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

Hope is Certain

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

Hope is certain when we understand the faithfulness of God. His faithfulness is not dependent on whether or not things go the way that we’d hoped, but rather that He remains with us, in and through all things. God’s promises are not for an easy life, but rather for one with Him present to help us live with purpose. Our purpose is not some big mysterious question mark, but is to love God and love people in all that we do. Some of the greatest examples of people who have held onto hope without wavering, were people who had to navigate the greatest obstacles, yet did so with a firm faith in He who is our hope. God has shown us again and again that we can trust Him to be present and to provide what we need to press on. May we ever hold fast to the hope we have in God, for He is trustworthy and is faithful to His promises forever.

Lord, help us hold fast,

To Your promises;

For You are faithful,

To all You have said.

Present in all things,

You supply our needs;

Flood our hearts with love,

For Your grace exceeds.

Love that’s unfailing,

Grace that knows no end;

Hope in forever,

And peace You extend.

All thanks be to God,

Our hope ever more;

Where goodness and love,

Are an open door.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and the One in whom we can place our hope. Thank You that Your love sustains us and Your goodness strengthens us to hold fast to hope in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the hope that is only found in You. Teach us to trust in You and to remember You are faithful to fulfill Your promises. Show us how to love, encourage, and extend hope to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope we profess and trust in Your faithfulness always. Amen.

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Kind and Ready to Forgive

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. – (Psalm 86:5, HCSB)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

I am so thankful that God hears all who call on Him. He is kind and good and merciful, and He forgives and helps us with His love as we seek Him. Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, we can count on Him to be consistent in His love. It is through the mercy and grace we receive when we seek God’s forgiveness that we are compelled to do likewise for those around us. For me, I am ever aware of my need for His help and forgiveness as I navigate each new day. He is kind and gentle, generous and loving, and remains steadfast in all things. May we ever seek the Lord to forgive us and lead us forward in all that He is calling us to do.

The Lord is so good,

Forgiving and kind;

Loyal and faithful,

It is His design.

The goodness that flows,

From heaven to earth;

Shows us His power,

And unending worth.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To ever seek You;

For goodness and love,

Ever we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You as we seek You, You forgive us and lavish us with Your love. Thank You for Your kindness and faithfulness forever. Forgive us for neglecting to seek forgiveness where it is needed. Show us our shortcomings and the power of Your love in those places. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek forgiveness, goodness and grace, and then extend the same to all those we encounter. Amen.

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

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known, He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. He saved us through the washing that made us new people. He saved us by making us new through the Holy Spirit. – Titus 3:4-5

Live Out Love

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

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

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

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

To know the Lord’s love,

Our greatest blessing;

Faithful and lavish,

Worth seeking, pressing.

For each time we seek,

God’s love shall be found;

Grace unimagined,

And hope that is sound.

May we choose pursue,

The love that He gives;

So we love likewise,

Each day that we live.

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

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

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

The Heavens Make It Known

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – (Psalm 19:1, ERV)

God’s splendor is a tale that is told, written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story through the marvel of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

Each morning, as I walk our dogs, I witness the beauty of all that God has made. The skies transform before my eyes, and the colors unfold like the opening of a fresh box of crayons. At night, as the day comes to a close, the moon and stars shine bright through the darkness, blinking of the brilliance of the hands that hung them each in the sky. Even when the blue is hidden by clouds, the weight of them waters the earth and restores green to the grass and trees. All it takes is but a moment of looking up to be reminded of the greatness of God and the glory of His majesty. May we ever take in all of His creation and recognize that the same God who created such beauty was intentional to create all those whom we encounter.

All heaven declares,

The glory of God;

The work of His hands,

Leaves my heart in awe.

Each star in the sky,

On purpose was placed;

To remind us all,

Of God’s endless grace.

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose look up;

Give thanks to the Lord,

As He fills our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, power and creativity. Thank You that all we need to do is look up to become aware of the wonders of Your power and goodness. Forgive us for neglecting to take time to take in all of the wonder at what Your hands have made. Teach us to be intentional to appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have created. Show us how to recognize the beauty of Your creation, and to help others value themselves, as we all are among Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your glory as we observe the world around us.  Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. 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. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Light My Path

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of Your word makes my pathway clear. – (Psalm 119:105, TPT)

The more that we spend time in God’s word, the brighter the light within us, and the clearer His path for us becomes. God is ready and willing to guide our every step on the path He has set before us, however, we must seek Him and spend time in His word to clearly know the ways we are meant to go. Often, what we see seems good through our own lens, yet through His, there may be reason and purpose that we are called in a different direction. For me, His wisdom and grace make all the difference as I run my own race. When I am in tune with Him and His will, I am acutely aware of His nearness and have peace on the path I am taking. It does not mean that the way is always smooth or simple, but it does mean that I am aware of His presence, even when the terrain becomes more than I can navigate with my own skill set. He is good, and He lead and equips us where He calls us. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for He is the lamp that guides our steps and the light that illuminates which way we are to go.

O Lord, we seek You,

And study Your word;

For Your voice is clear,

As Your truth is heard.

Please show us the ways,

You want us to go;

Lead us in the truth,

So Your light may show.

Illuminate well,

The paths we’re to take;

Equip and lead us,

Keep love wide awake.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time in Your word, You show us the ways we are meant to go. Thank You that even when the road is rough or the terrain is beyond what we can navigate on our own, You are with us and equip us so that we may continue in the direction You are leading. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear or doubt to keep us from moving forward where You are leading. Teach us to trust and seek You for clear direction. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your light shines before all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to gain clear direction for our every step. Amen.

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Overcome Evil with Good

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – (Romans 12:21, NIV)

Don’t let evil defeat you, but defeat evil by doing good. – (Romans 12:21, ERV)

Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good. – (Romans 12:21, VOICE)

 

As social media has been flooded with the atrocity of the killing of an innocent man, out for a run, who was senselessly chased down and murdered by two self-professed vigilantes, who had no authority to question his motives for being out on a run, much less gun him down in cold blood. What is even more evil in all of this, is that nothing seemed to be done to bring justice to Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers until there was public outcry, due to the clear evidence produced in a release of video footage of the barbarity. For many of us, we feel overcome with horror at the wickedness that has played out through such a heinous act against humanity. That being said, the good that is rising up to bring justice to Ahmaud’s case, is overpowering the evil that transpired. No, there is nothing that will ever bring Ahmaud back to life, nor is there any justice that seems valid when a life is so senselessly taken; however, the good is raising awareness and aiding in a change of mindset for ordinary things that so many have taken for granted, and Ahmaud’s murderers are finally being charged. As a fellow runner, my heart aches for the fear that already exists in those who worry about a similar encounter, and for anyone who chooses not to go at all, due to the evil that is present and waiting to pounce. Awareness, education, wisdom and support are ways to combat and overpower the evil with good. I don’t have the answers, but I will continue to listen to the voices of those who have encountered and live with a constant heightened awareness of evil, simply because of the color of their skin, so that I can do what I can to be better and contribute to good overcoming such wickedness. May we seek the Lord to direct our steps to bring about a safe, peaceful, loving existence among all people, just as He intended.

 

So senseless the death, wp-15890342122543911826434050258269.png

Of a man, so young;

Out to maintain health,

With joy, he would run.

Evil encounter,

Malicious intent;

A life no longer,

Such darkness present.

The saying, it goes,

“Your sins find you out;”

The truth bringing good,

Airing evil out.

May justice be brought,

Where evil once stood;

May all do better,

And seek to do good.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that good overcomes evil, even when the evil that takes place seems insanely overwhelming. Please be with the family of Ahmaud Arbery; though there is nothing that will ever make this senselessness right, let justice be served to those who murdered this young man. Thank You that Your intention is for there to be peace among Your people. Forgive us for the things we have said, done, or left unsaid or undone, that have prevented the good that You intended. Teach us to do and be better. Bring healing to our land, O God. Show us how to love one another, as sisters and brothers, in all things and at all times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength so that we may ever overcome evil with good. Amen.

 

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

 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Wait in Hope

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. – (Romans 8:25, NIV) 

So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. – (Romans 8:25, TPT) 

But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently. – (Romans 8:25, TLB) 

As always, this is a good and timely reminder. Many of us are hoping for the day when the restrictions are lifted, and we can go and do, travel and see, live and be, in a way we are more accustomed to existing. Though it is difficult, we wait for it patiently, as lives depend on our doing so. Despite all that has been missed, we know there is much more yet to come. That is hope, and with it, we must be patient. The saying, “good things come to those who wait,” holds true. When we wait on the Lord and trust in Him, He provides peace and strength and blessings beyond what we could have imagined on our own. In the same way expectant parents hope and patiently wait for the arrival of their newborn baby, we can hold hope for what is yet to come. We know there is more, and that the day when things are no longer locked down will arrive, so for now, we must wait patiently and persevere. 

In the meantime, I am extraordinarily grateful that we are in a part of the world where homes are spread out and space is abundant, so we are encouraged to get outside to exercise and take in fresh air, as long as we are mindful of distancing ourselves from others we encounter while outdoors. What I love is that I already was one to get outside to run and walk for fitness and sanity, and now, all around the neighborhood, others are discovering the benefit of doing the same. I hope the cheerful “hellos” and friendly waves that take place each day while I am out, always continue. Perhaps slowing down is providing a place for hope to rise where it had been missing before. Whatever the case may be, I will continue to hold hope in He who brings peace and strength and joy, even in the waiting.

Choose wait on the Lord, wp-15875605174021756941601808964153.jpg

And know He is good; 

Hope is worth the wait, 

His grace understood. 

For in the season, 

The space that seems paused; 

God’s goodness remains, 

His patience installed. 

There is so much joy, 

In what is to come; 

Peace in the present, 

Glorious outcome. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us; always. Thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, and that we can wait on You and trust in You, for the future is in Your loving hands. Forgive us for our impatience that comes when we struggle to hold onto the hope we know. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope and Your love never fails. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and encourages hope in seasons of waiting. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the hope we know, that is secure in You forever. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5