Faithful Love in the Morning

Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You. – (Psalm 143:8, HCSB)

Show me Your faithful love this morning. I trust in You. Show me what I should do. I put my life in Your hands! – (Psalm 143:8, ERV)

Make me hear of Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Teach me how I should walk, for I offer my soul up to You. – (Psalm 143:8, VOICE)

There is something so sweet about intentional time with God in the early morning. While the world seems to still be asleep, I soak in the goodness of silence before Him. Aside from the shifting positions of the pups, all is still. The goodness of God and the faithfulness found in His word echo through the chambers of my heart when I seek Him. He shows me anew the kindness of His grace, and the promise that He will remain present forever. When the world seems upside down and things don’t make sense, God’s faithful love remains. Regardless of what we see or feel, He remains present and is the One in whom we can trust. May we ever seek the Lord at the start of our day, for He will show us how to walk if we ask Him to lead us.

Each morning I rise,

And You are so near;

Each time I seek You,

My heart knows You hear.

Your goodness is shown,

As I read Your word;

And beauty surrounds,

Through promises heard.

You’re faithful to lead,

Wherever we roam;

As we trust in You,

Make our heart Your home.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You in the morning, we experience the faithfulness and goodness of Your great love. Thank You that You show us the steps we ought to take as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Show us how to seek You first and to trust and rely on You to lead. Teach us how to walk in Your love wherever we go and with whomever we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You anew each morning and trust You to lead us well. Amen.

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

Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other. – Romans 12:10

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

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

The Goodness of God

For You have made me rejoice, Lord, by what You have done; I will shout for joy because of the work of Your hands. – (Psalm 92:4, HCSB)

Lord, You make us very happy because of what You did. I gladly sing about it. Lord, You did such great things. Your thoughts are too hard for us to understand. – (Psalm 92:4, ERV)

Because You, O Eternal One, thrill me with the things You have done, I will sing with joy in light of Your deeds. – (Psalm 92:4, VOICE)

God is always good. It is important to pause and take inventory of His faithfulness in our lives. When we look back, we can see how God has been present throughout all our days. There is evidence of His loving kindness and the work of His hands, as we remember what He has brought us through. I am in awe of how He provides and moves when we seek Him. After a crazy school year, it is incredible how in a mere four days, I am feeling rested and refreshed. My heart sings in response to the joy that rises as I reflect on His goodness. May we ever recognize God’s presence and help throughout our days, and sing for joy in thanksgiving for His goodness.

The goodness of God,

Is beyond compare;

In love, He meets us,

Shows us tender care.

His strength upholds us,

As He leads us on;

Kindness unending,

By grace we’re made strong.

Strong to keep moving,

In love and with grace;

May we give God praise,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and do great things in our lives as You remind us of Your faithfulness and goodness. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to praise You for Your presence and love. Teach us to recognize Your nearness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

They will give a testimony of Your great goodness and will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

Invest in Encouragement

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, HCSB)

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)

Now may our Lord Jesus (the Anointed One Himself) and God our Father (who has loved us, comforted us eternally, and given us a good hope by His grace) bring comfort to your hearts and strengthen your wills to accomplish every good work and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor finished a series entitled, “No One Stands Alone”. The big ideas in the messages have been about us all being called to community, not isolations, to find and be a mentor to others, and yesterday, finished up with a character study about Barnabas; as he was a fantastic example of what it is to come alongside others and be an encourager. Encouragement goes beyond simple “atta ways” and “you’ve got this”. To be an encourager is to be equipped by the Holy Spirit to walk alongside others to help them continue to grow and thrive as they seek Him. This can be physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually, verbally and the like. It is so much more than a kind word. Barnabas exemplified what it is to be an encourager, as he left what he knew and his community, to go encourage and build up the believers that were a couple of hundred miles away. Additionally, he helped provide finances for those who were lacking, which was a sacrificial demonstration of God’s love that was made tangible to those in need around him. As he closed out the service, Omar (our pastor) asked the questions, “Who are the people in your life who are like a Barnabas to you?” and “Who can you be a Barnabas to?” Both questions required little thought, as I am blessed with a long list of those who have invested in and encouraged me, and know many who are in need of encouragement in this season. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be an encouragement to those around us, both in word and action.

To choose to love well,

Be encouraging;

Is a lifestyle choice,

That we choose to bring.

Not in our own strength,

But led by the Lord;

Who shows us the way,

That grace is outpoured.

A love that is seen,

Not just by mere words;

But true investments,

That make actions heard.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Be encouraging,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives to encourage and walk alongside us. Thank You for those whom You have called us to do likewise. Forgive us for the times that we did not listen to Your leading as to how we might lift up and encourage those around us. Show us how to be dependent on Your Spirit to lead us to love those around us in ways that build them up and encourage them forward to all that You have for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the ultimate Encourager to us all. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us to encourage others well, and help us recognize and appreciate the people whom You have led to encourage us. Amen.

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

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4

Answer Gently

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

Faithful Love Follows

But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. – (Psalm 103:17-18, HCSB)

But the Lord has always loved His followers, and He will continue to love them forever and ever! He will be good to all their descendants, to those who are faithful to His agreement and who remember to obey His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, ERV)

But the unfailing love of the Eternal is always and eternal for those who reverently run after Him. He extends His justice on and on to future generations, to those who will keep His bond of love and remember to walk in the guidance of His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, VOICE)

My maternal grandmother was the epitome of a person who was faithful to follow after God, and she loved and prayed for us all. Her kind and loving ways were an example to each of us, and I can see the fruit of her faithfulness to our family. Though not all of the grandchildren choose to follow after God, I can see His hand in all of our lives, for He has protected and provided for us all. My hope is that I might grow in grace and follow in her footsteps. Grandchildren are not on the radar anytime soon, yet I pray for and love our kids as I have been loved and prayed for. God is faithful, and I can see the fruit of my own mom’s faithful prayers in her grandchildren. Each has been protected and held, despite the challenges that life provides. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to follow Him whole-heartedly, and to faithfully love and pray for our children and their children to follow. 

The Lord is faithful,

Gram and some of her great-grandkids.

To those who seek Him;

His presence assured,

As He is asked in.

His love – unfailing,

For He remains near;

To those who ask Him,

His presence is clear.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Carries on and on;

To those who seek Him,

His love is shown strong.

May we continue,

To love and lift up;

Our kids and their kids,

So faith is built up.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to those who seek You, and to their descendants that follow. Thank You that You show us what it looks like to faithfully follow You through our parents and grandparents. Forgive us for the times that we have not set the example that You intended. Teach us to pursue You whole-heartedly and to lift up and love well our children and their children to come. Show us how to love as You love, so that Your heart may be made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek You and pursue a life of loving those around us as You do. Amen.

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

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

Quiet Waiting

Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, HCSB)

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

This week has been another long week, and I know many of us are weary and ready for rest. Thankfully, tomorrow is an extra day off, as it is a scheduled snow make-up day that we did not need, so the long weekend is four days instead of three. Though we can be intentional about finding quiet spaces to rest in God each day, there is something extra that helps our hearts when we have a few unscheduled days in a row. For me, a change of scenery, especially near water, is the sort of space that I am best able to rest and wait on the Lord. When we find space to be still before Him, we discover that hope rises, despite what has been going on around us. It is my prayer that all who are weary would find rest during the long weekend, and that hope would rise in the spaces of our hearts where it is lacking.

In sweet surrender,

I quietly wait;

The Lord’s ever near,

On time, never late.

He meets us with peace,

Shows us hope again;

Despite brokenness,

Heartache’s not the end.

For where we seek Him,

Ever we shall find;

Faithful love waiting,

For God’s always kind.

Loving forever,

In Him, hope’s restored;

Beauty from ashes,

Grace we can’t ignore.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find rest and hope in You. Thank You that You provide room to rest and be refreshed when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for losing sight of hope when horrible things happen. Show us what we can do in every situation and circumstance to bring change for the better. Lead us in Your love to extend hope, help and Your heart to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and wait on You, for You are our peace, rest and hope forever. 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

Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

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

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Freedom Through His Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love, that’s how freedom grows. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

God created us with a free will. Our freedom is ours to determine how to use or lose. When we indulge in decisions that are not what God intended, we can become trapped in a pattern and are no longer free. However, when we use our freedom to serve one another in love, we find that our freedom grows, and consequently, our joy multiplies. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and grow us as we pursue a life of loving Him and loving one another.

We’re called to freedom,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

So let us choose well;

In love, opt to serve,

As His goodness dwells.

He dwells in each heart,

That chooses to ask;

He leads us to serve,

To love with each task.

For it’s only love,

That shows the Lord’s grace;

It sets all things right,

Brings peace to each place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to live in freedom. Thank You that as we love and serve and honor You, we grow in our understanding of what it is to be free from all that has hindered us in the past. Forgive us for holding onto things we should not. Teach us to release that which does not extend love to You or to those around us. Show us true freedom in You. Lead us to love those around us by serving and honoring each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we freely choose to serve one another in love. Amen.

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

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His Name when you served the saints – and you continue to serve them. – Hebrews 6:10

Gracious and Kind

Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in times of trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, HCSB)

Lord, be kind to us. We have waited for Your help. Give us strength every morning. Save us when we are in trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, ERV)

God, treat us kindly. You’re our only hope. First thing in the morning, be there for us! When things go bad, help us out! – (Isaiah 33:2, MSG)

We’ve been waiting for You, Eternal One, to come and shower us with grace. In the morning, be our strength; in times of trouble, be what saves us. – (Isaiah 33:2, VOICE)

God is gracious and kind to us; He grants us new strength every morning and is faithful to be present in times of trouble. This has been the longest spring that I can recall. The gray, rainy gloom has persisted far beyond what is typical this time of year, and the challenges at work with student behaviors and sub shortages, have taken their toll on many. Without seeking the Lord for new strength each morning, I can’t imagine attempting to navigate this season. He is faithful to meet me each morning, and He shows me His goodness and love throughout the day. In moments of challenge, I try to focus on what is good. Right now, the good thing is that we have only seventeen more wake-ups this school year. Staff and students alike are ready for time this summer to rest and recharge. What seventeen days remaining means is that we have successfully navigated one-hundred and sixty three days so far. If He has been faithful for all of those, why would He stop now? May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, for He is faithful to provide what we need to navigate each new day.

The Lord, He is good,

He’s gracious and kind;

Our help, hope and strength,

Just as He designed.

Designed with purpose,

His grace is enough;

To meet all our needs,

When the road is rough.

He shows us His strength,

And surrounds with love;

Equips to press on,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious to us; ever faithful to be our strength anew every morning, and You help us navigate every challenge that comes our way. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when we encounter trials and challenges. Help us to ever seek You and press into all that You provide so that we may do what You have for us to do, and become who You designed us to be. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to be gracious and kind, and to provide all that we need to navigate each new day. Amen.

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

You crown the year with Your goodness; Your ways overflow with plenty. – Psalm 65:11