Jesus is our Deliverer

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – (1 John 4:2-4, NIV)

This is how you can recognize God’s Spirit. One spirit says, “I believe that Jesus is the Messiah who came to earth and became a man.” That Spirit is from God. Another spirit refuses to say this about Jesus. That spirit is not from God. This is the spirit of the enemy of Christ. You have heard that the enemy of Christ is coming, and now he is already in the world. My dear children, you belong to God, so you have already defeated these false prophets. That’s because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. – (1 John 4:2-4, ERV)

Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ – the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person – comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that you heard was coming. Well, here it is, sooner than we thought! My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. – (1 John 4:2-4, MSG)

When we know God, and trust in the truth of who He is and how He loves, we need not fear the people and things that will try to come against us. Our confession of who Jesus is and how He lived, died, and rose again, is our protection against anyone or anything that would try to draw us away. Jesus, who dwells in the hearts of all who have invited Him in, is greater than anything that might come against us. We need not fear those who will come against us, but rather we can trust in God and rest secure in His Name, for it is only through Him that we have hope for both now and eternity. God is good and His plans are good. May we ever seek the Lord to show us more and more of Him so that we can clearly recognize what is not from Him. His heart, love, and character do not change, as He remains the same: yesterday, today, and forever.

All that choose confess,

That Jesus is Lord;

Align with the truth,

Gifts that God affords.

Yet those who do not,

Acknowledge Jesus;

Are not for our good,

And are most grievous.

So, look to the Lord,

And pursue what’s true;

Trust in His goodness,

For He’ll see us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us how to know what is good and true and a gift from You, and what is not. Thank You that You dwell in us and speak to our hearts. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened to Your leading. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to walk in Your wisdom and grace, so that we might be clear evidence that You are our deliverer. Lead us to love those around us in ways that extend hope and peace and promise. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our Deliverer and the One in whom we place all our trust. Amen.

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

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. – Ephesians 2:4-5

*If you are following along and participating in the 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer, please forgive my mix-up. I accidently did tomorrow’s study today. I will post on today’s study tomorrow. 🙂

Forgiven by Jesus

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, NIV)

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, ERV)

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, MSG)

All of us, by our very nature, are prone to sin. Consequently, we all deserve death as a consequence for our poor decisions. Thankfully, in order to have such a sentence, there must be a judge. In Christ Jesus, we are no longer judged guilty. Every sin has been wiped away as Jesus already bore the consequence on the cross. His Holy Spirit breathes life into the spaces that should have been dead and supplies what we need to walk in His way and do His will. Through Jesus, we no longer have hundreds of laws to remember and follow closely, but rather, His new command is to love God and love one another. If we truly do these things, we are choosing life in Him and making His love known. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that Jesus gives so that we may walk in His way and do His will throughout all our days.

No longer condemned,

In Christ we are free;

To live and choose love,

As it’s meant to be.

The guilt that we bear,

In Him is removed;

Forgiven in love,

That’s constantly proved.

No more under laws,

That lead us to death;

Set free from the weight,

Through life-giving breath.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no more condemnation when we come into a relationship with You. Thank You that You give us light and life, help and hope, as Your presence provides peace and promise to all who receive You as Lord of our lives. Forgive us for every word and deed that has not demonstrated love for You or for Your created. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in Your love in all things. Show us how to live free from the weight of our sin and to walk boldly in Your perfect love. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live and love boldly as You set us free to do. Amen.

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

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

Jesus is Lord

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – (Romans 10:9-10, NIV)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in Him, so we are saved. – (Romans 10:9-10, ERV)

So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved! Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. – (Romans 10:9-10, VOICE)

Salvation is a gift from God for all who believe and profess that Jesus is Lord. This transpires when the head and the heart are aligned with Him. It is not merely believing that God exists, for even the devil believes. It is a trust in the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done, and then using our mouth to speak the truth that we know. The sacrifice that Jesus made provides the covering we need to be forgiven, and His forgiveness is granted freely as we ask. As we walk in His forgiveness and pursue a life with Him, we are promised both His presence in the here and now, and space with Him for all of eternity. May we ever invest our lives in leaning into Jesus so that we grow deep roots in Him and reflect more clearly the very heart of God in all that we say and do.

O Lord, You are good,

In all of Your ways;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

Salvation belongs,

To all who seek You;

And trust in Your Name,

And all that You do.

May our mouths speak truth,

And our lives display;

The goodness in You,

Throughout each new day.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to live lives true;

So our words and deeds,

Point others to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You sent Your Son to live, die, conquer death, and rise to be seated at Your righteous right hand. Thank You that it is through believing that Jesus is Lord and through confessing our need for You that we are saved and granted hope for both now and all of eternity. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds have not reflected the truth we know in You. Teach us to walk out each day in awe and reverence of You, so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to those around us. Show us how to love one another in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You give, believe that Your word is true, and profess our faith through our words and actions as we go about each new day. Amen.

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

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11

Devoted

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. – (Colossians 4:2, NIV)

Never stop praying. Be ready for anything by praying and being thankful. – (Colossians 4:2, ERV)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

To devote oneself to God is to be dedicated and committed to communicating with our Creator. It is an intentional act of speaking and listening, by which we give our gratitude and present our petitions to the Lord. We are charged to be watchful and aware, which sets our hearts at the ready as we communicate with and praise God. This purposeful devotion results in constant communion with Christ. He is faithful to meet us each time we draw near, as He hears our prayers and praise, and speaks to our hearts as we wait in silent stillness. May we choose to pray diligently, for as we do, we are aware and equipped, and overwhelmed with gratitude to God.

Because of Jesus,

We have access to;

The Holy Father,

Who blesses, renews.

In this sweet freedom,

We are called to pray;

Commune with the Lord,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Faithful to meet us,

The Lord’s ever near;

Each praise and request,

In love, the Lord hears.

With wonder, seek Him,

Ask and we’ll receive;

Direction and help,

And all that we need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come near and commune with You. Thank You that You are but a heartbeat away. Thank You that You hear our petitions and praise, and that You answer us as we call on You. Forgive us for merely presenting a laundry list of requests. Teach us to see all of the reasons we have to praise You as we go about our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually pray, prepare and praise through our time intentionally spent with You. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

Belief Makes Right and Confession Saves

One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. – (Romans 10:10, HCSB)

Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in Him, and so we are saved. – (Romans 10:10, ERV)

Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. – (Romans 10:10, VOICE)

I am so thankful that it is our belief and trust in God that makes us right with Him, and our expression of this belief that saves us, rather than some sort of performance rating that has to be earned. As we trust in the Lord, we desire to do what pleases Him. That being said, we all fall short. Thankfully, it is not about what we do or don’t do to earn His grace, but rather He freely gives, and because of it, we rise. May we ever seek to know God more so that we might trust Him more deeply and confess our faith more freely. 

With hearts we believe,

That God is what’s true;

Faithful confession,

Salvation ensues.

It is by His grace,

That we are made right;

And because of this,

In Him we delight.

The more we pursue,

The more we can see;

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Hope eternally.

To choose to have faith,

Trust what we can’t see;

Leads to evidence,

He shows tangibly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You and profess that You are Lord, we receive Your grace and gain the hope of eternity. Thank You that though we cannot see You, it is not blind faith. Thank You that there is evidence of who You are and how You love all around us, if only we open our eyes to see. Forgive us for our fears and doubts. Thank You that You are not offended by our questions. Show us more and more of who You are and how You love, so that we may represent Your love well to those around us. Teach us how to love everyone whom we encounter as You would. Give us Your goodness and grace to share. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You with all that we are and confess aloud our love and trust in You, our hope forever. Amen.

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

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

Quick to Listen and Slow to Speak

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Again, we stand at a crossroads. A friend posted something that truly made me cringe at the brutal honesty of it: the only significant change that we have made since Sandy Hook is that we now have active shooter drills. This hit hard. I cannot begin to pretend to know the answer, but I do know that we must be more willing to listen to potential solutions that do not include: run, hide, fight, kid, and good luck. As an educator, I have seen a significant increase in the depth of kids’ struggles. Health, safety and belonging are at an all-time low. There are many talking heads that get angered at the mere suggestion of changes that might actually help. We must start listening far more than we speak, and set anger aside so that we can come together, hear each other, and seek to bring change that makes a difference. O God help us, for we all need to listen with intention.

Dear Jesus, please come,

Show us what to do;

Protect our children,

May purpose be true.

Lead us and guide us,

To bring needed change;

Make schools a safe place,

Of peaceful exchange.

Help fears dissipate,

Let answers be found;

To protect each child,

Keep hearts and minds sound.

Lead us in Your love,

To listen and learn;

Please safeguard our schools,

As to You, we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Jesus, we need Your help to do these things to bring true change that lasts. Forgive us for allowing politics and sides of the aisle to distract us from how to find solutions that keep our kids safe. Show us how to hear one another, and to be slow to speak with purpose, keeping anger in check so that hearts can be heard. Lead us to love well, as students and staff alike will be shaken at the news. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, for in You we come to know peace, safety, comfort and care. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom to listen and pursue true change to keep our babies safe. Amen.

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

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – James 3:17

Search, Know and Lead

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. – (Psalm 139:23-24, HCSB)

God examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life. – (Psalm 139:23-24, MSG)

When we invite God to be Lord of our lives it is an invitation to lead us, guide us, redirect and correct us so that we can walk in His way and do His will. God has given us a free will and allows us to make our own decisions as we navigate our days. However, He is available and willing to lead us and direct us as we allow Him access. David, the author of this Psalm, was known as “a man after God’s own heart.” He loved and followed the Lord, yet had seasons where he succumbed to sin and needed correction and redirection. I think the reason he was known as “a man after God’s own heart” was his willingness to give God access to all. Though David did not always enjoy the intervention that he invited, he knew that God was God and he was not. It requires a daily decision to release our own desires to seek God to lead and guide us in all things. His ways lead to eternal life; not only for us, but can impact the outcome of those around us too. When we seek Him to live and love as He does, others become aware of His goodness and grace. May we ever invite the Lord to search us, know us, correct, redirect and lead us so that we live out our days with eternity in mind.

O God, search my heart,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Show me what is true;

Lead me in Your love,

In all that I do.

Show me where changes,

Are needing be made;

In love, You’ll guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Remove from my heart,

What is not of You;

Flood me with Your love,

Help me walk in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You come near when we call, and that You lead, direct, correct and call us to walk in Your ways and do Your will when we seek You. Forgive us for all that we say and do that is not of You, and for allowing things to distract us from the course that You have called us to walk. Lead us to draw ever closer to You. Show us how to live out Your love with those around us, so that they may see Your heart through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and invite You to be Lord of all areas in our lives. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name. – Psalm 31:3

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Kind and Ready to Forgive

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. – (Psalm 86:5, HCSB)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

I am so thankful that God hears all who call on Him. He is kind and good and merciful, and He forgives and helps us with His love as we seek Him. Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can count on Him to be consistent in His love. It is through the mercy and grace we receive when we seek God’s forgiveness that we are compelled to do likewise for those around us. For me, I am ever aware of my need for His help and forgiveness as I navigate each new day. He is kind and gentle, generous and loving, and remains steadfast in all things. May we ever seek the Lord to forgive us and lead us forward in all that He is calling us to do.

The Lord is so good,

Forgiving and kind;

Loyal and faithful,

It is His design.

The goodness that flows,

From heaven to earth;

Shows us His power,

And unending worth.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To ever seek You;

For goodness and love,

Ever we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You as we seek You, You forgive us and lavish us with Your love. Thank You for Your kindness and faithfulness forever. Forgive us for neglecting to seek forgiveness where it is needed. Show us our shortcomings and the power of Your love in those places. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek forgiveness, goodness and grace, and then extend the same to all those we encounter. Amen.

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

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known, He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Pray for ALL

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone. – (1 Timothy 2:1, HCSB)

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. – (1 Timothy 2:1, ERV)

So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. – (1 Timothy 2:1, VOICE)

We are called to pray, present requests, and give thanks for everyone, and do so on their behalf. It is easy to pray for those who love us and are kind to us, yet we are called to pray for ALL people. This includes those who are unkind to us, those who slow us down; for those who frustrate or aggravate us, and for those who care little for anyone other than themselves. To pray for these requires an intentional and purposeful decision to love as God loves us. An old friend of mine, years ago, modeled this in a very practical way while we were driving somewhere. Every time someone would cut in front of us or do something foolish or frustrating, he would speak out blessing and truth, such as, “Jesus loves you!” or “May God bless you and protect you!”, even when it came out as a shout. It seemed silly at the time, yet all these years later, it still serves as a reminder for me to bless and pray for others, even those who anger us the most. Part of the process of praying for others is as much a request for us to see them as God does, as it is a choice to act in love when love is not at all what we feel. May we ever lift up and pray for all those around us, without exception.

Lord, please remind us,

To choose pray for ALL;

The bent and broken,

For this is our call.

Show us Your own heart,

For humanity;

The love that held You,

Up upon that tree.

For You have so loved,

That You gave us all;

Now our champion,

On whom we can call.

Quicken our hearts, Lord,

To love and to pray;

For ev’ry person,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us what it really is to love and pray for all. On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who hung Him there. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of love for those who need love the most. Show us how to pray for and bless everyone whom we encounter. Change hearts and lives to reflect Your love to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for and bless others as You have modeled for and equipped us to do. Amen.

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

Father, I pray that all who believe in Me can be one. You are in Me and I am in You. I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that You sent Me. – John 17:21