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

The Heavens Make It Known

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. – (Psalm 19:1, NIV)

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

God’s splendor is a tale that is told, written in the stars. Space itself speaks His story through the marvel of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing His skill in creation’s craftsmanship. – (Psalm 19:1, TPT)

Each morning, as I walk our dogs, I witness the beauty of all that God has made. The skies transform before my eyes, and the colors unfold like the opening of a fresh box of crayons. At night, as the day comes to a close, the moon and stars shine bright through the darkness, blinking of the brilliance of the hands that hung them each in the sky. Even when the blue is hidden by clouds, the weight of them waters the earth and restores green to the grass and trees. All it takes is but a moment of looking up to be reminded of the greatness of God and the glory of His majesty. May we ever take in all of His creation and recognize that the same God who created such beauty was intentional to create all those whom we encounter.

All heaven declares,

The glory of God;

The work of His hands,

Leaves my heart in awe.

Each star in the sky,

On purpose was placed;

To remind us all,

Of God’s endless grace.

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose look up;

Give thanks to the Lord,

As He fills our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness, power and creativity. Thank You that all we need to do is look up to become aware of the wonders of Your power and goodness. Forgive us for neglecting to take time to take in all of the wonder at what Your hands have made. Teach us to be intentional to appreciate and stand in awe of all that You have created. Show us how to recognize the beauty of Your creation, and to help others value themselves, as we all are among Your created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your glory as we observe the world around us.  Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

The Knowing in Stillness

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” – (Psalm 46:10, NIV)

God says, “Stop fighting and know that I am God…” – (Psalm 46:10, ERV)

Surrender your anxiety. Be still and realize that I am God… – (Psalm 46:10, TPT)

I love that each of these translations use a different phrase prior to pointing out that God is God. We are called to be still, to stop fighting, and to surrender our anxiety to Him. These things do not transpire automatically, rather they are actions with intention. To be still, we must stop what we are doing and find a space of quiet rest. In the midst of fighting or anxiety, being still is typically the last thing we want to do. God’s ways are not our ways, yet He sees and knows what we need. It is in that space of slowing down and releasing what burdens us, that we recognize God in the midst of all that we are going through. In the same way that we often miss things if we are driving by a space because we are moving too quickly, and then suddenly notice if we are walking by at a leisurely pace, so it is also with the goodness of God. We realize the depth and breadth of who God is and how He loves best when we slow down, are intentionally still, and sit in the stillness of knowing that God is God and He is for us. May we all be intentional to find time and space to be still, for in that stillness peace comes and love abounds.

Just stop and be still,

Give all to the Lord;

Burdens and unrest,

Peace is our reward.

In stillness we’re shown,

The power of God;

And how great His love,

So deep and so broad.

Choose to surrender,

All things unto Him;

Faithful to meet us,

As we let Him in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to surrender, lay our burdens and anxieties down, and simply be still. Thank You that we can trust in You and Your faithful love, no matter what state we find ourselves in. Forgive us for the times we don’t slow down and continue to try to carry what was never meant to be ours. Teach us to trust You more and to seek You in intentional stillness, for that is where we find You best. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help them discover still spaces to lay down what they need not carry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be still and surrender all that we are and all that we are going through to You and Your love. Amen.

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

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Time to Treasure

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. – (Luke 12:34, MSG)

Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well. – (Luke 12:34, VOICE)

Our treasure is what we place value upon and where we spend our time, talent, and resources. Throughout the last year, I have spent more time at home than ever before. This whole pandemic situation has been a catalyst to investing more into my family, home and community. It has required intentional focus to navigate life at home with three people and two dogs that are always present. I have always treasured the stillness of early mornings, so my time alone with God has not changed nor been compromised. My kids choose to be present and help out with the puppies as they navigate their own way through college online. As for the pups, who could help but invest time and resources into loving them well? It is not all easy, but it is indeed worthwhile. May we treasure the gifts that God has given, and prioritize praising Him for His goodness and grace. May we pursue the Lord and His best for us, ever placing our treasure in Him.

These treasured moments,

God glimpses through time;

Intentional acts,

of love being kind.

For as we value,

God’s gifts here on earth;

We discover peace,

And to Him, our worth.

Value exceeding,

All that we have known;

A promised future,

Of glories unknown.

May we spend our gifts,

Time talents and trust;

Investing in things,

That don’t turn to dust.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to treasure. Thank You that loving You and loving those around us is the greatest investment we could ever make. Forgive us for the times that we have squandered our time, talent and resources on things that will not last. Teach us to prioritize and be intentional. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our time, talents and resources to love and to honor You. Amen.

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

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

Time Leads to Hope

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. – (1 Timothy 4:10, NIV)

We hope in the living God, the Savior of all people. In particular, He is the Savior of all those who believe in Him. This is why we work and struggle. – (1 Timothy 4:10, ERV)

This is what we work so hard for! This is why we are constantly struggling: because we have an assured hope fixed upon a living God who is the Savior of all humankind – especially all of us who believe. – (1 Timothy 4:10, VOICE)

To invest in any relationship, it takes effort. We must be intentional to invest time and energy to maintain what has been established. It is no different with God. Deepening our understanding and growing in His grace only takes place when we consistently spend time with Him. As we do, our hope is firmly secured in the Savior. God is for all people, yet He does not force His way in. We all have a free will and are given the choice as to whether we receive all that He offers or not. This is not an easy road, but it is one that is well worth the while. God is faithful, no matter what comes our way, and He is present to help, hold and see us through all things. I am so grateful for who God is and how He loves, as it is in the ever-increasing knowledge of Him that my hope is securely held. May we ever be intentional to invest our love and lives in the living God, for He is our hope forever.

Let us seek the Lord,

Our true living hope;

The more we invest,

The more we feel known.

Creator of all,

Is waiting for us;

To spend time with Him,

Our Savior, Jesus.

Always worth the while,

The time we invest;

His love overwhelms,

Our peace and our rest.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You invite us to be in relationship with You. Thank You that You meet us as we seek You. Thank You for Your goodness and grace that carries us through every challenge that comes our way. Forgive us for not investing as we should in the most important relationship of all. Show us how to be intentional with our time, so that we may grow in Your goodness and grace as we deepen our walk with You. Teach us to love those around us as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to invest our hearts and lives into our relationship with You. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Intentional Obedience

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, NIV)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, TPT)

If we truly seek to love as we have been designed, we discover that true love makes it impossible to harm another. However, love is a choice. Each of us have been designed with a free will, and we have to be intentional to choose to love. Love is not selective, but rather it is all-encompassing and inclusive. Love may look different for different people, but it always seeks the best for others. Incredibly, as we seek the Lord to lead us in love, He shows us how we are meant to love through each word that we say and everything that we do. As we love as God intended, we are keeping in line with all that He asks of us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may care for one another as we were designed to do.

To love like the Lord,

Requires a choice;

To treat each other,

With God’s heart and voice.

As we seek to love,

All those whom we meet;

God’s heart is made known,

And love is complete.

Yet still, we must choose,

Love purposefully;

Such obedience,

Sets broken hearts free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called us and designed us to love each other. Thank You that as we do, we are following what You ask of us. Forgive us for every time that we have neglected to choose love. Teach us to see the opportunities all around us to love as You love us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek You to show us how to love all those around us as we have been called and created to love. Amen.

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

Saved By Love

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NIV)

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, ERV)

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT)

If we are to love as we are loved by God, then our charge is not to condemn others, but rather to point them to He who saves. Our words, actions and very existence either reflect His love or distort it. The more we are intentional to love well, the more clearly His heart can be seen by those around us. Days like today remind me of just how deep, wide and all-encompassing God’s love truly is. In the same way that the falling snow covers everything it touches, so too does God’s love for us. If we are open to all He offers, He covers us with His unfailing love. May we ever seek the Lord in all things, for His love is so great that He sent His Son to make certain we would have the opportunity to know and experience His love.

The love of the Lord,

Chose sacrifice all;

To make the way clear,

So we’d hear Love’s call.

The purpose was not,

To come and condemn;

But rather to love,

Lead hearts unto Him.

May we choose the same,

Love generously;

Let love lead the way,

Bless relentlessly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to save us, not condemn. Thank You that You show us over and over again how deep and wide Your love is for us all. Forgive us for the times that we have condemned rather than loved like You. Show us how to love those around us as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your generous and saving grace that equips us to love like You. Amen.

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

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

To Be Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

In a culture where arguing and fighting seem to be the norm, how can we work to bring peace? To me, the most logical way is to love. If we are focused on loving those around us, we will truly listen and learn how to love best. When we are intentional to love, it is impossible to fight. I know many people who think differently and view the world differently than me, yet we are able to listen to one another as we allow love to lead. When love leads, peace is found. It is in that space of peace that we are best able to recognize that God has placed us among family and loves us all as His own. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may be peacemakers wherever we go.

The Lord calls us all,

To care like He does;

Be bringers of peace,

And givers of love.

As we choose invest,

By faith, live out love;

We represent well,

Our Father above.

So, let us invest,

In listening well;

Help us all to learn,

Through peace, Your love tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be bringers of peace in places where it is absent. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to listen and love in a way that helps create community. Forgive us for the times that we have opted to argue rather than listen and learn. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that we can be bringers of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be peacemakers as Your sons and daughters. 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

Sing in the Strength He Supplies

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

There are days when this resonates a little more clearly than others. Each morning as I rise before the sun, I am intentional to seek and spend time with our Savior. Small things can distract my attention, and I have to choose to focus on Him and time in His word. As I do, He is faithful to show me His loving kindness anew, and there is not a day that I seek Him that I do not find Him. I cannot even begin to count the numerous times that He has been my place of safety and my defender when troubles have come. In all things, He remains faithful to be present and pour out His goodness and love. It does not mean that all is easy and without obstacles, rather in those obstacles I have a guide to lead me through. For this, and so many other things, I have reason to hold songs of praise in my heart, celebrating His strength when I had none, and His presence when I felt alone. May we ever remember who is our source of strength and mercy and goodness, as we call on Christ to be our place of safety in every storm.

O Lord each new day,

May I rise and sing;

Of goodness and strength,

The hope that You bring.

Teach me to see You,

With each rising sun;

Give thanks unto You,

Our strong Holy One.

Thank You for safety,

That is held in You;

For Your sweet presence,

That carries us through.

Help songs to rise up,

Flood my mind and heart;

With praise unto You,

Gratitude impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to sing, as You are our source of strength and our space of safety. Forgive us for not giving praise where praise is due, and for forgetting how powerful Your presence is to strengthen and uphold us. Teach us to trust in You through every season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that supply strength and hope and resolve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find shelter in the safety of Your love and sing praise to You for each new day we are granted. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

He Has Shown Us

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – (Micah 6:8, NIV)

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

But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously. – (Micah 6:8, MSG)

So often we get caught up in trying to figure everything out. The things that matter most, have already been clearly spelled out for us. If we would willingly and lovingly walk in that which the Lord asks of us, we would discover that we are doing exactly what He intended for us to do. How can we be fair and just, kind and loyal, and humble before God? When we allow love to lead us, God’s goodness is present. Currently, I have many friends who are in a season of grieving. In the midst of loss, our decision to choose kindness, compassion and love, can make all the difference to a hurting heart. We know not what those around us are dealing with, so each time we are intentional to act in love, we extend goodness and grace to people who may be in desperate need. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us, so that we might live out our days with fairness, compassion, loyalty and love, as we humbly pursue God and His best for us.

O Lord, unto You,

We humbly pursue;

Your loving kindness,

That’s ever made new.

Show us compassion,

Your goodness and grace;

Equip us to love,

The whole human race.

May we walk justly,

Love mercy like You;

Be humble and kind,

Show Your love is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us what it is that You desire from us. Thank You that You do not expect us to somehow muster the strength and kindness to love like You on our own, but rather You equip us as we humbly seek You. Forgive us for either attempting to do these things on our own, or for ignoring what You are asking when it is inconvenient. Teach us to love like You at all times and in every circumstance. Show us what it is to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You. Lead us to love all those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to live and love as You created each of us to do.

© 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