Extend Love

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, HCSB)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others. Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere, and secure your neighbors’ interests first. – (Philippians 2:3-4, VOICE)

Life cannot just be about ourselves. When we are inwardly focused, we become miserable, and end up spreading our misery to others. However, when we take our eyes off of the mirror and begin looking out the window, we see those around us and recognize ways that we have been designed to reach out and to love. This is true in our household, neighborhood, communities, and beyond. When we care about the lives of those around us, our love seems to multiply and joy is discovered in the little things. A simple example of this being applied at home is the way that time yesterday was spent. If I had my way (my own selfish agenda), the day would have been spent taking off and exploring and being outdoors. That being said, my husband had just returned from being out of town all week, and there were things around the house that desperately needed to be done. His military background creates a need in him to have order. My artist brain does not mind a bit of clutter, as long as things are cleanish. The decision to spend several hours cleaning and organizing and purging, was an act of love that spoke clearly to my husband’s “acts of service” love tank. Incredibly, as I saw the appreciation on his face and the peace that settled in his countenance, I was blessed as well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to look for ways to love and care for those around us. 

When we take the time,

To pause, look around;

Places to reach out,

Are easily found.

An arm to extend,

Encouraging words;

Help we can offer,

Make the Lord’s love heard.

Instead of just self,

Look out for others;

Find God’s way to love,

And bless each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be “otherly”. Thank You that You showed us what it is to look like through Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the good that we were designed to do because we were too busy worrying about ourselves. Teach us to look around and to love one another as You intended. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways, for it is in the simple and everyday acts of love that we can clearly see Your heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love to be extended to those around us in the same way that You so lavishly give unto us. Amen.

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

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – Hebrews 10:24

Our Provider

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

Though this was part of Paul’s prayer for the church of Colossae, it is applicable and needed still today. Being strengthened with His power rather than our own, is the very thing that provides patient endurance when troubles come. Knowing He is for us and with us provides joy, even in the midst of challenges. I know not what you are facing, but I do know the presence of God and His power are beneficial to everyone. The gift of finding joy in the midst of challenges is the very thing that reminds us that we can press on. May we ever seek the Lord, who lovingly strengthens us and empowers us to press on, no matter what comes our way, and fill us with His patience and joy as we navigate all things.

Lord, grant us Your strength,

To keep pressing on;

No matter what comes,

In You, we are strong.

Grant us endurance,

Fill us with Your joy;

Patience and Your peace,

With grace to enjoy.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In You, make us strong;

Grant all that’s needed,

In You, we belong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us in Your power and fill our hearts with patience and joy, even when trials come our way. Forgive us for our frustration and lack of hope when the road before us is rocky. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You alone provide what is needed to navigate well. Show us how to love as You love, with patience and joy. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, and the One who provides patience and joy. Amen.

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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Pause and Praise

We give thanks to You, God; we give thanks to You, for Your name is near. People tell about Your wonderful works. – (Psalm 75:1, HCSB)

We praise You, God! We praise You because You are near to us. We tell about the amazing things You have done. – (Psalm 75:1, ERV)

We thank You, O True God. Our souls are overflowing with thanks! Your name is near; Your people remember and tell of Your marvelous works and wonders. – (Psalm 75:1, VOICE)

There are always reasons to give thanks to God. As we wake and draw breath to begin another day, we have reason to give thanks. For the roof over our heads, the comfort of our own beds, friends and family near and far – so many reasons to praise the One who provides it all. God is as close as our next breath, as present as each beat of our heart, and the wonder of His works does not end. He gives us life, love, joy, peace, strength and more. All the beauty that surrounds us is the work of His loving hands. May we take time to give God thanks for His presence and all that He has done as we begin each brand new day. 

God, we give You thanks,

For all that You do;

How love provides all,

All goodness from You.

Each time we’ve conquered,

In You, overcome;

The strength You’ve given,

The battles You’ve won.

All by Your strong hands,

Full of love and grace;

Hope made tangible,

Let us praise Your Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for who You are and how You love. Thank You that You are ever near, and that You move on our behalf. Thank You for the countless blessings You have given us. Forgive us for not making the time to simply give You thanks. Teach us to always have a long list of gratitude for You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may recognize Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we intentionally pause and praise You for who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – Exodus 15:2

Take Time to Delight

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – (Psalm 34:8, NIV)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

Even in difficulty, there is an opportunity to taste and see how good God really is. Yesterday, despite my gnarly case of seasickness throughout our day of fishing, the smile on my Viking’s face as he caught fish and lived in the moment, made it all worthwhile. It is far too easy to get caught up in the to do lists and what lies ahead, but when we slow down and simply revel in the right now that the Lord is providing, there is joy and goodness and grace. Additionally, the blessing of a bountiful catch by both of us will put fresh fish on the table throughout the coming months. Each time we prepare it, we will remember God’s goodness and provision. May we ever look to the Lord to truly see, for He shows us, again and again, how good He really is.

Take time to delight,

In all that is good;

For the Lord provides,

His love understood.

The goodness we taste,

The beauty we see;

By His loving hands,

For you and for me.

Each time we slow down,

And run to His good;

We find true blessings,

How God’s love withstood.

Even in trials,

He shows us beauty;

Goodness and His grace,

His love tangibly.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can taste and see how good You truly are. Thank You that Your goodness and grace are not limited to good times, but rather You show us Your love in all things if only we look and listen. Thank You for the beauty that surrounds us, and for showing Your creativity as we witnessed whales and porpoises and a giant sunfish during our day at sea. Forgive us for the times that we fail to look to You when things get difficult. Teach us to always look to You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful to meet us when we call on You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we taste and see how very good You are. Amen.

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

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires. – Psalm 37:4

In Freedom Choose 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)

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. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

God has given each of us a free will. His intention has always been for us to be free to choose. The love of God draws us unto Him, yet we always have a choice as to whether to accept or reject it. When we follow our own path with little care or concern for others, we are gratifying the flesh and not choosing love. However, when we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, we are opting to walk in His way and using our freedom to love as Jesus loved. Incredibly, as we select a life that follows after Him, we become free from the weight of being stuck in our own selfishness, and discover the joy that awaits as we choose to walk the path that He prepares for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us, as we freely choose to love and serve one another as we are called to do.

Brothers and sisters,

We all have been called;

In freedom to choose,

To love one and all.

For as we choose love,

Selfishness will fade;

True freedom and joy,

Are found in His ways.

So, let us look up,

Select the Lord’s best;

Love one another,

As grace is expressed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us each with a free will. Thank You that with our freedom, we can choose to follow after You and select a life of loving as You first loved us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to stay stuck in our sinful patterns instead of choosing to follow after You. Teach us to freely choose to love and serve one another, for in doing so, we come to know the joy that is found in opting to utilize our freedom for good. Show us how to love and serve those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve with the freedom that we are granted in You. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

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

Thankful Through All Things

Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, HCSB)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, MSG)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

To pray constantly makes sense and is a natural inclination; it is simply to thank God for the blessings and ask Him for help in the struggles; it is ongoing conversations with our Creator. However, rejoicing always is a challenge. It is easy to rejoice when all is well, yet it takes an intentional effort to do so when it is not. To rejoice requires us to remember our reason for joy. Joy is not circumstantial, but rather it is found deep within the heart through the hope we have in Christ. Gratitude takes but a momentary pause to recall all the reasons there are to give God thanks, even in the midst of difficulties. He is good, and His love knows no end. May we celebrate God’s goodness always, and give Him thanks for His nearness in all things. 

To rejoice always,

Is seeing the joy;

not in external,

But what hearts employ.

In all things, always,

Lord, help us to pray;

For Your love equips,

Gratitude each day.

God, help us to see,

Your good in all things;

Your nearness and grace,

And hope that You bring.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good, even when our circumstances are not. Thank You that the hope, help and love we have in You bring joy. Help us to rejoice in You always, and to praise You for who You are and how You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of our reasons to rejoice in You. Show us how to hold hope in our hearts through every season, and lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rejoice in You and give You praise in all things and at all times for who You are and how You love and hold us up with Your mighty hands. 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

Strength, Endurance, Patience and Joy

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

Strength, endurance, patience and joy are exactly what I need to navigate my days. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide as we seek Him. In all things, He is good, so our reason for joy to remain, even when things are difficult, is firmly established. May we ever seek our Savior to lead us and guide us, as He strengthens us with His power, and provides the patience and endurance we need to navigate our days with joy.

O Lord, be our strength,

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

In all that we do;

Patient endurance,

To see each day through.

Be our Source of joy,

For hope is in You;

Lead us in Your love,

Make each day brand new.

Grant us Your resolve,

To keep keeping on;

With love unending,

In You, we are strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and lead us in Your love. Thank You that patience and endurance come from You, and true joy is found in the hope we hold in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful. Lead us to love like You, so that we might encourage those around us and share joy in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us where we are and provide what we need. Amen.

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

But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. – Psalm 59:16

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

Wisdom Leads to a Lovely Life

Her ways are pleasant, and all her paths, peaceful. – (Proverbs 3:17, HCSB)

Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. – (Proverbs 3:17, ERV)

She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying. – (Proverbs 3:17, NLT)

Wisdom from God is what leads us to joy and peace. His wisdom shows us the ways we are meant to go, and guides us throughout all of our days. When we listen to His leading, we know joy and peace in Him, no matter what lies ahead. In this season of seemingly unending curves and treacherous hills, knowing His nearness and listening to His leading are the things that make our paths plain and our vision eternal. As we learn to look through the Lord’s lens of love, we discover pleasant paths and true peace are found as we faithfully follow our Heavenly Father. May we ever seek the Lord to grow in wisdom, so that we discover His ways that lead us to a life full of His joy and peace.

Wisdom is waiting,

As we seek the Lord;

His ways are pleasant,

As grace, He affords.

He brings us His joy,

And provides His peace;

His wisdom, guides us,

And supplies our needs.

So, keep seeking God,

And wisdom He gives;

He’ll show us the ways,

That we’re meant to live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your wisdom leads us to pleasant paths and fills our lives with joy. Thank You that the wisdom in knowing You is what grants us hope and peace. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You, or for attempting to navigate in our own knowledge. Teach us to seek You in all things, for You are faithful to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Fill us with Your wisdom that makes plain the paths that we are meant to take. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that peace and joy are passed along to all those we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your wisdom to lead us and provide us with Your peace and joy forever. Amen.

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

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