United in Peace

For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. – (Ephesians 2:14, HCSB)

Christ is the reason we are now at peace. He made us Jews and you who are not Jews one people. We were separated by a wall of hate that stood between us, but Christ broke down that wall. – (Ephesians 2:14, ERV)

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. – (Ephesians 2:14, VOICE)

If God can unite two groups who were separated and against each other for many generations, He can bring peace in a home, a neighborhood, a classroom or a school. This is a great reminder that God is able to do surpassingly more than we could hope or imagine as we seek and trust in Him. For me, this is the hope that I am holding onto, as I have a class that ends each day with a combination of kids that make it feel like a combat zone. At the close of each school day, it feels as though I have barely survived a horrendous hurricane, and I long for the opportunity to walk away. If I were independently wealthy, I would walk away and never look back. Clearly this is not a solution, but the struggle that is endured each day is bringing me to a breaking point. Something has to give. I trust that God can do far more than I can imagine, yet I am struggling to see what could possibly be done in the here and now. Each day, I embrace the new, and try to move forward with positivity and grace, but the grit within me is waning. If God can bring two warring groups of people together as one, I know He is able to bring calm and peace to a classroom. May we ever seek the Lord to break down barriers of hostility, and bring His peace that surpasses understanding.

The embodiment,

Of God’s perfect peace;

Is what is needed,

Abundant release.

For He who calms storms,

With only His words;

Can calm great chaos,

His peace is transferred.

Lord, bring Your goodness,

Flood me with Your grace;

Show me the answer,

As I seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of perfect peace. Thank You that You can unite groups of people who once were at odds with one another. Thank You that You are greater than anything that we must face. Forgive us for struggling to believe there is a solution when we are in the midst of the fire. Show us the power of Your peaceful presence. Teach us to be promoters of Your peace as we continually choose to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we earnestly seek You for solutions to that which leaves us feeling hopeless. Amen.

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

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

To Locate Lasting Peace

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, HCSB)

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, ERV)

Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 5:1, VOICE)

When we place our faith in Jesus, we are forgiven and set free from the guilt and shame of our poor decisions and granted true and lasting peace in Him. The more we know Him, the deeper our understanding becomes of love, forgiveness and peace. Knowing that we have been declared right before God through our trust in Him provides lasting peace, as we come to know that anything that we struggle through now will not last, but our future is secure. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for lasting peace is found in Christ alone.

The true peace that lasts,

Is through God alone;

In Him, forgiveness,

Is graciously shown.

We are deemed righteous,

Not through what we’ve done;

But rather through faith,

True trust in the Son.

So, ever seek Christ,

The One who is true;

Savior, Redeemer,

For me and for you.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness and grace that cleanses us and makes us right before You. Thank You for Your perfect peace that is found as we come before You. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when the world feels like it has flipped upside down. Teach us to trust in You and Your faithfulness, for Your love knows no end. Show us how to love those around us with Your grace and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your provision of peace as You make Your presence known to those who seek You. Amen.

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

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

All for Good

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, HCSB)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people 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 does not say that all things happen for good, or have been caused by God. However, God can bring good from even the worst of things if we allow Him room to move. For example, there is nothing good about sickness, disease, or injuries. The good is how God can use such things to grow our faith, show us His power, and lead us to something more than we imagined before. Additionally, He shows us He is good as He loves, supports, encourages and surrounds us. Love is made tangible, even in the midst of great struggle or suffering. Our circumstances are not always good, but God always is good. May we ever seek the Lord to show us who He is, even in the midst of challenges and difficulty; for He is faithful to be present for those who seek Him.

Because God is good,

He moves through all things;

Hope in our heartache,

Strength and peace He brings.

In love, He takes hold,

Of extended hands;

He lifts and He leads,

So we again stand.

Choose look to the Lord,

In each circumstance;

Watch how the Lord moves,

When given the chance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work all things out for good for those who love and trust in You. Thank You that You are the same God that brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You have shown Yourself faithful time and time again. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see past our circumstances. Teach us to look to You, for You grant us Your eyes to see the hope held beyond what we are seeing or experiencing right now. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too come to know and understand that You bring good, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us, and trust the hope that we hold in You forever. Amen.

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

But You are near me, Lord, and all Your commands can be trusted. – Psalm 119:151

Fish Findings

This morning our day began much differently than usual. The 4:15am wakeup is normal for us, yet the why was something quite new. We parked in lot one, walked down to float eight, and boarded our fishing boat, The Blue Eyes. Full of anticipation and excitement for the adventure ahead, my Viking and I boarded and got to know the layout of the boat. Both captain and deckhand were friendly, knowledgeable, and clearly well-seasoned at all this.

5:30 am as our journey began…

Our eight-hour tour started with a 90 minute ride out to our first fishing spot. By fishing spot, I mean where the boat drifted as it was tossed to and fro by the relentless waves. We had success at the very first spot, as Viking hooked two fish with one drop of the line. (double hooks, single bait) From there, we rode over some serious rollers, and stopped at another spot. This time, we each caught multiple fish, but at some point in the process, my stomach decided it had had enough of the swirling seas. From that point on, I lost count of how many times I had to lean over the rail and “feed” the fish. Thankfully, despite my own struggle with seasickness, we were each able to successfully catch our quota and safely return to shore.

After pondering the experience, I have a sort of top five things I learned from the day:

  1. Jesus and His disciples were some seriously skilled strong men, as I cannot begin to fathom the sort of boat they used way out in the Sea of Galilee to do what we did today. 
  2. The sea is an incredible reminder of both God’s power and the beauty of His creation. (Also, I think I prefer admiring both from either the shore or in a sheltered bay)
  3. Fishermen have iron guts. No joke. 
  4. Though I am able to do many things, I cannot control whether or not I get seasick. (Even Dramamine did not do anything after my stomach decided to rebel)
  5. My husband LOVES to fish and he is a natural.
The bottom left image sums up our day – Viking was overjoyed, I was trying to grin and suck it up.

For now, I will continue to thank God for bringing us safely back to the dock, providing an abundant catch for both of us, and for settling my stomach once we were back on land. Additionally, I will be pursuing insight as to how to best prevent a repeat of seasickness the next time I venture out with my Love to fish.

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

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our thoughts and words matter to God. The musings of the heart are directly linked to what we take in. For me, this means that in order to keep my thoughts from wandering down a road I need not travel, I have to be cautious about what I consume. If I set my heart on God to begin each day, I am in a better position to choose my words and direct my thoughts wisely. However, if I listen to or watch something violent or full of angst, even if my words do not reflect what I have taken in, my thoughts struggle to turn away from the unpleasant. I know some folks have a filter that simply sifts out such stuff, but as a very visual individual, it is too difficult to not keep reliving what I do not want to relive. Everyone is different, but it is important to know how we can best keep our words and thoughts turned toward God, so that what we say, think and do is a reflection of His love. May we ever seek the Lord to help set our hearts on Him so that our words and the musings of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

O Lord, let Your love,

Lead my thoughts and words;

So goodness is stored,

And grace is what’s heard.

Keep my heart upheld,

In Your loving light;

By grace filter out,

All that is not right.

Show me through Your lens,

That which needs to go;

Flood me with Your thoughts,

So Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us what it is to meditate on Your love and share it with others through all that we do and say. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been pleasing to You. Teach us how to clear our minds of that which does not build up, and to set our sights on You and Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help keep our words and thoughts on that which is pleasing to You. Amen.

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

May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 104:34

Rest for the Weary

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

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 having a real struggle? Come to Me! Are you carrying a big load on your back? Come to Me – I’ll give you a rest! – (Matthew 11:28, NTE)

This morning, despite being a day off, I was up at the usual time. However, knowing that I do not have to work today brings a different sort of rest. The ability to have a leisurely morning doing devotions with a second cup of coffee, followed by a long walk with the pups, provides rest for my soul. Rest looks different for everyone, yet God knows what we need. When we seek Him and hand Him the weight of our burdens, He gives us rest – body, heart, soul and mind. May we all seek the Lord to lay down our burdens this long weekend, and allow Him to show us His perfect rest.

All who are weary,

We are not alone;

To God up above,

Our burdens are known.

He walks beside us,

And shoulders the weight;

He renews our strength,

His love’s never late.

He knows what we need,

In love, He provides;

A space to recharge,

As we choose abide.

Lean into Jesus,

His strength is enough;

To carry the weight,

Of our heavy stuff.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness and find Your rest. Thank You that You lovingly walk beside us and carry the weight that we cannot. Forgive us for not slowing down with intention to seek You in our spaces of need. Teach us to come to You to be our strength, rest and resolve in all things and at all times. Show us how to love and bless those around us in ways that bring rest to weary spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our weariness and find true rest in the light of Your perfect love. Amen.

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

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Whispers of Spring

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

It is a season where everyone could use more hope, joy and peace. It feels as though we have just labored through the longest winter, and spring is whispering early signs of its arrival. God’s hope is the very thing that grants us peace and fills us with joy. As we seek Him, hope rises. The more we give God room to fill us, the more His hope overflows within us and spreads to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to infuse our lives with an abundance of His joy and peace throughout every time and circumstance so that His hope will overflow from our hearts. May His loving kindness spring up in and through us and be a blessing to those around us.

O Lord, be our hope,

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

The Source of all good;

Where joy and peace rise,

True love’s understood.

Lord, help faith remain,

In good times and bad;

For joy comes from You,

Where true peace is had.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that by faith, You are our hope and the Source of our joy and peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to meet us and fill us to overflowing. Forgive us for relying on our own strength to struggle through seasons of struggle rather than turning to You in trust. Teach us to pursue Your heart, help and presence in all things, for You are faithful to meet us each time we call on You. Lead us to love as You love each of us so that we may pour out goodness and grace from the overflow of the joy and peace You plant deep within us. 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 Your unending faithfulness that grows joy deep within us and brings peace, even in places it does not make sense. Amen.

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

Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone. – Psalm 33:22

Patient and Full of Love

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. – (Psalm 103:8, HCSB)

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV)

The Eternal is compassionate and merciful. When we cross all the lines, He is patient with us. When we struggle against Him, He lovingly stays with us – changing, convicting, prodding. – (Psalm 103:8, VOICE)

In the same way that the Lord is compassionate, gracious, patient and full of faithful love for us, we ought to be the same for others. God shows us the way to love one another as He loves each of us so well. Even when we fall short or fail miserably, He remains present to show us how to do and be better. His kindness leads us to repentance and real change. May we ever seek the Lord to show us the ways we are meant to go, and lead us to love one another as He loves us all.

Full of compassion,

And gracious His love;

Abundant mercy,

Hope from God above.

In our own struggle,

Still the Lord stays near;

To grant us His strength,

And take away fear.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Faithful forever,

Your grace makes us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, patient and rich in faithful love. Thank You that You lead, correct and direct us in the ways we are meant to go when we seek and submit to You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and our lack of faith. Teach us to trust in You completely. Lead us in Your compassionate and gracious love so that we might love those around us with patience and faithful love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and love us through all things. Amen.

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

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14

Power to Press On

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

God’s Spirit is the Provider of every good and perfect gift. The struggle, however, is when our circumstances make us question what we know is the truth. His power, love and sound judgment are greater than anything and everything that we face. He is good, even when our circumstances are not. Here, in the midst of struggle, we need His nearness and grace to remind us to rise up in all that He has placed within us so that we can be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us of all that He’s placed within us by His power and His grace so that we can navigate each new day in His power, love and self-discipline.

Fear is not from God,

For He is our strength;

Great Overcomer,

Who goes to great lengths.

No height is too high,

Nor depth that’s too low;

He comes as we call,

And makes His grace known.

Power to press on,

When we have no more;

Love and His wisdom,

The hope to endure.

Lord, please come closer,

Remind us again;

Of Your great goodness,

That ushers hope in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not given us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and self-control. Thank You that You begin where our strength ends, and You are present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of struggle. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You supply all that we need to continue moving forward in all that we are called to do and become. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too may be strengthened and encouraged in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and trust You to supply all that we need to press on. Amen.

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

Yet He saved them because of His Name, to make His power known. – Psalm 106:8

Rising Up

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, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

This morning, I am trusting God anew to do these things. I am so thankful that everyday is new. With Christ, each day we can find new strength and new joy; for yesterday is gone and today is full of new possibilities and hope for better. I know that God works in mysterious ways and that we go through trials to develop perseverance and character, yet He does not leave us to our own devices to navigate the struggle. He walks beside us and grants us the strength that we need so that we may find joy and gratitude even when our circumstances feel impossible. May we depend on God to be our strength and shield and rejoice in song for His faithfulness and love.

Sometimes, a song comes to mind and that is what fills my heart and mind. This morning, it is this one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bring songs to mind to strengthen and encourage us. Thank You for making all things new. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts, for in the natural, things can seem impossible. Teach us to ever rely on You to be our strength and our song. Show us how to love and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and shield and praise You with the songs that rise up in our heart. Amen.

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

Rise up! Help us! Redeem us because of Your faithful love. – Psalm 44:26