Seek First the Faithful One

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

See first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. – (Matthew 6:33, VOICE)

Despite how things appear, God is faithful to supply what we need to get through each new day as we seek Him. For months, it feels as if I have been going nonstop. There were small breaks on the weekends, but never a whole day to slow down and rest. Today, I will have an unexpected day off from work, as one of my kiddos needs me to drive him to an appointment out of town, and there is a terrific substitute available to cover. I anticipate the provision of a day today will be more than enough to carry me through tomorrow, as it will be the last day before spring break. Each morning I begin my day seeking God, and lifting up the cares and worries of the day ahead. His faithfulness never fails me and His mercies are new every morning. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace, for He is faithful to provide all that we need.

The Lord is so good,

Ever He is kind;

Faithful to provide,

He has us in mind.

God knows what we need,

And as we choose seek;

He hears and helps us,

Grants strength when we’re weak.

For in our pursuit,

Following the Lord;

He’s our provider,

All grace He affords.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful as we seek You. Thank You that You see and hear and know what we need, and in love, You supply all in just the right time. Forgive us for struggling to trust Your timing, for You always have a purpose and a plan, despite what we see. Teach us to trust Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may tangible see Your provision and faithful love for them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

He Grants Us His Rest

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, HCSB)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

God’s timing is perfect. Our need for rest does not escape Him. The six or so weeks between the New Year and this lovely long weekend, have seemed more like six months. Between being busy and the ongoing navigation of teaching and coaching in a pandemic, the weight of the last many weeks has taken its toll. In anticipation of the much-needed rest, I did some research and found a great AirbNb for a long weekend escape. It is in a small quiet town, right on the beach, and the weather is forecast to be rainy and gray. The combination of these things are promoters of rest. I anticipate lazy, leisurely mornings, relaxing days and restful nights. For both my love and me, it is exactly what we are needing together. The provision of time and resources to get away are an answer to prayer. May we ever seek the Lord to help us lay down our burdens and find rest in Him. 

Choose turn to Jesus,

When weary and worn;

He grants us His rest,

As new strength is born.

For in Him there’s peace,

He knows what is best;

To refresh our hearts,

And give our souls rest.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To find rest in You;

Lighten the burdens,

As love’s what You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You with our heaviness and weariness, You provide spaces and time for rest. Thank You for Your kindness and love that lightens our load and grants us the rest and refreshment we need. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to come to You, for You are faithful to meet us as we come to You and supply what we need most. Teach us to trust and rely on You always. Show us how to love well, so that those around us are blessed and refreshed too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest and praise You for Your provision. 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

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Fear is a Liar

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, NIV)

Fear can be a trap, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, ERV)

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. – (Proverbs 29:25, MSG)

Fear is a liar. It creeps in and tells us that we are not enough, and that we will never accomplish what we have been called and created to do. When we choose to trust in the Lord, we discover peace, provision and safety. The things that once brought fear can become sources of joy. In Him, we need not be afraid, but rather we can move confidently forward in all that He calls us to do and become. May we choose to listen to the voice of truth, and allow Him to show us how to overcome fears and persevere.

Choose let not the fear,

Of people and things;

Keep us from doing,

What is our calling.

Instead trust the Lord,

Who arms and protects;

Equips success,

As He knows what’s best.

Rise up in freedom,

Choose His strength and song;

Keep pressing forward,

In Christ, carry on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear people and their opinions, but rather we need to trust in You. Thank You that we have been created and called with purpose. Forgive us for allowing the opinions of others to give fear a foothold. Show us how to listen to Your voice and trust in the truth of Your word. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages trust and chases away fear so that all might persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the truth of who You are and silence the fears that are not founded in truth. Amen.

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

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 118:6

A Heart At Peace

A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. – (Proverbs 14:30, NIV)

Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer. – (Proverbs 14:30, ERV)

A tender, tranquil heart will make you healthy, but jealousy can make you sick. – (Proverbs 14:30, TPT)

The heart is at peace when we recognize all of the reasons we have to be grateful. A grateful heart is healthy and happy, thus at peace, no matter the circumstances. However, when we start looking at what others have and make comparisons, jealousy has room to rise and rot our hearts and attitudes. Rather than envy, we ought to be happy for those around us who have what we desire. The heart becomes sick when seeped in wanting what we do not have, yet joy comes to us as we give thanks for all that we do have. God is good and gracious, and we need not allow comparison to steal our peace. We are loved, valued and provided for just as we are, and He grows in us and through us more of what He intended, as we depend on and trust in Him. May we ever seek peace from our Provider, for it is in Him that we find health, happiness and peace.

To understand peace,

Requires gratitude;

All thanks be to God,

Through love, we’re pursued.

Let not jealousy,

Rise up, find a place;

It kills thankfulness,

Dismisses God’s grace.

May we choose seek peace,

By seeking the Lord;

All thanks be to God,

Who loves and adores.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can know true peace as we recognize that gratitude grows peace within us. Thank You that You show us how to protect our hearts and the peace You provide. Forgive us for the times that we have envied those around us. Show us how to celebrate the blessings granted to others and to give all thanks to You for the provision in our lives. Lead us to love those around us in ways that extend Your peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming peace that surpasses understanding, and depend on You to celebrate others rather than envy what others have. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 118:1

To Finish Our Race

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV)

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV)

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG)

God is faithful to refresh us when we come before Him. Our weariness is exchanged for His strength. In Christ, we are able to do abundantly more than we had ever hoped or imagined, and He sustains and strengthens us so that we may continue in the direction to which we are called. To walk, run and soar in His strength is a provision of supernatural perseverance. For all of us who have been a part of an online transition over the last year, sticking with it has been the clear evidence of new feathers grown in us. It was not easy, but certainly worthwhile. And now, as we are on the cusp of the other side, it is far easier to look back and see the evidence of His hand through it all. May we ever trust in the Lord to renew our strength and to press forward walking, running and soaring as He sustains us.

On wings like eagles,

In Christ, I rise;

Our earnest seeking,

Will not be denied.

All strength and all hope,

Are found in the Lord;

Resolve to press on,

As love He affords.

More than we could hope,

He provides His grace;

All to keep going,

To finish our race.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness and be sustained and strengthened to continue in all that You call us to do. Forgive us for folding or for attempting to power through on our own. Teach us to trust and rely on You to renew us and lead us well. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and renew them to continue in all they are called to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the new feathers we are granted as we seek You to run our race well. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Rest Replenished in Hope

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not? – (Psalm 62:5, MSG)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

As an educator during a pandemic, this has been the truth I have come to know even more than ever before. It is in Christ that I find rest and hope, even on the days that our circumstances felt hopeless. Yesterday was our final day of live and Zoom instruction, and today is an asynchronous day that provides time to tie up loose ends, and work to complete final grading. Tomorrow, we report for one final day to aid in the collection of materials being returned, and to close up our classrooms for the summer. Friday will be the final day of gymnastics, utilized for returning all of our equipment to storage until next year’s season begins. I am beyond grateful for the summer season that provides rest. Though there is a variety of training and such scheduled throughout the time off, there is still time to truly take pause, recognize the goodness of God, and really rest. The beautiful thing about the rest that God provides, is that He does not need vacation nor weekends to make it so. We simply must quiet our soul before Him, for He is our hope and our Provider of rest. God is faithful, and He does what He says He will do. May we quiet our souls before Him and wait on the rest that comes from Him, the One in whom we hold our hope.

My soul does find rest,

In the Lord alone;

As my heart seeks Him,

His love is made known.

The space where hope’s held,

When we seek the Lord;

Is flooded with love,

As goodness is shown.

Trust in His goodness,

Hold hope in His grace;

He’s true to His word,

When we seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness and faithfulness that provide us hope and rest as we seek You. Thank You for moments and seasons of rest. Forgive us for lumbering on in exhaustion, rather than slowing down to see Your true provision of rest. Teach us to turn to You in trust, and wait quietly before You, resting in Your presence. Show us how to come alongside those around us in ways that offer relief and evidence of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You and praise You for Your blessed provision of real rest. Amen.

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

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

Faithful Answers

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

Now happily home…

When we ask the Lord, He answers. Friday evening, we were in communication with the trainers who were caring for our dogs during their board and train program. By the end of the back and forth conversation, I could not shake the gnawing feeling that had formed in my gut. As I prayed and sought the Lord, I knew that we needed to bring our dogs home the next day as we were scheduled for a private lesson to work on what the dogs had been doing throughout their training thus far. Yesterday, after having run an errand, we returned home to take care of some projects around the house, prior to heading to our meet up location at a park. Out of the blue, I received a phone call that I would never have expected. An animal control officer contacted me to let me know that there was a case involving our pup, Thor. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed me as I listened to the officer unpack what had transpired. A kind citizen had called animal control and submitted video footage of Thor being continually mistreated and harmed for somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. The officer let me know that the initial officer who took the case had to hand it over to him, as she could not watch the footage due to the horror it portrayed. By this time, I was shaking and could not fathom the sort of people who would do such things. Prior to leaving for the park, we messaged the trainers and asked that they please bring our dogs belongings with them. Upon arrival at the park, we restlessly watched and waited. I knew that I was not to even speak to the trainers, for God had prepared me to focus only on my dogs, and have my husband speak to them. Thankfully, the kind animal control officer arrived prior to our pups, so we were able to speak more with him about what had taken place and what would happen next. He remained with us when the trainers arrived, and I immediately went to the back door of the car and took Thor’s leash to get him out. He joyfully came to me, and could not get away from the car fast enough. Once my husband had Tali, our other precious pup, he calmly took our belongings to load in the car, and then matter-of-factly informed the trainers that they would be granting us a full refund and covering the vet bill we would incur as our next stop was to be a wellness check with our vet for both dogs, to be certain there were no lasting injuries, or, we would be seeing them in civil court. With looks of fear and horror, they simply shook their heads in the recognition that we knew what had taken place. Thankfully, both pups were uninjured, but both had lost a dramatic amount of weight. Thor was down ten pounds, and Tali, six, after nine days in their “care”. Both horrified and tremendously grateful, we brought our babies home and have been loving them ever since. Though this has been a traumatic ordeal, I can see God’s faithfulness, protection and provision, despite the evil intent of the trainers. From the good citizen who reported and submitted what they saw, to the animal control officer who went out of his way to help us and be certain that our dogs were safely returned to our care, God was with us as He provided and protected, and showed us the way to deal with this horrific situation. Both pups are happily home, and have returned to their normal sweet and mischievous ways. God is good, and He is forever faithful to answer as we ask and seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer our cries. Thank You that You open doors that we knock upon, and make Your heart and plan evident as we ask. Thank You for returning our fur babies safely. Forgive us for the fear and anger that arose as we discovered what had taken place. Continue to teach us how to trust You more, as You are always with us and working on our behalf. Show us how to love all those around us, even when we think others are undeserving of love. Please work in the hearts of the trainers so that they may come to understand Your love and kindness that heals hurts and changes hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to ask, seek and knock all of our days. Amen.

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

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

Simply Be Still

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. – (Exodus 14:14, NIV)

You will not have to do anything but stay calm. The Lord will do the fighting for you. – (Exodus 14:14, ERV)

The Eternal will fight on your behalf while you watch in silence. – (Exodus 14:14, VOICE)

The context of this passage is such a powerful reminder of who God is and how He loves. As the Israelites had escaped Egypt and traveled into the desert, Pharaoh and the Egyptian army decided that they had made a mistake in allowing the people to go, and were pursuing them with chariots and horses. In fear and frustration, the Israelites began second-guessing their departure to the desert, and Moses called on the Lord. The response Moses was given was the above verse that he was to share with his people. God demonstrated His power and provision to His people, as He parted the Red Sea and threw the Egyptian army into confusion. The Israelites safely crossed through, and once the Egyptians were all in the middle of the sea, God released the Red Sea and covered the entire military movement, leaving no Egyptian survivors. Often, when we are in the midst of our biggest battles, God tells us the same, “Be still and I will fight for you.” What I have discovered over and over again, is that when I am meant to be still, and actually listen, God moves in miraculous ways. There are times that He calls us to fight or to move as He leads us and strengthens us, yet there are times when we are simply meant to be still and seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His voice, as He instructs us to be still before Him and observe all that He will do.

Let us seek the Lord,

When we’re overwhelmed;

For God has a plan,

In Him, we’re upheld.

Sometimes in trials, 

He tells us, “Be still,”

The Lord is greater,

With grace He will fill.

Our battles belong,

To the Holy One;

Who loves us so much,

That He sent His Son.

All trials we face,

In Him, they are won;

He overcame death,

So we’d overcome.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, yet powerful and ready to fight on our behalf. Thank You that often You call us to be still and give You room to move. Forgive us for the times that we try to keep fighting in spaces that were meant to be Yours. Teach us to seek You and truly listen, so that we may know when to fight and when to be still. Show us how to love all those around us, for everyone has battles that are meant to be Yours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift our laments before You and listen for Your leading, every step of the way. Amen.

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

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” – Psalm 46:10

Remember to Praise

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

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

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me – body, emotions, mind, and will – every part of who I am – praise His holy name. O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. – (Psalm 103:1-2, VOICE)

For so many, I know this pandemic is a very long season of struggle. Isolation and financial hardships have not been a positive pairing. However, even so, God is good. Difficult seasons have a way of bringing out the good in people. I have witnessed generosity and grace, kindness, goodness and compassion, in spaces where it was needed most. As we praise God and remember His blessings, it inspires us to do the same for those around us. The more we recognize the goodness of God, the greater our desire becomes to praise Him with all that we are. May we ever seek to know God more, and allow our lives to sing out our gratitude for who He is and all that He has done, as we intentionally love people and love God, the way that He intended.

Lord, I lift my praise,

All up unto You;

For Your mighty love,

And all that You do.

Your kindness and grace,

Give reason to sing;

All thanks unto You,

Our praise offering.

Let our very lives,

Be songs that give praise;

For Your mighty love,

Outpoured each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to praise. Thank You for Your goodness and grace, love and merciful ways, shown to us again and again throughout all of our days. Forgive us for allowing our eyes to fix on the difficulties before us, rather than on the One who is our Provider. Teach us to turn to You, recognizing the power of Your love and provision. Show us how to love those around us in ways that glorify You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are through all that we do and say. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9