Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

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

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

Trust Completely

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

Well, my suspicions were confirmed, and not only did I break my toe, but I broke it in two places. For me, this is a space where I find myself having to choose trust over and over again, as my hope and goal of running a marathon in June seems to have an enormous obstacle in the way. That being said, I know that God can do the miraculous, and I will continue to trust in Him. In a few short weeks, my friend and I were able to build up mileage from a couple of miles, to confidently running nine. If this healing process takes four weeks, we will still have more than two and a half months to build to the distance necessary to accomplish the goal. However, that is merely my human understanding, not His. Each day, I will choose again to seek and listen to His leading. I know not how this healing process will all  go, but I do know that God will be with me and will direct my steps. He knows the desires of my heart and will lead me in the way I am meant to go. My prayer is that recovery will be quick and I will be back to running in no time, yet even so, I will trust in Him. My deadlines and timelines are not His, and I will allow Him to lead. May we ever seek the Lord in all things and at all times, for He will be with us and lead us wherever we go.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

For He paves the way,

To what’s to become.

Lean not on what’s known,

But rather, seek Him;

He directs our path,

Through where things seem grim.

He can make a way,

Where it seems there’s none;

Our strength and our hope,

The most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You through all things. Thank You that You lead us and guide us on paths You make clear. Forgive us for our frustration and fears when obstacles seem insurmountable or our path becomes unclear. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they gain strength and perseverance to press forward to where You are leading. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You with all our heart and depend not on our limited understanding, but rather rely on You to lead us well. 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

The Message is Love

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

The message that is repeated over and over again throughout the Bible and through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, is to love one another. It was the love of God that compelled Him to create. The love of God is what sent His Son to repair what had been broken and restore a right relationship with Him. Daily, we are loved by God and we have been called and created to love each other in the same way. Our love, care and concern for one another ought to be pure and not self-seeking. As we love as God intended, others are lifted up and led to the light of God’s goodness and grace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in the fullness of His loving kindness in all that we say and do.

The message we’ve heard,

Is ever the same;

Love one another,

In Jesus’ Name.

For it’s by our love,

In word thought and deed;

That God’s love is shown,

As we trust His lead.

For all that is good,

All that offers light;

Comes from the Father,

The Maker of right.

Let us choose rise up,

Seek the God of grace;

To teach us to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the message You have given since the beginning of time has been to love. Thank You that You first loved us and demonstrated what it is to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we ought to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us. Show us how to love one another best so that all may come to know and understand the fullness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and receive Your love so that we may love one another well. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the 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

Freedom to Forgive

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

Forgiveness is a strange thing, as we have been forgiven much, yet at times, we struggle to forgive the most minor of offenses. Not one of us is perfect, and we all fall short. This is the space that we must remember when we are hurt or offended by another. In the same way that God pours out His abundant forgiveness and grace, we too, ought to do the same. The crazy thing about unforgiveness is that it hurts the holder of the offense, not the offender. Often, the one who has hurt or offended is not even aware that they have done harm. It is our responsibility to either let it go, or speak with the offender in love and let them know that their words or actions have done harm. That being said, we must do so with forgiveness already in place, regardless of the reception of our communication. Most times, awareness brings repentance and mends are made quickly. However, if the offender stands behind their word or deed, we are still called to forgive. We are not meant to subject ourselves to a vicious cycle of harm, but rather we are not to cling to that which we cannot change. God forgives us each time that we ask, yet He lets us know that if we hold unforgiveness, He will respond to our requests in the same way. I don’t know about you, but I am fully aware of my shortcomings and desperately need His forgiveness and grace. If I need forgiveness and grace, so too, do all those whom I encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to forgive and give grace, even when we would rather hold onto the offense. Freedom to love well is birthed in us as we choose to walk in forgiveness.

O Lord, help us choose,

Forgive and give grace;

As You’ve done for us,

Throughout all our days.

Soften our hearts, Lord,

So love might come first;

Teach us to let go,

To bless not to curse.

May love lead the way,

In all that we do;

Teach us to forgive,

And choose love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not limit the number of times that You forgive us when we fail and fall short. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do likewise to all those around us as we depend on You. Forgive us for holding onto offenses. Please teach us to release all into Your hands so that we may give goodness and grace in place of our anger, hurt or frustration. Show us how to love like You, at all times and in all circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the power held in Your loving kindness for us all. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us to forgive as You do. Amen.

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

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – Matthew 6:12

Grow Us in Grace

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, TPT)

For the last few years, I have taken time to seek God and ask Him for a word for the coming year. Last year, the word that was placed on my heart was “new”. Though the “new” that we all experienced was nothing like any of us might have imagined, there certainly was a recurring category of “new”. We entered a new season as the world shut down and life as we knew it changed. In the midst of it all, much new had to be learned. For me, a brand new way of doing my job accompanied the new season of the twins graduating from high school, and the addition of two new fur babies to our family. Though there has been struggle with the new, God’s grace was all the more. It seems that we each have the opportunity to become new as we navigate the challenges that come our way. Each obstacle provides room for us to seek the Lord and pursue the new He is growing in us as we are faithful to continue looking forward to all that lies before us. This process of becoming “new”, has brought me to the word that God has given me for 2021. The word that kept crashing around in my heart and mind is “grace”. In order to continue to move forward in all that I have been called, His grace will be required. There needs to be an ongoing growth in grace – both in the giving and receiving of “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.(dictionary.com definition of grace) I don’t know about you, but I will absolutely welcome the freely given favor and love of God, and know that I am called to do the same for those around me. Grace is a gift; not something that needs to be earned. May we actively seek to both give and receive the grace of God, so that we may ever grow in grace and love, according to God’s good and perfect will.

May we grow in grace,

As He makes us new;

Receive all He gives,

So we might give too.

To grow in goodness,

We need know His ways;

Make willing our hearts,

To trust God always.

Though sometimes the new,

Is not what we dreamed;

His grace is enough,

To make all redeemed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make all things new and You grow us in Your lavish grace. Forgive us for our resistance to the new and our stubbornness that neglects to give and receive the grace You intended. Teach us how to grow in grace so that we may love as You call us to love. Lead us to love others in ways that are full of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You are growing in us to navigate this new year. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Faithful to Finish

The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV) 

The One who calls you by name is trustworthy and will thoroughly complete His work in you. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, TPT) 

For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, VOICE) 

God is faithful to His promises. What He calls us to, He sees us through. Often, the things that God calls us to do are far too difficult, or beyond our scope of capability. When God is with us and for us, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. He can do far more than we could ever ask or imagine when we trust in Him. A perfect example of this is the road my mom has been navigating for nearly the last year and a half. After a stroke that initially stole control of the entire right side of her body and her independence, mom is now back in her own home, able to do far more than she thought possible, only a year ago. God has faithfully provided all that is needed to make this a reality. He orchestrated the right people and circumstances for such a time as this. Mom has wonderful help each day to assist with the things that are too difficult with a stubborn right arm, and the freedom, confidence, strength and independence to do all that she is able on her own. I still believe that He is not finished either. God has even more in store for mom than she could hope or imagine. The healing she is walking in (literally and figuratively) now, is but a glimpse of all that He will still do. She has been called to things that He created her to do, and He is faithful to see her through. I eagerly watch in anticipation for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in God to finish all He began, for He is faithful and worthy of our trust. 

For each one of us, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography.

Has been called by name; 

Created, chosen, 

And loved, all the same. 

To what we are called, 

God is faithful, true; 

Strengthened and equipped, 

To love and to do. 

Help us to trust You, 

Despite what we see; 

You, God, are able, 

To lift up, set free. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for Your faithfulness forever. Thank You that what You call us to do, You see us through, as You are faithful to fulfill what You promise. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the road ahead seems impossible. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the God who makes all things possible in You. Show us how to love, encourage, support and lift up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be faithful to finish all that You have begun and called us to do. 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

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Counsel and Correction

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, NIV) 

Listen to advice and accept discipline; then you, too, will become wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, ERV) 

Take good counsel and accept correction – that’s the way to live wisely and well. – (Proverbs 19:20, MSG) 

Not one of us has it so together that we do not have room to grow. Advice and correction are ways that we have the opportunity to do better and be better. The challenge is that we must be willing to listen and apply the wisdom that is passed on to us, as we ever pursue more of God and His will for our lives. It is important to invest time in the word and in prayer, as well as finding wise and trustworthy people, whom we can go to when we need advice and allow room for correction in spaces where we are off-course. This is where community is so important. We must know others and be known in order to both give and receive good counsel as we ever pursue all that God has for us. I am blessed to be long-invested in a church community that is rich in wise people who have more life experience than I do. They have navigated the road before me, and have successfully traversed treacherous and trying times. I have a few trusted individuals that are my go-to people when I have a question or concern, or simply need to hear a voice of reason. Always we ought to go to God first, however, it is no accident that we discover people around us who are willing and equipped to give sound advice. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, correction and redirection, and allow trusted voices the opportunity to speak truth into our lives. 

We all need advice, 

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To live this life well; 

Graciously given, 

For truth good compels. 

The word of the Lord, 

And seeking His face; 

Are ways to improve, 

How we run our race. 

For it’s not a sprint, 

But a marathon; 

Keep moving forward, 

Let wisdom lead on. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to have it all together, nor navigate this life alone. Thank You that wise counsel and direction are found in Your word and through the people that You intentionally place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have either attempted to run our race alone, or have neglected to listen to the correction or direction that we need to keep pressing on well. Teach us to trust You and trust those around us who are intentional in their pursuit of You. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead, correct and direct us, and allow others to speak truth into our lives. Amen. 

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

Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your Name lead and guide me. – Psalm 31:3