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

Measured By Our Maker

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Where God’s love is, there is no fear, because God’s perfect love takes away fear. It is His punishment that makes a person fear. So His love is not made perfect in the one who has fear. – (1 John 4:18, ERV)

There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

 

I’m not sure why my heart held onto this particular verse this morning as I read through today’s passages, but for whatever reason, it did. Perhaps it is to remind my own heart that above all, I am loved perfectly by God. I am not particularly fearful, yet when I feel overloaded by life, there are things that make me feel anxious, which is really a form of fear. In my case, it is one of “not enough”.  As an educator, mom, wife, daughter, sister, coach, friend, and more, it is easy to place pressure on myself to “measure up” to a certain standard, as there are goals I desire to accomplish, hopes I hold, and dreams that I am pursuing. That being said, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and life is a process. God, in His perfect love, walks beside us, strengthens us, encourages us, and equips us for each next step. The only standard we need worry about “measuring up” to, is His. Just like a loving parent, the Lord asks for obedience, and our best; not perfection. There is no fear in a child who knows that they have done their best to do as their parent has asked of them; it is no different with God. We are loved perfectly because we are His. We are enough because He created us in His image. We need not fear, because His love is for us, and He is far greater than anything that could ever come against us. May we ever rest in God’s perfect love as we press on in all that He has called us to be and do, for in all things, His strength and grace will see us through.

 

No need be afraid, Measured By Our Maker

When doubt dares come near;

For God’s perfect love,

Casts away all fear.

There’s no punishment,

In faithful pursuit;

Instead there is grace,

That none can dispute.

In all things, always,

Seek God and His love;

He’s love perfected,

Strength to rise above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no fear in love. Thank You that Your love drives fear away, and grants us the strength and resolve to press on and rise up into all that You are calling us to become. Forgive us for our fear, worry and anxiousness about measuring up to the world’s standards, rather than giving our best unto You. Teach us to give all to You in everything we do, so that our trust is in You alone. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace, strength, resolve and encouragement where they are needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your perfect love and fix our eyes on how You view us, rather than any other standard set in our sight line. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Restoration in His Rest

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

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

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

 

As I sit here in the still silence of early morning, I am so thankful for He who gives me rest. It is not the sort of rest where I sit down and snooze, but rather a provision of places of reprieve. In this quiet space, though a bit tired, my soul is at rest. My heart is content, and my resolve renewed, simple from spending time with Him. God is faithful to meet us in the moments we seek Him. He hears our heart and knows our need. May we ever seek the Lord to settle our souls, for He is our Provider of hope and of real rest.

 

In unsettled space,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

My soul shall find rest;

When I seek the Lord,

For His grace is best.

A love that brings hope,

When all seems but lost;

A heart that will give,

No matter the cost.

What great love is this,

That knows and meets need?

God, our Provider,

As we seek, He’ll lead.

Lead us to places,

Where rest shall be found;

Fresh hope discovered,

For His love is sound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You, You grant us rest and renew our hope. Thank You that rest is a state of our soul, not just a space of inactivity in our day. Thank You that You refresh and restore our hope as we run to You for rest. Forgive us for continuing in our exhausted state, without pursuing peace and restoration in You. Teach us to trust You more, as You alone are our hope and the Healer where we are weary. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends hope and provides spaces of reprieve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, our Redeemer and Grantor of rest. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for rest, as our hope is held in You alone. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14

The Most Excellent Way

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT)

 

Paul’s prayer for the church of Philippi is timeless throughout the ages. We all need love to abound more and more, in knowledge and understanding, so that we may know the difference between what is important and what is not, granting us wisdom to walk in His way and do His will until we meet Him face-to-face. Wisdom and guidance are necessary in order to choose the most excellent way of all. There are things that seem good, but I want to choose what is best, according to God. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more in His love, and to grant us wisdom and insight as to what matters most to serve and honor Him.

 

Lord, lead us to pray, The Intended Target in Training

To choose seek Your face;

To show us what’s best,

In light of Your grace.

Grow in us, Your love,

Wisdom and insight;

So we are prepared,

To obey, choose right.

Help us to serve well,

For all of our days;

With love and honor,

May our life bring praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love that You grow in us more and more as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that You grant us wisdom and insight to know what is best, according to Your good and perfect will. Forgive us for the times that we go our own way, or pursue what seems good, rather than seeking Your wisdom to know what is best and honors You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, ever pursuing the most excellent way in Your love. Show us how to love those around us with wisdom, discernment and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to grow and serve You in love for all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Persevering Pursuit

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

So let it grow, and don’t try to squirm out of your problems. For when your patience is finally in full bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete. – (James 1:4, TLB)

 

We are ever a work in progress. It is through the deadlines, difficulties and distress, that we mature and grow in patience and perseverance provided by the Lord. Through dependence on Him, our character is strengthened, lacking nothing, so that we may be mature and complete, becoming the person that God calls us to be. Our part is to stick with it; to not grow weary in trusting the Lord. Patience produces the good that God intended in us and through us. May we ever persevere as we press on in all that we are called to do. God provides all that is needed as we lean into Him.

 

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In faithful pursuit;

Real perseverance,

As we trust what’s true.

Patience produces,

Our growth in the Lord;

And He grants us strength,

Each need He’ll reward.

What He has started,

The Lord will see through;

As we follow Him,

His word’s proven true.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to persevere. Thank You that each time we press in, You grow and refine us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for our lack of follow through when things grow difficult. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever persevere in pursuing the path to which we are called. Show us how to love those around us in a way that further grows us in character, full and complete in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we persevere in the power that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. – Hebrews 10:36

 

Grow Roots of Gratitude

Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, NLT)

You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:7, ERV)

Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:7, VOICE)

 

As we depend on Christ and draw life and strength from Him, our roots grow deep and our foundation, strong. Consequently, the deeper our understanding, the more our heart begins to overflow with gratitude. This week marks the kickoff of the whirlwind that is the holiday season. Life tends to become extraordinarily busy with the bonus activities and added gatherings the season supplies. If we stand strong in our faith, just as we were taught, our hearts cannot help but overflow with thankfulness. May we press into our Provider and allow our roots to grow deep down into Him, so that we draw life and strength from the true Source and overflow with thankfulness at His abundant provision of all that we need and more.

 

For in Christ alone, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Our roots shall grow deep;

Safe, strong and secure,

Our hearts His grace keeps.

As we learn and grow,

His love will abound;

Reason to give thanks,

His leading is sound.

With hearts full of praise,

Give thanks forever;

For God is faithful,

Beyond all measure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we grow our roots in You, You build a firm foundation within us. Thank You that as we grow strong in our faith, our heart begins to overflow with thankfulness for You and all that You have done. Forgive us for not pursuing growth in You, or for neglecting to give thanks for all that You have done. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to be our Strength and Supply and give You praise in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes gratitude contagious. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for all that You are and all that You do. 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

Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, NLT)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

 

The art of self-editing is something that I share with my students, often. Just because we have a thought on a matter, does not necessarily mean that we need or ought to give it a voice. This verse takes it a step further, and reminds us that it is more than our words that need to be reined in, but our very thoughts as well. If I want my thoughts and words to be pleasing to God, I need to view the world through His lens of love. Such perspective is only possible if I am in tune with the heart of the Father. The way to know His heart and see His perspective is found through time invested with Him. In the same way that we begin to take on a likeness to those whom we spend the majority of our time, likewise is true when we are intentional with prioritizing time with God. May we invest our heart and mind in purposeful time pursuing God and His heart for people, so that the words that we speak and the thoughts that we think are pleasing unto our Provider.

 

O Lord, may my life, Trusted Thoughts and Worthwhile Words

Be lived unto You;

Each word and each thought,

All things that I do.

Teach my heart to choose,

To see through Your lens;

So my words and thoughts,

Give grace as to friends.

Let all that I think,

And each word I say;

Be pleasing to You,

Throughout all my days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip us to carry out. Thank You that though impossible on our own, with You, our every word and thought can be captured by Your love. Forgive us for the words and thoughts that we have entertained that were not in line with Your heart. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would commit our thoughts to You, and speak words that offer light and life and love. Show us how to love those around us with both thoughts and our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional in our time with You, allowing Your heart to shape our thoughts and words so that we may clearly reflect Your love to the world. Amen.

 

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

Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words into your mouth.” – Jeremiah 1:9

Pursue Purpose

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. – (Philippians 3:12, NIV)

I don’t mean that I am exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason He made me His. – (Philippians 3:12, ERV)

I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. – (Philippians 3:12, TPT)

 

We are all a work in progress. The more we pursue God and the path He has prepared for us, the more we become the person that He designed and purposed us to be. It is remarkable to think about. The Creator of all, created each of us, with a plan and a purpose. Uniquely designed to love Him and love people in a way that can be exclusively exhibited through us as we walk out our days seeking to honor Him in all that we say and do. Not one of us has perfected this yet, however, we are an ongoing work in progress, and the longer we pursue Him, the more refined we become in living out love according to His for us. May we ever pursue the path that God has placed before us, and seek Him to be our strength to walk out each day well.

 

Let us choose pursue,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The path of the Lord;

Though none have arrived,

All grace He affords.

As we keep seeking,

Keep running our race;

God’s love will provide,

What we need for each day.

Keep seeking to love,

And walk in His way;

Let His love light shine,

As we extend grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us despite our flaws and failures and call us to pursue the path that You have placed before us, according to how we are each uniquely designed. Forgive us for neglecting to love as we are loved, or for ignoring the way that we know we are meant to go. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk out our days living and loving according to Your ways. Show us how to faithfully pursue all that You have for us, so that we may love those around us as only we can do through You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we run with passion in the purpose for which You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

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

Blot Out Barriers to Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

Selfishness and pride are both barriers to love. To love others as we are called to love, we have to take a genuine interest in people and care about their lives. As we set aside self and allow our focus to becomeotherly, pride is dispelled and love flows freely. This is not to say that goals are not good, but rather we ought to look to discover how we are best able to help others succeed in their goals as we work toward that which we too are pursuing. May we worry less about what we can attain or achieve on our own, and instead set our sights on how we might love others well.

 

Lord, help us to keep, Blot Out Barriers to Love

Aware of others;

May our hearts know well,

Sisters and brothers.

Remove within us,

Pride and selfishness;

And teach us to love,

With true tenderness.

Show our hearts the way,

To love and invest;

To put others first,

And support them best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others in the same way that You love us. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that prevent us from investing in the lives of those around us. Teach us how to place others above ourselves in a way that encourages and values people, without losing our own sense of purpose in the process. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside the parts of ourselves that withhold or withdraw, and move forward with open hearts and arms, set to support and serve. Amen.

 

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

 

Conveyors of Calm

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV) 

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV) 

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG) 

 

We need God and we need each other. Humans are not created to take on the trials that life brings on our own. God grants us His peace as we seek Him and provides people to walk beside us if we choose to invest in community as we are called. Additionally, one of the greatest conveyors of calm in the midst of chaos is to begin to express our gratitude for the good in our lives. Suddenly, even in the middle of a storm, we find our hearts holding peace. As we set our sight on that which is secure and He who endures, the temporary trials become less overwhelming. May we seek the Lord and His peace as we walk in gratitude together with the people He has purposefully placed in our lives. 

 

O Lord let Your peace, 

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Come reign in our hearts; 

Lead us side-by-side, 

As strength You impart. 

Help us to give thanks, 

Despite what we see; 

For true gratitude, 

Sets anxiousness free. 

Help us to trust You, 

On Your strength depend; 

Walk with each other, 

And Your peace extend. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You rule in the hearts of all who seek You. Thank You that You call us to peace together as one body. Thank You that we were created for community. Thank You that gratitude combats fear and anxiousness and sets our hearts on what truly matters. Forgive us for allowing what we see to dictate how we respond, rather than trusting You and what we know to be true. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would walk together in gratitude, ever pursuing Your peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that peace and thankfulness become contagious. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks that You are the God of peace who rules in our hearts and provides us with community and reason to give You praise for all of our days. Amen. 

 

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

 

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7