To Love the Lord

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, NIV)

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, ERV)

Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got! – (Deuteronomy 6:5, MSG)

If we truly love God as we are called to love, He gives us His eyes to see the world around us. Through Him, we are moved with compassion, kindness, and grace, so that we might love people and all of creation as He intended. To love Him with our whole heart means that all that we are and all that we want becomes shaped by God and His goodness. Our purpose is love, and He equips our heart and soul, and grants us the strength we need to love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love and to grow us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

Love the Lord, our God,

With all of our heart;

We’re made with purpose,

We each play a part.

Compassion and grace,

That we give away;

Reflect the Father,

Throughout each new day.

To truly love God,

We must love like Him;

As His love shapes us,

Pours out from within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You with all of our heart, soul, and strength. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what that means. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You intended. Teach us to seek You and follow after all that You are asking. May our love be evident to all. Show us how to continue to grow in our love for You and all that You have made. Lead us to love everyone like You do as an act of worship to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life of loving You with all that we are in all that we do. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. – Psalm 86:15

Jesus is God

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

This is the One who – imprinted with God’s image, shimmering with His glory – sustains all that exists through the power of His word. He was seated at the right hand of God once He Himself had made the offering that purified us from all our sins. – (Hebrews 1:3, VOICE)

Today is day one of 21 days that have been set aside for prayer and fasting within my church. Each day, there will be specific passages that focus on who God is. Incredibly, the more we focus on who He is, the more we recognize how deeply He loves. In this one verse from the first chapter of Hebrews, we are shown that Jesus is God. He is the “exact representation of His being” and is the One who “has provided purification for sins” and now, He is “seated at the right hand of God”, where He continues to contend for us as He has purified us from our sin. Because Jesus sacrificed Himself for us all, we have access to God. It was not nails that kept Him on the cross, for after all, He has all the power and authority of God, but rather it was His love that desperately desired to set us free from our sin and shame and provide the way for us to return to a right relationship with Him that held Him in place to be the ultimate atonement for all. Such love goes beyond human understanding and the longer I live, the more I grow in understanding, but also recognize how much more there is to learn. May we ever pursue the heart of God as we seek Him and listen to His heartbeat for us through the wonder of His word.

Jesus, our Savior,

Is the Lord our God;

God who came near us,

May we stand in awe.

Though as an infant,

Is how Jesus came;

His holiness shown,

Much more than a name.

When His time arrived,

He taught, loved and healed;

His power made known,

Through love He revealed.

The people wanted,

Jesus on the throne;

Yet He was much more,

Than they could have known.

His place, in heaven,

Is so He could give;

Hope for forever,

As we’re taught to live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, who is fully God, to live and love, heal and extend hope to all who call on Your Name. Thank You that You showed us who You as You walked among us. Forgive us for trying to contain who You are to our limited understanding. Teach us to ever seek to grow in understanding through intentional time with You and in Your word. Show us how 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 praise You for who You are and how You love, and as You transform us to reflect Your heart to the world through earnestly seeking You. Amen.

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

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

A New Thing

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

“So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Of course, it is important to look back, reflect, and remember God’s goodness in the days gone by, yet we do not want to dwell in it and not look forward with anticipation for all that lies ahead. God is ever making things new, as He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. Our purpose is not used up or merely a thing of the past. Each day we draw breath, God has purpose for our lives. He opens doors, levels paths, and helps us navigate obstacles to continue to walk in His ways. I know for many of us, 2022 was not a year that we have any desire to repeat. However, even so, we can look back at His faithfulness and carry that with us as we look forward to the coming year. No matter what comes, God is good, and He is for us. We need not worry about the future, but rather ought to view what is yet to come as opportunity for God to show up and demonstrate His goodness and love. It is fascinating, as the older I get, the more I recognize that I am present in the moments, rather than worrying about taking photos. I put together a year in review collage of some highlights, only to discover there were many moments missed in pictures that left a lasting imprint on my heart. God is so good, and I can look forward with eager anticipation for all the new that He will do. May we ever seek the Lord and wait on Him, for He prepares the way, walks beside us, and never leaves us as we journey this life with Him.

Look ahead in faith,

Choose trust in the Lord;

He’s paving the way,

As we walk forward.

As we look to Him,

No matter what comes;

Trust is made certain,

May His will be done.

Always God is good,

And He remains near;

Our help and our hope,

Remover of fear.

Look back with all thanks,

For His faithfulness;

With eyes fixed forward,

On coming newness.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can look back and see how You walked beside us to help us know that You will always be present in all that lies ahead. Thank You that in You, we have a hope and a future. Forgive us for the times that we have fixated on the past rather than looked forward to what You will do in and through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would gaze into the coming year with gladness, knowing that You will make a way and do new things. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your love and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look forward to all that You will do in the coming year. Amen.

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

To be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. – Ephesians 4:23-24

To Live and Love With Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. – (James 3:17, HCSB)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

In order to be the person that God has called and created me to be, I need His wisdom. I desire to be pure, peaceful, gentle and easy to please, and I long to do good for others without favoritism or hypocrisy. This does not naturally flow from humans on our own, but rather these traits grow in us when we seek the Lord and His wisdom. May we ever invest our hearts, minds and lives into knowing and growing in the Lord, so that we may live a life of love that bears good fruit.

The wisdom of God,

Bears beautiful fruit;

Pure, peaceful, loving,

Good soil grows deep roots.

Roots that are planted,

Secure in God’s love;

Seek to love others,

Like the Lord above.

Gentle with mercy,

Looking to do good;

Loving all others,

As God’s children should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us to seek You for wisdom, as Your wisdom teaches us to love as You do. Thank You that You are gentle, peace-loving and full of mercy, and that Your love extends to all who seek You no matter where we have come from or what we have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought Your wisdom to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You, for You alone know how to live and love best. Show us how to love wisely so that all those around us might come to know the power of Your loving kindness and the peace that is found in Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the wisdom to live and love in the ways You have called and created us to live. Amen.

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

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. – Ephesians 1:17

Seasons of Waiting

Wait for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, HCSB)

Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help. – (Psalm 27:14, ERV)

Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. Stay with God. – (Psalm 27:14, MSG)

Waiting for the Lord takes strength and courage. It is, at times, far easier to just move, rather than wait. The problem with that is if we move forward when we are meant to wait, we miss out on God’s very best for us. Listening to His leading is what takes us to spaces that are far beyond what we could hope or imagine, and His strength and courage supply all that we need in the waiting. May we ever wait for the Lord to lead us in the ways in which we are meant to go, and take courage as He supplies the strength to stay in a season of waiting.

Choose wait on the Lord,

Be strong and be brave;

Don’t quit in the wait,

For waiting can save.

Save us from heartache,

Where we need not go;

The strength in the wait,

Helps our hearts to grow.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’s always on time;

He knows what we need,

And His heart is kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us that we are meant to wait and listen for Your leading. Thank You that You supply courage and strength to do so. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient and moved impulsively rather than waited to hear what You are leading us to do. Teach us to trust You in the seasons of waiting. Show us how the “not yet” is worthwhile, even when we cannot see the value in the intentional pause. Direct us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to supply strength and courage as we wait on You for answers and direction. Amen.

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

In the morning, Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You and wait expectantly. – Psalm 5:3

Full of Joy and Thanks

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Always be full of joy is the version that is most easily grasped. This does not mean we must always be happy, but rather it means that we carry the joy of the Lord within us wherever we go, no matter what is going on around us or in us. His joy is not dependent on circumstances. To never stop praying is our reminder to be in constant communication with Christ. God knows us better than we know ourselves, and when we communicate with Him, He reveals more of Himself and who He has created us to be. Gratitude is a practice that most of us could use more of in our lives. To be grateful does not mean that we are necessarily thanking God for our circumstances, but rather that we are thanking Him for being with us, walking beside us, and leading us in the ways that we are meant to go. His heart is for us to belong completely to Him. As we do, we understand who we are in Him, and how He is calling us to live. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more in His joy as we continually pray to Him and give Him all of our gratitude.

Hold closely to joy,

Planted deep within;

All hope in the Lord,

Is what shines light in.

As we keep praying,

Love and thanks do grow;

For His heart’s for us,

He’s where good’s made known.

In faith, keep praying,

Keep trusting in Him;

His love overwhelms,

As we let Him in.

May we give God thanks,

In each circumstance;

For His sweet presence,

And the strength to stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good and in Whom we find joy and peace, strength and hope, no matter what our circumstances include. Thank You that You are available to be with us whenever we call on Your Name. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed what surrounds us to impact our joy and gratitude in You. Teach us to remember that our joy is found in You, and that as we are in ongoing communication with You, our joy grows more and more. Show us how to love those around us with peace, patience, goodness and kindness that point hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold the joy You deposit in our hearts, pray to You as if it is the air that we breathe, and give You all of our gratitude each day. Amen.

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

I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. – Philippians 4:11

Way Maker

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

So don’t remember what happened in earlier times. Don’t think about what happened a long time ago, because I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, ERV)

Eternal One: Don’t revel only in the past, or spend all your time recounting the victories of days gone by. Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there has been none. – (Isaiah 43:18-19, VOICE)

Though this was written centuries ago, it is a relevant encouragement to me this morning. Being an educator is an adventure for sure, yet there have been experiences that have impacted the way that I view things today. This year, I am teaching a subject in a grade level that I have never taught, with a completely new curriculum, and I have to let go of my former experiences in said subject, (my previous experience in such nearly had me walk away from teaching), as I can see that God can do something new both in me and through me. This hope is so helpful, as I do, at times, feel as though I am wandering through a desert without water. God is good, and He provides all that we need to navigate the new. He leads us, guides us, and grants us the strength, wisdom and resources we need as we seek and trust in Him. Additionally, He brings the right people alongside us to help us navigate the new. I never cease to be amazed at how He cares about the seemingly insignificant things, just as much as He is concerned with the big things. May we ever seek the Lord as we keep moving forward in faith, for He is doing something new, and continually pouring new life into us.

Like streams through dry land,

The Lord’s bringing new;

Forget the former,

God’s faithful and true.

The past is not now,

New things will arise;

Possibilities,

To yet realize.

In faith, let us seek,

Choose to trust the Lord;

He will make a way,

And keep us on course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not dwell on the past, but instead, ought to look forward in faith to You. Thank You that You provide strength, refreshment, support, growth, wisdom and encouragement as we navigate the new You call us into. Forgive us for our fears and anxieties that prevent us from fully recognizing Your goodness and faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, as we seek You and praise You for the support that You provide. Show us how to love those around us in ways that feel like water where souls are parched, and hope where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look ahead with eager anticipation, to see how You will move mountains on our behalf. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Good Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you” – this is the Lord’s declaration – “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, HCSB)

“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, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE) 

God is good and is faithful to fulfill His promises. He has good plans for us that include a hope and a future. The Lord is our protector and our source, and we can trust in Him to be who He says He is. May we ever seek God and place our trust in Him, for He is our hope and our future is found in Him.

Our future’s secure,

When we trust in Him;

Our hope, Protector,

Our Father and friend.

His plans are for good,

Full of love and peace;

His presence, promised,

Where grace is released.

Choose turn to the Lord,

By faith, trust in Him;

His love is assured,

And hope enters in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have plans for each of us. Plans that include a hope and a future. Thank You that this is not just for us as children or young adults, but rather is true throughout our lifetime. Thank You that Your capacity to bring change and make things new, knows no end. Forgive us for feeling as if this is all there is. Thank You that in You, there is always more – more to learn, more growth, more love, more hope. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that convey hope and peace and Your perfect love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust our future in Your hands, and are assured that Your plans for us are good. Amen.

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

Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23:6

Showered With Grace

Lord, be gracious to us! We wait for You. Be our strength every morning and our salvation in times of trouble. – (Isaiah 33:2, HCSB)

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)

As we wait on the Lord, He meets us with His grace. Each new morning that we seek Him, He is faithful to arm us with strength. When troubles come, God is our help and our hope that saves us. This is a great reminder that we need not worry about tomorrow; instead, we ought to seek, trust and listen to the Lord, as He is faithful to ready and equip us for what each new day shall hold. Sundays are a perfect time to place this into practice. I love that a good chunk of my morning includes time with my church family, as we gather to worship, listen and grow. However, each Sunday evening brings the reminder that the following morning will be the start of a new week. At that point, I feel ill-equipped to take on all that lies ahead, yet God is faithful to meet me each new morning, and provides what is needed to navigate the day. It requires His strength, for on my own, I am not equipped to do all that is asked of me. With God, somehow what is needed is present as I keep walking forward. May we ever wait on the Lord to continue to shower us with His grace, and seek Him anew every morning, for it is in this space that He supplies strength and reminds us that He will be present to help, no matter what lies ahead.

O Lord, we seek You,

Your mercy and grace;

Faithful forever,

In all of Your ways.

You arm us with strength,

You are our supply;

Grace overwhelming,

Peace we can’t deny.

When troubles do come,

Ever You are near;

Giving what’s needed,

To overcome fear.

O God, we praise You,

For all that You are;

Our help, hope and grace,

Who never is far.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are gracious and kind, and ever near to help us anew every morning. Thank You that You strengthen us to persevere when trials come, and equip us and keep us safe in Your care. Forgive us for our anxiousness about what lies ahead, for You are faithful to be present each time we ask. Teach us to ever seek You in all that we do. Show us how to love those around us with Your grace and kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to strengthen and equip us with Your goodness and grace so that we continue to become who You have created us to be. Amen.

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

You Hold My Hand

Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, HCSB)

But I am always with You. You hold my hand. You lead me and give me good advice, and later You will lead me to glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, ERV)

I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. – (Psalm 73:23-24, MSG)

David’s words are a reminder to us that when we choose God, He is always with us and takes our hand to lead us. As He leads, He guides us in His wisdom and tenderness and makes the eternal hope we have in Him, evident. There is much peace knowing that God is with us and will guide and advise us whenever we seek Him. Ultimately, His leading will lead us into eternal glory with Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us, so that we may walk in His ways and become who He has created us to be.

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

He’s loving and kind;

He leads and guides us,

With His good in mind.

His hands to hold us,

As gently He leads;

His love to bless us,

As He meets our needs.

Ever God is near,

He’s present to lead;

His love knows no end,

His goodness exceeds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and in love, You take our hands and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Thank You that Your direction is to grow and bless us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to do things our own way. Teach us to trust and listen to You in all things and at all times, for in doing so, we come to understand the hope and help that is found in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend our hands to You and trust You to lead and counsel us as we walk out each new day. Amen.

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

He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3