “Be still,”

The Lord is greater,

With grace He will fill.

Our battles belong,

To the Holy One;

Who loves us so much,

That He sent His Son.

All trials we face,

In Him, they are won;

He overcame death,

So we’d overcome.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, yet powerful and ready to fight on our behalf. Thank You that often You call us to be still and give You room to move. Forgive us for the times that we try to keep fighting in spaces that were meant to be Yours. Teach us to seek You and truly listen, so that we may know when to fight and when to be still. Show us how to love all those around us, for everyone has battles that are meant to be Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our laments before You and listen for Your leading, every step of the way. Amen.

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

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Peace At All Times

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

Jesus came so that we would know His peace, no matter what troubles come our way. We are not guaranteed a trouble-free life, rather, we are promised that He who is our peace will be present, always. The last few years have provided their fair share of trouble. Despite the trials that have come our way, God has shown us His peace, grace and love in tangible ways. All that we go through, Jesus has already experienced. Heartache, loss, frustration, anger, despair – He has been there. Because He knows, He is able to be our peace in the storms. Jesus took it all to the cross, buried it in the grave, and rose so that we would know His hope and peace, no matter what comes our way. God affords us courage when the giants stand before us, for He has already overcome them all. May we turn to Christ in all things, as He is our mighty Prince of Peace.

Though troubles will come,

One thing remains true;

The God of all peace,

Is for me and you.

His grace is enough,

To weather the storms;

He says, “Peace, be still,”

As His love informs.

So, trust in the Lord,

For His peace is true;

Present for us all,

And strength He renews.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face and endure troubles and trials, we can know Your perfect peace in the midst of all. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our storms, but rather our storms are in desperate need of Your peace. Forgive us for seeking peace anywhere other than through You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace to those around us. Lead us in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your perfect peace that is ever available when we seek Your presence. Amen.

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

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

Live Wisely and Do Good

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV) 

So be very careful how you live. Live wisely, not like fools. I mean that you should use every opportunity you have for doing good, because these are evil times. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, ERV) 

So be careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes. – (Ephesians 5:15-16, TPT) 

How we live matters. To live well requires wisdom and a choice to make the most of every opportunity to do good and live for His purposes. Evil exists in the world, but we can overcome evil with good. We can either allow the darkness to overcome us, or we can be light bearers and bring good wherever we go. No one is perfect, yet we can ever purposefully pursue His best for how we live out our days. When we are intentional to seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we walk in His wisdom and grace that leads us to love as we are loved by Him. May we ever be careful how we live; choosing wisdom and the pursuit of good toward all. 

Choose live carefully, 

Use wisdom and grace; 

To love and do good, 

Throughout all our days. 

Though there is evil, 

True good overcomes; 

Wise, loving living, 

Shows how good is done. 

So, ever pursue, 

God’s purpose for us; 

Be bearers of light, 

Just like our Jesus. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that despite the evil in the world, You are good, and good overcomes every darkness. Thank You that You designed each of us to be bearers of light and to do good. Forgive us for the times that we have not. Show us how to listen to Your leading, so that we may do good and love well. Teach us to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You grant us wisdom to do good, regardless of what surrounds us. Amen. 

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

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21

Overcome Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. – (Romans 12:21, VOICE)

 

As social media has been flooded with the atrocity of the killing of an innocent man, out for a run, who was senselessly chased down and murdered by two self-professed vigilantes, who had no authority to question his motives for being out on a run, much less gun him down in cold blood. What is even more evil in all of this, is that nothing seemed to be done to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers until there was public outcry, due to the clear evidence produced in a release of video footage of the barbarity. For many of us, we feel overcome with horror at the wickedness that has played out through such a heinous act against humanity. That being said, the good that is rising up to bring justice to Ahmaud’s case, is overpowering the evil that transpired. No, there is nothing that will ever bring Ahmaud back to life, nor is there any justice that seems valid when a life is so senselessly taken; however, the good is raising awareness and aiding in a change of mindset for ordinary things that so many have taken for granted, and Ahmaud’s murderers are finally being charged. As a fellow runner, my heart aches for the fear that already exists in those who worry about a similar encounter, and for anyone who chooses not to go at all, due to the evil that is present and waiting to pounce. Awareness, education, wisdom and support are ways to combat and overpower the evil with good. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue to listen to the voices of those who have encountered and live with a constant heightened awareness of evil, simply because of the color of their skin, so that I can do what I can to be better and contribute to good overcoming such wickedness. May we seek the Lord to direct our steps to bring about a safe, peaceful, loving existence among all people, just as He intended.

 

So senseless the death, wp-15890342122543911826434050258269.png

Of a man, so young;

Out to maintain health,

With joy, he would run.

Evil encounter,

Malicious intent;

A life no longer,

Such darkness present.

The saying, it goes,

“Your sins find you out;”

The truth bringing good,

Airing evil out.

May justice be brought,

Where evil once stood;

May all do better,

And seek to do good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that good overcomes evil, even when the evil that takes place seems insanely overwhelming. Please be with the family of Ahmaud Arbery; though there is nothing that will ever make this senselessness right, let justice be served to those who murdered this young man. Thank You that Your intention is for there to be peace among Your people. Forgive us for the things we have said, done, or left unsaid or undone, that have prevented the good that You intended. Teach us to do and be better. Bring healing to our land, O God. Show us how to love one another, as sisters and brothers, in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we may ever overcome evil with good. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Take Heart

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

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

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

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Promised Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

 

Jesus never promised us an easy life; He promised us peace in His presence and the recognition that we can take courage, for He has already overcome every obstacle that we will ever face. Not one of us has any guarantees. We know not the triumphs and tragedies that lie before us, yet in Christ, we know Who will be present with us to see us through. The longer I live, the more I recognize these words to be true. Trouble does come, when we least expect it, yet if we cling to Christ, He will be our peace, our strength, and our hope. Perhaps it is my current age and stage in life, but this past year has been particularly weighty for many that I know. That being said, for each of the heartaches, there have been tremendous blessings, and God’s peace has been present. Each time we experience a struggle, heartache, or tragedy and lean into the Lord, we learn more deeply the truth of this verse. There is peace in Him. He has overcome trouble and sorrows and grants courage and strength and resolve to press on. Even when life seems less than what we are hoping for, God is present, and our future is secure in Him. May we hold fast to the hope we know in Christ, for He is our peace and our strength, no matter what comes our way.

 

Though troubles will come, Ongoing Peace

They’re part of this life;

Jesus brings us peace,

He loves us through strife.

In heartache or loss,

The Lord will be near;

He comforts with peace,

And wipes away tears.

God grants us the strength,

To rise and press on;

Brings blessings our way,

Love is His response.

So, lean into Christ,

The hope that we know;

His grace and His love,

Will lead as we go.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we have troubles and trials to face in this life, You are present to be our peace and strength. Thank You that as we call on You and depend on You, You equip us with all that we need to press on. Thank You for the blessings that You pour out upon us. Forgive us for our frustrations when troubles come. You did not promise us an easy life, You promised us Your peace, hope and presence. Thank You that You are forever faithful. Teach us to trust You more, in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace, strength, grace and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13