Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

Be strong and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Protect Well Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TPT)

 

The condition of our hearts is of utmost importance, for from them flows everything we think, say and do. As time is intentionally invested with God, He refines our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The more care we place into guarding our hearts from taking in what does not belong, the better the condition of our inmost being, and consequently, the more life-giving our words and deeds become. May we ever guard our hearts so that light, life and love are the things that flow out of our lives.

 

Protect well your heart, Protect Well Your Heart

Give care to each thought;

For from deep within,

Our affections are sought.

If we take in good,

Seek after the Lord;

The same flows from us,

All grace He affords.

Pursue with intent,

God and His great grace;

Allow Him to reign,

As love shapes our ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and seek You to guard our hearts, You protect and refine us to better reflect Your love to the world. Thank You that in You, there is an overflow to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anything other than Your truth to have a voice in our lives. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be protected and directed by the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to make room for what You are doing in us to overflow through love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek Your guidance in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Filter the Flow

“Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.” – (Mark 7:15, NIV)

“Your souls aren’t harmed by what you eat, but by what you think and say!” – (Mark 7:15, TLB)

“There is nothing outside someone that can corrupt him. Only the things that come out of a person can corrupt him.” – (Mark 7:15, VOICE)

 

The things that surround us do not defile us by their mere existence. It is what we do with what we take in that determines the outcome. Our thoughts, words and deeds are what demonstrate the condition of our heart, not what we eat or where we happen to be planted. We all have a choice as to what we do with what we take in – we either embrace whatever it is and it seasons that which we say and do, or we recognize the need for a Godly filter, and cast aside that which is of no benefit to us or others. May we seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, allowing room for His heavenly filter to decipher what is beneficial and what needs to be let go, so that what comes out of us is wrapped in the love of God.

 

Our heart is the space, Enter With Thanksgiving

Where we all decide;

Which words and actions,

In life, be applied.

It is these choices,

Not things that surround;

That lift or corrupt,

As the truth is found.

May we all choose seek,

The Lord and His grace;

May our words and deeds,

Provide love’s embrace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what is outside of us and even what we take in is not what corrupts us. Thank You that it is a matter of the heart and what we do with our thoughts and actions that determine whether we are walking in line with You or far from You. Forgive us for the times that we have wandered on our own with our words, thoughts or actions. Please repair the damage done by our lack of listening. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take pause and listen to Your leading in every word, thought and deed. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead and guide us in our thoughts, words and actions. May we ever honor You in all that we say and do. Amen.

 

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

 

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:2

Love Fulfills the Law

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:9-10, NIV)

The law says, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder anyone, you must not steal, you must not want what belongs to someone else.” All these commands and all other commands are really only one rule: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:9-10, ERV)

For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” and every other commandment can be summed up in these words: “Love and value others the same way you love and value yourself.” Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:9-10, TPT)

 

This really sums up so much. Our charge, our call, our purpose, above all else, is to LOVE. If we truly love as God intended, we are obeying and honoring God, and showing the world what love really means. The “Golden Rule” is similarly based on this sort of love. To do unto others as we want done unto us, is the same as loving our neighbors as ourselves. Isn’t that what everyone ultimately desires? To love and be loved in return? It is no surprise that the longing within us aligns with the intent and purpose for which we were created. It is the most difficult to love when the recipient of our choice to love does not do the same in return. However, we are called to love anyway. Often, the repeated extension of kindness breaks down the barriers that are blocking another from receiving or giving love. Once they begin to see, know and understand that it is genuine, they become more willing to receive and return what is given. May we ever choose to love others as we desire to be loved; for this is what we are called and commanded to do.

 

Choose love each other, Ambassadors of Love

As we’d like love back;

For this is our charge,

To do as God asks.

All those whom we meet,

Are neighbors indeed;

Ready for kindness,

Love’s a human need.

Each time that we choose,

To give love away;

We’re following God,

For love is His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Thank You that You do not just command it, but You have shown us again and again what it is to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You would want us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness, mercy and grace, even in the face of adversity and ugliness. Show us how to love all of those You have placed around us in ways that make Your heart tangible to them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You call us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

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

What Love Brings

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 who 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)

 

This weekend has been a whirlwind, and I have seen God work for the good in incredible ways. First, on Saturday, the high school gymnastics team received some heartbreaking news, just prior to leaving for the state qualifying meet. The ride to the meet was quite somber, and then the incredible support, love and kindness expressed through the head coach’s words of care and concern for all those impacted, led the entire group to enter the building, wiping eyes and leaning on each other. I was in awe at how the girls rallied together and leaned on one another for strength, as they determined that they would persevere and do their best, despite their present circumstance. Good did indeed come from the resolve displayed by these young ladies, as they qualified as a team to compete in the state meet next weekend.

The second example of God working for good that I witnessed this weekend, was as my Viking and I spent the day back in Wenatchee with Mom. Already, we can see the good and beautiful that is yet to come, through her being back in her own hometown. Her joy as we ran errands together and helped set up her new space, was abundantly clear, at the recognition of how far God has brought her, and how much more He has in store for Mom, back in her own community.

Examples such as these, are reminders that God has a plan to work everything for good in our lives; even the most challenging of circumstances. He can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Our charge is to trust and follow Him. May we ever seek the Lord and listen to His leading, so that we may walk in the goodness that He has planned for each of our lives.

 

In everything, wp-15819516692066865318171231899170.jpg

The Lord can bring good;

Beyond what we’d hope,

His grace understood.

Beauty from ashes,

Hope up from despair;

God makes a new way,

Shows our hearts He cares.

Lean into the Lord,

Seek Him in all things;

Trust His faithfulness,

And watch what love brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good for those who love You and seek Your face. Thank You for showing Your faithfulness again and again. Thank You that You love and protect, care for and provide. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when all we can see is the dark or the despair. Teach us how to trust You in troubled times, for You move mountains, even when we cannot see Your work. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may know Your love, hope, faithfulness and care for them in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek to follow Your leading for every next step in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

The Power of Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, TPT)

 

Love is a powerful force, created by God, to bring people together. Not only are we commanded to love, but His word unpacks for us, how to love like Him. To say that love is patient, means that love needs to contain the capacity for endurance. It is not to have an on/off switch based on circumstance, but rather love endures through all things, at all times. Love is kind, is an expectation that love will choose to be considerate, helpful, gentle and from a tendency toward tenderness. A love that does not envy, is one that rejoices in the successes and blessings of others, rather than wishing they were their own. True love does not need to place their own accomplishments on parade, nor promote self, for their heart, their love and their kindness speak for their character. This one is one that I witness far too often in middle school, and it is one of my greatest frustrations, as love does not dishonor, belittle nor disrespect others. To be easily angered is to have a short fuse, and God, in His grace, will replace the short wick with a long one, if we depend on Him. Lastly, love not keeping record of wrongs, is a curious call. Of course, we are not to hold grudges, and we must forgive, for unforgiveness is toxic to the holder, not the offender. However, it is impossible in our own strength to not be at least a bit influenced by the treatment we have received in the past from others. To love the way in which God calls us to love, we need Him, every moment of every day. We are broken and flawed; He is holy and perfect and pure. If we rely on Him, we can learn to love as we are meant to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart for others, so that we love as He first loved us.

 

Lord, help us to love, Diligent for All of Our Days

Be patient and kind;

Never to envy,

Keep others in mind.

Lead us to honor,

Each other in love;

Respect and forgive,

Love as You first loved.

Help us to let go,

Of wrongs of the past;

Forgive, move forward,

With Your love that lasts.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and instruct us to love. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love the way that we are called to love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love, as our words, thoughts or actions countered the very things You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we walk in love according to Your instructions. Show us how to love patiently and with kindness, and keep envy, pride and anger far from us. Help us to meet those around us with the love that is needed most, even when their words or actions make us want to run the other direction. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love the way that You are calling us to love. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Thankful for Blessings

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – (Psalm 107:8, NIV)

Thank the Lord for His faithful love and for the amazing things He does for people. – (Psalm 107:8, ERV)

So lift your hands and thank God for His marvelous kindness and for all His miracles of mercy for those He loves. – (Psalm 107:8, TPT)

 

Whenever the verse of the day comes from the Psalms, I seldom read just the one in which the verse is found. The raw and real that reads like poetry, speak clearly to my heart. As I somehow found myself in Psalm 107, after having begun in 97, I discovered that the words written in verse eight, are repeated three more times in the same Psalm. Any time there is repetition in scripture, it is a clear indicator to pay attention and take note. I appreciate how each of the various translations unpack a slightly different aspect of the truth of God and why we ought to give Him thanks. Unfailing love, wonderful deeds for mankind, faithful love, amazing things for people, marvelous kindness, and miracles of mercy for those He loves, are the specific reasons to give thanks to the Lord, all found in one verse that is repeated three times in a single chapter. Personally, it would take little time to fill an entire page with examples of God’s faithful love and the amazing things that He does for people. I have been both the recipient and an observer, and am equally blessed in knowing the powerful love that fuels such wonderful deeds for humankind. May we ever give thanks to God, for He is faithful and loving and His willingness to extend His marvelous kindness and miracles of mercy to those He loves, never ends.

Yesterday marked the one-week countdown for Mom, before she moves into her next leg of her healing journey. There has been much prayer, preparation and discussion to reach this step of her path, so all encouragement is wonderful and welcome. As with anything new, there are concerns and hesitation; primarily due to change. The struggle comes when those on the outside begin to question decisions that were made with confident faith in Christ, and the determination and resolve begin to waver. For Mom and the immediate family, loving support and encouragement will be the most helpful as the new comes into fruition. Thank you in advance, for all who have been and continue to pray, for we anticipate amazing things in the coming weeks and months! God’s marvelous kindness and miracles of mercy have been present every step of the way so far, and we look forward with faith, to all of the blessings He has in store for Mom that are yet to come.

 

May we choose give thanks, Pleased with Good Plans

To You, Lord above;

For wonderful deeds,

You’ve done in Your love.

For kindness and grace,

We give You thanks too;

With all that we are,

We lift praise to You.

For great miracles,

That make Your heart known;

Thankfulness we bring,

For blessings You’ve shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful love that extends kindness and mercy, goodness and grace, for all of our days. Thank You that Your love for us is greater than our hearts can even begin to comprehend. Forgive us for doubting Your care, concern or nearness when times are trying. Teach us to trust that You are present and moving on our behalf, even when we cannot see what You are doing. Show us how to love those around us through every season and struggle that we walk through. Let Your kindness be evident in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful love and incredible blessings, as You move in our lives and on our behalf. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Ask for Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – (James 1:5, NIV)

Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So He will give you wisdom. – (James 1:5, ERV)

And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and He will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but He will overwhelm your failures with His generous grace. – (James 1:5, TPT)

 

Twice over the past week, I have found myself in meetings where I needed the right words to communicate clearly. God’s wisdom and grace were necessary to navigate each situation, and God was faithful to grant me the words to speak that reached the hearts of those who were meant to hear. It was nothing that I had mapped out or planned, for neither situation warranted a script, nor included a predictable narrative. Rather, I had prepared for each encounter by covering the time in prayer, asking for God’s wisdom and grace to go before me and be present with me, so that all would go well, according to His will. God is faithful to grant us the wisdom that we lack when we ask, for He always wants the very best for His children. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, as He is faithful and generous to joyfully give all that we lack.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic afternoon together with my sister, brother-in-love, and mom in Portland. Mark and I drove down to meet the trio for lunch, as they drove a bit north from Albany. The food was excellent, and the company and conversation, even better. We had the opportunity to discuss important next steps in mom’s healing journey, and she is very much looking forward to this upcoming chapter. (Stay tuned, as I do not want to steal mom’s thunder. 😉) After lunch, mom, Meg and I went to have a little shopping adventure, while the fellas ventured off together in a direction a bit more intriguing to them. Later, we all reconvened at Starbucks to say our “see you laters”, and our two vehicles headed back for our respective homes.

 

The God of all grace, wp-15806529391015656408296651316835.jpg

Grants us what we lack;

If we only seek,

Come to Him and ask.

When we are unsure,

Don’t know what to do;

Ask God for wisdom,

He’s faithful and true.

He provides the words,

Whatever we need;

To follow the path,

Where His best will lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we lack wisdom and seek You for answers, You are faithful to meet us and lead us. Thank You that You love to bless Your children with wisdom to know Your best in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You for help or answers. Teach us to trust You more, as You are always faithful to show us Your best for our lives. Direct our steps so that we may love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for wisdom, and wait on You for answers; as You so clearly speak to our hearts and minds. Amen.

 

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

 

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

With All That We Are

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart; love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

 

We are called and created to love God; not just in theory or in words, but with our entire existence. To love God with all our heart and soul and strength requires us to love Him in all that we say, think and do. I love God, but know that I still have a long way to go for love to permeate every single word, thought and deed of every moment of every day. God is love. He loves us the way that He calls us to love. When we seek Him and invest time with Him, He transforms our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect the radiance of His love toward Him and those around us. If we love God with all that we are, we will love all whom He has created in the same way. May we intentionally invest time with the Lord so that we may know Him more, as the more we know, the more deeply we love He who first loved us.

As for an update on mom, today should be an exciting day! Meg, Scott and Mom will be driving north to Portland, while Mark and I will drive the few hours south, so that we can all meet up for lunch and an afternoon together in the city. Though it is a short span of time together, we were thrilled to figure out a way to make it work with the crazy calendars that we all are fielding over the coming few months. Time together is our favorite, and it will be wonderful to have the face-to-face connection that I have not had since the beginning of this month. We are praying for sweet time together and blessed conversation.

 

Love the Lord our God, With All That We Are

Strength, soul and whole heart;

With all that you are,

Not just a small part.

For God is faithful,

To all who seek Him;

He loves and equips,

As goodness floods in.

In all that we say,

Each thought and each deed;

Do all things in love,

And let the Lord lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You with all our heart, soul and strength. Thank You that this is not something that we can do in our own strength, but rather You transform our hearts and minds as we seek and invest time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved with our heart, soul or strength. Teach us what it is to love You in each of these areas, every moment of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is out of the overflow of our love for You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to learn how to love with all our heart, soul and strength. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Called to Be Light

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – (Matthew 5:14-15, NIV)

“You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lamp stand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house.” – (Matthew 5:14-15, ERV)

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine!” – (Matthew 5:14-15, MSG)

 

When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we discover that we are called and created to be His light in the world. The love that He deposits in us is meant to be shared as it illuminates through us. As we allow God room to move and transform, the more clearly His heart can be made known through our words, deeds and existence. Not one of us was created to live in isolation, but rather to be invested in a community where we can live and love in such a way, that His heart is shared and He is glorified through how we live. I imagine we all can think of examples of those who shine so brightly, that others cannot help but be drawn to the loving light that they exude wherever they go. May we walk so closely with God that His love within us, shines through us, as we live and love each day that we draw breath.

 

We’re called to be light,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To make God’s love known;

Through our words and deeds,

May His light be shown.

The more that we soak,

In God’s holy space;

The more we reflect,

His love and His grace.

Choose walk with the Lord,

Seek His face to shine;

Reach out and love well,

Intended design.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be Your light unto the world. Thank You that You do not desire for any of us to live hidden or in isolation, but to be present and illuminate Your love to those around us. Thank You that Your love within us is greater than the darkness around us. Forgive us for attempting to be hidden or to isolate ourselves when You call us to be invested and present. Teach us to trust the power of Your love to light our way. Show us how to love like You, so that we may shine brightly wherever we go and bless all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your light to shine through our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46