Tend Well the Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT)

It is the love and faithfulness of God that ought to compel us to treat our minds and bodies and His temple. When we love God and invite Him into our lives, He is present with each thing that we take in, be it exposure, what we eat, and how we care for what we have been given. That reminder alone inspires me to care well for my body and to use caution with the things to which I choose to expose my heart and mind. God has made me a very visual creature, so I know that I cannot watch anything that I don’t want to live over and over again. Rather than a filter, my mind is more like a recorder that can get stuck on repeat when exposed to graphic violence and gore. Because of this, I will not and cannot watch violent shows, games, etc. Rather, I am intentional to begin each day with Him and focusing on His word, so that my heart and mind are equipped with His goodness and love. We are all a work in progress. It is an ongoing labor of love throughout our lives, not just a quick fix for the here and now. The healthier and stronger our bodies and minds are, the better equipped we are to walk out our purpose. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to tend well the temples that we have been given.

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell within us when we invite You. Thank You that You call us to tend our temples well, so that we are best equipped to honor, love and serve You. Forgive us for the times that we either neglect to care for our bodies, or expose our minds and hearts to things that do not glorify You. Teach us to ever seek to honor You through the care of our body and mind. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to tend the temple we have been given in a way that honors You. Amen.

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

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:11

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

To Treasure What Lasts

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)

“Don’t save treasures for yourselves here on earth. Moths and rust will destroy them. And thieves can break into your house and steal them. Instead, save your treasures in heaven, where they cannot be destroyed by moths or rust and where thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, ERV)

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” – (Matthew 6:19-21, MSG)

This is the ever-challenging passage that deems it necessary for each of us to take inventory of our priorities. How are we spending our time, talents and resources? Are we hiding them, keeping them for ourselves, or are we looking outward and identifying places where we can love and serve like Jesus? There are many “thieves” out there. For example, comparison is the thief of joy. In a nation that is bursting with so much, the desire to keep up with those around us can take our eyes off of what matters and bring our heart to an ugly space. Rather, if our eyes are fixed on Jesus and all that He has for us, we see the blessings that we already hold, and celebrate the blessings that those around us are given.  Each of us has an inheritance waiting in heaven. It is up to us to embrace the gift that God gives to know that it is already ours. Our perspective shifts when we recognize that this is not our home. We are merely visitors in the here and now, and will spend all of eternity elsewhere. Where we end up will be ours to determine. Will we choose to love God and love people as we are called to do, or will we focus only on what lies before us in hope of ever amassing more? The place that we treasure is demonstrated by how we use what we have been given. I don’t know about you, but I am an ongoing work in progress. I begin my days looking to the Lord, yet life spins quickly around me, and has a way of distracting from that which matters most. Impatience in traffic, frustration with the outspoken, unrest in the isolation… The list goes on and on, as the treasure trolling is in full force. We need God’s grace to grow in His love. He is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, yet it is up to us to pursue Him. May we ever grow closer to He who is our true treasure, and fix our eyes on that which matters most – loving God and loving people.

O Lord, please show us,

Above all to love;

In grace, redeem us,

Set our gaze above.

Help us to treasure,

The things that will last;

Love, grace and kindness,

Doing what You ask.

Lead us in mercy,

Teach us to be kind;

To listen in love,

So hope all may find.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the things You offer are eternal and worth treasuring. Thank You that faith, hope and love are gifts from You that last. Forgive us for the times that we allow earthly things to steal our focus and take our eyes off of You and what matters most. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on that which You intend for is forever. Show us how to love those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to store up our treasures in heaven, for those are the things that last forever. Amen.

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

And the Lord has declared this day that you are His people, His treasured possessions as He promised, and that you are to keep all His commands. – Deuteronomy 26:18

Hard Hearts Made New

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, NIV)

Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, ERV)

Jesus responded, “I promise you – this very day you will enter paradise with Me.” – (Luke 23:43, TPT)

The response of Jesus to the criminal beside Him who was repentant, reminds us how great His grace truly is. Though He himself was hanging from the cross in agony, Jesus still heard the call of a repentant soul, and let it be known that the promise for all who turn away from their sinful ways and turn to God, remained true, even as they were living out their last breaths of life. No matter how far from God someone may appear, their salvation could be but a few breaths away. God works in mysterious ways. If He can touch the heart of a hardened criminal as he is having his death sentence carried out, God can do the same for anyone. We celebrate Christ’s arrival at Christmas, but this season ought to remind us why He came. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy to all who are willing to receive. May we fix our eyes on the greatest gift ever given, and celebrate as we walk in forgiveness, extending peace, love, hope and joy to all those around us.

The promise through Christ,

Was given for all;

So love might be known,

Through us, great and small.

For nothing we do,

That’s done with great love;

Goes without notice,

By the Lord above.

The Lord takes our gifts,

In love, multiplies;

The impact they have,

His grace maximized.

Lord, help us to rise,

With purpose each day;

Let our love spread hope,

Lead us in Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to save us. Thank You that You receive us as we call on Your Name and recognize our desperate need for You. Forgive us for frustration and lack of faith when things seem impossible through our own eyes and understanding. Thank You that You are so much greater than we realize. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant peace, hope, love and joy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension in awe and wonder and gratitude. Amen.

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

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Our Eternal Rock

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal. – (Isaiah 26:4, NIV) 

Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. – (Isaiah 26:4, MSG) 

Trust in the Eternal One forever, for He is like a great Rock – strong, stable, trustworthy, and lasting. – (Isaiah 26:4, VOICE) 

Life continues to feel uncertain with little being predictable or ordinary. Teaching online with no certain end in sight, growing responsibilities being heaped upon one another, in this time and space I am eternally grateful for the One to whom I can trust. Even when all around me is uncertain, He remains the same forever. His love, kindness, mercy, grace, and strength, are ever present and available to all who call on His Name. When all is unstable, I crave a strong, stable, trustworthy and lasting place. There is such a space; it is in the hands of Jesus. We can be strong, stable, and trust in His lasting love.  

Lord, teach us to trust, 

In Your endless love; 

Our Rock and shelter, 

Certainty above. 

Forever we trust, 

In You and Your Name; 

For You are our peace, 

And hope we can claim. 

Lord, hold us so close, 

That we are assured; 

Of grace and goodness, 

Hope in You, secured. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the eternal Rock, the One in whom we can trust forever. Thank You that You remind us and show us again and again that You are good. Forgive us for our fearfulness and anxiousness in the uncertain. Teach us to trust and lean into You, for You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide peace and security, grace and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You, our faithful Rock forever. Amen. 

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

There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides You; there is no Rock like our God. – 1 Samuel 2:2

Attributes of Wisdom

But the wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. – (James 3:17, NLT) 

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 to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV) 

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT) 

The attributes of godly wisdom are such that the hearer is willing to listen because the one who is actively utilizing the wisdom from God is pure, peaceful, loving, gentle and willing to hear others. One who is acting with God’s wisdom is merciful, ready to help people without favoritism and with true sincerity. This is a space where there is always room to grow. Obtaining godly wisdom is a life-long process. We do better when we know better, and knowing better only comes through earnestly seeking God’s heart in all things. Wisdom is needed to navigate each day, if we desire to live the life that we have been created to live. Each of us are designed with purpose, yet purpose is only discovered as we seek wisdom from our Creator. He will show us how to love and serve best, and will grant us the strength and stamina to continue to pursue wisdom and live in such a way that His heart is clearly made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow in His wisdom, for it is pure, peaceful, loving, teachable, fair, giving and honest. 

May we seek wisdom, 

From the Lord above; 

Pure, peaceful and kind, 

That demonstrates love. 

Let us be willing, 

To seek the Lord’s way; 

So justice and grace, 

Are made known each day. 

God in His goodness, 

Gives as we ask Him; 

So that we may love, 

With grace and wisdom. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the source of true wisdom. Thank You that You show us how to grow in Your wisdom as we pursue You. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us. Teach us to ever pursue You for Your wisdom. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, by Your wisdom. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom so that we know how to do Your will. Amen. 

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

The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. – Psalm 37:30

Showing Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God is not unfair. How can He forget your hard work for Him, or forget the way you used to show your love for Him – and still do – by helping His children? – (Hebrews 6:10, TLB)

 

Everything points back to loving God and loving people. If we are loving people with the love that God has planted within us, we are loving Him as well. Love is an ongoing choice to care for others – body, heart, mind and soul. It is an intentional decision to see and meet needs, in the same way that God sees our needs and provides for us in love. Each time that we choose to love others, we are loving God’s creation. To love the created, we must also love the Creator. God sees and He knows each time that we choose to love. We are saved by grace, but it is certainly good and right to live according to His plan of love. May we rise up and put our faith in action, as we intentionally choose to love as God loves each of us.

 

For we are all called, wp-15898092692427851940096367446932.jpg

To love as we’re loved;

Love God and people,

With strength from above.

Love not just with words,

But with all we do;

Actions speak clearest,

To show love is true.

God will remember,

Our each act of grace;

In love and kindness,

How we run life’s race.

It is not a sprint,

We must persevere;

Each day choose to love,

And know He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love in the same way that You love each of us. Thank You that You see and know each time we willfully choose to love others in the same way that You call us to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love as we ought to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love You and others according to Your good and perfect will. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love, and seek You to empower us to do the same. Amen.

 

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

 

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Take Heart

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – (Psalm 31:24, NIV)

Be strong and brave, all of you who are waiting for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 31:24, ERV)

Be strong and live courageously, all of you who set your hope in the Eternal! – (Psalm 31:24, VOICE)

 

Whenever I am in a space of struggle, difficulty or challenge, there is something about the Psalms that offers comfort. David, the author of many of them, penned perfectly, both the struggle in difficulties and the encouragement to overcome. It leads me to wonder if Paul, who wrote many of the letters that became the New Testament from a prison cell, found comfort too, in the songs and sonnets and scores of words recorded in the Psalms. For many of us, the staying in place feels a bit torturous, as it is in no way natural nor normal. However, when I consider the time spent by Paul under house arrest and in Roman prison, I need to count my blessings and take heart. In strength and courage, Paul encouraged entire congregations of new believers, despite his circumstances. We are no different. Whatever we are tasked to do in this season, may we be strong and take heart, and place our hope in He who is our help. God is good, and He is faithful to answer when we call on Him to be our help and our hope.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Take Heart

Take courage, be brave;

The Lord will be near,

When asked to come stay.

As we place our hope,

In the Lord above;

He grants what we need,

To go forth in love.

Fear not in trials,

For God’s ever near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can find strength and courage in You as we seek You to be our help and our hope. Thank You that You are ever-present. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations with our circumstances. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may learn and grow through every trial. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may encourage and strengthen one another in spaces where resolve is running low. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find strength and courage as we look to You to be our help and hope forever. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Wisdom, Strength and Self-Discipline to Love

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

As usual, this morning’s passage is appropriate and timely. We are not called to be fearful, but rather to be wise and strong. With so much mixed information running rampant right now, it is as if the media is attempting to isolate and instill fear in folks. Yes, there is reason to be cautious and use wisdom. Those who have compromised immune systems or are among the high-risk groups ought to be extra-vigilant and follow whatever guidelines they feel safest following; and those of us who are not, must respect and honor their need to use caution and care, yet the fear that drives massive hoarding, rather than loving others, is not a space that we are meant to live. Self-discipline is the space within us that expects the best, prepares for the worst, and extends a hand to those around us in need.

This morning, I am grateful for time over the weekend to love and enjoy being with people. Incredibly, my Viking, our best friends and I went to watch the Sea Wolves (our Seattle Rugby team) play on Saturday night. It is a somewhat small venue, yet the stands were packed. After the game, we went to go have dinner together, and the first place we attempted to go had a 30 to 40-minute wait, so we ended up going to another spot not far from there, that was far less crowded. It amazed me to see people out seeming to operate in life as usual on Saturday, and then on Sunday, to see the clear evidence of the concern in my own community. Church was much lighter than usual, (yet I know there are those who must stay home per their doctor’s recommendation, and still others who stayed home as they are fighting colds and the like), followed by a trip to the grocery store where we discovered a completely sold out toilet paper isle. May we ever seek the Lord and His Spirit, for in Him we need not fear. He grants us power, wisdom and self-discipline, and shows us how to love people best, even in the worst of times.

 

We’ve not been given, wp-15837552643821979517268994098331.jpg

A spirit of fear;

For God is with us,

He is always near.

In the Lord, there’s peace,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Power the Lord gives,

His grace from above.

All of these great things,

We’re given indeed;

To love people well,

Give as we’ve received.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not give us a Spirit of fear, but rather one of power, wisdom and self-discipline. Thank You that You give each person what they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families to stay safe and well. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the unknown can be a scary space. Teach us to trust You more, and to listen to Your leading as You guide us through uncharted waters. Show us how to love those around us well, as each of us have different needs in different circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You for wisdom, strength and self-discipline to love as You love us all. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Choose to Do Good

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. – (Proverbs 14:22, NIV)

Whoever works to do good will find love and loyalty. It is a mistake to work at doing evil. – (Proverbs 14:22, ERV)

Haven’t you noticed how evil schemers always wander astray? But kindness and truth come to those who make plans to be pure in all their ways. – (Proverbs 14:22, TPT)

 

We reap what we sow. If our plans are for the good of others, love and faithfulness find way back to us. However, if our intentions are to harm or are unkind in any way, we begin to veer off of the path that God has for us. It is a slippery slope, and one ill-intended word, deed or action, can lead to many more. Thankfully, the same is true of operating in kindness and truth. The more we seek to be pure in all of our ways, the more we recognize the good in walking out our lives according to God’s perfect plan for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in what is good, so that we may operate in kindness and truth for all of our days.

 

The ways of the Lord, To Bear Good Fruit

Are good and with love;

Led by faithfulness,

Graced from God above.

Choosing unkindness,

Is far from God’s way;

Those who plot evil,

Find they’ve gone astray.

Instead, seek the Lord,

And choose to do good;

In kindness and truth,

Do as Jesus would.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You and trust in You to lead us to do good, love and faithfulness find way back to us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly in word, thought or deed. Teach us to turn to You for strength to do the right thing; always. Show us how to do all things with kindness in truth for all whom we meet, so that each may come to understand the power of Your love for themselves. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in kindness and truth as we walk out each day trusting You. Amen.

 

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

 

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