Love Each Other

“I give to you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – (John 13:34, HCSB)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

In Finland, Valentine’s Day is Friends Day. I appreciate that, as people make the day too much about romantic love and not enough about simply loving one another well. Today, it is my hope to love everyone well. Of course my spouse is my true love, but there is much to celebrate about the love I have for my family and friends. God commands it and has shown us again and again how to love, so it ought to be a priority to work on loving well. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love each person we encounter as He loves them. 

Lord, help us love well,

Today and always;

Lead us and guide us,

Throughout all our days.

Show us the places,

That are lacking love;

Make our hearts tender,

To love as You love.

May this be a day,

That love is displayed;

Through kindness and grace,

And Your loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to love one another. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do on our own, but rather You fill and equip us to love others as You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to love. Show us how to love as You do in all situations and circumstances. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love one another as You created us to do. Amen.

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

Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. – Psalm 63:3

Help Shoulder the Weight

Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, HCSB)

Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. – (Galatians 6:2, ERV)

Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. – (Galatians 6:2, TPT)

Right now, I know a couple of people who are in the throes of tremendous loss; one just lost her son, and the other’s best friend lost her grandson. The weight of grief is far too great a burden to bear alone. It comes in waves and threatens to pull us under. However, when family and friends and community surround the grieving, they provide a hand to help hold heads above water, and give buoyancy in the sinking spaces. What I have observed in both instances, is an incredible outpouring of love, prayers and practical, tangible help in the places where it is needed most. When we reach out, we are extending a hand that helps lighten the load. Nothing we do can lessen the loss, yet the reaching out, the outpouring of what is needed, reminds the burden bearer that they are not alone. Our hands, hearts and voices can be tangible evidence of God’s love when it is extremely difficult to see. Though we cannot take the pain away, we can do something to share the burden, thus fulfilling God’s law to love. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us wisdom and grace so that we are empowered to walk beside the burdened and help carry the load.

When life’s troubles come,

As they always do;

May we walk beside,

Help see people through.

For we are each called,

To above all, love;

Care for each other,

As God does above.

Each time we reach out,

In practical ways;

We show the Lord’s love,

And extend His grace.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To help carry loads;

Through helping, giving,

At life’s tough crossroads.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to help carry one another’s burdens. Thank You for the countless times that You have surrounded me with a community that walked beside me and lessened the load when it was too great for me to bear alone. Forgive us for the times that we see a need and neglect to reach out. Teach us to turn to You to guide and equip us to do what we can, whenever and wherever we can, to love as You love. Show us practical ways to come alongside those who are carrying weight that is far too heavy to bear alone. Lead us in Your love so that Your help, hands and heart may be made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we navigate our days with open hands and hearts, ready to reach out as You would. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

Our Reasons to Praise

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, ERV)

Thank God! Call out His Name! Tell the whole world who He is and what He’s done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, MSG)

Having a much needed long weekend reminds my mind and heart of all that I have and the countless reasons I have to give thanks. God is good, even when life’s circumstances are not. I am blessed with family and friends near and far, a roof over my head, working vehicles to get where we need to go and back again, a job, a healthy body, crazy puppies, a church and community to be a part of, and God’s love made tangible through the wonderful ones that He has placed in my life. For all of these things, and so much more, I give thanks. May we ever be intentional to take pause and recognize the reasons that we have to give God thanks, and make His goodness known as we pass on the blessings that we have been given to all those around us.

Give thanks to the Lord,

Choose call on His Name;

He is always good,

As His love proclaims.

Our reasons to praise,

Come from all He gives;

Our hope, peace and love,

The life that we live.

May our lives exclaim,

God’s goodness and grace;

So all too may know,

Of His loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all of the ways You bless us, protect us, and pour Your love out upon us and give us peace. Thank You that You are our hope, help and peace. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize Your goodness all around us. Teach us to see the good in all things and to give You thanks for the love that You bring. Show us how to extend the same sort of love to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise and tell of all Your wonderful ways. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

The Peace of Christ

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

When we allow Christ’s peace to rule our hearts, each body that we are a member of is extended His peace and gratitude cannot help but rise up in such spaces. As we begin this week of Thanksgiving, may we be intentional to recognize our reasons for giving thanks, and may we allow God to guide us by His peace as we gather with friends and family, near and far. Lord, lead us in Your perfect peace and fill our hearts with thanks and praise for all that You are and all that You have done.

O Lord, guide our hearts,

By Your perfect peace;

Lead us in Your love,

All grace be released.

Show us our reasons,

To give thanks and praise;

For all the blessings,

That have come our way.

Family and friends,

Supply of our needs;

Your loving kindness,

And hope that exceeds.

More than imagined,

Or what we could dream;

Your mercy and grace,

Show us what love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly guide our hearts and minds in Your perfect peace as we seek and depend on You. Thank You that You have called and created us for community, and You place us in the circles we are in for a purpose. Thank You for the gift of those whom You have placed around me, for even on the most difficult days I am encouraged and supported in love. Forgive us for allowing the struggles of this life to divert our eyes from the abundant blessings that surround us. Teach us to have Your eyes to see our surroundings and circumstances as You do, so that our hearts might overflow with gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in such a way that others too, would recognize the overwhelming love and perfect peace that You alone provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your goodness, kindness, and perfect peace. Amen.

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

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Reliable and Right

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – (Psalm 33:4, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. – (Psalm 33:4, ERV)

For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises, His word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right. – (Psalm 33:4, TPT)

As many of us have extra time off to celebrate our nation’s independence, it is indeed right and appropriate to celebrate the promises that God has fulfilled and those that are yet to come. He is faithful in all things, and His ways are right and true. Though this Independence Day looks far different than so many celebrated in years gone by, it is still an opportunity to spend time with family and give thanks for the goodness of God. May we enjoy the blessings of family and friends, and look forward with anticipation for all that God has in store.

The goodness of God,

Is shown in His word;

Faithful forever,

In all seen and heard.

It’s the truth to trust,

What He says, He’ll do;

Let our hearts give thanks,

Praise God for the truth.

Celebrate goodness,

Give thanks for His love;

Trust His promises,

What God says, He does.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is true and that You are faithful to all of Your promises. Forgive us for our doubts when Your timing does not align with our own. Teach us to trust in Your truth, for Your promises are yes and amen in Your perfect timing. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide evidence of Your unending goodness and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and trust Your word in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – Jeremiah 6:17

To Whom Do We Anchor?

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. – (Hebrews 6:19a, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. – (Hebrews 6:19a, TPT)

To whom do we anchor? When the wind howls and the waters rage, where do we turn? Over the past few years, I have weathered several storms. What I have discovered is that Christ does indeed anchor our soul, as He provides us with strength and safe harbor in the midst of the storms. Right now, the storm is a sick son in the hospital. Due to the nature of his illness, he is not permitted any visitors; not even me. This is, as a momma, one of the most difficult storms to weather. Not being able to be tangibly present to see and hear and advocate for my child is an agonizing space. That being said, God is faithful to provide peace, strength and comfort as each new day begins. He is providing hope anew as I talk and text with my son. Incredibly, the young man my boy has become is strong. His strength of heart and positive take on things is an encouragement to all. Rather than the “why me?” approach, he is recognizing the good that is coming from his experience. Despite the dance of the poking and prodding involved in his treatment, he is prioritizing his college coursework and communicating with family and friends. God knows what each of us need, and anchors our hearts to His to navigate all that comes our way. On my own, I would sink. With Christ, I can rest assured that He has us tethered to His safety and strength. May we ever seek the Lord and trust Him to be the anchor for our souls, for He is strong and secure and the One who provides our hearts with peace.

Hope is an anchor,

That tethers the soul;

Strength in our Savior,

His love makes us whole.

When storms come our way,

The Lord is our peace;

He steadies our hearts,

As grace is released.

Hope is the promise,

Presence that won’t end;

Hands that will hold us,

As each day begins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the hope that anchors our soul. Thank You that You provide peace and strength and safety in spaces where it seems impossible for such to exist. Forgive us for doubting the security of Your hands to hold us. Teach us to continue to anchor our hope in You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage, strengthen and uplift. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor our hope forever in You. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

All Thanks to God

I thank my God every time I remember you. – (Philippians 1:3, NIV) 

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. – (Philippians 1:3, MSG) 

My prayers for you are full of praise to God as I give Him thanks for you with great joy! – (Philippians 1:3, TPT) 

This captures my heart for each of my family and friends. As I think of each person who has poured into my life through their love, support and kindness, I become overwhelmed with gratitude. On Saturday, as my love and I spent the day with my mom, my heart was full of thanks as we witnessed all that God has done to orchestrate the details so that mom could move back home. My sister too, has been an integral part of her return, as she is an amazing details person, and a human resources super star. It has taken tremendous teamwork to make this dream work, and get mom home safely. Dear friends, who are more like family, have also been instrumental in her move. The smile on mom’s face and the joy in her voice when we speak, remind us anew that she is where she belongs. Additionally, the gal whom Meg found to help mom out during the day with errands, cleaning, appointments and the like, is a phenomenal fit. God is so good, and we cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. 

All thanks be to God, 

For blessings He gives; 

Through loving people, 

Who love as we live. 

For kindness given, 

With no strings attached; 

Love that’s invested, 

Goodness that’s unmatched. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible blessing that You give us through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the ways that You make Your love tangible through the people around us. Thank You for the gift of family and friends. Forgive us for taking the blessings for granted, and not thanking and praising You enough. Teach us to remember who blesses us with goodness and grace best. Show us how to extend love as You do to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for all those whom You have placed in our lives in love. Amen. 

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

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

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV) 

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV) 

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ – and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, TPT) 

There is so much to this passage. First, it is an incredible exhortation, reminding us of the infinite power that is found in Christ and His ability to work in and through us. The part of this that baffles me is that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus from prison. He had seen and continued to know and experience the amazing power of God at work in and through both himself and fellow followers of Jesus. Additionally, as Paul recognized all that God was doing, and all that He would continue to do, He was intentional to point out where all praise is due. When Paul speaks of the church, he is referring to every body of believers. The church is not a building, but rather those who join together for the common purpose of loving God and loving people. Through the love of God, so much more than we could hope or imagine, becomes possible. 

In my life, after my first marriage ended, I did not think that sort of love was for me. My focus was on God and my boys, and that was all that mattered. Family and friends surrounded us, and God was faithful to be present and provide all that was needed and more. As I grew in a much deeper understanding of who He had created me to be, I did begin to hope, to dream, and to imagine what might be possible. Now, more than six years later, I am preparing to celebrate my second anniversary with the man that God knew I needed. In our nearly two years of marriage, we have had to navigate some crazy and difficult things; all of which God brought us through, by His strength – together. Each of us needed one another, as God had intended. Grace, support, encouragement and unconditional love have been tangible reminders of what God will do that extend far beyond what either of us could have hoped or imagined. That does not mean that it is all easy or smooth sailing, but we do have each other with God in the center, as He has shown us again and again how He works in and through us, and is worthy of all of our praise forever. 

No matter where you find yourself, God is faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, especially in the midst of the difficult. May we ever lean into the Lord and give Him all of our praise, for He is faithful to strengthen, encourage, and carry us from start to finish in all situations. God can do infinitely more than we could hope or imagine, and that is reason to praise. 

The power of God, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Is beyond compare; 

He’s faithful always, 

Love He freely shares. 

A love that strengthens, 

When we’re feeling weak; 

Encourages hope, 

As all things feel bleak. 

Provision abounds, 

For He’s ever near; 

To carry us through, 

Heartaches and our fear. 

All glory to God, 

Let our lives give praise; 

To He who’s worthy, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, our strength and supply. Thank You that You are faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine as we depend on You. Forgive us for our lack of trust, as You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our trust and praise. Continue to teach us how incredibly faithful You are, as we seek You with our lives. Show us how to love those around in ways that encourage hopes and dreams in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all glory, honor and praise forever. Amen. 

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

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! – Hebrews 9:14

Courage to Do the Work

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God is with you.” –  (1 Chronicles 28:20a, NIV)

“Be strong and brave and finish this work. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord God, my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, ERV)

“Be strong, courageous, and effective. Do not fear or be dismayed. I know that the Eternal God, who is my God, is with you.” – (1 Chronicles 28:20a, VOICE)

 

In the same way that David extended these words of encouragement to his son, Solomon, as he was tasked to build the temple for the ark of the covenant, so too, does God extend the same to us, every time we step forward in faith to answer His call. These words feel a bit like a battle cry this morning, as Friday was probably my last “true academic teaching day” of the school year, and this morning, my last morning at home for several weeks. I am called and chosen to go and be with my mom, and I would not have it any other way; however, I am human, and there are elements of the unknown that cause me to constantly have to fend off fear, as well as a sort of grieving for the loss of the close of this school year with my students and time with my family and friends at home. God is good, and I know that He has called, chosen and prepared my sister and me for such a time as this. He has orchestrated time off and supplied for our every need. We are surrounded, supported and loved; tangibly. Our spouses, children, family and friends have only encouragement and love to offer, and we are eternally grateful. We are strengthened and encouraged to be effective in the work that lies ahead, because of the warriors that are battling on our behalf, behind the scenes. God is with us, and with Him, we need not fear.

As for mom, the busy days continue with her transition day drawing nearer still. Yesterday, between her morning of therapy sessions and the excitement of my brother-in-love and nephews arriving and spending time with she and my sister, she was completely exhausted and ready to call it a day, shortly after dinner. There are two wonderful things about this, as I pause to ponder what took place. First, mom advocated for herself, and let it be known that she was tired and ready to rest. (Of utmost importance, as the brain continues to heal and repair itself during rest) Second, I imagine some of her decision was the hostess in her, that desperately desired Meg to spend some time with her fellas. That too, is another indicator of her healing, as more and more of her usual ways become evident in all that she says and does. Selfless and loving, preferring others above herself, I imagine she wanted desperately for her girl to have time with her husband and boys, and she figured the rest would do her some good as well. Win. Win.

 

Be strong, take courage,

img_2019-05-26_06-29-226071714814702286098.jpg

An early morning view from Mom’s deck. ❤

For we’re not alone;

We’re called and chosen,

And completely known.

We’ve nothing to fear,

With God by our side;

No mountain’s too great,

Nor valley too wide.

Do not be dismayed,

When things seem go wrong;

For God is present,

And He’ll make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You never leave us nor forsake us, even when the road ahead seems intimidating in the unknown. Thank You that we’ve nothing to fear, for You are always with us. Forgive us for allowing the unknowns to intimidate us into fearfulness. Teach us to depend on You to be our strength and resolve, trusting You to lead us and guide us, every step of each new day. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may be strengthened and encouraged and shown Your love in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our strength and resolve in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all His glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy. – Colossians 1:11

Peace and Thanksgiving

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to be peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. – (Colossians 3:15, MSG)

 

As we gather together with family and friends to celebrate our reasons to give thanks, may the peace of Christ be present to lead us and guide us. When we allow Christ to rule in our hearts, the motivation behind our words and deeds is love. Love is patient and love is kind, and such things are proponents of peace. Each time we encounter a gathering where love reigns, gratitude and grace grow greater than any insignificant irritant. May we allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts and lead us as we gather together, giving thanks to Him for all that He has done to provide the people present among us.

 

May His peace prevail, img_2018-11-22_06-23-588320532747532005523.jpg

Wherever we are;

For it is a space,

Of Love’s reservoir.

Where His peace is known,

So too, is His grace;

Love freely given,

Fills hearts full of praise.

Go forth and gather,

In His grace and peace;

With hearts full of thanks,

May blessings increase.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace will rule in our heart as we seek and rely on You. Thank You that Your grace covers our lack. Thank You for the gift of family and friends with whom we are blessed with time to gather. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected Your leading and disrupted the peace You intended, or have not given You thanks for all that You are and all that You do in our lives. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in peace and to have a thankful heart. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may promote peace and gratitude through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your peace to rule our hearts and give all of our gratitude to You. Amen.

 

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

 

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:11