Hope in Living Water

But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. – (John 4:14, NIV)

But anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life. – (John 4:14, ERV)

I offer water that will become a wellspring within you that gives life throughout eternity. You will never be thirsty again. – (John 4:14, VOICE)

Jesus spoke these words to a Samaritan woman at the well in the middle of the day. First, Jews and Samaritans did not speak to one another. Second, male and female strangers did not speak to each other. Additionally, people did not typically draw water from the well in the heat of the day. His opening with the woman was simply to ask for a drink of water as she was drawing the water from the well. Her line of questions led to His statement about living water, and eventually to Jesus speaking the truth of who she was, what she had experienced, and what she could have through trusting in God. She embraced the grace that was freely given and then went and told everyone she could find about the One at the well. Her shame was overshadowed by the hope she discovered in Jesus. Incredibly, the same holds true for us still. When we realize the hope and joy that Jesus has for us as we trust in Him, we cannot help but allow His love and hope to radiate from us. May we ever trust in He who is the living water, and walk out our days in the reality of our eternal hope.

O Lord help us trust,

In all that is true;

Our eternal hope,

That is found in You.

Wherever we thirst,

Jesus is the cure;

True living water,

Hope that is assured.

For where there is hope,

There’s also resolve;

To keep keeping on,

As fears soon dissolve.

Rise up in worship,

To Him be all praise;

Our hope forever,

The strength through our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us each at our “wells”, show us where we have been and what we have done, and freely and lovingly offer us new life in You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You, or have lost sight of the hope that is forever in You. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times, and to remember that Your love is without limits or conditions. Show us how to love and accept those around us like You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope in You that lasts forever and live out our days trusting in the truth. Amen.

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

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – Hebrews 6:19

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

We Were the One

“What man among you, who has 100 sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the 99 in the open field and go after the lost one until he finds it?” – (Luke 15:4, HCSB)

“Suppose one of you has 100 sheep, but one of them gets lost. What will you do? You will leave the other 99 in the field and go out and look for the lost sheep.  You will continue to search for it until you find it.” – (Luke 15:4, ERV)

“Wouldn’t every single one of you, if you have 100 sheep and lose one, leave the 99 in their grazing lands and go out searching for the lost sheep until you find it?” – (Luke 15:4, VOICE)

Jesus views us in the same way. Each of His kids is of infinite worth, and He passionately pursues us when we have gone astray or have become lost. His heart is ever for us, to protect us and love us well. Additionally, I am certain it is why He places us in community. When we are invested and engaged with others, we are less likely to become lost or wander off on our own. Together, we have each other to help us remain engaged and accountable to be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Shepherd who loves each of us so much that He would relentlessly pursue us if we became lost. 

The Lord’s our shepherd,

Watching over us;

In love, He protects,

Our faithful Jesus.

If we go astray,

He’ll ever pursue;

The heart of the lost,

To cleanse and renew.

For in Him is grace,

Forever, He’s good;

He helps us see Him,

Makes love understood.

Each day we draw breath,

He’s present to care;

He loves with His life,

He’s ever aware.

He knows when we’re near,

Or if we are lost;

His heart beats for us,

Made clear at the cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You pursue us when we are lost or have gone astray. Thank You that You know and see us individually, and care about every detail of our lives. Forgive us for somehow thinking that You don’t, or for not recognizing how deeply You love us all. Teach us to see every single person we encounter as one whom You would leave all to pursue and bring safely into Your care. Show us how to love everyone as You do, so that those who are hurting, struggling, or wandering aimlessly would be pursued as the “One” with Your love and care. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for pursuing us when we were the “One”, and for placing us in community to keep us from wandering. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

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

Prioritizing Passover

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “God and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.” – (Luke 22:8, HCSB)

Jesus said to Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us to eat.” – (Luke 22:8, ERV)

Jesus chose Peter and John and gave them instructions. Jesus said, “Go and make the necessary preparations for the Passover meal so we can eat together.” – (Luke 22:8, VOICE)

Jesus, knowing what He would soon endure, made sharing a meal together with those closest to Him a priority. It is yet another reminder of how Jesus prioritizes people and values relationships. He gathered with His disciples and gave them insight about what was soon to follow. In God’s divine design, He has made us the same way. With those whom we are closest to, we share meals together. Additionally, it is typically over a meal that we share our news, be it celebratory or struggles. As we look ahead to both tomorrow, when Jesus endured the cross, and to Sunday, the day He rose from the grave, may we give thanks to Him for the priority He placed upon people and the incredible act of love that He endured so that we could share at His table one day too.

The Passover meal,

Though somber in tone;

God’s goodness given,

As His love was shown.

A space to prepare,

Friends for what’s ahead;

To show them His love,

As He humbly led.

From washing their feet,

To sharing a meal;

His loving kindness,

Showed His love was real.

As we all gather,

May we choose love well;

Extend His goodness,

For love conquered hell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us the depth and power of Your unending love. Thank You that love is practical and tangible, and that it can be shown through something as simple as sharing a meal together. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You, and did not make people our priority. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might experience the loving kindness and goodness that Your grace offers. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to the last supper and all that You shared before You endured such suffering on our behalf, and praise You for the overwhelming, overcoming power that Your love holds. Amen.

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

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them. – Matthew 18:20

Show Love

Little children, we must not love with words or speech, but with truth and action. – (1 John 3:18, HCSB)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

Words mean nothing if actions do not align. Our greatest testimony is demonstrating love with our actions. Love meets people where they are at, and helps, encourages, walks alongside, and builds up. Consistently choosing to love again and again is what speaks the most clearly. As we live out a life of love, what we do becomes the story of the goodness of God and the grace that He lavishly gives. May we rise up and seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to live out our days in the pattern of His gracious love.

Lord, lead us in love,

In all that we do;

May ev’ry action,

Show love that is true.

Teach us to live life,

In Your gracious way;

So Your love is shown,

Beyond what we say.

May each decision,

Each choice that we make;

Be aligned with love,

And filled with Your grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to love in truth and action. Thank You that Jesus loved through everything He did – He touched, He provided, He helped and He sacrificed to demonstrate the magnitude of Your love for all. Forgive us for every action that does not show Your love. Teach us to live out each day in truth so that our every action is a tangible demonstration of how deeply and completely You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love those around us in truth and action so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – Romans 12:10

Unshakable

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, HCSB)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

When we love Jesus, the kingdom we receive is Him residing in our hearts right now, and the hope in knowing that we will dwell with Him for eternity. Because we have this hope, we ought to be compelled to serve and worship God in such a way that we demonstrate our reverence and awe through living a life of love. May we ever give Him praise for each new day, and honor Him with a heart that longs to love like Him.

With hearts full of thanks,

Lord, help us to love;

To honor and serve,

Like Jesus above.

In all that we say,

And all that we do;

May ev’ry action,

Bring honor to You.

Lead us in Your love,

Throughout each new day;

Show us what is best,

How to love Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us Your kingdom now in our hearts, and for filling us with Your hope for all that is yet to come. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not demonstrate love and gratitude for who You are and all that You do. Lead us to live out Your love through all that we do and say each new day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our praise throughout all our days as we seek to honor You by loving well. Amen.

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

The True God never sleeps and always resides in the city of joy; He makes it unstoppable, unshakable. When it awakes at dawn, the True God has already been at work. – Psalm 46:5

Not Finished Yet

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 sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

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)

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

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

Made Right and Granted Peace

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, HCSB)

We have been made right with God because of our faith. So we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – (Romans 5:1, ERV)

Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. – (Romans 5:1, VOICE)

Our faith, our trust in God to be Lord of our lives, is the very thing that makes us right before Him. Because of Jesus, we can have peace with God, and are able to understand what His everlasting peace is all about as we experience it in the midst of chaos and of calm. He is good and faithful in all. May we ever seek the Lord and invest our lives in Him, for He is where true peace is found.

Because of Jesus,

We have been made right;

It’s not what we do,

But who’s our delight.

For it is by faith,

He calls us enough;

God’s own precious kids,

No matter how rough.

And more than just right,

He grants us His peace;

The kind that remains,

He meets all our needs.

No matter what comes,

His peace can be found;

As we trust in Him,

Promise proven sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust in You, we are made right before You and granted Your everlasting, unshakeable peace. Thank You that Your peace is not circumstantial, but is present wherever You are welcomed in. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to be our peace in places of unrest. Teach us to turn to You in trust, so that we ever know Your peace, no matter what comes our way. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your perfect peace may be made known in the spaces it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and depend on You to be our perfect peace. Amen.

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

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

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9