Heaven’s Poetry

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on our lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago. – (Ephesians 2:10, VOICE)

There is something so powerful and encouraging about The Voice translation of this passage. The reminder that we are the work of God’s hands, created in Jesus, and as we walk out our days in pursuit of His will, “heaven’s poetry is etched on our lives,” and the evidence of who God is and how He loves is made visible to those around us, is an incredible inspiration to follow the Lord’s leading in all that we say and do. Thankfully, it is not up to us to do or to be enough, instead, as we follow after the Lord, He leads and guides us in all that He has for us. Our part is to be faithful, and God will do as only He can. May we each start this day in the knowledge and understanding that we have been created on purpose, with a purpose, and all of His plans are good.

Heaven’s poetry,

Unfolds on the earth;

Through God’s created,

Each life has great worth.

Purpose is planted,

For each person born;

It becomes made known,

In love, we’re adorned.

It is up to us,

To seek the Lord’s will;

And as we choose to,

With love we are filled.

Each step that we take,

That He leads us to;

Reflects His goodness,

And hope that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that as we seek You and follow after You, You lead, guide and provide all that we need to display the goodness of Your love as Your poetry is written on the walls of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have gone our own way or have neglected to listen to Your leading. Teach us to trust You in all things and to intentionally listen to the still small voice within. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and love as You created us to love. 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

Remove Retaliation

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – (Romans 12:17, NIV)

If someone does you wrong, don’t try to pay them back by hurting them. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. – (Romans 12:17, ERV)

Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. – (Romans 12:17, VOICE)

In my college years, I had a dear friend who had an awesome strategy to keep himself in check when people were rude on the road. Every time someone would cut him off or do something that felt dangerous that could lead to anger or retaliation, he would yell, “Jesus loves you,” at the person who was driving offensively. Though the yell was through closed windows, the words were what his own heart heard, rather than an angry or rude response. It was a reminder to himself that he did not need to do anything to get back at the driver, and to hold onto the truth that they were indeed, loved by God. As a passenger, not only did it diffuse the frustration with the recklessness of others, but it planted a seed that I never forgot about what I could do instead of retaliating. This principle is useful in responding to people in general. If they are unkind, I can smile and walk away, reminding myself that they are loved by God, or I can extend compassion, despite the ugly that I received. God is gracious and kind, and He loves us, even when we are the most unlovable. If He can love and forgive and receive us, then we ought to extend the same to those around us. No, this does not mean we are meant to be a doormat, but we are not meant to return evil for evil. 

Wrong done unto us,

Should not be done back;

We are called to peace,

Not to choose attack.

Instead we are called,

Let love lead the way;

Give good undeserved,

Like God does each day.

He gives us His grace,

His mercy and love;

And we’re called to do,

As the Lord above.

Father we need You,

To show us Your way;

Keep us from evil,

Lead us each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and have shown us through Your Son, that we are not to retaliate and return harm. Forgive us for the times that we have returned evil for evil, be it in our words, thoughts or actions. Teach us to give all to You, and to trust You to move on our behalf. Show us how to make Your love known, even when love is the last thing that we want to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what to do when harm or evil is directed at us. Lead us in Your everlasting love. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

United in Peace

For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. – (Ephesians 2:14, HCSB)

Christ is the reason we are now at peace. He made us Jews and you who are not Jews one people. We were separated by a wall of hate that stood between us, but Christ broke down that wall. – (Ephesians 2:14, ERV)

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. – (Ephesians 2:14, VOICE)

If God can unite two groups who were separated and against each other for many generations, He can bring peace in a home, a neighborhood, a classroom or a school. This is a great reminder that God is able to do surpassingly more than we could hope or imagine as we seek and trust in Him. For me, this is the hope that I am holding onto, as I have a class that ends each day with a combination of kids that make it feel like a combat zone. At the close of each school day, it feels as though I have barely survived a horrendous hurricane, and I long for the opportunity to walk away. If I were independently wealthy, I would walk away and never look back. Clearly this is not a solution, but the struggle that is endured each day is bringing me to a breaking point. Something has to give. I trust that God can do far more than I can imagine, yet I am struggling to see what could possibly be done in the here and now. Each day, I embrace the new, and try to move forward with positivity and grace, but the grit within me is waning. If God can bring two warring groups of people together as one, I know He is able to bring calm and peace to a classroom. May we ever seek the Lord to break down barriers of hostility, and bring His peace that surpasses understanding.

The embodiment,

Of God’s perfect peace;

Is what is needed,

Abundant release.

For He who calms storms,

With only His words;

Can calm great chaos,

His peace is transferred.

Lord, bring Your goodness,

Flood me with Your grace;

Show me the answer,

As I seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of perfect peace. Thank You that You can unite groups of people who once were at odds with one another. Thank You that You are greater than anything that we must face. Forgive us for struggling to believe there is a solution when we are in the midst of the fire. Show us the power of Your peaceful presence. Teach us to be promoters of Your peace as we continually choose to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we earnestly seek You for solutions to that which leaves us feeling hopeless. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Called to Community

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time. – (Proverbs 17:17, HCSB)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. If we invest in time with friends and family, we grow close and are ready to walk alongside each other, no matter what comes our way. True investment connects hearts and lives, and provides opportunity to love and be loved as God intended. Though a simple concept, it requires intentional investment. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to invest in our relationships with friends and family, and to equip us to love and help one another at all times.

No matter what comes,

We are called to seek;

Time with each other,

In community.

When one friend falls down,

Another is near;

To help the one up,

And overcome fear.

Together there’s strength,

The power to move;

Hope to keep going,

And fear is removed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created and called us to be in community. Thank You for the friends and family that You have placed around us. Thank You for the gift of loving and being loved. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in those You have placed around us. Teach us to know the balance of time and energy that will grow depth in our community without depleting us of necessary rest. Show us how to love well, so that our friends and family know that they always have someone in their corner, ready to walk beside them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are the ultimate Father and friend. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the family and friends around us, and seek You to lead us to love one another well. Amen.

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

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

You Hold My Hand

Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, HCSB)

But I am always with You. You hold my hand. You lead me and give me good advice, and later You will lead me to glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, ERV)

I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. – (Psalm 73:23-24, MSG)

David’s words are a reminder to us that when we choose God, He is always with us and takes our hand to lead us. As He leads, He guides us in His wisdom and tenderness and makes the eternal hope we have in Him, evident. There is much peace knowing that God is with us and will guide and advise us whenever we seek Him. Ultimately, His leading will lead us into eternal glory with Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us, so that we may walk in His ways and become who He has created us to be.

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

He’s loving and kind;

He leads and guides us,

With His good in mind.

His hands to hold us,

As gently He leads;

His love to bless us,

As He meets our needs.

Ever God is near,

He’s present to lead;

His love knows no end,

His goodness exceeds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and in love, You take our hands and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Thank You that Your direction is to grow and bless us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to do things our own way. Teach us to trust and listen to You in all things and at all times, for in doing so, we come to understand the hope and help that is found in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend our hands to You and trust You to lead and counsel us as we walk out each new day. Amen.

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

He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Fish Findings

This morning our day began much differently than usual. The 4:15am wakeup is normal for us, yet the why was something quite new. We parked in lot one, walked down to float eight, and boarded our fishing boat, The Blue Eyes. Full of anticipation and excitement for the adventure ahead, my Viking and I boarded and got to know the layout of the boat. Both captain and deckhand were friendly, knowledgeable, and clearly well-seasoned at all this.

5:30 am as our journey began…

Our eight-hour tour started with a 90 minute ride out to our first fishing spot. By fishing spot, I mean where the boat drifted as it was tossed to and fro by the relentless waves. We had success at the very first spot, as Viking hooked two fish with one drop of the line. (double hooks, single bait) From there, we rode over some serious rollers, and stopped at another spot. This time, we each caught multiple fish, but at some point in the process, my stomach decided it had had enough of the swirling seas. From that point on, I lost count of how many times I had to lean over the rail and “feed” the fish. Thankfully, despite my own struggle with seasickness, we were each able to successfully catch our quota and safely return to shore.

After pondering the experience, I have a sort of top five things I learned from the day:

  1. Jesus and His disciples were some seriously skilled strong men, as I cannot begin to fathom the sort of boat they used way out in the Sea of Galilee to do what we did today. 
  2. The sea is an incredible reminder of both God’s power and the beauty of His creation. (Also, I think I prefer admiring both from either the shore or in a sheltered bay)
  3. Fishermen have iron guts. No joke. 
  4. Though I am able to do many things, I cannot control whether or not I get seasick. (Even Dramamine did not do anything after my stomach decided to rebel)
  5. My husband LOVES to fish and he is a natural.
The bottom left image sums up our day – Viking was overjoyed, I was trying to grin and suck it up.

For now, I will continue to thank God for bringing us safely back to the dock, providing an abundant catch for both of us, and for settling my stomach once we were back on land. Additionally, I will be pursuing insight as to how to best prevent a repeat of seasickness the next time I venture out with my Love to fish.

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

Celebrating Fathers

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, HCSB)

Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. He died to make the church holy. He used the telling of the Good News to make the church clean by washing it with water. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, ERV)

Husbands, you must love your wives so deeply, purely, and sacrificially that we can understand it only when we compare it to the love the Anointed One has for His bride, the church. We know He gave Himself up completely to make her His own, washing her clean of all her impurity with water and the powerful presence of His word. – (Ephesians 5:25-26, VOICE)

It is interesting that this passage was part of my reading this morning, as it is a reminder of why we celebrate fathers today. Though not all have been present or have loved as one might hope, we can celebrate those we know who remind us what it is to be loved as God intended. For those who love their wives well, love their children in the same way – sacrificially, and build them up with loving encouragement in the right ways to go, let us celebrate and appreciate their love and sacrifice. I am blessed with a husband who loves us well, and would do anything for us to be sure our needs are met and our hearts held well.  May we seek the Lord with hearts full of thanks, for Him, our ultimate Father, and for the men in our lives who model God’s love to us in tangible ways.

To know the Lord’s love,

Look around and see;

Those who choose love well,

Show it tangibly.

Without conditions,

Such love is complete;

It sets our hearts free,

A place of retreat.

For this kind of love,

Chooses sacrifice;

Puts family first,

Gives godly advice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men in our lives that model a love like Yours. Thank You for the generosity and sacrifice that is given to their families, friends and communities. Forgive us for the times that we have not appreciated or acknowledged Your goodness that is shown through so many. Teach us to see You in those around us, and to celebrate and give thanks for Your heart that is grown within them. Show us how to love like You so that many may come to understand the depth and breadth of Your unfailing love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the husbands and fathers that You have placed around us, and for the ultimate Father that we have in You. Amen.

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

Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. – 1 John 3:1a

Love Matters Most

Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. – (Colossians 3:14, HCSB)

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG) 

This is a good reminder as we go into our final Friday of the school year. Final project and assignments and make-up work is all due today, and I imagine for some, will be a stressful day. The best way to approach the day is with love. Through God’s love we can be patient and kind, gentle and protective, full of hope, and persevere. As we extend these things to those around us, calm comes and hope rises. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect love so that all whom we encounter may feel His goodness and grace.

The garment we wear,

That matters the most;

Is not external,

But goodness exposed.

A smile, a kind word,

Are such simple things;

And yet their impact,

True joy they can bring.

For goodness and love,

Are what help hope grow;

Making value known,

As His love we show.

So, look for places,

To give love away;

Choose kindness and grace,

Let love lead the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to put on the garment of love. Thank You that to do so is to choose to allow Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Forgive us for the times and spaces that our words and deeds have been lacking in love. Show us how to love everyone around us well, so that Your heart is made clear through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we adorn ourselves with Your lavish love so that we can go forth and choose to love those around us well. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth 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

Help Each New Day

But I call to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets You. – (Psalm 88:13, HCSB)

Lord, I am asking You to help me! Early each morning I pray to You. – (Psalm 88:13, ERV)

But I am calling out to You, Eternal One. My prayers rise before You with every new sun! – (Psalm 88:13, VOICE)

When we start the day seeking God, our hearts are in the right space and we are making room for God to move. No, He does not need our permission, yet His Father’s heart for us is that He wants His kids to seek and ask, inviting Him into every part of our day. As we do, He is faithful to meet us, walk beside us, and remind us of His loving kindness. The state of the world today is our ever-present reminder to seek Him. May we look to the Lord to be our help, for His mercies are new every morning.

O Lord, each morning,

We seek You anew;

To help and lead us,

And see the day through.

We call upon You,

Our help and our hope;

To begin each day,

With promises spoke.

Your promised presence,

And love that abounds;

Purpose empowered,

In You, help is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each new day we can rise and seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us when we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You. Teach us to trust You and turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us Your power and Your loving kindness anew. Lead us to love those around us in ways that give help and strength to persevere in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You for help and pray to You at the start of each new day. 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

To Look for Ways to Love

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – (Romans 12:10, HCSB)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

If we live and love like brothers and sisters, we look out for one another, take care of each other, and extend help where it is needed. Honoring and prioritizing others is to take our eyes off the mirror and look out the window. We must look to actually see how to love, honor and treat others with respect in a way that is a blessing. Something that I have learned is that if I look for ways to bless, honor and show love to those around me, I end up feeling blessed just knowing that a simple gesture encouraged or lifted another up. Yesterday was a rough Monday. Kids were off, and the pollen was pulsating through my sinus cavity. Thankfully, a long, hilly, sunny dog walk after a less than stellar school day set my heart back in the right space to look outward rather than within. This morning, God has granted fresh resolve, and has again given me the reminder to look for ways to love. It looks different for everyone, yet acts of kindness are always good for morale. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He intended, and may we be willing to follow His heart with our every word and deed.

Choose love each other,

Like true family;

With care and kindness,

Protect and seek see.

Look for the spaces,

Depleted or down;

Encourage, extend,

Let kindness be found.

For we are all called,

Sisters and brothers;

To choose to love well,

Care for each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and honor each other like family. Thank You that Jesus showed us what that can look like as He loved, served, helped and gave hope to those who were lacking. Forgive us for the times that we withdraw and cannot see past our own circumstances. Teach us to look up and out, so that we may find ways to bless, encourage and build others up, as we honor each other in love. Lead us to see and act upon spaces that we can bless and encourage those around us. Show us how to love those we encounter throughout our day in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love those around us as family, and to honor each as You do. Amen.

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

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12