Make Me Strong

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

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)

I am so grateful for this. Today is the first high school gymnastics meet in which I will be coaching as the appointed interim head coach. It is both an honor and a blessing, but it is also an entirely new role, much different than fulfilling the role of head coach in middle school. This will be a long day, yet I know that God will be faithful to provide the strength that is needed to navigate this new. Additionally, His peace is already present, despite the nervousness in the unknown. More than anything, my heart is filled with gratitude for God’s nearness and faithfulness as He walks beside me and leads me in the new. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, for He is faithful to provide the peace and strength required to continue to move forward in the direction that we have been called.

O God, make me strong,

When I’m feeling weak;

Grant wisdom and peace,

As my heart does seek.

Whatever I do,

Each step that I take;

Please lead me in grace,

In You, make me brave.

Brave to step into,

All that I’ve been called;

Strength to lead like You,

May peace be installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and peace as we seek You in all things. Thank You for the blessings of new opportunities. Thank You that You provide places for us to grow in the things we enjoy. Forgive us for attempting to do things in our own strength, rather than turning to You to lead us as You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are our supply of strength and our place of peace. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that extend strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence that provides peace, and the strength You supply to sustain us. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Praise for Provision

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. – (Psalm 59:17, NIV)

I will sing praises to You, my source of strength. You, God, are my place of safety. You are the God who loves me! – (Psalm 59:17, ERV)

I will lift my voice to sing Your praise, O my Strength – for You came to my defense. O God, You have shown me Your loving mercy. – (Psalm 59:17, VOICE)

I so appreciate the way that David expressed his praise and gratitude to God. Despite hardships and challenges, he knew that God was his safety and strength, and that the Lord’s loving kindness would carry him through whatever came his way. Whenever I need comfort or encouragement, I find myself returning to the Psalms. Each time, I am again reminded of the faithfulness of God to provide strength, safety and love, and my heart is filled with reasons to sing His praise. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through intentional time that we are again reminded of the goodness of God and our purpose for giving Him praise.

I lift up my voice,

To sing praise to You;

For You are my strength,

Where all thanks is due.

You are my safe space,

When challenges come;

In love You provide,

With each rising sun.

Ever You are near,

Always You provide;

Your loving presence,

Safe space to abide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our source of strength and safety. Thank You that You are our defender and provider of loving kindness, in all things and at all times. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with the things we cannot control. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You are greater than anything that stands before us. Show us how to love in ways that build up and strengthen those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You lovingly provide all that we need. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Flowers or Weeds?

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

What we plant, we harvest. We can plant flowers or weeds; things that give life or those which choke it out. If we pursue goodness, justice, kindness and love in all that we do, these are exactly what we will find. It may take time, effort and endurance, but ultimately such good is what will be found. Though there are days that it is a battle, it is always worth the effort. May we ever pursue He who is righteousness and love, so that we may discover the full life that abounds in Him.

May we choose pursue,

God’s goodness and grace;

Seek justice and love,

Throughout all our days.

Let us be faithful,

Purposefully kind;

Let love guide all things,

With goodness in mind.

May integrity,

Be how we are known;

Honoring others,

As God’s good is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, just, loving, faithful and kind, and that You will show us how to live accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live as You intended. Teach us to walk in Your ways and to love like You. Show us how to love those around us best, so that justice, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and integrity are what will be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart so that we may love as You love. Amen.

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

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – Psalm 86:11

Follow the Example 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)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

I so appreciate the Message translation of this passage. The reality that what God mostly does is love us, is incredible and undeserved. If we spend time with Him, He teaches and shows us what it is to live a life of love. Christ’s love is selfless, not selfish. He loved without expecting anything in return. We are called to do likewise. This kind of love is not natural for the human heart, however, the more we seek and spend time with the Lord, the more we learn to love like Him. In a world where so much adversity and animosity exist, we need to love all the more. Love is a decision, not a feeling. We must choose to love one another as we are loved by God. In order to do so, we must seek the Lord, know Him, and depend on Him to equip us to do exactly what we were created to do. May we ever lean into the Lord to show us what it is to love in every situation and circumstance.

As children of God,

May we seek to love;

All people, always,

Like the Lord above.

It is a free gift,

With no strings attached;

Yet it draws us in,

In thanks, we react.

Respond with kindness,

God’s grace, love and peace;

The more we choose love,

Enmity released.

The Lord’s love gave all,

We’re called to the same;

To extend His grace,

Instead of placed blame.

Lead us in love, Lord,

Show us love Your way;

Help us be better,

Each waking new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us – completely and extravagantly, despite what we deserved. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose love. Show us how to love like You in all things and at all times. Instruct us as You grow our hearts to more closely reflect Your own. Use us as Your ambassadors of peace as we seek to love You and people well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You and seek to be a reflection of Your radiant love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Wisdom With Words

They were unable to trap Him in what He had said there in public. And astonished by His answer, they became silent. – (Luke 20:26, NIV)

The men were amazed at His wise answer. They could say nothing. They were not able to trick Jesus there in front of the people. He said nothing they could use against Him. – (Luke 20:26, ERV)

Once again they failed to humiliate Him in public or catch Him in a punishable offense. They were confounded by His reply and couldn’t say anything in response. – (Luke 20:26, VOICE)

As I continue to make my way through the book of Luke, and study the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, I am reminded of the wisdom of God. The Pharisees and their cronies were constantly trying to trap Jesus with their questions, ever looking for a reason to arrest Him. Each time they tried, Jesus responded in a way that left the teachers of the time baffled. Jesus knew the intent of the imposters, and would not allow them opportunity to arrest Him before it was His time. For us, this is a reminder that God has the wisdom we seek. When we trust and rely on Him, He will bring the words we need to speak at just the right time. That still small voice that whispers to our hearts when we need to hear, is ever available for all who seek Him.

Do not be afraid,

Of those with ill will;

As we seek the Lord,

His wisdom shall fill.

Fill our hearts and minds,

With words we can speak;

Direction and grace,

The goodness You teach.

Let all that we are,

Ever trust in You;

Grant us words to speak,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all wisdom comes from You. Thank You that we can seek You and listen for Your voice in all things and at all times. Forgive us for firing off our own words in haste, rather than seeking You first to align our hearts with Your love and grace. Teach us to seek You and listen to Your still small voice that leads and guides us in all things. Show us how to love those around us as You do, and keep us from being caught up in foolish rhetoric that leads to division. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom and the words that You would have us speak. Amen.

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

You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. – Exodus 4:15

Called to Peace and Praise

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 your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

We are where we are, on purpose, for a purpose. The community where we reside and the circles we find ourselves in, are intentionally selected so that we may be ambassadors of peace. As we allow Christ to rule our hearts, we are guided by His peace. For this, and for so much more, we have every reason to give thanks. This season comes at the perfect time, as gratitude brings peace and reminds us of the blessing of the body of people that surround us. God is good, even when life is hard. His peace is present every time we submit our hearts to His, and gratitude cannot help but well up and overflow to those around us. May we seek the Lord and His peace, so that we may share His goodness with all those around us. For God and all of the countless blessings He has given us, let us ever be thankful.

Lord, we surrender,

Our hearts unto You;

Bring peace to us all,

As grace makes us new.

May our lives give thanks,

For all that You are;

Present and peaceful,

Hope’s true open door.

Help us to reach out,

With thanks and with grace;

To love others well,

As we give You praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and give our lives to You, You fill us with Your peace. Thank You that You call us to love well as members of one body. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of giving thanks and promoting Your perfect peace. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us in love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bring Your peace where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for our perfect peace in You. Amen.

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

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:4-5

The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

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Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

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

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into Him, the anointed Head of His body, the church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TPT)  

 

This is such a critical element to growing together as a body. It is not merely speaking the truth, but speaking the truth in love. There is a dramatic difference. Truth in love seeks to help, heal, correct, and make better, every situation and circumstance with ultimate good as the goal. The intent should never be to harm, but rather be to help grow in likeness to Christ. Additionally, we must be careful with our own walk, before we become concerned with the decisions of those around us. Of course, we can care, but in order to be a loving bearer of truth, we must be living out the truth we speak, daily. To speak truth anywhere, there first must be trust. Trust only comes through invested time in relationship. If we are to grow and become mature as a body of believers, we have to be willing to break down barriers, get to know and trust one another, so that we are able to grow together. As we do, speaking the truth in love becomes a “normal” practice, in the same way it does between dear friends, healthy spouses, and various other relationships that are built on trust. May we seek the Lord to grow and mature us in our trusting relationships with Him and those around us, so that we may always speak the truth in love, in the same way that He speaks to us.

 

May truth be spoken,Speak the Truth in Love

Ever wrapped in love;

With intent to grow,

Heart like God above.

For when there is trust,

There’s a heart to hear;

What will lead to good,

As love removes fear.

To grow together,

In trust and God’s good;

Let love lead in truth,

To do as we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to speak the truth in love. Jesus came and taught, loved, corrected, redirected, and showed us what it is to walk in Your way and grow together as a body. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without love or without truth; the absence of either is not the way You intended for us to grow. Teach us to trust and rely on You to show us how to build and establish relationships that are full of trust, so that there is safety to always speak the truth in love. Show us how to love those around us in word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people, ever seeking to speak the truth in love for Your glory. Amen.

 

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

 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

The Blessing of Rain

He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. – (Psalm 147:8, NIV)

He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains. – (Psalm 147:8, ERV)

He fills the sky with clouds, sending showers to water the earth so that grass springs up on the mountain fields and the earth produces food for man. – (Psalm 147:8, TPT)

 

We have been blessed with beautiful weather the last two weeks, which considering our “stay at home” status, has been extra beneficial. There is something about having sunrays streaming in through windows, and the light shining through the burly branches of the evergreen trees in our backyard, that lifts my countenance and bring me joy, simply at the sight of sunshine. This morning, I was almost surprised to see drizzle, darkness and damp, blanketing the scene out back through my kitchen window. At first, I felt my heart sink a little, as I inwardly groaned at the limitations it could cause for our day. After I made a bit of breakfast and sat down with my coffee, I thought it best to turn to the word and remind myself of the reason for rain. The first verse that captured my attention to remind me again of the beauty of rain, was the above-mentioned verse from Psalm 147. Rain is supplied to us to water the earth. It helps grass and crops grow, and where we live, keeps everything beautiful and green. Because rain is abundant in the Northwest, we seldom have to think about watering grass or plants outdoors, as rain takes care of it for us. After the simple reminder, I looked again and noticed how much greener the trees and the grass appear, when freshly covered in rain. Another great thing about rain this morning is that it will wash away the build-up of pollen everywhere. Atop of cars, roads, decks, trees, stoops, and basically anything outdoors, there has been a thick coating of yellow-green dust that clings to everything. One good round of rain clears the pollen and refreshes the air, so that allergy sufferers may breathe more freely, once again. For a bit of humor, my husband just woke and walked upstairs, looked out into the backyard, and said, “Oh man, rain. Really?” I giggled to myself, as I think we had similar hopes of outdoor activities for the day. God is good, and so is the rain. We will take the watering of the earth, the clearing of the pollen, and appreciate all the sunshine that we have had so many days in a row. May we find the good in whatever comes, for God is faithful to provide in every season.

 

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And the rains do come;

Know they have purpose,

There’s good to be done.

As rain waters earth,

Grass and the crops grow;

Providing for us,

God’s faithfulness shown.

Lord help us recall,

The blessing of rain;

As Your love’s outpoured,

We all stand to gain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You send Your rain to water the earth and wash away what does not need to remain. Thank You that You do the same for our hearts as we call on You and seek Your guidance in all things. Forgive us for our frustration with things that are much bigger than ourselves, as You have purpose in all things. Teach us to trust You and rely on You to order our days, as You lead us and love us through every sort of weather. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage each, so that they come to understand how showered in love they are by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for the rain that waters the earth, and thank You for the sunshine that follows. Amen.

 

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

 

I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit. – Leviticus 26:4