A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Let Thanks Be Present

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity. – (Psalm 107:8, HCSB)

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

May they erupt with praise and give thanks to the Eternal in honor of His loyal love and all the wonders He has performed for humankind! – (Psalm 107:8, VOICE)

The Thanksgiving break was far different than what I am accustomed to, yet it was very good and had an excellent balance of rest and of time with loved ones nearby. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide as we seek Him. Because of my coaching responsibilities, I needed to stay home this past weekend. Though that meant that we did not get time together with my mom or my sister and family, we did have time with our four all in the house at once, and opportunity to spend time with our besties to celebrate a retirement, be present and involved at church, and there was time to get together with a lifelong friend who is really a sister to both my sister and me. There are some intimidating unknowns in the coming weeks, yet the same God who cared for me with such kindness over the weekend, will be faithful to continue through all that lies ahead. In fact, even as I go to get stitches out this morning, my best friend is coming along to help me ask all of the questions about the pending procedure that will be required. God grants us comfort and peace, hope and help, and He is worthy of all of our thanks and praise. May we ever praise Him and continue into the season with grateful hearts. Though we know not all that lies ahead, we know Who will remain beside us through all things, and the One who makes His love tangible.

Let thanks be present,

In all that we do;

For God is faithful,

He will see us through.

Our help and our hope,

His love knows no end;

All grace and mercy,

On Him we depend.

Our hope forever,

May our praises rise;

To God, our Father,

Where all goodness lies.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithful love and wonderful works, as Your love knows no end. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks and praise. Forgive us for the times that we are blind to Your blessings. Teach us to see things through Your eyes, for even in challenges, You provide blessings. Lead us to love those around us as You do, and help us to be Your love made tangible to all who need Your touch. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our thanks and praise for Your unfailing love and the wonderful works that You do on our behalf. Amen.

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

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

Overflowing Gratitude

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

You accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, so continue to live in Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

Now that you have welcomed the Anointed One, Jesus the Lord, into your lives, continue to journey with Him and allow Him to shape your lives. Let your roots grow down deeply in Him, and let Him build you up on a firm foundation. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always spill over with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, VOICE)

This is an ongoing, lifelong process that makes all of the difference in how our lives are lived. When we remain rooted in Christ, He strengthens our faith and reminds us of all that we have to be thankful for. Yesterday, as I was pulling into the parking lot where I coach high school gymnastics, I received a call from the specialist who had performed the biopsy on my lip. From the start, I could tell her tone was somber, so I took a deep breath and listened to the news she was sharing with me. The results were worse than she had anticipated, as aggressive carcinoma cells were found in the muscle, nerves and tissue from the punch sample. She said that normally the surgical process she had previously anticipated for me would be scheduled out in January, but due to the nature of the findings, it will be made a high priority and the schedulers will orchestrate a time as soon as possible. This is not exactly the news I had hoped or prayed for, but I needed to get into the gym and coach my girls. It was only after practice, when I called my husband, walked the dogs (prayerfully), and then spoke with my sisters and best friend, that I was able to breathe more easily and feel the familiar foundation of faith rise up. Being reminded of the beautiful community I am in floods my heart with gratitude. I am thankful that the spot was discovered before it spread further, that I have family and friends that support and encourage me, and that the success rate of treating this sort of cancer at this stage is outstanding. Additionally, I am grateful for sweet, smart dogs that seem to sense the need for snuggles. Currently, I have a gentle giant curled up and snoring softly on my lap. May we ever journey with Jesus through every twist and turn that life brings, for He is faithful to strengthen us and supply all that we need.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For He is the good;

That strengthens, supports,

Makes love understood.

He pours out His grace,

Holds us up gently;

Embraces our heart,

And makes our fears flee.

He brings alongside,

Kind community;

Equips, empowers,

Grants His eyes to see.

Things aren’t forever,

Pain’s temporary;

But our hope in Him,

Lasts eternally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength, our hope and our help. Thank You that You are our reason to give thanks. Forgive us for the times that we allow our circumstances to temporarily blind us to the truth of Your love and grace that gets us through all things. Teach us to trust You more each day, and flood us to overflowing with Your goodness and love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, making Your heart abundantly clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

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

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Good Through All Generations

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)

Because the Eternal is good, His loyal love and mercy will never end, and His truth will last throughout all generations. – (Psalm 100:5, VOICE)

Though I know very few stories from my family’s history prior to my grandparents, I do know that despite trials and heartaches, God’s faithful love was abundantly clear throughout their lives, is still in their children’s lives, their grandchildren’s lives, and now too, in the lives of their great-grandchildren. God’s goodness and love does not mean we will be free of challenges and trials, but it does mean that God will be near and that we can trust in the goodness of His love forever. When life is hard, the Lord is faithful to meet us with His strength to carry us and His love to lead us through. As we experience God’s goodness and faithful love, we recognize the bountiful blessings that we have in Him. May we ever give God thanks for His faithful love that we can trust forever, and praise Him because He remains the same throughout all generations.

The love of the Lord,

Is faithful and true;

Forever remains,

As He sees us through.

Every heartache,

And joyful event;

He’s present with us,

His peace, heaven sent.

So, keep trusting God,

Throughout each new day;

Forever faithful,

He’ll show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, kind, loyal and loving throughout all generations. Thank You that we can trust in You forever, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for the times that we lose sight of You, as our eyes become diverted by our circumstances. Teach us to look to You with total trust, and show us how to continue to make Your goodness known to those who follow after us. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize that Your faithfulness knows no end, and that You are trustworthy in all things at all times. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and praise You for Your faithful love that has been present always and will continue throughout all eternity. 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

Where Love is Evident

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV)

Lord, Your faithful love fills the earth. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:64, ERV)

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel. – (Psalm 119:64, MSG)

Though there are many places and spaces where it feels as though there is no love to be found, it takes but a moment to slow down and truly look and see all the good that God has placed around us. It is knowing the goodness of His love that compels me to want to learn and grow each day to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. We all are a work in progress, yet as we pursue Him and recognize the love that He has for us all, one cannot help but to desire to do likewise. May we ever seek the Lord to recognize the goodness of His love, and seek after Him to show us how to live according to His counsel.

The love of the Lord,

Is beyond compare;

His goodness and grace,

Are found ev’rywhere.

Each time we seek Him,

The Lord will be found;

Present, He helps us,

His kindness is sound.

It is God’s great love,

That leads us to seek;

To walk in His ways,

Follow His decrees.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is evident everywhere. Thank You that it is Your kindness that compels us to walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love or avoided the things that You were calling us to do. Teach us to trust You and to listen to Your leading so that we may truly walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You give and recognize the overwhelming love all around us that leads us to desire to do likewise. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Light Through Love

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

It is the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. – (1 John 2:10, MSG)

When we choose to love as God loves us, light and life pour out of us. Where there is light, there is a clear path. In the same way that God shines His light upon us and shows us how to love, we become reflections of His light to others so that they too, see what is good. To love our sisters and brothers is a choice, and one that only transpires well when we rely on God to lead us. May we seek the Lord to lead us to love those around us as He loves, and depend on Him to shine His light through us to the world.

When we choose to love,

God’s light truly shines;

The darkness must flee,

For goodness defines.

It defines what’s good,

What’s lovely and pure;

How light is let in,

And hope is assured.

Lead us in Your love,

For one another;

Flood Your light within,

To shine on others.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to love our sisters and brothers as You intended, Your light leads the way to what is good. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love and allowed darkness in. Teach us to depend on You to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to be Your light and love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love one another as You love, and rely on You to shine Your light on and through us. Amen.

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

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

Sacrificial Love

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, HCSB)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – (John 15:13, NIV)

There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. – (John 15:13, VOICE)

Today is a day that many of us are given off as a day to appreciate and celebrate the sacrifices that those who have served or are still serving have made to protect the freedoms that we all know and love. Each person who has served, has willingly given up the comforts and conveniences of home to go and serve to protect our country. Whether foreign or domestic, by land, air or sea, our service members have set their own lives aside to protect ours. This willing sacrifice to serve is a reflection of the love that Jesus has for us. May we take time to honor and appreciate these men and women who have served, and give God the glory for hearts that are willing to serve and protect us all.

No greater a love,

Than one that lays down;

Their own life for ours,

So peace may be found.

Safety, protection,

Willingly they’ve served;

Placed lives on the line,

A love undeserved.

May we choose give thanks,

Appreciate those;

For the sacrifice,

And freedoms we know.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to serve and protect the freedoms we know and appreciate. Thank You that their sacrifice reflects the sort of love that You have for us all, as You paid the ultimate price for our security forever in You. Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted. Teach us to honor and respect those who have given on our behalf, and give You praise for hearts that willingly serve. Show us how to love like You, so that we might truly reflect the goodness and depth of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice, and honor those who have sacrificed for the security of our nation. Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Love and Kindness Last

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – (Jeremiah 31:3, NIV)

From far away, the Lord will appear to His people. The Lord says, “I love you people with a love that continues forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness.” – (Jeremiah 31:3, ERV)

The Lord appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you. – (Jeremiah 31:3, HCSB)

The same God that appeared in the past to Jeremiah, is the One who is present today. His message remains the same, for He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is our charge to answer His call and to come close as He draws us near. God’s love is everlasting and His kindness never fails. May we ever heed the Lord’s call and draw near to Him, for His faithful love will last forever as we earnestly seek Him.

The Lord is our God,

Who draws us so near;

Extends His kindness,

And chases off fear.

He grants us kindness,

Though it’s undeserved;

He’s faithful always,

Just as we have heard.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s faithful to us;

Who sent His own Son,

Tangible, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are near and that You love with an everlasting love. Thank You that You sent Your one and only Son, Jesus, to show us what love is meant to be. Thank You that He modeled a life of love. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You are far off or are not approachable to the seeking. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting faithfulness and love. Show us how to love like You, so that all those around us may see Your heart through our love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and praise You that Your love and kindness last forever. Amen.

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

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8

Peace is Plentiful

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. – (1 Peter 5:7, VOICE)

 No matter what we have been through, or what may lie ahead, we need not worry, for God already knows and will be faithful to be with us. When anxiousness begins to rise and creep in, we need to place it in His capable hands. Because He cares for us, we do not have to carry our burdens alone, nor do we have to face the fires by ourselves. God is with us, and He is able to meet us in each moment, and help us navigate through each new day. As a teacher, Monday mornings can feel a bit anxiety causing, especially on a holiday that provides a plethora of sugar to kids for the coming week. He is good, and already knows. The Lord will give us the wisdom and grace we need to keep moving forward. May we ever seek our Savior and place our worries and burdens at the foot of the cross, for it is there that they have already been seen, known and overcome.

Because the Lord cares,

We need not worry;

All is in His hands,

So strong and sturdy.

Anxiety falls,

When given to Him;

The Lord holds us up,

And grants peace within.

Help us turn to You,

Throughout all our days;

You are the answer,

You show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not worry or be anxious, for You are with us and remain present throughout all of our days. Forgive us for our fears and doubts that sneak in when we shift our gaze away from You. Teach us to ever trust in You and to lay all of our worries and concerns at Your feet. Show us how to let go and allow You to be Lord of all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that Your hope and help are made clearly known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithfulness forever and find Your peace is plentiful as we seek You. Amen.

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

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Remove Retaliation

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. – (Romans 12:17, NIV)

If someone does you wrong, don’t try to pay them back by hurting them. Try to do what everyone thinks is right. – (Romans 12:17, ERV)

Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. – (Romans 12:17, VOICE)

In my college years, I had a dear friend who had an awesome strategy to keep himself in check when people were rude on the road. Every time someone would cut him off or do something that felt dangerous that could lead to anger or retaliation, he would yell, “Jesus loves you,” at the person who was driving offensively. Though the yell was through closed windows, the words were what his own heart heard, rather than an angry or rude response. It was a reminder to himself that he did not need to do anything to get back at the driver, and to hold onto the truth that they were indeed, loved by God. As a passenger, not only did it diffuse the frustration with the recklessness of others, but it planted a seed that I never forgot about what I could do instead of retaliating. This principle is useful in responding to people in general. If they are unkind, I can smile and walk away, reminding myself that they are loved by God, or I can extend compassion, despite the ugly that I received. God is gracious and kind, and He loves us, even when we are the most unlovable. If He can love and forgive and receive us, then we ought to extend the same to those around us. No, this does not mean we are meant to be a doormat, but we are not meant to return evil for evil. 

Wrong done unto us,

Should not be done back;

We are called to peace,

Not to choose attack.

Instead we are called,

Let love lead the way;

Give good undeserved,

Like God does each day.

He gives us His grace,

His mercy and love;

And we’re called to do,

As the Lord above.

Father we need You,

To show us Your way;

Keep us from evil,

Lead us each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and have shown us through Your Son, that we are not to retaliate and return harm. Forgive us for the times that we have returned evil for evil, be it in our words, thoughts or actions. Teach us to give all to You, and to trust You to move on our behalf. Show us how to make Your love known, even when love is the last thing that we want to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what to do when harm or evil is directed at us. Lead us in Your everlasting love. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2