Readily and Cheerfully

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, NIV)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! – (Philippians 2:14, MSG)

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. – (Philippians 2:14, TPT)

When I first read this, I wanted to post it in my classroom. If only it were so easy… After further consideration, I realize that there are plenty of things that I grumble about. Though it may not be done audibly, my heart is not always cheerful about things that I need to do. I am not an arguer, but in a sense, when I grumble in my heart, I am arguing with what I know I need to do. God knows my heart, and both my praises and my grumbling are heard by Him. Thankfully, He is a loving Father who listens and reminds my heart of reasons to be grateful. With that in mind, it challenges me to seek to do everything readily and cheerfully, without grumbling as I go. In order for this to transpire, I must lean into Him and hold His word in my heart. It is not something I can do in my own strength, but with His help and His heart, my attitude can be transformed when it goes awry. May we ever seek Him to lead us to live a life that is free from complaining and division among us.

O Lord, help my heart,

Always joy, never complaints…

Be patient and true;

Show me how to live,

Cheerfully for You.

Please renew my mind,

Take angst from my heart;

Help me to choose love,

With joy, do my part.

Even in mundane,

The frustrating tasks;

Fill my heart with thanks,

To do as You ask.

For all that You ask,

Is for greater good;

With joy, help me do,

All things as You would.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You call us to do things without complaining or arguing. Thank You that You hear the frustration that our hearts hold, and show us reasons to praise rather that dwell on how things are right now. Forgive us for our complaining and bickering, as neither do anything to glorify You. Show us how to choose love in everything that we do, so that we glorify You. You know the weariness in our hearts from the length of this crazy, world-altering season. Lead us to lean into You so that we may love one another as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cheerfully do what You ask, without complaining or arguing. Amen.

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

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – Psalm 86:12

Present in All

By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, NIV)

By day the Lord shows His faithful love, and at night I have a song for Him – a prayer for the God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, ERV)

Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company – His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life. – (Psalm 42:8, VOICE)

The reminder in this verse is that God is with us all of the time; when it is light and when things are going well, also, He remains present in darkness and through challenging times. His faithfulness is not dependent on circumstance nor timing. God is greater than all. Our song to Him flows out of our response to His nearness. As we look to the Lord with thanks or to be our help in time of need, He makes His nearness known. There is something that rises up within us when we are aware that God is present and moving on our behalf. No matter what lies before us, God is within us. The wisdom, strength and fortitude needed to persevere are available to us all. It is through our seeking that we find the Lord’s help and nearness, and reason to give Him praise. In this ever-changing, seemingly endless season of uncertainty, the Lord is the certainty that we can always count on. May we ever seek the Lord to be our Rock and the love that surrounds us, no matter what lies ahead.

With each new sunrise,

God’s love is made known;

His grace and goodness,

Clearly they are shown.

When the darkness falls,

God will remain near;

His strength and comfort,

In love, He makes clear.

In uncertainty,

His presence remains;

God’s love that comforts,

And makes our paths plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your nearness and goodness are not dependent on timing or circumstances. Thank You that You are present, night and day, and ready to hear us, be it praise or petitions. Forgive us for making You too small, for You are greater than all. Teach us to trust and praise You in all seasons, for Your goodness does not change. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too might understand the goodness of Your love and faithfulness of Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Intentionally

He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them – He remains faithful forever. – (Psalm 146:6, NIV)

He made the heavens and earth. He made the sea and everything in it. He can be trusted to do what He says. – (Psalm 146:6, ERV)

You keep all Your promises. You are the Creator of heaven’s glory, earth’s grandeur, and the ocean’s greatness. – (Psalm 146:6, TPT)

There is nothing quite like being near the ocean for me. Each time I draw near to the salt air, hear the crashing waves, and sink my toes into the sand, peace surrounds me and I am reminded of the powerful love of the One who made it all. Just as we can watch and count on the waves to continue meeting the shore, so too, we can depend on the Lord to be present and faithful forever. I find myself especially aware of God’s faithfulness as I am blessed with a weekend away in my favorite coastal town with my love. It is such a blessing to share the place I love with the one I love. Each wave that meets the shore reminds me that God is present and powerful, and that His love is never ending. May we each take time to observe the incredible beauty around us that is the work of His hands, and recognize the eternal faithfulness found in the One who made it all.

Faithful forever,

Creator of all;

The glory that’s seen,

His hands made it all.

Each great ocean wave,

The gorgeous blue sky;

The sand that warms toes,

Beauty can’t be denied.

The very same hands,

That formed such beauty;

Designed each of us,

Intentionally.

Forever faithful,

The Lord God above;

As He reminds us,

Of unending love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You, who created all of the beauty that our eyes can see, also created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that Your faithfulness never ends. Forgive us for losing sight of Your faithfulness and love as we navigate all that comes our way. Teach us to trust in You, for You love us and never leave us. Show us how to appreciate all that Your hands have made, so that we may love those around us in the same ways that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love and praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Wonderfully Made

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:14, ERV)

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:14, VOICE)

This is an important reminder for us all. Not one of us was an accident; for all are intentionally created. Each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all hand-crafted with gifts and talents that are unique to our design. All that God has created is good. What we do with His creation is up to us, yet the more we recognize the wonder of His works, the more we value all that His hands have made. Perhaps we would all be a bit gentler with one another if we viewed each other as His handiwork, rather than categorized by beliefs, affiliation, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on. ALL are created with purpose, and ALL must be valued. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we value each intentional detail in those around us, and celebrate the wonderful way each human has been made.

My heart will give thanks,

For all You have made;

Each with a purpose,

Gifts to celebrate.

Help my eyes to see,

The beauty that lies;

Within ev’ry soul,

Value realized.

O God, You are good,

All made by Your hands;

May we choose cherish,

Each life You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have wonderfully and intentionally made all of us. Thank You that You have uniquely designed every human on the planet with purpose. Forgive us for allowing differences to warp our view. Teach us to recognize and value the gift of every individual we meet. Show us how to love in a way that values and celebrates the gifts that You have given in all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us Your heart and Your eyes to view the gifts to celebrate in all whom You have created. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Trust Over Fear

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NIV)

Jesus overhead and said, “Don’t be upset. Just trust me and everything will be alright.” – (Luke 8:50, MSG)

When Jesus heard this, He turned to Jairus and said, “Don’t yield to fear. Have faith in Me and she will live again.” – (Luke 8:50, TPT)

Jairus, the synagogue leader, had bowed at Jesus’ feet and pleaded with Him to come to his house to heal his young daughter. As Jairus and Jesus were on the way, someone from Jairus’ house came up to them and told them that Jairus’ daughter had died. Verse fifty is how Jesus responded to the news about Jairus’ daughter. On the way to the house, Jesus had healed a woman. I imagine that Jairus already knew that Jesus could heal, and the timing of the woman’s healing, prior to the news of the death of his daughter, must have added to the hope that Jairus placed in Him. After Jesus, Jairus and the disciples who were with them arrived, Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. She did live again and everything was alright, just as Jesus had spoken. I don’t know about you, but this brings much encouragement. When we seek the Lord for answers and for help, it is never too late for Him to intervene. He can bring life out of death and restore what seems irrevocably broken. We serve a God who restores and heals and grants us hope, even when things seem bleak. May we ever continue to fall at the feet of Jesus, trusting that He is who He says He is, and can do all things that will bring life and wholeness and restoration.

No matter the way,

That things may appear;

When we seek the Lord,

He’ll always draw near.

To know His presence,

Fathom we’re His own;

Held and granted hope,

Perceive how we’re known.

Christ hears ev’ry prayer,

In love, makes a way;

Hope soon realized,

He does not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the very same power who heard the prayers of a synagogue leader and healed both his daughter and a woman on the way, is available to us every day. Thank You that You hear our prayers and grant us help and hope as You hold us up in Your love. Forgive us for our frustrations when answers seem delayed or too late, for Your timing is not ours, and Your ways are best. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, no matter how things appear. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend help and hope and life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and give thanks for how You love us all. Amen.

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

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

A Call to Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, TPT)

When I think about this encouragement, what comes to mind is that of my dear friends and family, those who are the most comforting are the ones who have endured the most. Though I would never wish for the challenges, trouble and suffering that each have endured, I am able to see clearly the way in which God uses their experiences in each of their lives. I know this is due to their willingness to seek and receive from God, as it is by the comfort they have received that each is able to extend such godly comfort to others. In the spaces where I have experienced God’s comfort the most, are the same circumstances where I feel most compassionate towards others going through similar situations. There is something powerful in our own experience, as it grants us empathy for those walking through something we too have traversed. Our compassion is not an accident. It is intended that we reach out and extend the very same comfort and love that we received to those who are in need now. May we ever seek the Lord to open our eyes to the need around us, and reach out with comfort and compassion as He has done for us.

God, in His mercy,

Brings comfort to us;

Compassion, kindness,

Perspective adjusts.

For where we’ve suffered,

Comfort’s been made known;

Goodness and mercy,

God’s love clearly shown.

Through experience,

We can choose the same;

To reach out in love,

Compassionate aim.

We’ve been created,

To love and be loved;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our struggles and trials, You provide Your comfort and care. Thank You that You have designed us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to drag us down, rather than looking for the goodness that You provide and the comfort that comes as we seek You. Teach us to reach out to those around us to extend Your comfort. Show us how to love well, so that all whom we encounter would see and understand Your comfort through our kindness and compassion. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the comfort that You give, and seek You to teach us to do the same. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Made to Praise

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” – (Luke 19:40, NIV)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

Jesus responded, “Listen to me. If my followers were silenced, the very stones would break forth with praises!” – (Luke 19:40, TPT)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a whole crowd of disciples was shouting praises to announce His arrival, and yelling out the truth of Jesus’ rightful roles. Some of the Pharisees who were in the area, were not having it. They ordered Jesus to rebuke those who were praising Him. His response reminds us that all of creation was indeed made to praise Him and speak the truth of who He is. The power, grace, goodness, and love of the Lord demands our praise. We were created with an innate need to worship. Where we place our praise matters. If we praise the One who alone is worthy, the truth is declared and we discover the perfect peace that comes as we do what we were created to do. All of creation was made to reflect the Lord’s radiance. The rocks, the mountains, the oceans, rivers and seas – everywhere we look, we can see the evidence of the Lord’s loving and powerful hands. As we draw ever nearer to the day that we celebrate His birth, may we take time to lift our voice in praise for who God is and how our Savior loves.

All of creation,

Was made to give praise;

To honor Jesus,

Throughout our days.

The rocks will cry out,

If people do not;

For He is worthy,

Of our praise and thought.

Let us lift His Name,

For He’s always good;

He came to save us,

Make love understood.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be our Savior and salvation. Thank You that we were created to praise. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give praise where praise was due, for all belongs to You. Teach us to see Your goodness, power, and love throughout our days. Show us how to love others in a way that honors You and demonstrates the depth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and love all of Your creation. Amen.

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

Therefore I will praise You, Lord, among the nations; I will sing the praises of Your Name. – 2 Samuel 22:50

Hope Gives Reason for Gratitude

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. – (Hebrew 12:28, TPT)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakeable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Our gratitude to God ought to be abundant; not only for the life we have now, but for that which is yet to come. We have hope and love, strength and security in all that lies before us. For these things and so much more, let us give thanks and worship the One who gives us all. Our worship, from a grateful heart, pleases and delights He who is worthy of all praise and thanks. Though this Thanksgiving will look and feel far different than what many of us are accustomed to, we still have reason to give thanks. For me and my family, it is the first time in my twins’ lives that we have not spent Thanksgiving with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my nephews. We all have such fond memories of our times together, I cannot help but grieve the absence. However, we all are healthy and safe, and each family has remained gainfully employed. Though we cannot join together on this day, we have many reasons to give God gratitude. May we each give thanks to God for the hope we have in Him, and offer Him our worship and praise as we go about our days.

With hearts full of thanks,

We give God our praise;

For the hope we hold,

In Him, all our days.

His goodness and love,

Place hope in our hearts;

Remind us anew,

Each day’s a fresh start.

We worship You, Lord,

All honor and praise,

To Him who’s adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and grace, hope and presence, as You deserve all thanks and praise today, regardless of our circumstances. Thank You that our hope does not come from what we see, but what we know and have assurance of in our hearts. Forgive us for our frustrations with our present circumstances. Please help us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, rather than what is right now. Teach us to trust You and give You thanks in all things. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your hope is made evident through us. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for the hope we have in what is yet to come, and the blessings we have in the here and now. Amen.

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

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

The Gift of Mothers

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. – (Psalm 139:13, NIV) 

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. – (Psalm 139:13, ERV) 

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. – (Psalm 139:13, VOICE) 

Today, as well as every day, I have a heart overflowing with gratitude for my mother. Not only did God choose her to be my mom, but He chose me to be her daughter. God knew from before I had breath, who would be the perfect fit to raise, train, love and lead me best. My mom’s birthday is today, and I am so blessed to have the privilege of going to see and celebrate her existence. She is the most loving, giving and kind woman that I know. God created her for love, and she loves in ways that teach all of us what love ought to look like. Her patience and perseverance over the last many months have been inspiring, to say the least. Mom has been working tirelessly to regain strength and mobility that was lost when she suffered a stroke, nearly sixteen months ago. Though I cannot fulfill her greatest wish today, we are trusting God to pave the way and help orchestrate the details, so that mom’s next step will be to move back to her own home soon. He knows what she needs, and we are trusting that He will provide the perfect people to help provide the assistance she needs to thrive back in her own home. God is so good, and every time that I see or speak with my mom, I am reminded of just how good He truly is. May today be a day of blessings and miracles for my mom, and an opportunity for all of us to remember that God knew us and formed us with purpose, and set us in families for a reason. 

All praise be to God, 

There is no other; 

Who gives life to us, 

And gifts us mothers. 

Before we were formed, 

God already knew; 

Who He’d gift to us, 

To show us love’s true. 

And oh, how I know, 

To look to His face; 

Because mom has shown, 

His love and His grace. 

God bless her, keep her, 

Sustain her, I pray; 

All thanks unto You, 

For my mom, each day! 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You knit each of us together with intention. You designed us to love and be loved. Thank You for the incredible blessing we have through the gift of our mom. Forgive us for not thanking You enough, for Your goodness knows no end. Teach us how to love one another in a way that honors You best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible gift of mothers. 

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

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

Help In All

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, NIV) 

God is our protection and source of strength. He is always ready to help us in times of trouble. – (Psalm 46:1, ERV) 

God, You are such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in times of trouble – more than enough and always available whenever I need You. – (Psalm 46:1, TPT) 

In this extraordinarily long season, I think everyone needs a space of refuge and strength, and help in these troubling times. For some, it is for provision; for others, companionship; still others, for help and protections and strength. Whatever the need, God is able to provide in abundance. The hardest part is that it seems like we are stuck in a space of waiting. Often, it is in our waiting, that God grows us the most and helps us in ways that we cannot always see. For the upcoming school year, I feel as if I am in a holding pattern of “wait and see” to know and understand what the expectations and format will look like. I am not a fan of feeling ill-prepared, yet it is difficult to prepare for the unknown. All I can do is seek the Lord and choose to read all that I can to make certain that my heart is ready, even if my mind does not yet know the details. As for my Mom, she too is trusting God to be her refuge, strength and help, as she waits and prepares for next steps. She is more than ready to be back in her own home, but knows that details must first be aligned, before it is safe for her to return. God is faithful to grant her strength and resolve, even on the longest and most mundane of days. In all circumstances, God is more than enough. May we ever seek the Lord to be our refuge and strength, and to be our help, no matter our need.  

There’s no other place, 

In the same way this sweet pup seeks and finds refuge in our arms, we can do the same with Christ. ❤

That I’d like to be; 

Than when I am safe, 

With God, who holds me. 

He is my comfort, 

When all is unknown; 

My safe Provider, 

Whose love’s always shown. 

Shown as He grants grace, 

And keeps my heart safe; 

He loves as He guides, 

Even on dark days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even when we cannot feel it, You are working. Thank You that You are our space of refuge and comfort, and You provide for our every need. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the wait seems long. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always good. Show us how to love those around us well, and help us to provide safety and peace and provision as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for how You love us so well. Amen. 

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

Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge. – Psalm 62:8