To Be Community

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in peace! – (Psalm 133:1, VOICE)

There are few things as wonderful as being in a community that works together and maintains peace among themselves. As an educator, I am in a unique situation, as many of my colleagues and I have worked together at our school for many years. Though different personalities and passions outside of school, we are united in purpose. Even when our circumstances have been less than ideal (think entire Covid lockdown and then navigating return) we have supported and encouraged each other. Because I have been the utility teacher that has been shuffled from subject to subject and grade to grade, I have had the opportunity to work closely with many of my colleagues over the years. It has been a blessing to get to know and work closely with each. It really does feel familial and is the reason I have spent my entire career at one school. My hope and prayer is that the students too, will feel the sense of family and learn to function together in peace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to live together in peace with those whom He has placed in our lives.

United purpose,

Helps us each to see;

To work together,

In sweet harmony.

For peace shall be found,

As we look to see;

The needs of others,

Intentionally.

Oh it is so good,

And pleasant to be;

In supportive space,

True community.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that it is good and pleasing to You when we work together for the common good and allow Your peace to reign. Thank You that as we live and work together, it feels familial. Forgive us for the times that we have done anything to upset the peace that You intended to be present. Teach us to seek You to lead us in Your love so that we may live as brothers and sisters that pursue the good You have set before us. Show us how to love as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to live as brothers and sisters to extend Your goodness and peace to all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our words and thoughts are influenced by what we take in, and by those with whom we spend our time. The most important influencer that we ought to seek at the start of our day is God. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and will rescue us from our own thoughts that wander. His Spirit shows us what is good, and when we set our minds and hearts on these things, the words of our mouth are a reflection of such. May we ever seek the Lord to direct the musings of our heart and the words to which we give a voice.

O Lord, help my words,

To clearly show You;

All spoken in love,

That show Your heart true.

Father, keep my thoughts,

On that which is good;

Grant wisdom and grace,

To do as I should.

Let love lead in all,

I think, do and say;

Show me what You’d do,

Please come light my way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead and guide us in what is good, so that our thoughts and words may be a reflection of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been led by Your love. Teach us to trust and depend on You to show us what is good and pleasing unto You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your heart is made known through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to direct our thoughts to things of You and seek You to grant us Your words of love. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our thoughts and words matter to God. The musings of the heart are directly linked to what we take in. For me, this means that in order to keep my thoughts from wandering down a road I need not travel, I have to be cautious about what I consume. If I set my heart on God to begin each day, I am in a better position to choose my words and direct my thoughts wisely. However, if I listen to or watch something violent or full of angst, even if my words do not reflect what I have taken in, my thoughts struggle to turn away from the unpleasant. I know some folks have a filter that simply sifts out such stuff, but as a very visual individual, it is too difficult to not keep reliving what I do not want to relive. Everyone is different, but it is important to know how we can best keep our words and thoughts turned toward God, so that what we say, think and do is a reflection of His love. May we ever seek the Lord to help set our hearts on Him so that our words and the musings of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

O Lord, let Your love,

Lead my thoughts and words;

So goodness is stored,

And grace is what’s heard.

Keep my heart upheld,

In Your loving light;

By grace filter out,

All that is not right.

Show me through Your lens,

That which needs to go;

Flood me with Your thoughts,

So Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us what it is to meditate on Your love and share it with others through all that we do and say. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been pleasing to You. Teach us how to clear our minds of that which does not build up, and to set our sights on You and Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help keep our words and thoughts on that which is pleasing to You. Amen.

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

May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 104:34

Pleasing Wherever We Go

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, HCSB)

Our only goal is to always please the Lord, whether we are living here in this body or there with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, ERV)

Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, VOICE)

In this passage, Paul’s letter is for instruction in life and beyond, yet it is also fitting to follow wherever we are. Do we love people near and far; when home or away? It is our charge to be light and life and love to all people everywhere. We are blessed to be traveling with our besties who do an incredible job of loving people well. Wherever we go, they are remembered for their love and kindness to all. To be pleasing to God, we ought to seek to do just that at all times and in all circumstances. May we ever follow after the Lord and the example He set through His Son, and go forth and love people well so that all that we do might be pleasing to Him.

May we ever seek,

To honor God well;

Choose love each other,

So what we do tells.

Tells of His goodness,

Exemplifies grace;

Makes the Lord’s love known,

As we love His way.

Full of acceptance,

Extension of kind;

Blessings we outpour,

With others in mind.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Help us to honor,

With hearts that are true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to honor You wherever we go. Thank You that when we choose to love and extend kindness, we are representing Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Lead us in Your love as we go about our day, and show us opportunities to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek to live and love as You intended. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Love Takes Its Place

For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. – (1 Peter 2:15, HCSB)

When you do good, you stop the ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. – (1 Peter 2:15, VOICE)

We are all called to love God and love people. If we live a life of love, we will choose to do good as often as possible. As we do, our heart is made known and our character is established as one who seeks to do good. Often, a mere motion of kindness can disrupt an act of foolishness. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to do good and silence the chatter of foolishness spoken in ignorance. Teach us to delight in You and Your will, for consistent words and deeds speak volumes about a person’s character.

Lord, lead us to live,

As You’ve called us to;

A life full of love,

That’s pleasing to You.

For as we love well,

Give kindness and grace;

Foolish are silenced,

And love takes its place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and do good. Thank You that as we do, foolish and ignorant words and actions are silenced. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to do the good that You’ve called us to. Teach us to turn to You for strength and courage to do good, in spite of what we want to do. Lead us 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 to lead to love and do good as we were created to do. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Be Transformed

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – (Romans 12:2, HCSB)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT)

We need God to know what is best and then to actually do it. As we seek the Lord and invite Him to transform our minds, He grants us wisdom and insight to know what is good and pleasing to Him, and how to follow His will in every area of our lives. This does not happen overnight, but rather it is a lifelong process. Every day that we seek the Lord with intention, we are transformed a bit more to reflect His heart, love and light to the world. It is impossible to shine for Him if we are imitating what we think the world wants. His loving kindness, goodness and grace flows from those who seek to be authentically who He has made them to be. May we invest our hearts and lives in seeking the Lord, for it is through our seeking that He empowers us to live the beautiful life that He intended.

Lord, protect our hearts,

Show us what is best;

Transform and renew,

And grant us Your rest.

Teach us to seek You,

In all things, always;

So we walk Your way,

Our lives give You praise.

Protect us from lies,

That seem to be true;

Lead us in Your love,

Show us what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in Your ways, if only we seek and depend on You. Thank You that through our seeking, You transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for allowing the patterns of this world to influence our decisions instead of You. Show us how to continually seek You and Your will in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to transform us more and more to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

United Together

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! – (Psalm 133:1, TPT)

There is nothing quite so sweet as when a group of people lives, works, and goes about their days in unity. Unity does not mean that all see eye-to-eye on all things, but rather that there is mutual respect and appreciation, as all are aiming for a similar goal. If we love, respect and prefer one another, unity naturally follows. God was intentional in how we were each designed. We each have strengths and purposes that contribute to the whole when we exist in community. May we ever pursue peace as we navigate each new day with the intent to love well, so that we may walk in unity with those whom God has placed around us.

United in peace,

Surrounded in love;

God grant us the grace,

To walk well with love.

For we were designed,

To live side by side;

Shoulder to shoulder,

With God as our guide.

He shows us the way,

To live and love best;

Care for each other,

Give grace and find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us for community. Thank You that You show us how to live and love in a way that brings unity. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to see others through Your eyes. Teach us to turn to You first, so that we may gain perspective and capacity to listen and love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may feel included and valued in the community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to live and love in a way that unites and brings peace. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

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

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Align Our Hearts and Minds

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideas and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Just because something is popular or “trending”, does not mean it is right. Our charge is to seek God and allow Him to transform and renew our minds. God’s good, perfect and pleasing will revolves around loving Him and loving those around us. If what we do and say is not motivated by love, it is not what He intended. However, if the way that our mind is being transformed is to love more deeply and walk more justly, we are walking in His will. My hope is to live a beautiful life that is pleasing to God. It does not mean it will be an easy life, however, it will be one full of love. May we ever seek the Lord to transform us from the inside out, so that we will live the life that He intended. 

Do not live the life, 

Of somebody else; 

Each have a purpose, 

To live out ourselves. 

Give God full access, 

To change and renew; 

So we do His will, 

Unto Him, live true. 

May we be transformed, 

In heart and in mind; 

So we live a life, 

That’s loving and kind. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and trust our lives in Your hands, You transform and renew us to walk in Your good and pleasing will. Forgive us for the times that we have simply gone with what the majority think, rather than seeking You for guidance. Teach us to seek, trust, and depend on You to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Show us how to love You and those around us according to Your good, perfect and pleasing will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to transform and renew us to align our hearts and minds with Yours. Amen. 

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4