Unity Through Love

Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say. That there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, VOICE)

It seems that what we are called to do is the very opposite of what popular culture is trying to instill in us. Everywhere I look, there are calls for division rather than unity. Instead of working to agree on the main things, and agreeing to disagree on lesser things, people are pitted against one another without conversation or seeking to understand. This space of agreeing with one another provides a place for unity. It must start within our households, then our churches, and then expand to communities at large. Our charge and our call is to love God and love one another. If we are earnestly seeking the Lord to lead us to do both, unity will follow. There is no room for hate and dissent if love is what leads. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might be joined together in common purpose as we love one another.

To live united,

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Is God’s own great plan;

He leads us in love,

Helps us understand.

For where we seek Him,

He will show the way;

To rise together,

United in faith.

For where there is faith,

There too should be love;

United purpose,

From the Lord above.

Turn off the tv,

And choose stop the scroll;

Seek the Lord to love,

As goodness unfolds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan for us is to be united, not divided. Thank You that it is by Your love that we can find common ground and choose to agree to love. Forgive us for the times that we have found ourselves caught up in the dissent. Please redirect our hearts to focus on love. Show us how to be united instead of divided. Lead us to love on purpose with purpose, so that we may become united with those around us. Teach us to love those around us with different views and perspectives in a way that unites us together by choosing to love first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love You and those around us in ways that bring unity.

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

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

Strength, Endurance, Patience and Joy

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

Strength, endurance, patience and joy are exactly what I need to navigate my days. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide as we seek Him. In all things, He is good, so our reason for joy to remain, even when things are difficult, is firmly established. May we ever seek our Savior to lead us and guide us, as He strengthens us with His power, and provides the patience and endurance we need to navigate our days with joy.

O Lord, be our strength,

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In all that we do;

Patient endurance,

To see each day through.

Be our Source of joy,

For hope is in You;

Lead us in Your love,

Make each day brand new.

Grant us Your resolve,

To keep keeping on;

With love unending,

In You, we are strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and lead us in Your love. Thank You that patience and endurance come from You, and true joy is found in the hope we hold in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful. Lead us to love like You, so that we might encourage those around us and share joy in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us where we are and provide what we need. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

Effort to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, HCSB)

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)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

If we all sought God to grow His blessings in us, we would abound in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and strengthens us to rise up in these blessings He instills in us. It is up to us to pursue God and grant Him access to our heart, soul and mind so that we become more of who He has made us to be. This is not a one-time thing, but rather a life-long process. The people I know who best exemplify these things are those who continually and faithfully pursue the Lord each new day. May we ever go to God each new day that we draw breath to lead and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

The Lord is faithful,

To refine each heart;

That earnestly seeks,

His grace He imparts.

True faith will rise up,

As His goodness grows;

Knowledge imparted,

Love grants self-control.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Let Love lead the way,

Choose answer the call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You refine and grow us to be more like You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Teach us to ever pursue Your heart to extend to the world. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your heart may be made tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and change us to be more like You each new day. Amen.

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

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Provision

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

(We pray) that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

This morning, as I was reading my devotions, my phone began buzzing beside me. When I realized what was happening, I quickly slid the bar to access the video chat that was coming in. My dear friend was calling from Burundi. She knows that I am an early riser, so I will happily chat in the wee hours of the morning when it is well into the afternoon there. Anyway, seeing the joy on her and her husband’s faces after more than fourteen months apart, waiting, showed me a tangible example of just how prayers such as Colossians 1:11 apply. The two of them have been surrounded and covered in prayer, and have been patiently enduring the wait, and continuing to communicate, trust and wait with joy. Because of Covid, the spousal visa that should have taken a week or two, has taken well over a year. They have reached the home stretch of the wait, but have to continue to endure until the interview appointment is scheduled and done. Thankfully, the visa has been approved, and it is just one more step before they are at long last together for good. May we ever lift each other up in prayer, for strength, endurance, patience and joy. God is good, and His love endures through all things.

Patient endurance,

A gift from the Lord;

Joy in the waiting,

All grace God affords.

When we turn to Him,

His love leads us through;

Strength to press forward,

Into what is new.

All thanks be to God,

For goodness and joy;

May we turn to Him,

As love He employs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and keep us in Your loving care as we face challenges and endure hardships that require seasons of waiting. Thank You that You provide joy, despite our circumstances. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith when seasons seem far longer than anticipated. Teach us to trust and give thanks to You, for even in our challenges, You are near to love, strengthen and equip us with all that we need. Show us how to love those around us with joy and grace, so that Your goodness may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your provision in all situations and circumstances. Amen.

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

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

The Spirit We Are Given

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 TImothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

No matter what lies before us, we need not fear. God with us grants us power, love and sound judgment to navigate whatever comes our way. He is faithful to meet us each time we call on Him, and He equips us to persevere. May we ever rise up in His provision of endurance to keep walking forward in His loving grace, to do all that we are called to do.

Fear not, beloved,

For God is with us;

With power, sound mind,

And unending love.

No matter what comes,

That which lies ahead.

God will equip us,

In love, we are led.

Take courage, dear friends,

For this brand new day;

God will be with us,

He’ll show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not give us a spirit of fear, but rather You grant us power, love and a sound mind in every situation and circumstance. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength and stability from the onset of our storms. Teach us to earnestly seek You in all things. Lead us to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grant us Your power, love and stability, and to chase away our fear. Amen.

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

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Everyday Encouragement

But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. – (Hebrews 3:13, HCSB)

But encourage each other every day, while you still have something called “today”. Help each other so that none of you will be fooled by sin and become too hard to change. – (Hebrews 3:13, ERV)

Encourage each other every day – for as long as we can still say “today” – so none of you let the deceitfulness of sin harden your hearts. – (Hebrews 13:3, VOICE)

We are called and reminded to encourage each other every day. None of us are infallible on our own, but rather we need one another to walk in His way and do His will. Our own broken humanity deceives us and can lead us astray when left to our own devices. However, when we are invested in Christ and community, we are encouraged and encourage others to walk in His way and do His will. There is power in accountability, as it keeps us honest with others and ourselves. God intentionally created us to crave community so that we would invest in each other and be capable of encouraging one another in all things. In my own life, I am so grateful for this. He has surrounded me with loving people who want to see the very best for me and from me. When I am struggling, they encourage me. When I see those around me challenged, I try to do the same. Jesus was our ultimate example, and endured every challenge and trial that comes our way. Because He has been where we are, He is able to help and uphold us through all things. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in encouraging those around us, so that not one of us would be hardened to hearing His best for us.

Today is a gift,

Meant to be lived well;

His grace is enough,

As in Him we dwell.

We’re called to reach out,

Encourage others;

Build each other up,

Sisters and brothers.

Let not the heavy,

Pull each other down;

Lift and encourage,

Let kindness be found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and equip us to encourage one another. Thank You that You also provide people in the communities to which we belong to encourage us as well. Thank You that You desire that not one of us falls to the weight of the world. Forgive us for the times that we have rejected the reminders You have provided and the times that we have neglected to encourage others. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to give You praise for the people that You place in our lives to give and receive encouragement. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that strengthen and build them up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength and encouragement in all things and trust in You to lead us to encourage others well. Amen.

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

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

To Carry and Sustain Us

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV)

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV)

Even as you grow old and your hair turns gray, I’ll keep carrying you! I am your Maker and your Caregiver. I will carry you and be your Savior. – (Isaiah 46:4, TPT)

I don’t think of myself as old, yet white hairs keep peeking through. In this current season, I know my own need to be sustained, and at times, carried. Understanding that God will sustain me, even so, provides hope and endurance when weariness sets in. We have not yet had a full five-day week of school, and already it feels as if we have been back for months. Perhaps it is the masks and extra safety measures, or just the extra energy and excitement of the kids to be back around their friends, but either way, it is exhausting. God is good, and I know that He holds me in His hands. Today, I will continue to trust and rely on Him, and give thanks that we have reached Friday. May we ever hold fast to the promises of God, and trust that He will continue to carry and sustain us through every season as it comes.

God’s promises true,

With each passing year;

His strength and His help,

Remain ever near.

When moving forward,

Is too hard to do;

His love lifts us up,

And carries us through.

Lord, help us recall,

And trust in Your word;

You help forever,

As love’s seen and heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You promise to be present to help, strengthen and sustain us throughout our whole life. Thank You that You are good, even when we are weary. Forgive us for our frustrations with what is beyond our control. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and supply, and to carry us when we feel like we cannot continue. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us, so that they are strengthened to keep moving forward. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our strength in all things and at all times. Be glorified O God, as we cling to Your promises of care in our weariness, and praise You for carrying us in our exhaustion. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

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

Success in Our Savior

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, NIV)

But we thank God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! – (1 Corinthians 15:57, ERV)

But we thank God for giving us the victory as conquerors through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 15:57, TPT)

There are times when we are moving forward, ever seeking to do what we are meant to do, and still obstacles come our way. It does not mean we are off course; often it is an indication that there is more that God wants to show or teach us as we press on. He does not cause frustrating things to stand in our way, but He does allow mountains and valleys before us to show His strength that equips us to overcome as we seek Him. One of my goals before my “big” birthday this summer is to run a marathon. About six weeks ago, I fractured all three bones in my little toe. This created a month-long hiatus from running, and some serious frustration. Over the last week or so, I had finally been able to get back to running and was working to rebuild endurance. On my first run back at it, we ended up running our usual pace (prior to the fracture) and I was encouraged and grateful for God’s grace and faithfulness. Fast forward to Friday evening, and out of nowhere I felt feverish and had a sore throat. I was supposed to get a long run in over the weekend, and at long last, return to teaching on campus. Sadly, neither took place, and I am again deterred by a setback. Thankfully, this race we are running is not a sprint, but is an ultra marathon. It requires ongoing forward momentum, even if our steps seem miniscule. God is faithful and grants us victory in Christ. This season may look nothing like I had hoped or imagined, but I know that He is good and will lead me forward according to His plan. He knows the desires of my heart and will not leave me or forsake me. I know not what victory in Him will look like in this season, but I know that God is good. Each new day, I will trust Him to lead me forward, and be my strength to keep moving in the right direction. May we ever thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness, for we have the ultimate victory in Him.

All thanks be to God,

Our true victory;

For He is our strength,

The One that we need.

No matter the course,

Our race seems to take;

God will be faithful,

With goodness and grace.

Setbacks and detours,

And bumps in the road;

He grants us His strength,

Helps carry the load.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what comes our way, You are faithful to be present and see us through. Thank You that even when obstacles lie before us, the road You have set us on remains the same. Forgive us for our frustration with setbacks and obstacles that come our way. Teach us to trust You to remain faithful as You lead us forward, despite how things appear. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us as they run the race that You have set before them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to successfully lead us along the path You have placed before us; for victory is already ours in Christ. Amen.

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

Indeed our shield belongs to the Lord, our King to the Holy One of Israel. – Psalm 89:18

Flowers or Weeds?

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

What we plant, we harvest. We can plant flowers or weeds; things that give life or those which choke it out. If we pursue goodness, justice, kindness and love in all that we do, these are exactly what we will find. It may take time, effort and endurance, but ultimately such good is what will be found. Though there are days that it is a battle, it is always worth the effort. May we ever pursue He who is righteousness and love, so that we may discover the full life that abounds in Him.

May we choose pursue,

God’s goodness and grace;

Seek justice and love,

Throughout all our days.

Let us be faithful,

Purposefully kind;

Let love guide all things,

With goodness in mind.

May integrity,

Be how we are known;

Honoring others,

As God’s good is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, just, loving, faithful and kind, and that You will show us how to live accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live as You intended. Teach us to walk in Your ways and to love like You. Show us how to love those around us best, so that justice, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and integrity are what will be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart so that we may love as You love. Amen.

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

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – Psalm 86:11