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

Ever Near

I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

I always remember that the Lord is with me. He is here, close by my side, so nothing can defeat me. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

He is ever present with me; at all times He goes before me. I will not live in fear or abandon my calling because He stands at my right hand. – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This is the goal for sure, to keep the Lord in mind always and to remember that He is ever present with us wherever we go and whatever we do. Whatever He calls us to, He will see us through. It does not mean that it will be easy, but it will always be worthwhile. Whether we have known Jesus the majority of our lives or for a short while, it is good to be reminded of how very near He is. When we are aware of His presence, fear flees and we find we are equipped and empowered to move forward into all that He is asking. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to spend time with Him, as it is through our drawing near that we are reminded that the Lord is but a heartbeat away.

O Lord, You are good,

Chasing sunsets on Oahu.<3

Ever near to me;

My help and my hope,

For eternity.

As close as my hand,

You stay by my side;

Your nearness is clear,

As I choose abide.

Remind us, O God,

Of Your strength and grace;

How present You are,

When we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always with us and ever ready to help us and strengthen us so that we can press on. Thank You that we need not fear because You are with us. Forgive us for losing sight of Your nearness. Teach us to trust in Your goodness and grace that is ever with us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your nearness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are ever aware of Your nearness. Amen.

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

The Lord is near to all who call out to Him, all who call out to Him with integrity. – Psalm 145:18

The Nourishing Word

But He answered, “It is written: Man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” – (Matthew 4:4, HCSB)

Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures say, ‘It is not just bread that keeps people alive. Their lives depend on what God says.” – (Matthew 4:4, ERV)

Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” – (Matthew 4:4, MSG)

The thing about the word of God is that we must consume it regularly to have it securely planted in our hearts. I cannot count the number of times that His words have come to mind exactly when I needed them most. Yes, it is the whispers of the Holy Spirit that bring His words to light, yet it is my responsibility to be in the word so that there are promises and reminders available. Additionally, it is our filter to recognize what is and is not okay for us. He illuminates His words in our hearts and minds when we are facing decisions, difficulties and more. Yes, we need food, water, shelter and clothing to live, but we need His word to live life abundant in Him. The word of God is full of instruction, insight, praise, exhortation, correction, redirection and the incredible evidence of His everlasting love, goodness and grace for all who seek Him. I have always been exposed to the word of God, as I was raised in a household that valued attending church and being a part of said community. However, exposure is not what truly provides lasting nourishment for the soul. It has been well over a decade since I began making time in His word a part of my daily practice faithfully. I have had seasons where I would invest in a particular study, but this has now become part of my lifestyle. This blog is actually a way to remain accountable to continue to do so. Each post that is published comes from what God is showing me as I read and study His word. Some days I invest in long passages, whereas other days, I focus on the verse of the day. No matter which I do, God is faithful to show me how what I am reading applies to my life, a situation that is before me, or a reminder for me or someone that I care about. In all things, God is good and His word is essential to navigate this crazy, wonderful life. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for He is faithful to reveal to us more and more as we invest in Him.

The word of the Lord,

Nourishes the soul;

It grants instruction,

Direction, and more.

For God is faithful,

As we choose seek Him;

He shows us what’s good,

And love enters in.

The Lord’s word delights,

Those who choose to seek;

Revelations come,

Give strength when we’re weak.

When we’re discouraged,

His word lifts our head;

Hope made tangible,

Through what can be read.

So, seek the Savior,

Spend time in His word;

For here life is found,

Love and hope are heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your word. Thank You that it is nourishment for the heart, mind and soul as we seek You. Thank You that there is so much more life made known when we consume Your word. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to invest in knowing You more through Your word, or have hurried through what we were meant to chew. Teach us how to be intentional in our time in Your word, and reveal more and more of who You are and how You love as we do. Show us how to love those around us well, as You lead and guide us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we nourish our souls with the wonder of Your word. Amen.

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

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

With Kindness and Compassion

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, HCSB)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

Instead, be kind and compassionate. Graciously forgive one another just as God has forgiven you through the Anointed, our Liberating King. – (Ephesians 4:32, VOICE)

If we were to approach every human interaction with kindness and compassion, and were quick to forgive others in the same way that we are forgiven, people would understand the heart of God. We know not the battles that others are facing. Just last week there were five major losses or concerns that weighed on me as the week unfolded. Each day, it seemed, I was met with news of a tragedy or a major medical concern among family and friends. Thankfully, my concerns were met with kindness and compassion and grace. The sort of human-interaction that was extended to me, I was in turn, able to extend to others. When we are intentional to seek God, He shows us His goodness and love, even in the midst of heaviness and heartache. This morning, as I prepare to attend a memorial for a friend’s husband, I feel equipped with kindness and compassion, ready to extend help and hope where so much has been lost. May we continually seek the Lord in all things and at all times so that we might extend the same kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness that we are given through Him.

The Lord is gracious,

Photo by Anna Tarazevich

He’s loving and kind;

Full of compassion,

In Him, we align.

He forgives our faults,

Calls us to the same;

As we extend grace,

We honor His Name.

O Lord, please lead us,

To love as You do;

Ever forgiving,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be kind and compassionate to one another, full of forgiveness and love. Thank You that You not only show us these things over and over again, but You equip us to go and do likewise as we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love, compassion, kindness or forgiveness when interacting with those around us. Teach us to seek You first to fill us and lead us in Your love. Show us how to extend kindness, compassion, forgiveness and love in tangible ways to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to lead us to love as You so completely love us all. Amen.

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

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

Hearts Full of Praise

He answered, “I tell you, if they were to keep silent, the stones would cry out!” – (Luke 19:40, HCSB)

But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if my followers didn’t say them, these stones would shout them.” – (Luke 19:40, ERV)

But He said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” – (Luke 19:40, MSG)

During Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, His followers, who were many, began to praise God for all the miracles that they had seen through Jesus. The Pharisees in the crowd told Jesus to rebuke His disciples and the verse above is how He responded. We were made to praise. The more we see and know and understand who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but praise Him. All of creation testifies of His goodness, and so should we. Every act of kindness, each encouraging word, all of the smiles at strangers – everything we do that is driven by His love, testifies of His goodness in our lives. May we be intentional to live His love out loud in our lives, and honor Him through all that we say and do.

We are made to praise,

Give thanks to the Lord;

For all of His love,

And grace He affords.

If we do not speak,

Represent His love;

The rocks will cry out,

Praise the Lord above.

So, seek to praise Him,

With all that we do;

May all be in love,

Represent Him true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are worthy of all of our thanks and praise. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how deeply and completely You know and love us all. Forgive us for our lack of praise or lack of love as we walk out our days. Teach us to live and love as You intended. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that all that we do and say demonstrates who You are and how completely You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live out our days with hearts full of praise. Amen.

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

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. – Psalm 19:1

Unlikely Allies

While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!” – (Matthew 27:19, HCSB)

While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him. It said, “Don’t do anything with that man. He is not guilty. Last night I had a dream about Him and it troubled me very much.” – (Matthew 27:19, ERV)

While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message. “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about Him.” – (Matthew 27:19, MSG)

I have read the account of all that Jesus endured on His way to the cross countless times. For whatever reason, what stood out to me this morning is that the most unlikely of people seemed to be in His corner. After enduring two trials and three denials, I imagine it felt like no one was for Him. Both Pilate and his wife spoke on His behalf, recognizing and declaring His innocence. Though Pilate eventually gave into the chaos of the crowd, he had spoken out about Jesus and had declared that He had done nothing worthy of death. These things make me wonder what life was like for them after Jesus had died, risen and ascended. My heart hopes that because they had been in His presence and had witnessed the heart, humility and grace that Jesus displayed, that their lives were forever changed. This morning, my prayer is that all those around us will see Jesus in us and be drawn into His goodness and grace.

Unlikely allies,

A judge and his wife;

Knew what really was,

And fought for His life.

Yet despite their words,

That which had to be;

The life of Jesus,

For you and for me.

There was not a way,

To bypass the cross;

He was not willing,

For us to be lost.

The joy of it all,

Arrived the third day;

Death couldn’t hold Him,

For He is the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You show us new things each time we are intentional to invest time in Your word. Thank You that You use unlikely people to show us more of You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder or for rushing ahead when You always have something for us to learn. Teach us to be intentional in our seeking and listening. Show us more of You in everyday and unexpected places. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace and penetrate the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause, ponder, and praise You for all that You have done in our lives. Amen.

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

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35

Love in All

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. – (Deuteronomy 6:5, HCSB)

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)

We are called and commanded to love because God is love. Incredibly, we are created to love, and each of us give and receive love differently. No matter how we best express love, He sees and receives what we offer. If we were to love God with our whole heart and soul, every word we say, every decision we make, and every action we take would be unto Him. Learning to love God completely is a lifelong process. In the same way that we grow to love those around us more as we are intentional to spend time and invest in relationships, the same is true with God. The more we know Him, the more deeply we love Him and want Him to be a part of everything we say and do. May we continually pursue the Lord in love, so that we grow to love as we were created to love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all that we do;

May our hearts align,

So we honor You.

With all of our heart,

And all of our soul;

With all of our strength,

Lifelong love, the goal.

For how You love us,

Lead us to love too;

With all that we are,

Give praise unto You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that the more we get to know You, the greater our love grows for You and for all those You have placed in our lives. Forgive us for staying stagnant rather than continually seeking to grow. Teach us to lean into all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to learn to love You more in every area of our lives. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keep the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

Pray for ALL

First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be made for everyone. – (1 Timothy 2:1, HCSB)

First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. – (1 Timothy 2:1, ERV)

So, first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requests, petitions, and thanksgivings on behalf of all humanity. – (1 Timothy 2:1, VOICE)

We are called to pray, present requests, and give thanks for everyone, and do so on their behalf. It is easy to pray for those who love us and are kind to us, yet we are called to pray for ALL people. This includes those who are unkind to us, those who slow us down; for those who frustrate or aggravate us, and for those who care little for anyone other than themselves. To pray for these requires an intentional and purposeful decision to love as God loves us. An old friend of mine, years ago, modeled this in a very practical way while we were driving somewhere. Every time someone would cut in front of us or do something foolish or frustrating, he would speak out blessing and truth, such as, “Jesus loves you!” or “May God bless you and protect you!”, even when it came out as a shout. It seemed silly at the time, yet all these years later, it still serves as a reminder for me to bless and pray for others, even those who anger us the most. Part of the process of praying for others is as much a request for us to see them as God does, as it is a choice to act in love when love is not at all what we feel. May we ever lift up and pray for all those around us, without exception.

Lord, please remind us,

To choose pray for ALL;

The bent and broken,

For this is our call.

Show us Your own heart,

For humanity;

The love that held You,

Up upon that tree.

For You have so loved,

That You gave us all;

Now our champion,

On whom we can call.

Quicken our hearts, Lord,

To love and to pray;

For ev’ry person,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us what it really is to love and pray for all. On the cross, Jesus prayed for those who hung Him there. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of love for those who need love the most. Show us how to pray for and bless everyone whom we encounter. Change hearts and lives to reflect Your love to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray for and bless others as You have modeled for and equipped us to do. Amen.

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

Father, I pray that all who believe in Me can be one. You are in Me and I am in You. I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that You sent Me. – John 17:21

Make Time

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

A child has been born for us; a son has been given to us. The responsibility of complete dominion will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be: The Wonderful One! The Extraordinary Strategist! The Mighty God! The Father of Eternity! The Prince of Peace! – (Isaiah 9:6, TPT)

The promise of the arrival of Jesus was foretold long before it came to pass. However, when He arrived, people were surprised that He arrived in such humble beginnings and as He grew, He did not lead as people expected. Jesus was humble and kind, loving and full of grace, with no interest in being seated on an earthly throne. Instead, Jesus came to save us and make the way for us to be in a right relationship with the Father. His life, death, resurrection and ascension created the opportunity for us to be forgiven and made new, so we can come before the throne of God and understand Him as our Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Eternal Father, and our Prince of Peace. As the Christmas season unfolds before us, may we recognize and celebrate the true reason for this most wonderful season, and give praise to the Holy Living God.

Lowly beginning,

Most humble His birth;

Quite unexpected,

How God came to earth.

Born in a stable,

With livestock around;

Shepherds and wise men,

Sought Him and were found.

Angelic visits,

A star overhead;

Goodness and wisdom,

Is how they were led.

The baby, He grew,

In wisdom and grace;

He gave and suffered,

To open the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to know You and understand the eternal hope we have in You. Forgive us for making You too small, for though You came as a baby, You did not stay that way. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and our Prince of Peace. Teach us to remember and trust in all that You are and how great Your love truly is. Show us how to love one another with the love that pours out from a heart that knows and understands the power of Your overwhelming kindness, goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to make time to celebrate and worship You, giving all thanks and praise for coming near to us and giving us hope that lasts forever. Amen.

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

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Our Reasons to Praise

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done. – (1 Chronicles 16:8, NLT)

Give thanks to the Lord and call out to Him! Tell the nations what He has done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, ERV)

Thank God! Call out His Name! Tell the whole world who He is and what He’s done! – (1 Chronicles 16:8, MSG)

Having a much needed long weekend reminds my mind and heart of all that I have and the countless reasons I have to give thanks. God is good, even when life’s circumstances are not. I am blessed with family and friends near and far, a roof over my head, working vehicles to get where we need to go and back again, a job, a healthy body, crazy puppies, a church and community to be a part of, and God’s love made tangible through the wonderful ones that He has placed in my life. For all of these things, and so much more, I give thanks. May we ever be intentional to take pause and recognize the reasons that we have to give God thanks, and make His goodness known as we pass on the blessings that we have been given to all those around us.

Give thanks to the Lord,

Choose call on His Name;

He is always good,

As His love proclaims.

Our reasons to praise,

Come from all He gives;

Our hope, peace and love,

The life that we live.

May our lives exclaim,

God’s goodness and grace;

So all too may know,

Of His loving ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all of the ways You bless us, protect us, and pour Your love out upon us and give us peace. Thank You that You are our hope, help and peace. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to recognize Your goodness all around us. Teach us to see the good in all things and to give You thanks for the love that You bring. Show us how to extend the same sort of love to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks and praise and tell of all Your wonderful ways. 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