Readily and Cheerfully

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, NIV)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! – (Philippians 2:14, MSG)

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. – (Philippians 2:14, TPT)

When I first read this, I wanted to post it in my classroom. If only it were so easy… After further consideration, I realize that there are plenty of things that I grumble about. Though it may not be done audibly, my heart is not always cheerful about things that I need to do. I am not an arguer, but in a sense, when I grumble in my heart, I am arguing with what I know I need to do. God knows my heart, and both my praises and my grumbling are heard by Him. Thankfully, He is a loving Father who listens and reminds my heart of reasons to be grateful. With that in mind, it challenges me to seek to do everything readily and cheerfully, without grumbling as I go. In order for this to transpire, I must lean into Him and hold His word in my heart. It is not something I can do in my own strength, but with His help and His heart, my attitude can be transformed when it goes awry. May we ever seek Him to lead us to live a life that is free from complaining and division among us.

O Lord, help my heart,

Always joy, never complaints…

Be patient and true;

Show me how to live,

Cheerfully for You.

Please renew my mind,

Take angst from my heart;

Help me to choose love,

With joy, do my part.

Even in mundane,

The frustrating tasks;

Fill my heart with thanks,

To do as You ask.

For all that You ask,

Is for greater good;

With joy, help me do,

All things as You would.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You call us to do things without complaining or arguing. Thank You that You hear the frustration that our hearts hold, and show us reasons to praise rather that dwell on how things are right now. Forgive us for our complaining and bickering, as neither do anything to glorify You. Show us how to choose love in everything that we do, so that we glorify You. You know the weariness in our hearts from the length of this crazy, world-altering season. Lead us to lean into You so that we may love one another as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cheerfully do what You ask, without complaining or arguing. Amen.

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

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – Psalm 86:12

Familial Friends

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

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give to yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

It is a gift to find friends that become family. This transpires when those with whom one keeps company love and honor each other with intention. To put others first, requires a determination to listen, love and care for them like family. We are beyond blessed to have friends that have become family to us. After four days of a wonderful getaway together, I am all the more grateful for our framily. (Friends who have become family) There is a mutual love and appreciation for one another that creates safe space and freedom to be oneself. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to be devoted to one another in love, and show us how to put others first in the way that He intended.

Choose be devoted,

In love and in grace;

Honor each other,

In every way.

With love, choose listen,

Let each heart be heard;

Notice the actions,

Love with more than words.

Each heart is a gift,

Sisters and brothers;

To learn, love and grow,

Purpose together.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of friends who become family. Thank You for real life examples of what it is to love and honor each other as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do so. Teach us to view others through Your lens of love so that we may love and honor others like You. Show us how to love in such a way that those around us see Your heart and know their worth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love those You have brought into our lives as family. Amen.

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

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11

To Become His Poetry

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

This verse makes me think of “in one ear and out the other”, as hearing does not equate to doing or making adjustments. Anyone can hear instruction, advice and direction, but only those who follow it truly have listened with intention. The One who created us, also has a plan and a purpose for our lives. It is up to us to seek Him, listen, and then do what He says. I so appreciate The Passions Translation, as the idea of allowing God’s word to “become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life” is a powerful and beautiful notion. In Ephesians 2:10, (same translation) we are reminded again that “We have become His poetry, a recreated people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us…” It is up to us to not just hear His Word and His instructions, but it requires faith in action to move forward accordingly. I don’t know about you, but I long to live out the poetry that God has intended to spring forth from my life. May we ever seek the Lord to both listen and obey all that He is asking of us, for His every word is meant to lead us to live out a life of love.

The Word of the Lord,

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Is righteous and true;

By His loving grace,

Shows us what to do.

He leads us in love,

To choose do the same;

To walk in His grace,

And honor His Name.

Lord, teach us to love,

To listen and learn;

Put faith in action,

In wisdom, discern.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not simply give us instructions and bid us luck, but rather You teach, equip, empower and lead us through all that we are called to do. Forgive us for the times that we “heard” Your Word, but did nothing to act upon it. Teach us to live a life of love and grace in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that all whom we meet encounter Your loving kindness through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to Your Word and seek You to show us how to live it out. Amen.

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

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10

Guided By Love

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give praise to your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, TPT)

This aligns with one of my favorite quotes: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi) Our charge is not to simply speak of our faith, but rather it is to live it out. If people see Christ in us through how we live and care for others, they will ask questions and provide opportunities for us to use words. However, if there is nothing that separates us from anyone else then anything we say will fall on deaf ears. This does not mean that we have to be perfect, or that we have to fear our human flaws, but rather it frees us to walk in God’s grace and choose to love big. When all that we do is guided and steeped in love, His light shines through us and is made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in His love so that we may shine brightly before all.

O Lord help Your light,

Shine brightly through us;

As we grow and learn,

To love like Jesus.

Let all that we do,

Be guided by love;

So others may know,

It’s from You, above.

Thank You for Your grace,

For the times we fail;

Love that leads us on,

So Your love prevails.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your son to show us what it is to lead a life of love. Thank You that as we invest in our relationship with You, You increase our capacity to love well and live out a life in You. Forgive us for our faults and failures, the words and actions that have been lacking Your love. Show us how to love all people in all circumstances, and to live a life according to Your loving plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives into knowing more of You so that we may be a reflection of Your love. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

The Depth of His Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this gracious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT)

I am so thankful for the truth of God’s word. No matter where we are in life or what chapter of our journey we are on, God is not finished with us yet. Not one of us ever “arrives”, but rather He is ever growing and refining us so that we may more clearly reflect Him to those around us. There is much comfort in this. The more I age, the more I find myself acutely aware of the areas that I need God to grow me more. Yes, I can see how far He has brought me, yet I know there is so much more in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and submit our all unto Him, for He will continue every good thing that He has begun in us until the day we meet Him face-to-face.

The God of all grace,

Continues in love;

To transform our hearts,

Reflect our Beloved.

The work is not done,

‘Til we breathe our last;

Teaching us much more,

Healing from the past.

And then on that day,

When we see His face;

We’ll come understand,

The depth of His grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the good work You have begun in all of us. Thank You that You are not finished refining and transforming us until the day You appear. Thank You that Your grace is greater than our every shortcoming. Forgive us for our faults and failures. Teach us to trust You and submit all in Your hands. Show us how to love all those around us in the same way that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You all of our gratitude that You are not finished with us yet. Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:19, ERV)

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

This feels like life right now. After nearly a year and a half of my children being home and isolated, each of the twins will begin a new job today. One will be working at Lowes, and the other at Kohls. The opportunity for each to get out in the community and begin working feels like new life is coming. Where there was isolation, there will now be interactions. Where there was little, there is now opportunity for more. There is something so good as we enter adulthood and begin to earn our own wages and can contribute to expenses. Though both kids have been wise with their money, they were relying on gifts they had been given for graduation, Christmas and birthdays to supply the things that they needed (and parents of course). Beginning today, they will be able to save for school and have spending money of their own. Even more importantly, they will be out in the community and engaging with people again. I know both are nervous, yet I am certain that they will each thrive in the new.

The Lord is faithful,

He brings us the new;

Forward momentum,

Shows us what to do.

New life and blessings,

When all has seemed dim;

He makes a new way,

When we let Him in.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His promises true;

Quenches the thirsty,

And safely leads through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide a way where there seemed to be no way, and You bring new life where all seemed lost. Thank You that our hope is secure in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your promises when tough seasons are long. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give light and life and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make all things new and to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20

To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

Patient Endurance Through Love

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will cause you to feel God’s love and remember Christ’s patient endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, ERV)

Now may the Lord move your hearts into a greater understanding of God’s pure love for you and into Christ’s steadfast endurance. – (2 Thessalonians 3:5, TPT)

God’s love and Christ’s perseverance are necessary in all aspects of our lives. Right now, it is needed to navigate the adolescence of a ninety pound labrador. I have never met a more intelligent or stubborn dog in my life. Training is easy, as he understands EVERYTHING, but his decision to comply or not, is the struggle. There is a fine balance of love and patient endurance required to navigate our days. Sometimes, he is a loving sweet snuggler, yet other times, he is a feisty, tantrum throwing toddler. I imagine God sees us in much the same way. His love is unending, despite our stubbornness, even when we understand what we are called to do. Perhaps this pup came into our lives to remind us just how great God’s love is and how much we need Him to help us patiently persevere. We know this is a season, and that there will come a day when our giant puppy is calm and ready to be reasonable all of the time. God sees us with an unhindered love that patiently endures through all of our stubbornness and willful disobedience. May we seek Him for love and perseverance in the spaces where it does not come easily, and trust in Him to supply all that we need to navigate according to His good and perfect will.

May the Lord guide us,

In His perfect will;

With love and patience,

Lord grant us Your fill.

Through each new season,

We’re called to endure;

To love like Jesus,

Trust that He is near.

He fills us with love,

And strength to press on;

To love all people,

Spur each other on.

Lord, help us to pray,

To turn unto You;

For strength and patience,

To love as You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly meet us and direct our hearts in Your love and perseverance for all things. Forgive us for our lack of patience and love when we meet adversity. Teach us to trust and seek You to be our Supply. Show us how to love with patient endurance in every situation and season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for Your loving kindness and patience to be what we share with all. Amen.

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

A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. – Proverbs 19:11

Forego Foolish Debates

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. – (Titus 3:9, NIV)

Stay away from those who have foolish arguments, who talk about useless family histories, or who make trouble and fight about what the Law of Moses teaches. These things are useless and will not help anyone. – (Titus 3:9, ERV)

Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. – (Titus 3:9, VOICE)

Currently, this could be stated as “do not engage in social media debates and arguments, as nothing good ever comes from them.” The problem with social media is that people hide behind a screen. Words fly into chat boxes and reply lines with little regard for how the words could be interpreted. Without voice and body language, an enormous piece of intent is absent. It is far too easy to misconstrue what is written, and take offense when no harm was intended. Additionally, filters seem to be removed, as there is no visual reception of how a reader interprets what is typed in a box. Yes, communicating and sharing ideas is important, yet it seems to go far better when it is a face-to-face exchange. There is time for pause, real listening, and thoughtful reply. May we seek the Lord to guide us in the conversations we ought to have, and those which do nothing to benefit either person.

Fall not in the trap,

Of foolish debates;

Love is our purpose,

Not words that berate.

God show us the way,

To listen to learn;

And build new bridges,

Help us to discern.

Please fill up our hearts,

With purpose to love;

So kindness will lead,

Through grace from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your patience and kindness is timeless, and that Your word is true and applicable today. Forgive us for the times that we have engaged in useless arguments or debates, rather than chosen to love. Teach us when to walk away and when to engage in a loving and productive manner. Show us how to love first, rather than worry about being right or making our thoughts or opinions known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to avoid foolish controversies and arguments, and instead live a life that is ruled by love. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17