Forgiven by Jesus

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, NIV)

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, ERV)

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, MSG)

All of us, by our very nature, are prone to sin. Consequently, we all deserve death as a consequence for our poor decisions. Thankfully, in order to have such a sentence, there must be a judge. In Christ Jesus, we are no longer judged guilty. Every sin has been wiped away as Jesus already bore the consequence on the cross. His Holy Spirit breathes life into the spaces that should have been dead and supplies what we need to walk in His way and do His will. Through Jesus, we no longer have hundreds of laws to remember and follow closely, but rather, His new command is to love God and love one another. If we truly do these things, we are choosing life in Him and making His love known. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that Jesus gives so that we may walk in His way and do His will throughout all our days.

No longer condemned,

In Christ we are free;

To live and choose love,

As it’s meant to be.

The guilt that we bear,

In Him is removed;

Forgiven in love,

That’s constantly proved.

No more under laws,

That lead us to death;

Set free from the weight,

Through life-giving breath.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no more condemnation when we come into a relationship with You. Thank You that You give us light and life, help and hope, as Your presence provides peace and promise to all who receive You as Lord of our lives. Forgive us for every word and deed that has not demonstrated love for You or for Your created. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in Your love in all things. Show us how to live free from the weight of our sin and to walk boldly in Your perfect love. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live and love boldly as You set us free to do. Amen.

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

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

Living Love

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love is made evident as we choose to love one another. His love is perfect and complete. The more we seek Him to lead us in love, the better we reflect His heart to the world and show those around us who He is. Though none of us are perfect in love, we are all loved perfectly by God. As we embrace His goodness and grace, we are better equipped to love others well. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His perfect love, and then go and love those around us in the same way.

God’s love is made clear,

As we choose to love;

It chases off fear,

All grace from above.

His love is perfect,

He loves perfectly;

With loving kindness,

He sets our hearts free.

Set free from the things,

That keep us from love;

And shows us the way,

That we each are loved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is perfect and Your heart for us is to reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen nor reflected Your love to those around us. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You lavishly give so that we too, may love as You intended us to love. Show us new ways to love those around us well, so that Your heart would be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other with Your love that lives in us. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Let Love Continue

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. – (Hebrews 13:1, NIV)

Continue loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called and commanded to love one another like family. I know not all families show and express love as God intended, but it seems that God places us among those who can become family. I am beyond blessed to have a sister and mom who love well. Their love for me and one another is unconditional, and loyalty is a bond that cannot be broken. If in our broken humanity we are able to love and be loved well, how much more ought we extend the same to those in our communities. The more we choose to love, the greater the opportunity for God’s love to be made known, and His light to shine in places lacking light. Yesterday, I had to have a punch biopsy done on my upper lip. The result included a few stitches and a lovely bandage situation in said location. Though a bit self-conscious about it when I walked into the gym to coach my high school gymnasts, I was met with nothing but love and concern. Their kindness reminded me that God is always good, and that He has me in the hollow of His hands. The biggest challenge now is that I can’t smile without pulling on the stitches, and I am surrounded by people who make me smile by being themselves. God’s goodness is evident all around us, and the more we choose to love our brothers and sisters (the people whom God places in our lives), the more His love continues to spread and His light shines ever brighter. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we may love well, all whom He has placed upon our path.

The love of the Lord,

Is given to us;

So we too may love,

Just like Lord Jesus.

His love is gracious,

Gentle and it’s kind;

Without conditions,

He has us in mind.

With this sort of love,

That’s meant for others;

To reach out, to give,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us ever seek,

So that we shall find;

Overflowing love,

To share with mankind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us like family. Thank You for the beautiful blessing I have in both my family by blood, and those whom You have purposefully placed in my life. Forgive me for the times that I have not loved as You intended. Teach me to trust You more, so that all that I do and all that I say is a reflection of Your gracious and generous love. Lead me to love those around me in ways that make Your heart abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love those around us as brothers and sisters. 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

Rise and Shine

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines over you. – (Isaiah 60:1, HCSB)

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. – (Isaiah 60:1, NIV)

Arise, shine, for your light has broken through! The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you. – (Isaiah 60:1, VOICE)

The glory of God lives in all who believe, and His light shines through those who are faithful in pursuing Him. His glory is made evident through our lives as we seek to follow after God and do His will. Just like the candle lighting at a Christmas Eve service, what begins as a single flame, soon can fill an entire space with lights burning bright. That single flame did not lessen, but rather it spread and shined all the brighter. The same is true with us. When we allow the Lord’s light to shine through us, it spreads, and the goodness of God is made visible to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to shine His brilliant light both upon us and through us, as we rise up in the goodness of His grace and love.

O Lord, may Your light,

Shine bright upon me;

So goodness and grace,

Are made known clearly.

Let all that I do,

And all that I say;

Make love evident,

As I choose Your way.

Lead me and guide me,

With each step I take;

Flood me with goodness,

Each morning I wake.

Ever stay near me,

As I choose abide;

Show me each next step,

With arms open wide.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You shine Your lavish light upon us, and kindle the flame within us, so that we may shine brightly into the world. Forgive us for the times that we have kept the light of Your love hidden, or have withheld love when we were meant to shine. Teach us to trust in You to lead us well, for Your grace and goodness flood our hearts with Your light. Show us how to love those around us like You, so that many may come to understand the depth and breadth of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to shine upon us and through us as we navigate each new day. Amen.

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

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

To Cultivate Good Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

As we nourish our spirits with the goodness of God’s word and spend time seeking Him to teach us and grow us, He cultivates this sort of fruit within us. We discover love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faith and gentleness, and our self-control rises up. Though people decide they are opposed to following Christ, I have never met anyone who was opposed to being on the receiving end of the fruit that Christ within us produces. Perhaps the opposition that people feel stems from those who claim to follow Christ, yet do not spend time with Him and give God room to transform them more into His likeness. If none of the Spirit’s fruit is evident, then the soil of the heart is parched and unable to produce the good fruit. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through our time with Him, that the soil of our heart is nourished and good fruit is produced to share with those around us.

Lord, help us seek You,

With ev’ry new day;

And grow within us,

Fruit that shows Your way.

Water and nourish,

The soil of our hearts;

As You produce fruit,

Your ways You impart.

Let Your love and joy,

Peace and patience too;

Kindness and goodness,

And faith that is true.

May Your gentleness,

And great self-control;

Show others Your heart,

As You we extol.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the fruit of Your Spirit is not something that we have to try to grow on our own, but rather is something that You plant within us and cultivate as we continue to come before You to listen and learn. Forgive us for thinking that we can just try to be better and do better, and that somehow, the fruit of Your Spirit will rise up within us. Show us what it is to give You our whole heart so that You can transform us into who You created us to become. Lead us to love as You do, in ways that make Your fruit evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow Your fruit well within us, so that we can extend Your nourishment to those around us. Amen.

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

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

Each A Part

For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body – so also in Christ. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, HCSB)

A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, ERV)

Just as a body is one whole made up of many different parts, and all the different parts comprise the one body, so it is with the Anointed One. – (1 Corinthians 12:12, VOICE)

People in a community are created with the same intention as the parts of the body. Each one of us has been created with a unique purpose, passions and strengths. When we come together, we can accomplish far more than we can on our own; we need each other to function in a way that is whole and complete. Though some strengths are seen and obvious, others are behind the scenes, each helps contribute to keeping the body running. When I consider the different communities to which I belong, this truth is evident. Since my current reality is school, it is an easy comparison to this passage. It takes every staff member to make each day run smoothly, and each of us contribute differently. Additionally, because we have different strengths, talents, personalities and the like, we are able to reach different kids. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to do our part and operate in the strengths He has given, and work together with those around us to contribute to the whole group, functioning as we were intended. 

We all are a part,

Of a greater whole;

Made to contribute,

To each fill a role.

Working together,

Our strengths are made known;

Each with a purpose,

Where goodness is shown.

Lead us together,

In kindness and grace;

To work together,

Build a safe, sweet space.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You create each of us with purpose and strengths that make a community complete. Thank You that each person is needed to function as the group was intended. Forgive us for the times that we have stood back or stayed stuck when we were meant to press on. Teach us to trust You more so that we would work together in the communities to which we have been called. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the ways in which we all have been uniquely designed and how You place us together in communities. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep(ing) the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us.

– Ephesians 4:2-3

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Slow Down and Celebrate

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Despite the turmoil that seems to be constantly swirling in our nation, the goodness of God is still evident all around us. No matter what we see or hear going on around us, we can take refuge in the Lord, for His love remains the same forever. For me, as I pause and take inventory of God’s goodness, gratitude rises for the family and friends whom He surrounds me with, and for the grace and kindness He provides, no matter the circumstances that we walk through. He is near and always good, and we can depend on Him to be our space of safety and peace. May we take time to reflect and recognize God’s goodness all around us, and choose to trust and run to Him.

Look all around you,

image by Soda Head

Choose taste and you’ll see;

The goodness of God,

His love’s given free.

Our safe place to run,

His arms full of love;

Safety, provision,

All good from above.

So, trust in the Lord,

Give all thanks to Him;

Celebrate the good,

That He’s placed within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunity to slow down and celebrate Your goodness, as we gather and enjoy the communities in which we’ve been placed. Thank You that You provide Your love and faithfulness wherever we go. Forgive us for not noticing the blessings that You have placed all around us. Teach us to observe Your goodness and love all around us. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we may make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we slow down to taste and see how very good You are. 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

In Freedom Choose Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

God has given each of us a free will. His intention has always been for us to be free to choose. The love of God draws us unto Him, yet we always have a choice as to whether to accept or reject it. When we follow our own path with little care or concern for others, we are gratifying the flesh and not choosing love. However, when we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, we are opting to walk in His way and using our freedom to love as Jesus loved. Incredibly, as we select a life that follows after Him, we become free from the weight of being stuck in our own selfishness, and discover the joy that awaits as we choose to walk the path that He prepares for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us, as we freely choose to love and serve one another as we are called to do.

Brothers and sisters,

We all have been called;

In freedom to choose,

To love one and all.

For as we choose love,

Selfishness will fade;

True freedom and joy,

Are found in His ways.

So, let us look up,

Select the Lord’s best;

Love one another,

As grace is expressed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us each with a free will. Thank You that with our freedom, we can choose to follow after You and select a life of loving as You first loved us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to stay stuck in our sinful patterns instead of choosing to follow after You. Teach us to freely choose to love and serve one another, for in doing so, we come to know the joy that is found in opting to utilize our freedom for good. Show us how to love and serve 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 choose to love and serve with the freedom that we are granted in You. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Look Up and See

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, HCSB)

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

God’s glory is on tour in the skies, God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. – (Psalm 19:1, MSG)

This weekend, my love and I are camping. We did not travel far from home, yet far enough to feel as if we were somewhere else. The amazing thing about the short drive from home, is that yesterday as we were leaving, the skies were gray and it was sprinkling. When we drove across the bridge, the skies opened up and there was far more blue sky than gray. The sun was shining and I had to dig my sunglasses out of my purse. I love that the same God who created the clouds that provide water to the soil, painted the sky a brilliant blue, and His creativity is displayed uniquely each morning and evening as the sun rises and sets. Camping provides the opportunity to be outdoors more, and for me, there is nothing better than being outside and taking in the beauty of creation. May we all find time to observe all of the beauty that God’s hands have made, and take notice of the intricate details that He so lovingly included in creation.

The glory of God,

Ever evident;

Through just looking up,

Become reverent.

Beauty all around,

For us to enjoy;

Bountiful color,

That nature employs.

To You, we give thanks,

Where all praise is due;

Beauty created,

That shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your creation everywhere. Thank You that we need only look up to see Your hand tangibly at work. Forgive us for somehow making You less than You are. Teach us to trust in You, the One who holds us all in the hollow of Your hand. Lead us to notice the beauty all around us, and show us how 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 praise You for the beauty all around us and time to get outside and enjoy it. Amen.

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

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1