Strength and a Clear Path

God – He clothes me with strength and makes my way perfect. – (Psalm 18:32, HCSB)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – (Psalm 18:32, NIV)

God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take. – (Psalm 18:32, ERV)

The True God who encircled me with strength and made my pathway straight. – (Psalm 18:32, VOICE)

As so many of us return to school today after what felt like the first “real” summer in the last few years, may we be equipped with the strength of the Lord for all that lies ahead. Teaching through the pandemic made for challenge after challenge, and last year, as we all returned to buildings, there were even more trials through the process of having to reacclimate to being on campus and interacting with live humans. This morning, though it marks my 26th first day of school as a teacher, the nervousness and anticipation are still securely in place. How will I create community in my classroom, and how can I help each student feel as if they belong? We all need strength and clarity to navigate this new year, and a clear path to lead and guide well. May we all seek the Lord to be our strength and to show us the steps we need to take to help each student feel as if they belong.

O Lord, bring the new,

Better than before;

Please lead and guide us,

To open new doors.

Show us Your goodness,

Lead us in Your way;

Each step that we take,

Throughout each new day.

Help all who enter,

Feel welcomed and known;

Valued and noticed,

Let Your love be shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and the Light that leads us in the direction You want us to go. Thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and walk beside us as we navigate each new day. Forgive us for our fearfulness of what is not yet known. Teach us to trust in You to be our strength and lead us well. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. Give us clear direction in our classrooms so that we might create a welcoming community where every child knows that they belong. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to be our strength and seek You to direct our steps. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

You Hold My Hand

Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, HCSB)

But I am always with You. You hold my hand. You lead me and give me good advice, and later You will lead me to glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, ERV)

I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. – (Psalm 73:23-24, MSG)

David’s words are a reminder to us that when we choose God, He is always with us and takes our hand to lead us. As He leads, He guides us in His wisdom and tenderness and makes the eternal hope we have in Him, evident. There is much peace knowing that God is with us and will guide and advise us whenever we seek Him. Ultimately, His leading will lead us into eternal glory with Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us, so that we may walk in His ways and become who He has created us to be.

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

He’s loving and kind;

He leads and guides us,

With His good in mind.

His hands to hold us,

As gently He leads;

His love to bless us,

As He meets our needs.

Ever God is near,

He’s present to lead;

His love knows no end,

His goodness exceeds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and in love, You take our hands and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Thank You that Your direction is to grow and bless us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to do things our own way. Teach us to trust and listen to You in all things and at all times, for in doing so, we come to understand the hope and help that is found in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend our hands to You and trust You to lead and counsel us as we walk out each new day. Amen.

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

He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Extraordinary Through the Ordinary

And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” – (Luke 1:28, HCSB)

The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to Him.” – (Luke 1:28, ERV)

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Rejoice, beloved young woman, for the Lord is with you and you are anointed with great favor.” – (Luke 1:28, TPT)

I imagine this whole experience was a bit surreal to Mary. A visit from a messenger of God, followed by words that called you favored and anointed. She was a young girl, likely in her mid-teens, and engaged to be married. Was she an ordinary girl with extraordinary faith? Or perhaps there was something in her heart of worship that demonstrated her faithful and willing heart that was ready to respond with her very best yes? Either way, of all the women of child-bearing age in the world, God saw and chose her to carry His Son. As we gain further glimpses of her heart through the conception, development in the womb, time of arrival, and throughout the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, her character is revealed as one who is ever faithful to the Lord. She had extraordinary insight into who God is through a seemingly ordinary life. Mary witnessed God in everyday circumstances as she raised Jesus, who was without sin. There were many reasons to rejoice throughout her entire experience, yet there were times of great grief as well. Ultimately, she came to know and understand the plan and purpose of the promised baby that would become the Savior of the world. May we reflect with awe and wonder at the amazing ways that God came near to ordinary people to show us His great love.

Called highly favored,

Chosen to be blessed;

A holy calling,

That might cause a mess.

A virgin promised,

To Joseph to wed;

Yet called to be more,

As the angel said.

God knew the people,

Who’d answer the call;

Despite how things looked,

To one and to all.

Ever He’s faithful,

The Lord God above;

Who sent us His Son,

To show us His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do extraordinary things through ordinary people who are willing to say yes to You and the plans You have. Thank You that You sent Your Son through ordinary people with extraordinary faith. Forgive us for our fear and lack of faith when things we know we ought to do seem inconceivable. Teach us to trust You to lead us in all that You have for us, and to trust that Your plans are for good. Show us how to love and honor You in all that we say and do, and help us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the amazing things You do through ordinary people who trust You well. Amen.

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

Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away. – Luke 1:38

Strength for the Weary

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

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)

For whatever reason, I have not slept well for the last few nights. Last night, I woke from a disturbing dream and felt very unsettled. Typically when that occurs, I try to clear my mind and go back to sleep. This time, all I could do was pray. Pray for protection, for peace, and for a covering over my family and friends. I know that God is always with me, and that I need not be afraid or anxious. It is He who strengthens and upholds us, and is faithful to be found each time we choose to seek Him. Yesterday, despite exhaustion, I was granted the strength and energy to accomplish all that was needed. Today, I will trust Him for the same. May we ever seek our Savior to help, strengthen and support us, for in Him, we have no reason to fear.

Choose not to worry,

And be not afraid;

The Lord is present,

He will make a way.

Faithful forever,

God grants what we need;

He knows and He sees,

Gives strength to succeed.

Hope for the weary,

Strength when ours is gone;

Peace in His presence,

So we may press on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength when we are weary and burdened. Thank You that we need not fear. Thank You that You see and know our needs. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and lead us in Your strength. Forgive us for staying stuck, even in the moment, as You are always available for us to seek You. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to be with us and to meet our needs. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, help and support where it is needed. Show us how to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set fears at Your feet and rely on You to be present to help in all things. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

Present in All

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take. – (Joshua 1:9, MSG)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

This morning, this is a reminder to myself of what is true. A week and a half ago, we placed our puppies in the care of trainers for a three-week board and train program. Yesterday evening, we received a message that it might not work out for one of our dogs. The thing is, we trusted that the trainers were professionals and would be able to aid us in correcting some undesired behaviors, as well as guide us through additional obedience training. Now, after a sizable investment and emotional turmoil, we may be bringing our doggos home, requiring us to begin again with the search for how to best train our sweet puppies to peacefully coexist with each other and be mindful of what is being asked of them. Right now, after a reasonable night’s sleep, I cannot help but trust that God knows our needs and perhaps this was not the best fit or solution, and He will be with us as we walk out this process. Today, I will trust that He will provide the strength, courage and tenacity to do whatever we need to do that is best for our family. No matter the outcome, God will be with us. What matters most is that we listen to His leading and follow through. To some, this may seem trivial, however, for us, our dogs are a huge part of our family. God knows our needs and I will trust Him as we go today. May we ever choose strength, courage and resilience rather than fear or discouragement. For He will remain with us wherever we go.

Be not discouraged,

Choose faith over fear;

The Lord has promised,

He’ll always be near.

No matter what lies,

Ahead in our lives;

The Lord has His best,

True hope realized.

The things that matter,

That pull our heart strings;

Also God’s concern,

And answers He’ll bring.

Today I choose trust,

I know the Lord cares;

He’ll lead us in love,

Through answers He shares.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us to be strong and courageous in You. Thank You that You love and care for all creatures that You created. Thank You that You are faithful to show us how to care best for all that You bless us with. Forgive us for our anger and frustration over something that may be for the best. Teach us to trust You more as we walk out each new day, seeking to follow after You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love in such a way that we extend Your goodness and grace in all that we do and say. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to trust in You. Amen.

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

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – 1 Thessalonians 3:12

Remember, He Has Risen

“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, NIV)

“Jesus is not here. He has risen from death. Do you remember what He said in Galilee? He said the Son of Man must be handed over to the control of sinful men, be killed on a cross and rise from death on the third day.” Then the women remembered what Jesus had said. – (Luke 24:6-8, ERV)

“Have you forgotten what He said to you while He was still in Galilee: ’The destiny of the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinful men, to be nailed to a cross, and on the third day to rise again’?” All at once they remembered His words. – (Luke 24:6-8, TPT)

That first Easter, Resurrection Sunday, was a time of great shock, disbelief, and remarkable joy. The women who had prepared spices to attend to the body of Jesus and give Him a proper burial on Friday, were the first to discover the empty tomb on Sunday. Greeted by angels, the women were told the great news that Jesus had indeed risen. After the fear and wonder held in being met by angels at the empty tomb, the women recalled the Savior’s words after the angelic reminder, and ran to tell the others the good news. Today is a day to be full of awe, wonder and praise, for the Savior has risen and defeated death so that all might live. His sacrifice was for our sake, and His resurrection and ascension demonstrated His power and intentionality to ever move on our behalf. Seated at the right hand of the Father, He hears our every prayer and loves with the same love that chose to remain on that cross so that we might be set free from the weight of our sin. May we ever remember His words, His love and His sacrifice, for through Him, we may know love and life everlasting. Glory to God in the highest, for He has risen indeed!

Early that Sunday,

The women did run;

To Jesus’ tomb,

With task to be done.

Upon arrival,

The Lord was not there;

Greeted by angels,

A message to share.

Jesus is not here,

He is now alive;

He’s risen indeed,

True hope has arrived.

First, there was terror,

Of what was in sight;

Then awe and wonder,

Followed by delight.

As the news sunk in,

Again, they chose run;

To share the good news,

The Savior had won!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Jesus, thank You that Your love for us took You to the cross, defeated death in a tomb, and rose again to be seated at the right hand of the Father to contend for us. Forgive us for the flippancy with which we treat this sacred time. Show us how to recognize the magnitude of the miracles, the strength in Your sacrifice, and the power that proved You are God Most High. Lead us to love those around us with Your love that lifts up and brings life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the love You have for all of Your created. Be glorified O God, may we praise and honor You with all that we are as we remember the significance of what we celebrate today. Amen.

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

Then go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’ Now I have told you. – Matthew 28:7

Seek His Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Ephesus is still an encouragement for us today. We are not meant to be strong on our own, but rather by the strength He provides through His presence, both in and through us. Strength on our own is not sustainable, yet in Him, we are able to endure and overcome all things. This does not mean that all will be easy, but it does mean God will be present to supply what we need when we need it most. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, recognizing that His mighty power provides what is required to press on.

Let’s look to the Lord,

For He is the place;

We are granted strength,

To run well our race.

Power that endures,

Through the toughest days;

A love that surrounds,

And grace that remains.

The Lord is the One,

On whom to depend;

To rise, overcome,

As strength He extends.

So, look to the Lord,

For all that we need;

Seek His strength, not ours,

In Him we succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength as we learn to depend on You. Thank You that Your power is present and made evident in our weakness. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to power through on our own, rather than seeking our true Source of strength. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You supply all we need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our Source of strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

A Fine Line Between Fearlessness and Foolishness

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, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TPT)

There is a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to know the difference. As we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we grow in understanding of what His power, love and self-discipline do for us. When we realize the power of Christ within us, we discover that fear has no place to set up camp. Fear may creep in at times, but His Spirit in us will not allow fear to remain. How then, do we use the power, love and self-control that God grants us to best love people? As a peacemaker, it is easy to default to silence, while the idea of conflict brings fear. However, if we look in God’s word to the example of Christ, He was not afraid to speak truth and stand firm. His actions were in love and with self-discipline, while He was fully aware of the power within Him. This is where dependence on Christ is a must. We need His Spirit within us to identify His will, not our own, and to move in His power and love with self-control. May we ever seek the Lord to keep fear at bay, and rely on His power, love and self-discipline to lead us to love like Him.

God’s not created,

Us to live in fear;

His power and love,

Forever are near.

We need only seek,

For our hearts to find;

He’s always with us,

Heart, body and mind.

His love gives us strength,

To conquer our fear;

His love evident,

As His grace appears.

Power in weakness,

Love where it seems lack;

Self-discipline too,

God helps as we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not created us to be afraid. Thank You that You infuse us with Your power, love and self-discipline as we seek You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for the times that we have neglected to seek You. Show us how to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to rely on Your Spirit within us to grant us the power, love and self-control that we need to navigate our days as You intended. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for all You provide by Your love. Amen.

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

Be Not Discouraged

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

Today, this is the perfect reminder for me, especially the “do not be discouraged” part. One of my bucket list goals is to run a marathon before my 50th birthday. For a bit more than a month, I have been training to move toward my goal. My friend and I found a marathon that will be held in June, so we were on track to be ready to run. Last evening, when I took one of our pups downstairs to get ready for bed, she began running down the last few steps and pulled into our room. Sadly, I was ill-prepared for the pulling, and somehow slammed my little toe into the doorframe at full speed. I knew immediately it was not good, and iced it right away. Unfortunately, this morning, it is still agonizing to bear weight. Frustration and discouragement were flooding my mind as I attempted to do the normal things I do each morning. Thankfully, as I sat down to do my devotions, I was again reminded that God is with me and will remain with me. He is our healer and provider, and I need not be discouraged. If I have to take a few days off to heal and recover, so be it. God knows the desires of our hearts, and makes a way when there seems to be no way. May we ever take courage and be strong in the Lord, for He will be with us wherever we go.

Be strong and take heart,

Do not be afraid;

The Lord is present,

He’s promised to stay.

Don’t be discouraged,

God will make a way;

He’ll lead and guide us,

For all of our days.

Trust in His goodness,

Command to take heart;

Faithful He will stay,

From finish to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our courage and strength, and that we need not be discouraged when obstacles come our way. Thank You that You promise to be with us as You lead us through each new day. Forgive us for allowing obstacles and challenges to challenge our trust. Teach us how to lean into You in all circumstances. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that give strength and courage and chase away doubt and fear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take courage in You and Your presence, always. Amen.

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

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. – 1 Corinthians 16:13

Promised Presence

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV) 

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV) 

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE) 

God’s promises are not just for today, but they remain forever. His promise to sustain and carry us is true throughout our entire life. I have known God’s faithfulness to carry and sustain me – from childhood to adulthood, and now as I move ever closer to the white hairs of years flying by. It is good to be reminded of His ongoing faithfulness, especially when in the midst of so much new and uncertain. God’s faithfulness and ability to sustain and carry us is not dependent on our circumstances, nor the status of the world around us. Even on days where what lies before us seems insurmountable, He is faithful to see us through. Today, I am placing all in His hands, and trusting Him to lead, strengthen and carry me through all that awaits. The Lord is good, and He is worthy of our trust. May we choose to seek Him and place all in His hands. 

The Lord is faithful, 

For all of our days; 

From when we are young, 

Today, and always. 

He calms all our fears, 

When we are afraid; 

And grants us His strength, 

When ours goes away. 

He is our safety, 

In uncertainty; 

Our help and our hope, 

To eternity. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Choose rely on Him; 

He’ll help us press on, 

Even when hope’s dim. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, as You sustain, strengthen, and carry us throughout our whole life. Thank You that Your promises are true in both our youth and into our older years. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears with the things that seem too much. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8