Opportunities for Good

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, NIV)

When we have the opportunity to do good to anyone, we should do it. But we should give special attention to those who are in the family of believers. – (Galatians 6:10, ERV)

So seize any opportunity the Lord gives you to do good things and be a blessing to everyone, especially those within our faithful family. – (Galatians 6:10, VOICE)

It always amazes me that when we take the opportunity to do good, we end up feeling blessed. Every time I choose to help, extend kindness, walk beside – whatever the good God is showing me to do – I discover my heart is filled and I feel blessed in the process. I imagine that this is why God calls us to be in community. We are provided opportunities to both give and receive His goodness through those whom He has purposefully placed in our lives. May we ever use every opportunity provided to do the good that God intended, for He is faithful to bless and encourage us all as we do.

The Lord is faithful,

To give us the chance;

To do the good things,

Just as the Lord’s asked.

The good that we do,

Becomes a blessing;

To us and to them,

His love expressing.

So, look for the good,

That we each can do;

Opportunities,

To see God’s love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You for providing opportunities for us to walk beside, help, and encourage those around us. Thank You that in the process, we end up blessed with Your goodness and faithfulness in ways we would never expect. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to do the good You were showing us to do. Teach us to trust You and Your leading, for You are faithful to show us each next step. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and faithfulness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take every opportunity to do the good that You show us to do. Amen.

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

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

Our Present Strength

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, HCSB)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

No matter what comes against us, God is for us and with us. He is our help and our hope; He provides the strength that we need and people to walk beside us to encourage and uphold us. Regardless of how things seem, God is faithful to carry us through, and lead us to something new. May we ever seek the Lord to bring His perfect peace as we recognize His nearness and strength to uphold us and carry us through every challenge we face, and how to be present for those who are in the midst of trials.

In You, Lord, there’s light,

Full of good and grace;

You strengthen, uphold,

As we seek Your face.

Victory in You,

Will surely be found;

Where hope is restored,

For Your love is sound.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust well in You;

For You are our peace,

And all that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear, for You are with us to uphold and strengthen us. Thank You that You see well beyond today, and make a way where there seems to be no way. Forgive us for our fears when we cannot see an end in sight. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to walk beside those who are in the midst of struggle, and use us to be Your hands, heart and voice to bring peace, strength and encouragement. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to strengthen and uphold us, and help us to ever look to You to lead us to walk alongside those in the midst of challenge. Amen.

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

But those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To Run Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

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

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

Though this was written to the early church to encourage and guide believers, the message remains true today. One thing that stands out to me is the idea of being surrounded by people who are great examples of what it is to live a godly life. It takes intentional investment in people to be surrounded by those who help lead, guide and walk beside us in the way that God is calling us to live. Next, we have to let go of previous harm to move forward. It is an intentional decision to forgive and give it to God. To do so does not mean that we have to forget what we learned or jump back into harmful spaces, but rather we must release the burden of hurt, anger and grudges, and choose to forgive and place it all in His hands. Additionally, we must be intentional to walk away from that which leads us astray. As a runner, I love the analogy of life being a marathon. We do not want to do things along the course that will inhibit our ability to run well. The same is true in life. The things that lead us astray, move us off course, or weigh us down, do not help us run our race well. Labor-intensive running is not fun or beneficial, and often leads to injuries. God has already mapped out our course, our job is to keep running in the direction to which we have been called. Our pace is set by Him, and it is never too fast nor too slow. His timing is perfect. May we ever be intentional to surround ourselves with those who encourage us to run well, let go of that which leads us off course, and persevere on the path which God has placed before us.

Let’s surround ourselves,

With those who live well;

In life and in love,

As faithfulness tells.

Let go of past harm,

With purpose, forgive;

Give it to the Lord,

In freedom to live.

Stay clear of the things,

That lead us astray;

And follow the course,

God grants us each day.

Let’s each run our race,

Stay true to the course;

God’s set before us,

Our Strength and our Source.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to run the race that You have set before us. Thank You that You instruct us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and can help pace us to stay strong. Thank You too, for showing us to throw aside all that weighs us down or leads us off course. Forgive us for allowing the things of this life to distract us or steer us off course. Teach us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and to keep our eyes on the course You have set before us. Show us how to be an encouragement to others and to love all well so that they too will be encouraged to continue to run the race You designed for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we each rely on You to lead us to run our own race well. Amen.

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

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. – Proverbs 4:12

Equipped to Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, TPT)

 

It really is true, that God, in His great love, comforts us in all of our troubles. The amazing thing that I so often discover, is the very things that I have known God’s comfort in, He uses me to offer comfort to those around me in a space similar to that which He brought me through. His comfort, kindness and compassion granted to us, expands our heart and capacity to do the same for those around us. Experience creates a sort of knowing that only one who has walked through a similar space can truly understand what another is going through. Our ability to be compassionate and extend the sort of comfort needed are heightened, when we know the road a person is walking. God is good and He is kind, He knows what we need in the midst of our struggles; He brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. One of the ways that God does this is when He allows us to walk beside another who needs comfort in a space that we, ourselves, have been. There is peace and joy as we give what was given, and watch another press on and get through the difficulty. May we ever give God our praise for being our Comforter and for equipping us to comfort those around us.

 

All praise unto God,Equipped to Comfort

Who comforts us all;

He lifts head and heart,

Each time that we fall.

Because of His grace,

Comfort we receive;

We too can offer,

Love to those in need.

The very same grace,

The comfort we knew;

Is what we can give,

To help others through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of all comfort and that the comfort You give to us, You raise up in us to give to those around us. Thank You that the struggles and trials we walk through can always be used for good if we trust in You. Forgive us for our fears and resentment when we are in scary spaces. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may know Your wisdom as to how to navigate, and know Your strength to persevere. Show us how to love those around us in ways that comfort and encourage in ways that bless the recipients best. 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, and trust You to help us go forth and do the same. Amen.

 

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

 

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Our Oasis

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

 

And there is a resounding “yes”, followed by a heavy sigh and a bit of coughing. Weary indeed… The heavy burdens I continually attempt to lay down, yet somehow, I seem to find new weights that have managed to be slung on my shoulders. Each morning, I rise with intention, to seek the Lord and give all to Him. He promises to give rest and refreshment, and an oasis sounds blissful about now. This is where trust must enter in.  At times, the provision is the supplication of what we need for the day to make it through. There are other times, when we find ourselves smack dab in the center of an oasis, after what has felt like an eternity in the desert. God knows what we need and when we need it most. He provides and sustains, refreshes and grants rest. Today, I am trusting Him for what I need to navigate this day, and looking forward to some much-needed rest, that is yet to come. May we ever seek the Lord when we are weary and heavy burdened, for He will walk beside us and grant us rest.

 

Jesus tells us, “Come”,Our Oasis

Bring burdens to Me;

Lay heaviness down,

Set all at His feet.

For He is our Source,

Strength, hope, life and light;

Who grants us the rest,

To stay in the fight.

His hands can hold us,

When our strength is gone;

He’s our oasis,

His love makes us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light. Thank You that You call us to bring our burdens to You; for You are willing and able to carry the load that we were never meant to bear. Thank You that You provide rest and refreshment when we are weary and worn. Forgive us for growing weary in our resolve to keep seeking Your help when all is heavy. Teach us how to lay down the burdens that we are not even aware we are shouldering. Show us how to come alongside those around us, to love, encourage and lift up, so that they may know Your refreshment. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and lay our burdens before You, seeking You for real rest. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5

Pleased with Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)

 

As I continue to move forward throughout this month with a heart turned toward intentional gratitude, I am overwhelmed with thanks that God’s plans go far beyond what we see at any given moment. So often, we have to walk through dark spaces to truly appreciate the glory of the light that is waiting on the other side. His plans are good. God grants us hope and a future that is eternal. Not only does He bless us here, but He holds our eternity in His hands. Each season in my life that I have walked through that has been difficult, or seemingly devastating, has led to a new season of hope and beauty and blessing. It is through the trials and challenges and heartaches that we see, know and understand the enormity of the blessed hope we hold in the future as it unfolds. God is good and He has good plans for us that include a hope and a future. May we ever give Him thanks for our lives through His lens, rather than our own.

Mom, though she has moments of frustration and heartache over what was lost, she also holds fast to the hope and promise of a future that is good. God has good plans for her too. We are beyond grateful that her life was spared, and that she is doing well and fighting hard on this journey to recovery. Today, I am hopeful to catch up with both mom and my sister, and discover all of the new that has taken place and that lies ahead.

 

With a thankful heart, Pleased with Good Plans

Gratitude I raise;

A future and hope,

In Christ, ours always.

His plans, they are good,

Even in our mess;

God ever is near,

To help and to bless.

Give thanks to the Lord,

All praise for His grace;

For hope we can hold,

Today and always.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have a hope and a future in You. Thank You that Your plans for us are good. Thank You that You come near and walk beside us through our darkness and show us the beauty of Your incredible light. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope in what lies ahead with You. Teach us to trust Your plans, even when we cannot see or imagine how our circumstances could possibly lead to good. Show us how to love and encourage those around us so that they too, may see light and hope and love, even in difficult spaces. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your faithfulness to be present and have a good plan for our lives. 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

Sharing Shoulders

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, NLT)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Shoulder each other’s burdens, and then you will live as the law of the Anointed teaches us. – (Galatians 6:2, VOICE)

 

It is overwhelmingly obvious that God’s very best plan for us is to be invested in community. What I have discovered, is that the more I invest my heart, my time, and my willingness to be transparent, the more burdens are divided and overcome. This is true in my marriage, family, and in close friendships. The imagery of shouldering each other’s burdens is powerful, as it is a reminder to walk alongside and help bear the weight. In college, I was on our crew team. When we carried our racing shell down the hill to the dock, it was not a heavy burden if each rower stepped up and helped shoulder the weight. However, if members were missing, slacking off, or slow to get to the boathouse, the weight of the boat in our shoulders became extraordinarily taxing. It is no wonder we are called and commanded to help each other. The hope is that none become too heavily weighed down, as every heavy burden is shared. Sadly, the caveat is that the sharing of burdens is only possible if people are known. Community is key. To love people well, we need to know people and be known. May we ever invest in those whom Christ has placed in our community, so that we may love well and help shoulder one another’s burdens in accordance to God’s law of perfect love.

 

To walk side-by-side,img_2019-10-23_03-59-095236091504307344571.jpg

Or move hand-in-hand;

Helping each other,

Is what the Lord planned.

We are created,

For community;

To know and be known,

Let love be what’s seen.

Help one another,

With burdens we bear;

For weight divided,

Doable when shared.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are not meant to bear our burdens alone, nor are we to watch others struggle through theirs. Thank You that we have been created to be in community. Thank You that as we invest and know one another, we are equipped to help each other carry the weight of whatever comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we have attempted to shoulder our burdens alone, or have neglected to walk beside one whom You are calling us to help shoulder a struggle. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be sensitive to Your nudging. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we would be in the sort of community that walks side-by-side and hand-in-hand. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to grant us strength to have the shoulders needed to be the spouse, parent, family member and friend that You call us to be. Amen.

 

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

 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. – 1 Peter 4:10

Accepting Others Honors God

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

Christ accepts us just as we are, wherever we are at in our lives. We are called to do the same for others. In doing so, we are honoring God and bringing praise to Him. God does not ask us to clean ourselves up and get everything all together in order to come to Him, but rather He extends open arms toward us, and is ready to walk beside us as we learn to live and lead a life according to His good and perfect will. The Lord is so gracious with us, how can we help but extend the same to those around us? Furthermore, why wouldn’t we desire with all our hearts, to do the very things that honor He who loves us without limits? May we receive the acceptance that God has given us, so that we may in turn, go forth and accept others, extending kindness and love, grace and goodness, just as we have been shown by Him.

It was a full week for mom, as she reentered the rigor of both physical and speech therapists coming to the home to work with her to strengthen and create new pathways where there is still struggle. Mom’s initial take on the week is extremely positive, as she is encouraged to move forward and work hard toward her ultimate goal of regaining independence. She is strong and tenacious, and willing to persevere in her pursuit. Additionally, mom has a phenomenal support system surrounding her, as my sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, encourage, love and support her each day. I know the communication from her beloved friends and family near and far, makes a world of difference as well. She is accepted as she is, where she is at, and does the same for those around her. All honor and praise to God, for He is indeed so good.

 

We’re called to accept,

Peace Through Understanding

Each other in love;

Just as our Father,

Has done from above.

He does not require,

Qualifications;

But rather, accepts,

Our lot and stations.

The way that God loves,

Is how we are called;

To love and accept,

People, one and all.

For each time we choose,

To love with our days;

We honor the Lord,

And give our God praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving and accepting us as we are. Thank You that by doing so, You walk beside us and lead us into the life to which we are called. Thank You that You call us to love and accept others in the same way, and when we do, we are honoring You. Forgive us for the times that we have not been accepting of others. Show us where we have fallen short, and how to be better. Lead us to love and accept others in the same way that You accept us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others in the same way that You accept 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

To Love and To Serve

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. – (John 13:14-15, NIV)

I am your Lord and Teacher. But I washed your feet. So you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example for you. So you should serve each other just as I served you. – (John 13:14-15, ERV)

So if your Lord and Teacher washes your feet, then you should wash one another’s feet. I am your example; keep doing what I do. – (John 13:14-15, VOICE)

 

At the time that this particular text was written, washing a person’s feet was a filthy and degrading practice. People traveled by sandaled foot, across dry and dusty terrain. I imagine that by the day’s end, feet were about as filthy as they could get, and washing people’s feet as they returned home was not a coveted position. However, Jesus demonstrated what it is to love and serve one another, as He stooped down and washed the feet of His disciples. His willingness to get into the mess with them and help get them clean, was the perfect example of servant leadership. We are not called to lead nor teach from a position above anyone else; rather, we are called to walk beside others, helping out where things are messy, so that each individual can bring their best foot forward. As an educator, this is a timely reminder. How do I care for my students best, so that they are served and loved in a way that readies them to be led forward to becoming their best selves? May we each go forth in pursuit of ways to “wash the feet” of those around us, so that we may love and serve others, in the same way that we have been loved and cleansed by God.

 

After speaking with mom late yesterday afternoon, the biggest prayer is that her in-home therapies get going. Yesterday was a bit of a rest day, as she hadn’t really felt like doing much of anything. The day prior she had done a significant amount of walking, so I encouraged her that everyone needs an occasional rest day. My brother-in-love and nephew had just returned home from a short get-away, so the conversation was brief, and mom was eager to hear about their adventures. I am blown away by the kindness extended to me by my colleagues who are familial-like friends, as so many have checked in and inquired about mom. Several are praying and extending well-wishes, as they have been since the beginning.

 

With eyes open wide,Ambassadors of Love

It’s not hard to see;

Places to reach out,

Lend hand, meet a need.

We are created,

To love and to serve;

As Jesus loves us,

Not as is deserved.

Lord, help us to love,

Do so, tangibly;

So people feel known,

And hearts are set free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love and serve one another. Thank You that You call us to come alongside one another and get in the trenches beside each other. Thank You that You equip and strengthen us for all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have been unwilling to serve in spaces where we should. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have a heart like Yours. Show us how to love people with a servant’s heart, that is willing to step into the muck and help clear a way out. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us, in the way we are called to love. Amen.

 

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

 

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – Galatians 5:13