Whatever is Good

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. – (Philippians 4:8, NIV)

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)

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. – (Philippians 4:8, VOICE)

Yesterday, my Viking and I drove more than 500 miles to spend the extended weekend with my sister and her family to watch and support her eldest son as he is living out his baseball dream. With such a long drive, there is much time to think. For both Mark and I, the thing that stood out to us was the incredible beauty that unfolded before us. Yes, there are parts of the drive that are dry and dusty, yet it took little time for green fields to unfold under clear blue skies, and at one point, we were able to see two of our area’s mountains from the opposite side. For me, anytime that I travel, see family, or get outside, I cannot help but stand in awe of the One who made it all. There is so much good, lovely and praiseworthy, even when things in the world do not seem honorable or right. God always is. His character does not change, so when we fix our eyes on Him, the things that we ought to set our sights on become obvious. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him praise, as we focus on His beauty and truth that demonstrate and grant both goodness and direction throughout all our days.

O Lord lead our hearts,

Throughout all our days;

To focus on You,

And choose give You praise.

For all that is good,

And right, pure and true;

Your very nature,

That will lead us through.

Help us to follow,

For all of our days;

Your heart, word, Spirit,

By Your loving grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what is honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, virtuous and praiseworthy as we seek You and spend time in Your word. Forgive us for diverting our attention from the things You show us. Teach us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on the good that You intend for us. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and show us how to demonstrate Your heart to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we fix our eyes, hearts and minds on all that is lovely, good, pure and right, and let us give You proper praise for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

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

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. – 2 Peter 1:3

Protection as We Come and Go

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. – (Psalm 121:8, HCSB)

The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:8, ERV)

He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always. – (Psalm 121:8, MSG)

It is good to be reminded that God will be with us with all of our comings and goings. I love to travel, as in enjoying different destinations, but I am not a fan of flying. This timely reminder is good, as this time tomorrow, we will be on a plane, in the air, traveling to spend time with family and friends in much warmer weather. God goes before us, beside us, and brings up the rear. He is present to keep us safe and remind us that He holds us in His hands. I need not be nervous, but rather I simply need to seek and trust in Him. Time away is a gift, as is a safe return. May we ever remember the Lord’s faithfulness to protect our coming and going, and trust Him to be with us, always.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord will be near,

Take us safely through.

For He knows the time,

The days of our lives;

From start to finish,

Each one is designed.

Prepared with purpose,

Goodness and His grace;

So we may choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and watch behind us. Thank You that You are near wherever we go. Thank You that we can trust You to keep and protect us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and nerves when we are not in control of how we get where we are going. Teach us to trust in You to lead us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, wherever we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and remain with us wherever we go, each and every day we draw breath. Amen.

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

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – Psalm 91:4

Look Up and See

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, HCSB)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. – (Psalm 19:1, MSG)

This weekend, my love and I are camping. We did not travel far from home, yet far enough to feel as if we were somewhere else. The amazing thing about the short drive from home, is that yesterday as we were leaving, the skies were gray and it was sprinkling. When we drove across the bridge, the skies opened up and there was far more blue sky than gray. The sun was shining and I had to dig my sunglasses out of my purse. I love that the same God who created the clouds that provide water to the soil, painted the sky a brilliant blue, and His creativity is displayed uniquely each morning and evening as the sun rises and sets. Camping provides the opportunity to be outdoors more, and for me, there is nothing better than being outside and taking in the beauty of creation. May we all find time to observe all of the beauty that God’s hands have made, and take notice of the intricate details that He so lovingly included in creation.

The glory of God,

Ever evident;

Through just looking up,

Become reverent.

Beauty all around,

For us to enjoy;

Bountiful color,

That nature employs.

To You, we give thanks,

Where all praise is due;

Beauty created,

That shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your creation everywhere. Thank You that we need only look up to see Your hand tangibly at work. Forgive us for somehow making You less than You are. Teach us to trust in You, the One who holds us all in the hollow of Your hand. Lead us to notice the beauty all around us, and show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty all around us and time to get outside and enjoy it. Amen.

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

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

Formed By His Hands

In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. – (Psalm 95:4-5, NIV) 

The deepest caves and the highest mountains belong to Him. The ocean is His – He created it. He made the dry land with His own hands. – (Psalm 95:4-5, ERV) 

In one hand He holds the mysteries of the earth and in the other He holds the highest mountain peaks. He’s the owner of every ocean, the engineer and sculptor of earth itself. – (Psalm 95:4-5, TPT) 

Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I am reminded again, of the beauty and diversity of all that God’s hands have made. Being a Pacific Northwest native, I love the color and variation that can be observed in our area. We have mountains and streams, oceans and forests, and lush green all around us. In the desert, there is, at a first glance, a seeming lack of variety. However, upon closer investigation, there are wonders for the eyes to take in with the rock formations and canyons, hills and spaces of oasis. Additionally, it takes little time to get out of the city lights in the desert, where stars are in full view at night. There is something about warm nights, clear skies, and countless stars overhead, that reminds me of the incredible power of He who formed it all. May we ever look around in wonder, and notice all of the beauty that God has created. 

All of creation, 

Formed by the Lord’s hands; 

Mountains and forests, 

Oceans and all land. 

Each with His imprint, 

His power displayed; 

Great variety, 

In all He has made. 

All thanks be to Him, 

For all we can see; 

The Lord’s handiwork, 

Rich diversity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the beauty, creativity and diversity in all that Your hands have made. Forgive us for the times that we have either neglected to notice or have taken for granted, the beauty all around us. Show us how to recognize all of the splendor found in that which was created by Your hands. Teach us to love those around us and care for all that You have made, with intention. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made. Amen. 

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

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:39

Free to Serve in Love

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NLT) 

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV) 

Beloved ones, God has called us to live a life of freedom in the Holy Spirit. But don’t view this wonderful freedom as an opportunity to set up a base operation in the natural realm. Freedom means that we become so completely free of self-indulgence that we become servants of one another, expressing love in all we do. – (Galatians 5:13, TPT) 

Freedom is an interesting topic right now, as our nation prides itself on being “the land of the free”. Rather than answers, this can lead to questions, as many feel as if their freedom is being taken. The catch here is to what extent do we exercise our “right” to freedom? Is our intent self-indulgent, or is it to serve one another in love? In Christ, we are free no matter what our circumstances. Our freedom is in knowing that our sin is forgiven and we have a hope and a future forever in Him. With that in mind, the desires of the heart begin to shift and become more otherly; desiring to love and serve others well, rather than simply satisfy the temporary cravings of our flesh. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be able to travel and go out, visit friends and go to church, and go and see my mom – without restrictions or reservations. However, love requires this waiting season. Yes, if I really wanted to do any of those things, I am sure there would be a way to do so, but would it be serving others in love, or simply serving my own desires, without considering the consequences for others? I need God’s wisdom to exercise the freedom He has given, so that I might express love for others in all that I do. This is a lifelong process of learning and growing in how to walk out our freedom in Christ well. There is no “arrival”, as we all have an ongoing battle with our human desires, yet we can ever become more of whom we have been designed to be, as we choose to use our freedom to sincerely love and generously serve others. May we not take our freedom in Christ for granted; instead, let us set aside our self-indulgent desires and go forth, seeking to serve one another in love. 

Brothers and sisters, 

We’re all called to be; 

Invested in Christ, 

So we might live free. 

Free in forgiveness, 

Empowered by grace; 

Called to serve others, 

Make love commonplace. 

Choose to set aside, 

Our old selfish ways; 

Love as Christ loves us, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for setting us free in Your limitless love. Thank You that by Your grace, we can freely love and serve as we have been designed to do. Forgive us for our selfishness, that keeps us from loving and serving as You have designed us to do. Teach us to exercise our freedom in You to bless others. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve freely in You. Amen. 

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

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. – Ephesians 1:16

Wait in Hope

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, NIV) 

So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. – (Romans 8:25, TPT) 

But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. – (Romans 8:25, TLB) 

As always, this is a good and timely reminder. Many of us are hoping for the day when the restrictions are lifted, and we can go and do, travel and see, live and be, in a way we are more accustomed to existing. Though it is difficult, we wait for it patiently, as lives depend on our doing so. Despite all that has been missed, we know there is much more yet to come. That is hope, and with it, we must be patient. The saying, “good things come to those who wait,” holds true. When we wait on the Lord and trust in Him, He provides peace and strength and blessings beyond what we could have imagined on our own. In the same way expectant parents hope and patiently wait for the arrival of their newborn baby, we can hold hope for what is yet to come. We know there is more, and that the day when things are no longer locked down will arrive, so for now, we must wait patiently and persevere. 

In the meantime, I am extraordinarily grateful that we are in a part of the world where homes are spread out and space is abundant, so we are encouraged to get outside to exercise and take in fresh air, as long as we are mindful of distancing ourselves from others we encounter while outdoors. What I love is that I already was one to get outside to run and walk for fitness and sanity, and now, all around the neighborhood, others are discovering the benefit of doing the same. I hope the cheerful “hellos” and friendly waves that take place each day while I am out, always continue. Perhaps slowing down is providing a place for hope to rise where it had been missing before. Whatever the case may be, I will continue to hold hope in He who brings peace and strength and joy, even in the waiting.

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And know He is good; 

Hope is worth the wait, 

His grace understood. 

For in the season, 

The space that seems paused; 

God’s goodness remains, 

His patience installed. 

There is so much joy, 

In what is to come; 

Peace in the present, 

Glorious outcome. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us; always. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that we can wait on You and trust in You, for the future is in Your loving hands. Forgive us for our impatience that comes when we struggle to hold onto the hope we know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and Your love never fails. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages hope in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the hope we know, that is secure in You forever. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

To Travel With Grace

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. – (Luke 2:4-5, NIV)

So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea. It was known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary because she was engaged to marry him. (She was now pregnant.) – (Luke 2:4-5, ERV)

Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy that the messenger Gabriel had predicted, accompanied Joseph. – (Luke 2:4-5, VOICE)

 

Yesterday was our travel day from Seattle, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thanks to modern inventions, our travel time, including the drive to the airport, parking, taking the shuttle, making our way through security, waiting out our flight delay, and actually arriving to our destination, took a grand total of seven actual hours, but nine with the time change. It is pretty incredible, however, that we were able to travel some 1,350 miles in one day. For Mary and Joseph, their 90-mile trek was all on foot, and perhaps donkey. There were no Quickie Marts or hotels to utilize to recharge and rest along the way, nor was there GPS or any other modern convenience that makes travel far simpler today. Additionally, Mary was very pregnant. I consider how exhausting travel can be with all of the conveniences we have now; but imagine having to travel back then, on foot and donkey, mere days prior to giving birth? As I ponder their trip and think of young Mary, I am in awe of her faithfulness and trust in God. Her role in Jesus’ story is not one for the faint of heart. She was present for each joy and heartache, and watched in awe and wonder as our Savior grew, and ultimately sacrificed all so that we might have life everlasting in Him. Perhaps as the season marches on, and we begin to feel the weariness of travel and preparations and our own set of expectations, may we take pause and reflect on the reason for the season, and give thanks to God for the perseverance and faithful obedience modeled for us as Jesus made His human entry into the world. Let us not stop there, for He did not remain a tiny baby in a manger, but He grew into a man, took all our sin upon Himself on the cross, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, ever loving us and moving on our behalf.

 

To travel with grace, To Travel With Grace

Both far and quite near;

Takes a choice of trust,

Setting aside fear.

Fear of the unknown,

What will or won’t be;

God’s always faithful,

His love won’t retreat.

He walks beside us,

Ahead, makes a way;

Guides and protects us,

Our hope to display.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your traveling mercies, as You go before us, walk beside us, and remain with us, each step of our journey. Forgive us for the times that we doubt Your nearness, as things seem more challenging than they ought to be. Thank You that You use every challenge to grow us stronger in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring every fear and doubt to You from the start. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may know the power of Your presence as we press forward along the path to which we are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and rely on You for all. 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

Faithfully and Tangibly Good

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Taste of His goodness; see how wonderful the Eternal truly is. Anyone who puts trust in Him will be blessed and comforted. – (Psalm 34:8, VOICE)

 

He really, truly is good. Despite loss, frustration, trials and exhaustion, there are blessings and goodness, and above all, there is love. The Lord is faithful to show His kindness and grace as we take refuge in Him and seek His face. In this season, I have been blessed with new opportunities, as I am taking on a new role as a high school assistant gymnastics coach at my alma mater. Before this season, I have only coached recreational gymnastics since age sixteen, and middle school gymnastics for the last twenty-three years. This sort of new learning is a wonderful joy, and includes the added bonus of working not only with fantastic coaches, but great girls, some of which who were my gymnasts when they were in middle school. Additionally, God has blessed us with the means and time from our jobs to travel across the country next week for my father-in-law’s memorial. Though there is sorrow in the loss, I know there will be joy in the remembering, and peace in the blessing of time together for closure. In all things, God is good. It is up to us to open our eyes, minds and hearts to notice His willingness to meet us when we seek Him, and witness how He moves on our behalf. May we ever look to the Lord to be our refuge, and be quick to notice the goodness and blessings that God bestows upon us all.

 

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For God is so kind;

Our refuge and strength,

Where grace is designed.

In Him, there’s blessing,

To know and be known;

He loves us to life,

And calls us His own.

In good and trial,

The Lord’s ever near;

We need choose seek Him,

For His love is clear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that when we seek You, we come to know that You are our refuge, as You love us through all things well. Thank You that You make Your loving kindness tangible through those whom You place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our sorrow, or withheld the good that You have for us to offer those around us. Teach us to seek You in all things, so that we may receive all that You have to offer, and in turn, extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that make Your goodness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see just how very good You truly are. Amen.

 

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

 

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Love Forgoes Faults

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

 

There is a strange tension that can accompany the holidays, as families travel and gather together after extended time apart. I know in our own household, there was a tangible funk, as we are in a season of navigating how to cope with serious health issues in loved ones, and the end of life in another. Thankfully, there was a conscious choice to love, unselfishly, as we each have faults, and need the forgiveness of one another. As we prepare for and anticipate the coming days of travel and time with loved ones we hold dear, we must choose to love deeply and steadily, rather than allowing faults to fog our fondness for one another. May we each, above all, choose to love one another; be it on long road trips, in close quarters, or in one another’s space, let steady and unselfish love lead the way.

As for mom, we are eagerly anticipating being reunited tomorrow! It has been more than a month since Mark and I have seen her, and since summer, for the boys. There is something so wonderful about tradition and routine and familiarity, as all of us gathering at my sister and Scott’s has been our family custom for the last many years. I know for each of us, there is deep love, that looks forward to competitive board games, meals seated together, relaxing conversations on comfortable couches, and time adventuring out in the community to get some fresh air and sunshine. Twenty-four hours from now, we will begin our whirlwind weekend of wonderful!

 

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Choose to deeply love;

For love that runs deep,

In Christ, is enough.

For God’s love is kind,

He’s faithful and true;

Oversees our faults,

Forgives and renews.

May we choose to love,

In much the same way;

Forgive and give grace,

God’s goodness displayed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us more deeply than we can comprehend, and You forgive our faults and failures when we falter and sin. Thank You that You pick us up, dust us off, and love us back to life. Forgive us for the times that we do not extend the same goodness and grace to those around us. Teach us to depend on You to supply all that is needed to love in the way in which we are called to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see and know Your heart through how we love in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your lavish love, and depend on You as we go forth and gather in love, with those whom You have gifted us with as family. Amen.

 

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

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

The Pattern of Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV)

Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast. – (James 3:13, ERV)

Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. – (James 3:13, MSG)

 

Wisdom and understanding come from living right and setting a pattern for choosing to do the next right thing. Our reputations are built on that which we choose to do, and the things that we forego. Both done in humility, speak volumes beyond anything we say with words. May we build a reputation for wisdom through living wisely and humbly, according to God’s perfect will. Let wisdom be shown through how we live.

Yesterday, we spent the first half of our day enjoying the company of Mark’s aunt and cousin, did a bit of running around, returned to his aunt’s house, and then began our journey home. Unfortunately, with all the travel, I did not have the opportunity to check in with mom. However, I do know that today is an important day, with the assessment for in-home therapies taking place before day’s end. Please pray for mom’s needs to be met, and for the perfect, hand-picked people to be placed on her path to work with her toward her ongoing recovery and restoration. Mom is ready to get to work, and I am hopeful for a great fit in personalities and expertise to accelerate mom’s progress.

 

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In humility;

With grace and kindness,

Let your actions lead.

Wisdom is not words,

Spoken on their own;

But rather our deeds,

Over time, we’ve shown.

For talk by itself,

Cannot truly show;

How powerfully,

Acts of His love grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that calls us to action, rather than mere talk. Thank You that wisdom comes as we walk in humility, grace and obedience to You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen well, or have not followed through where Your loving kindness was needed most. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You to live well, pursing the path that You have placed before us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, as we seek to show Your heart through our actions, rather than mere talk. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart to guide our every action. Amen.

 

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

 

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12