To Draw Strength

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. – (Ephesians 6:10, HCSB)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

Paul, in his letter to the church of Ephesus, reminded the people from where to draw their strength. This reminder is not only for them, but for all of us, throughout the ages. God’s strength is limitless and everlasting. We can call on Him and He is faithful to provide the strength we need to keep moving in the direction to which we have been called. Sometimes His strength is provided supernaturally, and other times, He supplies people around us to lean on, who encourage and build us up. Either way, He continues to prove that He is faithful and worthy of all of our trust. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, for He is good and is stronger than anything that we might face.

Brothers and sisters,

Look to God for strength;

It’s more than enough,

Endless height and length.

Wherever we go,

His strength shall endure;

So keep seeking Him,

All grace He assures.

He provides for needs,

In His love, He gives;

Hope, help and His peace,

And strength to forgive.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source and Supply of strength. Thank You that You meet us in our need, and provide in ways that we might not expect, yet grant us that which sustains us best. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to muscle our way through things, or suffer in silence; neither is what You intend for us. Teach us to bring our burdens to You, for You provide the strength we need to press on. Show us how to love those around us in practical ways, so that strength is shared as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength and praise You for Your limitless power and provision. Amen.

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

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

Grace that Guides Us

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

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

Here’s what I pray for you: Father, may their love grow more and more in wisdom and insight – so they will be able to examine and determine the best from everything else. And on the day of the Anointed One, the day of His judgment, let them stand pure and blameless. – (Philippians 1:9-10, VOICE)

Though these words were Paul’s to the church of Philippi, they are applicable and relevant for us still today. I don’t know about You, but I need my love through Him to grow more and more, and to have wisdom and insight to know what is best. Also, the only way that I will be blameless when I meet Him face-to-face is through His overwhelming mercy and grace that guides us in His love. God, in His eternal love, will lead us and guide us to know what is important and what is not. Yesterday, I knew that lifting up my day at school, especially the time with my last class of the day, was important. I had no idea what would unfold, but looking back, I can see how clearly God’s hand of protection was over my students and me, and that His grace was with me in a moment that I hope will never again be repeated in my career. A student snapped and went into a fit of rage; one that included throwing desks and stools across a crowded classroom. Thankfully, no one was injured and the episode lasted less than a minute before he stormed out of the room. Now, in the aftermath, I need God’s wisdom and insight to lead and guide me as I go today (and everyday). May we ever seek the Lord to grow His love in us more and more, and to flood our hearts and minds with His wisdom and insight so that we might navigate our days in a way that is blameless before Him.

Father of mercy,

My view as I arrived on campus a few mornings ago…

This is what I pray;

For wisdom, insight,

Your help each new day.

O God, grow in me,

Your love more and more;

So I might know best,

How to stand, endure.

Help me, Lord Jesus,

To listen to You;

For You lead and guide,

Show what’s best to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us in each new moment as we trust in You. Thank You that You grow us more and more in Your love and wisdom and insight as we seek You. Thank You that You consider us blameless before You because of the sacrifice of Your Son. Forgive us for leaving You out of the loop when troubles come our way. Teach us to trust in You to grant us Your wisdom and insight so that we will know which way to go in every situation and circumstance. 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 are intentional to come before You to listen and learn, so that we may become more of who You created us to be. 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

Live in Light

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

The more we choose to love, the more we are living in the light that God has called us into. As we are in the light, we are able to see clearly the ways in which we are meant to go. However, if we turn from the light and do not love, we stumble and fall, and do the wrong that we never intended to do. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we love well and ever remain with a clear conscience in the light that He provides.

To love each other,

Is to live in light;

With a clear conscience,

In Him we delight.

With His light we see,

The ways we’re to go;

To care for others,

And make His love known.

Keep looking to God,

And His loving light;

Seek walk in His ways,

And choose to do right.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love our brothers and sisters as You do. Thank You that Your loving light illuminates that way that we are meant to love. Thank You that as we do, we walk in Your light and You keep our path clear. Forgive us for choosing anything that is not love, for it is in such spaces that we stumble and fall. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the light of Your love in all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may shine Your light before those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love our brothers and sisters best. Amen.

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

As people understand Your word, it brings light to their lives… – Psalm 119:130a

Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself up for us – a sweet smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.- (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Grow Wisdom Within

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, HCSB)

Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, ERV)

Reverence for the Eternal, the one True God, is the beginning of wisdom; true knowledge of the Holy One is the start of understanding. – (Proverbs 9:10, VOICE)

True wisdom begins when we recognize that God is God and we are not. Reverence for God is a respectful recognition that He is all-powerful and greater than anything that comes against us. The sort of fear this is referring to is an awareness of how great God is and how small we are in comparison. God called all into being, and can build up or tear down with a single word. It is not a fear that cowers in the corner, but rather one that stands in awe of who God is and all that He holds in the hollow of His hands. As we realize who God is, and respect in reverence His power and might, we grow in our understanding and insight. May we ever seek the Lord with reverence, for He grants us wisdom and insight to truly understand who He is and how He loves.

Wisdom is a gift,

That’s given by God;

True understanding,

Of grace and His love.

The Almighty King,

Comes close unto us;

Gives us His insight,

As we seek Jesus.

With true reverence,

May we stand in awe;

Of all God has done,

And His love for all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Source of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Thank You that You show us more of You as we seek You with reverence and awe. Forgive us for our lack of seeking or our lack of recognition of how truly great You are. Teach us to recognize the enormity of Your goodness and grace, and lead us to live out our lives in the fullness of Your love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that point hearts unto You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You with respect and reverence to grow wisdom within us. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – Psalm 90:12

Incredibly Known

He counts the number of stars; He gives names to all of them. – (Psalm 147:4, HCSB)

He counts the stars and knows them each by name. – (Psalm 147:4, ERV)

He counts all the stars within His hands, carefully fixing their number and giving them names. – (Psalm 147:4, VOICE)

In my own limited understanding, I know I am guilty of making God too small, or limiting what I think He can do. Verses like the one above are a reminder of just how big God really is. God, the Creator of all, created, placed, counted and named each of the stars in the sky. I don’t know about you, but any time that I get away from the city/suburb lights and look at the sky at night, I stand in awe, as the longer I look, the more stars I see; far too many to count. It is a reminder of how great God truly is. The same God that knows each star by name, knows my name and the number of hairs on my head. Intentionally, He formed each of us and knows us better than anyone. Designed with a plan and a purpose, I cannot help but stand in awe. The more I know Him, the more I want to know. One who knows and loves so deeply and personally is worth pursuing more. May we ever seek to know the Lord more and more, and may we discover how He sees us and calls us to be who He has created us to become.

Each star with a name,

Both numbered and known;

The Lord placed each one,

Love’s light being shown.

He who hung the stars,

Also made us all;

With plan and purpose,

Each one of us called.

May we choose seek Him,

With wonder and awe;

Praise Him for His love,

And grace for us all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created, placed, named and know each star in the sky – both those we can see, and those we cannot. Thank You that You know each person on the planet in the same way. Forgive us for making You too small. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are so much more than we can think or imagine. Lead us to love those around us with a love like Yours so that all might feel and know Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue knowing You more, and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Comfort and Joy

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – (Psalm 94:19, HCSB)

I was very worried and upset, but You comforted me and made me happy! – (Psalm 94:19, ERV)

When I was upset and beside myself, You calmed me down and cheered me up. – (Psalm 94:19, MSG)

When anxiety overtakes me and worries are many, Your comfort lightens my soul. – (Psalm 94:19, VOICE)

The psalmist who penned this Psalm knew and understood the nature of God, individually; personally. Throughout time, this has remained true. Whenever we worry, find ourselves anxious or upset, or become overwhelmed with cares, as we slow down and seek the Lord, He brings us comfort and joy, even in the midst of circumstances that are not ideal. God is good and loving and kind, and He provides comfort in our cares and peace in our spaces of unrest. His love has brought joy in the midst of horrible situations. 

A few years ago, my mom suffered a massive stroke. The circumstances and situation surrounding it were devastating. However, God made a way for me to be with her and to spend the first few months following the incident with her. He brought joy and laughter to us both, even in the most challenging of circumstances. We were able to delight in simple things, and His goodness and grace were overwhelmingly apparent. It has been a roller coaster of a road to recovery ever since, but all the while, God has brought comfort and joy to us all each step of the way. 

May we ever look to the Lord when we feel our cares compounding, for He is faithful to meet us in our moments, as He shows us His goodness and love, and comforts us with true joy that comes from Him alone.

The Lord brings comfort,

Sunset on Oahu. ❤

When chaos surrounds;

He’s peace that’s present,

And love that astounds.

God grants us His joy,

In the midst of pain;

He lightens our load,

And shows us He reigns.

When worry creeps in,

And peace slips away;

Seek the Lord Jesus,

For He is the way.

The way to know joy,

When it seems so far;

His love overwhelms,

Wherever we are.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us in our chaos and anxiety and bring us comfort and joy. Thank You that You are our peace in all things and at all times. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances to flood our hearts with anxiousness and fear. Teach us to turn to You in all things, and to trust You to lead us through with Your goodness and strength. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we might be bearers of joy and comfort in challenging times. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times, knowing that You alone are our source of comfort and joy. Amen.

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

Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Ongoing Transformation

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

 This verse is such a wonderful reminder that we are ALL a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived”; we all can continue to be transformed more and more by the goodness of God and His unending grace, if only we are willing to seek and trust in Him. The process is different for everyone, and what we see is not the whole story. We all have challenges and triumphs, detours and direct routes as we navigate this life with the intent to grow more like Jesus. I love that the Lord will not stop in the middle, but rather will continue to work in us and through us as we depend on Him. Though I am certain I have passed the midpoint in this life, I am well aware of the work that still needs to be done. There is always more to learn, and always more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and more to gain. It is only through looking back that we can see how far we have come. For some, change is subtle, as the external has mostly always been a pleasant demeanor, however, the work in the heart is what transforms the mind to think and respond in love in all circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in His love, and recognize that we are all a work in progress and in desperate need of His love and grace.

Confidently trust,

The work is not done;

A lifelong process,

As we seek the Son.

Each day we choose Him,

His love is our guide;

To give as He gives,

With arms open wide.

Lead us in Your love,

To care as You do;

Let Your goodness show,

As we follow You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all a work in progress and that Your work in us will not stop until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that none of us “arrive” and are somehow without room to grow. Forgive us for our expectations and frustrations with others, for You are working in and through all of us. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for growth happens as we seek You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage one another to grow more like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to keep transforming our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love throughout each day that we draw breath. 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 good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Love Made Perfect

This is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

So, my loved ones, if God loved us so sacrificially, surely we should love one another. No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:11-12, VOICE)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

The more we love one another, the better those around us come to understand the love of God. Perfect love is God’s love being made visible through our decision to love. Love is a choice, and each time we choose to love, we are choosing to show the world what God intended all along. However, if we talk about God or His love but do not show it through our interactions, then we are just making noise and are keeping the love of God hidden. If fact, it does more damage if we do not choose to show love, for to some, we might be the only example of who God is in their lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us may come to understand God’s goodness and grace as His love is demonstrated through all that we say and do.

The love of the Lord,

Is beyond compare;

It is by His grace,

That we all can share.

Share of His goodness,

And love others well;

Ever choose to love,

As in Him we dwell.

For when we know love,

We give it away;

It never runs out,

It’s made new each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You first loved us, we too, are called to love one another. Thank You that this is not something we have to do on our own, but rather You equip and empower us to love as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You to lead us and fill us, so that we may ever be Your hands, heart and voice to those around us. Show us how to love each person we encounter as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love. Amen.

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

This is my command. Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12