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

Jesus is Lord

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – (Romans 10:9-10, NIV)

If you openly say, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. Yes, we believe in Jesus deep in our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we openly say that we believe in Him, so we are saved. – (Romans 10:9-10, ERV)

So if you believe deep in your heart that God raised Jesus from the pit of death and if you voice your allegiance by confessing the truth that “Jesus is Lord,” then you will be saved! Belief begins in the heart and leads to a life that’s right with God; confession departs from our lips and brings eternal salvation. – (Romans 10:9-10, VOICE)

Salvation is a gift from God for all who believe and profess that Jesus is Lord. This transpires when the head and the heart are aligned with Him. It is not merely believing that God exists, for even the devil believes. It is a trust in the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done, and then using our mouth to speak the truth that we know. The sacrifice that Jesus made provides the covering we need to be forgiven, and His forgiveness is granted freely as we ask. As we walk in His forgiveness and pursue a life with Him, we are promised both His presence in the here and now, and space with Him for all of eternity. May we ever invest our lives in leaning into Jesus so that we grow deep roots in Him and reflect more clearly the very heart of God in all that we say and do.

O Lord, You are good,

In all of Your ways;

Our help and our hope,

Throughout all our days.

Salvation belongs,

To all who seek You;

And trust in Your Name,

And all that You do.

May our mouths speak truth,

And our lives display;

The goodness in You,

Throughout each new day.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to live lives true;

So our words and deeds,

Point others to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are so good. Thank You that You sent Your Son to live, die, conquer death, and rise to be seated at Your righteous right hand. Thank You that it is through believing that Jesus is Lord and through confessing our need for You that we are saved and granted hope for both now and all of eternity. Forgive us for the times that our words and deeds have not reflected the truth we know in You. Teach us to walk out each day in awe and reverence of You, so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to those around us. Show us how to love one another in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You give, believe that Your word is true, and profess our faith through our words and actions as we go about each new day. Amen.

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

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11

Clean and New

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, HCSB)

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. – (Psalm 51:10, VOICE)

As I gaze upon the freshly fallen snow, and the world looks clean and new, I am reminded that God does this for us each time we ask. He wipes away all of our guilt and shame, and provides a new start as we seek Him. Each time I fall short and am given a fresh start, I am compelled to do and be better. God is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, and His heart is to ever give us a fresh start. May we ever seek the Lord to cleanse us and strengthen us so that we may clearly reflect His goodness and His love.

O God, cleanse my heart,

May it be made pure;

Strengthen my spirit,

As You remain near. 

Lead me in Your love,

May Your heart move mine;

To love others well,

And always be kind.

With each brand new day,

May I rest assured;

That You are with me,

In You I’m secure.

Ever Your faithful,

So we should be too;

Deepen my love, Lord,

So I love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us and make us new, and You strengthen us for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are faithful forever. Teach us how to trust You more, so that from the moment we rise to the close of our day, we operate in the lavish goodness of Your unending love. Show us how to love those around us well, and to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cleanse us and strengthen us by Your love so that we may love likewise. Amen.

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

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

The Process of Perfect Love

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, HCSB)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love changes our hearts and transforms our minds so that we too, might love as He loves. As humans, we are subject to sin and falling short, so the process of being transformed is one that requires an entire lifetime. That being said, it is a process that is well worth the while. When we allow God’s love to reconstruct our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own, we have the opportunity to show God’s love to all those around us. In this space of loving as God loves us, we can become His representatives of what love ought to be. The challenge is that when we do not choose to act in love, we are responding as the world does, and discrediting the heart of God for others. I say that not to bring shame, but rather to encourage each of us to seek to love God and love people (His creation) as He loves us. We all fall short, but what we do with our shortcomings makes all the difference. Are we quick to apologize and make amends, or do we ignore and let things go that can create a divide? The more I seek the Lord, the more I see opportunities all around me to show evidence of His love. Love is patient and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love never ends and has set before us the way to love well. (see 1 Corinthians 13) May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us might experience for themselves the goodness of God.

The love of the Lord,

Is greatest of all;

For it lifts us up,

Each time that we fall.

It brushes us off,

And fills us again;

Overwhelms with good,

As each day begins.

Press in, keep seeking,

For God’s always found;

Perfect love won’t fail,

Hope in Him is sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You fill and equip us to love like You as we seek You and depend on You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and failures when we did not choose love. Lead us in Your kindness so that we may love as You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your perfect love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us as You intended. Amen.

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

This is My command. Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Prioritize Love

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – (Matthew 22:37-39, HCSB)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

When we get back to making the main things the main things, and we choose to prioritize loving God and loving people, our lives begin to more clearly reflect what God intended all along. If we invest in our relationship with God and those around us, His grace covers us and His love surrounds us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we might love one another as He loves us.

Lord, help us to love,

With all that we are;

First You, then others,

Both those near and far.

Lead us and guide us,

So that we love well;

May our words and deeds,

Of Your goodness tell.

Grant us Your patience,

Kindness and Your grace;

To truly listen,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us. Thank You that as we do so, we are walking in obedience to all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate in love. Teach us how to live in the light of Your love in all that we say and do. Show us how to love You and those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to love You and love those around us as You love all of us. 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

Grow Us in Grace

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – (2 Peter 3:18, HCSB)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to Him, now and forever! Amen. – (2 Peter 3:18, ERV)

But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May He receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen! – (2 Peter 3:18, TPT)

As we grow in grace and understanding of who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but be transformed to reflect His heart to the world. For this and so much more, all glory belongs to Him both now and forever, as He continues to grow and transform us until the day we meet Him face-to-face. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and deepen our understanding of Him and His perfect love so that we may love well and give Him glory with all that we say and do.

Grow us Lord Jesus,

In Your love and grace;

Grant us Your wisdom,

To walk in Your ways.

Let all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be drenched in Your love,

Give glory to You.

Lead us each morning,

In wisdom to seek;

Your heart for others,

And strength when we’re weak.

Transform our thinking,

So that all we choose;

Is loving and kind,

And shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow us in our capacity to love and increase our understanding so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for acting and reacting in our own broken humanity rather than through the lens of Your love. Teach us to trust You and to slow down and seek You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love well, all those around us each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us and transform us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace in His fullness. – John 1:16

Trust the Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. The more we seek the Lord, the more we give Him room to work in and through us. He is ever refining and transforming us to be more of who we were created to become. There is always room for us to learn, grow and become better versions of ourselves. The more we learn, the more we recognize there is more to learn. This transformation process is continuous until the day we meet our Maker face-to-face. May we ever seek the Lord to continue the work He has begun in us, so that we might more clearly reflect His heart of love to the world.

O Lord, have Your way,

Transform, bring Your change;

Let all fall away,

Through Love’s great exchange.

You take our ugly,

And use it for good;

You expand our hearts,

To love as we should.

You bring forgiveness,

And grant us Your grace;

Model how to love,

As we live each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You have begun in us is an ongoing transformative work that will not end until we see Your face-to-face. Thank You that Your love for us is ongoing. Forgive us for placing limits on love or rejecting change that transforms us to be more like You. Show us how to listen, learn and grow into more of who You have created us to become. Lead us to love one another with pure and generous hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the transformation that is ever taking place within. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Faithful Foundations

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, NIV)

Your kingdom is built on truth and justice. Love and faithfulness are servants before Your throne. – (Psalm 89:14, ERV)

Your glorious throne rests on a foundation of righteousness and just verdicts. Grace and truth are the attendants who go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, TPT)

God is all about righteousness and justice, as love and faithfulness are wherever God is invited. The struggle in this is that too many place their own spin on the truth and what is right and just becomes skewed. Grace and truth accompany God, and are evident in those who earnestly seek Him. Though in our human condition we will never get it all right on our own, with Christ, we can be refined and raised up to more clearly reflect the foundation that He intended all along. May we ever pursue the Lord and His heart so that we may walk humbly, do justly, and love mercy as we were meant to do.

The kingdom of God,

Is loving and just;

Righteousness shall lead,

In truth among us.

The challenge in this,

We must choose pursue;

The Lord’s very best,

In all that we do.

Let righteousness lead,

So justice may reign;

In truth persevere,

And love shall remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You are loving and faithful always. Forgive us for the times that our decisions, words or actions lacked alignment with Yours. Teach us to walk humbly in pursuit of You and Your heart for all, to act justly in all things and at all times, and to love mercy in the same way that You love and extend mercy to us. Lead us to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to refine our hearts to more clearly reflect Yours. 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

Learn, Love and Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV) 

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, ERV) 

When we desire time with God, our effort and pursuit of what He wants for us, increases. The better we know the Lord and His will for our lives, the more eager we are to grow and more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness and love, are all things that show the world where our priorities lie. May we ever seek to walk more closely with our Savior, so that we more clearly reflect His heart to all those around, and produce good as we are called to do. 

Oh Lord, make my heart, 

Reflect clearly, Yours; 

Let all that I do, 

Open up love’s doors. 

Grant me Your patience, 

Wisdom and goodness; 

Love, perseverance, 

Faith and Your kindness. 

Teach me devotion, 

All these, unto You; 

So Your heart is seen, 

Through a life lived true. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to walk in Your will and love as You love. Forgive us for our lack of dedication to seeking and following after You. Teach us to seek You to grow in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. Lead us to love all those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to learn, love and grow. Amen. 

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

I’ve known all along from the evidence of Your words that You meant them to last forever. – Psalm 119:152

Listen and Do

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV) 

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV) 

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life. – (James 1:22, TPT) 

The word of God is alive and active. As we hear His words, we ought to be both challenged and encouraged, as we are meant to learn and do, not just passively listen and agree it is true. I love the imagery of allowing “His Word to become like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives”. The idea of living it out, is how we navigate life as His poem, His handiwork and masterpiece, through loving as we are called to love. We are not merely called to listen to His Word, but rather we are meant to hear, internalize and act upon all that He is teaching us as we go. May we all go beyond mere listening, and choose to take God’s words to heart and set them in motion in our lives. 

We are meant for more, 

Than hearing God’s word; 

We’re meant to respond, 

Act on what is heard. 

For we’ve each been called, 

He knows us by name; 

He’ll love us to life, 

So our lives proclaim. 

Proclaim His goodness, 

All mercy and grace; 

Let His love be known, 

Throughout all our days. 

 Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only hear Your Word, but to set it into actions that clearly reflect Your love and light to the world. Forgive us for the times that Your words have been heard but not applied. Teach us to listen, learn and set what You are speaking to us in motion. Show us how to apply Your Word to how we love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen, learn and apply Your Word to how we live out each day. Amen. 

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

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – Psalm 106:3