One Body With Many Parts

Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. – (Romans 12:4-5, HCSB)

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV)

For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions; we, too – the many – are different parts that form one body in the Anointed One. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone. – (Romans 12:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate this illustration of how we are each a valuable part of the body of Christ, and we each have different strengths, gifts and abilities that contribute to the body as a whole. Because I am so visual, it is an easy analogy to grasp. For example, think about the toes. Often, especially in the Pacific Northwest, they are covered and unseen. However, the toes help support the feet, and the feet hold up the whole body. Though people are seldom aware of their toes, if one is injured, the whole body becomes incredibly alert to what is transpiring with the toe. It is similar in the body of Christ. There are people who are seen and play a role that is obvious in the function of the whole body, and there are others that play roles behind the scenes that contribute to the function of the body too. Though primarily unseen, it is obvious when they are missing or are not doing well. Each of us has gifts and talents to contribute, and no two people are exactly alike. We need each other to be our best and to extend what we have to offer. It is similar in marriage and friendships, and so often, opposites attract. I think much of the attraction is the desire to be with another who has different strengths than we do, and one who appreciates our strengths that are not shared by the other. For example, my husband and most of my closest friends are extroverts, whereas I am an introvert. They bring out the social in me, and I can contribute calm for them. Only a God of love would create us each uniquely, and place in us the desire and need to create community with one another. May we ever look to the Lord to lead us in the role and purpose for which we have been created, and may we see through His lens, how each member plays a role that is good and necessary for the whole body.

We each are a part,

The body of Christ;

With strengths and talents,

In purpose we rise.

Together stronger,

Than if on our own;

We need each other,

To make God’s love known.

For some are the hands,

That reach out and serve;

And others the voice,

That people observe.

Each person a part,

That the body needs;

With strengths and talents,

Each one is unique.

May we each embrace,

Our gifts and our roles;

Contribute in love,

So God is extolled.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we each have been divinely designed to be a part of a community. Thank You that we all have different strengths and roles to extend to help the body become stronger. Forgive us for the times that we compare our parts to another, or somehow devalue the parts that are unseen. Teach us to recognize and value the unique role and purpose that each part plays, and to celebrate the beauty that You have made in bringing us together. Show us how to love those around us for who they are and how they are uniquely designed. May our love honor the strengths and talents of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the part that we were designed to do, and to celebrate and appreciate the other parts around us that make the body complete. Amen.

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

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – Romans 14:13

Blessed Are the Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them His sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

Part of loving God and loving people is working to bring His peace wherever we go. Competing or fighting does not convey love, but rather cooperation and encouragement are the things that communicate love as God intended. The incredible thing about doing things the way that God designed us to do them is that we discover the strengths that each person has to offer, and can celebrate who God has made each of us to be. In community, we need each other. When each of us is operating in the strengths that are part of our very being, things are accomplished and peace can reign. Even more, when we simply seek to work together in harmony, we are called God’s own children. It is in that space of operating in the gifts that God has given us and celebrating those in the people around us that we discover a peaceful existence within our communities. This applies to marriage, family, friend groups, work, and beyond. Each of us has something to offer and the capacity to exist peacefully with one another as we seek to cooperate and appreciate each other. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see the strengths in others, and the heart to appreciate and celebrate what each has to offer so that we might live peacefully with one another.

May peace be present,

Wherever we go;

Working together,

May the Lord’s love show.

Help us see the strength,

In one another;

And celebrate each,

As sisters, brothers.

Let the peace of God,

Be what leads us on;

Choose appreciate,

With celebration.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be peacemakers. Thank You that it is through recognizing and celebrating the strength in others, and intentionally choosing to work together that we come to know Your peace and the goodness of Your love as we are called Your children. Forgive us for competing or fighting instead of working together. Show us how to be peacemakers everywhere we go. Lead us to love and celebrate one another so that we can work together in harmony. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to be peacemakers wherever we are and with whomever we interact. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Stand Firm

So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stand firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

We are called to stand firm and be strong in who God has called us to be, and in what He calls us to do. No matter how seen or behind the scenes it is, God will use what we offer in love. Everything matters, from the smallest act of kindness to the greatest sacrifice, all is used for good when the heart behind it is for God. May we ever stay firmly planted in the good that God calls us to do, and trust that He is working, even when we cannot see the evidence of an impact. 

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that we are all uniquely designed with different talents and gifts to share. Thank You that every act of kindness matters. Forgive us for thinking that our choice to love does not matter and for the times that we have neglected to act in love. Teach us to stand firm in You at all times and in every circumstance. Lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in Your love and Your purposes for us. Amen.

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

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Joy in the Wait

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. – (Psalm 37:4, HCSB)

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

As we delight in the Lord, we begin to recognize the blessings that He has poured out upon us. The desires that dwell deep in our heart are the dreams He planted within. In our ongoing pursuit of a life lived with Him, He makes our hopes and dreams a reality. Often, the wait feels long, yet even when we do not see it, He is moving on our behalf. When we are seeking after Him with all of our heart, our desires align with His. It is in that alignment that He brings change, resolve and new things. Currently, I am in a space of waiting. My charge in the wait is to take joy in Him. This is not an easy task when it feels as if the weight of the world is pressing down, yet the more I press into Him, the more I feel the weight lifting. Too often, we carry what is not ours to carry. One of the gifts that He gives is His strong hands that are willing and able to bear our burdens and hold the heaviness within us. Jesus is gentle and kind, and He never forces His way in nor takes what we do not freely give Him. May we ever take joy in the Lord, for His promises are good and He is the One who grants the desires of our heart.

Great joy in the Lord,

Is where hope is found;

For all that is good,

In Christ, does abound.

What our heart desires,

Manifests in Him;

He’s our Provider,

Who ushers good in.

Timing’s the challenge,

We all want it now;

Yet it’s in waiting,

That He works somehow.

He makes plain a path,

For us to choose take;

Each step requires faith,

Trust the way He makes.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy in You. Thank You that joy in You is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather is dependent on You. When we recognize Your goodness, kindness and grace, we cannot help but rejoice in who You are and how You love. Thank You that our dreams and desires that dwell deep within our hearts are gifts from You. Forgive us for losing sight of the joy we have in You, or for losing hope in the dreams not yet realized. Show us how to trust You in the waiting and to find joy in the hope we have in You. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers joy, peace and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in who You are and give thanks for the good things that You have planned for us all. Amen.

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

You reveal the path of life to me; in Your presence is abundant joy; in Your right hand are eternal pleasures. – Psalm 16:11

Wonderfully Made

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:14, ERV)

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:14, VOICE)

This is an important reminder for us all. Not one of us was an accident; for all are intentionally created. Each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all hand-crafted with gifts and talents that are unique to our design. All that God has created is good. What we do with His creation is up to us, yet the more we recognize the wonder of His works, the more we value all that His hands have made. Perhaps we would all be a bit gentler with one another if we viewed each other as His handiwork, rather than categorized by beliefs, affiliation, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on. ALL are created with purpose, and ALL must be valued. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we value each intentional detail in those around us, and celebrate the wonderful way each human has been made.

My heart will give thanks,

For all You have made;

Each with a purpose,

Gifts to celebrate.

Help my eyes to see,

The beauty that lies;

Within ev’ry soul,

Value realized.

O God, You are good,

All made by Your hands;

May we choose cherish,

Each life You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have wonderfully and intentionally made all of us. Thank You that You have uniquely designed every human on the planet with purpose. Forgive us for allowing differences to warp our view. Teach us to recognize and value the gift of every individual we meet. Show us how to love in a way that values and celebrates the gifts that You have given in all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us Your heart and Your eyes to view the gifts to celebrate in all whom You have created. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Magnificent Multiplication

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke them. Then He gave them to the disciples to distribute to the people. – (Luke 9:16, NIV)

Then Jesus took the five loaves of bread and two fish. He looked up into the sky and thanked God for the food. Then He broke it into pieces, which He gave to the followers to give to the people. – (Luke 9:16, ERV)

Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, and gazing into the heavenly realm He gave thanks for the food. Then, in the presence of His disciples, He broke off pieces of bread and fish, and kept giving more to each disciple to give to the crowd. It was multiplying before their eyes! – (Luke 9:16, TPT)

As I read the ninth chapter of Luke, I paused and pondered what it must have been like for the disciples and the crowd when Jesus told His followers to feed thousands from five loaves of bread and two fish. My wonder went beyond the miracle and I simply tried to imagine what it would have been to be present. Did the food multiply as He prayed, or did they begin distributing the bread and fish and it simply kept regenerating as they passed portions? The Passions Translation grants my imagination free reign, as I sit in awe and wonder at He who took a little and made it into much, much more. I think that really is the point that we are meant to gain from this account of what transpired – that when we are willing to give God what we have, no matter how little, He can multiply it exponentially for the greater good. In this season of both shut down and of celebration, how can we bring God what we have to see Him multiply it for good? There are opportunities everywhere; from giving trees, to food banks, to local schools, to the elderly and the lonely… May we ever seek the Lord to direct our steps, and with willing hearts, offer what we have for Him to multiply and bless many.

Lord, I stand in awe,

At all that You do;

As You take little,

To bless through and through.

Show us how to give,

Trust all in Your hands;

Know that You will use,

Each gift as You’ve planned.

Every resource,

Time, talent and gifts;

Can be used by God,

To touch and uplift.

Let us choose offer,

What we’re called to give;

Watch Him multiply,

In love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can take whatever we bring and multiply it to bless many. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to trust and walk by faith, understanding the incredible power of Your love. Forgive us for withholding what we have known we were meant to give. Show us how to bring You our time, talent and resources so that many may come to know the fullness of Your love. Lead us to love those around us well. Instruct us as to how we can give. Please multiply all for the good of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring what we have to offer, trusting that You will use what we give in far greater ways than we could ever imagine. Amen.

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

He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29

Take Joy

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Depend on the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will help you. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

When we delight, depend on, and take great joy in the Lord, we desire what He desires, and we trust Him to help us walk into all that He has for us. All that we are and all that we long for become aligned with God as we earnestly seek Him. The more we understand who He is, the more deeply we delight in Him. God is good, and His love endures forever. As we seek and depend on Him, He shows us more and more of who He is and how He loves. Our desires become intertwined with loving Him and loving His creation. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, depend and delight; for He helps us become who we have been created to be, and walk into the desires that align with His.

Take joy in the Lord,

In Him we can trust;

Our help and our hope,

The Savior is just.

When our hearts align,

As God’s very own;

Hopes and dreams fulfilled,

For His love is shown.

Be near us, Lord God,

As we seek to know;

Your heart for all things,

Your help so we grow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You show us more and more of who You are and how You love. Thank You that it is in this space of knowing, that we recognize the desires of our hearts coming to pass. Forgive us for our selfishness and our lack of seeking You. Teach us to not only seek, but to depend on and delight in You. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in You and all that You have in store for us. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27

True Nourishment

Jesus answered, “It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4, NIV) 

Jesus answered him, “The scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.’” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV) 

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG) 

To live the abundant life that God intends for us, requires more than nourishing our bodies; we must also nourish our heart, mind and soul. One of the key elements in doing this includes spending time in His word and in prayer. The more deeply we have His word hidden in our heart, the more clearly we become aware of His will for us, and how He is directing us in all things. We all have a God-sized hole in our hearts that can only be filled by Him. When we hunger for things to fill it that are not of Him, we discover that nothing else truly satisfies what we actually need. As we hunger to be filled with His word and direction for our lives, He is faithful to show us how to love Him and love people best. It is through an ongoing living, loving and hearing from Him that we know what it is to be filled; filled with His peace, His purpose, His goodness, His grace, and His overwhelming love. May we ever seek the Lord to find true nourishment for our entire being through time with Him and in His word. 

It takes more than bread, 

To live satisfied; 

For all of us need, 

Love that’s not denied. 

Love that is faithful, 

That doesn’t depend; 

On our worthiness, 

But helps and defends. 

As we read His word, 

Seek Him and choose pray; 

Satisfaction comes, 

As we live His way. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we were created for so much more than eating and sleeping. Thank You that You designed each of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that all people have gifts and talents and love to offer. Forgive us for the times that we have sought things that are not Your intention for us, to fill the void that only You can fill. Teach us to earnestly seek You and spend time in Your word. Show us how to live and love according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be filled by You. Amen. 

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

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6

Gaze at the Glory

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

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

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

Even in the midst of all that is going on in the world, the evidence of God remains. All it takes is a glimpse of a sunrise or sunset, or to gaze at the moon and stars in all of their splendor, to be reminded of God’s glory. The same hands that paint the glorious array of colors and hung the stars in their place, holds each of us in the hollow of His hand. God, in His great love for us, created beauty for us to see. He knows us each by name, and designed each person with intention. There is a plan and a purpose for all of us; and as we seek Him, He is faithful to make His plans known.  

Today, as I prepare for my last day of work for the school year, and ready myself for my boys’ graduation, I am ever aware of God’s faithfulness to carry us through. His splendor is told through His presence that has carried us throughout the years, and brought us to this important milestone. Many times, over the last few years, I have watched the sunrise, and have been shown His goodness and faithfulness through the glorious array of colors awakening the sky. Tomorrow, following the broadcast version of the boys’ graduation, (recording of each student walking in cap and gown, as well as the recorded speakers), we will be driving to see my mom, for the first time since the shutdown began. Though we will not be able to embrace and interact as we normally would, we are grateful that we can go and lay eyes on her for ourselves, and visit, masked and physically distanced. One of the things that stood out to me, is one of my boys made a point to tell me that he wanted to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise while we are there, as he has fond memories of sitting together with mom in her living room, watching together in awe. He too, knows of the faithfulness of God, and His goodness that greets us anew every morning. It has not been an easy road, particularly during this pandemic with school closed, yet we have seen and known God’s goodness throughout. The work of God’s hands are tangible reminders that He is good and He is faithful. May we gaze at the glory of God’s creation, and know His faithfulness and love. 

We look to the sky, 

And God’s love is clear; 

Such beauty beheld, 

As we know He’s near. 

The very same hands, 

That painted the sky; 

Made us with purpose, 

Gave us wings to fly. 

Created, equipped, 

To go forth and rise; 

To love and be loved, 

It’s how we’re designed. 

Lay hold of the gifts, 

Birthed deep within you; 

Boldly walk forward, 

Embrace each step new. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need only look up to be reminded of who You are and how You love. Thank You for the tangible evidence of Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have made You too small. Teach us to pause and look up, making us ever aware of Your goodness, faithfulness and love. Show us how to love one another in the way that You intended; valuing, celebrating, encouraging and lifting each other up, so that Your love would be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the beauty that surrounds us and reminds us of Your unending love for all. Amen. 

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

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Where Treasure Lies

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

Your heart will be where your treasure is. – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also. – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

 

My heart, as I have discovered more deeply than ever before, is for God and people. Each morning, my priority continues to be to seek the Lord and spend time in His word to set the tone for the day. What I miss most in this time of “stay at home”, is the ability to get out and be with people whom I enjoy most. I think many of us took for granted, and we are now finding out, how much we truly treasure the luxury of navigating a “normal” day among a vast array of individuals. My time with my husband and children has been really good, and I am grateful for the time together that would likely not have occurred otherwise; yet I struggle with the sedentary staying in place, when I am accustomed to walking about campus before school, during my planning, at lunch, and when the school day closes. Each walk about would result in friendly exchanges with different staff members and students, that I value and enjoyed each day. Now, I am often seated in silence for hours at a time, as I attempt to navigate the new, eagerly waiting for the next collaborative Zoom meeting, so that I will see and work together with my friends and colleagues. My boys are present in my work space with me until their work for the day is complete, then they disappear to do their own thing, while the other two members of our household are essential workers, and spend their days away from home. All this to say, though I was intentional most of the time to say hello or at least smile and wave to people as I passed by, I imagine that I will treasure the freedom to do so all the more when the stay at home orders are lifted. In the meantime, I will look for ways to reach out and connect with people as they come to mind, and continue to lean on the Lord for strength and sanity. May we all place our treasure in the gifts of people whom God has given us, and in the Giver Himself.

 

May we seek treasure, Love Made Known

Things of the most worth;

Not things, but people,

Greatest gifts on earth.

Love God and people,

The greatest command;

Purpose intended,

What the Lord had planned.

For what we value,

Where our hearts are found;

Let’s choose what matters,

So good may abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us where our treasures lie, as we look at what has our time, attention and affection. Thank You that You treasure people first, and show us how to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our priorities get out of order, and we set aside what matters most. Teach us to seek You first in all things, so that we may live and love according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first so that we may love You and love those around us in the same way that You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27