Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17

Joy in Hope

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

There is always joy when we are aware of hope. Hope anchors our hearts and helps us remember our reasons to give thanks. It is in that posture of praise that we are able to find joy. Additionally, hope grants us patience when troubles come our way. Even when we cannot see a solution, God is working on our behalf. Lastly, we have the privilege of communing with the living God. He hears our every prayer, and shows us His love and His presence each time we seek Him. May we ever invest in seeking the Lord, for He is our source of joy, hope, patience and perseverance. 

May hope be present,

No matter what comes;

Joy’s in the journey,

Not in the outcome.

Our God is faithful,

His strength overcomes;

Our times of trouble,

‘Til each day is done.

For we are all called,

To commune with Him;

Pray in His presence,

Allow His love in.

Let us hold to hope,

That God alone gives;

Be strengthened in Him,

As long as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy, for You are our reason to have hope. Thank You that You strengthen us in times of trouble, and You meet us as we seek time with You. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may find joy in our hope that comes from You. Continue to show us how to seek You and spend time in Your presence. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence, help, hope and joy that You grant all who seek You. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

To Be Clothed Well

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

 

The times that I feel like I am the very best version of myself, are those in which I am led by the mercy that God has overwhelmingly shown me, again and again, so that I might interact with others with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Some of these attributes seem to be more abundant than others, and I clearly have “hot buttons” that when pushed, deplete my seeming supply to love as I am called to love. Constant bickering (when my boys were younger), or a teething puppy that struggles with impulse control to nip, are a few of the things if on repeat all day long, wear me down and deplete my capacity to feel merciful. Thankfully, much in the same way that patience and perseverance carried my boys and me through their younger years when they fought often, I know the same is true with this short-lived stage in puppyhood. The Passions Translation version drives it home well for me, as it is an ongoing reminder of how to operate in the struggle: “Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all.” It is a reminder that there is always a root reason for the unwanted behaviors, and through patience, compassion and kindness, a solution may be discovered and better way be made. Incredibly, sometimes, it is merely consistent kindness that transforms the heart of one who needed it most. May we embrace the blessing we behold in knowing that we have been shown mercy unending and love beyond what our hearts can hold, and go forth choosing to be merciful; ever extending compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to all those with whom we interact.

 

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We need to love too;

Extend great mercy,

Compassion, exude.

With humility,

May we choose be kind;

Gentle and patient,

With others in mind.

May those whom we meet,

Through our love come know;

What God’s love is like,

Through mercy we show.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with kindness and compassion, mercy and patience beyond measure. Thank You that because of Your love, we can love others. Forgive us for the places where we are lacking compassion, humility, patience, kindness, gentleness or mercy. Teach us how to love more like You. Show us the places and space where there is a greater need for mercy, compassion, humility, patience, kindness and gentleness, and help us to love in a way that represents Your heart tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your love and mercy, and rely on You to help us love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

All Things Together

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together. – (Colossians 1:17, TLB)

 

Some days, the weight of the world feels heavy on my heart. Yesterday was one of those days. Things in my immediate reach are good, however, there are challenges and trials that greet my grit the moment I set foot out of the oasis in my own home. Even in the comfort of my own space, I know the heaviness awaits me. What I have to remember, above all else, is that God is already there. He goes before me, He knows the solution, and He holds all together in His hands. I need not worry about that which I cannot control, and need seek Him for strength and solutions for the things that I can change. Today, I turn in trust to He who is already where I need Him to be, and believe that He is holding all together as God sees all things through to completion.

Yesterday, Mom had a great in-home physical therapy appointment. She was encouraged, as she did quite a bit of walking, leg strengthening exercises, and some practical exercises in the kitchen standing by the sink. When I tried to catch up with my sister last evening, she and mom were actually at Costco, so we were unable to chat in the midst of errand running. I continue to be encouraged, each time I hear that mom is out and doing “normal” things. Though I am sure a Costco run is a bit labor intensive compared to what she is accustomed to, it has to feel good to get out and see and select things again.

 

Before there was time, trust in the battle

Love, light, hope or fear;

Forever God’s been,

Making life appear.

All things together,

He holds in His hands;

Bringing completion,

Divine, loving plan.

Always we can trust,

Our great God above;

Who brings completion,

In strength and in love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have always been and that You hold us in Your Mighty Hands. Thank You that You do not leave us nor forsake us, but You carry us through until things are complete. Forgive us for our faltering faith when the weight of the world wears us down. Teach us to trust You more, so that we place all in Your strong and capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages each person to persevere on the path to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your eternal goodness and Your capacity to lead and carry us through all things. Amen.

 

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

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. – Psalm 111:7

Faith Not Sight

For we live by faith, not by sight. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV)

We live by what we believe will happen, not by what we can see. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, ERV)

The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. – (2 Corinthians 5:7, VOICE)

 

Life is full of opportunities to walk by faith; for few of us have a path that is made plain enough to see our every next step. Faith is trusting that God will take us where we are meant to go, even when we cannot see a clear path, nor do we have our footing established. Often, we know where we are meant to go, but then only know how to take the first step. The steps to follow come with faith as we forge forward, and trust as we go. This evening, my husband, bonus son and I will be flying more than half-way across the country, to pay a final visit to his father. His health is failing, but we are trusting in faith, that our timing is right, and that we are doing what we ought to do. No matter what we see, we can trust that God can move mountains in the hearts of men, and we are going, trusting in His goodness and grace.

As for my Mom, I know that this road she walks is all about faith. I imagine there are days that it feels as if there is no end in sight as she longs to regain all that she has lost, yet by faith, she perseveres. Yesterday, I was thrilled to receive a text from her that her bible study ladies had called her while they met, and included her in their conversation. Her whole day was made by being remembered and included, as I know how hard it is for her to be away from her beloved friends. When I spoke with her after work, the joy and excitement was still present in her voice. Christy, Sandy, and the rest of you ladies – thank you!

 

Faith is a strong heart, Trust in the Unseen

Trusts when it can’t see;

Possibilities,

Allow the Lord lead.

This journey of life,

Is an unknown road;

Requiring faith,

Space for trust be sown.

Each time we choose faith,

The Lord’s faithfulness;

Meets us in our trust,

By grace, He does bless.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to trust, even when we cannot see. Thank You that You fortify our faith as You move on our behalf. Thank You that You never leave us or forsake us, and that You are our strength and our peace. Forgive us for our lack of faith when we cannot see what we hope to see. Teach us to trust You more, as You already know the outcome, far beyond what we can see or imagine. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build faith and express the depth of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You, even in the spaces where we cannot see a solution. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Trust for Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

Trust is a tricky thing, yet peace is well worth the price. It requires an ongoing leap of faith to trust God, even when we cannot see a solution nor an end in a stormy season; however, when we lean into the Lord and place our trust in His hands, there is peace that comes, even in the midst of the storm. God is good, and He is the perfect peace for those who depend on and trust in Him. Such peace translates in every aspect of our lives that we choose to trust – both personally and professionally. As an educator, peace is needed daily to navigate the ever-changing challenges that arise in my city, school and classroom. Personally, I have to trust also, to know peace in this season of parenting young men into adulthood. With twins who are about to begin their senior year, and a bonus son who just turned nineteen, wisdom, guidance and peace are required as I choose to trust in the Lord. Though there are moments where my trust waivers, God is faithful and His peace wraps itself around my heart and mind. May we ever choose to place our trust in God, for He is the One who provides our hearts with His perfect peace.

 

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And His perfect peace;

Our hearts in His hands,

Bring Love’s sweet release.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

As we choose to trust,

He helps fend off fear.

Far greater is He,

That dwells within us;

Than storms and trials,

Our Savior, Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to trust in You, You are our perfect peace. Thank You that whether in storms or in calm, You provide peace to those who trust in You. Forgive us for our faltering faith when we cannot see solutions or the shore. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our anchor and our safe harbor, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that provides peace and safety, trust and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness and Your goodness that provides our hearts and minds with Your perfect peace. 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

Ask for Answers

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. – (Jeremiah 33:3, VOICE)

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

 

I am not sure if it is the result of rest and a better night’s sleep, the reality of how short the time remaining in Wenatchee truly is, or if it is the enormity of my own gratitude for the safety and improving health of my loved ones. I know that is not everyone’s story, and I know that there are far too many grieving today in the wake of unnecessary tragedies across our nation. Though I know not the solution, God does. What I do know, is that we are called to love. Not just our family, friends and neighbors, but everyone. If we choose love, then perhaps we will recognize the hurt in others before it becomes too late. The call is daunting for sure, but if we choose kindness with one person at a time, it is far more manageable. Perhaps it is a matter of asking God to show us His heart for people. He sees and knows the heart. There is always a reason for words and actions that bring harm, and maybe, just maybe, the change we long to see in the world begins with us. In my own present circumstances, when I grow weary and frustrated, I ask God to show me what I need to know to be patient and kind. Usually, what comes the fastest, is the reminder of what it would be like for me if I suddenly lost my ability to do all of the things that I loved most, and had to rely on someone else for everything. The quick heart-check softens the edges of exhaustion quickly, and my love and resolve are renewed. May we continue to call on the Lord and ask Him for help, for He is faithful to show us what we need to know to navigate each day well.

As for mom, yesterday was a good day. Sleep wasn’t great, but we were able to rally anyway. After breakfast, showering, and some physical and occupational therapy exercises, mom determined that she was up for an outing. With a face-filling grin, my response was, “as you wish.” Driving along, following her directions, led us to the east side of town. A bit further along, she declared that she wanted to go to Macy’s. I was both pleased and shocked, as she has avoided stores, and really could use a few things that fit better. We ventured into the store and began looking around. She found a few things she liked downstairs, held them, and we took the elevator upstairs to search for an item or two more. The experience upstairs went well, and the fitting room had ample space for mom’s chair and the two of us so that she could actually try items on. Mom successfully found a few things that she really liked, and we headed to the checkout. It was such an encouragement to watch mom realize that she was okay getting out and participating in “normal” life again. From there, we of course went through Dutch Bros and then grabbed lunch at the Taco Time drive thru. All of the activity was a bit wearying, but mom did well and stayed up until bedtime. She did nod a little when we watched a movie in the afternoon, but had no desire to go lay down to rest. Hmmm… Wonder where I got that trait from?  Despite the hesitations and reservations about the unknowns that are yet to come for mom, I think the opportunity for her to part-take in and realize how much more she is able to do, are all part of what God is showing her to continue to prepare her heart for this next season.

May we ever seek the Lord, who is faithful to answer, to show us the things that we do not know or understand on our own.

 

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May we ever seek;

Your heart to show us,

Truth, when all seems bleak.

Out of the darkness,

Your love light can shine;

Transforming ashes,

To beauty, divine.

Show us the unknown,

The things we can’t grasp;

So we may love well,

Honor all You ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us the things that we do not know when we ask You. Thank You that You give us wisdom and insight so that we may love the way that we have been created to love. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You in the spaces where we lack understanding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always ask You for wisdom and guidance and insight. Above all, show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding, as You already have the answers we need ask. 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

Finding Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

When we choose to trust in the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, we discover His peace, regardless of what surrounds us. Perfect peace holds our hearts steady through the throes of life’s storms. May we ever depend on the Lord, choosing to trust in Him, for He is our source of true and perfect peace.

 

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By those who choose trust;

In God forever,

He’s faithful and just.

No matter what comes,

Those who choose to stand;

Strength in the battles,

Unending peace planned.

So, trust in the Lord,

Seek Jesus for peace;

Hearts that are seeking,

Find God’s grace released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our perfect peace, no matter what comes our way. Thank You that You are the same God whether life is tumultuous as when all is well. Thank You that You grant us Your perfect peace through all things as we seek and depend on You. Forgive us for allowing our focus to fix on the problem rather than You, our solution. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You in all things, as Your perfect peace You bring to all who seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Trust to Make All Possible

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” – (Mark 10:27, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “That is something people cannot do, but God can. He can do anything.” – (Mark 10:27, ERV)

Jesus looked at them and replied, “With people it is impossible, but not with God – God makes all things possible!” – (Mark 10:27, TPT)

 

Impossible is our understood limit to the human capacity. However, God’s view is far different. In Him, all things become possible. God is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.  When doubt or fear find way into our hearts, we must remember who holds us in the palm of His hands. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, trusting that He is far greater than anything that would attempt to come against us or challenge the truth of who we are.

 

When there is no way, Faith for Forever

It’s not so with God;

He’ll show us there’s more,

Our doubts, they are flawed.

For what seems too much,

Is simple to Him;

Creator of all,

His grace always wins.

Peace in our struggles,

Strength when ours is gone;

Brawn in the battle,

Hope to carry on.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that nothing is impossible with You. Thank You that You will always equip us for the things that You call us to do. Forgive us for relying on our own strength, or for seeing only the obstacles rather than You, our solution. Show us how to strengthen and encourage the faith of those around us through Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make the seeming impossible, possible. Amen.

 

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

 

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” – Luke 18:27