All Through Him

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. – (Romans 11:36, HCSB)

Yes, God made all things. And everything continues through Him and for Him. To God be the glory forever! Amen. – (Romans 11:36, ERV)

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him; everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes. – (Romans 11:36, MSG)

As we draw ever closer to the close of what has been the most challenging school year yet, I cannot help but give God praise for all He has done throughout every day. He has provided strength in our weariness, and hope in spaces of despair. Today, we begin the twenty-day countdown. Twenty more school-day wakeups and the year will be done. I don’t know about you, but when the days remaining are countable on our fingers and toes, it seems far more manageable. This morning, as I prepare for my day, not only do I present my requests for strength and peace and patience and love, but also, I give God praise for all He has done, is doing, and will continue to do. May we rise with purpose and make the most of each day that we draw breath.

Twenty days remain,

Home stretch…

Until we are through;

Year never-ending,

Almost done, it’s true.

God has been faithful,

To provide our needs;

His grace, sufficient,

And His love exceeds.

On the darkest days, 

In Him, was still light;

The song in our hearts,

Hope, love and delight.

Let us choose rise up,

With purpose, go forth;

Love one another,

And bask in God’s warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all things are in You, from You, with You and through You; for You lead, guide, sustain and strengthen us to do more than we ever hoped or imagined. Forgive us for losing sight of the truth of who You are and how You carry us when our strength is gone. Teach us to trust and praise You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they may know glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You forever for who You are and how You lovingly lead us through all things. Amen.

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

All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. – John 1:3

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

Hope in Living Water

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – (John 4:14, NIV)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day. First, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to one another. Second, male and female strangers did not speak to each other. Additionally, people did not typically draw water from the well in the heat of the day. His opening with the woman was simply to ask for a drink of water as she was drawing the water from the well. Her line of questions led to His statement about living water, and eventually to Jesus speaking the truth of who she was, what she had experienced, and what she could have through trusting in God. She embraced the grace that was freely given and then went and told everyone she could find about the One at the well. Her shame was overshadowed by the hope she discovered in Jesus. Incredibly, the same holds true for us still. When we realize the hope and joy that Jesus has for us as we trust in Him, we cannot help but allow His love and hope to radiate from us. May we ever trust in He who is the living water, and walk out our days in the reality of our eternal hope.

O Lord help us trust,

In all that is true;

Our eternal hope,

That is found in You.

Wherever we thirst,

Jesus is the cure;

True living water,

Hope that is assured.

For where there is hope,

There’s also resolve;

To keep keeping on,

As fears soon dissolve.

Rise up in worship,

To Him be all praise;

Our hope forever,

The strength through our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us each at our “wells”, show us where we have been and what we have done, and freely and lovingly offer us new life in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You, or have lost sight of the hope that is forever in You. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, and to remember that Your love is without limits or conditions. Show us how to love and accept those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope in You that lasts forever and live out our days trusting in the truth. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

Faith is Essential

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, HCSB)

Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, ERV)

Without faith no one can please God because the one coming to God must believe He exists, and He rewards those who come seeking. – (Hebrews 11:6, VOICE)

None of us can please God on our own, yet when we trust in Jesus and all that He has done for us, our faith grows and God knows. When we seek, we find, for God is faithful to reveal Himself to us in tangible ways when we pursue Him. Our reward is the assurance that He is with us now and that we will be in His presence forever. His presence brings peace, and His love equips and empowers us to love likewise. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is, for He is faithful forever to all who follow after Him.

Faith is essential,

To trust in the Lord;

Belief in unseen,

All grace He affords.

Though God is not seen,

His love’s tangible;

He makes His heart known,

Understandable.

He brings unto us,

His heart that’s made known;

Through those around us,

God’s goodness is shown.

A snuggly pup,

The smile of a friend;

Encouraging words,

God’s love knows no end.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that finding faith is easy, as You place evidence of Your goodness and love all around us. Thank You that You are pleased when we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters, and we question Your goodness because of what we see. Teach us to trust You more, and grant us Your eyes to see beyond what is directly in front of us. Continue to show us Your love made tangible through those You have placed around us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your love is evident and faith in You rises. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to lead us in love and grow our faith greater each day. Amen. 

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

I always remember Your faithful love. I depend on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Truth in Love Brings Growth

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, HCSB)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him – the Anointed One, the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, VOICE)

We are called to speak the truth in love. As we do, we grow more like Jesus. He modeled love in all things, and we have been created to do the same. This growth is a lifelong process, for we are constantly in a battle between acting and reacting in our broken human nature, and responding in love as we are called to do. We must not grow weary in doing good, for it is always worthwhile, and can have a lasting impact that goes far beyond what we might see or understand. There have been countless times in my own life when dear ones have spoken the truth in love to me, and because it was delivered in love, what was said had a lasting positive impact. Such words can change a moment, a day, a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime. Our intentional decision to choose love has the power to grow not only ourselves, but those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in all that we say and do, and give Him room to grow us in the ways He intended from the start.

Speak the truth in love,

For it is our call;

To grow more like Christ,

As we choose love all.

Lord, show us the way,

To love like You do;

Do all things in love,

So Your heart shines through.

Grow us in Your strength,

To do what is right;

As Your love leads us,

To walk in Your light.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak the truth in love and to grow more like You as we do. Thank You that this is not something that we do on our own, but rather, as we seek You and listen to Your leading, You show us how and You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for every word that we have spoken that was not in truth and love. Show us how to do all things in Your love. Lead us to love those around us with our words and actions so that Your love is clearly shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak the truth in love and to grow ever more like You. Amen.

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

Brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Wisdom to Speak Well

They were not able to catch Him in what He said in public, and being amazed at His answer, they became silent. – (Luke 20:26, HCSB)

The men were amazed at His wise answers. They could say nothing. They were not able to trick Jesus there in front of the people. – (Luke 20:26, ERV)

Try as they might, they couldn’t trap Him into saying anything incriminating. His answers caught them off guard and left them speechless. – (Luke 20:26, MSG)

The Pharisees relentlessly tried to trick Jesus into saying something incriminating so that they could justifiably get rid of Him. However, Jesus knew their intentions, and answered in ways that spoke truth and silenced those who could not catch Him with words. The very same God is available and able to give us the words to say in every situation. Rather than simply react, we ought to pause, quiet our hearts, and hear what He would have us say. God grants wisdom so that we can speak truth in love. It is never His intent for us to be in a war of words or a battle of wits. Instead, He calls us to love as He first loved us. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us His wisdom and words, so that we may answer in truth and love in every situation and circumstance.

Words can be weapons,

That we use for good;

The Lord’s own defense,

Made truth understood.

No harmful intent,

But rather in love;

He spoke only truth,

With grace from above.

As we seek the Lord,

And listen with care;

He will equip us,

With goodness to share.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to show us the way to walk out our everyday life. Thank You that when people attempted to slander His character or trap Him in some sort of untruth, He slowed down and spoke in wisdom and truth, without harmful intent, motivated by love. Forgive us for speaking without love, or for being defensive instead of listening and then only speaking what is beneficial to all. Teach us to slow down and seek You to give us words to speak, rather than blurting out whatever rolls off the tongue. Lead us to speak truth in love, and to demonstrate Your love for those around us in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading and speak out of love in all things. Amen.

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

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

Encourage and Promote Peace

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

This is such a powerful reminder, as we are meant to encourage and build one another up, no matter how we are feeling. It is not about how we feel, but rather about what we are called to do and who we are created to be. To live out this life with purpose, we must be bearers of peace and people who encourage those around us. Yes, there is a time for correction and redirection, but love must be the center of all we do. If someone who has my trust and has clearly established that they are for me and not against me, I am receptive to what they say if I have said or done something that was not aligned with love. It requires courage and intention to live in relationships like this, but our investments in one another are always worthwhile. May we ever pursue the Lord to lead us in living a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters.

May we seek pursue,

A life that gives peace;

Build each other up,

As love does increase.

For we have been made,

To love each other;

Encourage, lift up,

Sisters and brothers.

So, let us choose love,

In all that we do;

Be bearers of peace,

Encourage in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring peace and encourage each other. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives that do exactly that. Forgive us for the times that we have not brought peace or have not been an encouragement where it was needed. Teach us to rely on You to lead us well. Show us how to bring peace to places where it is absent, and to encourage hearts that need lifting up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your leading so that we can be bearers of peace and encouragement wherever we go. Amen.

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

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – Psalm 34:14

Stand Firm

So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stand firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

We are called to stand firm and be strong in who God has called us to be, and in what He calls us to do. No matter how seen or behind the scenes it is, God will use what we offer in love. Everything matters, from the smallest act of kindness to the greatest sacrifice, all is used for good when the heart behind it is for God. May we ever stay firmly planted in the good that God calls us to do, and trust that He is working, even when we cannot see the evidence of an impact. 

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that we are all uniquely designed with different talents and gifts to share. Thank You that every act of kindness matters. Forgive us for thinking that our choice to love does not matter and for the times that we have neglected to act in love. Teach us to stand firm in You at all times and in every circumstance. Lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in Your love and Your purposes for us. Amen.

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

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

We Were the One

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” – (Luke 15:4, HCSB)

“Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep.  You will continue to search for it until you find it.” – (Luke 15:4, ERV)

“Wouldn’t every single one of you, if you have 100 sheep and lose one, leave the 99 in their grazing lands and go out searching for the lost sheep until you find it?” – (Luke 15:4, VOICE)

Jesus views us in the same way. Each of His kids is of infinite worth, and He passionately pursues us when we have gone astray or have become lost. His heart is ever for us, to protect us and love us well. Additionally, I am certain it is why He places us in community. When we are invested and engaged with others, we are less likely to become lost or wander off on our own. Together, we have each other to help us remain engaged and accountable to be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Shepherd who loves each of us so much that He would relentlessly pursue us if we became lost. 

The Lord’s our shepherd,

Watching over us;

In love, He protects,

Our faithful Jesus.

If we go astray,

He’ll ever pursue;

The heart of the lost,

To cleanse and renew.

For in Him is grace,

Forever, He’s good;

He helps us see Him,

Makes love understood.

Each day we draw breath,

He’s present to care;

He loves with His life,

He’s ever aware.

He knows when we’re near,

Or if we are lost;

His heart beats for us,

Made clear at the cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You pursue us when we are lost or have gone astray. Thank You that You know and see us individually, and care about every detail of our lives. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You don’t, or for not recognizing how deeply You love us all. Teach us to see every single person we encounter as one whom You would leave all to pursue and bring safely into Your care. Show us how to love everyone as You do, so that those who are hurting, struggling, or wandering aimlessly would be pursued as the “One” with Your love and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for pursuing us when we were the “One”, and for placing us in community to keep us from wandering. 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

Justified and Redeemed

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, HCSB)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

You see, all have sinned and all their futile attempts to reach God in His glory fail. Yet they are now saved and set right by His free gift of grace through the redemption available only in Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 3:23-24, VOICE)

Because of the events of this most Holy Week, we all have access to forgiveness, grace, and redemption from our sin. On our own, we cannot live right every moment of every day. However, when we seek and accept the grace that God has freely given through Jesus, we are made clean and holy before God – not because of anything that we have or have not done, but because He who knew no sin dwells within us and has already paid the price that our sins deserve. Through Him, we are considered right before God and have a future and a hope in Him. This is why we celebrate Easter, and why we ought to pause and remember with gratitude, the ultimate sacrifice that we made on our behalf so that we might know life with God forever.

The purpose of Easter,

Much more than the cross;

His redemption for all,

He has paid the cost.

Much more than suffering,

For death could not keep;

Jesus, the Messiah,

In eternal sleep.

It is through the rising,

That our hope was found;

Nothing could defeat Him,

His power abounds.

And more than the rising,

Return to His throne;

Seated up in heaven,

His goodness made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son so that we might come to know forgiveness and grace that His sacrifice provides. Thank You that there is nothing that we can do to earn our way into Your glory, but rather it is a matter of us receiving what You freely offer through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize the depth of Your love that sacrificed all. Teach us to live in awe and gratitude throughout all of our days. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart is made evident to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for all that You have done and continue to do to demonstrate just how great Your love is for all. Amen.

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

Therefore, since He has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, He has poured out what you both see and hear. – Acts 2:33