Overflowing Gratitude

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, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

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

Thankful For The Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Gratitude ought to be our mode of operation throughout each new day. A thankful heart is not dependent on merely that which we are walking into, but rather gratitude can look back and see the incredible ways that God has moved on our behalf, and look ahead to the faithfulness of God and the hope that is yet to come through eternity spent in His presence. Even in the here and now of difficulty, there are always things to be thankful for. For me, that includes the people whom God has placed around me, and those He has blessed me with as family. To worship God in a way that will please Him is all about the state of our heart. When our heart is full of awe and reverence for who God is and how He loves, our every act of worship is a reflection of such, and is pleasing to Him who we worship. May we ever let our hearts overflow with gratitude for He who deserves all of our worship forever. 

All thanks be to God,

Who sits on the throne;

Our help and our hope,

Through Whom love is shown.

He’s faithful always,

No matter what comes;

So let us give thanks,

For all He has done.

Even through heartache,

And difficulty;

His presence is clear,

Magnificently.

God’s presence gives hope,

Strength, life and His love;

Our anchor secure,

We are His beloved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are receiving Your kingdom both now and forevermore. Thank You that this means that we have help and hope in You, no matter what lies ahead. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations that block our view of who You are and how You love. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope and demonstrate gratitude. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1

No Matter What May Come

For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, HCSB)

And now He can help those who are tempted. He is able to help because He Himself suffered and was tempted. – (Hebrews 2:18, ERV)

Since He has also been tested by suffering, He can help us when we are tested. – (Hebrews 2:18, VOICE)

Because Jesus was tempted in every way, and He suffered beyond what we can even begin to fathom, He understands and knows how to help us when we struggle. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are completely alone in the midst of struggle or suffering, but the truth is, God is always near. Jesus is ever moving on our behalf. The challenge is to slow down, seek the Lord, and simply sit in His presence. He is faithful to meet us in our seeking, and will hold us up and lead us through the trials that we face. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is faithful, and He will help, hold, and lead us so that we may navigate every difficulty that comes our way.

No matter what comes,

God already knows;

How to best help us,

In His strength, we grow.

Through great temptations,

Or true suffering;

God will be faithful,

Grace and strength He brings.

So, rise up and seek,

Each time you shall find;

More than imagined,

His love does exceed.

Lean into Jesus,

No matter what comes;

He’s present to help,

The great Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and that You understand every trial and suffering that we endure. Thank You that because You have suffered and been tempted in every way, You are able to help and strengthen us to navigate all things. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that they too may come to know Your strength and help and hope in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times, for in You, there is peace and hope and strength. Amen.

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

Whether it is favorable or unfavorable, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you, so that it will go well with us, for we will obey the Lord our God. – Jeremiah 42:6

Approach Boldly

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. – (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

Because Jesus came and took all of our sin and shortcomings upon Himself, we are able to stand before God to ask for His mercy and grace when we need it. We need not fear that God will grow weary of our asking, for He sent Jesus because He knows our desperate need. This morning, as I am weary and ready for rest this weekend, I know that He will supply the strength and endurance I need to get through today. May we ever approach the throne of grace with boldness, for God welcomes us into His presence and provides what we need as we come before Him.

With mercy and grace,

Is how we are met;

By God, our Father,

Who erased our debt.

The sins of the past,

He’s wiped them away;

And gives us His grace,

To love well each day.

May we keep seeking,

The Lord God above;

Who grants us mercy,

And fills us with love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to come before You with confidence. Confidence in knowing that we will be heard and helped and held. Forgive us for the times that we have not come before You in our need, for You instruct and remind us to come unto You. Teach us to bring all our burdens before You, for You flood us with Your mercy and love and give us the grace we need to keep moving forward in the direction to which we have been called. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your goodness, mercy and love are made evident through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we boldly come before Your throne, grateful for Your goodness and grace that made the way for us to know and depend on You. Amen.

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

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Way Maker

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Though this was written centuries ago, it is a relevant encouragement to me this morning. Being an educator is an adventure for sure, yet there have been experiences that have impacted the way that I view things today. This year, I am teaching a subject in a grade level that I have never taught, with a completely new curriculum, and I have to let go of my former experiences in said subject, (my previous experience in such nearly had me walk away from teaching), as I can see that God can do something new both in me and through me. This hope is so helpful, as I do, at times, feel as though I am wandering through a desert without water. God is good, and He provides all that we need to navigate the new. He leads us, guides us, and grants us the strength, wisdom and resources we need as we seek and trust in Him. Additionally, He brings the right people alongside us to help us navigate the new. I never cease to be amazed at how He cares about the seemingly insignificant things, just as much as He is concerned with the big things. May we ever seek the Lord as we keep moving forward in faith, for He is doing something new, and continually pouring new life into us.

Like streams through dry land,

The Lord’s bringing new;

Forget the former,

God’s faithful and true.

The past is not now,

New things will arise;

Possibilities,

To yet realize.

In faith, let us seek,

Choose to trust the Lord;

He will make a way,

And keep us on course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not dwell on the past, but instead, ought to look forward in faith to You. Thank You that You provide strength, refreshment, support, growth, wisdom and encouragement as we navigate the new You call us into. Forgive us for our fears and anxieties that prevent us from fully recognizing Your goodness and faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and praise You for the support that You provide. Show us how to love those around us in ways that feel like water where souls are parched, and hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look ahead with eager anticipation, to see how You will move mountains on our behalf. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Who We Are Working For

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters. – (Colossians 3:23, NIV)

In all the work you are given, do the best you can. Work as though you are working for the Lord, not any earthly masters. – (Colossians 3:23, ERV)

So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s. – (Colossians 3:23, VOICE)

Right now, this is very well-timed, as I am reaching a point of exhaustion and wondering how I can possibly sustain the hours and work required to do my job. I know I am ultimately working for God, therefore I am arriving early and staying late to ensure that I am adequately prepared for a job that I have never done. Yesterday afternoon, as I was walking our dogs, I could not help but pray as I walked, and ask the Lord what I am supposed to do. All that kept resonating in my heart and mind was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9) God is good, and if my weakness is an opportunity to display His strength, so be it. He has been faithful each day to meet me and to provide what I need to get through each day. Sometimes, our seasons are hard. He is our help and our hope to carry us through. For now, I will continue to seek Him and trust that He has me in the position I am in on purpose and for a purpose. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, doing all that we can with what is asked of us. Where our strength ends, His begins.

With grace after grace,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We are called to rise;

To do all we can,

With strength God supplies.

All that is needed,

He faithfully gives;

God equips us well,

To thrive, not just live.

When we cannot see,

Still, we must press on;

As unto the Lord,

By faith, choose hold on.

He’s always enough,

To carry us through;

His love overcomes,

And grace makes us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do all things as unto You, not for the people in positions above us. Thank You that You are the One to whom we ultimately answer, and the One who provides all that we need to press on. Forgive us for our frustrations with our situations when we haven’t the strength or skill set to do all that we are asked to do. Thank You that You come and meet us, and You provide the help and strength we need to keep moving forward. Teach us to trust in You anew every morning, for You are faithful always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide help, support and encouragement. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength when we are weary, and to supply what we need to keep moving in the direction You have called us. Amen.

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

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Fill Us Again

God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. – (Psalm 63:1, HCSB)

God, You are my God. I am searching so hard to find You. Body and soul, I thirst for You in this dry and weary land without water. – (Psalm 63:1, ERV)

O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust. I seek You with every fiber of my being. In this dry and weary land with no water in sight, my soul is dry and longs for You. My body aches for You, for Your presence. – (Psalm 63:1, VOICE)

I so appreciate David’s heart throughout the Psalms. He was by no means a perfect person, but His heart after God was true. Though my daily devotions take me throughout the entire Bible, I cannot help but be drawn back in by the Psalms. What I have learned over the last many years of beginning each day with time with God and in His word, is that it is as necessary as the air I breathe. In the same way that I wake and am ready for coffee and food, so too, my soul is needing nourishment from God. Each time I seek the Lord, He is faithful to show me more of Himself. This verse is my heart, as I am tired and weary, and it at times, feels as if there is no relief in sight, yet He provides me with reminders of His presence, and brings the weekends as a time to rest and recharge. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, for He is our nourishment and refreshment, even in the dry and weary places.

O God, I seek You,

My hope and all grace;

The One who strengthens,

Throughout all my days.

My heart ever seeks,

For in You I find;

Strength for my body,

And peace for my mind.

Faithful to meet me,

Each time that I seek;

You love me to life,

Give strength when I’m weak.

Ever I’ll praise You,

For in You alone;

I find all goodness,

As Your heart’s made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our water in the desert and the presence our entire being longs for. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and fill us again. Forgive us for wandering in our weariness instead of seeking You. Teach us to trust You to be our strength and hope, even when it seems that there is no way to sustain in the environment we find ourselves in. Show us how to love those around us in ways that build up, encourage, and strengthen in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to meet us and fill us again, each time we come to You. Amen.

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

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. – Psalm 126:3

Speak Truth

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. – (Ephesians 4:25, NIV)

So you must stop telling lies. You must always speak the truth to each other, because we all belong to each other in the same body. – (Ephesians 4:25, ERV)

What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. – (Ephesians 4:25, MSG)

Initially, my thought was that I do speak truthfully to people. However, upon deeper reflection, sometimes not speaking up is not being honest. Telling others that everything is fine when it is not, is a sort of pretense that puts others off who would otherwise be ready and available to help. What I have discovered this week through one of my worst experiences as an educator, is that my neighbors, my fellow teachers and staff members, as well as many students, are ready to stand up for me, walk beside me, and extend kindness and support where it is needed most. Our connection to each other provides strength and support, for there is far more strength when we are connected than when we stand alone. I have been blessed to teach with incredible humans throughout the twenty-six years of my teaching career thus far. Numerous staff and students have come through our school community and left their beautiful imprints on my heart. Perhaps this is why I have stayed so long. Even on the toughest days, there are people who are near, who come alongside, and stand together, united in purpose. God is so gracious and kind. He shows us more of who He is and how He loves through the people He places alongside us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to speak truth, and to be honest about how we are and what we need. He is good, and He provides as we abide.

Choose to speak the truth,

What lies before us, and what lies behind us, are not nearly as important as who is beside us…

For love shows the way;

God’s help is present,

Throughout each new day.

With purpose, we’re placed,

In community;

To help each other,

Stand up strong and free.

Free to keep moving,

In all that we’re called;

With purpose and grace,

Goodness is installed.

Moving together,

Supporting in love;

United in strength,

That’s sent from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You place us in communities that have the capacity to work together, support each other, and thrive, rather than merely survive. Forgive us for the times that we have not been honest about how we are doing or what we truly need. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, and to share our struggles and triumphs with those whom You have placed beside us. Show us how to support, strengthen and encourage those around us in Your unwavering love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the people whom You have placed in the communities we are in, and for the ways that we can stand together, united in purpose and in love. Amen.

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

Summon Your power, God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before. – Psalm 68:28

Called to Community

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time. – (Proverbs 17:17, HCSB)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. If we invest in time with friends and family, we grow close and are ready to walk alongside each other, no matter what comes our way. True investment connects hearts and lives, and provides opportunity to love and be loved as God intended. Though a simple concept, it requires intentional investment. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to invest in our relationships with friends and family, and to equip us to love and help one another at all times.

No matter what comes,

We are called to seek;

Time with each other,

In community.

When one friend falls down,

Another is near;

To help the one up,

And overcome fear.

Together there’s strength,

The power to move;

Hope to keep going,

And fear is removed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created and called us to be in community. Thank You for the friends and family that You have placed around us. Thank You for the gift of loving and being loved. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in those You have placed around us. Teach us to know the balance of time and energy that will grow depth in our community without depleting us of necessary rest. Show us how to love well, so that our friends and family know that they always have someone in their corner, ready to walk beside them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are the ultimate Father and friend. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the family and friends around us, and seek You to lead us to love one another well. Amen.

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

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

Where Help Comes From

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, HCSB)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

Lifting our eyes is a way to take our gaze off of what lies directly before us, and to look beyond to what could be. Each time I see the majestic mountains, I am reminded of the power and goodness of God. The same God who formed the mountains, is the One who comes and dwells within us as we invite Him in. He is our help and our hope, and the One in whom our future rests. To look to the mountains is to gaze upon the tangible evidence of God. For me, when I look upon the beauty of creation, I am reminded of the One who made it all. He is so much more than we see, yet the tangible evidence of His goodness makes the unseen easier to grasp. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, help and hope, and readily receive the reminders all around us as we gaze upon the beauty of all that He has made.

When we choose look up,

Our eyes truly see;

All of creation,

Made purposefully.

Our help and our hope,

Come from God above;

He sees and He hears,

And answers in love.

Majestic mountains,

And sparkling seas;

Glimpses of the Lord,

And His majesty.

His power and grace,

Are visibly seen;

To show us His love,

As He meets our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us Your power through the beauty of creation all around us. Thank You for such incredible reminders of Your power and strength that are available to all who seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have looked to anything other than You to be our strength, and for the times that we have somehow made You too small. Teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, for You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in ways that lift up and encourage everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and praise You for the tangible reminders of Your power and grace. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7