Freedom Through His Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. – (Galatians 5:13, ERV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love, that’s how freedom grows. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

God created us with a free will. Our freedom is ours to determine how to use or lose. When we indulge in decisions that are not what God intended, we can become trapped in a pattern and are no longer free. However, when we use our freedom to serve one another in love, we find that our freedom grows, and consequently, our joy multiplies. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us and grow us as we pursue a life of loving Him and loving one another.

We’re called to freedom,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

So let us choose well;

In love, opt to serve,

As His goodness dwells.

He dwells in each heart,

That chooses to ask;

He leads us to serve,

To love with each task.

For it’s only love,

That shows the Lord’s grace;

It sets all things right,

Brings peace to each place.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to live in freedom. Thank You that as we love and serve and honor You, we grow in our understanding of what it is to be free from all that has hindered us in the past. Forgive us for holding onto things we should not. Teach us to release that which does not extend love to You or to those around us. Show us true freedom in You. Lead us to love those around us by serving and honoring each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we freely choose to serve one another in love. Amen.

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

For God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you showed for His Name when you served the saints – and you continue to serve them. – Hebrews 6:10

Moms Model Love

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. – (Colossians 4:6, HCSB)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

This is the epitome of my mom and her mom before her; gracious, kind and wise. No human ever always has the right answer, but I think great moms come awfully close. These two women, as well as some incredible mother-like figures in my life, have modeled God’s love with the way that they speak with grace, kindness and love. It has never been unkind, but the truth is ever spoken in love. At times, the truth was to correct or redirect, but always with my best interest in mind. I am forever grateful for the gift of mothers in my life, and today, it seems only fitting to celebrate and honor them. May we ever give thanks to God for the gift of moms and mother-figures that He grants unto us, and seek Him to lead us in their likeness.

Let conversations,

Be filled with God’s grace;

Kind and with wisdom,

In every place.

For His love’s made known,

Through how we choose speak;

Actions and kindness,

Ever let us seek.

Seek to be loving,

Through every word;

Good spoken in love,

It’s how love is heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers and mother-figures who model Your love with words, actions and their very existence. Thank You for the blessings in my own life that have come through my mother, grandmother, youth leaders, church mommas, and incredibly wise and wonderful friends throughout the years. Forgive us for the times that we have not followed the example set before us and have spoken with a lack of love. Lead us to always speak with love, kindness and grace. May Your words lead the searching to see Your face and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You to ever lead us in Your love with every word we speak and all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Faithful Pursuit

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, HCSB)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

When we seek to live a life of love, marked by living right, doing good, and being faithful to love God and love people, we become people who are associated with integrity and respect. The challenge in this is there are and will always be, those who cannot see past themselves, have no regard for the positive pursuit of love that we seek to give, and can become a source of discouragement if we do not rely on God to lead and guide us. God is faithful, and He will give us His eyes to see those around us so that we can love as He intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might live right, pursue justice, and treat all others with kindness.

In everything,

Let us seek the Lord;

To live out His love,

As faith is restored.

For as we choose love,

And true faithfulness;

Justice is pursued,

Lives of graciousness.

True love and life found,

Through faithful pursuit;

God shall be our strength,

In Him we’re made new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us and empowering us to love like You. Thank You that as we seek You, we find You, and You lovingly lead us to walk in Your ways. Forgive us for the times that we have tried to do so on our own, for without You, we fail miserably. Lead us in Your ways so that we pursue justice, extend faithfulness, kindness and love to all. Show us how to love everyone as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. Amen. 

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

To Magnify

Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, HCSB)

Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power. You made all things. Everything existed and was made because You wanted it. – (Revelation 4:11, ERV)

Worthy are You, O Lord; worthy are You, O God, to receive glory and honor and power. You alone created all things, and through Your will and by Your design, they exist and were created. – (Revelation 4:11, VOICE)

God intentionally created all things. For this and so much more, He is the One who deserves all of our honor and praise. Today, on day ten of our twenty-one days of intentional prayer, the title of the guide is Magnify God. To magnify anything, we must look closely and intentionally to see all that is. The closer and more carefully we look, the more in-focus intricate details become. With God, as we magnify Him, we discover more of His heart for us and how deeply and completely He loves. “He is our Author, our Maker, our Ransom, our Savior, our Refuge, our Hiding Place; our Hope in the shadows, our Strength in the battle, our Anchor for all our days.” (Worthy of Your Name by Passion Conferences) When I began thinking about the characteristics of God, immediately my mind was flooded with the above listed song lyrics. They beautifully capture an accurate magnification of who God is and what He does for us. May we ever be intentional to magnify God and give Him all glory and honor and praise for who He is.

Our loving Author,

Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on Pexels.com

Who graciously gives;

Maker, Creator,

Of all that there is.

He is our Ransom,

In love, took our place;

The Savior of all,

Who choose seek His face.

In Him, there is hope,

Even when all’s dark;

He’s strength in weakness,

Through love, He imparts.

Our Anchor to hold,

No matter the storm;

Where we shall find peace,

Our Comfort and warmth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can magnify You as we seek You and walk in the light of Your love. Thank You that any time that we are intentional to seek and look closely at who You are and how You love, we discover countless reasons to praise You. Forgive us for not being intentional to pause and recognize who You are and how You love often enough. Teach us to glorify You in everything that we do. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly represent Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally investigate who You are and how You love so that we can properly magnify You in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. – Psalm 145:1

Righteousness and Justice

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. – (Psalm 97:2b, HCSB)

Goodness and justice make His kingdom strong. – (Psalm 97:2b, ERV)

Right and justice anchor His rule. – (Psalm 97:2b, MSG)

His throne of glory rests upon a foundation of righteousness and justice. – (Psalm 97:2b, TPT)

The throne of God is established on Him being just and righteous. Glory and honor are His, for He is good and fair. Because God is these things and so much more, He deserves our worship with reverence. When we are stuck in struggles, we must remember who reigns. Though we may not see resolve in the time frame we desire, it does not mean that God is not working on our behalf. Often, it is only after we have made it through the trying time that we can look back and see how clearly He was our help and our hope to make things new. His ongoing faithfulness reminds us that He is forever good and just. May we ever seek Him and praise Him in all things, for He is right and just and loves us as His own children.

The Lord God, He reigns,

He is right and just;

Hope and salvation,

Worthy of all trust.

His throne, established,

On all that is right;

Justice comes from Him,

Creator of light.

May we ever seek,

Throughout all our days;

And give God glory,

For His faithful ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always right and just, even when our circumstances or surroundings are not. Thank You that You are ever moving on our behalf, even when we are unaware. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for Your justice is not dependent on what we can see. Teach us to trust You to move in all things, and to know that You will have the final say, regardless of what we see now. Show us how to love those around us faithfully as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You establishing Your throne of what is right and just, and for being forever faithful to all who seek You. Amen.

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

But I will seek Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied with Your presence. – Psalm 17:15

Tend Well the Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT)

It is the love and faithfulness of God that ought to compel us to treat our minds and bodies and His temple. When we love God and invite Him into our lives, He is present with each thing that we take in, be it exposure, what we eat, and how we care for what we have been given. That reminder alone inspires me to care well for my body and to use caution with the things to which I choose to expose my heart and mind. God has made me a very visual creature, so I know that I cannot watch anything that I don’t want to live over and over again. Rather than a filter, my mind is more like a recorder that can get stuck on repeat when exposed to graphic violence and gore. Because of this, I will not and cannot watch violent shows, games, etc. Rather, I am intentional to begin each day with Him and focusing on His word, so that my heart and mind are equipped with His goodness and love. We are all a work in progress. It is an ongoing labor of love throughout our lives, not just a quick fix for the here and now. The healthier and stronger our bodies and minds are, the better equipped we are to walk out our purpose. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to tend well the temples that we have been given.

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell within us when we invite You. Thank You that You call us to tend our temples well, so that we are best equipped to honor, love and serve You. Forgive us for the times that we either neglect to care for our bodies, or expose our minds and hearts to things that do not glorify You. Teach us to ever seek to honor You through the care of our body and mind. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to tend the temple we have been given in a way that honors You. Amen.

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

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:11

Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

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

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Make Me Strong

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

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I am so grateful for this. Today is the first high school gymnastics meet in which I will be coaching as the appointed interim head coach. It is both an honor and a blessing, but it is also an entirely new role, much different than fulfilling the role of head coach in middle school. This will be a long day, yet I know that God will be faithful to provide the strength that is needed to navigate this new. Additionally, His peace is already present, despite the nervousness in the unknown. More than anything, my heart is filled with gratitude for God’s nearness and faithfulness as He walks beside me and leads me in the new. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, for He is faithful to provide the peace and strength required to continue to move forward in the direction that we have been called.

O God, make me strong,

When I’m feeling weak;

Grant wisdom and peace,

As my heart does seek.

Whatever I do,

Each step that I take;

Please lead me in grace,

In You, make me brave.

Brave to step into,

All that I’ve been called;

Strength to lead like You,

May peace be installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and peace as we seek You in all things. Thank You for the blessings of new opportunities. Thank You that You provide places for us to grow in the things we enjoy. Forgive us for attempting to do things in our own strength, rather than turning to You to lead us as You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are our supply of strength and our place of peace. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that extend strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence that provides peace, and the strength You supply to sustain us. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Loving Healer

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, NIV)

My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind He is! He forgives all our sins and heals all our sickness. – (Psalm 103:2-3, ERV)

O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases. – (Psalm 103:2-3, VOICE)

This morning, my heart is overflowing with gratitude. My son, who was battling double pneumonia and on 2.5 liters of oxygen on Monday, is now breathing without oxygen and is likely going to be released to come home this evening or tomorrow morning, after his final treatment is administered today. God is so kind. Despite our flaws and failures, He loves us and holds us in His hands. The Lord forgives and loves and heals. David, the person who penned most of the Psalms, was a man who understood his own faults and failures, and the great goodness of God. Any time that life brings storms that seem insurmountable, I find comfort in the Psalms, as they are real and raw and poetic. God is faithful to show me over and over again in His word, how deeply He loves and how freely He forgives. The more firmly these truths are rooted in my heart, the greater my desire is to serve and honor Him in all that I say and do. I fail and fall short, yet He picks me up, dusts me off, and shows me again how He loves. May we ever seek the Lord and His heart made plain through His word to lead us, guide us and comfort us in all things.

How great is the Lord,

To Him I give praise;

Who loves and forgives,

Brings healing our way.

When life brings the storms,

That rattle our core;

He shows us His love,

As peace is restored.

Give praise, O my soul,

Praise His Holy Name;

Our loving Healer,

May our hearts proclaim.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You forgive and heal us. Thank You that You alone are worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are healing and restoring my son. Forgive us for our faults and failures, and for the times that we struggle to trust what we know is true. Teach us to turn to You in all things. Show us again and again, Your goodness, kindness and grace. Lead us to love those around us with an unflappable faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, our Healer and the One who deserves all of our praise. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14