He’s Present to Help

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – (Psalm 91:2, NIV)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence. – (Psalm 91:2, TPT)

 

It is such a strange space to be in a place when the world has to slow down and essentially be present at home. Yesterday, as our governor issued a “Stay at Home” decree, for most, I think there was an unanticipated sigh of relief. On one hand, it requires all “non-essential” employees to stay home, while on the other, still allows those that perform duties that keep the skeletal system of our nation running, to report to their positions. For both categories, we need God to be our refuge and our fortress; the One in whom we trust. Our home is one divided, as my husband and bonus son are both considered essential employees, and are called to continue working, while my boys and I remain at home, trusting that they will be kept safe and that others will be mindful of social distancing and necessary protective measures to keep them from being exposed and further spreading illness. God is good, even when circumstances are not. He is our hope and our refuge, and in Him we can trust and fear not. May we hold fast to our hope in Jesus, who is our space of safety and fortress; for in Him we can place our trust as we walk this unknown road with wisdom and strength.

 

God is our refuge, Sense in Storms

Our safe space indeed;

He’s present to help,

Protect and meet needs.

We need not choose fear,

For in God, there’s strength;

To do as we’re asked,

No matter what lengths.

He already knows,

What we need to do;

He’s present to help,

Protect, follow through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our safe space as we navigate so many unknowns trusting You. Thank You that You are always with us, and You protect and provide as we abide in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we attempt to make sense of what we cannot yet see. Teach us to trust You, rather than our own understanding. Show us how to love those around us well, as we seek You to be our strength and shelter, and support and encourage those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your mighty hands. Amen.

 

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

 

You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. – Psalm 32:7

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.

 

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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

In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

Wisdom, Strength and Self-Discipline to Love

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

As usual, this morning’s passage is appropriate and timely. We are not called to be fearful, but rather to be wise and strong. With so much mixed information running rampant right now, it is as if the media is attempting to isolate and instill fear in folks. Yes, there is reason to be cautious and use wisdom. Those who have compromised immune systems or are among the high-risk groups ought to be extra-vigilant and follow whatever guidelines they feel safest following; and those of us who are not, must respect and honor their need to use caution and care, yet the fear that drives massive hoarding, rather than loving others, is not a space that we are meant to live. Self-discipline is the space within us that expects the best, prepares for the worst, and extends a hand to those around us in need.

This morning, I am grateful for time over the weekend to love and enjoy being with people. Incredibly, my Viking, our best friends and I went to watch the Sea Wolves (our Seattle Rugby team) play on Saturday night. It is a somewhat small venue, yet the stands were packed. After the game, we went to go have dinner together, and the first place we attempted to go had a 30 to 40-minute wait, so we ended up going to another spot not far from there, that was far less crowded. It amazed me to see people out seeming to operate in life as usual on Saturday, and then on Sunday, to see the clear evidence of the concern in my own community. Church was much lighter than usual, (yet I know there are those who must stay home per their doctor’s recommendation, and still others who stayed home as they are fighting colds and the like), followed by a trip to the grocery store where we discovered a completely sold out toilet paper isle. May we ever seek the Lord and His Spirit, for in Him we need not fear. He grants us power, wisdom and self-discipline, and shows us how to love people best, even in the worst of times.

 

We’ve not been given, wp-15837552643821979517268994098331.jpg

A spirit of fear;

For God is with us,

He is always near.

In the Lord, there’s peace,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Power the Lord gives,

His grace from above.

All of these great things,

We’re given indeed;

To love people well,

Give as we’ve received.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not give us a Spirit of fear, but rather one of power, wisdom and self-discipline. Thank You that You give each person what they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families to stay safe and well. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the unknown can be a scary space. Teach us to trust You more, and to listen to Your leading as You guide us through uncharted waters. Show us how to love those around us well, as each of us have different needs in different circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You for wisdom, strength and self-discipline to love as You love us all. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

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

Gifts to Succeed

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

This is an interesting verse to land upon on the Friday of a very long week. Exhaustion is throbbing throughout my frontal lobe, and my resolve needs renewing in a supernatural way. That being said, I know my charge is to lean into God; and as I do, He will supply the strength, wisdom and love to navigate today. The Lord removes hesitations and frustrations, as I give them to Him, and grants me what I need to rise up and run. In the power, love and strength that Christ provides, I am going to choose to enjoying being present with those who are placed around me. I am blessed to work with a phenomenal group of colleagues, have some incredible students and artists, and am gifted with a fantastic group of gymnasts, who support and encourage one another. May we all seek the Lord for strength, as He removes our hesitations and replaces them with power, love and self-discipline.

 

Our God makes a way, Gifts to Succeed

Where it seems there’s none;

He grants us the strength,

To rise, get things done.

He takes away fear,

Provides what we need;

Wisdom, power, love,

His gifts to succeed.

When our strength is gone,

He won’t let us fall;

God grants strength and hope,

To love one and all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and know our needs far better than we do. Thank You that as we lean on You, You supply the strength, wisdom, love and self-discipline that we need to navigate each next step. Forgive us for our frustration with our own weariness, for we are fallible and desperately need You. Teach us to trust and rely on You in all things and at all times, for You are all that we need. Show us how to love others with the strength, power and grace that You provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our timidity and hesitations, and trust You to provide all that we need to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – Romans 15:5

To Demonstrate Love

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

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

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The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

Gifts in All

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV)

Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person. The Spirit gives this to each one to help others. – (1 Corinthian 12:7, ERV)

Each believer has received a gift that manifests the Spirit’s power and presence. That gift is given for the good of the whole community. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, VOICE)

 

Currently, my pastor is in the middle of a series called, Naturally Supernatural. In this, he is unpacking the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of the most important points that he has made have had to do with the purpose of these gifts. First, the kingdom of God is accessed through the Spirit of God. Without Him, we cannot grow in our understanding. The gifts of the Spirit are given by grace to serve the body of Christ. They are intended to build others up, and must be used to demonstrate a heart of love. When wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, discernment, miracles, prophecy, languages of men and angels, and the interpretation of such, are utilized as God intended, the movement of God’s power in love, clears the way and brings breakthrough so that His words may be heard and received by hearts moved by the power of God’s amazing love made tangible. Another important point that was made, is that these gifts are distributed by God in His grace, not somehow earned nor manifested in some sort of hierarchy. Each gift is for the purpose of encouraging and building up the body, and not for the elevation of the recipient. Whatever we receive is intended to be utilized to serve and honor God, thus is nothing from us nor in our own wisdom or strength. May we be open to the Lord and the gifts He has for us, and ready to love others well, as we share what we have been given.

 

God births in us all, Gifts in All

Gifts of His power;

To build others up,

In love, empower.

To nourish the growth,

Of faith, hope and love;

As God moves through us,

Power from above.

Wisdom and knowledge,

Faith, healing and more;

Miracles of God,

Grow faith all the more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts that You give to us to access, understand, serve and love more. Thank You that none are earned, but rather You freely give. Forgive us for neglecting to utilize what You give. Teach us to trust You more so that we would step out in faith and serve You by loving others well with all that You have placed in us. Show us how to love those around us, specifically and individually, so that they may understand Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love others with all that You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – Romans 12:6a

With Justice and Kindness

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

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

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

 

Good begets good, and you reap what you sow. This particular verse in Proverbs reminds us of the importance of doing what is right. The challenge is that the reward of goodness, honor and respect are not always evident when we pursue the path marked by a righteousness and love that is ever seeking to do good and be faithful in all things. We live in a broken world, surrounded by people who are hurting. Often, even when goodness, faithfulness and kindness are extended, hurting people hurt the people that they need the most. We need to love anyway. It does not mean that we need to be a doormat or allow things that should not be so to continue, but it does mean that our charge is to keep pursuing justice and treat others with kindness, each day that we draw breath. May we ever be a people who pursue righteousness and do good, so that all may come to know the goodness and love that God freely gives.

 

Justice and mercy, What Gift Shall I Give

Are love’s true pursuit;

Extending kindness,

Godly attribute.

For as we love well,

We make God’s grace known;

The same is returned,

This is how good’s grown.

God will empower,

Our hearts to choose love;

As to Him we turn,

And trust God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue justice and kindness, You faithfully honor our seeking. Thank You that even when we cannot see or understand the impact of choosing to extend good to others, You use it for Your glory. Forgive us for our frustration with those who are hurting and behave poorly toward us or others. Please grant us wisdom and insight as to how to navigate best in love. Show us how to love all those around us well, especially those in need of kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue to live justly and extend kindness, everywhere we go. Amen.

 

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

 

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you. – Hosea 10:12

He Hears

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, NIV)

I am praying to You because I know You will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. – (Psalm 17:6, NLT)

You will answer me, God; I know You always will, like You always do as You listen with love to my every prayer. – (Psalm 17:6, TPT)

 

God in His amazing grace, hears our every prayer. He is faithful to answer as we ask, if only we seek Him. Yesterday was a day abounding in new, to the point of being a bit overwhelming before it even began. In His grace, God met me each step of the way, and the day went fairly well. New classes, new season and a new semester were each met with new strength, wisdom and resolve. All are a work in progress, but the tangible reminder that He answers what we ask of Him is an ongoing motivation to continue to depend on Him. May we call on the Lord, for He will answer, each time we pray to Him.

 

As we call on God, Compassion in Confrontations

He hears what we say;

Both spoken aloud,

And what our hearts pray.

Faithful to answer,

The God of all grace;

He knows what we need,

Throughout all our days.

So, seek Him and ask,

In faith, choose to pray;

God sees and answers,

In the best of ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we call on You and pray to You, You hear and answer us. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that keep us from asking, or questioning when answers come differently than we would have imagined. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, as Your ways are best and You love to bless Your children. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that extend Your heart and hope in spaces they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray to You and know that You hear all that we lift before You. Amen.

 

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

 

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12