The Goodness of God

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the work of Your hands. – (Psalm 92:4, HCSB)

Lord, You make us very happy because of what You did. I gladly sing about it. Lord, You did such great things. Your thoughts are too hard for us to understand. – (Psalm 92:4, ERV)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. – (Psalm 92:4, VOICE)

God is always good. It is important to pause and take inventory of His faithfulness in our lives. When we look back, we can see how God has been present throughout all our days. There is evidence of His loving kindness and the work of His hands, as we remember what He has brought us through. I am in awe of how He provides and moves when we seek Him. After a crazy school year, it is incredible how in a mere four days, I am feeling rested and refreshed. My heart sings in response to the joy that rises as I reflect on His goodness. May we ever recognize God’s presence and help throughout our days, and sing for joy in thanksgiving for His goodness.

The goodness of God,

Is beyond compare;

In love, He meets us,

Shows us tender care.

His strength upholds us,

As He leads us on;

Kindness unending,

By grace we’re made strong.

Strong to keep moving,

In love and with grace;

May we give God praise,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and do great things in our lives as You remind us of Your faithfulness and goodness. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You for Your presence and love. Teach us to recognize Your nearness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Justified and Redeemed

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, HCSB)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

You see, all have sinned and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 3:23-24, VOICE)

Because of the events of this most Holy Week, we all have access to forgiveness, grace, and redemption from our sin. On our own, we cannot live right every moment of every day. However, when we seek and accept the grace that God has freely given through Jesus, we are made clean and holy before God – not because of anything that we have or have not done, but because He who knew no sin dwells within us and has already paid the price that our sins deserve. Through Him, we are considered right before God and have a future and a hope in Him. This is why we celebrate Easter, and why we ought to pause and remember with gratitude, the ultimate sacrifice that we made on our behalf so that we might know life with God forever.

The purpose of Easter,

Much more than the cross;

His redemption for all,

He has paid the cost.

Much more than suffering,

For death could not keep;

Jesus, the Messiah,

In eternal sleep.

It is through the rising,

That our hope was found;

Nothing could defeat Him,

His power abounds.

And more than the rising,

Return to His throne;

Seated up in heaven,

His goodness made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we might come to know forgiveness and grace that His sacrifice provides. Thank You that there is nothing that we can do to earn our way into Your glory, but rather it is a matter of us receiving what You freely offer through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the depth of Your love that sacrificed all. Teach us to live in awe and gratitude throughout all of our days. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart is made evident to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for all that You have done and continue to do to demonstrate just how great Your love is for all. Amen.

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

Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. – Acts 2:33

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

Give Him Praise

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His Holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His Holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

When we think about the kindness of God and all of His blessings, it is impossible not to give Him praise! For light and life, love and hope, peace and joy, and every good thing in our lives, to God be the thanks and praise. It is wonderful how God can bring blessing in and through all things. For example, yesterday, we got hit with a winter storm that dumped more than a half a foot of snow. For me, I love the blanket of beauty that snow provides in the Pacific Northwest. My husband was pleased to have the opportunity for overtime, our youngest was happy to have chauffeur service to and from work, the eldest twin was glad to have a lunch date with me, the oldest boys were thrilled to take out their four-wheel drive vehicles, and the pups love to play in the snow. One winter happening that many might not consider a blessing, was a wonderful way to enjoy the last day of a long and blessed weekend. In all things, God can bring blessings. As we praise Him for who He is, we become better equipped to recognize all that He does. May we each pause and give God praise for who He is everyday. 

My soul, bless the Lord,

For He’s always good;

Love never ending,

Makes hope understood.

Help in times of need,

Our peace in the storms;

Calm in the chaos,

His love keeps us warm.

Warm on the inside,

Where fear makes us cold;

Goodness delivered,

As love is outpoured.

Take time to ponder,

The blessings from Him;

And give Him glory,

For all He brings in.

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise You and thank You for the incredible blessings of loving kindness that You pour out upon us. Forgive us for not always recognizing the good that You provide. Teach us to see Your hand in all things, for You are love, light, goodness, hope, help and peace. Lead us to lean into Your love so that we too, may love like You. Show us how to be an extension of Your kindness and grace to all people throughout each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your loving provision and seek to love like You. 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

Discover What He’s Done

Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. – (Isaiah 12:5, NIV)

Sing songs of praise about the Lord, because He has done great things. Spread this news about God throughout the whole world. Let all people know these things. – (Isaiah 12:5, ERV)

Sing praise to the Eternal! Everyone, everywhere should know that God acts in amazing ways. – (Isaiah 12:5, VOICE)

The evidence of God’s hand is all around us. It takes little looking to discover all of the great things that He has done. From the way that the waves know how far upon the shore to come, to the smiles and laughter of loved ones, all have been formed by His loving hands. There are times that it is easy to get caught up in the chaos that comes and neglect to be aware of all of the glorious things that God has done around and in us. When we pause and sing songs of praise, we are reminded of just how good God truly is. The more we recognize and celebrate His goodness, the better His heart is made known to those around us. May we ever sing praise to the Lord, for He is good and has done great things.

Let’s sing to the Lord,

For all He has done;

The work of His hands,

The battles we’ve won.

All that’s created,

Each blessing of grace;

Beauty surrounds us,

Throughout all our days.

Give thanks to the Lord,

Choose rise, sing His praise;

All thanks to the King,

Who’s faithful always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You for the incredible works of Your hands that provide and bless us all. Forgive us for not giving proper credit to You, for every good and perfect gift has come from You. Teach us to sing Your praise throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us well so that they too, may see the goodness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing songs of praise to You and share Your goodness with those around us. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

Tenderness Tapers Tempers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Always Good

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – (Psalm 13:6, NIV)

Then I will sing to the Lord because He was so good to me. – (Psalm 13:6, ERV)

I will sing to the Eternal, for He is always generous with me. – (Psalm 13:6, VOICE)

There is something about reaching a Friday after a busy week that floods my heart with gratitude. Right now, days are long, especially when my sleep is disrupted, yet somehow, God always grants me the strength I need to navigate whatever comes my way. In this season of new, I am so grateful for God’s goodness. I am ever aware of Him holding me up by His loving hands. From the early onset of daylight in the mornings so that I can get outside and walk the dogs before work, to the ability to share dinner together as a whole family, these are but an example of how I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. May we ever recognize the goodness of God in our lives that surround us, and sing Him praise for His great love.

I sing to the Lord,

For He is so good;

His love is outpoured,

Kindness understood.

In busy seasons,

He shows us His grace;

Grants strength when weary,

Throughout all our days.

When things seem slow down,

The Lord provides rest;

His love is lavish,

For He knows us best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that meets us where we are and provides what we need. Thank You that You are present and bless us with Your peace and strength to navigate each new day. Thank You for the songs in our hearts that remind us to give You the glory. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize Your goodness when things seem overwhelmingly busy. Teach us to pause and breathe in Your grace, for You meet our needs throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise unto You, for You are so good. 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

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

In Everything Choose Love

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

“Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, ERV)

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” – (Matthew 7:12, MSG)

This passage is a poignant reminder of how we ought to treat one another. To truly know what we should do in every circumstance, we need to place ourselves in the other’s shoes. How would we want to be treated if we were in the same situation or circumstance? If we are really being honest with ourselves, I am certain that kindness, compassion and love would be priorities. How do we go forth with the same heart? I know for myself, if I actually take pause and imagine how I would want to be treated, my heart softens and my words and actions more closely mirror a heart that seeks to love. The words Jesus spoke were not just for the disciples or the crowd of hearers around Him; this direction for interacting with others is meant to be for all times. It is far easier to treat others the way we want to be treated when the same is extended to us. However, Jesus did not place conditions on the expectation. We are charged with the task of love regardless of how we are treated. This applies at home, in the grocery store, and while we are out and about. The rule does not change when we are tired or frustrated or hurting, but rather it applies all the more. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, compassion and kindness, so that we may treat others the way that we most want to be treated.

Treat one another,

With kindness and grace;

Seek love each other,

In all things, always.

The treatment we want,

Is what we need give;

Compassion, kindness,

Hope and love to live.

Lord, help us rise up,

Love people like You;

May Your goodness lead,

And Your love shine through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that You take it further and explain to us that to love well, we must treat others in the same way that we desire to be treated. Forgive us for the times that kindness, compassion, grace and love have been absent from our interactions. Show and equip us to love one another the way that You so flawlessly and extravagantly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love one another with the same goodness, kindness and grace that we desire from those around us. In Your holy Name, Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

To Truly Trust

She said to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 9:21-22, NIV)

She was thinking, “If I can touch His coat, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw the woman. He said, “Be happy, dear woman. You are made well because you believed.” Then the woman was healed. – (Matthew 9:21-22, ERV)

She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on His robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned – caught her at it. Then He reassured her. “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on. – (Matthew 9:21-22, MSG)

Every time I read passages about Jesus healing people, I take pause and wonder why we see it so seldom now. What I find remarkable is that it seems to occur most often when there is no other option for restoration. Years ago, when I was in India with Youth With a Mission, we would find ourselves in remote villages, surrounded by people who were hungry to know more about God. After sharing with the people through an interpreter, we would make ourselves available to pray for people. Often, we would have little idea what exactly we were praying for. Our only choice was to pray by faith, knowing that God knew their needs. In one of these instances, a father and his young daughter stood before two friends and myself, while the interpreter had a brief conversation with the father. He turned, told us to pray for the girl’s ears, and went on to the next person. Having little idea of how to pray, we lifted up our prayers, trusting that God would do what God does. A short time later, the interpreter returned. He began speaking with the father and daughter. At first, they were standing face to face, then he kept backing up and continued speaking with them. The three of us looked at him with puzzled expressions on our faces. He turned, looked at us with joy on his face, and told us that the girl had come completely deaf, and that God had restored her hearing. I imagine our jaws were just about touching the ground as we stood there in amazement. We had not done anything spectacular; we simply trusted and believed. The father and daughter had come believing that she would be restored, and she was. Throughout my time in Asia, there were several accounts of such healings. Sight was restored, limbs were healed, and various infirmities – gone. There was nothing that any of us could have done to make it so. It was God moving as He moves when His people pray and trust in Him. I know He still heals today; the challenging part is that we do not get to determine when or for whom. Sometimes God heals the physical need, yet other times He does a work in the heart.

 My own Mom suffered a stroke a year and a half ago. Myself and many others have prayed unceasingly for her complete and total restoration. Right now, she is far better than she was a year ago, yet we are still waiting and longing for the healing of her right arm, and continued healing of her right leg. She is able to walk with a cane and communicate well, and do most things independently. However, there are still things that require assistance. Our greatest gratitude is that she is still here with us. I know for all of us, God has used this season to challenge and grow us. In all things, may we seek and trust in Him for the healing that He holds for each of us.

Lord, teach us to trust,

In Your healing hands;

For You long to touch,

As love is Your plan.

Lead us to seek You,

Grant wisdom and faith;

Help us and hold us,

As we seek Your grace.

Show us Your power,

Bring healing each day;

Make our hearts anew,

As we walk Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer our faithful seeking. Thank You that though we don’t always understand why healing does not always happen this side of heaven, that You are always good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when calamities come. Teach us to trust and rely on You as we walk forward in faith in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love and support and pray for those who are in need of Your touch. Lead us to love well and pray faithfully. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as that is the space where hearts are healed and lives are changed. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6