Keep Moving Forward

Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, HCSB)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, VOICE)

I appreciate that the three different translations remind us that we have examples of great faith that have gone before us, those that walk beside us, and others that are all around us to encourage us to press on in living the life to which we have been called. Additionally, the reality that our race is one that requires endurance, is an indicator that it is a long and varied course. It is not about speed nearly as much as it is about forward momentum in the direction to which we have been called. Like with running, we do not want to carry extra weight or have things stick to us that impair our movement. Istead, it is ideal to run with nothing to weigh us down. Sin is anything that diverts our feet from the course we are called to run, or distracts us and pulls our attention in a different direction. To run our race with endurance, to live out our days in the direction to which we are called, we must be in tune with He who maps our course. The more we spend time with God and read His word, the more clearly we understand the race plan and how to avoid the things that lead us off the course He has prepared for us or that which will trip up our footing and make us falter from the path. May we ever seek the One who equips us with the strength and endurance required to run our own race, and listen to His leading so that we may encourage those around us to keep moving forward too.

Keep moving forward,

No matter how slow;

It’s not about speed,

But how you choose roll.

One step at a time,

Honoring the One;

Father, Son, Spirit,

The Most Holy One.

Each move done in love,

Is what we need bring;

Sweet perseverance,

Will honor our King.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

The race we’re to run;

Help us keep moving,

‘Til each day is done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to run with perseverance and set aside all that would get in our way, but You surround us with those who know how to run well and encourage us as they set an example. Forgive us for the times that we have given up or have allowed our hearts to be led away from the path that You set before us. Show us how to stay the course and keep moving, even when things are difficult and we cannot see the next water station or place to pause and rest. Lead us to love and encourage those around us as they navigate their own race. Grant us Your wisdom, grace, generosity and kindness to share with all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at the examples that have gone before us, those You have placed beside us, and ultimately, to You to lead us well. Amen.

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

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14

Encourage Each Other

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, HCSB)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

This makes all of the difference. When we surround ourselves with a community that invests in each other, we are mutually encouraged and built up. As this transpires, our faith grows stronger as we realize why God calls us to be in community. It is amazing how God grows our circle as we are willing to be available. Yesterday, as one of my dearest friend’s and I were running, we realized that we have been running together for more than eight years. Running together is not just getting out and moving, but it is and has always been a place to connect, converse, and talk about life and how to navigate well. Each time we meet to run, it is an opportunity to share life together and encourage one another. The benefits go beyond the physical gains in fitness, for our hearts, minds and spirits are uplifted by spending time together. The same can be said about time with my husband as we tackled the yard as a team. Neither of us expects the other to magically do things, rather we join together and tag team to get things done. Before bed, I was able to join a three-way call with my sister and mom, and again, connecting with each other is life-giving. Even early this morning, I found myself in a quick text exchange with my bestie, as we both expressed our excitement for the chance to get together this evening. Soon, I will be heading to church where there are more people whom God has placed in my life to be in relationship with. Though a simple and somewhat uneventful weekend, I am reminded again of the value of community. May we ever make the time to connect with those whom God has blessed us with, and encourage one another.

We all have been called,

To community;

To bless, encourage,

Invest faithfully.

It does not take much,

To reach out and care;

And as we do so,

Life is what we share.

So, choose to reach out,

Encourage, build up;

For as we do so,

It fills up our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You surround us with people who encourage us and we are able to encourage. Forgive us for the times that we have isolated ourselves when we were meant to reach out. Teach us to trust You to lead us to those whom we are meant to encourage and build up. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in community with each other and encourage and build each other up. Amen.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

In All Things, Pray

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, HCSB)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Philippians 4:6-7, VOICE)

This is a timely reminder, as it seems to be a season of tough news about people I love and care about. Yesterday afternoon, I found out that my nephew is in the hospital and dying of renal failure. I haven’t seen him in years, but when he was a little boy, he spent quite a bit of time with our family. Learning this heartbreaking news, I had to pause and pray; for I do not know what else to do. He is my boys’ cousin, their dad’s nephew, and their aunt’s first born. Sometimes, praying is really all we can do. Though I know not every need, I am able to pray for healing, health, hope and wholeness. I can pray for peace and strength and provision for the family. Prayer does not require eloquent words or religious utterances, it is simply talking to God with your heart, mind, and if it helps, your voice. He hears every word, thought and request. Incredibly, He provides what we need to get through each next moment, hour, day and beyond. His peace brings calm in the chaos and the ability to breathe when it feels as if we cannot. May we ever reach out to the Lord who hears our prayers, and seek Him for strength and peace in spaces where we have none.

O Lord, I draw near,

Seeking You for peace;

When I can’t fathom,

How You’ll bring release.

Somehow Your peace comes,

And fills up my heart;

Your love settles in,

Hope for a fresh start.

Be it a minute,

Or for a new day;

Your love and Your peace,

Always make a way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are bigger than all of the trials and sorrows we face. Thank You that You flood us with Your love, surround us with Your care, and fill us with Your peace, even when peace does not make sense. Forgive us for worrying about having the words to pray, for You hear each cry of our heart as we reach out to You. Teach us to turn to You in trust in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those whom You have placed in our lives, and to pray without ceasing for Your love to be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give all of our worries to You as we call on Your Name and pray to You about all things, trusting that You hold us in the hollow of Your mighty hands. Amen.

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

The Lord will send His faithful love by day; His song will be with me in the night – a prayer to the God of my life. – Psalm 42:8

Comfort That Conveys Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

This weekend has been exactly what my husband and I have needed. The weight of the week had grown heavy, and time away together has been a space to relax and recharge. For me, I find joy being outside in God’s creation. There is nothing that makes me more aware of Him than fresh air and all of the colors that surround us. My husband is his best self when he gets to let go of the burdens and be himself. After much pondering about how to best discover a way for both of us to really relax and enjoy our time together, I ordered two e-scooters and helmets for us, prior to this weekend. My Viking and I scooted along miles of trails that run beside the bay, and run through lush green vegetation. We were further able to explore the town, and spent hours riding around, taking in all of the beauty of the area. I am not sure which brought me more joy – our surroundings or watching my mister play and enjoy himself in a childlike manner. I don’t think a smile ever left our faces. We will have time again this morning to explore a bit more before we need to pack up and head home. Already, I feel as if my soul has been lightened, and I am better equipped to navigate the week that lies ahead. God is good, and I am so grateful that He provides joy in ordinary spaces when we take time to get out and enjoy all that He has made.

When life feels heavy,

Take time and slow down;

Observe surroundings,

For peace will be found.

View all the beauty,

That His hands have made;

Joy rises within,

And worries will fade.

Place all in His hands,

For they’re strong enough;

He lightens our load,

Brings smooth to the rough.

Rise up each morning,

And look all around;

Joy is waiting,

In Christ it is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring our cares and burdens to You, and You soothe our souls and fill us with Your joy as we delight in You. Forgive us for allowing worries to overtake us instead of bringing all before You. Thank You that You call us unto Yourself and restore joy anew. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too, may be filled with Your joy and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You with our worries and cares, and recognize the joy that is within as we appreciate all that You have made. 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

Strength and Peace to the Seekers

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

God is faithful to strengthen us and supply His perfect peace when we seek Him. It does not mean that peace will necessarily surround us, but we can experience peace within us, despite our circumstances. The Lord equips us with the strength we need to navigate each new day. There is much going on in the world that screams for our attention and can easily pillage our peace. However, when we seek His strength and peace, God settles our hearts and grants us words to pray. He strengthens us and places His peace within us, despite what is going on around us. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and peace, and pray for strength and peace for those around us, both near and far.

God grants us His strength,

As we choose to seek;

Floods us with His love,

When we’re feeling weak.

In space of unrest,

God’s peace can be found;

He’ll fill up our heart,

Bring calm that astounds.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To ever seek You;

Strengthen us with Your peace,

Grant us hope anew.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to strengthen us and provide Your perfect peace when we seek You. Forgive us for allowing what is going on around us to steal the peace that You place within us. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our strength and the Provider of perfect peace. Teach us to lean into You. Show us how to love those around us with kindness and grace that extends strength and peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to supply Your strength and to be our peace in the chaos that comes our way. Amen.

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

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. – Lamentations 3:25

To See What is True

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. – (Philippians 4:8, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, continue to think about what is good and worthy of praise. Think about what is true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. – (Philippians 4:8, ERV)

Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. – (Philippians 4:8, TPT)

If we can keep our hearts and minds focused on that which is good and worthy of praise, our words and actions follow accordingly. This is far easier said than done, especially when what stands before us clouds our view of good. It requires intentional pursuit of God and the grace that He provides to see past the difficulties and recognize the beauty and goodness that surround us. Years ago, when I was a part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), I had the rare opportunity to spend time in India, not once, but twice. The first time I was there, all I could see was the lack, the loss, and the hardships the people had to constantly endure. However, when I returned a year later, God showed me the incredible beauty that was all around me. The joy that people had, despite their circumstances, the lush green vegetation everywhere, the bold, bright and beautiful colors found on the fabric that people wore, the kindness and generosity of those whom we worked with, and the countless glorious works that God was doing before our own eyes. May we ever seek the Lord to help us fix our eyes on the things of Him, so that we may see all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable.

Lord, open our eyes,

So we truly see;

The good around us,

That ever brings peace.

The honorable,

And all that is true;

The just and the pure,

His ways to pursue.

May all that’s lovely,

Remind us what’s true;

The commendable,

All that we can do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us of what is important and what should capture our attention. Thank You that no matter our situation or circumstances, there is always evidence of You that surrounds us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your good in the throes of the difficult. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You and all that You have brought into being that reflect Your glory and goodness to the world. Show us how to be Your ambassadors of love, as we fix our eyes on You and reflect back the good You have given. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us eyes to see all of the good and wonderful that You have placed all around us. Amen. 

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

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

Do Not Be Afraid

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, HCSB)

But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son. You will name Him Jesus. Give Him that name because He will save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, ERV)

While he was still debating with himself about what to do, he fell asleep and had a supernatural dream. An angel from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t hesitate to take Mary into your home as your wife, because the power of the Holy Spirit has conceived a child in her womb. She will give birth to a son and you are to name Him, ‘Savior’, for He is destined to give His life to save His people from their sins.” – (Matthew 1:20-21, TPT)

This morning, the message that I am receiving from this passage is to not be afraid to do what I know I am called to do. Joseph was called to wed Mary, yet had legitimate fears to do so, knowing that she was with child. Back then, a couple in their predicament could be completely outcast, or worse. They both had tangible reasons to be afraid, yet God let them know that He would be with them and they need not fear. Sometimes, God calls us to do something that is really big without fear, yet other times, it is something ordinary that has unusual factors involved that cause us fear. God is faithful, and He has promised to be with us. Today is a day that requires an extra measure of trust, as there have been things spoken and actions taken that incite uneasiness in many. It is in these times that we need to trust big, look out for one another, and continue to love as we have been called to love. May the God of peace surround us with His protection and grace and be tangibly near as we go through our day.

Do not be afraid,

Words often spoken;

For fear’s a liar,

When trust is broken.

God calls us to rise,

In courage, be strong;

Trust in His promise,

Our hope and our song.

Things may seem foolish,

Yet look at His grace;

God has shown He moves,

In creative ways.

Born in a stable,

Heaven came to earth;

The Lord chose come near,

Miraculous birth.

The fears overcome,

In a manger lay;

Our peace and purpose,

To trust each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have promised to be with us, always. Thank You that You sent Your assurance in spaces it was needed most, and that You are the same God as You were then, now, and forever. Forgive us for our fears, both rational and irrational. Teach us to trust in You and to listen to Your leading each new day. Show us how to trust You and to take care of one another. Lead us in love each and every day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hear Your whispers of love that bring us peace. Amen.

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

There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear… – 1 John 4:18a

His Love is Sound

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. – (Philippians 4:6, ERV)

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. – (Philippians 4:6, VOICE)

God is so faithful to hear us when we present our requests in prayer. This school year has been really challenging thus far, and though I pray generally, my best day this past week came after praying specifically for individual students by name. I don’t know if it was a shift in them, me, or both, but whatever it was, there was a tangible difference that day. This reminds me that I have to call on Him and ask specifically for what I need. He is faithful to answer, even when we do not see immediate results. What I do know is that God can use all things for good, so I have to press in and continue to trust that I am in the right place for such a time as this, even when I am overwhelmed and exhausted. This morning, I am thankful for the extra day of rest, as on this particular state in-service day, I have no training that I am required to attend. Instead, I now have the opportunity to pay a much needed visit to my mom, who lives a few hours away. God is good, and today I will pray and ask Him for all that I need and give Him thanks for the abundant blessings that He has poured out in my life. May we ever seek the Lord and pray our petitions to Him, for He hears and acts on behalf of His people who call on Him.

When anxiousness comes,

Choose call on the Lord;

Let Him know your needs,

His grace He’ll outpour.

Peace in our chaos,

The calm to each storm;

Love that surrounds us,

And hope that transforms.

Goodness and mercy,

In Him may be found;

Each time we seek Him,

For His love is sound.

Give thanks for blessings,

The good that abounds;

Seek Him in struggle,

In Him hope is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and present our prayers before You, You hear our hearts and move on our behalf. Thank You for the abundant blessings that You continually pour out, as You surround us with community and provide hope, help and rest when we need it most. Forgive us for our anxiousness that we hold. Teach us to place all in Your hands. Show us anew each day, that You are the answer to all that we need. Lead us to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as You make Your goodness known. Be glorified O God, as we present our prayers before You and pour out our praise in thanksgiving for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. – Psalm 66:19

Our Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your Word to renew me. – (Psalm 119:114, MSG)

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wraparound presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your Word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT)

A place of quiet retreat is essential to start my day well. Any place that we intentionally choose to be in His presence can become a quiet retreat. At home, I am able to find a quiet retreat in the early morning on our couch in the living room. When I am away from home, the early morning hours still seem to be the best space for me to find quiet retreat and spend time in His Word. It is through time in His Word that hope is renewed and I again feel surrounded by His presence. In this crazy world, holding onto the promised hope and truth of His Word is everything. There are countless verses that remind us of His love, protection, peace, plans, and promises that grant us hope to hold. May we ever find a quiet retreat in God’s presence as we invest time in His Word, allowing the truth to settle into the spaces within us that need to be reminded again of the goodness of God.

In a quiet space,

My heart finds retreat;

Reminders of truth,

With each new heartbeat.

My refuge and shield,

Where true hope is found;

Place in Your presence,

As all grace abounds.

Your Word is the lamp,

That shows us the way;

Through our time with You,

Peace and presence stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our quiet space of retreat and Your Word reminds us of who You are and how You love. Thank You that You surround us with Your presence and fill us with Your peace. Forgive us for allowing life to wear us down, rather than pursue spaces of Your refreshing presence. Show us how to find spaces of peace in Your presence where we can be reminded of the truth of Your Word that grants us all hope. Lead us to love those around us in ways that provide safety and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek spaces of quiet retreat to spend time in Your Word as You surround us with Your 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

Always Good

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

Then I will sing to the Lord because He was so good to me. – (Psalm 13:6, ERV)

I will sing to the Eternal, for He is always generous with me. – (Psalm 13:6, VOICE)

There is something about reaching a Friday after a busy week that floods my heart with gratitude. Right now, days are long, especially when my sleep is disrupted, yet somehow, God always grants me the strength I need to navigate whatever comes my way. In this season of new, I am so grateful for God’s goodness. I am ever aware of Him holding me up by His loving hands. From the early onset of daylight in the mornings so that I can get outside and walk the dogs before work, to the ability to share dinner together as a whole family, these are but an example of how I am acutely aware of God’s goodness. May we ever recognize the goodness of God in our lives that surround us, and sing Him praise for His great love.

I sing to the Lord,

For He is so good;

His love is outpoured,

Kindness understood.

In busy seasons,

He shows us His grace;

Grants strength when weary,

Throughout all our days.

When things seem slow down,

The Lord provides rest;

His love is lavish,

For He knows us best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness that meets us where we are and provides what we need. Thank You that You are present and bless us with Your peace and strength to navigate each new day. Thank You for the songs in our hearts that remind us to give You the glory. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize Your goodness when things seem overwhelmingly busy. Teach us to pause and breathe in Your grace, for You meet our needs throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise unto You, for You are so good. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5