Shifting Seasons

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. – (Joel 2:23, HCSB)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

Living in the Pacific Northwest, these words resonate with me. Right now, we are enjoying a typically extended summer. Though summer did not begin until after the 4th of July, it usually continues until the close of September. That being said, the chill of fall is in the air in the mornings. For those of us who love summer, there is a bit of mourning as the seasons shift. This passage is a great reminder that the rain that though it will come, for it always does, is a gift from God. Seldom has our area had issues with water shortage. The rains that come truly are a gift, for they are what keep our area so green throughout the year. My takeaway is simply to recognize and appreciate the shift in seasons as a gift, for it is a reminder that God is faithful.

As autumn rains come,

For they always do;

Know that God’s faithful,

As His grace shines through.

The rains have purpose,

Blessings from above;

In season, water,

That shows us His love.

The lush of the green,

Ev’rywhere surrounds;

Reminders of God,

Where true hope is found.

So, let us give thanks,

As the seasons shift;

For God’s faithfulness,

As our praise we lift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to supply what we need in every season. Thank You that You grant us rain in the fall and springtime to help things grow and thrive. Help us to remember that You do the same for our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for begrudgingly trudging through seasonal shifts, for we would not fully appreciate the glory of summer without the gray, rainy days. Teach us to love those around us in ways that bring refreshment and new life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful provision in each new season. Amen.

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

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. – Psalm 104:19

Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

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 let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Grow Wisdom Within

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, HCSB)

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, ERV)

Reverence for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, VOICE)

True wisdom begins when we recognize that God is God and we are not. Reverence for God is a respectful recognition that He is all-powerful and greater than anything that comes against us. The sort of fear this is referring to is an awareness of how great God is and how small we are in comparison. God called all into being, and can build up or tear down with a single word. It is not a fear that cowers in the corner, but rather one that stands in awe of who God is and all that He holds in the hollow of His hands. As we realize who God is, and respect in reverence His power and might, we grow in our understanding and insight. May we ever seek the Lord with reverence, for He grants us wisdom and insight to truly understand who He is and how He loves.

Wisdom is a gift,

That’s given by God;

True understanding,

Of grace and His love.

The Almighty King,

Comes close unto us;

Gives us His insight,

As we seek Jesus.

With true reverence,

May we stand in awe;

Of all God has done,

And His love for all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Thank You that You show us more of You as we seek You with reverence and awe. Forgive us for our lack of seeking or our lack of recognition of how truly great You are. Teach us to recognize the enormity of Your goodness and grace, and lead us to live out our lives in the fullness of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point hearts unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You with respect and reverence to grow wisdom within us. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – Psalm 90:12

Lead Me To Level Ground

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, HCSB)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path. – (Psalm 143:10, VOICE)

As I ponder this, what comes to mind is not necessarily the smoothest path, but rather one where my footing is secure. Level ground is the space on which our pace stays steady. When we seek the Lord to lead us and show us what to do, He leads us to His level ground. For me, this means that as I seek Him and trust Him, He will guide me to the spaces where I find my footing and am able to press on. Right now, I find myself needing this more than ever. Teaching a subject in a grade that I have never taught, and having extraordinarily full, high energy classes at the end of the day for the two periods that I teach something familiar, leads me to feel as if I am climbing a mountain by the close of the day. I need Him to be my strength and to guide me by His grace into the new and challenging, so that I may find my footing and move forward at an appropriate pace. God is good, and He is faithful to teach us as we seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to walk in His will and lead us along the path that He has prepared for us. 

O God, please show me,

To move in Your way;

By Your loving grace,

Lead me each new day.

Lord, teach me to walk,

On Your level ground;

With footing secure,

For Your way is sound.

Guide me by Your grace,

That’s made ever new;

Help me and lead me,

Show me what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that leads and strengthens us to spaces where our way is clear. Thank You that You can secure our steps, even when the road is rocky. Forgive us for our objections to obstacles, for they are often necessary to help us recognize and appreciate clear paths. Please show us which way to go, and grant us Your strength to step securely on the path that You place before us. Lead us in Your lavish love and grace, so that we may extend the same to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified  O God, as we seek You to lead us and find the way that You have set before us. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Wisdom Through Love

Let whoever is wise pay attention to these things and consider the Lord’s acts of faithful love. – (Psalm 107:43, HCSB)

Whoever is wise will remember these things and begin to understand the Lord’s faithful love. – (Psalm 107:43, ERV)

Is there anyone wise? If so, may the wise take notice of these things and reflect upon the loyal love of the Eternal. – (Psalm 107:43, VOICE)

Wisdom is not something we earn, but rather it is something gained as we seek the Lord and recognize His ongoing acts of faithful love. We can pursue knowledge without gaining wisdom. The more clearly we understand the Lord’s faithful love, the more we grow in wisdom that comes from Him. God’s wisdom instructs us in how to love and give Him glory for His goodness and kindness to us. As we grow in our understanding of His heart for us, we gain wisdom in how we are to love likewise. May we ever seek the Lord and take notice of His loyal love, so that we may grow in wisdom and understanding to love in the same way.

The wisdom of man,

Is mere foolishness;

Compare to the Lord,

Who lavishes us.

He pours out His love,

Kindness and His grace;

Through His example,

We learn of His ways.

The more we observe,

And learn how God loves;

The more that we gain,

Wisdom from above.

O Lord, please show us,

To notice Your ways;

So we learn to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that wisdom comes from You. Thank You that as we witness and observe Your ongoing faithful love, we learn who You are and how to truly love well. Forgive us for somehow thinking that we can become wise on our own. Teach us to invest our hearts and time into seeking You to teach us Your heart for the world and how we are meant to love like You. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us on in Your love. Amen.

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

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

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:29, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 118:29, ERV)

You’re my God, and I thank You. O my God, I lift high Your praise. Thank God – He’s so good. His love never quits! – (Psalm 118:29, MSG)

After more than ten hours of travel to safely arrive at our destination, we were exhausted and a bit punchy. I cannot help but give thanks to God for His goodness and protection as we traveled, and for His provision as we arrived. An added bonus is that we were upgraded to a convertible for our rental car, hence the Viking’s huge smile. Every time I see the beauty God has made, I am blessed by His protection and provision, I have to give Him thanks. May we all recognize the goodness and love of the Lord and give Him thanks each new day.

All thanks to the Lord,

For love that is true;

Goodness and kindness,

Each day that is new.

His love never quits,

So nor should our praise;

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For each brand new day.

Your blessings poured out,

Your goodness shown true;

Help my heart to hold,

Thanks for all You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love, goodness, kindness and provision are eternal. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and bless us, Your children, with a perfect Father’s love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give You praise for how You love us so well. Teach us to recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Show us how to love everyone we encounter so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and how You love us forever. Amen.

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

Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

Look to the Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, ERV)

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, MSG)

This passage is from when God called Samuel to go and anoint the one who was to succeed Saul as king. To the ordinary observer, David’s older brothers seemed to be far more appropriate candidates. However, God saw so much more. In David, God saw a man after His own heart. David had the heart of a warrior and a worshiper – both of which God used while David grew and learned the faithfulness of God as he faced a giant with a sling and a stone, and later led a nation as he sang and danced praising God for His faithfulness. Incredibly, what this shows us is that we never know who God is raising up for great things. Our task is to love and encourage all, and to look past appearances and instead see the heart. I know in relationships, the people I am most drawn to have beautiful hearts. The more I get to know them, the more I see who they are radiating through, and recognize what draws others in. As a teacher, this is critical. We never know who the next leaders, doctors, pastors, educators, community advocates, parents and more are in the ones seated in our classrooms. Each has been created with a purpose, and it is our job to help strengthen the heart so that they can see their own potential and pursue all that God has for them. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see, so that we may encourage those around us in the strengths that they have been given, and glorify God for His goodness.

Look not at the face,

But rather the heart;

The true character,

Where seeing must start.

For we never know,

All that God has planned;

Purpose He has placed,

In women and men.

A mere shepherd boy,

Was anointed king;

Despite appearance,

Beyond what was seen.

God looks at our hearts,

The strengths found within;

His plan and purpose,

Waiting to begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see beyond what others see. Thank You that You look to the heart to lead us into all that You have for us. Forgive us for selling others short based on what we see. Teach us to look through Your lens so that we see the potential and promise in everyone we meet. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen each in the gifts and talents You have placed in them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and trust in You to lead them to walk out their purpose. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to help us see others as You do. Amen.

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

The One who chose you will do that for you. You can trust Him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Strength and Peace

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

Life is an endless rollercoaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, and we need the Lord to navigate well. He supplies us with the strength we need and He grants us His peace, even in the midst of chaos, storms, and uncertainty. Incredibly, God grants us strength and peace for more than just ourselves. As we trust in Him and seek to love people as He calls us to love, we find that He uses our willingness to share all that He gives with those around us who need it. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and depend on Him, for He is our peace.

The Lord gives us strength,

When ours is all gone;

Our help and our hope,

To keep pressing on.

In Him there is peace,

Ever it is new;

Despite circumstance,

He will lead us through.

Lord, help us focus,

Our hearts and our minds;

On all that is You,

And how You supply.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the strength that You are providing, or for not slowing down to lay hold of the peace that You are creating within us. Teach us to trust and rely on You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend strength and peace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the strength and peace that You provide, and trust in You to continue, always. 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 rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

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

The Nourishing Word

But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4, HCSB)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

The thing about the word of God is that we must consume it regularly to have it securely planted in our hearts. I cannot count the number of times that His words have come to mind exactly when I needed them most. Yes, it is the whispers of the Holy Spirit that bring His words to light, yet it is my responsibility to be in the word so that there are promises and reminders available. Additionally, it is our filter to recognize what is and is not okay for us. He illuminates His words in our hearts and minds when we are facing decisions, difficulties and more. Yes, we need food, water, shelter and clothing to live, but we need His word to live life abundant in Him. The word of God is full of instruction, insight, praise, exhortation, correction, redirection and the incredible evidence of His everlasting love, goodness and grace for all who seek Him. I have always been exposed to the word of God, as I was raised in a household that valued attending church and being a part of said community. However, exposure is not what truly provides lasting nourishment for the soul. It has been well over a decade since I began making time in His word a part of my daily practice faithfully. I have had seasons where I would invest in a particular study, but this has now become part of my lifestyle. This blog is actually a way to remain accountable to continue to do so. Each post that is published comes from what God is showing me as I read and study His word. Some days I invest in long passages, whereas other days, I focus on the verse of the day. No matter which I do, God is faithful to show me how what I am reading applies to my life, a situation that is before me, or a reminder for me or someone that I care about. In all things, God is good and His word is essential to navigate this crazy, wonderful life. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for He is faithful to reveal to us more and more as we invest in Him.

The word of the Lord,

Nourishes the soul;

It grants instruction,

Direction, and more.

For God is faithful,

As we choose seek Him;

He shows us what’s good,

And love enters in.

The Lord’s word delights,

Those who choose to seek;

Revelations come,

Give strength when we’re weak.

When we’re discouraged,

His word lifts our head;

Hope made tangible,

Through what can be read.

So, seek the Savior,

Spend time in His word;

For here life is found,

Love and hope are heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that it is nourishment for the heart, mind and soul as we seek You. Thank You that there is so much more life made known when we consume Your word. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to invest in knowing You more through Your word, or have hurried through what we were meant to chew. Teach us how to be intentional in our time in Your word, and reveal more and more of who You are and how You love as we do. Show us how to love those around us well, as You lead and guide us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we nourish our souls with the wonder of Your word. 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 to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12