To Encourage One Another

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV) 

So, encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV) 

Because of this, encourage the hearts of your fellow believers and support one another, just as you have already been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, TPT) 

It is imperative that we encourage one another, support each other, and help each other grow stronger in faith, for without faith there is no hope, and with no hope, there cannot be change. All that is going on in our nation, demands that we search ourselves and determine what must change. In order to press on and keep moving toward reconciliation and peace, we must encourage each other to stretch and grow. Between the months of isolation and the social injustices that now scream for our attention, we need each other to dig in and press on. In order to love God and love people, we must pursue deeper relationships. That only occurs as we seek to know one another better. With God, it is time in His word, in worship, in prayer, and intentional fellowship together that encourages our hearts to know Him more. With people, we must know and understand one another. This means there has to be time invested to know the unique history of each person, and what has shaped them into who they are today. When we understand people’s perspectives, we can more clearly encourage and support one another. Right now, for me, this space is one of educating myself more thoroughly about the marginalization of much of our nation’s population, based solely of the amount of melanin in their skin. It is a mortifying history, one that overwhelms, saddens and enrages me. If I feel this way on behalf of people I love, how much more are those who are living it feeling? We must be and do better. As we learn and grow, we are better equipped to love more deeply, and fight for the equality and loving society that God intended. Every nation, tribe and tongue will be sharing the same eternity. How I love and encourage all those around me, impacts not only today, but forever. May we seek the Lord for courage, and pursue wisdom to grow into the people who He created us to be.   

May we seek the Lord, 

His wisdom and grace; 

To love, encourage, 

For all of our days. 

We all have been called, 

To love each other; 

Encourage, lift up, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Each time we choose love, 

God’s will’s being done; 

Light in the darkness, 

We choose to become. 

So, let us rise up, 

Seek to learn and grow; 

Honor each other, 

Make the Lord’s love known. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage one another to grow. Thank You that You are faithful to lead us to change and become more of who You created us to be as we seek Your help and Your heart. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have failed to encourage or build others up. Teach us how to best build up and encourage one another, so that all may grow in Your love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that each will be encouraged. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and build those around us up, ever extending Your love to all. 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

Prayer Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

As usual, what is part of my scheduled daily reading, is exactly what I needed to remember this morning. Part of the joy and blessing in our new puppy, is the constant companion who joyfully wants to join me in all things. The thing I have been most excited about, has been to have a dog who can run with us. For the last week, Thor (my sweet puppy), has been joining us on jog/walk/carries on weekday mornings. Two dear dog-owning friends privately messaged me to be careful about how far I take a puppy. I thought I was using caution, as I watched his cues, and picked him up to carry him any time he seemed weary or bored of walking. Sadly, unless I know specifics, I just do what seems best until I learn otherwise. One of the friends happened to send me a link about puppies and how much exercise they need, based on age, and all of the justification as to why. That sent me to research further, only to discover that I now need to pump the brakes on our morning sessions until Thor is quite a bit older. This caused two-fold anxiety in me. One, I felt horrible that I had likely overdone the exercise for my poor puppy for four or five days, and second, I was worried about how I would be able to stand staying seated for all of the hours of work that I need to do each day, without getting out and moving first. My prayer was pretty much, “O God, now what?” I paused, took a deep breath, and decided to call my running buddy. She was extremely gracious, and we determined to get back to afternoon running, as it is when I could recruit my boys to puppy sit. I know this is a small and seemingly insignificant concern, but God cares about our every concern, great and small. May we ever present our cares and concerns to Christ, for He hears, He loves, and He brings everything together for good somehow.

 

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Instead, let us pray;

For Christ hears each cry,

All night and all day.

What concerns our hearts,

He’ll carry with peace;

As we turn to Him,

Our fear is released.

So, lift head and heart,

To Him, give all care;

He’s ever-present,

And everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring all of our concerns, cares and anxieties to You, and You care and bring us Your peace. Thank You that You are always ready and available to hear our prayers. Forgive us for fear and doubt that allow anxiousness a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, for You are faithful and kind and care about our concerns, no matter how small. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your peace an obvious presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? – Luke 12:25

 

 

Zoom into Peace

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

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

Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life. – (Philippians 4:6, TPT)

 

Today will be the first official day of remote learning. The first day of instructing online; the first day of posting parent instructional videos; and the first opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices of my students on Zoom. I would be lying if I said I have not been a bit anxious the last few weeks, as we have been unpacking and preparing to go “live”. Learning an entirely new way of instructing and how to organize and upload and post everything, for three different preps has stretched and challenged me beyond what I thought I could handle. With much prayer and the blessed provision of professional learning communities, I think that I am ready to launch. As I was finishing up my final video posts for parents last evening, I checked my school email. To my surprise, there was a wonderful message from one of my Language Arts and Social Studies students, letting me know how excited he is to get started with remote learning today! He filled me in on a bit of what he has been doing under his mom’s tutelage, and informed me that he was pretty much an expert on Zoom, having watched his mom participate in countless meetings over the past several weeks. I imagine that you too, can understand the power held in the encouraging words of my 6th grade student. All of the struggles over the past several weeks to navigate this new learning, suddenly did not matter. Knowing that at least one student is eager and ready to get started, makes it all worthwhile. It is easy to forget that we are often God’s hands or His voice to soothe anxiety and bring calm to those around us. He utilizes His people to make His heart tangible so that we may know His peace. Prayers are often answered through the people He provides, and one of those for me was a simple email from a sixth grader. Yes, I am still a bit nervous about today, but it is a first-day-of-school, can’t-wait-to-meet-them, sort of feeling. These are my kids whom I have not seen in more than a month. Today, I get to begin to reconnect and see and hear them for myself. More than an email – live voices and smiling faces. It will be good, and I am glad. May anxiety melt away as we lift our concerns to God. He hears and He cares, and He is the perfecter of our peace.

 

Choose lift to the Lord,

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Classroom vs. Virtual Room Preparations…

Each anxiety;

For He hears and cares,

Is near and ready.

He brings us His peace,

Most generously;

His kindness and grace,

Sets anxiousness free.

Come before the Lord,

Seek His help and grace;

His goodness and strength,

He’ll fill up our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that Your goodness and grace wash away our anxiousness when we bring our concerns before You. Thank You that You utilize people to make Your heart tangible. Forgive us for allowing our anxiousness to overwhelm us, rather than slowing down and setting all at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide all that we need to navigate every new circumstance and situation when we rely on You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be the encouragement, strength, or peace that is needed to ease away anxiousness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for Your care and concern for us, individually, and the peace that is provided through Your incredible love. Amen.

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Place of Safety

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

People, always put your trust in God! Tell Him all your problems. God is our place of safety. – (Psalm 62:8, ERV)

Join me, everyone! Trust only in God every moment! Tell Him all your troubles and pour out your heart-longings to Him. Believe me when I tell you – He will help you! Pause in His presence. – (Psalm 62:8, TPT)

 

We really are in a space of having no choice but to trust in Him. With the daily tolls climbing of those affected by COVID-19, and the increasing impact it is having on medical system, our economy, and families, it is a space where people either panic or choose to trust. God is a great listener. He hears all that we have to say. No question is too small nor too great, and He is not offended by our lack of understanding. God is our safe space, waiting with open arms to embrace us in our moments of fear, frustration or disbelief. For me, the greatest struggle is having to stay at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love my people who make our house a home; it is the wanderlust in me that has this constant desire to be out moving and doing and exploring. My one escape each day is to run, but that is severely out of balance in relationship to the number of hours I find myself seated on the couch, attempting to make sense of my job and how to function digitally. Please do not misunderstand, for I am immensely grateful that I am among the gainfully employed. Rather, it is a struggle to shift from continually moving around my classroom, and walking about campus, to spending so much time indoors. There is a learning curve, and I am adapting, it just takes time and trust and prayer. What I realize more than ever, is the countless reasons that I do have to express gratitude. Even from indoors, I can see trees surrounding us out each window. When I head outside and walk, I do not need to go far to see cherry blossoms blooming, daffodils cheerfully greeting walkways, and not far off, I can catch glimpses of the Puget Sound. Additionally, when I go further, the snow-capped Cascades rise over the water. If I head a different direction to run, I am greeted by the glorious glaciers gleaming in the early morning light a top Mt. Rainier. Beauty is everywhere, and this is our opportunity to truly take it all in. As we close out our week, may we pause in His presence and share our hearts with He who holds us in the hollow of His hands. God is good, and His love for us knows no end.

 

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Share your heart with Him;

He’s present to help,

As we let Him in.

Our place of safety,

When troubles surround;

Peace in the chaos,

Where life and love’s found.

Lean into Jesus,

He always is near;

Ready to listen,

Each heart cry He’ll hear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are certain, even when all around us is not. Thank You that we can trust in You and depend on You to be our space of safety and the One to whom we can say anything that is on our heart. Thank You that You are bigger than our fears, frustrations and doubts. Forgive us for our restlessness as we adjust to a new normal. Show us how to call on You and depend on You to be our safety, our comfort and our companion. Teach us how to love those around us well, even though it will look different, Your heart can be conveyed through kindness, encouragement and support as we offer what we have to give. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our safety, our confidante and the One who hears our every heart cry as we wait out this storm, loving people well. Amen.

 

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

 

You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. – Psalm 32:7

Working Everything for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

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God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Filter the Flow

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” – (Mark 7:15, NIV)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15, TLB)

“There is nothing outside someone that can corrupt him. Only the things that come out of a person can corrupt him.” – (Mark 7:15, VOICE)

 

The things that surround us do not defile us by their mere existence. It is what we do with what we take in that determines the outcome. Our thoughts, words and deeds are what demonstrate the condition of our heart, not what we eat or where we happen to be planted. We all have a choice as to what we do with what we take in – we either embrace whatever it is and it seasons that which we say and do, or we recognize the need for a Godly filter, and cast aside that which is of no benefit to us or others. May we seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, allowing room for His heavenly filter to decipher what is beneficial and what needs to be let go, so that what comes out of us is wrapped in the love of God.

 

Our heart is the space, Enter With Thanksgiving

Where we all decide;

Which words and actions,

In life, be applied.

It is these choices,

Not things that surround;

That lift or corrupt,

As the truth is found.

May we all choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

May our words and deeds,

Provide love’s embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what is outside of us and even what we take in is not what corrupts us. Thank You that it is a matter of the heart and what we do with our thoughts and actions that determine whether we are walking in line with You or far from You. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered on our own with our words, thoughts or actions. Please repair the damage done by our lack of listening. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take pause and listen to Your leading in every word, thought and deed. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide us in our thoughts, words and actions. May we ever honor You in all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:2

Lean Not On Your Own

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 paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions. Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish, and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, VOICE)

 

Trusting God is far easier in some areas than in others. For me, it seems that when I have zero power to control the situation, I have no choice but to trust in Him. However, when I think that I can somehow maneuver and place myself in the best possible position to navigate a given situation, it does not necessarily go well. My ways are not His ways, and my plans are not God’s plans. No matter how well-intended my ideas are, God’s way is always better. Incredibly, God is gentle and kind, and He never forces His way in. He will wait, ever so patiently, for us to come to Him for His help. Currently, I find myself in a space where there seems to be no way, yet the direction appears a long-awaited answer to prayer. In this space, I have no choice but to trust and seek Him for answers and direction, every step of the way. Though I know not if what I see is what He is calling me to, I know His plans for me are good, and I will trust Him for all that lies ahead. May we ever place our trust in the Lord rather than our own understanding, for it is He who directs our steps and makes our way secure.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, Set Aside Distractions

In all things, always;

He hears each request,

To show us the way.

Decide not to lean,

On what our eyes see;

But rather seek God,

For what’s yet to be.

The Lord makes a way,

Where we never could;

And His way is best,

God’s plans, always good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You, rather than our own understanding. Thank You that when we acknowledge You and depend on You, You prepare the way and make our paths straight. Thank You that Your ways are higher than ours, and You already know the outcome of what we desire. Forgive us for attempting to maneuver on our own, rather than seeking and depending on You. Teach us how to trust and rely on You in all thing and at all times to navigate our days according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be encouraged and strengthened to seek You in all things too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. – Psalm 28:7

Thankful for Blessings

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – (Psalm 107:8, NIV)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Whenever the verse of the day comes from the Psalms, I seldom read just the one in which the verse is found. The raw and real that reads like poetry, speak clearly to my heart. As I somehow found myself in Psalm 107, after having begun in 97, I discovered that the words written in verse eight, are repeated three more times in the same Psalm. Any time there is repetition in scripture, it is a clear indicator to pay attention and take note. I appreciate how each of the various translations unpack a slightly different aspect of the truth of God and why we ought to give Him thanks. Unfailing love, wonderful deeds for mankind, faithful love, amazing things for people, marvelous kindness, and miracles of mercy for those He loves, are the specific reasons to give thanks to the Lord, all found in one verse that is repeated three times in a single chapter. Personally, it would take little time to fill an entire page with examples of God’s faithful love and the amazing things that He does for people. I have been both the recipient and an observer, and am equally blessed in knowing the powerful love that fuels such wonderful deeds for humankind. May we ever give thanks to God, for He is faithful and loving and His willingness to extend His marvelous kindness and miracles of mercy to those He loves, never ends.

Yesterday marked the one-week countdown for Mom, before she moves into her next leg of her healing journey. There has been much prayer, preparation and discussion to reach this step of her path, so all encouragement is wonderful and welcome. As with anything new, there are concerns and hesitation; primarily due to change. The struggle comes when those on the outside begin to question decisions that were made with confident faith in Christ, and the determination and resolve begin to waver. For Mom and the immediate family, loving support and encouragement will be the most helpful as the new comes into fruition. Thank you in advance, for all who have been and continue to pray, for we anticipate amazing things in the coming weeks and months! God’s marvelous kindness and miracles of mercy have been present every step of the way so far, and we look forward with faith, to all of the blessings He has in store for Mom that are yet to come.

 

May we choose give thanks, Pleased with Good Plans

To You, Lord above;

For wonderful deeds,

You’ve done in Your love.

For kindness and grace,

We give You thanks too;

With all that we are,

We lift praise to You.

For great miracles,

That make Your heart known;

Thankfulness we bring,

For blessings You’ve shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful love that extends kindness and mercy, goodness and grace, for all of our days. Thank You that Your love for us is greater than our hearts can even begin to comprehend. Forgive us for doubting Your care, concern or nearness when times are trying. Teach us to trust that You are present and moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what You are doing. Show us how to love those around us through every season and struggle that we walk through. Let Your kindness be evident in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful love and incredible blessings, as You move in our lives and on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

He Hears

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

You will answer me, God; I know You always will, like You always do as You listen with love to my every prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, TPT)

 

God in His amazing grace, hears our every prayer. He is faithful to answer as we ask, if only we seek Him. Yesterday was a day abounding in new, to the point of being a bit overwhelming before it even began. In His grace, God met me each step of the way, and the day went fairly well. New classes, new season and a new semester were each met with new strength, wisdom and resolve. All are a work in progress, but the tangible reminder that He answers what we ask of Him is an ongoing motivation to continue to depend on Him. May we call on the Lord, for He will answer, each time we pray to Him.

 

As we call on God, Compassion in Confrontations

He hears what we say;

Both spoken aloud,

And what our hearts pray.

Faithful to answer,

The God of all grace;

He knows what we need,

Throughout all our days.

So, seek Him and ask,

In faith, choose to pray;

God sees and answers,

In the best of ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear and answer us. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that keep us from asking, or questioning when answers come differently than we would have imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as Your ways are best and You love to bless Your children. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that extend Your heart and hope in spaces they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and know that You hear all that we lift before You. Amen.

 

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

 

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12