What Mercy Means

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. – (Matthew 5:7, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who show mercy to others. Mercy will be given to them. – (Matthew 5:7, ERV)

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.” – (Matthew 5:7, MSG)

The dictionary defines mercy as: an act of compassion, kindness or favor. I know that kindness and compassion are always appreciated by me, especially when they are given freely and without hesitation. Though mercy is undeserved, it is tangible evidence of the goodness of God. When we show mercy, God gives mercy to us. The Lord, in His great compassion, gave us the ultimate gift of mercy. We did not deserve to be forgiven, yet He sent His one and only Son to make the way for us to be forgiven and set free. His mercy is the example and standard by which we ought to treat others. Our mode of operation should be compassion and kindness, regardless of what we receive. As a middle school teacher, I have the opportunity to extend mercy, daily. My goal is to welcome each student with compassion and kindness, no matter how they enter the room. My hope is that they might leave class in a better space than when they entered. Some days, it works well, yet others, it makes me wonder how God loves us like He does. Mercy is not sustainable without knowing the mercy of God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, for through Him, we are equipped to be compassionate and kind, showing His favor as we choose to love.

O Lord, Your mercy,

Is oh so much more;

Than simple kindness,

We’re shown at the door.

It’s love that reaches,

The darkness within;

And provides the light,

To cleanse us from sin.

Full of compassion,

Your kindness You give;

Granting us favor,

Each day that we live.

O Lord, please teach us,

To choose live the same;

May we represent,

Your most blessed name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to be merciful, but You have shown us over and over again what it is. Thank You that as we are merciful, we too receive mercy. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion or kindness. Teach us to approach each person we encounter with Your mercy that extends compassion and kindness, and grants favor that is a gift. Show us how to move in mercy with everyone we meet. Lead us to love with kindness and compassion for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to equip us to be compassionate and kind to everyone. Amen.

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

Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38

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 Our Savior

You see at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – (Romans 5:6-8, NIV)

Christ died for us when we were unable to help ourselves. We were living against God, but at just the right time Christ died for us. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else, even if it is a good person. Someone might be willing to die for an especially good person. But Christ died for us while we were still sinners, and by this God showed us how much He loves us. – (Romans 5:6-8, ERV)

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t wait for us to get ready. He presented Himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put His love on the line for us by offering His Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to Him. – (Romans 5:6-8, MSG)

Jesus is our Savior. When we had no idea that we were lost and in need of saving, Jesus came and died on our behalf. As sinners, without Him, we had nothing to offer Him or to the world, yet He still chose to give all for each one of us so that we would have the freedom to choose eternal life through Him. There was nothing we had done to earn or deserve His love, but rather He chose love because He first loved us. Few would give their life up for someone who was good to us, let alone for someone who was against us, but that is exactly what Jesus did for us all. May we ever look to the Lord and the sacrifice He made, as it reminds us anew of how deeply and selflessly, we are loved by God.

While we were sinners,

Far off, we were lost;

The ultimate love,

Came close, paid the cost.

He took all our sin,

And bore all our shame;

So we would know love,

Is found in His Name.

Jesus our Savior,

Through mercy and grace;

Chose die for us all,

So there’d be a way.

A way to know Him,

And choose enter in;

Gracious salvation,

For here and heaven.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to save us. Not because we were worthy, but rather because You are perfect love. Forgive us for the times that we have felt that we somehow had to earn Your love. Thank You that it is Your overwhelming, gracious, all-encompassing love that draws us unto You. Teach us to continue to seek You anew each day, for in the time we spend with You, You reveal more and more of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank and praise You for Jesus our Savior, and ever seek You to show us how to demonstrate the same sort of love to all whom we meet. Amen.

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

“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name.” – John 20:31

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

To Love All

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. – (Matthew 5:44-45, NIV)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. – (Matthew 5:44-45, ERV)

But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you – in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us – good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. – (Matthew 5:44-45, VOICE)

Though few of us have experienced persecution like the early church, we all have experienced unkindness, irritation, and attitudes that we do not appreciate. As a middle school teacher, I am reminded daily of the need to pray for my students. The unkindness they display to others is usually a response to unkindness that they have received. At that age, one typically gives what they get. If I can show kindness, goodness and grace, perhaps a seed of the same will be planted in them. It requires God’s grace to extend the same to those who are all over the place when they are meant to be engaged. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love, and depend on Him to show us how to love all those whom we encounter in the same way that He loves us all.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

How to choose love all;

Extend Your goodness,

Let love be installed.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Despite what we get,

Let us reflect You.

Please grant us the grace,

To love as You do;

Be gracious and kind,

So good is shown true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that there are no exceptions to whom we should give kindness and grace. Thank You that You love us all, no matter who we are, where we have been, or what we have done. Forgive us for our lack of patience and grace. Grant us wisdom as to how we are meant to love those around us. Lead us in Your love so that all feel valued and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and grace for us all and seek You to love likewise. 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

Grace to Guide Us

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)

That 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)

We have cause to celebrate because the grace of God has appeared, offering the gift of salvation to all people. Grace arrives with its own instruction: run away from anything that leads us away from God; abandon the lusts and passions of this world; live life now in this age with awareness and self-control, doing the right thing and keeping yourselves holy. – (Titus 2:11-12, VOICE)

Because of God’s grace, we do not need to remain stuck in our sinful ways. His love teaches us what is right and grants us the strength to walk in His ways. God made the way for us to have His presence with us now, and the hope of eternity with Him forever. The more we know God, the better equipped we are to recognize what is good and right before Him, and the deeper our desire to do those things. May we ever seek the Lord and His amazing grace to lead us away from the things that are destructive, and to that which is aligned with His loving kindness.

The grace of the Lord,

Is loving and kind;

It shows us the way,

To with Him, align.

Salvation offered,

With goodness and grace;

His love will lead us,

To walk in His ways.

Our task is simple,

Seek the Holy One;

In all things, always,

So His will be done.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the way to hope both now and forevermore. Thank You that You show us what is good and right, and what we need to avoid. Forgive us for the times that we have walked our own way and ignored what we know is right and true. Teach us to turn to You to be always our strength and our guide in all things. 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 turn to You and away from anything that distracts or diverts us from You and all that You have for us. 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

Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

The beautiful thing about this promise is that it is true every single day, not just at the start of a new year. Not only can we be transformed when we come to know Christ, but He will ever make us new as we seek Him. Each morning that we rise, we have a new opportunity to reflect the goodness and love we know in Him. As we do, we more clearly demonstrate His new creation within us. May we ever seek the Lord and all the new He has for us and walk out the goodness of His love.

The new year has come,

The old things are gone;

We have new pages,

To write His love on.

Each day we draw breath,

Opportunity;

To love each other,

Reflect God clearly.

Lord, show us the new,

That You have for us;

Lead us in Your love,

With grace and great trust.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are made new. Thank You for a brand-new year to reset and remember what matters most. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that have not reflected Your love. Teach us how to love You and those around us in all that we do. Lead us to love those around us in tangible ways that make Your heart clearly known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love anew. Amen.

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

For we live by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7

Peace in All Things

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting Me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” – (John 16:33, MSG)

Jesus did not candy-coat things, nor lead anyone to believe that trusting in Him would suddenly make all our troubles disappear, but rather He let us know that despite the troubles of the world, in Him, we can have peace. This past year, God has continued to show me how true these words can be. In both seasons of trial and those of blessing, His peace has been made present as I pressed into trusting Him. Everything we face, He has already faced and overcome. Jesus knows how we feel as we face fires and understands how to provide His peace amid them. We can be brave in the comfort of His love as we recognize that He is far greater than anything we may face, and trust that He will remain with us as we navigate everything that comes our way. God is good in all, and the presence of His peace reminds us of how deeply we are loved. May we look back with thanksgiving for His unending faithfulness, and look forward with peace, knowing that He goes before us and will remain with us in and through all things.

Peace through the trials,

The Lord’s ever near;

To walk beside us,

And calm all our fears.

Jesus has conquered,

He has overcome;

Every trial,

Already it’s done.

For He goes before,

And walks alongside;

Providing His peace,

As we choose abide.

Rest in His mercy,

Let His love surround;

Trust in His goodness,

It’s where peace is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face struggles, You have promised to be present and be our perfect peace. Thank You that in all things, You remain near, and show us that as we seek You, You always hear. Forgive us for our frustrations with the challenges that come. Teach us to embrace the grace that You give to help us navigate, and let our hearts praise You for Your presence, even when things are not as we might hope. Lead us to live in the hope that we hold in eternity, for all that is in the here and now is temporary, yet You are forever. Show us how to love those around us with an eternal perspective. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence and Your perfect peace in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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

Demonstrate Grace

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love. – (2 John 1:3, NIV)

Grace, mercy and peace will be with us from God the Father and from His Son, Jesus Christ, as we live in truth and love. – (2 John 1:3, ERV)

May grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Jesus the Anointed, the Father’s own Son, surround you and be with you always in truth and love. – (2 John 1:3, VOICE)

God’s grace is what floods us with His mercy and permeates peace as we recognize the truth of His love that knows no end. The very notion that God, the Creator of all would send His own Son to show us the overwhelming truth of His love, and to demonstrate His grace, mercy and peace that is present and available when we welcome the Son, ought to compel us to love and give as He has. There is something wonderful that happens during this time of year, though some struggle, there are many who are determined to be intentional about showing extra kindness. As kindness is shown God’s goodness is made known, and His truth and love demonstrate grace, mercy and peace. May we embrace the goodness that God gives and go forth and do likewise each day that we live.

All grace and mercy,

Come from God above;

Who grants us His peace,

And floods us with love.

The things that are true,

Love that our hearts hold;

Bring new peace each day,

As His grace unfolds.

For grace is the good,

We do not deserve;

And His peace surrounds,

In hearing His words.

For God’s words are truth,

Hope, peace and great love;

Blessings abundant,

All good from above.

Ever we thank Him,

Let’s give God our praise;

Light, life and true hope,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that grace, mercy, peace, truth and love all come from You. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what love truly means. Forgive us for every time that our words and actions have not been aligned in Your love. Teach us to trust You more so that we may love like You. Show us how to give grace, extend mercy, and be bearers of peace to those around us each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You freely give and go forth and love likewise. 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

Clean and New

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – (Psalm 51:10, HCSB)

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. – (Psalm 51:10, VOICE)

As I gaze upon the freshly fallen snow, and the world looks clean and new, I am reminded that God does this for us each time we ask. He wipes away all of our guilt and shame, and provides a new start as we seek Him. Each time I fall short and am given a fresh start, I am compelled to do and be better. God is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, and His heart is to ever give us a fresh start. May we ever seek the Lord to cleanse us and strengthen us so that we may clearly reflect His goodness and His love.

O God, cleanse my heart,

May it be made pure;

Strengthen my spirit,

As You remain near. 

Lead me in Your love,

May Your heart move mine;

To love others well,

And always be kind.

With each brand new day,

May I rest assured;

That You are with me,

In You I’m secure.

Ever Your faithful,

So we should be too;

Deepen my love, Lord,

So I love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us and make us new, and You strengthen us for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are faithful forever. Teach us how to trust You more, so that from the moment we rise to the close of our day, we operate in the lavish goodness of Your unending love. Show us how to love those around us well, and to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cleanse us and strengthen us by Your love so that we may love likewise. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11