Purposed for Community

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV) 

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV) 

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, TPT) 

I love how God granted wisdom to those who recorded the letters of the Bible in ways that were relateable and applicable throughout the ages. For me, these verses apply to so many areas in life; any organization or group that we fall into, requires just such thinking for success. What I mean is simply that we all have different gifts, strengths, talents, and more to contribute, yet it is when we work together as a whole, good things occur. In a family unit, when each of us do our best with the strengths and gifts that we have been given, with the intent of contributing to the family as a whole, things are accomplished and peace and love prevail. In the school setting, this holds true as well, as each person who enters campus has a function to contribute to both the process and the progress of the purpose being carried out. From administrators to counselors, teachers to security officers, custodians to librarians, support staff to specialists, students and parents alike – all can either help or hinder the functionality of a school. In the same way that I listed the various roles of the body that makes up a school community, so too, does the Bible speak of the various roles and functions of those who join together as a church community, with the common purpose of loving God and loving people well.  

As I prepare for day one of back-to-school training, I am considering my own role and function, and what I might be able to contribute to the whole. For me, I live, love and fulfill my role best, when I am investing in growing – body, heart, soul and mind. Growth only occurs when we are intentional to invest our time into learning and placing what we learn into action. This is true for physical training, academic advancement, and living and loving in ways that not only contribute to the whole, but that spur others on to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and grow us in Him, so that we may contribute to our communities with purpose, and see the great value in each of those around us as they do the same. 

We all have a role, 

That we’re to fulfill; 

Wherever we are, 

There’s room for growth still. 

God made us to grow, 

To improve, to thrive; 

To love each other, 

Do more than survive. 

In order to thrive, 

We need each other; 

Mother and father, 

Sister and brother. 

So, let us each rise, 

And purpose to grow; 

Body, mind and heart, 

Let God’s best be shown. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to thrive in community. Thank You that You designed each of us with a role and purpose in each “group” to which we belong – be it church, family, neighborhood, city and more. Forgive us for the times that we have remained stagnant, or have not sought to grow and contribute in the ways in which we have been created to do, as well as for the times that we placed some sort of hierarchy on those around us and the roles that they fulfill. Not one is more important than the other; for all are needed to function and fulfill their purpose best. Show us how to learn and grow, value and live out the very best that You have for our communities. Lead us to love one another in such a way, that each member feels valued and encouraged to do their best and invest in ongoing growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest, value, and contribute to each body that we are blessed to be considered a member. Amen. 

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

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:10

Blessed in Wonder

The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NIV)

People all around the world are amazed at the wonderful things You do. You make all people, east and west, sing with joy. – (Psalm 65:8, ERV)

O God, to the farthest corners of the planet people will stand in awe, startled and stunned by your signs and wonders. Sunrise brilliance and sunset beauty both take turns singing their songs of joy to You. – (Psalm 65:8, TPT)

 

I am in awe as I take in all of the blessed new associated with our sweet new fur baby addition to our family. There is fresh wonder to watch a puppy discover all things new, as he explores the world around him. Thor is a little love, and a reminder that joy is present and new every morning. We are newbies with such a young puppy, so crate training on night one was a bust. I caved after a few minutes of agonizing cries, and moved to lie on the floor beside him, where I could talk to Thor and place a hand on him to calm him. It worked until I attempted to quietly and slowly crawl away from the crate and back onto the bed. The cries began again, all the louder and more agonizing, so I scooped him up and brought him into bed with us. Thor snuggled right in, and was sound asleep within minutes. He only woke twice in the night to go outside, so for us, it felt reasonably successful. This morning, he has eaten, played outside, run around inside, explored, and followed both Mark and I all around the house, even navigating the stairs. We are beyond grateful for our new little blessing, and feel a renewed sense joy in this season. God is so good, and there are wonders all around us to remind us of our reasons to sing for joy. May we pause and take notice of the good all around us, and give thanks to He who is so very good.

 

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May we know and see;

The blessings made new,

Each day, faithfully.

Such joy, the Lord brings,

As we seek His face;

Peace, hope and His love,

Never ending grace.

With fresh eyes to see,

His wonders anew;

May we give our praise,

And thanks unto You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonders and blessings that are new every morning. Thank You that in You, we find joy in every season. Forgive us for not taking time to give You praise for all of the blessings You provide. Teach us to rise with hearts of praise, and to close each day with gratitude for the good given. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may be ever aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of the wonders all around us, and give You glory for all of Your goodness. Amen.

 

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

 

He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. – Deuteronomy 10:21

Prioritizing Peace and People

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

On one hand, if I observe what is going on in our neighborhood, our schools, our community, our church, our city and beyond, I see much effort being set forth to encourage and strengthen one another. Cheerful greetings to neighbors when out for fresh air, kind words of encouragement for essential workers around town, breakfast and lunch provision for all students in our area, groceries provided by local churches and businesses to families in need, and an outpouring of support for the medical and emergency services community – these all are beautiful efforts to get along and help one another. However, if I turn on the news, I am bombarded with stories seemingly intent on division. Yes, it is important to remain informed, but perhaps small doses are best to avoid being zapped of our resolve to remain invested in doing good. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Though we may not see the results, we never know the impact a generous gesture, kind word, or simply a smile can have on a person. As so many of us are in positions of having to learn an entirely new way of doing our jobs, there are others that are grieving the loss of theirs, and still others who are essential and continue reporting to work as usual, though nothing is usual, all while kids attempt to do remote learning, parents attempt to monitor, help and teach, and everyone needs kindness and encouragement in the process. If we can get along and be at peace in the process, each will be able to successfully navigate their own new. Support and encouragement are beneficial to all, so perhaps we can each be extra generous with kindness in this season. May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, so all may rise better than when we began.

 

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Encourage, lift up;

A blessing of peace,

Fills everyone’s cup.

No act of kindness,

Is ever for naught;

For love and goodness,

Sometimes need be taught.

Taught through our actions,

Not just spoken words;

It requires motion,

For love is a verb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate provider of peace and encouragement in our lives. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to find peace in our relationships and how to best encourage and lift up those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the things that lead to or maintain peace, or have stayed silent when we were meant to encourage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue peace through You, and ever look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen those around us. Show us how to love others best, so that they may know Your perfect peace through encouragement and edification. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to get along with others and to encourage and lift each other up. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Always Love

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God is love. This perfect sort of love comes from Him alone. We are flawed and frail and fallen; He is good, gracious and merciful. When we seek the Lord first, He deposits these things within us, and grants us the capacity to protect, trust, hope, and persevere in love. In our broken humanity, we will never be flawless in our delivery. However, God is. When we choose to love God and love people as we are called and designed to do, we become better equipped to protect, trust, hope and persevere, as His love leads us in every area of our life that we grant Him access. The more we give God room, the more we become aware of the hope, security, and overcoming, lasting love that is found in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord with our whole heart, so that we too, may love in a way that creates a safe place of shelter, that never stops believing the best for others, never takes failure as defeat, and never gives up.

 

Our space of shelter, Life by Love Defined

When weary and worn;

He grants strength to move,

In Christ, hope’s reborn.

The One we can trust,

Protection in love;

He never gives up,

Our Help from above.

Even through the times,

When we can’t shake fear;

His presence surrounds,

To rise, persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we begin to understand the power of love. Thank You that Your love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Thank You that the more we walk with You, the better we are able to love as You love us. Forgive us for the times that we have been lacking in our love. Continue to teach us how to love like You. Show us practical and tangible ways to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we always trust and hope in You, as You protect us and provide for us, all that we need through Your overwhelming and unending love. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

The Gift of Grace

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. – (Romans 3:23-24, TLB)

 

God is so kind. He shows us in countless ways, just how deeply He loves us and has grace for us, despite all of our flaws. I am in awe of how God brings people together to make His heart for us tangible and visible. Right now, in this season, I am particularly attuned to my shortcomings. Though I am a bit of an introvert, I am a doer. I am a wanderlust who needs to explore and adventure; an artist who needs to create; a teacher who needs to teach, but is uncertain and nervous about the new platform, and an athlete who needs to move. Though most of these can sort of be satisfied at home, the draw of the first not being satisfied in what feels like months, is a bit wearing. Part of it is my desire to drive over the mountains to check on my mom. Normally, I would hop in the car and just go. Never mind that it is three hours each way, it matters not, as I have a vehicle that runs and a music to keep me singing all the way there and back again. However, under current circumstances, it is not really an option. Yes, I suppose I could drive to Wenatchee; but mom’s entire living community is on lockdown, so I would be unable to see her anyway. It would be worse to be that close and not see her…

All that to say that I gain glimpses of God’s grace and forgiveness through the love and kindness extended to me by my husband. He loves me through my frustrations and foolishness, as he encourages and comes alongside me in things we can do. If a spouse can love and encourage well, how much more can Jesus? So much more. Jesus took it all – our sin, frustrations, shortcomings, impatience, and the like – so that we could be redeemed and made right before God, if we choose to trust in Him. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need His grace. I try, I fail; I rise, I fall short; yet, each time He picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me to keep moving forward as He supplies all that I need to press on. May we all receive the gift of grace that God freely offers, and be covered and declared forgiven in Him.

 

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Somehow, not enough;

Too little patience,

When going gets tough.

We try and we fall,

To rise up and be;

All that we ought to,

Wrecked humanity.

Yet, there is a way,

To rise and be more;

Give room for God’s grace,

To show what’s in store.

In His forgiveness,

Mercy and His grace;

We walk out His will,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way to restore relationship with You. Thank You that Your grace covers all of our sin and shame and restores us to good standing with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not freely received what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the redemption that we have been given through Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Our Oasis

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

And there is a resounding “yes”, followed by a heavy sigh and a bit of coughing. Weary indeed… The heavy burdens I continually attempt to lay down, yet somehow, I seem to find new weights that have managed to be slung on my shoulders. Each morning, I rise with intention, to seek the Lord and give all to Him. He promises to give rest and refreshment, and an oasis sounds blissful about now. This is where trust must enter in.  At times, the provision is the supplication of what we need for the day to make it through. There are other times, when we find ourselves smack dab in the center of an oasis, after what has felt like an eternity in the desert. God knows what we need and when we need it most. He provides and sustains, refreshes and grants rest. Today, I am trusting Him for what I need to navigate this day, and looking forward to some much-needed rest, that is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord when we are weary and heavy burdened, for He will walk beside us and grant us rest.

 

Jesus tells us, “Come”,Our Oasis

Bring burdens to Me;

Lay heaviness down,

Set all at His feet.

For He is our Source,

Strength, hope, life and light;

Who grants us the rest,

To stay in the fight.

His hands can hold us,

When our strength is gone;

He’s our oasis,

His love makes us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Thank You that You call us to bring our burdens to You; for You are willing and able to carry the load that we were never meant to bear. Thank You that You provide rest and refreshment when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for growing weary in our resolve to keep seeking Your help when all is heavy. Teach us how to lay down the burdens that we are not even aware we are shouldering. Show us how to come alongside those around us, to love, encourage and lift up, so that they may know Your refreshment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and lay our burdens before You, seeking You for real rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Blessed in the Bittersweet

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

 

Sundays are bittersweet. The sweet comes through the blessings found in gathering with my church family to worship and hear the word together. However, the challenging portion of Sundays are found in the reminder that my weekend has come to a close, and much of the day is spent preparing for the week ahead. Today is no exception, as I will have to go in to work to take care of things that must be ready for Monday afternoon, and require far more time and energy than my planning period permits. Sometimes, the need to go in on a weekend feels a bit like a failure, as I cannot wrap my head around how people are able to complete all that must be done during the week. I am worn out, and six days spent at work are more than I desire, even if only a few hours extra on a weekend. That being said, God provides what I need, as He grants me the strength and the help as I go. Always He is faithful to meet me in my weakness, and supplies the strength that I need. May we ever trust in the Lord, for His strength and His presence are the provisions we need to rise.

 

No matter the day, Daily Provision

Or how my heart cries;

God remains faithful,

And grants strength to rise.

Rise up from weakness,

Step out of despair;

Enduring presence,

Strengthens as He cares.

Faithful Provider,

Our God of all grace;

Our help and our hope,

For now, and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fall short, You are always enough. Thank You that You are our strength and our portion forever. Thank You that You meet us in our weakness and provide the strength of heart required to press on in the direction that You are calling us to move. Forgive us for our frustrations and lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times; for You are strength and hope and love and life. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen in spaces where hope is hard to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our strength and provision forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Gifts to Succeed

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This is an interesting verse to land upon on the Friday of a very long week. Exhaustion is throbbing throughout my frontal lobe, and my resolve needs renewing in a supernatural way. That being said, I know my charge is to lean into God; and as I do, He will supply the strength, wisdom and love to navigate today. The Lord removes hesitations and frustrations, as I give them to Him, and grants me what I need to rise up and run. In the power, love and strength that Christ provides, I am going to choose to enjoying being present with those who are placed around me. I am blessed to work with a phenomenal group of colleagues, have some incredible students and artists, and am gifted with a fantastic group of gymnasts, who support and encourage one another. May we all seek the Lord for strength, as He removes our hesitations and replaces them with power, love and self-discipline.

 

Our God makes a way, Gifts to Succeed

Where it seems there’s none;

He grants us the strength,

To rise, get things done.

He takes away fear,

Provides what we need;

Wisdom, power, love,

His gifts to succeed.

When our strength is gone,

He won’t let us fall;

God grants strength and hope,

To love one and all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know our needs far better than we do. Thank You that as we lean on You, You supply the strength, wisdom, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate each next step. Forgive us for our frustration with our own weariness, for we are fallible and desperately need You. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times, for You are all that we need. Show us how to love others with the strength, power and grace that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our timidity and hesitations, and trust You to provide all that we need to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5

Great Comfort in Knowing

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 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 8:38-39, NIV)

Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love – not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, ERV)

For I have every confidence that nothing – not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing – can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, VOICE)

 

There is great comfort in knowing that there is nothing that surrounds us, comes against us, nor that we could go through, that can separate us from the love of God. His love is eternal and knows no limits. Whether we are having a wonderful day or a day that we would rather have remained in bed, God’s love for us is constant, consistent, and secure. Being loved when we are least lovable, demonstrates the true depth of love granted to us. It is not earned nor somehow rewarded, but rather freely given as the Creator loves His created. May we receive and recognize the remarkable love of our Redeemer, so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

 

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Make Your love so clear;

No matter what comes,

Show me that You’re near.

There’s no height nor depth,

That can keep away;

The goodness You give,

When to You, we pray.

Go before us Lord,

With Your love and light;

Be near and guide us,

To choose what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that as we receive the love You offer, You equip us to go forth and love others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have either not received what You freely give, or have withheld what we were meant to extend to those around us. Show us how to love one another well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your limitless love, and seek You to love others in the same way. Amen.

 

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

 

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – Titus 3:4-5a

As I Rise

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)

 

This morning, there is a choice to trust and praise involved as I rise. The day holds an overwhelming amount of new, which requires strength of heart, mind and body, to navigate as I go. For me, a new semester means three brand new classes of students to get to know, as well as the first day of middle school gymnastics. No matter how many times one has experienced such firsts before, there is always a bit of nervous anticipation for how all will unfold. Yes, there is wisdom in experience, yet each new group has its own dynamics and set of personalities. There is never a “one-size-fits-all” in establishing a positive classroom culture. This is the space where I rely on God’s grace to lead and guide me as I go. Of course, I prepare the things that I need to have ready, but I trust in the Lord to guide me as I navigate the new. Today I praise God, the Source of my strength, and trust in His loving kindness and provision as I prepare for the new that this day has in store.

 

This morning I rise, Statements of Praise

And choose to sing praise;

For God is my strength,

Throughout all my days.

Faithful forever,

No matter what comes;

His presence promised,

Loving, Holy One.

Ever I will seek,

For in Him I find;

All that is needed,

To press on, be kind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending faithfulness to be our strength and security in our spaces of the unknown. Thank You that You empower and equip us to navigate the new, and help us to do as You call us to. Forgive us for our anxiousness at all that lies before us, when we take our eyes off of You and allow our minds to fix on the size of what lies ahead. Teach us to trust You with all, as You are more than enough to navigate every circumstance and situation with wisdom, strength and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your strength and loving mercy may be made evident in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, our Strength, for who You are and how You provide for us. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32