Great Love

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, NIV)

We are still alive because the Lord’s faithful love never ends. Every morning He shows it in new ways! You are so very true and loyal! – (Lamentations 3:22-23, ERV)

How enduring is God’s loyal love; the Eternal has inexhaustible compassion. Here they are, every morning, new! Your faithfulness, God, is as broad as the day. – (Lamentations 3:22-23, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but the thought of potentially having more time in lockdown is gut-wrenching. For me personally, it only would affect what I am able to get out and do. However, my heart is with the countless employees and owners of small businesses, who may be on the verge of financial devastation. Young people trying to pay for tuition, small business owners attempting to uphold their livelihood, and countless employees who sit on the edge of not knowing whether or not they will still be gainfully employed in the near future if their particular establishment is deemed “non-essential”. I know that God is the God of compassion, and His mercies never fail. My hope and prayer is that He shows His compassion, mercy and love in amazing new ways each day, as this whole COVID situation has grown exhausting. 

Lord, let your kindness,

Compassion be shown;

Please grant us Your peace,

As our faith is grown.

Show us Your mercy,

For each day, it’s new;

In wisdom, guide us,

Teach us what to do.

Let each new morning,

Proclaim unto us;

Thy great faithfulness,

And hope in Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are compassionate and kind, full of unending grace. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when we cannot see past our current circumstances. Teach us to trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that encourage hope and comfort fears. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your love and compassion that is new every morning. 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

Be Transformed

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – (Romans 12:2, NIV) 

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect. – (Romans 12:2, ERV) 

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in His eyes. – (Romans 12:2, TPT) 

Last night, my husband and I began watching “The Social Dilemma”. As we took in the ugly truth that was made all the clearer, we sat there exchanging looks of both horror and agreement, as we see, all too clearly, the evidence of the effectiveness of the algorithms. One of the patterns of this world is the constant need to be connected on our devices. At one point, someone in the documentary said something to the effect of, “it is not a matter whether a person will wake up and check their phone, but rather they either check it before they use the bathroom, or while they use the bathroom.” That struck a chord, and I made a conscious effort to not begin my day with social media apps. I was intentional to begin only with my own devotional time, rather than detour with various social check-ins. As the day wore on, and I was stuck staring at a computer screen for hours on end for remote teaching and meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was spend more time looking at a screen. My life feels the most beautiful and satisfying when I am able to fully engage in whatever I am doing, especially when it is time spent with beloved family and friends. I do not want divided time, shared with a screen in someone’s hands, but rather I want face-to-face or side-by-side conversation and companionship. Honestly, I am certain this is what we were designed for – to be in relationship with God and those around us in a way that leads us to see and know and love completely. Perhaps that is why my best days are simple escapes or spontaneous visits with loved ones, as the time feels filled with goodness and grace, much in the same way my time in the word, worship or prayer feels with God. Our mind is only renewed when we seek He who renews us, and we are only able to know God’s perfect and pleasing will if we ask Him. May we ever pursue the heart of God and His will for our lives, so that we may live lives that are transformed and renewed to live out our days in a way that is good and pleasing to the very One who grants us breath. 

Choose not to fall prey, 

To the things of earth; 

Instead look to God, 

Where we find our worth. 

Let not the common, 

Lead you on your path; 

Instead seek the good, 

And love’s aftermath. 

For in God we find, 

Transforming power; 

Beauty from ashes, 

Through our Strong Tower. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You our hearts and lives are transformed and our minds are renewed. Thank You that we are able to know and walk out the good You have for us when we seek You first. Forgive us for the ways that we get caught up in popular culture, rather that pursuing that which You have for us. Teach us to seek You first, so that we may lead lives that are good and pleasing before You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that honor You and spread light and life to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You first to lead us and guide us in the way that is pleasing and perfect before You, as You intended. Amen. 

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

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17

Counsel and Correction

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, NIV) 

Listen to advice and accept discipline; then you, too, will become wise. – (Proverbs 19:20, ERV) 

Take good counsel and accept correction – that’s the way to live wisely and well. – (Proverbs 19:20, MSG) 

Not one of us has it so together that we do not have room to grow. Advice and correction are ways that we have the opportunity to do better and be better. The challenge is that we must be willing to listen and apply the wisdom that is passed on to us, as we ever pursue more of God and His will for our lives. It is important to invest time in the word and in prayer, as well as finding wise and trustworthy people, whom we can go to when we need advice and allow room for correction in spaces where we are off-course. This is where community is so important. We must know others and be known in order to both give and receive good counsel as we ever pursue all that God has for us. I am blessed to be long-invested in a church community that is rich in wise people who have more life experience than I do. They have navigated the road before me, and have successfully traversed treacherous and trying times. I have a few trusted individuals that are my go-to people when I have a question or concern, or simply need to hear a voice of reason. Always we ought to go to God first, however, it is no accident that we discover people around us who are willing and equipped to give sound advice. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, correction and redirection, and allow trusted voices the opportunity to speak truth into our lives. 

We all need advice, 

Photo by icon0.com on Pexels.com

To live this life well; 

Graciously given, 

For truth good compels. 

The word of the Lord, 

And seeking His face; 

Are ways to improve, 

How we run our race. 

For it’s not a sprint, 

But a marathon; 

Keep moving forward, 

Let wisdom lead on. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not expect us to have it all together, nor navigate this life alone. Thank You that wise counsel and direction are found in Your word and through the people that You intentionally place in our lives. Forgive us for the times that we have either attempted to run our race alone, or have neglected to listen to the correction or direction that we need to keep pressing on well. Teach us to trust You and trust those around us who are intentional in their pursuit of You. 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 seek You to lead, correct and direct us, and allow others to speak truth into our lives. Amen. 

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

Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your Name lead and guide me. – Psalm 31:3

Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

Prepare, Guide and Direct

Direct my footsteps according to Your word; let no sin rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, NIV) 

Guide me, as You promised. Don’t let evil rule over me. – (Psalm 119:133, ERV) 

Prepare before me a path filled with Your promises, and don’t allow even one sin to have dominion over me. – (Psalm 119:133, TPT) 

Prepare, direct and guide are all necessary components to walk in God’s will and live according to His word. The thing that prevents us from fully walking in His way and following His path, is sin. When we allow ourselves to get caught up in the moment or movement, and do not look to the Lord for His leading, sin can creep in and find a foothold in our heart. Our culture, today, makes this blaringly evident. Rather than having civilized discussions when differing or opposing opinions present themselves, many are choosing to engage in arguing, name-calling, or worse, rather than listening in love. Sin creeps in when we allow our thoughts to determine what is best, instead of seeking the Lord and asking Him. Angry arguing and belittling commentary are not ways to share the love that the Lord intended us to give. The ugliness is not what He is asking. Absolutely we are to speak up when wrongs are being done, but it ought to be about the sin and what God actually wants, not the person who is walking the wrong way. “…God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4) Kind, civilized, and loving words and modeling go much farther to show the way, than demeaning and destructive verbiage. Our intentions matter not if our words and deeds are tainted by sin. May we ever seek the Lord to prepare us, guide us and direct our steps, so that no sin finds a foothold in our hearts. 

O Lord, prepare me, 

Please show me Your heart; 

Cleanse me and lead me, 

And Your grace impart.  

Direct ev’ry step, 

Keep sin far away; 

So Your love is shown, 

And I love Your way. 

Guide me on Your path, 

Make each next step clear; 

Let each word and deed, 

Show love perseveres. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word prepares, guides and directs us so that sin may not find a foothold in our hearts. Forgive us for the times that we allow our own will to overrule Yours, and end up thinking, speaking or doing things contrary to Your ways. Teach us to seek and follow You, allowing You room to transform our hearts and make us acutely aware of what is Your good and perfect will. 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 to direct our every step and keep us free from being trapped into the ugliness of sin. Amen. 

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

Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? – Romans 2:4

Praise for the Peace that is Present

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) 

There is nothing quite like time away as a family to refresh and renew one’s sense of gratitude and peace. I am beyond blessed to have been afforded time away with not only my immediate family (minus the bonus son who had to work 🙁), but with my sister and her family as well. There is something incredible that transpires when we escape together in nature, and have intentional time to just be together. This momma’s heart is overflowing with thanks, as I am enjoying time with my loved ones and was able to sink my toes in the sand and hear the sound of crashing waves before me. Added joy was watching our puppy’s delight at the exciting and new. Game night, adventures, and meals together, remind us of the call we have to His peace as His children. Though I am always thankful, for I know how truly blessed I am; I find my heart overflowing, as this quality time girl is being filled to the brim. May we allow the Lord to guide us by His peace as a body, and ever give thanks to He alone who is worthy. 

May our hearts allow, 

The Lord of all peace; 

To rule in our lives, 

Heaviness release. 

For He draws us near, 

To His heart of love; 

Fills us to the brim, 

Shows us He’s enough. 

All of creation, 

Reveals His great light; 

With our hearts open, 

In Him, we delight. 

All thanks be to God, 

For His love and grace; 

Overwhelming good, 

As we seek His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for family and time together. Thank You that You are our peace, and that You call us to be at peace with one another. Thank You that there are countless reasons to give You praise, always. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to get in the way of our gratitude. Teach us to take pause and recognize the beauty all around us, and the blessings that are ever-present. Show us how to love in such a way that we bless and extend peace to all of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are forever thankful for Your goodness, blessings and present peace. Amen. 

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Listen and Learn

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. – (Proverbs 23:12, NIV) 

Pay close attention to the teaching that corrects you, and open your heart to every word of instruction. – (Proverbs 23:12, TPT) 

Develop a disciplined life. Be attentive so you can be well informed. – (Proverbs 23:12, VOICE) 

The beautiful thing about learning is that it never ends. We are all a work in progress, with much learning and growing to be done. As we choose to be attentive and invest in trustworthy instruction, our minds are challenged and our hearts are transformed. With formal education, there may be a point where we have gone as far as we want or need to go, yet the wisdom and understanding that will propel us forward and transform our hearts and minds, knows no end. When we listen more and speak less, our grasp on the world around us grows stronger, and we are better equipped to love well. This is the space where being invested in Christ and listening to His Spirit within us, is critical. That still small voice within, guides our hearts and minds in how we ought to hear, receive, and act on words of instruction. Learning how to live a disciplined life, empowers us to be attentive to the lessons that our peers, mentors, family, friends and experiences are showing us along the way. Often, our greatest growth comes out of the most difficult of seasons. For many of us, this time of solitude has served to lead us to a greater awareness of the people and world around us. The more we know and understand, the better equipped we are to be agents of change for injustice and inequity, as we learn to love better. May we seek the Lord to guide us, so that we may continue to listen and learn all that He has for us.   

To listen and learn, 

With an open heart; 

Is how to grow wise, 

Treat love as an art. 

For wisdom, it grows, 

As we choose invest; 

Seek understanding, 

And bless as we’re blessed. 

Choose be disciplined, 

Ever seeking truth; 

Throughout our whole lives, 

Not merely in youth. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pay attention, listen and learn. Thank You that You are the ultimate teacher and example for us. Forgive us for the times that we have not listened to Your leading, or have not slowed down to listen and learn. Teach us to be lifelong learners, so that we may grow more and more like You. Show us how to love and listen well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen and trust as You lead. Amen. 

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

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. – Psalm 54:4

Do for Others

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV) 

Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, ERV) 

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG) 

This biblical directive, which is also known as the “Golden Rule” in non-church circles, is the very minimum that we ought to do as humans. To stop and think about how we would want to be spoken to, treated, and the like, ought to drive how we operate in our daily lives. Incredibly, the saying, “You get what you give,” holds true more often than not. For example, when out for a run, or taking my dog for a walk, I make a point to smile and say hello to every person that I pass. What I find, is that the same is returned to me, and a pleasant exchange has taken place, that required very little effort. A heart that listens, kindness, compassion and a willingness to draw near, are all things that I would want to be given. These things are reminders of what I must do for others, as I imagine that most have a similar desire to be heard and treated with kindness and compassion. This is a lifelong process, as we ever learn and grow and discover more of what it means to love well, and it is one that is required for community to exist. May we ever seek the Lord to show us more of how to love and treat one another the way that He intended, so that His love may be evident in us. 

Do unto others, 

As you would have done; 

In love and kindness, 

As each day’s begun. 

Let what you would like, 

Receive from others; 

Direct ev’ry step, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Choose compassion, 

Willingly draw near; 

Give goodness and love, 

With grace, lend an ear. 

In everything, 

Do as you’d have done; 

For mercy and love, 

Unite us as one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to do unto others as we would like done unto us. Thank You that because You first loved us, we may reach out and love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved, spoken or moved in the way that we should. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, and give us Your heart to love well. Show us how to love, respect and do unto others, as we would want in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love one another best. Amen. 

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

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

Love Builds Up

We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord. – (Romans 15:2, NLT) 

But do what pleases them and is for their good. We should do whatever helps everyone grow stronger in faith. – (Romans 15:2, ERV) 

Our goal must be to empower others to do what is right and good for them, and to bring them into spiritual maturity. – (Romans 15:2, TPT) 

In order to help others and build them up in the Lord, we must be invested and growing in the Lord ourselves. The more deeply we understand and receive the love He has for us, the better equipped we are to empower others to do what is right and encourage them to be their best selves. I know I keep coming back to loving God and loving people, but this is the greatest command. If we do this, all else will follow. When we love people, we want to help them do what is best for them. When we love God, we want others to know and understand the beauty and blessing that is held in a relationship with Christ. May we invest in our relationship with the Lord and allow Him to grow us in our love, so that we may go forth and love others in the way that He is calling us to love. 

May we choose to love, 

In Christ’s righteous way; 

Building others up, 

God’s grace on display. 

Empower others, 

To do what is right; 

Support, encourage, 

Shine bright, God’s love light. 

For as we love God, 

And love each other; 

Good and grace rise up, 

One to another. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to build each other up and encourage one another. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to build others up. Teach us to invest in our relationship with You, so that we might love as we are called to love. Show us how to best encourage and build up those around us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love like You. Amen. 

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

In Your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling. – Exodus 15:13

The Gift of Grace

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. – (Romans 3:23-24, TLB)

 

God is so kind. He shows us in countless ways, just how deeply He loves us and has grace for us, despite all of our flaws. I am in awe of how God brings people together to make His heart for us tangible and visible. Right now, in this season, I am particularly attuned to my shortcomings. Though I am a bit of an introvert, I am a doer. I am a wanderlust who needs to explore and adventure; an artist who needs to create; a teacher who needs to teach, but is uncertain and nervous about the new platform, and an athlete who needs to move. Though most of these can sort of be satisfied at home, the draw of the first not being satisfied in what feels like months, is a bit wearing. Part of it is my desire to drive over the mountains to check on my mom. Normally, I would hop in the car and just go. Never mind that it is three hours each way, it matters not, as I have a vehicle that runs and a music to keep me singing all the way there and back again. However, under current circumstances, it is not really an option. Yes, I suppose I could drive to Wenatchee; but mom’s entire living community is on lockdown, so I would be unable to see her anyway. It would be worse to be that close and not see her…

All that to say that I gain glimpses of God’s grace and forgiveness through the love and kindness extended to me by my husband. He loves me through my frustrations and foolishness, as he encourages and comes alongside me in things we can do. If a spouse can love and encourage well, how much more can Jesus? So much more. Jesus took it all – our sin, frustrations, shortcomings, impatience, and the like – so that we could be redeemed and made right before God, if we choose to trust in Him. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need His grace. I try, I fail; I rise, I fall short; yet, each time He picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me to keep moving forward as He supplies all that I need to press on. May we all receive the gift of grace that God freely offers, and be covered and declared forgiven in Him.

 

We all end up short, wp-15867846099767633447882872426065.jpg

Somehow, not enough;

Too little patience,

When going gets tough.

We try and we fall,

To rise up and be;

All that we ought to,

Wrecked humanity.

Yet, there is a way,

To rise and be more;

Give room for God’s grace,

To show what’s in store.

In His forgiveness,

Mercy and His grace;

We walk out His will,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way to restore relationship with You. Thank You that Your grace covers all of our sin and shame and restores us to good standing with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not freely received what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the redemption that we have been given through Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3