Protect Well Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TPT)

 

The condition of our hearts is of utmost importance, for from them flows everything we think, say and do. As time is intentionally invested with God, He refines our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The more care we place into guarding our hearts from taking in what does not belong, the better the condition of our inmost being, and consequently, the more life-giving our words and deeds become. May we ever guard our hearts so that light, life and love are the things that flow out of our lives.

 

Protect well your heart, Protect Well Your Heart

Give care to each thought;

For from deep within,

Our affections are sought.

If we take in good,

Seek after the Lord;

The same flows from us,

All grace He affords.

Pursue with intent,

God and His great grace;

Allow Him to reign,

As love shapes our ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and seek You to guard our hearts, You protect and refine us to better reflect Your love to the world. Thank You that in You, there is an overflow to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anything other than Your truth to have a voice in our lives. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be protected and directed by the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to make room for what You are doing in us to overflow through love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek Your guidance in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Choose to Do Good

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NIV)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

We reap what we sow. If our plans are for the good of others, love and faithfulness find way back to us. However, if our intentions are to harm or are unkind in any way, we begin to veer off of the path that God has for us. It is a slippery slope, and one ill-intended word, deed or action, can lead to many more. Thankfully, the same is true of operating in kindness and truth. The more we seek to be pure in all of our ways, the more we recognize the good in walking out our lives according to God’s perfect plan for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in what is good, so that we may operate in kindness and truth for all of our days.

 

The ways of the Lord, To Bear Good Fruit

Are good and with love;

Led by faithfulness,

Graced from God above.

Choosing unkindness,

Is far from God’s way;

Those who plot evil,

Find they’ve gone astray.

Instead, seek the Lord,

And choose to do good;

In kindness and truth,

Do as Jesus would.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and trust in You to lead us to do good, love and faithfulness find way back to us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly in word, thought or deed. Teach us to turn to You for strength to do the right thing; always. Show us how to do all things with kindness in truth for all whom we meet, so that each may come to understand the power of Your love for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in kindness and truth as we walk out each day trusting You. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Blessings and Strength to the Seeking

Great blessings belong to those who depend on You for strength! Their heart’s desire is to make the trip to Your Temple. – (Psalm 84:5, ERV)

Happy are those who are strong in the Lord, who want above all else to follow your steps. – (Psalm 84:5, TLB)

Blessed are those who make You their strength, for they treasure every step of the journey. – (Psalm 84:5, VOICE)

 

This is a great reminder that our blessings of peace, joy and contentment come when we seek the Lord for strength. When the desire of our heart is to spend time in His presence, we begin to treasure each day and find joy in the journey. That does not mean that each day is easy, or that we somehow suddenly skate through life; but it does determine our true Source of strength and hope and joy, which makes all of the difference as we navigate each new day. May we depend on the Lord for strength each day, and treasure the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father as He blesses us with His presence and His peace as we persevere through all things.

 

May we ever learn,

balance business cobblestone conceptual

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Of blessings we’ll find;

As we seek Your strength,

With soul, heart and mind.

Your great faithfulness,

Will always be found;

By those who choose seek,

Your grace is profound.

All that we shall need,

To keep keeping on;

Your blessings and strength,

Our hope and our song.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength as we seek You. Thank You that You bless our hearts and lives with Your presence and Your peace as we pursue time with You. Thank You that we no longer have to make a pilgrimage to a holy place to find You, for You are wherever we are when we call on Your Name. Forgive us for not seeking Your strength in our struggles. Teach us to trust You to provide all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may be Your hands, heart and voice to those in need of strength and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

 

 

Poetry Lived Out

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. -Proverbs 1:5

 

Set Aside Distractions

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, NIV)

But King David answered Araunah, “No, I will pay you the full price. I will not take anything that is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not give offerings that cost me nothing.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, ERV)

David replied to Araunah, “No. I’m buying it from you, and at the full market price. I’m not going to offer God sacrifices that are no sacrifice.” – (1 Chronicles 21:24, MSG)

 

The back story prior to King David determining to give an offering at that particular place, is that he had just been spared the full brunt of God’s wrath on Israel. David’s lack of trust in God led to a seemingly severe punishment, yet God relented prior to the complete fulfillment of what He had said would be done. David contended for mercy and an angel of the Lord told him to go up and build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice at that particular place. Being a man who understood what it meant to offer a sacrifice, he knew it required a cost on his part. When King David approached Araunah about purchasing the parcel of land to use to present sacrifices to God, Araunah was ready to give the land as a gift. David could not accept the land as a gift if it was part of a sacrifice, because for him, it had to have a cost. King David needed to be acutely aware of the expense, as a reminder of the mercy extended to him and all of Israel. When we make a sacrifice, it does not necessarily have to be monetary, yet it ought to be something that makes us aware of its absence so that we are expectant in wait of the better that is yet to come. For David, it was mercy for all of Israel. That was indeed far greater than the cost of a space to offer sacrifices. Today, the same principle still applies. When we are seeking answers, giving something up as we seek the Lord so that we might fully focus on Him, helps remind us what matters most. What are the answers you are seeking or the help you are needing? What is getting in your way? Identifying the distraction may be the first step in knowing what to set aside for a time, in order to seek the Lord for the help that is needed most. May we look to the Lord for the help and answers that we seek, and set aside that which distracts us from fully pursuing Him.

 

Seek the Lord our God, Set Aside Distractions

And all of His ways;

Remove distractions,

As we give God praise.

Pursue the Lord’s best,

As we set aside;

Barriers to Him,

Draw near, choose abide.

For when we focus,

On God and His will;

He leads and guides us,

And peace comes to fill.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we come to You and set aside the things that distract us, You answer us and show us more of Yourself. Thank You that You only ask us to lay things down so that we can have something better in You. Forgive us for allowing so many things to draw our attention away from You. Set our hearts and minds on You so that we live and love according to Your plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bless and encourage and illuminate Your heart to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to sacrifice things that distract us from You and wholeheartedly pursue You and all that You have for us. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, Lord, for it is good. – Psalm 54:6

Recognize and Become Wise

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. – (Psalm 90:12, TLB)

 

Love and loss are phenomenal teachers, as they show us tangibly, the importance of each new day that we are given. Though I have walked through the end of life with one too young before, we were reminded again this past year, just how important each new day is, as we lost Mark’s dad too soon, and nearly lost my mom when she had a stroke. When we navigate seasons of struggle and loss, we can either dwell on the devastation, or embrace the gift of each new day that we are given. In the case of Mark’s father, grace, goodness, forgiveness and healing happened, as there was a recognition of numbered days, and wisdom gained in how to utilize the time. Mark and his dad were able to mend what had been broken, and though there was loss at the death, there is peace. As for mom, we have embraced with gratitude, each new day we have been given. Recovery is slow, by human standards, yet each new step and gain of strength, is reason to celebrate and give God glory. It is interesting that we typically associate older individuals with wisdom, yet now that I think about it, the older we get, the more aware we are that our days are numbered. When we know that we have a finite amount of time remaining, we desire to do the best we can with what we have. Wisdom is gained when we recognize that we are not immortal and are in need of the Savior. May we ever recognize that though our days are limited, they are each intended to count. Show us Lord, how to spend each day in a way that honors You.

 

Lord, help me number, The Wisdom We Seek

Each one of my days;

To make each one count,

May my life bring praise.

And help me to seek,

Ever choose pursue;

The wisdom that comes,

From time spent with You.

Help me to honor,

You Lord, as I live;

Let Your love and grace,

Be what I choose give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of life. Thank You that we are given a limited amount of time to live and love and extend goodness and grace as You call us to do. Thank You that as we ask, You grant wisdom to know how to navigate. Forgive us for the times that we just drift along, rather than actively pursue Your best for each new day. Teach us to recognize the gift that each new morning holds. Grant us wisdom to know how to live and love best. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to those around us, so that they too, may understand the depth of Your love and the importance of embracing the time that we have. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize how finite our time here, and pursue Your wisdom as to what to do with each new day. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Giving God Room

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

“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)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

This is the season where it seems that everyone begins to feel a bit weary and burdened with life. Perhaps it is due to shorter days with less light, colder weather, more demands as the year draws to a close; whatever the case may be, the blessing of time off that covers Christmas and into the New Year, is both welcome and needed. Currently, I am in Oregon, spending time with Mom, as my sister and her family were able to get away for a much-needed family vacation. Rest comes in various forms, and despite being wide awake before five this morning, I slept well and feel rested. My sister and her family had a bit of a debacle with their plane departing and a missed connecting flight, so they arrived to their destination less than an hour ago, when they were scheduled to arrive late last evening. Today, at noon, they will attend my brother-in-love’s alma mater’s bowl game. Perhaps the rest and refreshment for them will come in the form of love, laughter and shared stories, after having successfully navigated the crazy frustration of last evening. Sometimes the rest we need for our lives is more for our heart and soul, than for our body. Often, I am most refreshed after a long run or a vigorous hike, despite that seeming counter-intuitive to rest. Rest is really a matter of being aware of God’s presence, wherever we are, and allowing His peace to permeate our entire being. It is a laying down of the weight we are carrying and giving God room to take over and be the One in charge, as He is far better at it than we are. We are all wired differently, and He grants rest to each of us, individually, as we seek Him. May we each go to God in our weariness, and allow Him room to grant us His rest.

As for Mom, it is wonderful to be with her! She is amazing me with her resilience and willingness to do the hard work. Yesterday afternoon we needed to look for a cane for her next step in physical therapy, and Mom was ready to go. I anticipated taking her in her wheelchair, as that is what I have known for outings that required potential long walks with many people around, but Mom said, “no, the walker is fine.” By golly, she totally did it too! We made our way into the store, found what we needed, paid in the pharmacy (no lines!) and returned to the car without incident. We were not fast, but she did it well. After dinner we worked on her speech homework together, and giggled quite a bit. Before long, we were wiped out and ready to call it a day. Both of us slept well, and I actually woke up before Mom.

 

When you are weary, wp-15775437741204257769910717152582.jpg

And in need of rest;

Pursue the Lord God,

For He provides best.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

Our heart, soul and mind,

His grace helps adjust.

Where things are heavy,

He’ll carry the load;

Take us by the hand,

On challenging roads.

For things of the heart,

He blesses with peace;

Grants love and laughter,

Ease burden’s release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You, no matter what shape we are in. Thank You that when we are weary, You grant us Your rest. When we are burdened, You lighten our load or grant us the strength needed to sustain us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder heaviness on our own, or power through when we need rest. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our great Provider. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may experience rest and a lightening of their burdens when we draw near. Help them to see that it is You in us that loves well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of rest and relief when we are weary and burdened. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Patterns of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Be imitators of God in everything you do, for then you will represent your Father as His beloved sons and daughters. And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for He surrendered His life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration – a sweet healing fragrance. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, TPT)

 

When we choose to follow Christ, it is our charge to live out a life of love as His dearly loved children. Because we are loved by Him, we too, have the capacity to love others in the same way. Christ’s love is sacrificial and not self-seeking; in every way, His love is pleasing to God. On our own, such love is an impossible order. However, when we seek the Lord and spend time with Him and in His word, we learn to pattern our lives after His. This does not mean that we somehow “arrive” and suddenly love perfectly, yet the longer we pursue His path, the more clearly we are able to reflect His love. May we ever seek to follow God’s example as His dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved each of us.

 

In all that we do, patterns-of-love.jpg

May we look to God;

And pattern our lives,

Make love our response.

God’s love is immense,

Sacrificial, kind;

Never self-seeking,

With our best in mind.

May we love the same,

Throughout all our days;

So God’s love is known,

As we give Him praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that You gave all so that we could have life and light and love. Thank You that Your love is not self-seeking, but rather You always have our very best in mind. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved in the same way, or have attempted to navigate on our own. Teach us how to pattern our lives after You, so that we may love in the same way that You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us selflessly and lavishly, so that they may experience and know the depth and breadth of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pattern our lives after You, so that we may love completely. 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

In Trust, I Rise

I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:147, NIV)

I get up early in the morning to pray to You. I trust what You say. – (Psalm 119:147, ERV)

Before the day dawns, I’ll be crying out for help and wrapping Your words into my life. – (Psalm 119:147, TPT)

 

Early mornings have been my favorite time of day for many years. When I was a small child, rising early meant the promise of watching cartoons prior to whatever plans the day held. As I grew older, I discovered the beauty found in the silent stillness, while most of the world still sleeps. For an introvert in a highly interactive role, rising early to ready myself for the day, is essential. Some days, it is praying, and others, it is a sort of crying out for help, as I seek strength and wisdom to find the fortitude to forge forward in faith. No matter how I wake and approach God, He is faithful to meet me as I am. His word is alive and active; ever teaching, correcting, and challenging me to be more of who He is calling me to become. I trust Him and place my hope in He who is faithful forever. May we ever pursue our Provider, and trust His word to work in our lives.

 

Before dawn appears, 0726190601_hdr1675198494268030113.jpg

In faith, I choose rise;

To call on the Lord,

Have Him lead my life.

For as I choose trust,

Always I have found;

He’s faithful and true,

His wisdom is sound.

Help me to live well,

A life built on trust;

Renewed each morning,

Wise, faithful and just.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that whenever we come to You and pray to You, You are faithful to hear us. Thank You that we can trust in Your word. Thank You for the gift of early mornings and the capacity to rise early. Thank You for the gift of the silence of early mornings, while the world still sleeps. Forgive us for not being intentional in our pursuit of You and Your word. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be purposeful in prayer and seek to study and know Your word. Show us how to love those around us with faithfulness and grace, so that they might see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You and choose to spend time seeking You, because You are faithful and worthy of all of our trust. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

Wholehearted Seeking

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

You will search for Me, and when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me. (Jeremiah 29:13, ERV)

If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me. – (Jeremiah 29:13, NLT)

 

Yesterday, was my marathon day for student-led conferences. After being at school for more than twelve hours, I was ready to head home when our day ended at 7:00 pm. Despite the long hours, I was provided plenty of time to accomplish much. Working in silent solitude is a wonderful way to clear my mind and center my heart. Three hours of purging in my back room (that was full of things left behind by several prior occupants) allowed my heart to fix on what matters most, and my mind to dump the junk, in the same way I was clearing out the clutter from my back room. God is not difficult to find when we wholeheartedly seek Him. He is found in the ordinary and mundane, just as easily as in the incredible and miraculous, if only we set our hearts and minds on the seeking. The excitement I was holding for the possibilities that lie ahead, still remain, and I am in a better space after having had a day away from a regular school day. I know not whether the possibility will come to fruition; however, I am certain that whatever transpires will be exactly what is best for me in this season. May we ever look for the Lord wholeheartedly, for it is when we do, that we find the One for whom we are seeking.

My favorite portion of catching up with my sister yesterday was the photo and video clip she shared with me of my sweet nephew and Mom. They had all gone out to dinner and Mom was using her walker. She does well, but sometimes curbs can be tricky. Ethan, being the “dainty fellow” that he is, went in for a hug, wrapped Mom in close and secure, and did a slow swirl to move her from on top of the curb to down by the car. Her smile in the photo says it all, and Meg said her response was, “Now, that, is the BEST hug I have had all day!” ❤ Our families cannot wait to get together for Thanksgiving, and I know Mom is beyond eager to have us all together under the same roof again.

 

When we seek the Lord, 479342179338376402483072.jpeg

He’s faithful and true;

His presence is found,

As hope is renewed.

With all that we are,

And all that we do;

Pursue the Lord’s help,

See His words shown true.

For the Lord is good,

Faithful forever;

Waiting for our hearts,

In each endeavor.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You with our whole heart, we find You. Thank You that You see and know the desires of our hearts, and that You honor and bless us with what is best. Forgive us for not seeking or for giving way to doubt. Teach us to trust and seek You more. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and build others up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You wholeheartedly. Amen.

 

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

 

Indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:3-5