Before Each Day Begins

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. – (Psalms 46:5, NIV)

God is in that city, so it will never be destroyed. He is there to help everyone before sunrise. – (Psalm 46:5, ERV)

The True God never sleeps and always resides in the city of joy; He makes it unstoppable, unshakable. When it awakes at dawn, the True God has already been at work. – (Psalm 46:5, VOICE)

Though this verse is about a specific place at a specific time, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s presence remains in us and for us, as we rise and begin each new day. He has already been moving on our behalf, before we have even risen to begin our day. The Lord hears and knows our needs, and is moving in ways that are both seen and unseen as we wake each day anew. I appreciate the NIV translation, as it reminds me of Who is holding me up in His hands and moving on my behalf. God is for us and is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine. In this ongoing space of uncertainty, He is here and moving in our midst. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is unstoppable, unshakable, and is already at work as we rise.

The Lord’s ever near,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Before we’re awake;

He’s working in hearts,

Moving for our sake.

His love never ends,

His grace makes us new;

Always He is near,

As He leads us through.

Through our highest highs,

And lowest of lows;

Ever He’s for us,

Faithfulness that shows.

Lord, help us to trust,

For Your word is true;

Love that’s unending,

Help to lead us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are near us and in us, ever working on our behalf, even before our day has begun. Thank You that You hold us up in the palm of Your hands, and will sustain us throughout all of our days. Forgive us for our circumstances and challenges to sway how we see You. Teach us to trust You and know Your goodness, power and love in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that remind them that they are loved, supported and held up in goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your goodness and grace that move on our behalf, and seek You anew at the start of each day. Amen.

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

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Everything Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, Who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder of this very truth. God gives us good gifts. I was blessed with time to run in the morning with my long-time running bestie to start my day after walking the pups, then was able to spend much of the day with one of my dearest friends, who is for all practical purposes, family. Though we seldom find time to get together, each time we do, we pick up where we left off. Like the goodness of God, the goodness of friendship does not change. Additionally, time with my family during a family dinner out, was yet another gift from above. Our typically quiet evening meal was disrupted, and laughter and stories exchanged. For me, that in and of itself was a gift, as dining with four big guys is usually focused on consuming what is in front of them, not on conversation with those around them. Friends and family from near and far took time out of their day to send greetings and kind wishes as I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am so grateful for the good and perfect gifts that God has granted. He knows our heart and how to bless us best. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

The Lord is so good,

His love never fails;

No matter what comes,

His love will prevail.

Goodness and mercy,

Throughout all our days;

His faithful blessings,

Show goodness and grace.

Each day is a gift,

Treasure to embrace;

Surrounded by love,

And washed by His grace.

All thanks be to God,

His love never ends;

Each time that we seek,

Sweet answers He sends.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for placing people in our lives that show us Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for taking anything for granted, for everything good comes from You and is deserving of our gratitude. Teach us to trust in Your goodness, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us perfectly. Amen.

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

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

Radiance of His Nature

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature – His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One. – (Hebrews 1:3, TPT)

Though no one has ever seen God, numerous people spent time in the presence of His Son, and witnessed His power and His very being. Jesus lived out a perfect life so that He could be the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all. After His death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus took His place at the right hand of the Father to continue to move on our behalf, as He provided His Holy Spirit for all who invite Him in. The more we pursue the path that He has placed before us, the more our hearts begin to mirror His. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to invest our time into growing in our understanding of Him, so that we may more clearly reflect His radiance to the world.

God’s great radiance,

What’s holy and true;

Shown to all the world,

Through Christ who makes new.

His power, perfect,

Held up in His hands;

Seated on His throne,

With purpose and plan.

Cleansed by His mercy,

Made new in His love;

May we ever seek,

Christ the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated what love truly is. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You, as You are the way to live and love in a way that reflects Your heart to the world. Teach us to trust You and follow after You with all that we are. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see You through the Savior, Your Son, and ever seek to be a clear reflection of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1

Flowers or Weeds?

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

What we plant, we harvest. We can plant flowers or weeds; things that give life or those which choke it out. If we pursue goodness, justice, kindness and love in all that we do, these are exactly what we will find. It may take time, effort and endurance, but ultimately such good is what will be found. Though there are days that it is a battle, it is always worth the effort. May we ever pursue He who is righteousness and love, so that we may discover the full life that abounds in Him.

May we choose pursue,

God’s goodness and grace;

Seek justice and love,

Throughout all our days.

Let us be faithful,

Purposefully kind;

Let love guide all things,

With goodness in mind.

May integrity,

Be how we are known;

Honoring others,

As God’s good is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, just, loving, faithful and kind, and that You will show us how to live accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live as You intended. Teach us to walk in Your ways and to love like You. Show us how to love those around us best, so that justice, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and integrity are what will be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart so that we may love as You love. Amen.

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

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – Psalm 86:11

Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Magnificent Multiplication

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. – (Luke 9:16, NIV)

Then Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish. He looked up into the sky and thanked God for the food. Then He broke it into pieces, which He gave to the followers to give to the people. – (Luke 9:16, ERV)

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and gazing into the heavenly realm He gave thanks for the food. Then, in the presence of His disciples, He broke off pieces of bread and fish, and kept giving more to each disciple to give to the crowd. It was multiplying before their eyes! – (Luke 9:16, TPT)

As I read the ninth chapter of Luke, I paused and pondered what it must have been like for the disciples and the crowd when Jesus told His followers to feed thousands from five loaves of bread and two fish. My wonder went beyond the miracle and I simply tried to imagine what it would have been to be present. Did the food multiply as He prayed, or did they begin distributing the bread and fish and it simply kept regenerating as they passed portions? The Passions Translation grants my imagination free reign, as I sit in awe and wonder at He who took a little and made it into much, much more. I think that really is the point that we are meant to gain from this account of what transpired – that when we are willing to give God what we have, no matter how little, He can multiply it exponentially for the greater good. In this season of both shut down and of celebration, how can we bring God what we have to see Him multiply it for good? There are opportunities everywhere; from giving trees, to food banks, to local schools, to the elderly and the lonely… May we ever seek the Lord to direct our steps, and with willing hearts, offer what we have for Him to multiply and bless many.

Lord, I stand in awe,

At all that You do;

As You take little,

To bless through and through.

Show us how to give,

Trust all in Your hands;

Know that You will use,

Each gift as You’ve planned.

Every resource,

Time, talent and gifts;

Can be used by God,

To touch and uplift.

Let us choose offer,

What we’re called to give;

Watch Him multiply,

In love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can take whatever we bring and multiply it to bless many. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to trust and walk by faith, understanding the incredible power of Your love. Forgive us for withholding what we have known we were meant to give. Show us how to bring You our time, talent and resources so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Lead us to love those around us well. Instruct us as to how we can give. Please multiply all for the good of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring what we have to offer, trusting that You will use what we give in far greater ways than we could ever imagine. Amen.

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

He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

Great Love

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV)

We are still alive because the Lord’s faithful love never ends. Every morning He shows it in new ways! You are so very true and loyal! – (Lamentations 3:22-23, ERV)

How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but the thought of potentially having more time in lockdown is gut-wrenching. For me personally, it only would affect what I am able to get out and do. However, my heart is with the countless employees and owners of small businesses, who may be on the verge of financial devastation. Young people trying to pay for tuition, small business owners attempting to uphold their livelihood, and countless employees who sit on the edge of not knowing whether or not they will still be gainfully employed in the near future if their particular establishment is deemed “non-essential”. I know that God is the God of compassion, and His mercies never fail. My hope and prayer is that He shows His compassion, mercy and love in amazing new ways each day, as this whole COVID situation has grown exhausting. 

Lord, let your kindness,

Compassion be shown;

Please grant us Your peace,

As our faith is grown.

Show us Your mercy,

For each day, it’s new;

In wisdom, guide us,

Teach us what to do.

Let each new morning,

Proclaim unto us;

Thy great faithfulness,

And hope in Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and kind, full of unending grace. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when we cannot see past our current circumstances. Teach us to trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage hope and comfort fears. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your love and compassion that is new every morning. Amen.

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

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

True Community

If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV) 

If one part of the body suffers, then all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part is honored, then all the other parts share its honor. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, ERV) 

In that way, whatever happens to one member happens to all. If one suffers, everyone suffers. If one is honored, everyone rejoices. – (1 Corinthians 12:26, TPT) 

If we are truly living in community as we are called to do, our love for one another compels us to know and love each other so deeply, that when one is hurting – we all hurt; and when one is honored, we all rejoice with them. In a close-knit family, this is a natural response to one another. However, to become a body that cares for one another in the way that God intended, requires an investment of time and devotion to each other. As we grow in understanding and care for one another, we naturally mourn with those who mourn, and celebrate with those who celebrate. As a body, a true community, we come together with compassion and empathy. May we seek the Lord to show us and grow us in how to be in community with those around us. 

Lord, teach us to love, 

 One to another; 

With Your compassion, 

For sisters, brothers. 

Show us how to love, 

In ways that are clear; 

Through mourning and joy, 

Let all know You’re near. 

Show us how to mourn, 

With those stuck in grief; 

And how to rejoice, 

As they find relief. 

Help us walk beside, 

Helping each other; 

As You do for us, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to community in such a way, that we have empathy for those around us. Thank You that You call us to both mourn with those who are suffering, and to celebrate with those who are experiencing blessing. Forgive us for neglecting one and embracing the other, or for not investing well enough in those around us to know when either is taking place. Show us how to love as You love; for You walked among the broken and lifted up the downtrodden. Lead us to have compassion and empathy for those around us, no matter what season they find themselves in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to have compassion and empathy for all those around us. Amen. 

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Remember the Wonders

Well, apparently today is not meant to look like any other day. I rose at the usual time. Spent time in the word. Prayed, pondered, and then wrote out my reflections on the passage and how it applied to my life. Rather than finish the process of editing, copying, pasting and editing again, prior to publishing, I simply saved my Word Document and determined to finish the process after my early morning exercise session. Sadly, when I returned, I opened my document, copied to paste, then shifted applications to continue, I discovered, much to my dismay, what pasted was a bunch of coded garbled gunk, that in no way resembled what I had written. I deleted that, went back to my Word Document, and umm… it was blank. Everything I attempted was fruitless. After fifteen plus minutes of doing all that I knew to do, I gave up. My writing was gone.

There is always a lesson in the lesson, so here I sit, open to discover why. The gist of what I wrote about was my reflection on the following verse:

He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – (Psalm 111:4, NIV)

Today, exactly one year ago, my sister and I received the news that rocked our world in a way that we had never anticipated. Our strong, healthy, independent mom, had suffered a massive stroke. What made matters worse, is that we had not been able to reach her for a few days. The news that was a dread to us, was simultaneously the most welcome sight in the world to our mom. What I mean is, mom lived alone and was alone. She suffered the stroke and was left isolated and half-paralyzed, as she drifted in and out of consciousness for a couple of days, with her voice too weak to be audible beyond a few feet away. Our well-check request of the local police, resulted in her receiving medical attention hours sooner than if we had waited to drive there to find out for ourselves.

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This photo is from the last time all of us were able to get together. Mom is even stronger now than she was then!

So, where I am I going with the connection to wonders and grace and compassion? Honestly, in spite of everything, God was incredibly faithful and kind, as He provided the right people, places, resources, and time to allow the best possible road for mom’s recovery to be set in place. His grace and compassion have been made new every morning, and I remain in a space of awe at the determination and resilience that He has supernaturally given our mom. She went from barely speaking above a whisper, while struggling to find words, to now speaking and carrying on conversations in a normal voice. Additionally, when she was first in the hospital, we were excited about small muscle twitches in her right side, particularly in her right leg. Now, a year later, she is walking independently with a cane, and continues to work on rebuilding her strength and stamina to increase her speed and the steadiness of her gait. Every step of the journey, God was gracious and compassionate. We have grown even closer as an extended family, and will be having some serious gatherings when these restrictions are finally lifted. In the meantime, there are many phone calls made and photos shared, as we continue to work together to move forward on this healing journey. May we each take time to remember in wonder the incredible ways that God has been gracious and compassionate to us, even in our most trying of times.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through every season in our lives we have reason to look back in awe and wonder, for You have always been gracious and compassionate to us. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations, and our “if onlys”, for You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You are not finished yet! Teach us to trust You more, so that we can go forth and love those around us with the same compassion and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in wonder for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8