Freely Forgive

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. – (Matthew 6:14-15, ERV)

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. – (Matthew 6:14-15, MSG)

If we love God and love people, we will walk in God’s way and do His will. God’s will is that we forgive others just as He has forgiven us. Once we realize the magnitude of His mercy and grace, we ought to be compelled to extend the same to others. Our grudges create a divide between us and God. Not because He cannot get past them, but rather because we are unable. Forgiveness means that we willfully choose to let go of the anger and frustration brought on by the words or actions of another, and hand them over to God. This is an active and ongoing process that we must choose. As we do, God grants us the grace to release the grudge that we want to hold so that it no longer has a hold on us. To forgive does not mean we forget, but rather that we no longer hold the hurt and allow God to heal. Often, we must choose to forgive repeatedly for the same action, as the offense arouses anger each time it is recalled. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to continue to forgive others, so that we too, may continue to be forgiven.

We are commanded,

To choose to forgive;

As we’re forgiven,

A grace we must give.

For holding grudges,

Creates a divide;

Gets in the Lord’s way,

Of purpose inside.

Lord, help us let go,

Of hurts and offense;

Lead us in Your love,

And be our defense.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as You forgive us. Thank You that as we do, the weight is lifted, and we are able to walk as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have been slow to forgive. Teach us to keep short accounts and to place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us forgive every offense. Amen.

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

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37

A Life of Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

The old adage that actions speak louder than words is true. When we are shown love over and over again, we are secure and confident in that love far more than from those who speak love or about love, but do not have actions that align. Some of the best ways to show love are displayed through living out the fruit of the Spirit. Love is patient and kind, it is humble, it honors others, it looks out for others, it is gentle and forgiving. Love celebrates the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (See 1 Corinthians 13) It is the people that surround me and show me these things that assure my heart that I am loved, seen and known. This weekend alone, I have had several friends reach out with messages and texts to check in and encourage me as I wait on a surgical date. It is the small acts of kindness, the reaching out that remind my heart of God’s goodness and love. May we ever seek to pattern our lives after Jesus, and may love be our true way of life. 

Lord, help us to make,

Love our way of life;

Kindness extended,

An end brought to strife.

Grant us Your patience,

So love’s what we choose;

For one another,

As Your love is proved.

Help us see the ways,

Where we can show love;

May our actions point,

To how Your heart loves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us that love is an active way of living, not a theory or mere words. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not been in alignment with what we know love to be. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to truly love those around us. Lead us to live a life of love that chooses to reach out and make love tangible for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to make love a way of life. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Desire and Strength to Do Good

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. – (Philippians 2:13, HCSB)

Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases Him, and He gives you the power to do it. – (Philippians 2:13, ERV)

God is energizing you so that you will desire to do what always pleases Him. – (Philippians 2:13, VOICE)

When we seek the Lord and invest our hearts and lives in knowing Him more, He empowers us to both want to do His will and He grants us what we need to follow through. We are all a work in progress and the process transpires throughout our lifetime. The more we walk with Him, the more aware we become of what He wants for us, and the greater our desire to do what He wants us to do. Despite our own shortcomings and weaknesses, His power provides as we abide, and we are granted all that we need to move forward in His strength for His purposes. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him room to move in our hearts and lives so that we have the desire and the strength to do what He is calling us to do.

Ever seek the Lord,

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His strength and His will;

For He is faithful,

With love to fulfill.

He grants us power,

To keep pressing on;

Desire for good,

His love makes us strong.

He shows us His ways,

As we choose to ask;

Equips us with strength,

To complete each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You grant us the desire and strength to rise up and do Your will. Thank You that it is not something that we can try to be and do better, but rather we seek more and more of You, and the outcome is a heart that longs to be who You call us to be. Forgive us for our stubbornness and independence that keep us from relying on You to be our source and supply. Teach us to trust in You, for You are faithful to lead us, guide us, and equip us for each new day. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that You love fuels all to pursue the life that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, guide us, and strengthen us to do Your will throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

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

Sight to the Seeking

I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the work of His vast strength. – (Ephesians 1:18-19, HCSB)

I pray that God will open your minds to see His truth. Then you will know the hope that He has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised His holy people are rich and glorious. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19, ERV)

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power. – (Ephesians 1:18-19, VOICE)

Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus applies to all of us still today. The more our eyes are opened to see His truth, the more we understand the hope we have in Him. His power goes beyond what our minds can conceive, and His blessings are ever-present through His nearness and His mighty love. This is not only in the here and now, but also in the hope of what is to come throughout eternity with Him. God has granted each of us a free will. For those who choose to believe and receive all that He offers, all of these things are given unto us – open eyes to the light of truth, hope that holds us up, power that will work in us, and the blessings beheld in His presence with us. May we ever seek the Lord to open the eyes of our heart, so that we may understand and embrace who He is and how He loves.

May eyes be opened,

To the light of truth;

To God’s great power,

That will see us through.

To see the blessings,

Of love and of grace;

His endless power,

The Ancient of Days.

Hope that is made known,

As we understand;

His loving kindness,

And eternal plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You open the eyes of our hearts to come to know and understand who You are and how You love. Thank You that Your power is greater than anything that stands against us, and Your goodness outweighs the struggles we face. Thank You that not only do we get to behold the blessings found in You in the here and now, but we hold fast to the hope that is held in all of eternity in Your presence. Forgive us for forgetting that what we face here is temporary, and the hope we hold is what lasts forever. Teach us how to keep an eternal perspective on all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness, power and blessings evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek You to grow us in understanding of who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

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

To Learn What is Good

You are good, and You do what is good; teach me Your statutes. – (Psalm 119:68, HCSB)

You are good, and You do good things. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:68, ERV)

You are good, and the Source of good; train me in Your goodness. – (Psalm 119:68, MSG)

You are truly good, and Your acts are too; teach me what You require. – (Psalm 119:68, VOICE)

Because God is good, what He requires is also good. In our broken humanity, good is not always what comes naturally. Instead, we must invest time with God and read His word to grow in our understanding and listen as He reveals more of His heart to us. For the last eleven plus years, I have invested the start of each day into spending time in God’s word and in prayer. What I have learned and continue to learn is the importance of loving God and loving people. The more I spend time with Him, the more He reveals His heart for all of humanity. At the end of the day, what matters most is am I loving Him and loving those around me. He shows willing hearts how to love as He loves, and the process is one that takes a lifetime. No one ever arrives. We all have an ongoing need to learn and grow to become more like Him. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and love, so that we may continue to learn what He requires of us to live and love well.

The goodness of God,

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Truth that shall remain;

All that the Lord does,

Shows His love explained.

It is up to us,

To choose seek the Lord;

And as we do so,

His grace is outpoured.

He shows us the way,

To live as He asks;

In all things, choose love,

Not a list of tasks.

So, choose to seek Him,

Spend time in His word;

In love, He’ll lead us,

Making His heart heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and all of Your ways are good. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to live and love as You intended. Thank You that it is an ongoing process. Thank You that we are a work in progress. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to lead us. Teach us the value of investing time each day with You. Show us Your heart for us and for those around us. Lead us to love as You love. May many come to see and know how good You are and choose a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, grow us and transform us to be more like You in how we live and love each day. Amen.

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

Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Promoting Peace and Building Each Other Up

So then, we must pursue what promotes peace and what builds up one another. – (Romans 14:19, HCSB)

So let’s try as hard as we can to do what will bring peace. Let’s do whatever will help each other grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 14:19, ERV)

Join us, and pursue a life that creates peace and builds up our brothers and sisters. – (Romans 14:19, VOICE)

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19. NIV)

This is important in every aspect of our lives, and we all are an ongoing work in progress. It requires an intentional decision to seek and depend on God to lead us to do and say things that promote peace and build others up. As we do, there is opportunity for faith to be fortified. To do this requires a never-ending cycle of seeking God, listening to Him, and a willingness to be corrected and redirected. Right now, my husband and I are on vacation. We are two very different types of people; though this is good, as it creates balance for both of us, it is an ongoing work to recognize one another’s needs and desires. For me, when I go somewhere new, I want to see and experience everything humanly possible in the short time we are provided. My husband, bless his heart, wants to slow down and simply relax. He is a champion at being willing to go out and explore, and I am learning to slow down and accept the need to rest. It is an ongoing battle, as I don’t want to miss out, yet know that if I just remain present in the moment, there will be peace and both of us will be built up. God is good, and He shows us what we ought to do to promote peace and build one another up. It is our task to listen and follow His lead. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to best promote peace and build up those around us.

We’re called to pursue,

That which promotes peace;

Willing compromise,

As grace does increase.

Each time that we choose,

To bless each other;

Both are encouraged,

Sisters and brothers.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love, promote peace;

Build each other up,

As Your love’s increased.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You call us and show us how to promote peace and build each other up in Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have either not listened to You or have only sought after our own selfish ambitions. Teach us to be a blessing as we make decisions that promote peace and encourage those around us. Show us how to love and make choices as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in promoting peace and building those around us up in the goodness of Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

In Freedom Choose Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

God has given each of us a free will. His intention has always been for us to be free to choose. The love of God draws us unto Him, yet we always have a choice as to whether to accept or reject it. When we follow our own path with little care or concern for others, we are gratifying the flesh and not choosing love. However, when we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, we are opting to walk in His way and using our freedom to love as Jesus loved. Incredibly, as we select a life that follows after Him, we become free from the weight of being stuck in our own selfishness, and discover the joy that awaits as we choose to walk the path that He prepares for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us, as we freely choose to love and serve one another as we are called to do.

Brothers and sisters,

We all have been called;

In freedom to choose,

To love one and all.

For as we choose love,

Selfishness will fade;

True freedom and joy,

Are found in His ways.

So, let us look up,

Select the Lord’s best;

Love one another,

As grace is expressed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us each with a free will. Thank You that with our freedom, we can choose to follow after You and select a life of loving as You first loved us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to stay stuck in our sinful patterns instead of choosing to follow after You. Teach us to freely choose to love and serve one another, for in doing so, we come to know the joy that is found in opting to utilize our freedom for good. Show us how to love and serve those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve with the freedom that we are granted in You. Amen.

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

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

Trust Brings Health and Healing

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding… This will be healing for your body and strengthening for your bones. – (Proverbs 3:5 and 8, HCSB)

Trust in the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge… If you do this, it will be like a refreshing drink and medicine for your body. – (Proverbs 3:5 and 8, ERV)

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely; never depend upon your own ideas and inventions… If you depend on Him, your body and mind will be free from the strain of a sinful life, will experience healing and health, and will be strengthened at their core. – (Proverbs 3:5 and 8, VOICE)

After extensive surgery to repair his leg and a few days in the hospital, our eldest kiddo is home to rest and heal. For him, this will be a long season, as he is accustomed to hopping in the car and heading out whenever he so desires, plus, he was quite used to working long hours. Now, he simply has to rest and recover. There is to be no weight bearing activity for a few months. His only outings will be medical appointments. Honestly, I think the only way to get through this is to depend on God to be present to help. Not only is the Lord’s help needed as he heals, but his mind will need comfort and strength to persevere and not grow agitated or angry. Depending on God and those whom He has placed in our lives, provides what we need to navigate every season we find ourselves in. It is my prayer that this kiddo will experience the healing, help and strengthening of God in tangible ways. May we ever trust in the Lord and rely on Him, for He is our help and the One who carries us through the times that we lack the strength to travel the road ahead. 

Choose trust in the Lord,

With all that we are;

He’s our help and hope,

Whether near or far.

God is the Healer,

Lifter of our soul;

Provider in need,

Hope that makes us whole.

So, trust in the Lord,

Our Healer and hope;

Who grants us the strength,

We all need to cope.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You. Thank You that navigating this life is not dependent on our own understanding, but rather You come alongside us and provide what we need to keep moving forward. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when we cannot see hope ahead. Thank You that You are hope and help and strength. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your heart is made evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to help, heal and strengthen us to keep moving forward in the direction to which we are called. 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

Love Matters Most

Above all, put on love – the perfect bond of unity. – (Colossians 3:14, HCSB)

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – (Colossians 3:14, ERV)

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – (Colossians 3:14, MSG) 

This is a good reminder as we go into our final Friday of the school year. Final project and assignments and make-up work is all due today, and I imagine for some, will be a stressful day. The best way to approach the day is with love. Through God’s love we can be patient and kind, gentle and protective, full of hope, and persevere. As we extend these things to those around us, calm comes and hope rises. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His perfect love so that all whom we encounter may feel His goodness and grace.

The garment we wear,

That matters the most;

Is not external,

But goodness exposed.

A smile, a kind word,

Are such simple things;

And yet their impact,

True joy they can bring.

For goodness and love,

Are what help hope grow;

Making value known,

As His love we show.

So, look for places,

To give love away;

Choose kindness and grace,

Let love lead the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to put on the garment of love. Thank You that to do so is to choose to allow Your love to lead us in all that we say and do. Forgive us for the times and spaces that our words and deeds have been lacking in love. Show us how to love everyone around us well, so that Your heart is made clear through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we adorn ourselves with Your lavish love so that we can go forth and choose to love those around us well. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Encourage Each Other

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, HCSB)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

This makes all of the difference. When we surround ourselves with a community that invests in each other, we are mutually encouraged and built up. As this transpires, our faith grows stronger as we realize why God calls us to be in community. It is amazing how God grows our circle as we are willing to be available. Yesterday, as one of my dearest friend’s and I were running, we realized that we have been running together for more than eight years. Running together is not just getting out and moving, but it is and has always been a place to connect, converse, and talk about life and how to navigate well. Each time we meet to run, it is an opportunity to share life together and encourage one another. The benefits go beyond the physical gains in fitness, for our hearts, minds and spirits are uplifted by spending time together. The same can be said about time with my husband as we tackled the yard as a team. Neither of us expects the other to magically do things, rather we join together and tag team to get things done. Before bed, I was able to join a three-way call with my sister and mom, and again, connecting with each other is life-giving. Even early this morning, I found myself in a quick text exchange with my bestie, as we both expressed our excitement for the chance to get together this evening. Soon, I will be heading to church where there are more people whom God has placed in my life to be in relationship with. Though a simple and somewhat uneventful weekend, I am reminded again of the value of community. May we ever make the time to connect with those whom God has blessed us with, and encourage one another.

We all have been called,

To community;

To bless, encourage,

Invest faithfully.

It does not take much,

To reach out and care;

And as we do so,

Life is what we share.

So, choose to reach out,

Encourage, build up;

For as we do so,

It fills up our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be in community. Thank You that You surround us with people who encourage us and we are able to encourage. Forgive us for the times that we have isolated ourselves when we were meant to reach out. Teach us to trust You to lead us to those whom we are meant to encourage and build up. Show us how to love those around us well, just as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our lives in community with each other and encourage and build each other up. Amen.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5