Be Not Discouraged

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

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Cleansed From Within

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. – (Matthew 15:18, NIV)

But what comes out of your mouth reveals the core of your heart. Words can pollute, not food. – (Matthew 15:18, TPT)

But the things that come out of your mouth – your curses, your fears, your denunciations – these come from your heart, and it is the stirrings of your heart that can make you unclean. – (Matthew 15:18, VOICE)

When I read this, I am reminded of a childhood song that has the lines: “Be careful little eyes what you see. Be careful little ears what you hear. Be careful little mouth what you say.” I know there is more to the song, but it was a powerful form of instruction from a young age; for whatever we allow into our hearts, mingles in our minds, and then makes way out of our mouths. If we seek to fuel our hearts and minds with God’s goodness and truth, the things that we say will be a reflection of such. However, when we are operating in our own ugly humanity, our words mirror the heart. We need Jesus to teach us and grow us in His love so that we can love in the same way. Lord, help us to pray and rely on You to cleanse our hearts and speak words that edify those around us.

Words that are wounding,

Vector illustration hand drawn.

Those spoken in rage;

Destroy in others,

Hope that You can save.

Lord, please cleanse our hearts,

Make loving each mind;

Let every word,

Be gracious and kind.

Help our words build up,

Keep silent all else;

Lead us by Your love,

As we die to self.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us how to love like You. Thank You that You call and command us to speak and act in love. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our hearts to entertain ugliness, and given voice to things not of You held in our hearts. Cleanse our hearts and minds of all that does not edify or please You. Teach us to invest our time, our heart, mind, soul and strength into a pleasing pursuit of You. Show us how to speak to those around us in love, and silence the thoughts that do not reflect Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are mindful of what we take in and allow to exit our mouths. 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

To Treasure What Matters Most

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

“Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also.” – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

If we focus on loving God and loving people, our treasure will be found in doing just that. Our treasure is our time, talent and resources. When we invest what we have and who we are into that which God is calling us to, our lives become fully invested. This can be a tricky road to navigate, for when we truly look around and open our eyes and hearts, the need can become overwhelming. God does not ask us to solve the world’s woes alone. Rather, He calls us to love one person at a time, as our paths cross. If we treasure our time and remember that others are a gift from Him, we end up loving God and those around us as He intended. 

Currently, many of us are in a season of great loss; loss of loved ones, loss of security, loss of normalcy, and more. In the last two days of conferencing, I have met with a grieving family, and heard devastating news of another family’s loss, whose daughter I had in class. Additionally, a very dear family friend is in his final hours. My heart grieves for each family, and I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. As we recognize that our days are limited, we are reminded who holds each day in His hands. When all that I am begins the day seeking God, I am better equipped to remember the gift that each day holds in Him and in time with those whom He has given me. May we ever treasure what matters most, and seek to love as we are loved by God.

May our hearts treasure,

That which matters most;

God and all people,

As we keep each close.

Each near in our hearts,

Let us lift and pray;

Value each other,

And love in God’s way.

For God so loves us,

That to us, He gave;

Love, light and freedom,

Grace to walk His way.

Lord, help us to bring,

Each prayer and concern;

Teach us to love well,

As we grow and learn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our greatest treasures are found in You and those whom You place in our lives. Thank You that You show us and grow us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to hoard the treasure You intended for others. Show us how and where to invest our time, talent and resources. Help us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize where true hope is found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to treasure what matters most. Amen.

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

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21

Sing, Praise and Encourage

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, NIV)

Encourage each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord. Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, ERV)

And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord Jehovah. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person He brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Ephesians 5:19-20, TPT)

As we encourage one another and give praise to God, we are reminded of our reasons to praise Him. When I pause and take time to observe everything and everyone that God has brought into my life, I cannot help but praise and thank Him. There is something so powerful about worship and praise. We may come before HIm hoping to show Him our gratitude and appreciation, and discover that as we do, we are the ones who are encouraged and built up. God invites us to enter into His presence. As we do, we cannot help but be changed. While our hearts grow lighter and peace floods in, God fills us with His love to extend to those around us. May we ever lift joyful praise to the Lord and allow our hearts to overflow to all those around us.

Let hearts overflow,

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

With sweet songs of praise;

To honor the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Sing and make music,

For all that is good;

Encourage others,

Be kind as we should.

May our hearts reflect,

Our thanks to the Lord;

As our lives give praise,

To Him we adore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that you call us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You or encourage those around us. Teach us to recognize the enormous blessing we have in life with You, no matter what goes on around us. Show us how to love all those with whom we interact, so that they may see You through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You praise in all things. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting it is to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

Choose Joy

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! – (Philippians 4:4, NIV) 

Always be filled with joy in the Lord. I will say it again. Be filled with joy. – (Philippians 4:4, ERV) 

Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! – (Philippians 4:4, TPT) 

After navigating the first week of school, despite all of the challenges and adjustments to an entirely new way of teaching, I find myself with a heart full of joy. God is good, all the time. Even when things are tough, He is still good. When we seek Him and look to Him to be our joy, we discover the countless ways that He is good. For me, the best thing about remote learning is my new group of kids. These sixth graders are sweet, polite, engaged, and have wonderful senses of humor. There is something to be said about keeping these great kids from too much exposure to the older kids, as they too quickly attempt to change who they are to fit in, during a “normal” school year. As I began to read the surveys that I had my students submit, my joy multiplied. From favorite family traditions to things that inspire them to do their best, these young people blessed my heart to overflowing, and joy abounds. I am reminded again and again, that God grants me joy, and fills my heart to overflowing. May we rejoice in the Lord, always, for He plants His joy deep within us, and fills our days with reason to praise. 

Be cheerful. Find joy, 

In each circumstance; 

For the Lord grants us, 

Hope and second chance. 

Even in trials, 

The Lord’s always good; 

Grants silver lining, 

His hope understood. 

Each day we’re given, 

Help us to rejoice; 

Joy on the journey, 

Is truly a choice. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and bless us with Your deep-rooted joy as we seek You. Thank You that there is always a reason to rejoice in You. Forgive us for our frustration and grumbling when things become difficult. Teach us to rejoice in the hope we have in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that spread joy in all things and all seasons. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and rejoice in You, always. Amen. 

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

…for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

Promised Presence

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV) 

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV) 

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE) 

God’s promises are not just for today, but they remain forever. His promise to sustain and carry us is true throughout our entire life. I have known God’s faithfulness to carry and sustain me – from childhood to adulthood, and now as I move ever closer to the white hairs of years flying by. It is good to be reminded of His ongoing faithfulness, especially when in the midst of so much new and uncertain. God’s faithfulness and ability to sustain and carry us is not dependent on our circumstances, nor the status of the world around us. Even on days where what lies before us seems insurmountable, He is faithful to see us through. Today, I am placing all in His hands, and trusting Him to lead, strengthen and carry me through all that awaits. The Lord is good, and He is worthy of our trust. May we choose to seek Him and place all in His hands. 

The Lord is faithful, 

For all of our days; 

From when we are young, 

Today, and always. 

He calms all our fears, 

When we are afraid; 

And grants us His strength, 

When ours goes away. 

He is our safety, 

In uncertainty; 

Our help and our hope, 

To eternity. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Choose rely on Him; 

He’ll help us press on, 

Even when hope’s dim. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, as You sustain, strengthen, and carry us throughout our whole life. Thank You that Your promises are true in both our youth and into our older years. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears with the things that seem too much. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

Formed By His Hands

In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. – (Psalm 95:4-5, NIV) 

The deepest caves and the highest mountains belong to Him. The ocean is His – He created it. He made the dry land with His own hands. – (Psalm 95:4-5, ERV) 

In one hand He holds the mysteries of the earth and in the other He holds the highest mountain peaks. He’s the owner of every ocean, the engineer and sculptor of earth itself. – (Psalm 95:4-5, TPT) 

Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I am reminded again, of the beauty and diversity of all that God’s hands have made. Being a Pacific Northwest native, I love the color and variation that can be observed in our area. We have mountains and streams, oceans and forests, and lush green all around us. In the desert, there is, at a first glance, a seeming lack of variety. However, upon closer investigation, there are wonders for the eyes to take in with the rock formations and canyons, hills and spaces of oasis. Additionally, it takes little time to get out of the city lights in the desert, where stars are in full view at night. There is something about warm nights, clear skies, and countless stars overhead, that reminds me of the incredible power of He who formed it all. May we ever look around in wonder, and notice all of the beauty that God has created. 

All of creation, 

Formed by the Lord’s hands; 

Mountains and forests, 

Oceans and all land. 

Each with His imprint, 

His power displayed; 

Great variety, 

In all He has made. 

All thanks be to Him, 

For all we can see; 

The Lord’s handiwork, 

Rich diversity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty, creativity and diversity in all that Your hands have made. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to notice or have taken for granted, the beauty all around us. Show us how to recognize all of the splendor found in that which was created by Your hands. Teach us to love those around us and care for all that You have made, with intention. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:39

All That He Has Made

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

He assigned the moon to mark the months and the sun to mark the days. – (Psalm 104:19, TLB) 

You made the moon to mark the months and the sun to measure the days. – (Psalm 104:19, TPT) 

The 104th Psalm was written by David, as he was praising God for all that He has made. As I was driving to go meet my running buddy early this morning, I could not help but give thanks in awe, as I took in the gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier, with the rising sun, streaking it with pastel colors. Additionally, I was reminded that the days are beginning to grow shorter, as last week’s departure time was in daylight, whereas today, it was still dark. Months pass and seasons change, yet His love remains. The same God who cares enough to give us ways to measure time, cares for us and how we spend our days. May we all make time to pause and take in the ways that God created such beauty and function in all that His hands have made, and give Him praise for the depth of His great love. 

Each month that goes by, 

Creation does show; 

The changing seasons, 

And where the days go. 

Sun up and sun down, 

Bookmark all our days; 

Array of colors, 

On brilliant display. 

The moon’s clear phases, 

Usher in and out; 

Days and weeks and months, 

God’s faithful throughout. 

So, let us give praise, 

To the Lord above; 

Thank Him all our days, 

For amazing love. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all of creation, and the incredible beauty and functionality that it holds. Forgive us for all of the times that we have not appreciated or not given You praise for all that You have made with Your loving hands. Teach us to appreciate all that You have done, and to be good stewards of all that is around us. Show us how to love everyone You place in our lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made. – Psalm 145:9

Evidence of Present Help

I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV) 

I look up to the hills, but where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV) 

I look up at the vast size of the mountains – from where will my help come in times of trouble? The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains will send the help I need. – (Psalm 121:1-2, VOICE) 

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and my sweet puppy is sleeping soundly. All around me are reminders that God is present to help. It is amazing how well we can become aware of God and His help, if only we pause and take in the beauty that surrounds us. The very same God who created such vast artistry is willing and available to be our help and our hope. Today, may we look to the mountains, the ocean, or simply the sky overhead, and be reminded of the One who is our help as we seek Him. 

God’s given us eyes, 

So that we may see; 

All of creation, 

Hand-crafted beauty. 

It’s not just our eyes, 

But our hearts that know; 

All we experience, 

God’s love to behold. 

Each of our senses, 

Truly testify; 

Of all that is good, 

Proof that God’s nearby. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we look around and take in the beauty of all that Your hands have made, we cannot help but remember that You are our help and our hope. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to blind us to Your nearness and willingness to help. Teach us to trust You more, as we learn to lean into You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your power and presence tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look up and out to see the evidence of Your hand. Amen. 

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

Look up to the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. – Job 35:5

Gaze at the Glory

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV) 

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV) 

God’s splendor is a tale that is told; His testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks of His story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT) 

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. 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 a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11