How Harmony Happens

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – (Romans 15:5, HCSB)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but endurance, encouragement, perseverance and patience are all necessary for me to navigate each new day. Each morning, I am encouraged and strengthened anew as I invest the start of my day with God. He is the source of each of these, and is faithful to supply what is needed. Harmony with those around me is always a goal, for there is wisdom and grace and goodness in those whom God places in our lives. Not only that, but this is what Jesus wants for us. Agreeing with one another does not mean that we must see eye-to-eye on every detail in our lives, but rather that we be like-minded on what truly matters. Loving God and loving people ought to be our priority. If we are alike in our care and concern for others, harmony happens. May we ever seek the Lord to be our source of endurance, encouragement, perseverance, patience and peace, as we pursue Him to lead us well.

The Lord is faithful,

To meet us each day;

He gives what we need,

For work and for play.

He shows us His heart,

For those who are near;

And calls us to love,

And set aside fear.

Strength and endurance,

Patience and His peace;

All that is needed,

For love’s sweet release.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You are faithful to supply all that we need. Thank You that as we do, You show us the strength in the community that surrounds us, and how to live in harmony together. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You or have not sought to love. Teach us to trust and rely on You to be our strength and supply. Show us how to love those around us best, for You know the needs in every heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue the path that You have placed before us and the peace that surrounds us as we do. Amen.

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

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity. – Psalm 133:1

Grace, Love and Presence

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, HCSB)

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE)

This verse is the conclusion of Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth. I so appreciate how he parts out the goodness of God. His separation of the three parts of the trinity and their attributes provide clarity on our need for each. We all need grace, love and the presence of fellowship in our lives. As we walk with the Lord, we grow in understanding of who He is and how He loves. His grace is more than enough for all that we need, His love, surrounds and fills us to overflowing, and His presence is the peace that settles our hearts no matter what lies before us. May we ever seek the Lord, for He is the provider of grace, love, and the very presence of peace.

Jesus, we need You,

Celtic Knot that represents The Trinity – intertwined without end

Your unending grace;

The good that leads us,

Throughout all our days.

O God, our Father,

We receive Your love;

The warmth that surrounds,

From You up above.

The Holy Spirit,

Ever-present peace;

Your nearness supplies,

All that our hearts need.

God You are so good,

May all come to know;

Your love, grace and peace,

That each day You show.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are three in one. Thank You that Your Son grants us the grace to navigate each new day, Your Father’s heart loves us without limits, and Your perfect presence is our peace in all things. Forgive us for not recognizing the fullness of who You are and how You love. Teach us to ever seek to know You more, so that we might grow in our understanding of who You are and how great Your love, grace and presence truly are. Show us to love those around us well, so that we may be Your vessels of love, grace and peace that is made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for how You make Yourself known to us. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Shifting Seasons

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. – (Joel 2:23, HCSB)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

Living in the Pacific Northwest, these words resonate with me. Right now, we are enjoying a typically extended summer. Though summer did not begin until after the 4th of July, it usually continues until the close of September. That being said, the chill of fall is in the air in the mornings. For those of us who love summer, there is a bit of mourning as the seasons shift. This passage is a great reminder that the rain that though it will come, for it always does, is a gift from God. Seldom has our area had issues with water shortage. The rains that come truly are a gift, for they are what keep our area so green throughout the year. My takeaway is simply to recognize and appreciate the shift in seasons as a gift, for it is a reminder that God is faithful.

As autumn rains come,

For they always do;

Know that God’s faithful,

As His grace shines through.

The rains have purpose,

Blessings from above;

In season, water,

That shows us His love.

The lush of the green,

Ev’rywhere surrounds;

Reminders of God,

Where true hope is found.

So, let us give thanks,

As the seasons shift;

For God’s faithfulness,

As our praise we lift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to supply what we need in every season. Thank You that You grant us rain in the fall and springtime to help things grow and thrive. Help us to remember that You do the same for our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for begrudgingly trudging through seasonal shifts, for we would not fully appreciate the glory of summer without the gray, rainy days. Teach us to love those around us in ways that bring refreshment and new life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful provision in each new season. Amen.

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

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. – Psalm 104:19

Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself up for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.- (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Called to Community

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time. – (Proverbs 17:17, HCSB)

A friend loves you all the time, but a brother was born to help in times of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, ERV)

Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. – (Proverbs 17:17, MSG)

A true friend loves regardless of the situation, and a real brother exists to share the tough times. – (Proverbs 17:17, VOICE)

This is yet another reminder that we were created to be in community. If we invest in time with friends and family, we grow close and are ready to walk alongside each other, no matter what comes our way. True investment connects hearts and lives, and provides opportunity to love and be loved as God intended. Though a simple concept, it requires intentional investment. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to invest in our relationships with friends and family, and to equip us to love and help one another at all times.

No matter what comes,

We are called to seek;

Time with each other,

In community.

When one friend falls down,

Another is near;

To help the one up,

And overcome fear.

Together there’s strength,

The power to move;

Hope to keep going,

And fear is removed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created and called us to be in community. Thank You for the friends and family that You have placed around us. Thank You for the gift of loving and being loved. Forgive us for neglecting to invest in those You have placed around us. Teach us to know the balance of time and energy that will grow depth in our community without depleting us of necessary rest. Show us how to love well, so that our friends and family know that they always have someone in their corner, ready to walk beside them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for You are the ultimate Father and friend. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the family and friends around us, and seek You to lead us to love one another well. Amen.

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

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

Where Help Comes From

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, HCSB)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains. – (Psalm 121:1-2, MSG)

Lifting our eyes is a way to take our gaze off of what lies directly before us, and to look beyond to what could be. Each time I see the majestic mountains, I am reminded of the power and goodness of God. The same God who formed the mountains, is the One who comes and dwells within us as we invite Him in. He is our help and our hope, and the One in whom our future rests. To look to the mountains is to gaze upon the tangible evidence of God. For me, when I look upon the beauty of creation, I am reminded of the One who made it all. He is so much more than we see, yet the tangible evidence of His goodness makes the unseen easier to grasp. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, help and hope, and readily receive the reminders all around us as we gaze upon the beauty of all that He has made.

When we choose look up,

Our eyes truly see;

All of creation,

Made purposefully.

Our help and our hope,

Come from God above;

He sees and He hears,

And answers in love.

Majestic mountains,

And sparkling seas;

Glimpses of the Lord,

And His majesty.

His power and grace,

Are visibly seen;

To show us His love,

As He meets our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us Your power through the beauty of creation all around us. Thank You for such incredible reminders of Your power and strength that are available to all who seek You. Forgive us for the times that we have looked to anything other than You to be our strength, and for the times that we have somehow made You too small. Teach us to look to You in all things and at all times, for You are greater than all. Show us how to love those around us in ways that lift up and encourage everyone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and praise You for the tangible reminders of Your power and grace. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Incredibly Known

He counts the number of stars; He gives names to all of them. – (Psalm 147:4, HCSB)

He counts the stars and knows them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He counts all the stars within His hands, carefully fixing their number and giving them names. – (Psalm 147:4, VOICE)

In my own limited understanding, I know I am guilty of making God too small, or limiting what I think He can do. Verses like the one above are a reminder of just how big God really is. God, the Creator of all, created, placed, counted and named each of the stars in the sky. I don’t know about you, but any time that I get away from the city/suburb lights and look at the sky at night, I stand in awe, as the longer I look, the more stars I see; far too many to count. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. The same God that knows each star by name, knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. Intentionally, He formed each of us and knows us better than anyone. Designed with a plan and a purpose, I cannot help but stand in awe. The more I know Him, the more I want to know. One who knows and loves so deeply and personally is worth pursuing more. May we ever seek to know the Lord more and more, and may we discover how He sees us and calls us to be who He has created us to become.

Each star with a name,

Both numbered and known;

The Lord placed each one,

Love’s light being shown.

He who hung the stars,

Also made us all;

With plan and purpose,

Each one of us called.

May we choose seek Him,

With wonder and awe;

Praise Him for His love,

And grace for us all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created, placed, named and know each star in the sky – both those we can see, and those we cannot. Thank You that You know each person on the planet in the same way. Forgive us for making You too small. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are so much more than we can think or imagine. Lead us to love those around us with a love like Yours so that all might feel and know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue knowing You more, and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

All That is Good

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, HCSB)

Everything the Lord does is good. Everything He does shows how loyal He is. – (Psalm 145:17, ERV)

Everything God does is right – the trademark on all His works is love. – (Psalm 145:17, MSG)

The Eternal is right in all His ways, and He is kind in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, VOICE)

I included four different translations of this verse, as each points out the goodness of God that is made evident through His actions of love. This is what we need to remember and hold onto, as bad that happens is not caused by God, but rather by the brokenness of this world. What God does is stay with us, love us, and give us His peace as we navigate all things that come our way. The people who walk alongside us are a gift from Him, and the good we experience is because of His loving kindness. All that is good, all that is lovely, all that is loyal and kind, these are the things of God. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness, for He is faithful to show His loyal love through all that He does.

The Lord is so good,

In all of His ways;

He’s loyal and kind,

Throughout each new day.

His blessings bring peace,

His presence is love;

Our help and our hope,

His gifts from above.

So, ever choose seek,

For in Christ you’ll find;

Goodness, love and grace,

Forever He’s kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find how faithful, loyal and loving You are. Forgive us for blaming You for the bad in the world. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our anchor through the storms and our peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that loyalty and goodness make Your love evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

How Love is Made Known

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

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 done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

God provides us the ultimate example of what love is and is not. We are commanded to love God and love people, and He both shows and tells us what it is to love. Patience and kindness should lead us in how we love. Jealousy, pride, unkindness, selfishness and a short temper do not help us show love. In our broken humanity, we all struggle with loving as God does in all things. All it takes is being stuck in Seattle traffic during rush hour to be reminded that we are ALL a work in progress. We have the opportunity to extend love everywhere we go and through everything we do. Imagine what the world would look like if we all sought the Lord to lead us in His love in all that we said and did? Each time that we extend patience and kindness, we are igniting a spark that can spread. For me, when I have been granted patience or kindness when I know I did not deserve it, it caused me to take pause and work to do the same in similar situations. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace to lead us in His incredible love in all things.

Lord, help us to love,

In all that we do;

Let each word and deed,

Reflect Your heart true.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Lead us to love well,

As You call us to.

Help us be gracious,

Wherever we go;

May Your heart shine through,

So love is made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You that You show us what love is and is not, so that we know what You are calling us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked patience or kindness, the times that we have been jealous or rude or proud. Teach us to trust and follow You so that we might extend Your heart to the world through our love. Show us how to be patient and kind in each circumstance we encounter. Help us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love in all that we say and do in every circumstance. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34