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

Faith Brings Hope into Reality

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

Faith brings our hope into reality, as it grants us the strength to keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. Hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that things will turn out for the best. (dictionary.com) Faith grants us the assurance and confidence to trust in what we cannot yet see. The two are seemingly intertwined as we need faith to hold hope, and hope to remind us that we have reason to have faith. With Christ, hope and faith are fueled by His love. Though we do not see Him, His evidence is all around us. The more we know, the deeper our faith grows, and the more we find hope is present. May we ever seek the Lord to know Him more, for it is in the knowing that we find faith and recognize the hope we forever have in Him.

Our faith is what makes,

Things hoped for in reach;

Proof of what’s not seen,

Good yet to be reached.

It grants us the strength,

To trust and believe;

To keep pressing on,

Fulfillment achieved.

So, let us pursue,

Him from whom hope grows;

Trust in the unseen,

Faith that the Lord knows.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we find faith and hope in You. Thank You that You are present to hear our prayers and grant us the faith that You hear and the hope that You are moving on our behalf. Forgive us for the times that our faith or hope waver, for You never change and are faithful forever. Teach us to trust You more, and increase our faith as we place our hope in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage faith and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to pursue a deeper relationship with You. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Seek His Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Ephesus is still an encouragement for us today. We are not meant to be strong on our own, but rather by the strength He provides through His presence, both in and through us. Strength on our own is not sustainable, yet in Him, we are able to endure and overcome all things. This does not mean that all will be easy, but it does mean God will be present to supply what we need when we need it most. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, recognizing that His mighty power provides what is required to press on.

Let’s look to the Lord,

For He is the place;

We are granted strength,

To run well our race.

Power that endures,

Through the toughest days;

A love that surrounds,

And grace that remains.

The Lord is the One,

On whom to depend;

To rise, overcome,

As strength He extends.

So, look to the Lord,

For all that we need;

Seek His strength, not ours,

In Him we succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength as we learn to depend on You. Thank You that Your power is present and made evident in our weakness. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to power through on our own, rather than seeking our true Source of strength. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You supply all we need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our Source of strength in all things and at all times. 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

Grow Us in Grace

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, TPT)

For the last few years, I have taken time to seek God and ask Him for a word for the coming year. Last year, the word that was placed on my heart was “new”. Though the “new” that we all experienced was nothing like any of us might have imagined, there certainly was a recurring category of “new”. We entered a new season as the world shut down and life as we knew it changed. In the midst of it all, much new had to be learned. For me, a brand new way of doing my job accompanied the new season of the twins graduating from high school, and the addition of two new fur babies to our family. Though there has been struggle with the new, God’s grace was all the more. It seems that we each have the opportunity to become new as we navigate the challenges that come our way. Each obstacle provides room for us to seek the Lord and pursue the new He is growing in us as we are faithful to continue looking forward to all that lies before us. This process of becoming “new”, has brought me to the word that God has given me for 2021. The word that kept crashing around in my heart and mind is “grace”. In order to continue to move forward in all that I have been called, His grace will be required. There needs to be an ongoing growth in grace – both in the giving and receiving of “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.(dictionary.com definition of grace) I don’t know about you, but I will absolutely welcome the freely given favor and love of God, and know that I am called to do the same for those around me. Grace is a gift; not something that needs to be earned. May we actively seek to both give and receive the grace of God, so that we may ever grow in grace and love, according to God’s good and perfect will.

May we grow in grace,

As He makes us new;

Receive all He gives,

So we might give too.

To grow in goodness,

We need know His ways;

Make willing our hearts,

To trust God always.

Though sometimes the new,

Is not what we dreamed;

His grace is enough,

To make all redeemed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make all things new and You grow us in Your lavish grace. Forgive us for our resistance to the new and our stubbornness that neglects to give and receive the grace You intended. Teach us how to grow in grace so that we may love as You call us to love. Lead us to love others in ways that are full of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You are growing in us to navigate this new year. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Time to Grow in Wisdom

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

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV) 

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT) 

We have a limited amount of time to be who we are called to be. Wisdom is required to walk out our days well. I don’t know about you, but I know for me, I am acutely aware of my need for wisdom to do that which I am called to do. This is especially evident this year, as we are navigating new territory to teach remotely, then in a hybrid manner, and ultimately, how to transition back to a full schedule on campus. Last spring, we all were in survival mode, doing the very best that we could with what we had. Sadly, there were many students who were unable to participate and engage, and much wisdom will be required to make it work for all students. To be wise is to be willing to take direction and correction, as we continue to learn how to navigate the new. I need Jesus to accelerate my learning, and show me the ways that are His best. My hope is to smoothly start the year, engaging all students and to create a learning community that will translate both online and back in the classroom. Time is short, and there is so much to learn. May we seek the Lord for His wisdom, so that we may make the most of every day that we are given. 

Our time here is short, 

And our days are few; 

We need God’s wisdom, 

To know what to do. 

As we choose seek Him, 

He’s faithful to show; 

What we’re meant to do, 

And how we can grow. 

With a willing heart, 

Investment of time; 

He’ll show us the way, 

Shift our paradigm. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us and impart Your wisdom as we earnestly seek You. Thank You that as we recognize how limited our time is, You are faithful to show us how to utilize it best. Forgive us for thinking that we have an unlimited amount of time, or for not seeking and pursuing Your wisdom to walk out our days according to Your plans. Show us how to number our days and seek after the wisdom we need from You. Teach us how to love those around us wisely. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom to walk out our days, so that each day that we have matters. Amen. 

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

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. – Proverbs 2:6

Generosity and Justice

Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. – (Psalm 112:5, NIV) 

It is good for people to be kind and generous and to be fair in business. – (Psalm 112:5, ERV) 

Life is good for the one who is generous and charitable, conducting affairs with honesty and truth. – (Psalm 112:5, TPT) 

We are called to live a life of generosity and justice. This requires that we are kind and generous, honest and fair. Each of these things are part of the lifestyle that Jesus modeled for us. We are called to love, and how He loved is the ultimate example. Jesus was generous with His time, talent and resources, and He was quick to identify things that were right and those that were not, and operated justly; always. With so many things out of our control right now, our best defense is to live a life of love. Where we have plenty, we ought to be generous. As we navigate our way through our ever-changing jobs, we must do so with honesty, truth and fairness. Being an educator, this is especially important, as what we do, demonstrates to the next generation, how things ought to be done. If we are kind, generous and fair, the same is given in return. Even when it is not, our hearts can hold fast to choosing what is right and knowing that we have done our best to do what we are called to do. May we ever pursue God’s heart, so we will know best how to be kind, generous and just. 

It is always good, 

To live such a life; 

Where true justice reigns, 

And giving ends strife. 

For we have been called, 

And lovingly shown; 

What God has required, 

His way’s been made known. 

To choose act justly, 

Love mercy as well; 

Walk humbly with God, 

So good, our lives tell. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tell us in Your word and have shown us through Your Son, how to be generous and just in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked a generous heart, or have not considered what is most just, equitable and fair. Show us how to live our lives with generosity, kindness and truth in all things. Help us to love those around us with generosity, humility, honesty and justice. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live the life You are calling us to lead. 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 

Inventive in Hospitality

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, NIV)

Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, MSG)

When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. – (Romans 12:13, NLT)

 

If ever there was a time to do as we are called to do, now is the time. Sharing and extending help to those in need is a necessity as businesses are having to close their doors if they cannot be sustained through online ordering or curbside pickup. I love how the Message translation says, “be inventive in hospitality.” This is indeed required, as social distancing transforms the traditional perception of hospitality. However, for fun, I checked the dictionary definition, and discovered that it pairs well with being inventive in hospitality. According to dictionary.com, hospitality is: the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way. As far as I can fathom, it is not required to have someone into a home or a space that violates the social distancing expectations, to extend warmth, kindness and generosity. If we watch and listen, we are able to discover needs and do what we can, where we can. Yesterday, I had the privilege of participating at one of my school district’s breakfast and lunch distribution sites, as our union has partnered with nutrition services to lend a hand and be familiar faces for families as they drive through to pick up meals. A fellow teacher from my school and I, worked together with three incredible ladies from nutrition services. One, I discovered, was the mom of a terrific young man whom I had known throughout my schooling days, the second, was a sweet mom of two young kids who were waiting at home, and the third, was the incredible woman who runs the kitchen right there at the high school. We all worked together to keep the supply on the table for distribution, as families trickled through the bus loop to pick up meals. It was a treasure to exchange smiles and friendly greetings, even from our safe distances, as the sun was out and it was clear that all were in appreciation of the hospitality our district is extending.

As for Mom, she is doing fairly well, considering she is stuck in quarantine with NO VISITORS allowed. The only people permitted to see her are her therapists and those who work onsite. No family, friends or the like. We know it is good and necessary for prevention, but a bummer for someone as social as Mom. Phone calls, messages, and mail are always good, and I imagine the same is true for anyone living in a senior living community. In fact, if you are looking for an activity for kids to do at home that is an art/writing combination, making cards and or drawing pictures to send to loved ones in quarantine, or to local senior living facilities would be amazing. It is a simple way that even the youngest among us can learn to practice being inventive in hospitality. May we all look for ways to reach out, safely, to help bless and meet needs where we are able.

 

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To love and reach out;

Do what we’re able,

To help those without.

As God’s created,

We are made to love;

To extend and give,

Place people above.

Let not the lonely,

Stay trapped in alone;

A call, card or text,

Can make them feel known.

For physical lack,

Let’s rise up and give;

Where we are able,

To help others live.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to take care of one another. Thank You that in trying times, we are meant to share one another’s burdens. Show us how to be inventive in hospitality, so that we may treat those around us in warm, friendly and generous ways. Forgive us for thinking that we have nothing to offer, or that there is no safe way to be hospitable in times like these. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in ways that You have for us to extend hospitality to others. Show us how to love those around us in generous, tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us where we are meant to extend our time, talent or resources to bless those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Working Everything for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

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God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Trust to Do What is Right

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, NIV)

“If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if He wants to, He can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol that you have set up.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, ERV)

“If you throw us into the blazing furnace, then the God we serve is able to rescue us from a furnace of blazing fire and release us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He does not, O king, you can be sure that we still will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue you erected.” – (Daniel 3:17-18, VOICE)

 

Daniel 3 is a fantastic example of trusting God to do what is right, and the Lord’s faithfulness as the trio of young men stood firm in their convictions. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that bowing down to a statue constructed of gold, made by man, would dishonor God. Despite the threat of death as a punishment for disobedience, the young men trusted that God would save them if sent to the fire. They even went so far as to say that if God did not save them, they still refused to bow before the gold statue. God honored their faithfulness in a miraculous way, as He met them in the fire, and kept them from being burned, despite the intense heat. As a result, the king decreed that if anyone spoke out against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they would lose their life. The king’s heart was transformed as he witnessed the trio’s trust and the Lord’s faithfulness. We may not be facing the fiery furnace, nor forced to bow before a golden statue, but we do have opportunities daily to choose to trust God. How are we standing firm in faith, despite what we see? Each stand we take in trust, gives God room to move mightily. Our ongoing trust gives glimpses of the faithfulness of God to those around us. May we ever choose to stand firm in our convictions, and have faith to trust God to be faithful forever.

 

Choose trust in the Lord, Trust to Do What is Right

When facing the fire;

He’s faithful always,

The help that’s required.

He knows what we need,

Provision through trust;

Faith makes us aware,

Of how He meets us.

God grants us the strength,

In truth, to stand firm;

Obey, honor Him,

In all that we’ve learned.

So, let us choose right,

By faith, do His will;

The Lord will grant strength,

As peace He instills.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the examples in Your word of people who were faithful to You, even when society dictated otherwise. Thank You that You show us again and again, that You are faithful to those who trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not stood firm in what we know You are asking us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would not waiver from what You ask. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and watch in wonder as You move faithfully on our behalf. 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

Confidently Heard

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, NIV)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

We live in bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. – (1 John 5:14, VOICE)

 

First and foremost, we can come to God confidently, as He hears our hearts whenever we seek Him. Just as a loving parent listens to their children when they come, so too, does our Heavenly Father, each time we bring our heart before Him. That being said, He is not a fairy godparent nor a genie that grants wishes; rather, God is loving and all-powerful, and has plans and purpose for each of our lives. When the things we bring before Him align with His will, He hears and responds accordingly. Likewise, when we are seeking something that is not in our best interest, He closes doors and places that check in our spirit that tells our heart that whatever it is, is not in our best interest. God’s ways are not our ways, nor His timing aligned with our own. Often, we seek and ask, and wait in wonder for what seems like forever, only to discover that God has been moving on our behalf all along, as there were things in us that needed preparing before the actual request could be fulfilled. God is good and faithful and worthy of our trust. May we ever live in bold confidence that He hears us when we ask of Him, things that align with His good and perfect plan.

As for Mom, she began more of her out-patient therapies this week. She was encouraged and determined when we spoke, and hopeful, as she recognized the new opportunities for growth to reestablish pathways that were lost. I love that one of the things that she said was that she wished she could go to therapies every day. Mom knows that the hard work is what is required of her, and she is ready to do exactly that. It will be a joy and a blessing to see the strides that she has made between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we all gather together again.

 

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May we all choose come;

Before the Father,

The Most Holy One.

For as we seek Him,

He’s faithful to hear;

Honoring requests,

When His plan is clear.

The Lord, He knows best,

Despite what we see;

He knows the outcome,

And what is to be.

So, trust in the Lord,

Place all in His hands;

Seek follow His heart,

To walk out His plans.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come before You boldly and bring our requests to You. Thank You that You listen and hear our hearts. Thank You that You move on our behalf in the way that is best for us, redirecting our hearts to the path You have placed before us when we don’t know the way. Forgive us for our doubts when we do not see the evidence of You moving. Teach us to trust You more, as Your timing is not ours, nor are Your ways our own. Thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine when we place things in Your mighty hands. Show us how to love those around us in ways that come alongside to strengthen and encourage those who need it most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You, knowing that You hear us and move on our behalf when we ask things that follow the plan that You designed for us. 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 He helps me. – Psalm 28:7a