To Draw Strength

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, HCSB)

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

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

Paul, in his letter to the church of Ephesus, reminded the people from where to draw their strength. This reminder is not only for them, but for all of us, throughout the ages. God’s strength is limitless and everlasting. We can call on Him and He is faithful to provide the strength we need to keep moving in the direction to which we have been called. Sometimes His strength is provided supernaturally, and other times, He supplies people around us to lean on, who encourage and build us up. Either way, He continues to prove that He is faithful and worthy of all of our trust. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, for He is good and is stronger than anything that we might face.

Brothers and sisters,

Look to God for strength;

It’s more than enough,

Endless height and length.

Wherever we go,

His strength shall endure;

So keep seeking Him,

All grace He assures.

He provides for needs,

In His love, He gives;

Hope, help and His peace,

And strength to forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply of strength. Thank You that You meet us in our need, and provide in ways that we might not expect, yet grant us that which sustains us best. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to muscle our way through things, or suffer in silence; neither is what You intend for us. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, for You provide the strength we need to press on. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways, so that strength is shared as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your limitless power and provision. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

To Know is To Love

But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, HCSB)

But whoever loves God is known by God. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, ERV)

But if someone loves God, it is certain that God has already known that one. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, VOICE)

To know God is to love God, and to be known by God is to be loved by Him. The more we know God, the more we want to know. Love pursues knowing more. God, in His wisdom and grace, knows all who seek Him and loves all who choose to belong to Him. I love that God uses healthy earthly relationships to give us glimpses of the fullness of His love and kindness. For example, in a marriage, when we realize that we love our spouse, we are drawn to know them more. Likewise, when we love another, we are known by them. This is true with close friendships and family bonds as well. If we can be known by the people we love, how much more can we be known by the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb? He knows the number of hairs on our head, and everything about us. The good, the bad and everything in between, yet He loves us still. May we ever pursue the Lord, who is love, so that we learn even more to love as He loves us.

As we choose love God,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

We soon come to know;

How well we are known,

Through the grace He shows.

Ever He meets us,

With mercy and grace;

He shows us kindness,

As we seek His face.

To know and love God,

Is the greatest gift;

He shows us His heart,

And how He uplifts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even before we knew You, we were loved and known by You. Thank You that as we seek You and come into a relationship with You, You show us that we are known and loved. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You call us to love. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we may love likewise. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that many may come to know You personally. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and ever seek to know You more. Amen.

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

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

Adventurously Expectant

For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” – (Romans 8:15, HCSB)

The Spirit that we received is not a spirit that makes us slaves again and causes us to fear. The Spirit that we have makes us God’s chosen children. And with that Spirit we cry out, “Abba, Father.” – (Romans 8:15, ERV)

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, “What’s next, Papa?” – (Romans 8:15, MSG)

You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. – (Romans 8:15, VOICE)

I included four different translations, as I appreciate what can be gleaned from each. When we invite God to be the Lord of our life, He gives us His Spirit to dwell in us and lead us into all that He has prepared for us. It is not a thing that makes us obedient robots, but rather is the Spirit within us that helps us recognize who our loving Heavenly Father is, and grants us an adventurously expectant heart that eagerly awaits all that Daddy God has for us. No matter what our earthly experience is with fathers, our Heavenly Father is loving and kind, and only has good in mind for us. He is our help and our hope, and welcomes us with strong and loving arms. God is ever-present, and is never too busy to hear and help us. May we seek the Lord to show us more and more of His Father’s heart for us, so that we may embrace His grace and follow wherever He leads with eager expectation.

The Spirit of God,

Our sweet Tali girl, ever expecting adventure. ❤

Ought not to be feared;

But rather embraced,

In love, be revered.

Ultimate Father,

Full of love and grace;

He leads and guides us,

As we seek His face.

Our help and our hope,

Wherever we go;

The Dad that loves us,

Where true peace is known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You adopt us into Your family when we invite You to be the Lord of our lives. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You have good in mind for us all. Forgive us for associating Your Father’s heart with that of broken earthly examples. Teach us by Your Spirit how You are perfect love, and the One that never fails us. Show us how to love as You love, and help us to make Your heart known to those around us by our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for being our Abba Father, and for the Spirit You give us to make Your loving kindness tangible within. Amen.

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

Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them. – Psalm 119:129

The Greatest Love Story

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – (John 3:16, HCSB)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

In this season of fixation on love, it seems only appropriate to recognize and celebrate the greatest love of all. God loved creation so much that He gave His Son to restore what had been lost, and to make the way for all who receive it, to have life everlasting with Him. We have all been hand-crafted, designed to love and be loved. The unique design placed within each of us grants us the capacity to love well. This love is not limited to romantic love, but rather it equips and empowers us to love all. From our parents, to siblings, to children, family, friends and a significant other, God gives us all that we need to love well. It is up to us to receive all that He offers so that we might truly know His love and then go and love likewise, all those whom He has placed in our lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, and give Him all praise for His loving ways each day that we draw breath.

The greatest love story,

That’s ever been told;

The gift of a Savior,

To have and to hold.

It is through the knowing,

Receiving of grace;

That we too can love well,

As we seek His face.

God places in our lives,

People we’re to love;

All whom He created,

Purposed from above.

So seek Him to love well,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Receive all He gives;

In Christ we’re empowered,

To love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your One and only Son to make the way for us to be in a loving relationship with You and equipped to love others as You do. Thank You that Your love gives us hope and help, life and love that last forever. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You intended, and for when we neglect to receive what You freely and lovingly offer. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting goodness and grace as You continually show us Your loving ways. Lead us to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of Your love and trust You to lead us to love all those around us well. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11

Seek to Start Well

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – (Matthew 6:33-34, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries. – (Matthew 6:33-34, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. – (Matthew 6:33-34, TPT)

Intentionally seeking God at the start of the day does make a difference. Doing so, helps set the heart and mind on what matters most so that everything else can be taken in stride. Yesterday, I had to get to work early to complete some extra planning for the day, and my morning devotional time was cut short. God is good and full of grace, yet I felt less resilient in the challenges that I encountered throughout the day. The love of the Lord is with us, but we need to be aware of it to function as He intended. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of His kingdom first so that we may do His will, and allow the worries for tomorrow to fall away and rest in His capable hands.

Choose to seek the Lord,

To start well each day;

Don’t let tomorrow,

Disrupt what’s today.

Each day we’re given,

A gift to live well;

With God beside us,

Of love, let us tell.

Not just with our words,

But may ev’ry deed;

Show of His kindness,

As we let Love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we set our hearts and minds on You and Your goodness and love, You provide all that we need to navigate each new day well. Forgive us for trying to operate in our own strength, or for neglecting to recognize our need for You each day. Teach us to turn to You in trust as we rise each morning, and to hold fast to Your goodness and grace as we go through our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day and trust You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Confidently Ask

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

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)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we ask anything agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

Because of Jesus and His sacrifice that covers our sin, we can boldly come before God with our prayers and petitions. He sees and He hears and will move on our behalf when we ask things that are according to His will. His answers may look different than we would imagine, but He hears and provides an outcome that ultimately is for good. May we ever trust the Lord and seek Him with our every prayer, for He hears and cares when we come to Him with love as our motivation for all that we ask.

With great confidence,

Go to the Lord’s throne;

He hears what we ask,

As His grace is shown.

He tells us to ask,

For in love, He’ll hear;

Each faithful request,

As He remains near.

Near us with goodness,

Closeby with His grace;

With love, He surrounds,

Let us seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in the sacrifice of Your Son that covers us and provides the way for us to confidently and boldly come before You, and trust that You hear what we ask as our hearts align with Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have not asked, or have not trusted that You hear us when we do not see the answers we hope for or evidence that You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to trust in Your goodness and love, even when we do not see what we hope for. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently seek You and trust in Your unfailing love to hear us and hold us. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Praise for the Peace that is Present

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV) 

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV) 

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT) 

There is nothing quite like time away as a family to refresh and renew one’s sense of gratitude and peace. I am beyond blessed to have been afforded time away with not only my immediate family (minus the bonus son who had to work 🙁), but with my sister and her family as well. There is something incredible that transpires when we escape together in nature, and have intentional time to just be together. This momma’s heart is overflowing with thanks, as I am enjoying time with my loved ones and was able to sink my toes in the sand and hear the sound of crashing waves before me. Added joy was watching our puppy’s delight at the exciting and new. Game night, adventures, and meals together, remind us of the call we have to His peace as His children. Though I am always thankful, for I know how truly blessed I am; I find my heart overflowing, as this quality time girl is being filled to the brim. May we allow the Lord to guide us by His peace as a body, and ever give thanks to He alone who is worthy. 

May our hearts allow, 

The Lord of all peace; 

To rule in our lives, 

Heaviness release. 

For He draws us near, 

To His heart of love; 

Fills us to the brim, 

Shows us He’s enough. 

All of creation, 

Reveals His great light; 

With our hearts open, 

In Him, we delight. 

All thanks be to God, 

For His love and grace; 

Overwhelming good, 

As we seek His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for family and time together. Thank You that You are our peace, and that You call us to be at peace with one another. Thank You that there are countless reasons to give You praise, always. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to get in the way of our gratitude. Teach us to take pause and recognize the beauty all around us, and the blessings that are ever-present. Show us how to love in such a way that we bless and extend peace to all of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are forever thankful for Your goodness, blessings and present peace. Amen. 

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Renewed Resolve

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) 

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV) 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG) 

We are in the midst of a long and heavy season. Staying home, not spending time with those we love outside of our immediate family, seeking to learn and grow, and trying to determine what is and is not safe and wise, all of these things and more, are exhausting. Thankfully, as we navigate each day as it arrives, we have a Savior who will renew our strength and resolve, and empower us to keep moving forward in faith. Our hope is not in any particular people, but rather it is in Christ alone. He is the One who leads us, loves us and shapes us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, for He is willing and able to renew our strength and grant us all that we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. 

Choose wait on the Lord, 

For He is our strength; 

Ever making new, 

His path we’re to take. 

God’s power and grace, 

Are granted to us; 

As we seek the face, 

of the Lord Jesus. 

So, spread wide our wings, 

And take to the air; 

His grace is enough, 

to love anywhere. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You renew and strengthen us for all that You are calling us into, so that we may keep moving forward. Thank You for Your love and grace that fill where we are lacking. Forgive us for not turning to You for strength in our weariness. Teach us to hope in You. Show us how to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You. Amen. 

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

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2