The Gifts of Strength and Peace

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)

This morning I am holding onto this promise, as mom needs strength and peace as she navigates the healing road ahead. Today, mom will be able to take the next step on the road to recovery as she will be transferred to a skilled nursing facility to rehabilitate before she moves back to her own apartment. Incredibly, she was able to get into the one at her own retirement community and will be back to a place that is mere minutes from my sister and brother-in-law’s home and workplace. I anticipate being closer to family and friends will be a great encouragement too. God has made mom one of the strongest humans I know. He provides her peace when it does not make sense, and the power to persevere. I am eagerly awaiting the morning to further unfold so that we can go and see mom for ourselves. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, for He is faithful to provide all that we need as we ask.

Strength is assurance,

That comes from the Lord;

Paired with perfect peace,

To help move forward.

Whatever our need,

The Lord will supply;

His grace overwhelms,

As love’s His reply.

He meets us anew,

As each day begins;

Floods us with His good,

And cleanses from sin.

Father, we seek You,

And trust in Your love;

Be our strength and peace,

Our Lord God above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength and peace, and that You provide what we need as it is needed. Forgive us for our faltering faith when trials come our way. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us as You do and lead us to strengthen and bring peace to each person with whom we interact. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for providing Your strength and peace to all who seek Your face. Amen.

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

Her ways are pleasant and all her paths are peace. – Proverbs 3:17

Where Strength is Supplied

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

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (Psalm 105:4, ERV)

Seek the Eternal and His power; look to His face constantly. – (Psalm 105:4, VOICE)

God is faithful to supply what we need for each new day. This time of year, strength feels like it is in short supply, yet each time I call on the Lord I discover again, His provision. As we press on, anticipating spring break, the mornings begin to illuminate earlier and earlier, and the daylight lasts a bit longer into the evenings. There is something about the glimmers of extra light that strengthen and encourage. His faithfulness is as certain as the rising sun, and we can seek Him constantly, knowing that He sees and hears all that we need. May we begin the morning anew, depending on Him to be our strength, and go forth in the help that He faithfully supplies.

May we look to God,

Our strength and our hope;

The light of the world,

True to all He’s spoke.

His heart is for us,

His grace shall supply;

All that we’re needing,

To more than get by.

Remind us anew,

As each day begins;

That You are the strength,

Provided within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can seek You to be our Source and Supply in all things and at all times. Thank You that You are present to help each time we call upon You. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to navigate on our own, or have attempted to muscle our way through things on our own. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for we can always depend on You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage spaces in need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and continue to come before You to be our help. Amen.

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

You are my strength, I sing praise to You; You, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely, – Psalm 59:17

The Way of Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are My followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

“Let Me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are My disciples – when they see the love that you have for each other.” – (John 13:34-35, MSG)

Truer words have never been spoken. It is only by loving one another well, that anyone will see a difference in our lives. If we act and react the same way as everyone else, there is nothing different about those who are in a life-changing relationship with Christ. However, if we love and care for each other, and extend love, even when it is not “deserved”, there is a noticeable difference, and it demonstrates the goodness of God to those around us. Not only are we commanded to love one another, but we are given the clear “why” as to the impact it has when we do. Today, though a “Hallmark” sort of holiday, it is another opportunity to choose to love well, all whom we encounter. Imagine the impact if followers of Christ truly followed Christ in such a way that all whom we see, speak, and interact with would know by our love. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love and allow His love to transform our hearts and minds so that we too, love well.

The love of the Lord,

Power to change things;

It transforms the heart,

And the hope we bring.

For when we know God,

And receive His love;

We are empowered,

To do as He does.

For God, He so loved,

That He freely gave;

Without conditions,

The way He did make.

Help us to love well,

So all people know;

The goodness of God,

Through the love we show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us in such a way that we are empowered and equipped to love like You. Thank You for the examples You have given us through Your Son and through the people around us who choose to love like You. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and deeds have not been done in love. Teach us to seek You to lead us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love everyone as You do. Give us Your eyes to see and Your heart to understand so that we may love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for Your love knows no end. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love everyone as You do, today and always. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

To See All

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.’ – (Matthew 25:40, NIV)

“Then the King will answer, ‘The truth is, anything you did for any of My people here, you also did for me.’ – (Matthew 25:40, ERV)

Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was Me – you did it to Me.’ – (Matthew 25:40, MSG)

God’s word tells us that however we treat those around us, is how we are treating Him. When we care for the lonely, forgotten, or overlooked, we are demonstrating our love for God. The Lord takes our attitude and approach toward others personally. When we are kind, loving and generous, He recognizes our words and deeds as a sort of worship unto Him. In the same way that Christ loves and cares for us, we are to do to all those around us. This sort of care does not come naturally, yet the more we know and love the Lord, the more we have a heart for all of His creation. As we begin to view others through His lens, we see both the value and the needs in those around us. Though we cannot do all things for all people, we can choose to love and give as He leads us. Seeing, acknowledging, and extending kindness costs us nothing, yet at times, is everything to the recipient. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see those around us, and His heart to love as He loves us all.

Lord, help us to see,

The world through Your eyes;

Where love reaches out,

As hope comes alive.

May we see unseen,

Attend the ignored;

Give to forgotten,

Let hope be outpoured.

For where there is love,

Goodness is made known;

All people are seen,

As Your heart is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to see and love people as You do. Thank You that Your heart is for all people, and You prioritize the lonely and forgotten. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to see, acknowledge, and love those around us that are often overlooked. Teach us to seek You to have Your eyes to see the need all around us, and Your heart to love as You intended. Lead us in tangible ways to extend love, kindness and hope to those who may feel like things are hopeless. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, where hope is found and value is made clear in the light of Your perfect and overwhelming love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in loving all people well. 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

Eternal Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, MSG)

The encouragement that Paul sent to the church through this letter, is still meant to be the same for us today. As we hope in Him, God shows us His love through Jesus and provides us with encouragement and strength in all that we do and say. His comfort continues throughout each new day, as hope in Him knows no end. Daily, we can receive the gifts that He offers as He grows our confidence in Him, for it is through Him that we find wonderful hope and unending comfort. May we ever seek the Lord to place a new heart in us to invigorate what we do and enliven what we say in ways that point people to the goodness of God.

The Lord, Jesus Christ,

And God our Father;

Grant us the good gifts,

To love each other.

Fresh hope to strengthen,

As we rise each day;

His encouragement,

That shows us His way.

May all that we say,

And all that we do;

Show Your gracious love,

And guide hearts to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved us first, and that You strengthen us and grant us hope through Your unending goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have somehow ignored Your help that was right in front of us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to lead us in Your love and to guide us in Your goodness through all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally seek You to lead us in Your love as You flood us with Your hope, encouragement and strength. Amen.

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

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:6-7

To Love the Lord

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

If we truly love God as we are called to love, He gives us His eyes to see the world around us. Through Him, we are moved with compassion, kindness, and grace, so that we might love people and all of creation as He intended. To love Him with our whole heart means that all that we are and all that we want becomes shaped by God and His goodness. Our purpose is love, and He equips our heart and soul, and grants us the strength we need to love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love and to grow us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

Love the Lord, our God,

With all of our heart;

We’re made with purpose,

We each play a part.

Compassion and grace,

That we give away;

Reflect the Father,

Throughout each new day.

To truly love God,

We must love like Him;

As His love shapes us,

Pours out from within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You with all of our heart, soul, and strength. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what that means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You intended. Teach us to seek You and follow after all that You are asking. May our love be evident to all. Show us how to continue to grow in our love for You and all that You have made. Lead us to love everyone like You do as an act of worship to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life of loving You with all that we are in all that we do. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Jesus is Lord

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – (Romans 10:9-10, NIV)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in Him, so we are saved. – (Romans 10:9-10, ERV)

So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved! Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. – (Romans 10:9-10, VOICE)

Salvation is a gift from God for all who believe and profess that Jesus is Lord. This transpires when the head and the heart are aligned with Him. It is not merely believing that God exists, for even the devil believes. It is a trust in the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done, and then using our mouth to speak the truth that we know. The sacrifice that Jesus made provides the covering we need to be forgiven, and His forgiveness is granted freely as we ask. As we walk in His forgiveness and pursue a life with Him, we are promised both His presence in the here and now, and space with Him for all of eternity. May we ever invest our lives in leaning into Jesus so that we grow deep roots in Him and reflect more clearly the very heart of God in all that we say and do.

O Lord, You are good,

In all of Your ways;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

Salvation belongs,

To all who seek You;

And trust in Your Name,

And all that You do.

May our mouths speak truth,

And our lives display;

The goodness in You,

Throughout each new day.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to live lives true;

So our words and deeds,

Point others to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You sent Your Son to live, die, conquer death, and rise to be seated at Your righteous right hand. Thank You that it is through believing that Jesus is Lord and through confessing our need for You that we are saved and granted hope for both now and all of eternity. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds have not reflected the truth we know in You. Teach us to walk out each day in awe and reverence of You, so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to those around us. Show us how to love one another in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You give, believe that Your word is true, and profess our faith through our words and actions as we go about each new day. Amen.

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

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11

Peace in All Things

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. 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

Relax in Rest

Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – (Psalm 116:7, NIV)

My soul, relax! The Lord is caring for you. – (Psalm 116:7, ERV)

I said to myself, “Relax and rest. God has showered you with blessings.” – (Psalm 116:7, MSG)

Yesterday was a great reminder of this. I woke early enough to do my devotional reading, but not quite early enough to write as well. After more months than it should have been, my dear friend and long-time running buddy and I met to get out and move. Dressed for the weather, we decided that a walk and talk would be far safer than a run, as the roads and sidewalks were quite icy. Nothing quite blesses my soul as much as connecting and catching up as if no times has passed. Sharing life with dear friends is so good for the soul. What made it all the sweeter was after we were done, we ended at another dear friend’s home, who had invited us in for coffee. More connecting and catching up was done, and I drove home with a smile on my face and peace in my heart. After walking the dogs and coaching my gymnasts, my love and I went to get some Christmas shopping done. Again, I was reminded of how good the Lord is to me, and how much He cares. Upon our return, he made dinner for the family, and we enjoyed a silly Christmas movie with snuggling pups. It amazes me how God can bring us rest through the busy, the ordinary, and simply through being present. He is good and has showered me with incredible blessings in those whom He has placed around me. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us throughout our days, and trust in Him to provide rest for our souls as He cares so well for us.

Relax, O my soul,

For the Lord is near;

He brings us His peace,

Comfort, love, and cheer.

He pours out blessings,

As He grants us rest;

Calm to the spirit,

For He knows us best.

In kindness and love,

Let us persevere;

Move forward in faith,

For God, You are near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good to us. Thank You that You provide rest for our souls as we seek You. Thank You for the blessing of community that You call us to invest in. Forgive us for the times that we allow the worries of the world to overwhelm us rather than choosing to be still before You, as You are the One who settles the soul. Teach us to trust You more. Lead us to love those around us as You intended, and help us to be the hands, heart and voice of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the blessings You have poured out upon us, and the rest that You alone bring to the soul. 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

Words to Heal

The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, HCSB)

Kind words are like a life-giving tree, but lying words will crush your spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, ERV)

A word of encouragement heals the one who receives it, but a deceitful word breaks the spirit. – (Proverbs 15:4, VOICE)

There is something to be said about encouraging words. They truly give life in the midst of difficulty, especially when the one who extends encouragement is genuine. Conversely, devious or deceitful words can be devastating. As an educator, I am witness to both types of communication. Far too often, kids are speaking crushing words to one another. Intentionally, I choose to speak encouragement at every opportunity possible, as my hope is to combat the negative messages they are receiving. The thing is, words have the power to bring life or destruction to all of us. I imagine we all can recall the way words have impacted us. Even if I do not recall the specific things that those who have spoken life-giving words to me said when I needed it most, I do remember how their kindness made me feel. My hope is that I can extend the same to the people whom God places along my path. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to offer encouragement to those around us that is life-giving. 

O Lord, help us speak,

Though I have no recollection of what he said, it is clear how his words made me feel.

Encouraging words;

Words that offer life,

That love may be heard.

Please silence the thoughts,

That need not a voice;

Words that would bring harm,

Let love be our choice.

Lead us in Your love,

To speak as You would;

To lift, encourage,

Choose highlight the good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that words have the power to encourage and build up. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us words to speak and eyes to see where it is needed most. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken words that have done harm. Show us how to silence the words that wield wounds, and to speak the healing words that You place on our hearts to encourage those around us. Lead us to love people as You do, and use our words to bring light and life and joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us ways to offer encouragement and speak life into the lives of those around us. Amen.

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

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you – they are full of the Spirit and life. – John 6:63 (Jesus was our ultimate example of life-giving words)