Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Devoted to One Another

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – (Romans 12:10, HCSB)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give 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)

True devotion looks different to everyone, but to me, it is shown in recognizing the needs and desires of one another and being willing to share in their joy, even if it is not your own. Some of you were around to read about my Viking and my fishing adventure in Westport. Sadly, despite catching our limit in fish, I was extremely seasick and had to dig deep to rally. Yesterday, for his birthday, I purchased a three-hour deep sea fishing adventure for the two of us. Prior to arriving in Hawaii, I had spoken with a seasoned fisherman for advice as to how to prevent a repeat experience the next time. I followed ALL of his advice, and am thrilled to report that I felt great out on the water! It is awesome how God helps us and answers prayers through practical help and divine intervention. Because I was willing to try again, I was blessed with a far better experience. I went into the trip with the attitude that I would be okay either way, as it was only going to be three hours of my life. Mark was blessed and overjoyed to be out on the water, and thankful that I was able to enjoy the experience as well. He honors me with all of my wild wants to wander and explore, so how could I not at least try? May we ever find practical ways to show devotion to one another in love, and give room to put others first, in the same way that Jesus did for us all.

To be devoted,

In brotherly love;

We look past ourselves,

To God up above.

Love is in choosing,

To put others first;

To love with actions,

Is how love’s dispersed.

Just as Lord Jesus,

Chose to give us all;

May we be willing,

Help others stand tall.

Even in challenge,

The Lord sees our hearts;

He grants us the strength,

To do what’s our part.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You set the standard of what it means to live sacrificially and to love completely. Thank You that as You call us to do the same, You supply what we need to be a blessing to those around us. Forgive us for fearing what could be lost, rather than that which can be gained. Show us how to be devoted to one another in love in ways that make Your heart tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us and rely on You to supply all that we need to be devoted to You and to one another. Amen.

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

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Give Thanks to the Lord

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – (Psalm 118:29, HCSB)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 118:29, ERV)

You’re my God, and I thank You. O my God, I lift high Your praise. Thank God – He’s so good. His love never quits! – (Psalm 118:29, MSG)

After more than ten hours of travel to safely arrive at our destination, we were exhausted and a bit punchy. I cannot help but give thanks to God for His goodness and protection as we traveled, and for His provision as we arrived. An added bonus is that we were upgraded to a convertible for our rental car, hence the Viking’s huge smile. Every time I see the beauty God has made, I am blessed by His protection and provision, I have to give Him thanks. May we all recognize the goodness and love of the Lord and give Him thanks each new day.

All thanks to the Lord,

For love that is true;

Goodness and kindness,

Each day that is new.

His love never quits,

So nor should our praise;

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For each brand new day.

Your blessings poured out,

Your goodness shown true;

Help my heart to hold,

Thanks for all You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love, goodness, kindness and provision are eternal. Thank You that You hold us in Your hands and bless us, Your children, with a perfect Father’s love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to give You praise for how You love us so well. Teach us to recognize that every good and perfect gift comes from You. Show us how to love everyone we encounter so that they might gain glimpses of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise for who You are and how You love us forever. Amen.

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

Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

The Beauty of Intentional Design

I look at the heavens You made with Your hands. I see the moon and stars You created. And I wonder, “Why are people so important to You? Why do you even think about them? Why do You care so much about humans? Why do You even notice them?” – (Psalm 8:3-4, ERV)

I look up at Your macro-skies, dark and enormous, Your handmade sky-jewelry, moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, why do You bother with us? Why take a second look our way? – (Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)

When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation – on the moon, stars, and all You have made, I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals – sons and daughters of men – specks of dust floating about the cosmos. – (Psalm 8:3-4, VOICE)

Between living in the Pacific Northwest, and having been blessed with numerous opportunities to see new locations around the world, I share David’s sentiment of awe and wonder at how people are considered the priority to God, who created so much magnificent beauty. We are but a speck of dust in comparison to the entire universe. The glory that surrounds us in His creation is clear evidence of God’s existence. As humans, we are still learning and discovering just how vast God’s creation actually is, and I imagine the discoveries will not end. God, who is timeless and endless, created more than our minds can conceive, yet intentionally hand-crafted each one of us to be unique with strengths, talents, personalities and more. We all were created with purpose and possibilities, accompanied with a free will to determine just how we might use what we have been given. The more I learn, the more I desire to honor and serve the Lord. His goodness and love are as vast as the universe, and His capacity to care for us knows no end. May we ever seek the Lord to reveal more and more of who He is and all that He has done so that we might recognize and honor God as we should.

May we choose look up,

No filter, Sunrise in Belize taken on my phone…<3

Survey all we see;

All that surrounds us,

God’s own majesty.

The stars in the sky,

Created and known;

The mountains and seas,

The Lord’s power shown.

Each work of His hand,

Intentionally;

Formed with a purpose,

Beyond what we see.

Each human on earth,

Is by God’s design;

Made with a purpose,

His love intertwined.

May we stand in awe,

Of all that He’s made;

Give all thanks to Him,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of all that You have created! Thank You for so much beauty all around us. Forgive us for making You too small, for the God who created everything and everyone is able to do abundantly more than we could hope or imagine. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things around us seem crazy or impossible. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us well, so that they may recognize Your heart for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of how You love and care for us. Amen.

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

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – Psalm 19:1

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Your Faithful Love

God, within Your temple, we contemplate Your faithful love. – (Psalm 48:9, HCSB)

God, in Your temple we remember Your loving kindness. – (Psalm 48:9, ERV)

We ponder Your love-in-action, God, waiting in Your temple. – (Psalm 48:9, MSG)

The incredible thing about this is that we no longer have to be in a physical structure to be in God’s presence; our body is the temple for His Spirit. God’s nearness is as close as our next heartbeat, and His love is tangible and ongoing. Yesterday was a strange day, as I was told my teaching assignment for next year. Sixth-grade math is not what I would have anticipated nor asked for, yet I can look back and see God’s faithfulness to carry me through each and every time that I have had to pivot in my career. As a teacher that has a K-8 generalist degree and only a specialized degree in Art, I have become the “jack-of-all subjects” (and grade levels), yet feel like a master of none. That being said, throughout each and every shift that I have had to make, I have been blessed with incredible teammates that aided in making the transitions doable. Looking ahead, the partner that I have been paired with for next year is fantastic, and I can trust that God’s loving kindness will again provide. Additionally, yesterday evening, we ran into an old friend that walked beside me in my most difficult season. Seeing her now was again a reminder of God’s love in action that is faithful and present always. To remember where I was and reflect on the here and now, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God dwells within us. May we ever pause and ponder the goodness of God, and His faithfulness to be present always.

Lord God, as we go,

Help us be aware;

Of Your faithfulness,

And great loving care.

Teach us to trust You,

In everything;

Give thanks for the good,

And love that You bring.

Help us see clearly,

That You are within;

Wherever we go,

You also have been.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and kindness. Thank You that to be in Your temple, Your very presence, can take place wherever we are and whenever we look to You. Thank You that we can look back and see Your faithfulness and love, and look forward, anticipating Your hand moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we are facing things that seem like giants before us. Teach us to slow down and be intentional to reflect upon Your ongoing, unending faithfulness. Lead us to love those around us with the same passion and commitment You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ponder Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times, as we have Your promised presence, always. Amen.

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

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

Hope Provides Peace and Joy

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

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

One of the best things about weddings and funerals is the opportunity to see and connect with those whom one has not seen in a long time. Yesterday, that held true for me as I attended a funeral. Though relatively brief interactions, I was blessed to see and greet a former teacher and colleague, a classmate and teammate, and a long-time friend with whom my path crosses regularly and randomly. There is something about being in the presence of those one has known that brings joy and peace. For those of us who hope in Christ, there is the comfort that we will see one another again; be it sooner, later, and ultimately into eternity. Goodbyes are merely “see you laters”. May God, the source of all hope, bless you with joy and peace as His love overflows in and through you.

The God of all hope,

Fills our hearts with peace;

For where there is hope,

Faith and love increase.

May we choose to trust,

And never let go;

God, our Provider,

From Whom all good flows.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our Source;

Peace, joy and comfort,

As we run our course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider of every good and perfect gift. Thank You that You grant us hope, fill us with Your peace, and provide us with joy and goodness that overflows to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for You are where hope and help come from. Show us how to love those around us in ways that pass on Your goodness and kindness and grow faith and hope in each heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with hope in You, and praise You for the peace and joy that follow. Amen.

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

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

Let Love Lead

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.” – (Luke 11:28, HCSB)

But Jesus said, “The people who hear the teachings of God and obey it – they are the ones who have God’s blessing.” – (Luke 11:28, ERV)

Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!” – (Luke 11:28, MSG)

The more we know the word of God, the better we know Jesus. Knowing Him is our greatest blessing, for it is in Him and through Him that we experience life and love and peace. For me, the more I understand God’s heart for us, the better I see others through His lens. Patience grows as peace is known. As we continue to draw closer to Easter, may we further seek to hear and understand all that Jesus endured for our sake so that we might have life everlasting in Him. 

Listen to the Lord,

For His words are true;

Examples of love,

That teach what to do.

He shows us the way,

To love people well;

Forgiveness and grace,

His example tells.

Rise up in goodness,

Let Love lead the way;

To give to others,

His kindness and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to live and love as You intended. Thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or have neglected to do what You ask of us. Show us how to live and love as You created us for. Teach us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn from Your word that instructs us to love as You do. Amen.

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

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

Pleasing Wherever We Go

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, HCSB)

Our only goal is to always please the Lord, whether we are living here in this body or there with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, ERV)

Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, VOICE)

In this passage, Paul’s letter is for instruction in life and beyond, yet it is also fitting to follow wherever we are. Do we love people near and far; when home or away? It is our charge to be light and life and love to all people everywhere. We are blessed to be traveling with our besties who do an incredible job of loving people well. Wherever we go, they are remembered for their love and kindness to all. To be pleasing to God, we ought to seek to do just that at all times and in all circumstances. May we ever follow after the Lord and the example He set through His Son, and go forth and love people well so that all that we do might be pleasing to Him.

May we ever seek,

To honor God well;

Choose love each other,

So what we do tells.

Tells of His goodness,

Exemplifies grace;

Makes the Lord’s love known,

As we love His way.

Full of acceptance,

Extension of kind;

Blessings we outpour,

With others in mind.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Help us to honor,

With hearts that are true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to honor You wherever we go. Thank You that when we choose to love and extend kindness, we are representing Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Lead us in Your love as we go about our day, and show us opportunities to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek to live and love as You intended. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Strong Roots Sustain

The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends roots out toward a stream, it does not fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, HCSB)

But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They will know that the Lord will do what He says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They will have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, ERV)

But blessed is the man who trusts Me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers – never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season. – (Jeremiah 17:7-8, MSG)

When we trust in God, He meets us where we are, and provides what we need, even when our circumstances feel impossible. His presence is like a stream in the desert, for He supplies hope and help and removes the worries we hold when we cannot see a solution to what is before us. God is good, and the blessings found in Him remind us that He is our Provider and Sustainer throughout all our days. May we ever seek the Lord in trust, knowing that He will supply all that we need, as He grows deep roots within us that nourish and water our soul, even when we are in a space of seeming drought. 

When weary and worn,

The Lord is so good;

He meets all our needs,

True hope understood.

Like water in droughts,

His love does provide;

All we are needing,

By grace, He supplies.

So trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

He’ll walk beside us,

The true Faithful One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that Your faithfulness remains in every season and circumstance. Thank You that You nourish our roots and help hope to spring forth, for You are our Source and Supply in all things. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when things seem hopeless or never ending. Thank You that You are greater than all that we face. Teach us to trust You more, for You are forever faithful. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that remove fear and flood with hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things, and witness the beautiful blessings that You supply to sustain and grow us strong in You. Amen.

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

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:19