The Priority of Knowing and Loving Jesus

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NIV)

This is what the Lord says: “The wise must not brag about their wisdom. The strong men must not brag about their strength. The rich must not brag about their money. But if someone wants to brag, then let them brag about this: Let them brag that they learned to know Me. Let them brag that they understand that I am the Lord, that I am kind and fair, and that I do good things on earth. I love this kind of bragging.” This message is from the Lord. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ERV)

God’s Message: “Don’t let the wise brag about their wisdom. Don’t let heroes brag of their exploits. Don’t let the rich brag of their riches. If you brag, brag of this and this only: That you understand and know Me. I’m God, and I act in loyal love. I do what’s right and set things right and fair, and delight in those who do the same things. These are My trademarks.” God’s Decree. – (Jeremiah 9:23-24, MSG)

This ought to be our priority – knowing and understanding who God is and how He loves. Everything good that we have in our lives is a gift from God. Every blessing, every help, and every hope – all come from Jesus. May we ever prioritize knowing and loving Jesus, for it is through this knowledge and love that we find understanding and recognize the abundant blessings that are ours in Him. Understanding who God is and how He loves shifts our perspective on everything. For example, when there is an illness or struggle, we can either think, “Woe is me,” or we can pause and praise Him for bringing us through it and showing Himself faithful again and again. Additionally, knowing God helps us recognize that every good and perfect gift has come from Him. In all things and at all times, may we seek to know and love Jesus more.

Lord, help us to see,

All that we’ve received;

The blessings You give,

Perfect loyalty.

Love in abundance,

Peace and eyes to see;

Plentiful blessings,

Granted lovingly.

In everything,

You bring forth Your good;

Your help, love and hope,

Your grace, understood.

Help us to make it,

Our priority;

To know and love You,

And ever seek Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know us and love us far beyond what we can fathom. Thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to know and love You more. Forgive us for not making it a priority to know You more; for it is through knowing You that we love more deeply. Show us how to prioritize our time with You so that You can transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love. Lead us in our pursuit of You and our interactions with those around us. Make Your love and understanding grow greater each day that we draw breath. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we prioritize knowing and loving Jesus. Amen.

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

Those who know Your Name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Abiding in Jesus

Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. – (John 15:4, NIV)

Stay joined to Me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone. You must stay joined to Me. – (John 15:4, ERV)

Live in Me. Make your home in Me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with Me. – (John 15:4, MSG)

As a middle school teacher in January, I recognize the truth of this in very tangible ways. If I do not begin my day with Jesus, my heart is not set right to abide in Him. Without Him, I would not get through the challenges that nearing the end of the first semester bring. Between the push to complete and finalize grading, kids in scramble mode to raise grades, behaviors break down and patience is challenged. When I rely on He who is in me, I am kinder and more patient. In the moments that I try to trust in my own strength, frustration rises, and I am ready to walk away. Remaining in Jesus means to listen to His leading in all things. This includes moments of frustration and challenge, as well as those of blessing and celebration. He is always good, and is faithful to supply what we need in all things. May we ever abide in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith; for greater is He who is in us, than anything that is in the world.

Abide in Jesus,

As He does in us;

Our Hope and Helper,

The One who sees us.

He knows all our needs,

When we’re not aware;

And as we seek Him,

Always, He is there.

Present to help us,

To show us the way;

To live and love well,

As in Him we stay.

So, remain in God,

The Giver of grace;

Our Help and our Hope,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead us and help us to bear good fruit as we remain in You. Thank You that You are for us, and that Your heart is to lead us to love well. Forgive us for the times that we rely on our own strength, for that is where our patience grows thin, and our resolve diminishes. Teach us to abide in You throughout every moment of every day. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that Your light and love are made known to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we abide in You and seek You to be the bearer of fruit in and through our lives. 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

The Blessings of Strength and Peace

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I have experienced this so much over the last few days. For each surgery, God gave me the strength that I needed, and His peace was present. Yesterday, as I had reconstructive surgery on my lip where the cancer had been removed the day prior, I was at total peace as I was checked in and prepped for the process. Again, the procedure took less time than anticipated, and the pain has been tolerable. This morning, though I woke far earlier than planned, I felt good and was glad to be up when one of my kiddos wandered up the stairs not feeling great. Being able to offer advice, comfort and company is still a blessing, even when your kids are adults. It seems that the same sort of peace that I received, is now being passed on to my son as he is resting on the couch with me and the pups. God is good, and He is faithful to supply the strength we need and will be our peace whenever we call on His Name. As we move into this weekend of celebrating Christ, who came to us as a baby, grew into a man, and showed us God in the flesh as He lived, loved, and gave His life for us, only to rise again to sit at the right hand of the Father and constantly contend for us all, may we prioritize give Him praise for His forever faithful ways.

God is our comfort,

Faithful place of peace;

Strength when we’re weary,

All goodness released.

O Lord, we praise You,

For all that You are;

The Light of the world,

For all near and far.

When we’re uncertain,

Of what lies ahead;

The Lord will guide us,

In His strength we’re led.

Praise to You, Father,

And praise to the Son;

And to the Spirit,

Godhead, three-in-One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our Provider of peace. Thank You that You are loving and kind and faithful. Thank You that You are our Healer too. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we face unknowns. Teach us to trust You more in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and promote peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as receive Your strength and peace with gladness and give You all the glory because You are so good. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

The more we trust God, the more we become aware of His perfect peace. God’s peace brings calm to our hearts, despite the chaos around us, and a steadiness in knowing that He is in control. No matter what we face, we can trust that God is with us, and His presence is what brings us a peace that goes beyond our understanding, and settles our hearts, despite what we see. May we ever seek the Lord and keep our minds steadfast on the truth of His word and who He is, so that we know God’s perfect peace in all things and at all times.

Peace comes in knowing,

Who is in control;

Our King and Savior,

The One we extol.

The Lord grants us strength,

When ours is but gone;

And floods us with peace,

To keep keeping on.

Even in the dark,

The Lord is our light;

Hope never ending,

Our peace through the night.

So, trust in the Lord,

Turn to Him for peace;

His love unending,

Goodness is complete.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, You fill our hearts and minds with Your perfect peace. Thank You that You peace is not dependent on our circumstances, but it is provided in places and times that peace seems impossible. Forgive us for our lack of trust that seems to make peace elusive. Thank You that You patiently wait for us to turn to You, then You lovingly welcome us into Your protective embrace that provides peace that surpasses all understanding. Teach us to always turn to You, no matter what lies before us. Show us Your goodness and grace that overwhelms our hearts with Your perfect peace. Lead us to love those around us in ways that extend Your perfect peace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set our minds and hearts on You, and give You room to move as You flood us with Your perfect peace. 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

Hold On

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

No matter how the day ahead appears, we have hope to hold onto. Jesus is our rock and our anchor, the One who has promised and has proven Himself faithful, again and again. For some, the day holds anticipation for the unknown; for others, the overwhelming busyness that awaits; yet in all things, we have hope that we can cling to, for God is always faithful, and He grants us peace in places it does not make sense, and helps in things that seem impossible. May we ever cling to Christ, who is our hope, for He is faithful to fulfill His promises.

May we speak aloud,

The truth our hearts know;

That God’s always good,

And His way He’ll show.

He grants us His peace,

When chaos seems reign;

Provides strength we need,

And makes our way plain.

Always He faithful,

He’ll show us the way;

He leads and guides us,

As in Him, we stay.

So, trust in the Lord,

Hold tight to what’s true;

Trust Him forever,

In Him we’re renewed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One whom we can cling to in all situations and circumstances. Thank You that You are faithful forever and that our hope is assured in You. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot see how You are working in the midst of all that lies before us. Teach us to see things through Your lens, for all that is now is temporary, yet all that is in You, is forever. Show us how to have an eternal perspective. Thank You for the glimpses of Your glory that we get to witness in the waiting. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that they may come to know the hope that is found in You alone. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope we confess, and trust without wavering because we know that You are good and faithful forever. Amen.

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

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. – Psalm 18:16

Gratitude for His Good

For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. – (1 Timothy 4:4, HCSB)

Everything that God made is good. Nothing He made should be refused if it is accepted with thanks to Him. – (1 Timothy 4:4, ERV)

For everything God made is good. That means nothing should be rejected as long as it’s received with a grateful heart. – (1 Timothy 4:4, VOICE)

This passage is in the context of certain foods, but in reality, can be applied to many things. The bottom line is a heart issue. We ought to receive all things from God with gratitude. If we cannot, then we should steer clear of whatever it is. May we ever give God our thanks and praise for the good gifts He gives.

All that’s created,

By the Lord above;

Was made with purpose,

And given in love.

May our hearts be full,

Of all thanks and praise;

As we see God’s good,

Throughout all our days.

With sweet thanksgiving,

Let our hearts receive;

God’s loving kindness,

To all who believe.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that all things that You have made are good. Forgive us for the times that we have rejected the goodness of Your creation. Teach us to appreciate all that Your hands have made, and to receive Your goodness with gratitude and grace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make the goodness of all You have made evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all thanks and praise for the goodness of all that You have created and given unto us. 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

Graciousness Made Known

Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, HCSB)

Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. – (Philippians 4:5, ERV)

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE)

Graciousness, gentleness and kindness are all things that God gives to us in abundance. His grace grants us a new sunrise each day, air to breathe, and everything good in our lives. God’s gentleness is the still small voice that speaks to our hearts, and reminds us of which way we are to go, who we are in Him, and how to choose to love. Extending kindness, especially when it is not “deserved”, is a demonstration of God’s graciousness made tangible through us. Each time we both extend and experience these things, we are gaining glimpses of just how near the Lord is to us. His presence provides as we choose to abide. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, so that our gentleness and kindness help others to see God’s own heart.

Let God’s gentleness,

Truly take the lead;

His kindness made clear,

For love’s what we need.

The heart of the Lord,

Is most clearly shown;

Through His loving grace,

That’s ever made known.

Help us, Lord Jesus,

To love graciously;

So others may know,

All good that’s from Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your kindness, gentleness and grace through Your overwhelming and eternal love. Thank You that You pour so much into us, that we can share generously out of the overflow within. Forgive us for the times that Your gentleness and grace have been absent from how we operate. Teach us to seek You to lead us in all things and at all times, so that Your goodness and grace are clearly shown. Direct us to love those around us like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with more of You so that Your graciousness is made evident through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

One who loves with a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. – Proverbs 22:11

Supply to the Seeking

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. – (Matthew 6:33, MSG)

When God is our priority each day, and we seek Him to lead us in what we say and do, He takes care of us. He provides as we abide. Yes, we have to do our part by taking action, but He supplies what we need in ways that go beyond human understanding. It is not something we earn, but rather as we seek Him, He shows us which way to go, and grants us what we need to get there. This holds true in every area of our lives if we allow Him room to be God of all. This is an ongoing process, as we are ever a work in progress and have limitless capacity to keep learning and growing. May we ever seek the Lord and steep our lives in His reality, His initiative and His provisions, for He is faithful to meet us with every step we take.

Choose seek first the Lord,

And all of His good;

He’s faithful always,

His love understood.

We need not worry,

Forever He’s near;

To lead and help us,

Each prayer He hears.

Keep moving forward,

In all that He asks;

He grants what’s needed,

For each step, each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your ways, You meet us, lead us, and provide all that we need. Thank You that You are faithful forever, even when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Thank You that we can look back and see just how incredibly faithful You have always been. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when the road before us is rough. Teach us to trust in You and to look to You to lead us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too are able to see Your faithful love that meets us anew each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day, and trust You to lead us well in the ways that You want us to go. Amen.

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

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Our Calls For Help Are Heard

But I call to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets You. – (Psalm 88:13, HCSB)

Lord, I am asking You to help me! Early each morning I pray to You. – (Psalm 88:13, ERV)

But I am calling out to You, Eternal One. My prayers rise before You with every new sun! – (Psalm 88:13, VOICE)

God is faithful to hear us when we call on Him. Each day, as I rise before the sun, I call on God to be my help and my hope. If you have been following here, you know that the start to this school year has had its challenges. Yesterday, there was a bit of a change. It was far from perfect, yet how I felt at the end of the day was far better than the previous two. I am hopeful that today will be even better. May we ever call on the Lord for help, for He is faithful to hear us and help us in and through all things.

Each morning I rise,

Before daylight’s come;

I pray to the Lord,

The most Holy One.

I seek Him for strength,

My Help and my Hope;

To lead and guide me,

So love is evoked.

Ever He’s faithful,

To meet me each day;

His strength and goodness,

Lead me in His way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear our prayer. Thank You that even when we do not see it, You are moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things are heavy and feel as if we are in the throes of a never ending fight. Teach us to rise and pray to You, for You are our help and our hope. Show us how to love those around us well. Lead us in the light of Your gracious goodness for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each morning as we rise, trusting that You hear us and will be with us as we go. Amen.

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

Lord, hear my prayer. In Your faithfulness listen to my plea, and in Your righteousness answer me. – Psalm 143:1

All That is Good

The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, HCSB)

Everything the Lord does is good. Everything He does shows how loyal He is. – (Psalm 145:17, ERV)

Everything God does is right – the trademark on all His works is love. – (Psalm 145:17, MSG)

The Eternal is right in all His ways, and He is kind in all His acts. – (Psalm 145:17, VOICE)

I included four different translations of this verse, as each points out the goodness of God that is made evident through His actions of love. This is what we need to remember and hold onto, as bad that happens is not caused by God, but rather by the brokenness of this world. What God does is stay with us, love us, and give us His peace as we navigate all things that come our way. The people who walk alongside us are a gift from Him, and the good we experience is because of His loving kindness. All that is good, all that is lovely, all that is loyal and kind, these are the things of God. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness, for He is faithful to show His loyal love through all that He does.

The Lord is so good,

In all of His ways;

He’s loyal and kind,

Throughout each new day.

His blessings bring peace,

His presence is love;

Our help and our hope,

His gifts from above.

So, ever choose seek,

For in Christ you’ll find;

Goodness, love and grace,

Forever He’s kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find how faithful, loyal and loving You are. Forgive us for blaming You for the bad in the world. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are our anchor through the storms and our peace in places it is absent. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that loyalty and goodness make Your love evident to all. 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. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17