The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Lead Me to Water

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, HCSB)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

God is so good. He leads us to quiet spaces to rest and be refreshed. He renews our strength and leads us in the ways that we are meant to go. The challenge is to actually seek Him and allow Him to lead us. It is easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of busyness, and neglect to seek God to lead us in the day-to-day. When we pursue the Lord to lead us, we gain wisdom and strength to do the things that we are meant to do, and understand what we need to let go of, step away from, or wait for the right timing to do. He is good, and He knows what we need far better than we do. May we ever trust the Lord and His leading to move forward in His wisdom and strength, for with Him, we find rest and refreshment and all that we need in His goodness and love.

Lord, I will seek You,

With each brand new day;

To lead and guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Lead me to water,

To rest, be refreshed;

Empowered in love,

To do what is best.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your faithfulness;

To strengthen and lead,

Remind us we’re blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good. Thank You that You lead us to spaces to rest and find refreshment in You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the cycle of busy, rather than seeking You for wisdom to know what we should and should not take on throughout each day. Lead us in Your wisdom and grace. Teach us to love well, all those whom we encounter throughout our day so that they too, might know the refreshment found in Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom and rest to be refreshed and ready to do all that You have for us. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your Name. – Psalm 31:3

Believe in All Things

Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, HCSB)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

This can be the challenge in love. To bear all things does not mean to just attempt to deal with trials on our own, but rather it is in God’s strength that we are able to still stand when the storms sweep through. Believing all things is to trust in the truth, no matter how things appear; to hope all things is the confidence in knowing Who is ultimately in control. Lastly, to endure all things is to seek Jesus to hold us up and continue, even when circumstances feel impossible. It is Christ in us who will always protect, always trust, always hope and always persevere. When Christ is within us, we delight in what is true. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, for He is love, always.

The love of the Lord,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Is what leads us home;

No matter how far,

In life we have roamed.

For God’s love endures,

He loves through all things;

Providing us hope,

As strength He does bring.

Strength to choose rise up,

Protection and peace;

Grace to keep going,

Help and hope released.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. Thank You that You always protect, we can always trust You, in You we forever have hope, and You provide what we need to persevere. Forgive us for attempting to weather the storms on our own. Teach us to trust and rely on You to provide all that we need to press on. Lead us in Your goodness and strength to do all that You set before us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to lead us in the light of Your love so that we can extend the same love that You give us to all. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Faithful Pursuit

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, HCSB)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

When we seek to live a life of love, marked by living right, doing good, and being faithful to love God and love people, we become people who are associated with integrity and respect. The challenge in this is there are and will always be, those who cannot see past themselves, have no regard for the positive pursuit of love that we seek to give, and can become a source of discouragement if we do not rely on God to lead and guide us. God is faithful, and He will give us His eyes to see those around us so that we can love as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might live right, pursue justice, and treat all others with kindness.

In everything,

Let us seek the Lord;

To live out His love,

As faith is restored.

For as we choose love,

And true faithfulness;

Justice is pursued,

Lives of graciousness.

True love and life found,

Through faithful pursuit;

God shall be our strength,

In Him we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and empowering us to love like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You lovingly lead us to walk in Your ways. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to do so on our own, for without You, we fail miserably. Lead us in Your ways so that we pursue justice, extend faithfulness, kindness and love to all. Show us how to love everyone as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. 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

Seek to Start Well

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – (Matthew 6:33-34, 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. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries. – (Matthew 6:33-34, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. – (Matthew 6:33-34, TPT)

Intentionally seeking God at the start of the day does make a difference. Doing so, helps set the heart and mind on what matters most so that everything else can be taken in stride. Yesterday, I had to get to work early to complete some extra planning for the day, and my morning devotional time was cut short. God is good and full of grace, yet I felt less resilient in the challenges that I encountered throughout the day. The love of the Lord is with us, but we need to be aware of it to function as He intended. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of His kingdom first so that we may do His will, and allow the worries for tomorrow to fall away and rest in His capable hands.

Choose to seek the Lord,

To start well each day;

Don’t let tomorrow,

Disrupt what’s today.

Each day we’re given,

A gift to live well;

With God beside us,

Of love, let us tell.

Not just with our words,

But may ev’ry deed;

Show of His kindness,

As we let Love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we set our hearts and minds on You and Your goodness and love, You provide all that we need to navigate each new day well. Forgive us for trying to operate in our own strength, or for neglecting to recognize our need for You each day. Teach us to turn to You in trust as we rise each morning, and to hold fast to Your goodness and grace as we go through our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to do. 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 in Your love. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

My Strength and Shield

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – (Psalm 28:7, HCSB)

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trusted Him with all my heart. He helped me, so I am happy. I sing songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 28:7, ERV)

The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as songs. – (Psalm 28:7, VOICE)

Some days, it takes everything in me to simply utter, “God, please help.” Incredibly, even in the difficult, He makes His heart and His help known. At the end of the day my heart can rejoice and praise Him, as He has been with me through another day. Each morning as I rise and look to Him, I am reminded anew of His goodness and my reasons to give thanks. May we ever fix our eyes on God and look to Him to be our strength and protections. He is faithful, and provides help to navigate each new day.

O Lord, fix my eyes,

Securely on You;

For You are my strength,

And where hope’s made new.

God, You are my shield,

Safety through the storms;

My reason to praise,

As Your love transforms.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, walk beside us, and remain present, no matter where life leads. Thank You that You see and know every challenge and heartache, and You faithfully provide peace and reason to praise. Forgive us for our struggle with trust when we are in the throes of life’s storms. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You supply all that we need. Show us how to love, support and encourage those around us well, so that Your love is tangible in places it is hard to see. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our strength and shield, and praise You for Your unending faithfulness and love. Amen.

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

But I trust in You, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:14

Joy in the Wait

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. – (Psalm 37:4, HCSB)

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

As we delight in the Lord, we begin to recognize the blessings that He has poured out upon us. The desires that dwell deep in our heart are the dreams He planted within. In our ongoing pursuit of a life lived with Him, He makes our hopes and dreams a reality. Often, the wait feels long, yet even when we do not see it, He is moving on our behalf. When we are seeking after Him with all of our heart, our desires align with His. It is in that alignment that He brings change, resolve and new things. Currently, I am in a space of waiting. My charge in the wait is to take joy in Him. This is not an easy task when it feels as if the weight of the world is pressing down, yet the more I press into Him, the more I feel the weight lifting. Too often, we carry what is not ours to carry. One of the gifts that He gives is His strong hands that are willing and able to bear our burdens and hold the heaviness within us. Jesus is gentle and kind, and He never forces His way in nor takes what we do not freely give Him. May we ever take joy in the Lord, for His promises are good and He is the One who grants the desires of our heart.

Great joy in the Lord,

Is where hope is found;

For all that is good,

In Christ, does abound.

What our heart desires,

Manifests in Him;

He’s our Provider,

Who ushers good in.

Timing’s the challenge,

We all want it now;

Yet it’s in waiting,

That He works somehow.

He makes plain a path,

For us to choose take;

Each step requires faith,

Trust the way He makes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy in You. Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather is dependent on You. When we recognize Your goodness, kindness and grace, we cannot help but rejoice in who You are and how You love. Thank You that our dreams and desires that dwell deep within our hearts are gifts from You. Forgive us for losing sight of the joy we have in You, or for losing hope in the dreams not yet realized. Show us how to trust You in the waiting and to find joy in the hope we have in You. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers joy, peace and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in who You are and give thanks for the good things that You have planned for us all. Amen.

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

You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures. – Psalm 16:11

Humbly Choose Love

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

By Friday, weariness begins to creep in for many of us. This reminder is timely, as being tired often reduces resilience for the things that challenge our patience. When I think of the kindness and gentleness of God, I am humbled at His patience with me. Knowing that I am the recipient of His patience and acceptance with unconditional love compels me to seek to do the same. It is a never-ending work in progress, for the ugly of our own humanity is at odds with the kindness and goodness of God within. As we are intentional to seek the Lord to fill us and lead us, our gentleness and patience grow for those around us. The Lord’s lens of love transforms how we view others, and in turn, how we interact. May we ever pursue the Lord and His perfect love so that we may be gentle, patient and accept one another in love.

Humbly may we seek,

The love of the Lord;

That’s poured out to us,

By Him we adore.

As love leads the way,

We learn to be kind;

Gentle and patient,

His goodness in mind.

Help us be patient,

With great gentleness;

Good unto others,

Grace, love and kindness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gentle, patient and kind, ever loving us with goodness and grace. Thank You that You call us to do the same, as You lovingly equip us with all that we need to love like You. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not demonstrated humility, gentleness, patience or love. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us well. Show us how to love those around us as You do, especially those who challenge our patience. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live a life of love. Amen.

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

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Live Out Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – (1 John 4:16, NIV)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

Once a person truly experiences the love that God has for us, there is an innate desire to know and understand more. The more we seek, the more we find. As we do, we learn to live in God’s love as He dwells in us, and cannot help but live out the same love that we have been given. The challenge is that we must trust Him to truly love like Him. When we doubt His love or lack trust, we are inhibited in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His great love, and choose to trust and live in the love that He so lavishly provides.

To know the Lord’s love,

Our greatest blessing;

Faithful and lavish,

Worth seeking, pressing.

For each time we seek,

God’s love shall be found;

Grace unimagined,

And hope that is sound.

May we choose pursue,

The love that He gives;

So we love likewise,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to know and rely on Your love, we are equipped and empowered to love likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have not pursued or have lacked Your love for others. Teach us to trust and rely on You so that we may love one another like You. Show us how to love everyone whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and receive the love You have for us so that we too, may love well. Amen.

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

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – Psalm 107:8

Piecing Together

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people. But in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others.

As we prepare to welcome kids back to school in person, a huge focus on the forefront of everyone’s minds is to find ways to make connections and help kids engage and feel safe and welcome in our school and classroom communities. God created us for community. If we were not made to be with others and work together, we would all be experts and self-sufficient. Instead, He gifted us each with unique skills, talents and strengths that we have to offer the community that we are placed within. Just as a school would not work without staff with different strengths, a classroom is no different. Our task and challenge is to find ways to help kids see their unique values and strengths, and help them realize how important they are to the class as a whole. It is my hope and prayer that each student and staff member is able to see the value in others and in themselves, as we rejoin to meet in person after so much time apart. May we seek the Lord to show us ways to both participate and facilitate best in building community together.

Though we are many,

Together we’re one;

United purpose,

As each day’s begun.

Show us the pieces,

And how we each fit;

Together in strength,

Let our hearts be knit.

The unique colors,

Sizes and the shapes;

When fit together,

Each piece has a place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us for community. Thank You that we have different strengths to offer, and each of us has a place and purpose in the communities to which we are placed. Forgive us for not seeing the beauty and blessing held in each member. Teach us to recognize and encourage the unique blessing found in each individual, and show us how the best way to help the parts work as a whole. Lead us to love and value everyone the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part that each of us plays in the communities in which we have been placed. Amen.

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

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out. – Proverbs 20:5