Unity in Jesus

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows His blessing, even life forevermore. – (Psalm 133:1-3, NIV)

Oh, how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people all come together as one! It is like the sweet-smelling oil that is poured over the high priest’s head… It is there that the Lord has promised His blessing of eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, ERV)

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down the head… Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. – (Psalm 133:1-3, MSG)

God calls us to live in community with unity. His intent and purpose are for us to get along and work together as one body. When we do, it is like a fragrant anointing, as those around us can see and experience the goodness of God. His blessings are bestowed upon us as we do, for in such space we are continually reminded of His goodness now, and the glorious hope of all that is yet to come. Yesterday, amid mourning and heartache with a beautiful young couple from our church, we witnessed this in a very real and tangible way. Many gathered to celebrate the short life of their baby, who died a few days before his due date in the womb. Despite devastating heartache, there was joy in celebrating together the hope of being reunited one day in heaven. Though the precious boy never was able to experience life with his family, he will never know heartache, sickness, or pain, for he is already in the arms of Jesus where there is perfect peace. The love and support of their family and community was overwhelmingly evident. Together, we gathered as one to celebrate the life and grieve the loss of the precious baby boy. Incredibly, the blessings and joy were more evident than the sorrow. Only in Jesus, is such hope possible. My heart was blessed, despite the tears, in witnessing and supporting the beauty that is found in a community that comes together as one. (For more of Luca’s story, click here) May we ever seek the Lord and His purposes for us, as we rely on Him to help us be in communities that are united, not divided in His perfect love.

Oh, how wonderful,

Is community;

That stands side-by-side,

In true unity.

United purpose,

Love is what is seen;

Brothers and sisters,

Choosing live in peace.

This is the calling,

God give to us all;

Love one another,

Help up those who fall.

When the trials come,

To stand side-by-side;

Love well and support,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be united in community. Thank You that You lead us and equip us to love one another and to encourage and support each other as sisters and brothers. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differences to divide us rather than unite us, for each of us have strengths and gifts to share that make our community stronger. Show us how to see You in all those whom we encounter. Lead us to love and be in community as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another, together as one. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

Jesus Our Savior

You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, NIV)

Christ died for us when we were unable to help ourselves. We were living against God, but at just the right time Christ died for us. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else, even if it is a good person. Someone might be willing to die for an especially good person. But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed us how much He loves us. – (Romans 5:6-8, ERV)

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t wait for us to get ready. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him. – (Romans 5:6-8, MSG)

Jesus is our Savior. When we had no idea that we were lost and in need of saving, Jesus came and died on our behalf. As sinners, without Him, we had nothing to offer Him or to the world, yet He still chose to give all for each one of us so that we would have the freedom to choose eternal life through Him. There was nothing we had done to earn or deserve His love, but rather He chose love because He first loved us. Few would give their life up for someone who was good to us, let alone for someone who was against us, but that is exactly what Jesus did for us all. May we ever look to the Lord and the sacrifice He made, as it reminds us anew of how deeply and selflessly, we are loved by God.

While we were sinners,

Far off, we were lost;

The ultimate love,

Came close, paid the cost.

He took all our sin,

And bore all our shame;

So we would know love,

Is found in His Name.

Jesus our Savior,

Through mercy and grace;

Chose die for us all,

So there’d be a way.

A way to know Him,

And choose enter in;

Gracious salvation,

For here and heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to save us. Not because we were worthy, but rather because You are perfect love. Forgive us for the times that we have felt that we somehow had to earn Your love. Thank You that it is Your overwhelming, gracious, all-encompassing love that draws us unto You. Teach us to continue to seek You anew each day, for in the time we spend with You, You reveal more and more of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for Jesus our Savior, and ever seek You to show us how to demonstrate the same sort of love to all whom we meet. Amen.

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

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name.” – John 20:31

Hope in Living Water

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – (John 4:14, NIV)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day. First, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to one another. Second, male and female strangers did not speak to each other. Additionally, people did not typically draw water from the well in the heat of the day. His opening with the woman was simply to ask for a drink of water as she was drawing the water from the well. Her line of questions led to His statement about living water, and eventually to Jesus speaking the truth of who she was, what she had experienced, and what she could have through trusting in God. She embraced the grace that was freely given and then went and told everyone she could find about the One at the well. Her shame was overshadowed by the hope she discovered in Jesus. Incredibly, the same holds true for us still. When we realize the hope and joy that Jesus has for us as we trust in Him, we cannot help but allow His love and hope to radiate from us. May we ever trust in He who is the living water, and walk out our days in the reality of our eternal hope.

O Lord help us trust,

In all that is true;

Our eternal hope,

That is found in You.

Wherever we thirst,

Jesus is the cure;

True living water,

Hope that is assured.

For where there is hope,

There’s also resolve;

To keep keeping on,

As fears soon dissolve.

Rise up in worship,

To Him be all praise;

Our hope forever,

The strength through our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us each at our “wells”, show us where we have been and what we have done, and freely and lovingly offer us new life in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You, or have lost sight of the hope that is forever in You. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, and to remember that Your love is without limits or conditions. Show us how to love and accept those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope in You that lasts forever and live out our days trusting in the truth. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

The Greatest Love Story

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – (John 3:16, HCSB)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

In this season of fixation on love, it seems only appropriate to recognize and celebrate the greatest love of all. God loved creation so much that He gave His Son to restore what had been lost, and to make the way for all who receive it, to have life everlasting with Him. We have all been hand-crafted, designed to love and be loved. The unique design placed within each of us grants us the capacity to love well. This love is not limited to romantic love, but rather it equips and empowers us to love all. From our parents, to siblings, to children, family, friends and a significant other, God gives us all that we need to love well. It is up to us to receive all that He offers so that we might truly know His love and then go and love likewise, all those whom He has placed in our lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, and give Him all praise for His loving ways each day that we draw breath.

The greatest love story,

That’s ever been told;

The gift of a Savior,

To have and to hold.

It is through the knowing,

Receiving of grace;

That we too can love well,

As we seek His face.

God places in our lives,

People we’re to love;

All whom He created,

Purposed from above.

So seek Him to love well,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Receive all He gives;

In Christ we’re empowered,

To love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your One and only Son to make the way for us to be in a loving relationship with You and equipped to love others as You do. Thank You that Your love gives us hope and help, life and love that last forever. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You intended, and for when we neglect to receive what You freely and lovingly offer. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting goodness and grace as You continually show us Your loving ways. Lead us to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of Your love and trust You to lead us to love all those around us well. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11

Choose the Good

So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. – (Galatians 6:9, HCSB)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued from doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

Choosing to do what we know we are called to do will make a difference. Sometimes, it is far more slowly than we would like, but I imagine in the wait, we are being taught to persevere. Ongoing, repeated faithfulness will reap a reward. Over time, it breaks down barriers and brings something good where light was missing. The more we invest in Christ and walking in His will, the more we witness Him working on our behalf. I am thankful that there is a weekend at the close of a work week, as it provides opportunity to rest and recharge, as Christ replenishes our resolve to press on in all that we have been called to do. May we ever seek the Lord to empower us to press on in doing good, for He is our reward and works on our behalf.

Lord, grant us the strength,

To keep doing good;

Because of Your love,

We know that we should.

Not in our own strength,

But Lord, it’s with Yours;

That love will lead us,

In grace, open doors.

Show us Your kindness,

Fill us with Your grace;

Lead us to choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to do good. Forgive us for the times that we either try to muscle our way through things on our own, or choose not to do good when we know we need to do so. Teach us to lean into You for strength and encouragement so that we may do the good that You designed us to do. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in the grace of Your unending love. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him! – Psalm 34:8

So Loved

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

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

God so loved that He gave. He gave all so that we might come to know His love that leads to life everlasting with Him. The very same God who loves us to life, calls us to love each other. His example demonstrates what love truly is. Love gives the best of oneself to others, so that they too, may know and understand the vast depth and breadth of the love that God lavishes upon all who trust in Him. Incredibly, God did not so love the saints, or those who were somehow sinless, (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God) but He so loved the world – all of us, all people, for all time – that He gave. There were no qualifiers nor prerequisites, God simply loved His created. In the same way, we are called to love those around us. Not just our friends and family, but all – for all are His created. May we receive and embrace the overwhelming and powerful love that God gives to us, and in turn, go forth and love those around us, so that all may experience the power of His love, personally.

 

Despite how things seem, Measured By Our Maker

One thing shall remain;

The love of the Lord,

Is always the same.

His love chose to give,

Not some, but gave all;

So we might have life,

And answer His call.

God’s love grants us grace,

Brings new life and light;

Hope from the despair,

Beauty and delight.

So, seek first the Lord,

Receive all He gives;

Then go forth, love well,

It is how love lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son to bring us the opportunity to have everlasting life with You. Thank You that when we accept what You offer, we gain grace and forgiveness and love overflowing to go forth and love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, despite the incredible, unending love that You have for us. Teach us to love those around us as we are loved by You. Show us practical and tangible ways to be Your hands, heart and voice in love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible love You have for us, and rely on You to help us love others well. Amen.

 

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

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:1

Do Not Grow Tired of Doing Good

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, NIV) 

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV) 

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. – (Galatians 6:9, TLB) 

 

There is a reason that we are charged to not become weary or grow tired of doing what is good and right – because at times, it is exhausting. Sometimes, it requires every ounce of resolve within us, to continue on and do what we know is right, especially when those around us are not. Often, it is a matter of one or two, sticking to what they know is right and true, in order for others to follow. Before long, there is a blessing in knowing the right choice has been made, and that perseverance has been empowered by God. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, so that we do not grow tired of doing what is right. 

As for mom, she is blessed in her persistence with therapies. Though weary by late afternoon when I call, mom is pleased with the new exercises and challenges that the therapists are presenting for her, as she knows that this is the way to positive progress forward. May she persist in the good work she is doing, and see the harvest of blessings in the season to come. 

 

O Lord, help us stay, Weighing the Why

Persistent in good; 

Choosing to live well, 

And do as we should. 

The “should” not set forth, 

By mere human heart; 

But ordained by God, 

To set us apart. 

Apart for His hands, 

To love and to serve; 

To do good, be blessed, 

Such love undeserved. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love like You. While we were yet sinners, You loved us to life. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do good. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will not grow weary in doing good. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses, encourages and builds up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You to be our strength to persist so we may continue to do good according to You will. Amen. 

 

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

 

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. – Psalm 37:5-6

 

Persevere in Doing Good

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, NIV)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

 

The first person that came to mind as I read this verse this morning, is my vice principal at school. She is the person who did some of the most difficult work on campus, yet did not grow weary in doing good, with a positive attitude and a heart for people. Her kindness and heart for people draws others in, and I consider her a friend as well as a colleague. Part of not growing weary in doing good, is knowing when to take a rest. For her, the opportunity to take a year’s sabbatical has presented itself in the coming school year, and I imagine God has an incredible harvest of blessings for her as she enjoys a new season of rest and is able to spend far more quality time with her wonderful family.

This same principle applies with mom and all who are in her corner. Each person who is investing or has invested time to help with her healing and recovery, is aiding in her ultimate good. The willingness of others to walk alongside mom has encouraged her to rise up and press on with a determination and resilience that few would find in such a situation. Yesterday was a changing of the guard day for my sister and me. I returned after time at home to close out the school year, and she now needs to get back to her home to her family and work. There is good to be done in each space, and our call is to do what we can, wherever we are – no more, no less. God is faithful to grant us the strength; it is our charge to keep moving forward. May we ever continue to press on in the good that lies before us, for every act of kindness goes out and can be utilized by God.

 

Let’s not grow weary, fb_img_15611258346534200705895356085413.jpg

In choosing do good;

For God grants us strength,

To do as we should.

He helps us to rise,

Encourage, be kind;

To help each other,

With their best in mind.

When the day is done,

And it’s time to rest;

May we truly say,

We gave God our best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good; not because we have to do or be anything to earn Your favor, but rather because You want others to see You through us. Thank You that we can be Your ambassadors of love to those who need to know what love and kindness and grace truly means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to demonstrate the good that You have for those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may be a living reflection of who You are to those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so perfectly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good and love well. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

From Heavenly Throne

Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. – (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)

So, Christ can save those who come to God through Him. Christ can do this forever, because He always lives and is ready to help people when they come before God. – (Hebrews 7:25, ERV)

From such a vantage, He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God. – (Hebrews 7:25, VOICE)

 

We have a Savior, seated in heaven at the right hand of God, who continually contends for all who seek Him. His sacrifice covers our iniquities, and His love restores us to righteousness before the Father. On our own, we are sinners, destined to die. With Jesus, we are redeemed and made right with God, and granted the promise of eternal life with Him. This gift is freely given, and we need only to receive. As we do, our hearts are changed and our minds renewed, so that we may walk in the freedom that God’s favor and forgiveness provide. Without the weight of our former sin, we are empowered to forge forward in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the grace He freely gives, so that we too, may extend His loving kindness to all.

 

On heavenly throne, The Hope of the World

Jesus does reside;

To contend for us,

And make all things right.

He covers our sin,

Our shame and our doubt;

Restores and renews,

His love is devout.

This love we’re given,

So abundantly;

Is so we too give,

And set others free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for Your life, death, resurrection and ascension to take Your rightful throne in heaven where You contend for us before the Father. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of Your sacrifice, or for not receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive Your goodness and grace, and in turn, extend the same to all those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and grace, and offer the same to all those around us, by Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God. – Luke 22:69

The Ultimate Love

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

Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For this is how much God loved the world – He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. – (John 3:16, TPT)

 

Because God loved us, His created, so much, He sent His Son to make Himself tangible and approachable to all. Jesus made the way for all who choose to believe, to have life eternal in Him. This blessed assurance provides hope, peace, comfort and removes fear from all that lies ahead. No matter how tumultuous life can become, there is so much more waiting for us when our time here is done. Though we mourn loss of loved ones as we have to adjust to life without their tangible presence, we may also rejoice for those who know Him, as they enter into eternal glory. Additionally, when we know the Lord as well, goodbye is really just a “see you later.” One day, we will be reunited with those who have gone before us to be with the Lord. Imagine the celebration that will take place when we see Jesus face-to-face, and again join with loved ones who have gone ahead of us. May we rejoice in the incredible love that God has for each of us, as His Son showed us what He is like and how greatly He truly loves.

 

The ultimate love, Healed Hands Reach Out

Chooses truly see;

Past every flaw,

And looks to meet needs.

There’s no greater love,

Than God’s sacrifice;

A love undeserved,

Paid ultimate price.

A death undeserved,

In our place He chose;

Faced the darkest grave,

And third day, He rose.

He went on ahead,

To prepare a place;

For all who believe,

His welcome embrace.

May we look to God,

Ever seek His face;

Trust all that He is,

And unending grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You loved, we too, may come to know love. Thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, who made love tangible for all to see and understand. Forgive us for the times that we let go of hope and allow our struggles to define what we see. Teach us to trust You more, so that despite the hard things that we walk through and endure, there is everlasting hope to be held in You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your love and provides hope for what is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for our everlasting hope, and embrace the grace that You alone give. Amen.

 

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

 

In Your unfailing love you will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13