Willing Hearts and Hands

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NIV)

So remember that the Lord your God is the only God, and you can trust Him! He keeps His agreement. He shows His love and kindness to all people who love Him and obey His commands. He continues to show His love and kindness through a thousand generations. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, ERV)

Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands. – (Deuteronomy 7:9, NLT)

 

God is love. He is faithful to show His unfailing love to all who choose to love Him and seek to keep His commands. If we are loving God and loving people, we are actively and intentionally obeying all that He asks. Our decision to do so does not mean that we will have a life free from trial or pain, but it does mean that we will have the faithful love of the eternal God for now and in all of life that is yet to come. May we ever remember that the Lord is our God whom we can trust, as He keeps His word and shows love and kindness to all who love and obey Him.

 

The Lord is our God,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

In whom we can trust;

His promise to love,

Forever for us.

All who choose to love,

And obey as asked;

Know unfailing love,

That will always last.

So, keep His commands,

For they’re about love;

Love God and people,

His grace is enough.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You that You show love and kindness to all who seek You and obey what You ask. Thank You that Your presence is promised for all time. Forgive us for the times that we are less than loving or do not recognize Your nearness. Please remind our hearts of Your nearness and fill us with Your love for those around us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love and obey Your leading with willing hearts and hands. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

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

Better Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, ERV)

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, MSG)

 

I am so grateful that this is the truth. God is not limited to human insight and understanding; for He sees and knows far beyond what we can even begin to imagine. Though we often think we know what would be best, when we give it to God, He reveals that there is so much more. His ways are far greater than ours, and He knows the best way to take us from where we are to where He planned and purposed for us to end up. This is particularly comforting when things do not seem to make sense. When we are caught in the space of “Why?” and need Him to lead, guide, strengthen and equip us to press on to the space that He is bringing us into, and we are not there yet. May we seek the Lord for His thoughts and His ways, for they are far greater than anything that we could ever hope or imagine.

 

The thoughts of the Lord, Statements of Praise

Are higher than mine;

His love so much more,

He’s holy, divine.

So too are His ways,

Far above my own;

His plan is greater,

Beyond what I’ve known.

Let us seek the Lord,

In all and always;

For His plans are good,

To bless and give grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are so much higher than mine, and Your plans, beyond what my mind can fathom. Forgive us for doubting the goodness that You have in store for us when we are in a season of struggle. Thank You that Your love is not limited by our circumstances. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in the ways that they need love most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your thoughts and Your ways in all things, for they are so much greater than our own. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

What Love Brings

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

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

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

 

This weekend has been a whirlwind, and I have seen God work for the good in incredible ways. First, on Saturday, the high school gymnastics team received some heartbreaking news, just prior to leaving for the state qualifying meet. The ride to the meet was quite somber, and then the incredible support, love and kindness expressed through the head coach’s words of care and concern for all those impacted, led the entire group to enter the building, wiping eyes and leaning on each other. I was in awe at how the girls rallied together and leaned on one another for strength, as they determined that they would persevere and do their best, despite their present circumstance. Good did indeed come from the resolve displayed by these young ladies, as they qualified as a team to compete in the state meet next weekend.

The second example of God working for good that I witnessed this weekend, was as my Viking and I spent the day back in Wenatchee with Mom. Already, we can see the good and beautiful that is yet to come, through her being back in her own hometown. Her joy as we ran errands together and helped set up her new space, was abundantly clear, at the recognition of how far God has brought her, and how much more He has in store for Mom, back in her own community.

Examples such as these, are reminders that God has a plan to work everything for good in our lives; even the most challenging of circumstances. He can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Our charge is to trust and follow Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His leading, so that we may walk in the goodness that He has planned for each of our lives.

 

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The Lord can bring good;

Beyond what we’d hope,

His grace understood.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope up from despair;

God makes a new way,

Shows our hearts He cares.

Lean into the Lord,

Seek Him in all things;

Trust His faithfulness,

And watch what love brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You and seek Your face. Thank You for showing Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You that You love and protect, care for and provide. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when all we can see is the dark or the despair. Teach us how to trust You in troubled times, for You move mountains, even when we cannot see Your work. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your love, hope, faithfulness and care for them in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to follow Your leading for every next step in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

To Demonstrate Love

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

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

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The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

He Hears

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

You will answer me, God; I know You always will, like You always do as You listen with love to my every prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, TPT)

 

God in His amazing grace, hears our every prayer. He is faithful to answer as we ask, if only we seek Him. Yesterday was a day abounding in new, to the point of being a bit overwhelming before it even began. In His grace, God met me each step of the way, and the day went fairly well. New classes, new season and a new semester were each met with new strength, wisdom and resolve. All are a work in progress, but the tangible reminder that He answers what we ask of Him is an ongoing motivation to continue to depend on Him. May we call on the Lord, for He will answer, each time we pray to Him.

 

As we call on God, Compassion in Confrontations

He hears what we say;

Both spoken aloud,

And what our hearts pray.

Faithful to answer,

The God of all grace;

He knows what we need,

Throughout all our days.

So, seek Him and ask,

In faith, choose to pray;

God sees and answers,

In the best of ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear and answer us. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that keep us from asking, or questioning when answers come differently than we would have imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as Your ways are best and You love to bless Your children. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that extend Your heart and hope in spaces they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and know that You hear all that we lift before You. Amen.

 

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

 

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

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

Ask for Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – (James 1:5, NIV)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but He will overwhelm your failures with His generous grace. – (James 1:5, TPT)

 

Twice over the past week, I have found myself in meetings where I needed the right words to communicate clearly. God’s wisdom and grace were necessary to navigate each situation, and God was faithful to grant me the words to speak that reached the hearts of those who were meant to hear. It was nothing that I had mapped out or planned, for neither situation warranted a script, nor included a predictable narrative. Rather, I had prepared for each encounter by covering the time in prayer, asking for God’s wisdom and grace to go before me and be present with me, so that all would go well, according to His will. God is faithful to grant us the wisdom that we lack when we ask, for He always wants the very best for His children. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, as He is faithful and generous to joyfully give all that we lack.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic afternoon together with my sister, brother-in-love, and mom in Portland. Mark and I drove down to meet the trio for lunch, as they drove a bit north from Albany. The food was excellent, and the company and conversation, even better. We had the opportunity to discuss important next steps in mom’s healing journey, and she is very much looking forward to this upcoming chapter. (Stay tuned, as I do not want to steal mom’s thunder. 😉) After lunch, mom, Meg and I went to have a little shopping adventure, while the fellas ventured off together in a direction a bit more intriguing to them. Later, we all reconvened at Starbucks to say our “see you laters”, and our two vehicles headed back for our respective homes.

 

The God of all grace, wp-15806529391015656408296651316835.jpg

Grants us what we lack;

If we only seek,

Come to Him and ask.

When we are unsure,

Don’t know what to do;

Ask God for wisdom,

He’s faithful and true.

He provides the words,

Whatever we need;

To follow the path,

Where His best will lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lack wisdom and seek You for answers, You are faithful to meet us and lead us. Thank You that You love to bless Your children with wisdom to know Your best in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You for help or answers. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to show us Your best for our lives. Direct our steps so that we may love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom, and wait on You for answers; as You so clearly speak to our hearts and minds. Amen.

 

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

 

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

With All That We Are

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)

 

We are called and created to love God; not just in theory or in words, but with our entire existence. To love God with all our heart and soul and strength requires us to love Him in all that we say, think and do. I love God, but know that I still have a long way to go for love to permeate every single word, thought and deed of every moment of every day. God is love. He loves us the way that He calls us to love. When we seek Him and invest time with Him, He transforms our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect the radiance of His love toward Him and those around us. If we love God with all that we are, we will love all whom He has created in the same way. May we intentionally invest time with the Lord so that we may know Him more, as the more we know, the more deeply we love He who first loved us.

As for an update on mom, today should be an exciting day! Meg, Scott and Mom will be driving north to Portland, while Mark and I will drive the few hours south, so that we can all meet up for lunch and an afternoon together in the city. Though it is a short span of time together, we were thrilled to figure out a way to make it work with the crazy calendars that we all are fielding over the coming few months. Time together is our favorite, and it will be wonderful to have the face-to-face connection that I have not had since the beginning of this month. We are praying for sweet time together and blessed conversation.

 

Love the Lord our God, With All That We Are

Strength, soul and whole heart;

With all that you are,

Not just a small part.

For God is faithful,

To all who seek Him;

He loves and equips,

As goodness floods in.

In all that we say,

Each thought and each deed;

Do all things in love,

And let the Lord lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You with all our heart, soul and strength. Thank You that this is not something that we can do in our own strength, but rather You transform our hearts and minds as we seek and invest time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved with our heart, soul or strength. Teach us what it is to love You in each of these areas, every moment of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is out of the overflow of our love for You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to learn how to love with all our heart, soul and strength. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Strength When Things Seem Senseless

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

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

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

 

Life is full of obstacles, challenges, peaks and valleys that appear before us without notification. We need the Lord’s strength to navigate trials and heartache, and His power to persevere on this journey set before us. In Christ, we have what we need to press on and discover the beauty on the other side. Though it does not always feel that way in the middle of the loss, trial or difficulty, His presence and His peace are always available if we choose depend on Him.

The impact of loss struck me yesterday, as the tragic news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the other seven people on the helicopter that crashed, had lost their lives. It is not so much that it was a celebrity who was lost, but rather one who represented a dream for so many young people, who was passing his dream on to his daughter, and an entire generation that followed after him. A common expression heard in my classroom when students toss trash into the can in basketball fashion, is “Kobe!” if the shot makes it in the can well on the first try. His impact has been tremendous throughout his well-decorated NBA career and beyond.

Where am I going with all of this? Honestly, I am not sure. What I do know, is that we need Jesus, and we need to love the people around us well. It requires strength from within to keep moving forward when we are blind-sided by tragedies. My heart aches for the wife and three daughters left behind, as well as for every young person who looked to the example set before them by the man who successfully navigated a phenomenal NBA career and beyond, as well as a family life, beautifully. May we seek our Savior to be supernaturally infused with His strength all of our days, so that we may go forth and love well.

 

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For in Him, we’ll stand;

No matter what comes,

We’re held in His hands.

Choose seek after Him,

In good times and bad;

His grace and His strength,

Our safe space to land.

Lord, hold in Your hands,

Each heart that’s in pain;

Let Your love be known,

As Your goodness reigns.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and power when we need it the most. Thank You that though we cannot begin to understand why tragedies occur, You remain present to help, hold and love us through them all. Forgive us for our lack of seeking in spaces of loss. Teach us to trust and depend on You more deeply, for no one understands like You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your kindness and comfort may be made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33