The Helper

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – (Romans 5:5, HCSB)

And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us. – (Romans 5:5, ERV)

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

Yesterday, our pastor began a new series titled, “The Helper”, with the purpose of unpacking who the Holy Spirit is. Too often the Holy Spirit is viewed as the manifestation of gifts that He gives rather than as the One who gives so much more. As he spoke, the thing that came clearly to mind for me is that the Holy Spirit is God made tangible to us. The concept of three-in-one is challenging to grasp. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three separate parts that are each fully God. This in and of itself requires faith, as it is above what our thoughts can fully grasp. However, when we look at the roles that each person of the Trinity plays in the world and in our lives, it is a bit more graspable. That still small voice, the check in our spirit, the gut-feeling – these are all tangible examples of how the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us in the ways we are meant to go. The songs that rise in our hearts, the flood of warmth, the feeling of knowing that we are completely loved – are also ways that the Holy Spirit makes God’s nearness known. Hope is made evident as we come to recognize the Holy Spirit moving in and through us. Honestly, I don’t think I am adequately sharing, but am hopeful that the simple explanation of who the Holy Spirit is provides a desire to know Him more. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and how He loves so that we might go and love likewise.

The Lord, our Helper,

The Spirit of God;

Is ever-present,

And love is the bond.

Three persons are One,

Though it’s hard to see;

How it’s possible,

Holy Trinity.

God is our Father,

Creator of all;

His Son, Lord Jesus,

Redemption for all.

The Holy Spirit,

Our Helper and Guide;

God made tangible,

In our hearts resides.

Fear not the unknown,

Higher are His ways;

Instead seek to learn,

Throughout all our days.

For God is faithful,

Ever He is near;

To help, lead and guide,

As love removes fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in One. Thank You that You are our Creator, Redeemer, and ever-present Helper. Forgive us for our misunderstanding or fear of what we cannot fully grasp. Teach us to ever seek You to reveal more and more of who You are and how You love as we intentionally pursue You. Show us who You are through all that You have made; help us to grasp the greatness of Your love as we spend time in Your Word, and teach us to recognize the goodness and presence of You through Your Holy Spirit whom You have given to us. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally seek You for new understanding and insight as to who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

And the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love, with You I am well pleased.” – Luke 3:22

One Body With Many Parts

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. – (Romans 12:4-5, HCSB)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate this illustration of how we are each a valuable part of the body of Christ, and we each have different strengths, gifts and abilities that contribute to the body as a whole. Because I am so visual, it is an easy analogy to grasp. For example, think about the toes. Often, especially in the Pacific Northwest, they are covered and unseen. However, the toes help support the feet, and the feet hold up the whole body. Though people are seldom aware of their toes, if one is injured, the whole body becomes incredibly alert to what is transpiring with the toe. It is similar in the body of Christ. There are people who are seen and play a role that is obvious in the function of the whole body, and there are others that play roles behind the scenes that contribute to the function of the body too. Though primarily unseen, it is obvious when they are missing or are not doing well. Each of us has gifts and talents to contribute, and no two people are exactly alike. We need each other to be our best and to extend what we have to offer. It is similar in marriage and friendships, and so often, opposites attract. I think much of the attraction is the desire to be with another who has different strengths than we do, and one who appreciates our strengths that are not shared by the other. For example, my husband and most of my closest friends are extroverts, whereas I am an introvert. They bring out the social in me, and I can contribute calm for them. Only a God of love would create us each uniquely, and place in us the desire and need to create community with one another. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us in the role and purpose for which we have been created, and may we see through His lens, how each member plays a role that is good and necessary for the whole body.

We each are a part,

The body of Christ;

With strengths and talents,

In purpose we rise.

Together stronger,

Than if on our own;

We need each other,

To make God’s love known.

For some are the hands,

That reach out and serve;

And others the voice,

That people observe.

Each person a part,

That the body needs;

With strengths and talents,

Each one is unique.

May we each embrace,

Our gifts and our roles;

Contribute in love,

So God is extolled.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we each have been divinely designed to be a part of a community. Thank You that we all have different strengths and roles to extend to help the body become stronger. Forgive us for the times that we compare our parts to another, or somehow devalue the parts that are unseen. Teach us to recognize and value the unique role and purpose that each part plays, and to celebrate the beauty that You have made in bringing us together. Show us how to love those around us for who they are and how they are uniquely designed. May our love honor the strengths and talents of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the part that we were designed to do, and to celebrate and appreciate the other parts around us that make the body complete. Amen.

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

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – Romans 14:13

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

Forego Foolish Debates

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. – (Titus 3:9, NIV)

Stay away from those who have foolish arguments, who talk about useless family histories, or who make trouble and fight about what the Law of Moses teaches. These things are useless and will not help anyone. – (Titus 3:9, ERV)

Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. – (Titus 3:9, VOICE)

Currently, this could be stated as “do not engage in social media debates and arguments, as nothing good ever comes from them.” The problem with social media is that people hide behind a screen. Words fly into chat boxes and reply lines with little regard for how the words could be interpreted. Without voice and body language, an enormous piece of intent is absent. It is far too easy to misconstrue what is written, and take offense when no harm was intended. Additionally, filters seem to be removed, as there is no visual reception of how a reader interprets what is typed in a box. Yes, communicating and sharing ideas is important, yet it seems to go far better when it is a face-to-face exchange. There is time for pause, real listening, and thoughtful reply. May we seek the Lord to guide us in the conversations we ought to have, and those which do nothing to benefit either person.

Fall not in the trap,

Of foolish debates;

Love is our purpose,

Not words that berate.

God show us the way,

To listen to learn;

And build new bridges,

Help us to discern.

Please fill up our hearts,

With purpose to love;

So kindness will lead,

Through grace from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your patience and kindness is timeless, and that Your word is true and applicable today. Forgive us for the times that we have engaged in useless arguments or debates, rather than chosen to love. Teach us when to walk away and when to engage in a loving and productive manner. Show us how to love first, rather than worry about being right or making our thoughts or opinions known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to avoid foolish controversies and arguments, and instead live a life that is ruled by love. 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

Called to Compassion

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV)

Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. – (Romans 12:15, TPT)

If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE)

We are called to be compassionate and to have empathy for one another. This is natural with those with whom we are closest, but it requires an intentional decision to love enough to invest in the hearts of others. When we do, we understand and care about what transpires in the lives of those around us. A love that is true is one that celebrates with others when good comes their way, and mourns alongside them when losses are experienced. Such love not only asks how others are doing, but is prepared to receive honest answers through active and intentional listening. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in compassion and empathy for those around us, so that we may truly love as we are called to love by God.

To love as God loves,

Requires intent;

To seek understand,

Purposeful time spent.

Called to compassion,

To walk alongside;

Love for the hurting,

With arms open wide.

And when there’s reason,

To rise and rejoice;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In praise, lift each voice.

Through ev’ry season,

Choose to truly love;

For that’s how others,

Know they are thought of.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to compassion and empathy for those around us. Thank You that You showed us through Your Son, what such love looks like. Jesus rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and wept with those in mourning. Forgive us for the times that we either ignored an opportunity to love well, or sought to help without truly responding in love. Show us how to celebrate with those who celebrate and to mourn with those who are grieving. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart for those around us so that we may love like You. 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 Power of Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, NIV)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, MSG)

Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits. – (Proverbs 16:24, TPT)

The power held in the words we speak is incredible. When we speak with kindness and grace, souls can be soothed and health improved. As my son continues on his road to healing, it is amazing to hear the strength returning to his voice. Family and dear friends have been in communication with him, and I can hear in his voice the benefit of kind encouraging words spoken or sent to him. For me, I have experienced tremendous kindness and grace from those around me, and I am certain it is one of the ways that God supplies His strength. May we ever speak gracious, kind and life-giving words to those around us, for there is power present when we speak sweet words of life.

Each word that we speak,

Can be used for good;

For grace and kindness,

Blessings understood.

Sweetness to the soul,

Goodness for the health;

A gift of kind words,

Give love that is felt.

May we mind our words,

Deliver them well;

The good that they bring,

Space of peace to dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and power present in the words we speak. Thank You that when we communicate with goodness and grace, You bless the hearer beyond what we realize. Forgive us for the times that we have not used our words well. Teach us to ever communicate in ways that extend Your goodness and kindness. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging, life-giving words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak life to all. 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

With Thunder and Grace

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ – (Job 37:5-6, NIV)

God’s thundering voice is amazing! He does great things that we cannot understand. He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth.’ And He says to the rain, ‘Pour down on the earth.’ – (Job 37:5-6, ERV)

The voice of God thunders wondrously. He does magnificent things, beyond our comprehension. To the snow, He issues the order, “Go! Fall on the earth.” And to the rain shower, “He says, “Show your power, beat down heavy on the earth!” – (Job 37:5-6, VOICE)

I love that the same God who thunders in marvelous ways, also will gently whisper in ways that show us His love. In our home, His “dew of heaven” was delivered to us yesterday. After much searching, and God’s incredible intervention, we welcomed another sweet puppy into our home. Tali, which is Hebrew for dew of heaven, completes what was missing. She is my husband’s dream dog, and Thor’s greatest blessing. He was in desperate need of companionship, and this beautiful, sweet pup is a perfect playmate already. Though she is tiny (in comparison to Thor), she holds her ground and uses her voice to instruct Thor as to how to play best. I love watching the gently falling snow and the powerful, torrential rains. Much in the same way, these two romp and play like a downpour, yet they also settle and rest with ease, just as snow silently drifts and rests on the ground. God is good, and He reminds us in grand and powerful ways and in gentle whispers. May we ever seek the Lord and His voice, as He shows us the way to go and demonstrates His mighty love for us all.

In power, He speaks,

With love, He exclaims;

His goodness and strength,

Blessed be His Name.

He commands the rain,

Torrentially fall;

And calls to the snow,

Fall softly below.

The very same God,

To us does the same;

In peace, shows His love,

His power proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are both power and peace. Thank You that You demonstrate Your love for us with passion and gentleness. Forgive us for seeing one or the other as more valid. Teach us to recognize both Your downpours and Your gently falling grace, as we learn to identify Your voice and ever seek Your face. Show us how to love one another as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give Your praise for both Your magnificent power and unending grace. Amen.

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

“Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” He said. “Peace! Be strong now, be strong.” When He spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Speak, my Lord, since you have given me strength.” – Daniel 10:19

Faithful to Hold

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NIV) 

But the Lord is faithful; He will make you strong and guard you from satanic attacks of every kind. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, TLB) 

Still, the Lord is true to His promises; He will hold you up and guard you against the evil one. – (2 Thessalonians 3:3, VOICE) 

God is faithful. He strengthens us when we feel weak, and He is our protector and help when evil seems to surround us. Much of our struggle with evil is subtle. Our heart, our mind, and our character are challenged by the darkness. That voice or thought that tells us anything about who we are that does not align with God’s word, is an evil assault on our soul. The more we are immersed in His word, the truth that sets us free, the better we are able to stand strong and secure in the truth that He assures us is so. We are His; we are chosen; He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. God is faithful to meet us in our fear and doubt, and remind us again of what is true. His strength is mightier than anything that may come against us, and He promises are true forever. May we seek and invest time in pursuing God; for He is faithful and with strengthen and protect us from all that comes against us. 

Promises of God, 

The truth that remains; 

No matter what comes, 

We can trust His Name. 

The lies that assault, 

Who we truly are; 

From the pit of hell, 

Intended to scar. 

But God, in His love, 

Speaks truth to each heart; 

Affirming in grace, 

In Him, who we are. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to guard and protect us from evil as we trust and depend on You. Thank You that You speak truth to every heart that seeks You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our fears and doubts. Teach us to lean into You and to listen to what You have to say. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends safety and goodness to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to keep us safe from all evil. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

Zoom into Peace

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request 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 pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life. – (Philippians 4:6, TPT)

 

Today will be the first official day of remote learning. The first day of instructing online; the first day of posting parent instructional videos; and the first opportunity to see the faces and hear the voices of my students on Zoom. I would be lying if I said I have not been a bit anxious the last few weeks, as we have been unpacking and preparing to go “live”. Learning an entirely new way of instructing and how to organize and upload and post everything, for three different preps has stretched and challenged me beyond what I thought I could handle. With much prayer and the blessed provision of professional learning communities, I think that I am ready to launch. As I was finishing up my final video posts for parents last evening, I checked my school email. To my surprise, there was a wonderful message from one of my Language Arts and Social Studies students, letting me know how excited he is to get started with remote learning today! He filled me in on a bit of what he has been doing under his mom’s tutelage, and informed me that he was pretty much an expert on Zoom, having watched his mom participate in countless meetings over the past several weeks. I imagine that you too, can understand the power held in the encouraging words of my 6th grade student. All of the struggles over the past several weeks to navigate this new learning, suddenly did not matter. Knowing that at least one student is eager and ready to get started, makes it all worthwhile. It is easy to forget that we are often God’s hands or His voice to soothe anxiety and bring calm to those around us. He utilizes His people to make His heart tangible so that we may know His peace. Prayers are often answered through the people He provides, and one of those for me was a simple email from a sixth grader. Yes, I am still a bit nervous about today, but it is a first-day-of-school, can’t-wait-to-meet-them, sort of feeling. These are my kids whom I have not seen in more than a month. Today, I get to begin to reconnect and see and hear them for myself. More than an email – live voices and smiling faces. It will be good, and I am glad. May anxiety melt away as we lift our concerns to God. He hears and He cares, and He is the perfecter of our peace.

 

Choose lift to the Lord,

wp-15873874626506608854301600302106.jpg

Classroom vs. Virtual Room Preparations…

Each anxiety;

For He hears and cares,

Is near and ready.

He brings us His peace,

Most generously;

His kindness and grace,

Sets anxiousness free.

Come before the Lord,

Seek His help and grace;

His goodness and strength,

He’ll fill up our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that Your goodness and grace wash away our anxiousness when we bring our concerns before You. Thank You that You utilize people to make Your heart tangible. Forgive us for allowing our anxiousness to overwhelm us, rather than slowing down and setting all at Your feet. Teach us to trust You more, as You provide all that we need to navigate every new circumstance and situation when we rely on You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be the encouragement, strength, or peace that is needed to ease away anxiousness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for Your care and concern for us, individually, and the peace that is provided through Your incredible love. Amen.

 

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

 

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. – Psalm 37:37

Working Everything for Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

As I prepare for my last day of school as we know it for the next six weeks, I am so grateful for the truth of God’s word. Though we struggle to see it, He can work everything out for good as we love and trust in Him. This is a great reminder and encouragement while my heart wrestles with the sorrow of opportunities lost for my incredible group of gymnasts, and for the safe-haven that school provides for some of our most challenging kiddos, as they are anxious about the uncertainty that lies before them. While school districts have developed excellent plans to provide meals for kids during the day at strategic locations during the closures, my prayer is that the kids who find sanctuary during school hours in our buildings, would be protected and safe and know they are loved in the time apart. God is good, and He works all things out for the good as we trust in Him. Despite missed opportunities and uncertain spaces, slowing the spread of a sickness that could debilitate our entire medical structure is of critical importance for the good of all, long-term. This is where wisdom is required, and faith is granted the grace to grow greater. May we trust in the Lord and His goodness, and do what we can to love well and do good for those around us in these spaces of uncertainty.

 

In everything, wp-15840994936106113504864189946892.png

God’s promise is true;

He’ll work things for good,

As He makes things new.

In spaces of loss,

The Lord can bring gain;

In unlikely ways,

Good is His domain.

Lord, we give You all,

Trusting all You’ll do;

In faith we will wait,

For love to shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and You are worthy of all of our trust. Thank You that in the midst of trials and sorrow and unknowns, You are able to work ALL things out for good. Forgive us for our fear and anxiousness when we allow the unknown to overwhelm us. Teach us to look to You and trust in You, for You are greater than all that we face and You work all things out for good. Show us how to love those around us well, as we can be Your hands, heart and voice that calms and comforts in the midst of chaos, and provides where there is lack. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and choose to do good as we wait to see the good that You will bring from the unknown that lies before us. 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