To Grow in Love

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Phillipi is still relevant to us today. If our love grows more and more, so that we gain knowledge and understanding to discern what is best, we will become more and more of who God calls us to become. To be pure and blameless is not something we attain on our own, but rather through Christ within us. We fall short and make poor choices, but Christ loves and forgives us and places us back on the path that He has set before us. In light of all of the countless ideas and ideologies that seem to swirl about in current culture, I need Christ to give me revelation and insight into what is His very best. To choose the most excellent way of all is to choose love in all things. So often, it is difficult to know how we can love best. God is gracious and kind, and He answers when we ask Him. Constant pursuit leads to rich revelations, for God is our Father who longs to teach His children. Intentional time with Christ is the way to grow in understanding, as we learn more of who He is, we more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and understanding so that we can grow more and more in His loving likeness.

O Lord let us be,

Ever seeking You;

Grant understanding,

So we may love true.

Grow us in likeness,

Understanding too;

Forgive us our faults,

Please change and renew.

Show us each new day,

What You ask of us;

Give wisdom to know,

Love just like Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You honor our earnest seeking with wisdom and understanding. Thank You that You ever change, renew and grow us to love more like You. Forgive us for thinking we can somehow change or do better on our own. Lead us to follow after You with all that we are, so that we may grow in knowing how to love You and love people better. Show us what to do to make Your love known to all those whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with all that we are so that we may become all that You intend. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

It’s All About Love

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

Strength Every Morning

Lord, be gracious to us; we long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. – (Isaiah 33:2, NIV) 

Lord, be kind to us. We have waited for Your help. Give us strength every morning. Save us when we are in trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, ERV) 

We’ve been waiting for You, Eternal One, to come and shower us with grace. In the morning, be our strength; in times of trouble, be what saves us. – (Isaiah 33:2, VOICE) 

I don’t think this needs any explanation, as so many of us are in a space of needing the Lord’s kindness, grace and strength. Every morning, He is faithful to meet me. Despite the challenges and obstacles that seem abundant in this season, God grants new strength and resolve each time I ask, and every morning I am equipped anew. God is faithful and hears our every call unto Him. May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, for He is our strength and salvation in all circumstances. 

O Lord, we seek You, 

Each morning anew; 

Your strength sustains us, 

And Your love is true. 

No matter what comes, 

Your grace is enough; 

Keep leading us on, 

No matter how rough. 

With hearts full of praise, 

We thank You again; 

For how You provide, 

Forever. Amen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us Your grace, strength and unending love as we walk through trials and challenges. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for losing sight of who You are and how You love us through all things when we are in the midst of trials. Teach us to cling to You, as You are always present to help. Show us how to love those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You anew each morning and rely on You to see us through. Amen. 

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

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:22-23

Finding Rest and Hope

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV) 

I must calm down and turn to God; He is my only hope. – (Psalm 62:5, ERV) 

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE) 

There is much in me that is unsettled, as I still do not know exactly what the coming school year will look like, nor what the specific expectations will be to successfully instruct online. Between that and my ever-increasing sense of restlessness, I feel weariness creeping in. It hit especially hard today when I returned from an early morning workout. I sat down to begin to do my devotions and get to this, but was struggling to keep my eyes open. Rather than attempting to power through, I relented and simply sprawled out on the couch and took a rest. As I relaxed into the couch, my soul settled and I got a bit of rest. I was again reminded of Who to look to for help and hope and rest, and am feeling far more refreshed and recharged for the day. May we ever seek the Lord to be our hope and our rest, as He provides all that is needed and more. 

In quiet waiting, 

Is where rest is found; 

The Lord is gracious, 

His goodness is sound. 

For in Him is hope, 

Beyond what we see; 

His love, unchanging, 

Where worry’s set free. 

So, choose to seek Him, 

Our Source and Supply; 

Where true rest is found, 

Morning, noon and night. 

Dear Heavenly Father, that You that we can find rest in You, as You are our hope and provision. Forgive us for attempting to “power through” when You are providing us spaces of rest. Teach us to trust You more, so that all of our hope dwells in You. Show us how to love those around us well, in ways that promote hope and sets worry free. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rest in You and place our hope in You alone. Amen. 

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

Strengthened and Joined Together

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. – (Colossians 2:2, NIV) 

I want them to be strengthened and joined together with love and to have the full confidence that comes from understanding. I want them to know completely the secret truth that God has made known. That truth is Christ Himself. – (Colossians 2:2, ERV) 

I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together in love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery – Christ. – (Colossians 2:2, TPT) 

The more we are encouraged in heart and united in love, the better we understand the truth of who God is and how He loves, as we witness and experience the overwhelming love of Christ through those whom He has placed in our lives to love. Incredibly, if we love others as we are loved by God, they too begin to grasp how deep, how wide, and how long His love truly is. God is gracious and kind, and He encourages our hearts and unites us in love, by His goodness and grace. The more closely I walk with Christ, the more deeply I understand the fulness that is found in and through Him. He has given me grace after grace, as He has made His love tangible through those whom He has placed in my life. My hope and prayer is that I too, may encourage and help others know unity in His love, as His goodness and love is made known through how I live, love and interact with those around me. May we ever seek the Lord for understanding, so that our hearts are strengthened and joined together in love. 

Lord, may every heart, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Find comfort in You; 

As love wraps around, 

Shows Your heart of truth. 

For O the riches, 

Held in the Lord’s hands; 

Outstretched to us all, 

This love He has planned. 

May we join as one, 

One heart and one mind; 

Focused on loving, 

So Your joy we’ll find. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your intention for us is to encourage and love one another, in the same way that You love each of us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld encouragement or have not loved as You call us to love. Teach us to ever seek to know You more, as it is through our seeking that You show us more of You. Show us how to love and encourage all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to encourage and love like You. Amen. 

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

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Awareness of Everywhere

“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. – (Jeremiah 23:24, NIV) 

“Someone might try to hide from Me in some hiding place. But it is easy for Me to see that person”, says the Lord, “because I am everywhere in heaven and earth.” This message is from the Lord. 

Am I a God anyone can hide from? Do I not see what happens in secret? Am I not everywhere, filling heaven and earth? – (Jeremiah 23:24, VOICE) 

There is both comfort and concern in knowing that God sees and knows all. Comfort comes in knowing that He is aware of all that causes fear and overwhelms us. Concern exists in the awareness of our own faults and failures. God is gracious, but He knows all that we think, say and do. When we are unkind, complacent or far from exhibiting His heart, we grieve the heart of God. In the same way that a parent grieves when their children stray from the way they know they should go, He too, is saddened. However, just as a parent will love their child all the while, He too loves us, His children. Incredibly, God sees and knows all, and still He loves. Because He loved us first, we too have the capacity to love. The more we know Him, the more we long to bless His heart with our words, thoughts and deeds. If we go off course, we need to confess to Him our wrongs, and He lovingly forgives and receives us into His arms. May we ever be aware of God’s loving presence, as He is faithful to help us navigate well.  

The Lord God above, 

He sees and He knows; 

Whatever we do, 

Wherever we go. 

There’s no place on earth, 

Where He will not see; 

All His creation, 

His vast majesty. 

So, seek the Lord’s heart, 

In all that we do; 

To love as He loves, 

He will lead us through. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though You see, hear and know all that we think, say and do, You are present to help and love in all that we do. Forgive us for all that we think, say and do that does not honor You. Forgive us also, for the times that we somehow thought You would not see, or neglected to give thought to Your awareness of all. Teach us to trust and lean into You, so that our every word and deed demonstrate Your loving kindness to all. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and seek to honor You in all. Amen. 

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

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? – Romans 2:4

Called to Better

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – (Psalm 103:8, NIV) 

The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love. – (Psalm 103:8, ERV) 

Lord, You’re so kind and tenderhearted to those who don’t deserve it and so patient with people who fail You! Your love is like a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness. – (Psalm 103:8, TPT)

God’s compassion, grace, kindness and mercy are exactly what the world needs right now. With all of the recent human ugliness, “…a flooding river overflowing its banks with kindness”, is exactly the sort of love and patience we need to have with one another. We are a broken people, full of fault and failure, desperately in need of God’s mercy and love. God is all of these things and more, yet we have the choice to either receive from Him and pass it on, or stay stuck in our broken state of being. As we accept what the Lord freely gives, we are driven to do better; be better. May we ever pursue the Lord and His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all with whom we interact. 

Kindness, compassion, 

Patience and great love; 

All from the Father, 

Our Lord up above. 

All these are granted, 

Though we don’t deserve; 

May it compel us, 

To listen and serve. 

For as we receive, 

We’re equipped to give; 

Love as intended, 

Grace and peace to live. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank You that as we seek You and receive from You, You equip us to go forth and love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion or grace, and allowed anger to get in the way of love. Show us how to love like You – with compassion, grace, patience, and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us how to be and do better, each day that we draw breath. Amen. 

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

He has caused wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – Psalm 111:4

Prayer Over Worry

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. – (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)

 

As usual, what is part of my scheduled daily reading, is exactly what I needed to remember this morning. Part of the joy and blessing in our new puppy, is the constant companion who joyfully wants to join me in all things. The thing I have been most excited about, has been to have a dog who can run with us. For the last week, Thor (my sweet puppy), has been joining us on jog/walk/carries on weekday mornings. Two dear dog-owning friends privately messaged me to be careful about how far I take a puppy. I thought I was using caution, as I watched his cues, and picked him up to carry him any time he seemed weary or bored of walking. Sadly, unless I know specifics, I just do what seems best until I learn otherwise. One of the friends happened to send me a link about puppies and how much exercise they need, based on age, and all of the justification as to why. That sent me to research further, only to discover that I now need to pump the brakes on our morning sessions until Thor is quite a bit older. This caused two-fold anxiety in me. One, I felt horrible that I had likely overdone the exercise for my poor puppy for four or five days, and second, I was worried about how I would be able to stand staying seated for all of the hours of work that I need to do each day, without getting out and moving first. My prayer was pretty much, “O God, now what?” I paused, took a deep breath, and decided to call my running buddy. She was extremely gracious, and we determined to get back to afternoon running, as it is when I could recruit my boys to puppy sit. I know this is a small and seemingly insignificant concern, but God cares about our every concern, great and small. May we ever present our cares and concerns to Christ, for He hears, He loves, and He brings everything together for good somehow.

 

We need not worry, wp-1588686616242993864274389575531.jpg

Instead, let us pray;

For Christ hears each cry,

All night and all day.

What concerns our hearts,

He’ll carry with peace;

As we turn to Him,

Our fear is released.

So, lift head and heart,

To Him, give all care;

He’s ever-present,

And everywhere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can bring all of our concerns, cares and anxieties to You, and You care and bring us Your peace. Thank You that You are always ready and available to hear our prayers. Forgive us for fear and doubt that allow anxiousness a foothold. Teach us to trust You more, for You are faithful and kind and care about our concerns, no matter how small. Show us how to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your peace an obvious presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things. Amen.

 

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

 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? – Luke 12:25

 

 

Remember the Wonders

Well, apparently today is not meant to look like any other day. I rose at the usual time. Spent time in the word. Prayed, pondered, and then wrote out my reflections on the passage and how it applied to my life. Rather than finish the process of editing, copying, pasting and editing again, prior to publishing, I simply saved my Word Document and determined to finish the process after my early morning exercise session. Sadly, when I returned, I opened my document, copied to paste, then shifted applications to continue, I discovered, much to my dismay, what pasted was a bunch of coded garbled gunk, that in no way resembled what I had written. I deleted that, went back to my Word Document, and umm… it was blank. Everything I attempted was fruitless. After fifteen plus minutes of doing all that I knew to do, I gave up. My writing was gone.

There is always a lesson in the lesson, so here I sit, open to discover why. The gist of what I wrote about was my reflection on the following verse:

He has caused His wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. – (Psalm 111:4, NIV)

Today, exactly one year ago, my sister and I received the news that rocked our world in a way that we had never anticipated. Our strong, healthy, independent mom, had suffered a massive stroke. What made matters worse, is that we had not been able to reach her for a few days. The news that was a dread to us, was simultaneously the most welcome sight in the world to our mom. What I mean is, mom lived alone and was alone. She suffered the stroke and was left isolated and half-paralyzed, as she drifted in and out of consciousness for a couple of days, with her voice too weak to be audible beyond a few feet away. Our well-check request of the local police, resulted in her receiving medical attention hours sooner than if we had waited to drive there to find out for ourselves.

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This photo is from the last time all of us were able to get together. Mom is even stronger now than she was then!

So, where I am I going with the connection to wonders and grace and compassion? Honestly, in spite of everything, God was incredibly faithful and kind, as He provided the right people, places, resources, and time to allow the best possible road for mom’s recovery to be set in place. His grace and compassion have been made new every morning, and I remain in a space of awe at the determination and resilience that He has supernaturally given our mom. She went from barely speaking above a whisper, while struggling to find words, to now speaking and carrying on conversations in a normal voice. Additionally, when she was first in the hospital, we were excited about small muscle twitches in her right side, particularly in her right leg. Now, a year later, she is walking independently with a cane, and continues to work on rebuilding her strength and stamina to increase her speed and the steadiness of her gait. Every step of the journey, God was gracious and compassionate. We have grown even closer as an extended family, and will be having some serious gatherings when these restrictions are finally lifted. In the meantime, there are many phone calls made and photos shared, as we continue to work together to move forward on this healing journey. May we each take time to remember in wonder the incredible ways that God has been gracious and compassionate to us, even in our most trying of times.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that through every season in our lives we have reason to look back in awe and wonder, for You have always been gracious and compassionate to us. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations, and our “if onlys”, for You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You are not finished yet! Teach us to trust You more, so that we can go forth and love those around us with the same compassion and grace that You give to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You in wonder for who You are and how You love us so well. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Always Love

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God is love. This perfect sort of love comes from Him alone. We are flawed and frail and fallen; He is good, gracious and merciful. When we seek the Lord first, He deposits these things within us, and grants us the capacity to protect, trust, hope, and persevere in love. In our broken humanity, we will never be flawless in our delivery. However, God is. When we choose to love God and love people as we are called and designed to do, we become better equipped to protect, trust, hope and persevere, as His love leads us in every area of our life that we grant Him access. The more we give God room, the more we become aware of the hope, security, and overcoming, lasting love that is found in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord with our whole heart, so that we too, may love in a way that creates a safe place of shelter, that never stops believing the best for others, never takes failure as defeat, and never gives up.

 

Our space of shelter, Life by Love Defined

When weary and worn;

He grants strength to move,

In Christ, hope’s reborn.

The One we can trust,

Protection in love;

He never gives up,

Our Help from above.

Even through the times,

When we can’t shake fear;

His presence surrounds,

To rise, persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we begin to understand the power of love. Thank You that Your love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Thank You that the more we walk with You, the better we are able to love as You love us. Forgive us for the times that we have been lacking in our love. Continue to teach us how to love like You. Show us practical and tangible ways to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we always trust and hope in You, as You protect us and provide for us, all that we need through Your overwhelming and unending love. Amen.

 

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

 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34