Justice and Mercy Mean More

This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” – (Zechariah 7:9, NIV)

This is what the Lord All-Powerful said: “You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, ERV)

Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, MSG)

 

The context of this verse takes us back to the time of King Darius, as Zechariah received a word from the Lord regarding the traditional season of mourning and fasting. God spoke to Zechariah about the heart behind what the people were doing, and let him know that He would far prefer the people extend true mercy and justice, rather than partaking in religious rituals for themselves. Things are no different today, as God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is after our hearts, desiring that we extend His love, mercy, compassion and justice to others in the same way that He so generously and unreservedly loves each of us. Yes, there are seasons for mourning and fasting, but it must be with a heart intent on seeking Him, rather than simply jumping through some sort of religious hoop. May we seek the Lord and His love, so that we may treat one another justly, love our neighbors, and be compassionate with one another in the same way that He is with us.

 

For we are all called, Justice and Mercy Mean More

In kindness, choose love;

Show mercy and grace,

As God does for us.

Treat others justly,

Be compassionate;

Love one another,

To kindness, commit.

What matters the most,

In all that we do;

Is our heart to love,

Honor God in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love one another. Thank You that throughout Your word You unpack what it means to love. Thank You that mercy, compassion and justice are all part of loving as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in any of these areas. Teach us how to extend mercy, be compassionate, and to treat one another justly in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You love, for You extend all these things and more, though we do not deserve them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love like You – extending mercy, choosing compassion, and treating one another justly, regardless of what we receive. Amen.

 

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

 

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Giving God Room

“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)

 

This is the season where it seems that everyone begins to feel a bit weary and burdened with life. Perhaps it is due to shorter days with less light, colder weather, more demands as the year draws to a close; whatever the case may be, the blessing of time off that covers Christmas and into the New Year, is both welcome and needed. Currently, I am in Oregon, spending time with Mom, as my sister and her family were able to get away for a much-needed family vacation. Rest comes in various forms, and despite being wide awake before five this morning, I slept well and feel rested. My sister and her family had a bit of a debacle with their plane departing and a missed connecting flight, so they arrived to their destination less than an hour ago, when they were scheduled to arrive late last evening. Today, at noon, they will attend my brother-in-love’s alma mater’s bowl game. Perhaps the rest and refreshment for them will come in the form of love, laughter and shared stories, after having successfully navigated the crazy frustration of last evening. Sometimes the rest we need for our lives is more for our heart and soul, than for our body. Often, I am most refreshed after a long run or a vigorous hike, despite that seeming counter-intuitive to rest. Rest is really a matter of being aware of God’s presence, wherever we are, and allowing His peace to permeate our entire being. It is a laying down of the weight we are carrying and giving God room to take over and be the One in charge, as He is far better at it than we are. We are all wired differently, and He grants rest to each of us, individually, as we seek Him. May we each go to God in our weariness, and allow Him room to grant us His rest.

As for Mom, it is wonderful to be with her! She is amazing me with her resilience and willingness to do the hard work. Yesterday afternoon we needed to look for a cane for her next step in physical therapy, and Mom was ready to go. I anticipated taking her in her wheelchair, as that is what I have known for outings that required potential long walks with many people around, but Mom said, “no, the walker is fine.” By golly, she totally did it too! We made our way into the store, found what we needed, paid in the pharmacy (no lines!) and returned to the car without incident. We were not fast, but she did it well. After dinner we worked on her speech homework together, and giggled quite a bit. Before long, we were wiped out and ready to call it a day. Both of us slept well, and I actually woke up before Mom.

 

When you are weary, wp-15775437741204257769910717152582.jpg

And in need of rest;

Pursue the Lord God,

For He provides best.

He knows what we need,

Far better than us;

Our heart, soul and mind,

His grace helps adjust.

Where things are heavy,

He’ll carry the load;

Take us by the hand,

On challenging roads.

For things of the heart,

He blesses with peace;

Grants love and laughter,

Ease burden’s release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You, no matter what shape we are in. Thank You that when we are weary, You grant us Your rest. When we are burdened, You lighten our load or grant us the strength needed to sustain us. Forgive us for attempting to shoulder heaviness on our own, or power through when we need rest. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our great Provider. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that they may experience rest and a lightening of their burdens when we draw near. Help them to see that it is You in us that loves well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of rest and relief when we are weary and burdened. 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

Forget Not the Blessings

Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy Name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits. – (Psalm 103:1-2, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise His holy Name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget and kind He is! – (Psalm 103:1-2, ERV)

O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless His holy Name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! – (Psalm 103:1-2, MSG)

 

David so often has exactly the right words to express my heart in each season. This morning, I find my heart fixed on praise, as I prepare to spend six days and five nights with my Mom in Oregon. His kindness has afforded me the exact job to allow for the time off in just the right season, so that I am able to go and be with her. Additionally, He directed the steps between my sister and myself, so that we could coordinate timing best, minimizing time missed coaching, and maximizing quality vacation time for she and her family. Another blessing included in this time, is that my husband and boys will come for the weekend to celebrate Christmas together with Mom. Our tradition of family Christmas all together is being sustained, despite the different locale. God is so kind, and from head to toe I cannot help but praise Him. He loves with kindness and grace, and repeatedly shows us His goodness and love. May we ever remember the kindness of God and bless His holy Name.

As for Mom, she is continuing with her out-patient therapies. I am eager to be the one to take her to her appointments and see the progress she is making, and witness the work that they have her do to further regain strength and mobility. She is looking forward to our visit, as we have not had so many days in a row together since summer. I know she is eager to see her grandsons too. It will be a wonderful time of togetherness, and we are all praising God for the opportunity to gather.

 

My soul, praise the Lord,

wp-15774571633726473009708799146364.jpg

Christmas together 2018, looking forward to 2019 memories this weekend.

With all my being;

I thank You, O God,

For countless blessings.

In space of despair,

Always God, You hear;

You comfort and bless,

As You choose draw near.

Your grace overwhelms,

Your goodness exceeds;

You bless us beyond,

What we merely need.

Your kindness unmatched,

As well as Your grace;

May we ever choose,

Lift to You all praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the way that You love us so well. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us with kindness and grace, blessings and benefits beyond what we could ever imagine. Thank You that You are a good, good Father. Forgive us for not always giving You the praise that is due. Teach us to recognize the blessings that You bestow upon us, and flood our entire beings with praise for You, as You are the giver of light and life, hope and love. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may extend the same sort of blessings to others that You so lavishly pour out upon us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we lift all thanks and praise unto You, and remember the incredible kindness and blessings that You bestow upon us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Merry Christmas 2019

Merry Christmas blessings to all! Today’s post is going to look a bit different than usual, as I wanted to take the opportunity to send out Christmas greetings and an update for family and friends, near and far, as I found myself in a space of having to let go of the expectation of sending out Christmas cards this year. wp-15772871873888784698050003969833.jpg

Grace is a beautiful thing. Once I realized that the only person who had the expectation of a card being sent was me, I was able to let that “one more thing” go, and be present and enjoy the season.

This year has been all about learning and growing in grace; letting go of expectations of what we thought life would be, and embracing the gifts that come our way each day. At the end of April, my mom suffered a stroke, completely out of the blue. She was in great health, fit, capable, and extraordinarily independent; always on the go. As a result, I was given the grace to take a leave of absence for the majority of the remaining school year, and had the wellness leave to cover the time without loss of pay. Grace was granted financially for my family, as I was afforded time and total support to go and be present with Mom in the beginning of her recovery.  We also were able to visit Mark’s dad in September while he was still doing reasonably well, as we just returned to Wisconsin a few weeks ago for his memorial. Love and loss, blessings and grace; we have been carried well this year, despite the unanticipated obstacles.

Mid-August, Mom moved to Oregon with my sister and her family, while I returned home to my own to prepare for the new school year. She and her family have been loving and caring for Mom with incredible grace.

Both of my boys are now nearly half-way through their senior year, as is my eldest nephew in Oregon. The duo gained their licenses at the close of summer, so there has been a new-found freedom for all. Our eldest, my bonus son, secured a new job in the field of his choosing, and is back to working days, after more than a year of graveyard. It is a wonderful blessing to be able to have family dinners at least a few times each week.

Mark’s twenty-year dream has become a reality over the last few months, as the shop construction is nearly complete. All that remains is wiring, insulation and equipping the shop with all of the various tools he will utilize to practice his trade on the side from home. Daily, he is like a little kid on Christmas morning, as he looks at the shop with awe and gratitude.

As for me, I am continuing my twenty-third year of teaching, currently teaching English, Social Studies and Art. Added to the list this season with joy, is the position of assistant gymnastics coach at the high school my boys attend. I will continue to be the head coach at the middle school where I teach, as the seasons are separate, so I am able to participate in both.

Mom, despite the enormous blow to her health that none of us had anticipated, is a resilient fighter. Her perseverance is paying off, as she is able to walk around with a walker well, and continues to gain strength and work tirelessly to rebuild that which was compromised. We are eagerly awaiting our visit in a few days to celebrate the season with her.

May the grace of God be poured out upon each of you this most wonderful season, as you take pause and reflect on His goodness and grace. Merry Christmas, and blessings of peace to all!

 

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

 

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Statements of Praise

 

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – (Psalm 107:8, NIV)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Any time that there is repetition in scripture, I recognize the need to take notice. In this particular Psalm, the same sentence is repeated four times by David, as he tells of a long list of God’s faithfulness to those who belonged to Him. I imagine many of us, particularly in this season, could create our own list of ways that God has shown His unfailing love and mercy, and follow each remembrance with a statement of praise. For me, in spite of much heaviness that has found our household this year, there has been in equal measure, God’s faithful provision, joy, peace, comfort, and abundant blessing. Perhaps it is why I so often find myself settling in the Psalms, as David understood the highest heights and the deepest depths, yet sought the Lord and praised Him through it all. He was human and fell short, yet searched for God, and was receptive to the Lord’s correcting and redirecting as he continued to move forward and give thanks. May we ever give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His miracles of mercy that He pours out upon those whom He calls His own.

 

When life knocks us down,Statements of Praise

Takes wind from our sails;

The Lord’s love and grace,

Comes near, never fails.

In seasons of loss,

Struggle and heartache;

The Lord’s love remains,

And miracles take.

Where blessings abound,

And grace is made known;

Again, it’s God’s love,

And His power shown.

Rise up and give thanks,

For love that won’t end;

For wonderful deeds,

That move God’s love in.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and for the wonderful things that You do for those who follow You. Thank You that You hear our prayers and move mightily on our behalf. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Forgive us for allowing discouragement or sorrow to cause us to question Your love or care for us. Teach us to trust You through every high and low, as You remain present through all things at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may make Your unfailing love and marvelous kindness tangible in spaces where it is difficult to access. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your unfailing love and Your miraculous deeds, done on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

Blessings of Strength

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)

 

Today, this is a reminder to myself. We have arrived at the midpoint of the busiest week of the season, as it is the final week of school, prior to Christmas break. In our household, that means grocery and errand running had to be done last evening, there is a gymnastics meet tonight, and tomorrow evening, two of our boys have a holiday music concert, each following a full day of school/work and coaching (or in my husband’s case, commuting). By Friday, we all will be ready for a long winter’s nap. Though each day feels a bit like a marathon, God provides the strength that is needed to navigate each day, and His peace along the way. The challenge is to slow down, take a deep breath, and allow His strength and peace to flood our hearts so that there is no room for chaos and doubt and weariness. May we ever fix our eyes and hearts on the Lord to be our strength, as He provides what we need to navigate each new day, and grants us His perfect peace along the way.

 

The Lord grants us strength, Anchor with Compass Engraving Illustration

Where all strength seems gone;

Grants us what we need,

To keep keeping on.

And more than His strength,

He blesses with peace;

Brings calm to chaos,

As love is released.

No matter the time,

Day, week or season;

Hope ever abounds,

God’s grace shows reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us strength and bless us with peace. Thank You that even on our days that we feel weary and worn, You come and provide what we need to keep moving forward. Thank You that as we trust in You, You meet us wherever we are, and demonstrate Your faithfulness; always. Forgive us for our lack of faith when chaos comes. Teach us to turn to You in trust, allowing You room to move in and through us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend strength and peace where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, thank You and give You praise for Your goodness throughout all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26

Daily Provision

Give us today our daily bread. – (Matthew 6:11, NIV)

Give us each day that day’s bread – no more, no less. – (Matthew 6:11, VOICE)

We acknowledge You as our Provider of all we need each day. – (Matthew 6:11, TPT)

 

I so appreciate The Passion Translation’s phrasing of this verse, as it is a reminder of who God is and how He is our Provider of ALL that we need each day. God’s provision goes far beyond physical food. The Lord knows our hearts, minds and souls, as well as our physical needs. He provides people, resources, support and supplies for that which we truly need. God turns trials into triumphs as we trust in Him. May we ever remember to ask the Lord for that which we need, and watch in faith for answers. Grant us daily, O God, what is needed to navigate each day with strength, stamina and grace, so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart and walk in Your ways.

 

Help us not worry, Daily Provision

For You have today;

In Your mighty hands,

As we trust and pray.

You’re our Provider,

Of all that we need;

You grant us enough,

To love as You lead.

For You are our strength,

Supply, hope and grace;

In love, You lead us,

To walk in Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace as You provide for our needs each day. Thank You that You see and know beyond our physical needs, but You care about our hearts as well. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the ways that You have met our needs in the midst of difficulties. Teach us to fix our eyes on You, so that we would see Your loving kindness as You supply all that we need to navigate each new day. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may be Your vessels to help meet needs in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and thank You for loving us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Yet He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy. – Acts 14:17

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Inspired to Love

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

 

This is a season in which people are either most readily willing to step out and love greater and do good works in the name of “the Christmas Spirit”, or are most in need of being blessed, as lack or loss or absence makes this season extraordinarily difficult for them. Giving trees and Random Acts of Kindness are just a few of the simple ways that we are able to demonstrate love through good deeds. Being intentionally aware of those around us is a wonderful way to start. It is not difficult to find someone in need of encouragement or a kind word. Such things take little from us, yet have the capacity to turn a day around, simply by allowing another to know that they are seen and that they matter. As we continue to walk out these last few weeks leading to Christmas, may we consider how to spur one another on in love and good deeds, so all may know the kindness of Christ this sacred season.

 

May we consider, Inspired to Love

How to best inspire;

To choose love greater,

Spread good like wild fire.

Look for the spaces,

Reach out and do good;

Help one another,

Just as we each should.

One act of kindness,

A sweet spoken word;

Make the difference,

Of how truth is heard.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your goodness and kindness are present throughout all of our days, if we only slow down and look around to take notice. Thank You that You call us to do the same, so that we may encourage one another. Forgive us for the opportunities to do good or love well that we did not take. Teach us to rise up and love like You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that bless tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we consider how to love, encourage and do good, as You are calling us to do. Amen.

 

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

 

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

Faithfully and Tangibly Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

He really, truly is good. Despite loss, frustration, trials and exhaustion, there are blessings and goodness, and above all, there is love. The Lord is faithful to show His kindness and grace as we take refuge in Him and seek His face. In this season, I have been blessed with new opportunities, as I am taking on a new role as a high school assistant gymnastics coach at my alma mater. Before this season, I have only coached recreational gymnastics since age sixteen, and middle school gymnastics for the last twenty-three years. This sort of new learning is a wonderful joy, and includes the added bonus of working not only with fantastic coaches, but great girls, some of which who were my gymnasts when they were in middle school. Additionally, God has blessed us with the means and time from our jobs to travel across the country next week for my father-in-law’s memorial. Though there is sorrow in the loss, I know there will be joy in the remembering, and peace in the blessing of time together for closure. In all things, God is good. It is up to us to open our eyes, minds and hearts to notice His willingness to meet us when we seek Him, and witness how He moves on our behalf. May we ever look to the Lord to be our refuge, and be quick to notice the goodness and blessings that God bestows upon us all.

 

Taste of His goodness, fb_img_15572013665455142348901490916085.jpg

For God is so kind;

Our refuge and strength,

Where grace is designed.

In Him, there’s blessing,

To know and be known;

He loves us to life,

And calls us His own.

In good and trial,

The Lord’s ever near;

We need choose seek Him,

For His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that when we seek You, we come to know that You are our refuge, as You love us through all things well. Thank You that You make Your loving kindness tangible through those whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our sorrow, or withheld the good that You have for us to offer those around us. Teach us to seek You in all things, so that we may receive all that You have to offer, and in turn, extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see just how very good You truly are. 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