Represent in Love

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, NIV)

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, ERV)

Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, MSG)

This is and has been a charge that has felt seemingly absent over the last year and a half on social media. People who love God and love people, have been blasting one another over various “hot topics”, rather than listening to understand in love. The challenge in this is that we all have opinions that rise up, yet if we profess Jesus is Lord, we cannot name call and demean those around us for what they think. That is not love. Yes, we can have civilized conversations face-to-face, but yelling, name-calling, and demeaning is not beneficial to anyone. All of us have opinions and positions on the various things that are going on in the world that bring about differing views, yet what we do with those opinions is on us. If we are to profess our faith in love, our every interaction must be led in love. I too, have opinions and reactions rise up, but have learned that I cannot simply react, but rather I must listen in love and seek the Lord to lead. Most often, that means that I must scroll past the “blasting” and only discuss my thoughts when I am able to listen in love and calmly share my concerns and ideas. It is a delicate balance to continue to learn how to live in such a way that we are honoring God in all that we do and say. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our conversations and exchanges of thoughts, ideas and opinions so that love is what is evident in all.

Love is the answer,

We’re each called to give;

In speech and actions,

Each day that we live.

No matter our thoughts,

To what’s going on;

If not led in love,

Validity’s gone.

What good is shouting,

Finger-pointing wrongs?

Instead, let’s listen,

Show that love belongs.

O Lord, we need You,

To lead us in love;

To follow Your heart,

Speak in peace and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to conduct ourselves in a manner that ever demonstrates Your goodness and love. Thank You that You call us to represent You with our words and deeds. Forgive us for our every word, thought and deed that has not demonstrated Your goodness, love and grace. Teach us to interact with one another in love, no matter how differently we view the world. Show us how to love greatly, and to choose to love in our every action, reaction and interaction with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in everything that we say and do so that we may represent who You intended us to become. Amen.

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

Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. – Psalm 17:7

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV)

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV)

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, MSG)

It should not be easy to overlook this fact, but there are times that I make God too small. I think I get caught up in the frustration, fear, or a funk, forgetting what I know to be true. God has ALWAYS been faithful, and He ALWAYS uses our trials as testimonies and our struggles as ways to show us just how mightily He can move. Incredibly, as we seek Him and allow Him to work in us, through us and around us, He exceeds our hopes and expectations every time. Though His answers and solutions may not look like we had hoped or imagined, they ultimately are far better than what we hoped would be so. As we give God room to move, He is given glory through His church (all of us), and through His Spirit (working in us). Whether we are faithful and trusting or not, He forever remains worthy of all glory and praise. May we ever seek the Lord and allow Him room to be God, for He will do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine.

God’s more is so much,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Immeasurable;

Beyond all our hopes,

Power enabled.

All we imagine,

Is still nowhere near;

What the Lord can do,

When we release fear.

Choose trust in the Lord,

Watch all that He does;

More than we could dream,

Power through His love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine; in us, through us and around us. Thank You that Your glory lasts forever, and You love never quits. Forgive us for thinking our hopes, dreams, trials and difficulties are insignificant to You. Teach us to trust You more, for Your love and ability to move on our behalf are beyond what we could hope or imagine. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant glimpses of the depth and breadth of Your unending love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all the glory forever for all that You have and will ever do. Amen.

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

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

Goodness and Unending Love

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG)

Life is full of distractions if we allow them. It takes intention to give God thanks and recognize Him for all that He has done. Thankfully, His love never quits on us, even when we are distracted or allow our gaze to wander. Lovingly, He woos us back to fix our eyes on Him, and realign our focus on praising our Provider for who He is and how He loves. May we ever give thanks to God for His goodness, and for His love that lasts forever.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He’s always good;

Let our hearts choose praise,

As love’s understood.

His love’s forever,

It never runs out;

Not circumstantial,

Goes beyond devout.

May we choose praise Him,

Our forever love;

He never fails us,

The Lord God above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and loving forever. Thank You that no matter where we are or what is going on, You are present to love and see us through. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our thanks and praise. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize Your goodness or forget to give You proper praise. Teach us to turn to You with hearts full of thanks, for Your goodness and love never end. Show us how to love those around us with the same sort of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and unending love. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Discover What He’s Done

Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. – (Isaiah 12:5, NIV)

Sing songs of praise about the Lord, because He has done great things. Spread this news about God throughout the whole world. Let all people know these things. – (Isaiah 12:5, ERV)

Sing praise to the Eternal! Everyone, everywhere should know that God acts in amazing ways. – (Isaiah 12:5, VOICE)

The evidence of God’s hand is all around us. It takes little looking to discover all of the great things that He has done. From the way that the waves know how far upon the shore to come, to the smiles and laughter of loved ones, all have been formed by His loving hands. There are times that it is easy to get caught up in the chaos that comes and neglect to be aware of all of the glorious things that God has done around and in us. When we pause and sing songs of praise, we are reminded of just how good God truly is. The more we recognize and celebrate His goodness, the better His heart is made known to those around us. May we ever sing praise to the Lord, for He is good and has done great things.

Let’s sing to the Lord,

For all He has done;

The work of His hands,

The battles we’ve won.

All that’s created,

Each blessing of grace;

Beauty surrounds us,

Throughout all our days.

Give thanks to the Lord,

Choose rise, sing His praise;

All thanks to the King,

Who’s faithful always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You for the incredible works of Your hands that provide and bless us all. Forgive us for not giving proper credit to You, for every good and perfect gift has come from You. Teach us to sing Your praise throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us well so that they too, may see the goodness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing songs of praise to You and share Your goodness with those around us. Amen.

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

Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him! – Psalm 147:1

Hope Gives Reason for Gratitude

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights His heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. – (Hebrew 12:28, TPT)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakeable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

Our gratitude to God ought to be abundant; not only for the life we have now, but for that which is yet to come. We have hope and love, strength and security in all that lies before us. For these things and so much more, let us give thanks and worship the One who gives us all. Our worship, from a grateful heart, pleases and delights He who is worthy of all praise and thanks. Though this Thanksgiving will look and feel far different than what many of us are accustomed to, we still have reason to give thanks. For me and my family, it is the first time in my twins’ lives that we have not spent Thanksgiving with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, and my nephews. We all have such fond memories of our times together, I cannot help but grieve the absence. However, we all are healthy and safe, and each family has remained gainfully employed. Though we cannot join together on this day, we have many reasons to give God gratitude. May we each give thanks to God for the hope we have in Him, and offer Him our worship and praise as we go about our days.

With hearts full of thanks,

We give God our praise;

For the hope we hold,

In Him, all our days.

His goodness and love,

Place hope in our hearts;

Remind us anew,

Each day’s a fresh start.

We worship You, Lord,

All honor and praise,

To Him who’s adored.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and grace, hope and presence, as You deserve all thanks and praise today, regardless of our circumstances. Thank You that our hope does not come from what we see, but what we know and have assurance of in our hearts. Forgive us for our frustrations with our present circumstances. Please help us to hold fast to the hope we have in You, rather than what is right now. Teach us to trust You and give You thanks in all things. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as Your hope is made evident through us. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You thanks for the hope we have in what is yet to come, and the blessings we have in the here and now. Amen.

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

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

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

Be Willing

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. – (Matthew 3:15, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Let it be this way for now. We should do whatever God says is right.” Then John agreed. – (Matthew 3:15, ERV)

But Jesus said, “Please do it, for I must do all that is right.” So then John baptized Him. – (Matthew 3:15, TLB)

 

This verse is part of the story of when Jesus went to the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was baptizing people, in order to be baptized. At first, John tried to dissuade Him, for he felt the roles should be reversed. John understood who Jesus was, and did not feel worthy to fulfill such a significant role in the life of the Savior. However, Jesus let John know that it was an act of obedience to God. With that in mind, John’s mind quickly changed and he somberly moved forward in fulfilling that which was being asked of him. Because John was willing, he also was witness to heaven opening and the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus, with a voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” One act of willing obedience, despite it not making sense, led to a tremendous blessing that few were privileged to see. God still works the same way with us. Often, He calls us to things that seem strange or beyond our capacity, yet when we rise up and move forward in faith, we discover more of who He is and how much He loves. May we ever choose to do all that is right, according to what God asks of us; even when it does not make sense or is far beyond our capacity to complete on our own. God is faithful, and He does not lead us anywhere that He will not also meet us and see us through.

 

Be willing to walk,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Into the brand new;

Despite how it seems,

God will see us through.

For He will not call,

Us where He won’t lead;

He supplies us strength,

And grace to succeed.

For in Christ there’s more,

Than our hearts can dream;

We have to choose trust,

In Him we’re redeemed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us into new things that are beyond what we think we can do. Thank You that in You, we are granted the strength, wisdom, grace and help we need to keep moving forward in all that is asked of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as we look at what we can see, rather than who You are. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how love, encourage and support those around us in the same way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and move forward into the new that You call us to. Amen.

 

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

 

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – Psalm 106:3

Choose Praise

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, … for the Mighty One has done great things for me – Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46,47 & 49, NIV)

Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His Name is very holy. – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, ERV)

Mary: My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s Name! – (Luke 1:46, 47 & 49, VOICE)

 

I observe in awe and wonder, the heart of Mary, as she focused on the gift and the honor for which she had been chosen, rather than the stigma and challenges that would come with what was being asked of her. She trusted God, and praised Him. In this season, and always, I desire to have a heart like hers. God has done incredibly great things for me, and I know with all that I am, that He indeed, is holy. When challenges come, I desire for my focus to be on glorifying God for who He is, so that I may rejoice in Him, rather than my circumstances. As we walk into the wearying last week before break, may we look to the Lord and celebrate all that He has done. May praise be present within me, as I know the true joy in who He is and how He loves so well.

 

I choose praise the Lord,

With all of my heart;

Celebrate His grace,

And strength He imparts.

So many great things,

The Lord does in love;

Worthy of our praise,

All gifts from above.

He’s mighty to save,

And faithful to show;

The mercy we need,

As His blessings flow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have unending reasons to glorify You and rejoice in Your Mighty Name. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and that Your faithfulness knows no end. Thank You that You love us with an unfailing love. Forgive us for doubting the depths of Your love and care when life takes difficult turns. Teach us to trust You more, as You know the outcome and walk beside us each step of life’s journey. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we extend grace and strength and hope to those who are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise, our Savior, who does great things for us all. 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

Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are a part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

 

When a Tuesday feels like a Thursday, with the promise of an early end for tomorrow’s Friday-like Wednesday, it is a bit of a reminder of the kingdom we are receiving that cannot be shaken. For me, my hope, energy and resolve are far greater on mornings where I wake up and recognize the short span of time required before the reward of being reunited with my loved ones living a state away comes to fruition. Any time that we recognize hope, joy, love, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control, and faithfulness, we are witnessing the very ways of God granted to us; perhaps a sort of preview of a whisper of the good that is yet to come. For “… as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ – the things God has prepared for those who love Him. (1 Corinthians 2:9) I don’t know about you, but I can imagine great beauty and peaceful places, so a space that exceeds what my mind can conceive is certainly one that inspires awe and reverence for God, our Creator. He who loves us so much that He is not only be present with us here, but has prepared a place for us to be with Him forever, deserves all of our gratitude and praise. May we ever be thankful that we are part of the unshakable Kingdom that is found in Christ, and in response, let us offer worship to God that is pleasing and reflective of our awe and reverence toward Him.

 

May we all give thanks, img_2019-11-26_05-10-535163374786376449669.jpg

For the hope we hold;

Forever with God,

The truth our hearts know.

In awe and wonder,

Let our praises raise;

For God’s faithfulness,

Throughout all our days.

Strength when we’re weary,

Hope in our despair;

Peace in the chaos,

Boundless love to share.

Rise up and give thanks,

For all yet to come;

His love, unending,

Hope’s priceless outcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your kingdom cannot be shaken. Thank You that You alone, are worthy of all of our worship and praise. Thank You that as we come before You with reverence and awe, You meet us and are faithful forever. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in times when things seem unsteady. Teach us to trust in You, our unshakable, everlasting God who saves. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and lift up the weary, making Your goodness and grace evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks for who You are and the hope we hold in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and 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

Loyal Love that Lasts

For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, NIV)

The Lord is good! There is no end to His faithful love. We can trust Him forever and ever! – (Psalm 100:5, ERV)

For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and forever. – (Psalm 100:5, MSG)

 

This morning as I woke, I was a bit startled to realize that light was streaming in through our bedroom window, as I checked the time, amazed that I had slept in until nearly 7:30 am. When the body is conditioned for a 3:15 am wake-up, anything past 6:00 am is a rarity. Even more shocking, was a look at my sleep record in my Fitbit app, only to discover that I had slept a bit over eight hours for the first time since August 16th! Clearly my body needed the rest, and God in His goodness, provided. Even during the busiest weeks, God is faithful and worthy of our trust. Each day He supplied all that was needed to navigate each day, and last evening, after work, practice, and a run, I was blessed with a family dinner out with all five of us. As we take care of things on the home front this weekend, each of us will prepare for a short week, followed by the blessing of much anticipated time together with family. Such tangible goodness points me back to His word, and I am particularly drawn to the powerful imagery of the Message translation of this verse, as I think it is easy to forget that loyal, all-generous love, is where true beauty lies. God is the author and perfecter of faithful, everlasting love, and in Him, we grow to understand how good He truly is from one generation to the next. May we remember that the Lord is where true goodness lies, and that His faithful love endures throughout all generations as we gather together to give thanks.

Mom is doing well, but in a bit of a holding pattern again until after Thanksgiving. She had her speech assessment with the out-patient therapist, yet will not meet with her new occupational and physical therapists until December. Thankfully, mom remains upbeat and optimistic, recognizing the positive work that lies ahead. More than anything, I think that all of us are eager and grateful to be together for Thanksgiving. It has been our family tradition for many years, so I anticipate the familiarity of our festivities will be a beautiful blessing for all.

 

In goodness and grace, To Drive Out Darkness

The Lord ever gives;

His love, peace and hope,

As in Him, we live.

Faithful to meet us,

With love that will last;

He holds our future,

Forgives for our past.

All generations,

Who seek Him will find;

Faithful, sheer beauty,

From God to mankind.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love endures forever. Thank You that there is no end to Your faithful love. Thank You that we can trust You, knowing that You see and hear and hold us in Your strong hands. Forgive us for the times that we doubt, and teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us through every bump in the road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your goodness and grace, and praise You for Your loyal love that lasts forever. Amen.

 

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

 

For I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3