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

Not Done Yet

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 pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the He who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put His finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT) 

Today, as I begin my 49th trip around the sun, I am extraordinarily grateful that God is not finished with me yet. He is faithful to continue to refine and grow us until the day that we meet Him face-to-face. Being well aware of my flaws and shortcomings, I am reassured that He is not finished with me yet. Though I can see the good that He has done in me, I know that God has not completed all that needs to be done. This is true for all of us who seek and trust in Him. God will refine us so that we may live out our days how He designed us to live. There is much comfort in His promises, for He is faithful to do what He says He will do. The Lord’s care for us is physical, emotional, spiritual and tangible. He refines us body, heart, soul and mind. Additionally, this brings great comfort, as my mom is still in process of healing from a stroke, a bit more than a year ago. He has brought her far, but I know He is not finished with her yet. She is light and life, joy and peace to all whom she meets, and I trust that He will continue to strengthen and empower her to do all that He has created her to do. May we ever be confident in the promises of God, for we are a work-in-progress that He is refining to more clearly reflect His light to the world. 

For I am convinced, 

That God is not done; 

Working, refining, 

All that He’s begun. 

As His created, 

God’s own work of art; 

He’s always faithful, 

To complete each start. 

His love is perfect, 

Always it endures; 

Challenges, changes, 

All who choose come near. 

Let our hearts respond, 

With love and with praise; 

Trusting He’s faithful, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Thank You that You love us as we are, yet love us so much that You do not leave us that way. Thank You that we are a work in progress until we meet You face-to-face. Forgive us for getting in the way of all that You want to do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would embrace every bit of grace showered upon us to make us more like You. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You have designed us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the work You have done, are doing, and will continue, all the days of our lives. Amen. 

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does – Psalm 33:4

Searched, Known, and Lovingly Shown

You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. – (Psalm 139:1, NIV) 

Lord, You have tested me, so You know all about me. – (Psalm 139:1, ERV) 

O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am. – (Psalm 139:1, VOICE) 

This is simultaneously comforting and terrifying. Terrifying, because we each are aware of our own faults, failures and flaws, and dread the thought of that part of us being known. However, to have the very One who made us and loves us, know us better than we know ourselves, brings comfort. In spite of our shortcomings, He loves. Additionally, being intimately known, reminds us that He knows our greatest need, and is ready and willing to refine and grow our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His. My hope in this is that God is not finished with me yet. He knows me and loves me as I am, yet loves me enough to not have me stay stagnant. God wants for us all to grow and be refined, allowing His heart to be shown to the world. May we embrace the grace that God freely offers, and seek Him earnestly to grow and change us to be better reflections of His goodness and grace. 

O great God of love, 

You see all our parts; 

The thoughts in our minds, 

Things hidden in hearts. 

Despite what You see, 

You love anyway; 

Eager to help us, 

Live and love Your way. 

Let goodness and grace, 

Be what comes from me; 

Refine mind and heart, 

So Your love is seen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know every part of us – body, heart, mind and soul, yet You love us relentlessly. Forgive us for our misguided thinking or lack of understanding that get in the way of You working in and through our lives. Teach us to pursue Your heart for the world, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love to all. Show us how to love all those around us best, and rid our hearts of anything that gets in the way of loving like You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You search us and know us, and lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You. – Psalm 119:168

Renewed Resolve

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) 

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV) 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG) 

We are in the midst of a long and heavy season. Staying home, not spending time with those we love outside of our immediate family, seeking to learn and grow, and trying to determine what is and is not safe and wise, all of these things and more, are exhausting. Thankfully, as we navigate each day as it arrives, we have a Savior who will renew our strength and resolve, and empower us to keep moving forward in faith. Our hope is not in any particular people, but rather it is in Christ alone. He is the One who leads us, loves us and shapes us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, for He is willing and able to renew our strength and grant us all that we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. 

Choose wait on the Lord, 

For He is our strength; 

Ever making new, 

His path we’re to take. 

God’s power and grace, 

Are granted to us; 

As we seek the face, 

of the Lord Jesus. 

So, spread wide our wings, 

And take to the air; 

His grace is enough, 

to love anywhere. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You renew and strengthen us for all that You are calling us into, so that we may keep moving forward. Thank You for Your love and grace that fill where we are lacking. Forgive us for not turning to You for strength in our weariness. Teach us to hope in You. Show us how to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You. Amen. 

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

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Gentle Answers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV) 

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV) 

A gentle answer defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG) 

How can we answer gently defuse the anger that is ravaging our cities? I wish I had the perfect answer that would restore order and peace. However, I recognize that there is no simple answer nor quick fix. This morning, I came across a powerful message from a woman of color , Nicole Walters, who gave me far deeper insight into what is going on. What if the protesting that has turned violent by some comes from a long-standing space of grief? Grief for the way that the world perceives individuals, based solely on the color of their skin. What if, after a lifetime of both observing and living this reality, the one more thing brought an end to the quiet peaceful ways of seeking right where so much is wrong, and what we are witnessing is screaming for our attention? No longer can we stay silent. We must listen and learn. In the same way the colonists attempted to peacefully right the wrongs imposed by authorities subjecting the citizens to unfair taxes, by letter writing, petitioning, and the like, they hit a point of being ignored, unheard, for far too long, and The Boston Tea Party took place. Rather than continue to be taxed on tea, they snuck aboard the ship and threw that tea into the harbor. Fires were ablaze, and civil unrest rose up. Enough was enough. What is going on now, is not so different. Preventable tragedies and gross atrocities continue to take place against people of color, and enough is enough. No, looting is not the answer, yet it has certainly demanded our attention. Each one of us needs to look at our own lens, and recognize where cleaning needs to occur. Sometimes, the lack of clarity of our view, comes from an unintentional ignorance. The more we know, the better we can become at loving our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, the way that God intended. Love always protects. If we begin to listen and learn and answer gently, with the wisdom and grace that God provides, then perhaps the anger will be defused and peace may begin to be restored. This begins with me. I love deeply, and value everyone. That being said, I must be intentional to become more aware, and learn how to love better. This is not meant to be some sort of soap box post, but rather one of recognition and repentance for not knowing what I have not clearly known. As a woman who loves Jesus, a mother, a teacher, and a friend, change begins with me. There is always more to learn to do better and be better. My job demands that I listen and learn, evolve and grow – in each of my roles; for each position give me a unique voice and the ability to impact those around me. May we seek the Lord for wisdom as we are intentional to listen and learn, so that we may act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as we are called. 

O Lord, here am I, 

On true bended knees; 

Asking for wisdom, 

So I clearly see. 

Please open my eyes, 

To where I’ve been blind; 

Lead me to better, 

Show me Your design. 

Help me to act justly, 

To love with mercy; 

May I humbly walk, 

Promote equity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continue to grow us as we are willing to listen and learn. Thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents to share with and positively impact the world. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have not viewed the world through Your lens. Teach us to continue to intentionally learn and grow, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all people feel valued, heard, and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn, so that we may always answer gently and help defuse anger with love. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Protect Well Your Heart

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life. – (Proverbs 4:23, ERV)

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – (Proverbs 4:23, TPT)

 

The condition of our hearts is of utmost importance, for from them flows everything we think, say and do. As time is intentionally invested with God, He refines our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The more care we place into guarding our hearts from taking in what does not belong, the better the condition of our inmost being, and consequently, the more life-giving our words and deeds become. May we ever guard our hearts so that light, life and love are the things that flow out of our lives.

 

Protect well your heart, Protect Well Your Heart

Give care to each thought;

For from deep within,

Our affections are sought.

If we take in good,

Seek after the Lord;

The same flows from us,

All grace He affords.

Pursue with intent,

God and His great grace;

Allow Him to reign,

As love shapes our ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to You and seek You to guard our hearts, You protect and refine us to better reflect Your love to the world. Thank You that in You, there is an overflow to give away. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed anything other than Your truth to have a voice in our lives. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be protected and directed by the light of Your perfect love. Show us how to make room for what You are doing in us to overflow through love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we guard our hearts and seek Your guidance in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

With All That We Are

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart; love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

 

We are called and created to love God; not just in theory or in words, but with our entire existence. To love God with all our heart and soul and strength requires us to love Him in all that we say, think and do. I love God, but know that I still have a long way to go for love to permeate every single word, thought and deed of every moment of every day. God is love. He loves us the way that He calls us to love. When we seek Him and invest time with Him, He transforms our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect the radiance of His love toward Him and those around us. If we love God with all that we are, we will love all whom He has created in the same way. May we intentionally invest time with the Lord so that we may know Him more, as the more we know, the more deeply we love He who first loved us.

As for an update on mom, today should be an exciting day! Meg, Scott and Mom will be driving north to Portland, while Mark and I will drive the few hours south, so that we can all meet up for lunch and an afternoon together in the city. Though it is a short span of time together, we were thrilled to figure out a way to make it work with the crazy calendars that we all are fielding over the coming few months. Time together is our favorite, and it will be wonderful to have the face-to-face connection that I have not had since the beginning of this month. We are praying for sweet time together and blessed conversation.

 

Love the Lord our God, With All That We Are

Strength, soul and whole heart;

With all that you are,

Not just a small part.

For God is faithful,

To all who seek Him;

He loves and equips,

As goodness floods in.

In all that we say,

Each thought and each deed;

Do all things in love,

And let the Lord lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You with all our heart, soul and strength. Thank You that this is not something that we can do in our own strength, but rather You transform our hearts and minds as we seek and invest time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved with our heart, soul or strength. Teach us what it is to love You in each of these areas, every moment of our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is out of the overflow of our love for You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to learn how to love with all our heart, soul and strength. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:26

Heart Change

Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. – (Joel 2:13, NLT)

Tear your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for He is merciful and compassionate, very patient, full of faithful love, and ready to forgive. – (Joel 2:13, CEB)

Change your life, not just your clothes. Come back to God, your God. And here’s why: God is kind and merciful. He takes a deep breath and puts up with a lot. This most patient God, extravagant in love, always ready to cancel catastrophe. – (Joel 2:13, MSG)

 

When we stray from the path that God has placed before us, He wants a heart change that leads us back to where we were meant to go. God is patient and kind, merciful and loving; ready to forgive and redirect our steps when we go astray. Our part is to be tender to His leading, so that our hearts may be changed to more clearly reflect His own. This applies in every area of our lives, as God wants our whole heart, not just a portion. May we seek the Lord with tender hearts, ready to give Him room to move so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

 

God of compassion, Hold My Heart

We bring hearts to You;

Forgive each trespass,

Cleanse and make us new.

In love and kindness,

Lead us in Your way;

Help us extend grace,

And love much the same.

Grant us a clean heart,

That’s ready to serve;

To love as You love,

Mercy undeserved.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not want external displays of remorse, but rather You desire hearts that turn to You, ready to repent and allow You room to cleanse and renew. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do or be enough to earn our way back to grace when we have gone astray. Teach us to come to You with repentant hearts so that we may receive Your forgiveness and experience a true heart change. Show us how to love those around us a way that extends the very same goodness and grace to spaces of need. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the forgiveness that You so readily offer when we come to You with a repentant heart. Amen.

 

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

 

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8

Poetry Lived Out

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)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. -Proverbs 1:5