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

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

The psalmist who penned this Psalm knew and understood the nature of God, individually; personally. Throughout time, this has remained true. Whenever we worry, find ourselves anxious or upset, or become overwhelmed with cares, as we slow down and seek the Lord, He brings us comfort and joy, even in the midst of circumstances that are not ideal. God is good and loving and kind, and He provides comfort in our cares and peace in our spaces of unrest. His love has brought joy in the midst of horrible situations. 

A few years ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. The circumstances and situation surrounding it were devastating. However, God made a way for me to be with her and to spend the first few months following the incident with her. He brought joy and laughter to us both, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We were able to delight in simple things, and His goodness and grace were overwhelmingly apparent. It has been a roller coaster of a road to recovery ever since, but all the while, God has brought comfort and joy to us all each step of the way. 

May we ever look to the Lord when we feel our cares compounding, for He is faithful to meet us in our moments, as He shows us His goodness and love, and comforts us with true joy that comes from Him alone.

The Lord brings comfort,

Sunset on Oahu. ❤

When chaos surrounds;

He’s peace that’s present,

And love that astounds.

God grants us His joy,

In the midst of pain;

He lightens our load,

And shows us He reigns.

When worry creeps in,

And peace slips away;

Seek the Lord Jesus,

For He is the way.

The way to know joy,

When it seems so far;

His love overwhelms,

Wherever we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our chaos and anxiety and bring us comfort and joy. Thank You that You are our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to flood our hearts with anxiousness and fear. Teach us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You to lead us through with Your goodness and strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be bearers of joy and comfort in challenging times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, knowing that You alone are our source of comfort and joy. Amen.

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

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

Hope Overflowing

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

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

When we know and understand the hope that God alone provides, joy and peace are present and hope grows and overflows from us. Hope is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather is present despite them. We all experience mountains and valleys in our lives, and with God, we can still know peace and joy in the midst of the most difficult seasons. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith and trust in Him so that our hope overflows and His joy and peace are ever present.

May the God of hope,

Fill you with all joy;

Peace that comes from faith,

As love is employed.

Hope overflowing,

Is how the Lord gives;

As we trust in Him,

To lead us to live.

Live in His presence,

Where hope’s always found;

Goodness and His grace,

In Him do abound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all hope is found in You. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time in Your presence, You fill us more and more with Your joy and peace as hope overflows from the abundance You grow within us. Forgive us for thinking joy and peace are dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that they are dependent on You alone. Thank You that You provide peace and joy through all things and at all times, despite our circumstances. Teach us to trust and depend on You to be our hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your joy, peace, and hope overflow to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You because You are our hope, and the place where we find joy and peace are present, always. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

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

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Trust in His Love

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as a song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Yesterday, upon our return home, we discovered our eldest broke his tibia and fibula, and was in Seattle, about to go into surgery. This was not on our radar as we arrived home, but the details quickly unfolded when the vehicle was home and he was not. What does this verse have to do with all that? After the initial fear, frustration and beyond, God came close and reminded us of the good, even in this awful situation. For example, the circumstances surrounding his injuries could have been much worse or potentially even taken his life. Additionally, he has a place to stay to recover and rehabilitate his injured leg, and will have time to take care of his schooling that has long been set aside. We are grateful that God spared his life and that his brother was with him to get him to the hospital quickly. The Lord’s help was and continues to be present, even in the midst of unexpected challenges. May we ever seek Him to lead us and strengthen us to do what we need to do. All praise and thanks to God, for His love and mercy do not end.

The Lord is my strength,

And I trust in Him;

My shield and my help,

As love enters in.

My help and my hope,

God is ever near;

Our reason to sing,

He silences fear.

As we know His help,

Reminders to sing;

Grace overflowing,

All good His love brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present to help, and that You care about all things. Thank You that You strengthen and provide for us where we need it most. Forgive us for the times that we allow our vision to be clouded by the struggles before us rather than focus on Your help and strength that are present and available to us. Teach us to trust You in every circumstance and to seek You to lead and guide us. Flood our hearts with praise unto You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point to You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your ongoing provision of help, strength and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Protection as We Come and Go

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. – (Psalm 121:8, HCSB)

The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:8, ERV)

He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always. – (Psalm 121:8, MSG)

It is good to be reminded that God will be with us with all of our comings and goings. I love to travel, as in enjoying different destinations, but I am not a fan of flying. This timely reminder is good, as this time tomorrow, we will be on a plane, in the air, traveling to spend time with family and friends in much warmer weather. God goes before us, beside us, and brings up the rear. He is present to keep us safe and remind us that He holds us in His hands. I need not be nervous, but rather I simply need to seek and trust in Him. Time away is a gift, as is a safe return. May we ever remember the Lord’s faithfulness to protect our coming and going, and trust Him to be with us, always.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord will be near,

Take us safely through.

For He knows the time,

The days of our lives;

From start to finish,

Each one is designed.

Prepared with purpose,

Goodness and His grace;

So we may choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and watch behind us. Thank You that You are near wherever we go. Thank You that we can trust You to keep and protect us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and nerves when we are not in control of how we get where we are going. Teach us to trust in You to lead us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, wherever we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and remain with us wherever we go, each and every day we draw breath. Amen.

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

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – Psalm 91:4

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

Our Strength and Help

But You, Lord, don’t be far away. My strength, come quickly to help me. – (Psalm 22:19, HCSB)

Lord, don’t leave me! You are my strength – hurry and help me! – (Psalm 22:19, ERV)

But You, O Eternal, stay close; O You, my help, hurry to my side. – (Psalm 22:19, VOICE)

If David, a mighty warrior who became a powerful king knew to call on the Lord to be his strength in times of trouble or weariness, how much more can we? God is faithful to be near, and He hears us as we call on His Name to be our help and our hope. The Lord strengthens us in our weariness, and remains present through all things. May we ever seek the Lord to be our help, hope and strength, for He is faithful in all things and at all times.

O Lord, be our strength,

Please ever be near;

Our help and our hope,

Who makes our paths clear.

Come quickly, O God,

We need strength and love;

Lead us forward well,

By Your grace above.

Show us Your kindness,

Direct all our ways;

Teach us what is best,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the help and hope that we can depend on. Thank You that You hear our cries for help and You sustain us with Your presence and love. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when our circumstances seem to be too much. Show us again how You love and help us in all things and at all times. Lead us to love and walk alongside one another well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You to be our strength and help throughout all our days. 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 I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Hope is Certain

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

Hope is certain when we understand the faithfulness of God. His faithfulness is not dependent on whether or not things go the way that we’d hoped, but rather that He remains with us, in and through all things. God’s promises are not for an easy life, but rather for one with Him present to help us live with purpose. Our purpose is not some big mysterious question mark, but is to love God and love people in all that we do. Some of the greatest examples of people who have held onto hope without wavering, were people who had to navigate the greatest obstacles, yet did so with a firm faith in He who is our hope. God has shown us again and again that we can trust Him to be present and to provide what we need to press on. May we ever hold fast to the hope we have in God, for He is trustworthy and is faithful to His promises forever.

Lord, help us hold fast,

To Your promises;

For You are faithful,

To all You have said.

Present in all things,

You supply our needs;

Flood our hearts with love,

For Your grace exceeds.

Love that’s unfailing,

Grace that knows no end;

Hope in forever,

And peace You extend.

All thanks be to God,

Our hope ever more;

Where goodness and love,

Are an open door.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and the One in whom we can place our hope. Thank You that Your love sustains us and Your goodness strengthens us to hold fast to hope in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the hope that is only found in You. Teach us to trust in You and to remember You are faithful to fulfill Your promises. Show us how to love, encourage, and extend hope to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope we profess and trust in Your faithfulness always. Amen.

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24