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

United Together

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! – (Psalm 133:1, NIV)

Oh how wonderful, how pleasing it is when God’s people come together as one! – (Psalm 133:1, ERV)

How truly wonderful and delightful it is to see brothers and sisters living together in sweet unity! – (Psalm 133:1, TPT)

There is nothing quite so sweet as when a group of people lives, works, and goes about their days in unity. Unity does not mean that all see eye-to-eye on all things, but rather that there is mutual respect and appreciation, as all are aiming for a similar goal. If we love, respect and prefer one another, unity naturally follows. God was intentional in how we were each designed. We each have strengths and purposes that contribute to the whole when we exist in community. May we ever pursue peace as we navigate each new day with the intent to love well, so that we may walk in unity with those whom God has placed around us.

United in peace,

Surrounded in love;

God grant us the grace,

To walk well with love.

For we were designed,

To live side by side;

Shoulder to shoulder,

With God as our guide.

He shows us the way,

To live and love best;

Care for each other,

Give grace and find rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created each of us for community. Thank You that You show us how to live and love in a way that brings unity. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought to see others through Your eyes. Teach us to turn to You first, so that we may gain perspective and capacity to listen and love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may feel included and valued in the community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to live and love in a way that unites and brings peace. Amen.

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

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3

To Run Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

Though this was written to the early church to encourage and guide believers, the message remains true today. One thing that stands out to me is the idea of being surrounded by people who are great examples of what it is to live a godly life. It takes intentional investment in people to be surrounded by those who help lead, guide and walk beside us in the way that God is calling us to live. Next, we have to let go of previous harm to move forward. It is an intentional decision to forgive and give it to God. To do so does not mean that we have to forget what we learned or jump back into harmful spaces, but rather we must release the burden of hurt, anger and grudges, and choose to forgive and place it all in His hands. Additionally, we must be intentional to walk away from that which leads us astray. As a runner, I love the analogy of life being a marathon. We do not want to do things along the course that will inhibit our ability to run well. The same is true in life. The things that lead us astray, move us off course, or weigh us down, do not help us run our race well. Labor-intensive running is not fun or beneficial, and often leads to injuries. God has already mapped out our course, our job is to keep running in the direction to which we have been called. Our pace is set by Him, and it is never too fast nor too slow. His timing is perfect. May we ever be intentional to surround ourselves with those who encourage us to run well, let go of that which leads us off course, and persevere on the path which God has placed before us.

Let’s surround ourselves,

With those who live well;

In life and in love,

As faithfulness tells.

Let go of past harm,

With purpose, forgive;

Give it to the Lord,

In freedom to live.

Stay clear of the things,

That lead us astray;

And follow the course,

God grants us each day.

Let’s each run our race,

Stay true to the course;

God’s set before us,

Our Strength and our Source.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to run the race that You have set before us. Thank You that You instruct us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and can help pace us to stay strong. Thank You too, for showing us to throw aside all that weighs us down or leads us off course. Forgive us for allowing the things of this life to distract us or steer us off course. Teach us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and to keep our eyes on the course You have set before us. Show us how to be an encouragement to others and to love all well so that they too will be encouraged to continue to run the race You designed for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we each rely on You to lead us to run our own race well. Amen.

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

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. – Proverbs 4:12

Judge Not

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead. Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

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, ERV)

Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. – (Romans 14:13, MSG)

Our culture has become one that is very quick to judge, rather than seeking to understand. We all have been created with a free will. Each person has the choice to make their own decisions and determine their own actions. Our individual charge is to not do things that cause others to stumble or walk away from the path on which they were placed. If we each sought to understand one another, rather than judging, imagine the communities that would be built. I am blessed to be immersed in small communities where there is a seeking to understand. Different views and beliefs are celebrated, not judged. Even in my own home there are varied beliefs, and though at times, debates get heated, at the end of the day, there is love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the best decisions for ourselves, and trust that those around us are more than capable of doing the same. Lord, lead us in love.

Judge not each other,

Seek to understand;

The right path for me,

Is not where all land.

God is creative,

For each, there’s a plan;

Individual,

He’ll guide by His hand.

Don’t deter others,

For each must decide;

The way they will walk,

In whom they’ll abide.

No matter choices,

That others choose make;

Our call is to love,

Help mend each heartbreak.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us not to judge, but rather to love. Thank You that as we ask, You are faithful to show us what we are to do, and what we should not. Forgive us for thinking we have a place determining how others ought to follow where You are leading. Teach us not to judge, but rather to seek to understand and to love. Lead us to love those around us always, no matter how different they seem in how they navigate life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to choose love over judgment, and pursue Your leading to keep from getting others off track. Amen.

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:7

A Fine Line Between Fearlessness and Foolishness

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TPT)

There is a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to know the difference. As we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we grow in understanding of what His power, love and self-discipline do for us. When we realize the power of Christ within us, we discover that fear has no place to set up camp. Fear may creep in at times, but His Spirit in us will not allow fear to remain. How then, do we use the power, love and self-control that God grants us to best love people? As a peacemaker, it is easy to default to silence, while the idea of conflict brings fear. However, if we look in God’s word to the example of Christ, He was not afraid to speak truth and stand firm. His actions were in love and with self-discipline, while He was fully aware of the power within Him. This is where dependence on Christ is a must. We need His Spirit within us to identify His will, not our own, and to move in His power and love with self-control. May we ever seek the Lord to keep fear at bay, and rely on His power, love and self-discipline to lead us to love like Him.

God’s not created,

Us to live in fear;

His power and love,

Forever are near.

We need only seek,

For our hearts to find;

He’s always with us,

Heart, body and mind.

His love gives us strength,

To conquer our fear;

His love evident,

As His grace appears.

Power in weakness,

Love where it seems lack;

Self-discipline too,

God helps as we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not created us to be afraid. Thank You that You infuse us with Your power, love and self-discipline as we seek You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for the times that we have neglected to seek You. Show us how to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to rely on Your Spirit within us to grant us the power, love and self-control that we need to navigate our days as You intended. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for all You provide by Your love. Amen.

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

Higher Than Ours

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:7-8, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that this is true. So often, I think things should go one way, or situations ought to be resolved as I imagine, yet God, in His infinite wisdom, brings far more beauty than I could have ever imagined. This is where we are challenged to trust the process. It is a bit easier to do each time we witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. That being said, it is a seemingly lifelong process to recognize and remember that God’s ways are for our ultimate best, even when we cannot see how good is possible. May we ever remember that God knows the outcome long before we have even begun, and that He is for us, not against us. 

Our thoughts and our ways,

May be good and bold;

Yet God’s are greater,

Our future He holds.

When we cannot see,

How things could resolve;

God is on the move,

So fears ought dissolve.

Let us turn in trust,

To the Lord above;

For His ways are best,

All is done in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, higher than ours. Thank You that You see the end before we have even begun, and You are ever available to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. Teach us to trust the process and to remember that You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Lead us to love one another in ways that strengthen, encourage and convey Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your ways, for they are always best in the end. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5

The Message is Love

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, NIV)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love each other. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The beautiful message you’ve heard right from the start is that we should walk in self-sacrificing love toward one another. – (1 John 3:11, TPT)

The message that is repeated over and over again throughout the Bible and through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, is to love one another. It was the love of God that compelled Him to create. The love of God is what sent His Son to repair what had been broken and restore a right relationship with Him. Daily, we are loved by God and we have been called and created to love each other in the same way. Our love, care and concern for one another ought to be pure and not self-seeking. As we love as God intended, others are lifted up and led to the light of God’s goodness and grace. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in the fullness of His loving kindness in all that we say and do.

The message we’ve heard,

Is ever the same;

Love one another,

In Jesus’ Name.

For it’s by our love,

In word thought and deed;

That God’s love is shown,

As we trust His lead.

For all that is good,

All that offers light;

Comes from the Father,

The Maker of right.

Let us choose rise up,

Seek the God of grace;

To teach us to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the message You have given since the beginning of time has been to love. Thank You that You first loved us and demonstrated what it is to love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we ought to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us. Show us how to love one another best so that all may come to know and understand the fullness of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and receive Your love so that we may love one another well. Amen.

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

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

Sing in the Strength He Supplies

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

There are days when this resonates a little more clearly than others. Each morning as I rise before the sun, I am intentional to seek and spend time with our Savior. Small things can distract my attention, and I have to choose to focus on Him and time in His word. As I do, He is faithful to show me His loving kindness anew, and there is not a day that I seek Him that I do not find Him. I cannot even begin to count the numerous times that He has been my place of safety and my defender when troubles have come. In all things, He remains faithful to be present and pour out His goodness and love. It does not mean that all is easy and without obstacles, rather in those obstacles I have a guide to lead me through. For this, and so many other things, I have reason to hold songs of praise in my heart, celebrating His strength when I had none, and His presence when I felt alone. May we ever remember who is our source of strength and mercy and goodness, as we call on Christ to be our place of safety in every storm.

O Lord each new day,

May I rise and sing;

Of goodness and strength,

The hope that You bring.

Teach me to see You,

With each rising sun;

Give thanks unto You,

Our strong Holy One.

Thank You for safety,

That is held in You;

For Your sweet presence,

That carries us through.

Help songs to rise up,

Flood my mind and heart;

With praise unto You,

Gratitude impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to sing, as You are our source of strength and our space of safety. Forgive us for not giving praise where praise is due, and for forgetting how powerful Your presence is to strengthen and uphold us. Teach us to trust in You through every season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that supply strength and hope and resolve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find shelter in the safety of Your love and sing praise to You for each new day we are granted. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Gain in Grace

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, NIV)

This is the way we should live, because God’s grace has come. That grace can save everyone. It teaches us not to live against God and not to do the bad things the world wants to do. It teaches us to live on earth now in a wise and right way – a way that shows true devotion to God. – (Titus 2:11-12, ERV)

God’s marvelous grace has manifested in person, bringing salvation for everyone. This same grace teaches us how to live each day as we turn our backs on ungodliness and indulgent lifestyles, and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. – (Titus 2:11-12, TPT)

It is God’s grace that grants us each the opportunity to believe and receive, and enter the folds of His salvation. Being saved does not mean we have reached perfection, but rather it means that He who is perfect, is present and available to lead and guide us throughout all our days. God has given all people a free will; it is our decision alone to either receive all that He has to offer, or not. For those who actively receive, God teaches us what we ought not do, and what we need to do, to walk in the way He intended. We need wisdom, grace, and self-control to live upright and demonstrate our devotion to Him. Each word and deed that we extend that demonstrates God’s overwhelming love, is a manifestation of God’s goodness and grace that is available for everyone. However, when we get caught up in the ways of the world, there is nothing about us that leads anyone closer to the loving embrace of God. All that we say and do matters. May we ever pursue He who is pure and loving and full of grace, so that we too, may navigate each day His way.

Lord, help us receive,

Salvation in You;

For each brand new day,

Show us to live true.

True to Your goodness,

Your love and Your grace;

Upright and godly,

Help us walk Your way.

Lord as we listen,

You lead us in truth;

Steer us from evil,

As You make us new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unending grace that grants us salvation in You. Thank You that as we seek and grow in our understanding of You, You show us what we should and should not do. Forgive us for forging our own way without seeking Your wisdom, or for allowing ourselves to get caught up in the ways of the world, rather than staying true to who You are calling us to become. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead and guide us throughout all our days. Show us how to love those around us well, as it is Your love that demonstrates the goodness and kindness that leads people into lives full of the hope that only Your salvation provides. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your grace that is freely given, and trust in You to lead and direct us in all of the ways that are meant to go. Keep us away from that which was not meant for us. In Your precious name we pray, Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16