The Priority of Knowing and Loving Jesus

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV)

This is what the Lord says: “The wise must not brag about their wisdom. The strong men must not brag about their strength. The rich must not brag about their money. But if someone wants to brag, then let them brag about this: Let them brag that they learned to know Me. Let them brag that they understand that I am the Lord, that I am kind and fair, and that I do good things on earth. I love this kind of bragging.” This message is from the Lord. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ERV)

God’s Message: “Don’t let the wise brag about their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know Me. I’m God, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are My trademarks.” God’s Decree. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24, MSG)

This ought to be our priority – knowing and understanding who God is and how He loves. Everything good that we have in our lives is a gift from God. Every blessing, every help, and every hope – all come from Jesus. May we ever prioritize knowing and loving Jesus, for it is through this knowledge and love that we find understanding and recognize the abundant blessings that are ours in Him. Understanding who God is and how He loves shifts our perspective on everything. For example, when there is an illness or struggle, we can either think, “Woe is me,” or we can pause and praise Him for bringing us through it and showing Himself faithful again and again. Additionally, knowing God helps us recognize that every good and perfect gift has come from Him. In all things and at all times, may we seek to know and love Jesus more.

Lord, help us to see,

All that we’ve received;

The blessings You give,

Perfect loyalty.

Love in abundance,

Peace and eyes to see;

Plentiful blessings,

Granted lovingly.

In everything,

You bring forth Your good;

Your help, love and hope,

Your grace, understood.

Help us to make it,

Our priority;

To know and love You,

And ever seek Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us far beyond what we can fathom. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to know and love You more. Forgive us for not making it a priority to know You more; for it is through knowing You that we love more deeply. Show us how to prioritize our time with You so that You can transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love. Lead us in our pursuit of You and our interactions with those around us. Make Your love and understanding grow greater each day that we draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prioritize knowing and loving Jesus. Amen.

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

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Jesus is Our Refuge in Suffering

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. – (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV)

I must calm down and turn to God; only He can rescue me. He is my Rock, the only one who can save me. He is my high place of safety, where no army can defeat me. – (Psalm 62:1-2, ERV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I need comes from Him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, an impregnable castle: I’m set for life. – (Psalm 62:1-2, MSG)

Though I have not been suffering, I have been navigating uncharted territory through this whole skin cancer ordeal. From biopsy of the unknown to a bigger biopsy to determine nature of what had become known, to the confirmation that my new normal will include a medical team to watch diligently, to make certain that what was surgically removed, will not return. In the coming weeks, I have two appointments with two different oncologists, and an appointment with a dermatologist. Again, I am not in a space of suffering, but I am in a space of uncertainty of the unknown. God has been faithful to be ever near as I have walked through two biopsies and two surgeries that followed. I can trust Him to be faithful to remain near as we navigate all that lies ahead. Thankfully, His peace has been present and He is helping keep fear at bay. Yes, the not knowing makes me uneasy, but the certainty in knowing that He will be with me grants the courage to keep pressing forward without allowing the unknowns to monopolize my thoughts. Also, He has provided financially, as being double-covered with medical insurance has kept the bills that have come to a minimum. The Message says it well, as it states, “He’s the solid rock under my feet, and breathing room for my soul…” May we ever seek the Lord in our uncertainty, suffering or sorrows, for He is our refuge and the One on whom we can depend.

Present through trials,

God is ever near;

Foundation to stand,

As He calms each fear.

Forever our hope,

Our place of refuge;

Comfort Provider,

Love that each day’s new.

Help us rise up, Lord,

Our strength comes from You;

All thanks and our praise,

Are unto You, due.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, and that You are our refuge in suffering. Thank You that You promise to be present through every trial as we call on You to be near. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for in all things, the ultimate outcome is forever with You. Teach us to have an eternal perspective and to trust in You to be our strength and peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that promote peace, pray for healing and wholeness, and bring hope to spaces that hope is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our comfort and praise You for Your unending faithfulness that we know is true. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Provider of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV)

I leave you peace. It is My own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV)

My peace is the legacy I leave to you. I don’t give gifts like those of this world. Do not let your heart be troubled or fearful. – (John 14:27, VOICE)

In our broken humanity, we become troubled and fearful and anxious. However, when we bring all to Jesus, He exchanges His peace for our fears. He soothes the spaces that are anxious, walks beside us through every trial that comes our way, and shows us that in Him, there is no reason to fear, for He has overcome all. As we approach a new year, after a year of many trials, challenges, and obstacles to overcome, we can look forward with peace in Jesus. No matter what comes our way, we have the assurance that God will be with us, will walk beside us, and will never leave us to navigate alone. It is up to us to turn to Him and place our trust in Him, and trust that He hears and is faithful to answer as we ask. May we anticipate the coming year with the peace of Jesus in our hearts, for He will continue to be faithful forever.

The peace of Jesus,

Cannot be compared;

No matter what comes,

His grace will be there.

Each time we seek Him,

He’s faithful to hear;

Christ floods us with peace,

As He’s ever near.

The peace of Jesus,

Goes far beyond calm;

It surrounds our hearts,

His sweet healing balm.

Courage in chaos,

Strength throughout each storm;

Blessed Redeemer,

Where hope is transformed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, there is perfect peace. Thank You that even in the midst of challenge, trial, chaos or crisis, You hear and are near, providing Your peace. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to drown out the truth. Teach us to trust You more, so that our first response to all is to seek You. Show us how to rely on You in all things, so that we may know and understand Your perfect peace in all things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that perpetuate Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your ongoing provision of peace throughout all of our days. 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

The Blessings of Strength and Peace

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

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)

I have experienced this so much over the last few days. For each surgery, God gave me the strength that I needed, and His peace was present. Yesterday, as I had reconstructive surgery on my lip where the cancer had been removed the day prior, I was at total peace as I was checked in and prepped for the process. Again, the procedure took less time than anticipated, and the pain has been tolerable. This morning, though I woke far earlier than planned, I felt good and was glad to be up when one of my kiddos wandered up the stairs not feeling great. Being able to offer advice, comfort and company is still a blessing, even when your kids are adults. It seems that the same sort of peace that I received, is now being passed on to my son as he is resting on the couch with me and the pups. God is good, and He is faithful to supply the strength we need and will be our peace whenever we call on His Name. As we move into this weekend of celebrating Christ, who came to us as a baby, grew into a man, and showed us God in the flesh as He lived, loved, and gave His life for us, only to rise again to sit at the right hand of the Father and constantly contend for us all, may we prioritize give Him praise for His forever faithful ways.

God is our comfort,

Faithful place of peace;

Strength when we’re weary,

All goodness released.

O Lord, we praise You,

For all that You are;

The Light of the world,

For all near and far.

When we’re uncertain,

Of what lies ahead;

The Lord will guide us,

In His strength we’re led.

Praise to You, Father,

And praise to the Son;

And to the Spirit,

Godhead, three-in-One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our Provider of peace. Thank You that You are loving and kind and faithful. Thank You that You are our Healer too. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we face unknowns. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and promote peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as receive Your strength and peace with gladness and give You all the glory because You are so good. 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

Where Peace Can Be Found

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

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

This morning, Thor, our Lab, woke me up at 2:00 am. I brought him upstairs to take him to go outside, but when I took him back downstairs, he would not stop whining until I gave up and brought him back upstairs at 3:00 am to be up. After he was fed, he climbed on my lap and has shown no sign of any desire to do anything else. Where am I going with this? For Thor, his place of peace was found on my lap with a full belly; for us, we can find the ultimate perfect peace when we trust in Jesus and depend on Him. God settles our hearts and minds in His presence, and provides the peace that comes from Him alone. Knowing He holds us in the hollow of His hands is much like the completely content countenance that Thor displays in that space of simply resting in the security of loving arms (or a blanket-covered lap). God has us, and He will provide the places of peace where we need it, and will show us again and again the goodness of His love and the peace that He supplies. He is not inconvenienced by our need, nor does He refuse us time in His presence. The more we seek Him, the more aware we become of His presence and the perfect peace that He alone provides. May we ever dedicate our hearts and minds to You, and recognize with thanksgiving, the goodness of Your presence, peace and love.

A warm and safe space,

To rest and sink in;

Where peace can be found,

No matter what’s been.

The hand that holds us,

When chaos ensues;

The calm that comes close,

No matter our view.

Each time we choose trust,

God makes His heart known;

Wraps us in His peace,

As goodness is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide Your perfect peace when we place our trust in You. Your peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather it is present despite what surrounds us as we trust You to be near. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You when storms come our way. Teach us to seek You to be our anchor through each storm and our warm, peaceful space of safety no matter what comes. Show us how to trust You more. Lead us in Your love to present Your peace and goodness to those around us in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our trust in You and rest in Your perfect peace. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Perfect Peace

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

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

The more we trust God, the more we become aware of His perfect peace. God’s peace brings calm to our hearts, despite the chaos around us, and a steadiness in knowing that He is in control. No matter what we face, we can trust that God is with us, and His presence is what brings us a peace that goes beyond our understanding, and settles our hearts, despite what we see. May we ever seek the Lord and keep our minds steadfast on the truth of His word and who He is, so that we know God’s perfect peace in all things and at all times.

Peace comes in knowing,

Who is in control;

Our King and Savior,

The One we extol.

The Lord grants us strength,

When ours is but gone;

And floods us with peace,

To keep keeping on.

Even in the dark,

The Lord is our light;

Hope never ending,

Our peace through the night.

So, trust in the Lord,

Turn to Him for peace;

His love unending,

Goodness is complete.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, You fill our hearts and minds with Your perfect peace. Thank You that You peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but it is provided in places and times that peace seems impossible. Forgive us for our lack of trust that seems to make peace elusive. Thank You that You patiently wait for us to turn to You, then You lovingly welcome us into Your protective embrace that provides peace that surpasses all understanding. Teach us to always turn to You, no matter what lies before us. Show us Your goodness and grace that overwhelms our hearts with Your perfect peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that extend Your perfect peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our minds and hearts on You, and give You room to move as You flood us with Your perfect peace. Amen.

©

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

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

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

Trust in the Wait

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

There is a delicate balance in this, for to wait for the Lord AND be strong and courageous, means that we need to trust the Lord and His leading and keep moving forward without running ahead of where we are meant to be. It takes courage to keep pressing on, especially when you want to quit or walk away. What God calls us to do, He will see us through, even when we are uncertain of how it can be done. God is worth waiting for. His plans are always greater than ours, and His ways lead to so much more than we could hope or imagine. It is the wait in between that requires us to be strong and brave. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and courage, and the One to direct our every path. 

Choose wait on the Lord,

Take courage, be strong;

Not in your own strength,

But in God, press on.

The Lord is faithful,

To supply our needs;

He leads and guides us,

Our hopes He exceeds.

So, seek Him with hope,

Trust in His great care;

He provides for us,

So we too can share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to trust in You in strength and courage, for You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our frustration with Your timing, as it rarely is the same as our own. Thank You that Your timing is perfect, and You see beyond what we can see. Teach us to trust in You and to stay the course until You direct us to turn, detour, or abandon the route. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your goodness, hope and love, and grant courage to press on. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with strength and courage, knowing that You are faithful always. Amen.

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

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. – Psalm 37:5

Faithful Love in the Morning

Let me experience Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Reveal to me the way I should go because I long for You. – (Psalm 143:8, HCSB)

Show me Your faithful love this morning. I trust in You. Show me what I should do. I put my life in Your hands! – (Psalm 143:8, ERV)

Make me hear of Your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in You. Teach me how I should walk, for I offer my soul up to You. – (Psalm 143:8, VOICE)

There is something so sweet about intentional time with God in the early morning. While the world seems to still be asleep, I soak in the goodness of silence before Him. Aside from the shifting positions of the pups, all is still. The goodness of God and the faithfulness found in His word echo through the chambers of my heart when I seek Him. He shows me anew the kindness of His grace, and the promise that He will remain present forever. When the world seems upside down and things don’t make sense, God’s faithful love remains. Regardless of what we see or feel, He remains present and is the One in whom we can trust. May we ever seek the Lord at the start of our day, for He will show us how to walk if we ask Him to lead us.

Each morning I rise,

And You are so near;

Each time I seek You,

My heart knows You hear.

Your goodness is shown,

As I read Your word;

And beauty surrounds,

Through promises heard.

You’re faithful to lead,

Wherever we roam;

As we trust in You,

Make our heart Your home.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You in the morning, we experience the faithfulness and goodness of Your great love. Thank You that You show us the steps we ought to take as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Show us how to seek You first and to trust and rely on You to lead. Teach us how to walk in Your love wherever we go and with whomever we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You anew each morning and trust You to lead us well. Amen.

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

Love each other with brotherly affection and take delight in honoring each other. – Romans 12:10

With Kindness and Compassion

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, HCSB)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King. – (Ephesians 4:32, VOICE)

If we were to approach every human interaction with kindness and compassion, and were quick to forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven, people would understand the heart of God. We know not the battles that others are facing. Just last week there were five major losses or concerns that weighed on me as the week unfolded. Each day, it seemed, I was met with news of a tragedy or a major medical concern among family and friends. Thankfully, my concerns were met with kindness and compassion and grace. The sort of human-interaction that was extended to me, I was in turn, able to extend to others. When we are intentional to seek God, He shows us His goodness and love, even in the midst of heaviness and heartache. This morning, as I prepare to attend a memorial for a friend’s husband, I feel equipped with kindness and compassion, ready to extend help and hope where so much has been lost. May we continually seek the Lord in all things and at all times so that we might extend the same kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness that we are given through Him.

The Lord is gracious,

Photo by Anna Tarazevich

He’s loving and kind;

Full of compassion,

In Him, we align.

He forgives our faults,

Calls us to the same;

As we extend grace,

We honor His Name.

O Lord, please lead us,

To love as You do;

Ever forgiving,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be kind and compassionate to one another, full of forgiveness and love. Thank You that You not only show us these things over and over again, but You equip us to go and do likewise as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love, compassion, kindness or forgiveness when interacting with those around us. Teach us to seek You first to fill us and lead us in Your love. Show us how to extend kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love in tangible ways to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to lead us to love as You so completely love us all. Amen.

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

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