Pray and Pursue Understanding

May my cry come before You, Lord; give me understanding according to Your word. – (Psalm 119:169, NIV) 

Please, Lord, hear my prayer and give me the understanding that comes from Your word. – (Psalm 119:169, CEV) 

Lord, listen to my prayer. It’s like a sacrifice I bring to You; I must have more revelation of Your word! – (Psalm 119:169, TPT) 

In this ever-changing world, there is tremendous comfort in knowing God, for He remains the same forever. No matter what goes on around us, He who dwells within us, is constant. The better we know God and understand His word, the greater we are prepared to navigate whatever comes our way. As we call out to God, pray, and read His word, He grants us greater understanding of how to see people and situations through His lens of love. May we constantly pursue the Lord in prayer, and invest time in His word so that we may live and love well, in ways that are pleasing to Him. 

O Lord, hear my cry, 

As I come to You; 

Grant understanding, 

So that I’ll love true. 

As I read Your word, 

Help me understand; 

How to apply it, 

And walk out Your plan. 

Please give me insight, 

To live and love well; 

So words aren’t needed, 

As loving acts tell. 

Tell of Your goodness, 

Display well, Your grace; 

Let all that we do, 

Show Your loving ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we cry out to You and invest time in Your word, You grant us insight and understanding so that we may be a clearer reflection of Your lavish love. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You and have acted upon our own selfish tendencies. Teach us to seek You in all things for the insight and understanding that is needed to love well. Show us how to love all those whom we encounter, so that Your love may be evident through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cry out to You for understanding, and gain new revelation through Your word. Amen. 

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

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. – 2 Timothy 2:23

Prepare, Guide and Direct

Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, NIV) 

Guide me, as You promised. Don’t let evil rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, ERV) 

Prepare before me a path filled with Your promises, and don’t allow even one sin to have dominion over me. – (Psalm 119:133, TPT) 

Prepare, direct and guide are all necessary components to walk in God’s will and live according to His word. The thing that prevents us from fully walking in His way and following His path, is sin. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment or movement, and do not look to the Lord for His leading, sin can creep in and find a foothold in our heart. Our culture, today, makes this blaringly evident. Rather than having civilized discussions when differing or opposing opinions present themselves, many are choosing to engage in arguing, name-calling, or worse, rather than listening in love. Sin creeps in when we allow our thoughts to determine what is best, instead of seeking the Lord and asking Him. Angry arguing and belittling commentary are not ways to share the love that the Lord intended us to give. The ugliness is not what He is asking. Absolutely we are to speak up when wrongs are being done, but it ought to be about the sin and what God actually wants, not the person who is walking the wrong way. “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Kind, civilized, and loving words and modeling go much farther to show the way, than demeaning and destructive verbiage. Our intentions matter not if our words and deeds are tainted by sin. May we ever seek the Lord to prepare us, guide us and direct our steps, so that no sin finds a foothold in our hearts. 

O Lord, prepare me, 

Please show me Your heart; 

Cleanse me and lead me, 

And Your grace impart.  

Direct ev’ry step, 

Keep sin far away; 

So Your love is shown, 

And I love Your way. 

Guide me on Your path, 

Make each next step clear; 

Let each word and deed, 

Show love perseveres. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word prepares, guides and directs us so that sin may not find a foothold in our hearts. Forgive us for the times that we allow our own will to overrule Yours, and end up thinking, speaking or doing things contrary to Your ways. Teach us to seek and follow You, allowing You room to transform our hearts and make us acutely aware of what is Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to direct our every step and keep us free from being trapped into the ugliness of sin. Amen. 

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

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4

Quiet Retreat

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV) 

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wrap-around presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT) 

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE) 

I have been in the habit of seeking a quiet retreat with God every morning for several years now, however, in this seemingly long season of COVID, I find that there has been far more down time than I am a fan of having. That being said, it has forced me to either rest in the truth of His word, and appreciate the quiet retreat, or allow my heart and mind in a frenzy of what I could and should be doing. Thor, our yellow lab puppy, grants me glimpses of how God must see me. Sometimes, he is bouncing all over the place and struggles to settle down, even after food, play and his basic needs have been met. At times, he will settle himself down and rest in the safety of home. There are times though, where redirection and correction are needed to help him find a space of quiet retreat, where he will simply settle in and rest. I know that I am the same. In the early morning, it is easy for me to seek quiet retreat with God, and rest in His presence as I soak in His word. When the days grow long, and I desperately desire to go out and be active and busy, He will correct, redirect and help me to settle into His safety and trust Him to show me what to do next. God is good, and is our refuge and place of hope. May we ever seek Him to protect, direct and show us what is best. 

Our quiet retreat, 

Safety where there’s rest; 

The Lord is our hope, 

As He loves us best. 

Brings calm in the storm, 

The truth in His word; 

Grace in our chaos, 

Love that’s seen and heard. 

He offers us space, 

To rest in His grace; 

And trust in His truth, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and shelter, and offer us truth and direction in Your word. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You. Forgive us for not seeking You in our own unrest. Teach us to turn to You for peace, direction and rest, as You lead us best. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your loving kindness may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to learn and rest in You. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Purposeful Precepts

I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have preserved my life. – (Psalm 119:93, NIV) 

But I’ll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words. – (Psalm 119:93, MSG) 

I will never forget Your commands, because through them You gave me new life. – (Psalm 119:93, ERV) 

Upon first read, I pondered “precepts” and then referred to the dictionary for further clarification. A precept, according to my online dictionary, is a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct. It goes on further to list a precept as an injunction to moral conduct. As we invest in learning and understanding the word of God, we discover directions given that show us how to live the way that God intended. Not only that, but His word reminds us that we are forgiven and set free, so that we may live a new life in Him. The greatest commands that He has given us, tells us to love God and love one another. If we do both of these, we fulfill the law as He intended. Love must direct our every word, thought, and action. God is faithful to guide and direct us in the way that is best, if we are willing to seek Him and follow His leading. May we ever be intentional to seek the Lord and His will for all things, for it is by His love that we have new life in Him. 

The word of the Lord, 

Is advice to seek; 

To live our lives well, 

And of His love, speak. 

The more we invest, 

The better we know; 

How to choose love well, 

As His precepts show. 

So, let us rise up, 

Be rooted in love; 

May our lives display, 

Our Father above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us direct access to how we are meant to live, through Your word, prayer and worship. Forgive us for the times that we either neglected to heed Your direction, or simply chose to go our own way. Teach us to trust You to lead and guide us in the love You created us to give. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they discover the beautiful new life that is found in You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You, trust You, and follow Your leading for every day of our lives. Amen. 

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

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31 

Seek to Know

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV) 

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG) 

Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of Your word makes my pathway clear. – (Psalm 119:105, TPT) 

When we are at a loss or do not know what we should do, God is faithful to lead and guide us in the direction that is best. He will reveal His will to light our way as we earnestly seek Him. The more we are intentional to spend time in His word and in prayer, the more readily we are equipped to know and discern His voice and His direction. God is our light in the darkness, and He will show us which way to go, and what is best. We need not fear, even on the darkest days, as He is light, life, hope and help. May we ever be intentional to invest in His word and seek Him in prayer, for He is the lamp for our feet and the light on our path. 

When all that’s ahead, 

Seems dark and unclear; 

Seek and trust the Lord, 

For He’s ever near. 

Near us as the light, 

That lovingly shows; 

What we ought avoid, 

And where we need go. 

God’s word is the lamp, 

That will light the way; 

Let us ever seek, 

His best for each day. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are ever-present and ready to show us the way in which we are meant to go, both in small things and great things. Thank You that You always have our ultimate best in mind. Forgive us for our independent stubbornness that attempts to power through, rather than seek and listen to You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things. Show us how to love those around us according to Your perfect will. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest time in Your word and in prayer so that we may understand Your will for our lives. Amen. 

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Intentional Time to Grow

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word I like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

Psalm 119, in its entirety, is all about the word of God and how it directs our steps. As we follow His word, we find protection and direction, so pausing and on verse 105 seemed appropriate. The more we invest time in prayer and the word of God, the more clearly we understand His heart for those around us. Our mode of operation begins to take on His heart rather than our own, and the lens through which we view the world, becomes shaped by that of our loving heavenly Father. Beyond our view, that which grows within us is transformative as well. The nourishment we taking in produces good fruit that will last. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, are all the sort of fruit that the Spirit grants those who earnestly seek Him. May we be intentional to invest time in the word of God, so that we may have a clearly lit path on which to navigate all of our days.

 

The word of the Lord,

bloom blossom flora flower

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

Helps make our path plain;

As we seek His will,

Direction we’ll gain.

He shows us the ways,

That we’re meant to go;

Each time that we ask,

He’ll make sure we know.

By His love and grace,

In us, He will grow;

Traits that bless others,

His love clearly shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Thank You that as we seek You and invest intentional time in Your word and Your presence, You grow in us, more of that which reflects Your heart to the world. Forgive us for neglecting to nourish the soil of our hearts. Teach us to prioritize time with You, so that we are ever growing and more clearly reflecting Your heart to those around us. Show us how to love others in ways that make Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional with our time and spend time growing in our understanding of who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Ask for Answers

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. – (Jeremiah 33:3, VOICE)

 

So often we struggle with the that which we do not understand, yet neglect to seek answers from He who holds all in the hollow of His hands. What I have discovered, time and time again, is that if I ask the Lord for understanding, and seek Him for insight, clarity will come. Often, He speaks in the quiet unexpected moments, when there is little else vying for my attention. Clarity, insight or understanding come to mind while I am available to hear. Typically, it seems as though I hear best as I am preparing for the day. It is during the simple and mundane tasks of showering, drying my hair, brushing my teeth, or driving into work, that I suddenly see something that I could not comprehend previously. Ideas and insight come to a mind that is clear and open to hear. May we ever call on the Lord and ask for insight, trusting that He is faithful to answer, as He shows us things we could not know on our own.

Yesterday evening I was able to catch up with both mom and my sister. It is exciting to hear steps of progress that mom is making, as each new step, is a move toward restoration and full recovery. On Friday evening, when Meg, Scott and Mom left to go to dinner, Mom, for the first time, navigated the front porch steps herself, (with her walker) rather depending on Meg and Scott on either side of her. Additionally, for the last three nights, mom has slept all the way through the night. This is huge, as sleep is restorative and healing for Mom, and helpful for my sister as well. All of us are excited to finalize our plans for Thanksgiving, as we cannot wait to all be together again soon!

 

Choose call on the Lord,

Asking for Amazing Answers

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Ever seek His face;

To know the unknown,

By His loving grace.

For God is faithful,

To answer our call;

He hears and sees us,

Knows us, one and all.

So, seek God in faith,

For answers unknown;

He’ll grant us insight,

As the truth is shown.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and grace. Thank You that we can call on You and ask for answers when we do not understand what lies before us. Thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You impart wisdom and understanding to those who seek You. Forgive us for sitting in our frustration or for not seeking You first. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ask You for answers, and trust Your faithfulness to keep Your word. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your grace and faithfulness. Use us as Your instruments of truth and of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithfulness to provide insight and answers in spaces where we do not understand. Amen.

 

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

 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

Each Word a Gift

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – (Ephesians 4:29, NIV) 

When you talk, don’t say anything bad. But say the good things that people need – whatever will help them grow stronger. Then what you say will be a blessing to those who hear you. – (Ephesians 4:29, ERV) 

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. – (Ephesians 4:29, MSG) 

And never let ugly or hateful words come from your mouth, but instead let your words become beautiful gifts that encourage others; do this by speaking words of grace to help them. – (Ephesians 4:29, TPT) 

 

Words matter. They have the power to build up, or to devastate; bring tremendous joy, or pierce the heart with pain. I so appreciate the various translations of this verse, as each one clarifies the power of our words. If we consider every word we utter as a gift that we are charged to give away, perhaps we could more easily garnish each phrase delivered in grace, and be mindful of the purpose of our words. Whether our words are those of correction, direction, exhortation, devotion, appreciation, or affection, each can be delivered with grace to benefit the hearer as a blessing; a gift given with the intent of betterment. May we ever be mindful of our words, withholding ugliness, and choosing with intention, to allow our words to become “beautiful gifts that encourage others”. 

Yesterday evening, on my way home from a very long day, that had concluded with Open House at my school, I had the joy of hearing the gift of my mom’s words, as she shared her joy in the blessing of having had both physical therapy and speech therapy on the same day. Speech therapy was an assessment appointment, but physical therapy was her first “getting after it” appointment, as Monday’s time was to assess her need. Mom was encouraged and eager to have new work to challenge her and keep her growing in her recovery. Based on her response, I imagine that she too, had been the recipient of the gift of good words as she worked with the therapists.  

 

May each word we speak, unseal-my-lips

Be wrapped up in grace; 

Used to encourage, 

Choice loving display. 

Keep the unkind words, 

Where they have no voice; 

God be our filter, 

So love is our choice. 

Help us remember, 

Each word that we say; 

A powerful gift, 

To give love away. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to use our words as gifts to those around us. Thank You that You have given us the treasured gift of Your word, and Your Holy Spirit within us to model and speak to our hearts, the words that bring life and love and light to those around us. Forgive us for the times that our words have been ugly. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would choose to be silent in the moments we want to spew ugliness. Show us Your heart for others in the moments that we cannot see past our own injury. Lead us to love others in a way that our every word is a gift of grace to those around us that builds up and encourages and gives strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to utilize our words as gifts to those around us. Amen. 

 

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

 

My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing Your praises! – Psalm 51:15

Endings and Beginnings

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, NIV)

You are my refuge and my shield; Your word is my source of hope. – (Psalm 119:114, NLT)

You are my hiding place and my shield of protection; I hope in Your word. – (Psalm 119:114, VOICE)

 

Though David often had need for the Lord to be his literal hiding place, there were times too, that he needed his heart to be covered and “hidden” by God. For me, that is more often the space that I find myself in. When the cares of my circumstances become overwhelming or seem far too heavy to bear, it is in that space that I need seek Christ to cover my heart with His, as He is my place of refuge and a shield about me. He renews my hope with the truth of His word and reminds me anew of who He is. Today, I am being granted the gift of time with my boys as they prepare to leave for a ten-day cruise with the Sea Scouts. I had hoped and prayed for a way to get home to help them pack and prepare and send them off, and God has been faithful to provide faithful friends for such a time as this, so that I could do exactly that and know that mom is in great hands and comfortable in my brief absence.

Yesterday was an incredible day to end mom’s therapies in Washington. As she met with Nick, her physical therapist, he had me guide mom through the paces of navigating her front steps with her hemi-walker. Giving her verbal cues and only keeping a hand touching her low back to remind her that I was present if there was a need, she was able to go down the steps, walk some steps in the grass, turn around, and then return up the stairs. It was the very first time since her stroke that mom had set foot on grass, and after Nick left, she could not stop the tears from falling. For her, it was yet another mile-marker that reminded her that hope is tangible and that she is truly making progress. A few hours later, mom had her final session with Susan, her speech therapist. The beautiful thing about speech therapy is that there is much opportunity to visit, as word recall is largely called forth through conversation. Time flew by, and goodbyes were difficult. Lastly, a bit later in the afternoon, was Larissa, mom’s occupational therapist. Larissa went to great lengths to make certain that we had a solid plan in place for ongoing exercises and stretches for mom to be doing daily during the gap time between now and when therapies begin in Oregon. She has been innovative and kind, and has gone above and beyond to help research and facilitate mom’s needs. As she was leaving, she refused to call it goodbye, but rather a “see you later.” Each of mom’s therapists parted ways with mom with hugs and words of well-wishes, encouraging her and letting her know how much they had loved working with her and how much they would miss her. Mom has a way of winning folks over quickly, and once she has, she is not forgotten. My hope and prayer now, is that she will find the same to be true of her new therapists in Oregon, and that she will discover a new community with which to connect during her season in that space. God has always been her refuge, and I trust that He will continue to provide her hope and tangible evidence of His faithfulness.

 

My refuge and shield, 08011905054602014993045993958.jpg

Where all hope is found;

The God of all grace,

Your word’s always sound.

You grant me safety,

And You cover me;

My heart is hidden,

In You, lovingly.

Hidden from the things,

That make me choose fear;

Blind to Your presence,

As You’re ever near.

Help us ever seek,

The light of Your grace;

For goodness is found,

Following Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our safety and our refuge, and that we can ever find hope in Your word. Thank You that You are present to help and protect and provide. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the unsteady or the unknown. Teach us to trust You more. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and grace and safety. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

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

God Guides and Provides

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

By Your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. – (Psalm 119:105, MSG)

 

The word of God is alive and active. It is not just some book of words recorded long ago, but rather it is a source of encouragement and wisdom as we traverse life’s journey. So often, when the road is bleak or unclear, I find comfort and peace as I await next steps. Right now, we are in a space of tying up loose ends here and making final preparations there, prior to mom’s move to the next leg of her healing journey. This week, she will have her final in-home appointments with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy, as her insurance has to end in Washington in July, in order to begin in Oregon in August. This creates a strange sort of gap in the in-between, but God has been opening doors and showing us ways to keep mom moving forward with her various exercises during the week she will be in Washington without any appointments, prior to moving. Additionally, the whole swimming option has added a beautiful new element of therapy that not even the professionals have been able to offer. God guides and provides every step of the way.

Yesterday was a day of visiting, as the day began with our final hours together with my love before he had to drive home, followed by dear pastoral friends of mom’s at mid-day, and a wonderful evening together with mom’s best friend and her husband, as we shared dinner, much laughter, and taught them our family favorite game. Our fantastic full day led to a solid night’s sleep, with only one wake-up. We both rose at a reasonable hour, rested, and are ready for a full day, as mom has both physical therapy and speech therapy, as well as a visit with friends, late this afternoon. May we trust in God and the goodness of His word, as He lights our path and makes our way clear.

 

The word of the Lord, The Word of God

In love, lights the way;

To walk in His truth,

Grants grace each new day.

No matter how rough,

Or bleak the road seems;

The Lord’s love light shines,

All things, He redeems.

The God of all grace,

Can do so much more;

Beauty from ashes,

And broken, restored.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Thank You that Your word is timeless and relevant. Thank You that You see us and know us, and You hear our every need. Forgive our fearfulness when we cannot see the path You prepare before us. Teach us to trust You more so that we would seek You and spend time in Your word to discover the path You are calling us to travel. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends grace and kindness and peace, so that broken hearts and lives may come to know restoration and wholeness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and thank You for Your word that guides us. Amen.

 

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

 

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12