Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

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)

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Intentionally Designed

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it. – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

Just as a poet carefully selects words, lines and stanzas, so too did God intentionally design each of us with a plan and a purpose. Our charge is to live out our days being who He intended us to become. God created all of us with specific strengths, traits and talents that we can use to bless and love well the people whom He places in our lives. Yet, even so, the Creator of all has given us a free will. It is up to us to choose to do the good that we were designed to do. We are not robots nor minions; we are His creation that gets to choose to live out our purpose or do our own thing. I don’t know about you, but knowing that I am free to choose implores me to discover more of who He is and what He desires for me to do to be all that He has created me to become. May we ever seek the Lord and pursue His will for our lives so that we may become all that He has intended as we do the good He intended for us all.

We are His poem,

Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels.com

Each stanza and line;

Designed with purpose,

With goodness in mind.

The gifts we’re given,

Were granted to bless;

To use for His good,

So love is expressed.

Help us to seek You,

So that we may know;

The plan and purpose,

That makes Your love known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have designed and created each of us with a plan and a purpose that is for good. Thank You that we have all been given strengths and talents that are unique to us, individually, that help show the goodness and depth of Your love for all. Forgive us for not seeking or for neglecting to do the good that we know we ought to do. Teach us to trust and depend on You more to rise up and thrive as the people You designed us to be. Show us how to love and do good to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and grow us more and more into the poetry You have created us to be. Amen.

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

I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. – Psalm 57:2

Be Transformed

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – (Romans 12:2, HCSB)

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV)

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT)

We need God to know what is best and then to actually do it. As we seek the Lord and invite Him to transform our minds, He grants us wisdom and insight to know what is good and pleasing to Him, and how to follow His will in every area of our lives. This does not happen overnight, but rather it is a lifelong process. Every day that we seek the Lord with intention, we are transformed a bit more to reflect His heart, love and light to the world. It is impossible to shine for Him if we are imitating what we think the world wants. His loving kindness, goodness and grace flows from those who seek to be authentically who He has made them to be. May we invest our hearts and lives in seeking the Lord, for it is through our seeking that He empowers us to live the beautiful life that He intended.

Lord, protect our hearts,

Show us what is best;

Transform and renew,

And grant us Your rest.

Teach us to seek You,

In all things, always;

So we walk Your way,

Our lives give You praise.

Protect us from lies,

That seem to be true;

Lead us in Your love,

Show us what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly lead us in Your ways, if only we seek and depend on You. Thank You that through our seeking, You transform our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for allowing the patterns of this world to influence our decisions instead of You. Show us how to continually seek You and Your will in all things and at all times. Lead us to love 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 seek You and trust You to transform us more and more to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous. – Psalm 112:4

Speaking With Grace

Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NIV)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith. – (Colossians 4:6, TPT)

When the pressure feels great in every area of life, this is not the easiest thing to do. Grace is great, but there are moments and days that I have to refrain from speaking, as I know that what is churning in my heart and head is not gracious nor wise. This is a space where God’s grace is necessary to navigate well. On my own, I do not have the answers to much of anything. By His grace, words come when they are needed if I am tuned in and dependent on Him. This morning, I again turn in trust to the Lord to be the grace and truth and clarity that is a part of all that I say and do. May we ever seek Him to lead us and guide us with every word that leaves our lips.

Lord, grant me the words,

Of goodness and grace;

The words that bring life,

Throughout each new day.

When my heart’s heavy,

Please keep my mouth closed;

Let only kindness,

Words of love be told.

May Your heart be shown,

Through each word and deed;

As the light of grace,

And Your goodness lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to extend light and life through speaking with kindness and wisdom. Thank You that You willingly supply the words to speak when we are dependent on You. Forgive us for every thought, word and deed that was not gracious, loving or kind. Teach us to depend on You to provide the words when we are uncertain of what to say, and grant us wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent. Show us how to love those around us well, as we extend kindness, goodness and grace through our every word. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak the way You call us to communicate. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

To Stay Steadfast

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

Perfect, absolute peace surrounds those whose imaginations are consumed with You; they confidently trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, TPT)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

As I read the first translation of this verse, I really paused to think about what it means to have a mind that is steadfast. I even went so far as to look it up, so that I might ponder the meaning further. According to dictionary.com, steadfast is to be fixed in direction, firm in purpose, and unwavering. To be fixed in direction and firm in purpose without wavering does indeed protect His perfect peace. It is in that space of knowing Who is leading us in the direction to which we are called, and Who has created us with purpose that we find His peace is present as we trust in Him. Our peace wavers when we trust what we see rather than who holds us in the hollow of His hands. Though my heart and mind are dedicated to Christ, my eyes deceive my heart when I allow my peace to be found in what I see. For the last couple of years, what has been seen has not pointed to peace. However, each time I slow down, fix my eyes and heart on Him, His perfect peace is present and my mind returns to the steadfast state to which I have been called. It is an ongoing battle, particularly when few things are as anticipated or hoped for. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to be steadfast in Him, so that we may know His perfect and ongoing peace.

Lord, help us trust You,

To keep perfect peace;

In each steadfast heart,

That faithfully seeks.

You’re ever present,

To hear all we pray;

In love, You answer,

As peace comes to stay.

Help us fix our eyes,

Securely on You;

Let not what surrounds,

Take away the truth.

In You there is peace,

A hope that’s secure;

Future forever,

Knowing You’ll be near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that the peace You provide is not dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that You bring peace to us amidst chaos, and settle our weary hearts. Forgive us for allowing the trials of this world to steal the perfect peace that You offer. Teach us to continually, steadfastly fix our eyes and hearts on You, for in that space of trust, we find Your peace is present. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer Your peace, even when it seems impossible to find. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we keep our minds steadfast on You because You are trustworthy, and Your promises true. 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

All for Us

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? – (Romans 8:32, NIV)

He even let His own Son suffer for us. God gave His Son for all of us. So now with Jesus, God will surely give us all things. – (Romans 8:32, ERV)

For God has proved His love by giving us His greatest treasure, the gift of His Son. And since God freely offered Him up as the sacrifice for us all, He certainly won’t withhold from us anything else He has to give. – (Romans 8:32, TPT)

Whenever things seem too much, or I just do not know what to do, I have to slow down, breathe, and turn in trust to God. He sacrificed all in my place so that I would have to suffer what I deserved. Instead, Jesus came near so that I could have life, and life abundantly. He grants me strength, endurance, wisdom and resolve when I seek Him. It is imperative that I turn to Him in my spaces of confusion, frustration, sorrow and celebration. God is so good that He will show us what we are to do, and will provide all that we need to do so. May we ever seek the Lord who gave all unto us, so that we may give our all back to Him by His grace.

The love only God,

Can give unto us;

Through sending His Son,

Our Savior, Jesus.

The God who gave all,

Will hold nothing back;

He’ll lead us forward,

Meet us where we’re at.

In good times and bad,

The Lord will be near;

To lead us in love,

Press on without fear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold nothing back, as You have given all unto us. Thank You that Your love, goodness and grace will meet us and lead us, each time that we seek Your face. Thank You that we can trust and depend on You. Forgive us for the times that we fail to remember the magnitude of Your sacrifice of love for us all. Teach us to turn to You in trust, that we may receive all that You freely and lovingly offer. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may understand the goodness of Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and rely on Your remarkable love and grace. Amen.

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

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16

Finding Perfect Peace

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

I try not to watch nor read too much of the news, but rather just enough to have an idea of what is going on in the world. Over the last several days, it has been a challenge to get my heart to settle with so much unrest and disaster in the world around us. God’s peace does not mean that all chaos ceases, but rather it is His presence despite the chaos that grants us His perfect peace. Each time my heart becomes unsettled, I must give it to Him and choose to trust. Ultimately, He is in control and will remain with me no matter what comes. Today, as I start my day, my prayer is for all those who are in the spaces of disaster and in the midst of wars. May help and peace, safety and security come to all who are in the middle of such turmoil.

O God, You are good,

Despite what we see;

Our beacon of hope,

The peace that we need.

Lord may Your presence,

Love, help, hope and grace;

Be made tangible,

In unsettled space.

Grant safety to all,

In spaces of fear;

Give strength and escape,

Lord, be ever near.

May each new concern,

Compel us to pray;

Please grant miracles,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give true peace to those who depend on You. Lord, I place every concern in Your mighty hands and ask You to work as only You can. Forgive us for our fears, doubts, and unbelief in the face of disasters. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You alone are greater than anything we face. Show us how to love those around us, so that Your peace may be made known through kindness and grace. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to be our peace, and seek Your wisdom to show us how to extend Your peace to those around us. Amen.

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

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Navigating the Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Freedom to Forgive

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

Forgiveness is a strange thing, as we have been forgiven much, yet at times, we struggle to forgive the most minor of offenses. Not one of us is perfect, and we all fall short. This is the space that we must remember when we are hurt or offended by another. In the same way that God pours out His abundant forgiveness and grace, we too, ought to do the same. The crazy thing about unforgiveness is that it hurts the holder of the offense, not the offender. Often, the one who has hurt or offended is not even aware that they have done harm. It is our responsibility to either let it go, or speak with the offender in love and let them know that their words or actions have done harm. That being said, we must do so with forgiveness already in place, regardless of the reception of our communication. Most times, awareness brings repentance and mends are made quickly. However, if the offender stands behind their word or deed, we are still called to forgive. We are not meant to subject ourselves to a vicious cycle of harm, but rather we are not to cling to that which we cannot change. God forgives us each time that we ask, yet He lets us know that if we hold unforgiveness, He will respond to our requests in the same way. I don’t know about you, but I am fully aware of my shortcomings and desperately need His forgiveness and grace. If I need forgiveness and grace, so too, do all those whom I encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to forgive and give grace, even when we would rather hold onto the offense. Freedom to love well is birthed in us as we choose to walk in forgiveness.

O Lord, help us choose,

Forgive and give grace;

As You’ve done for us,

Throughout all our days.

Soften our hearts, Lord,

So love might come first;

Teach us to let go,

To bless not to curse.

May love lead the way,

In all that we do;

Teach us to forgive,

And choose love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not limit the number of times that You forgive us when we fail and fall short. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do likewise to all those around us as we depend on You. Forgive us for holding onto offenses. Please teach us to release all into Your hands so that we may give goodness and grace in place of our anger, hurt or frustration. Show us how to love like You, at all times and in all circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the power held in Your loving kindness for us all. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us to forgive as You do. Amen.

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

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – Matthew 6:12

Grow Us O God

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. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, 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. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. – (1 Peter 1:5-7, TPT)

This passage reminds us that there is always room to grow. Because we have access to the word of God and the Spirit of God, His goodness, kindness and love are ever calling us to more of Him. The more of God that we know and understand, the greater our likeness in His attributes. He is faithful, good, the Source of all wisdom and understanding, patient, devoted, kind and loving to all. We too, are created to live likewise. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow more like Him, so that His love and accessible attributes are made evident in us.

Because we are blessed,

Let’s add what we bring;

More than just patience,

All enduring things.

Let goodness rise up,

And wisdom be found;

Grant us self-control,

Devotion that’s sound.

Grow in us kindness,

For all those we meet;

Let love ever lead,

Hands, heart and feet.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to grow in Your ways. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to grow more like You. Teach us to turn to You and depend on You to transform our hearts and minds to clearly display Your love for all those around us. Show us how to love with patience, endurance, kindness, wisdom and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to grow more and more like You, so that we may love as we are called to do. Amen.

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

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. – Psalm 34:10