Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

To Grow in Love

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)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Phillipi is still relevant to us today. If our love grows more and more, so that we gain knowledge and understanding to discern what is best, we will become more and more of who God calls us to become. To be pure and blameless is not something we attain on our own, but rather through Christ within us. We fall short and make poor choices, but Christ loves and forgives us and places us back on the path that He has set before us. In light of all of the countless ideas and ideologies that seem to swirl about in current culture, I need Christ to give me revelation and insight into what is His very best. To choose the most excellent way of all is to choose love in all things. So often, it is difficult to know how we can love best. God is gracious and kind, and He answers when we ask Him. Constant pursuit leads to rich revelations, for God is our Father who longs to teach His children. Intentional time with Christ is the way to grow in understanding, as we learn more of who He is, we more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom and understanding so that we can grow more and more in His loving likeness.

O Lord let us be,

Ever seeking You;

Grant understanding,

So we may love true.

Grow us in likeness,

Understanding too;

Forgive us our faults,

Please change and renew.

Show us each new day,

What You ask of us;

Give wisdom to know,

Love just like Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You honor our earnest seeking with wisdom and understanding. Thank You that You ever change, renew and grow us to love more like You. Forgive us for thinking we can somehow change or do better on our own. Lead us to follow after You with all that we are, so that we may grow in knowing how to love You and love people better. Show us what to do to make Your love known to all those whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You with all that we are so that we may become all that You intend. Amen.

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

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

No Fear in Love

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – (1 John 4:18, NIV)

Love will never invoke fear. Perfect love expels fear, particularly the fear of punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been completed through love. – (1 John 4:18, VOICE)

There is not room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life – fear of death, fear of judgment – is one not yet fully formed in love. – (1 John 4:18, MSG)

If love is as God intended, there is no room for fear in love. Love created by God is patient, kind, protective, trustworthy, hopeful, and ongoing. As His love grows in us and through us, we discover there is no room for envy, boasting, pride, selfishness, short tempers, grudges or evil of any kind. Each of the attributes of His love combat and cover over the shortcomings that reside in us all. The ongoing pursuit of God’s love for us and through us, removes fear and draws us closer to understanding a fully formed love. May we ever seek the Lord and His lavish love, so that we may go forth and love others in the same way that we are loved by God.

Fear’s an ugly space,

Our hearts should not dwell;

Jesus, our Savior,

Has overcome hell.

It wasn’t by force,

Nor weapons of war;

But rather His love,

That rose, said, “no more”.

His love is perfect,

It drives out all fear;

His goodness shows us,

How God’s love is near.

Lord, please show us how,

To love without fear;

To give as You give,

So true love’s made clear.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your incredible love. Thank You that Your perfect love drives out fear. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not demonstrated love as You intended. Please teach us to love in a way that drives out fear and makes Your goodness and grace abundantly clear. Show us how to love all those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what love truly is so that we can go forth and love like You. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Flowers or Weeds?

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

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

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

What we plant, we harvest. We can plant flowers or weeds; things that give life or those which choke it out. If we pursue goodness, justice, kindness and love in all that we do, these are exactly what we will find. It may take time, effort and endurance, but ultimately such good is what will be found. Though there are days that it is a battle, it is always worth the effort. May we ever pursue He who is righteousness and love, so that we may discover the full life that abounds in Him.

May we choose pursue,

God’s goodness and grace;

Seek justice and love,

Throughout all our days.

Let us be faithful,

Purposefully kind;

Let love guide all things,

With goodness in mind.

May integrity,

Be how we are known;

Honoring others,

As God’s good is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, just, loving, faithful and kind, and that You will show us how to live accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live as You intended. Teach us to walk in Your ways and to love like You. Show us how to love those around us best, so that justice, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and integrity are what will be found. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your heart so that we may love as You love. Amen.

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

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on Your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your Name. – Psalm 86:11

Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

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

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

Seeking in Spaces of Need

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. – (Matthew 8:2-3, NIV)

Then a man sick with leprosy came to Him. The man bowed down before Jesus and said, “Lord, You have the power to heal me if You want.” Jesus touched the man. He said, “I want to heal you. Be healed!” Immediately the man was healed from his leprosy. – (Matthew 8:2-3, ERV)

Suddenly, a leper walked up to Jesus and threw himself down before Him in worship and said, “Lord, You have the power to heal me… if You really want to.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the leper and said, “Of course I want to heal you – be healed!” And instantly, all signs of leprosy disappeared! – (Matthew 8:2-3, TPT)

This story of the man who was healed is an excellent reminder of what we ought to do in our own spaces of need. The man who had leprosy, first came before Christ. Clearly he believed that Jesus was able to heal, as he spoke aloud and postured himself before the Lord, and stated what it was that he needed. Incredibly, Jesus did not merely speak the words, “Be healed,” but He touched the untouchable and affirmed that it was His desire to heal the one who was hurting. What this shows us is that the Lord is available and willing to meet us in our space of need, but we must come to Him and recognize who He is and ask in faith. I know there are many who come to Christ and ask to be healed yet do not see healing on this side of heaven. I wish I understood why some are healed and some are not, but I do know that Jesus hears and promises to be present in the space between our ask and our arrival. Our hope must be in who He is, and the promises that He has for us all. Whether on earth or in heaven, we have the hope that all that ails us, all that breaks hurting hearts, will one day pass away. May we hold onto the hope that is in the hands of He who is holy, and rest assured that so much more awaits us beyond today.

In spaces of need,

Come before the Lord;

He’s more than enough,

All grace He affords.

More than the body,

Christ heals our hearts;

Willingly touches,

As love He imparts.

Lord, help us to come,

Before You in trust;

For You’re always good,

Faithful, kind and just.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always come before You, no matter what state we are in. Thank You that You are always willing to meet us and touch us, ever loving and full of grace. Forgive us for our doubts and fears, as we forget that our ultimate help and healing will come in heaven with You. Teach us to trust in You in such a way that we seek You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us the way that You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You in trust, knowing that You are loving and good. Amen.

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

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Sing Praise

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. – (Psalm 95:1-2, NIV)

Come, let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, ERV)

Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns! – (Psalm 95:1-2, MSG)

Mandates that place restrictions on corporate worship are stirring an already boiling pot. However, we must remember that we are not limited in our capacity to worship by the four walls of a church building. For me, some of my sweetest times of worship are found while I am driving, as my heart is flooded with gratitude and I cannot help but sing along with the songs of praise that are playing on my radio. Yes, there is something powerful that takes place when a body of believers gathers and lifts up songs of praise together, yet He can move mightily in the midst of our own place of presenting thanks to Him. 

This pandemic is pushing people past their limits, yet the number of people impacted by illness, continues to climb. A few months ago, I did not personally know anyone directly impacted by COVID. Now, there are family members and friends who have experienced the impact personally.  In fact, an extended family member has perished, due to complications created by COVID. Absolutely, we must lift our voices in praise, yet there are ways to do so safely without worrying about increased risk of exposure. I don’t claim to know the right answer, but the God I serve, does. For now, my voice will be raised for all of my days, whether corporately or individually. May we ever seek the Lord and lift our praise to Him, trusting Him to lead us and guide us and show us how to contend for God to bring help and healing to our state, nation and world. Lead us in love, Lord.

Let every heart,

Lift praise unto You;

In song and action,

May Your love break through.

Teach us to trust You,

When things don’t make sense;

Direct all our steps,

And be our defense.

Please protect our hearts,

Body, mind and soul;

Show us how to love,

As love is the goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and kind, and worthy of all of our worship. Thank You for Your grace and strength as we grow weary of restrictions and isolation. Forgive us for forgetting that worship is not merely a corporate time of singing together, but it is a lifestyle that seeks to honor You. Show us how to worship You daily, as it is all about You. Lead us to love those around us as You do, so that all might find hope, encouragement and strength in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worship and praise You with all that we are and all that we do. Amen.

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

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

The Light of Love

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

I think God gave us dogs to show us what it is to love each other. Dogs love their people, and are quick to demonstrate their love and affection. They do not judge others by appearances, but rather seem to sense the heart and what it needs, and simply love. Loyal and protective, tender and sweet, pups remind us that we can be loving, discerning, and kind, yet protect in strength when necessary. Imagine what the world would be like if we all loved similarly. People would greet each other with joy, and seek to befriend everyone throughout each day. Of course there are times when we must use wisdom and keep at safe distance, yet we can choose to love through lifting one another up, rather than allowing frustrations or fears to cause us to act or speak in a way that does not demonstrate love. Each time that we choose love, we are encouraging others to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love others and live in His light, so that no word or deed would lead others in a direction they are not meant to go.

Lord, teach us to love,

Sisters and brothers;

Be kind and give strength,

Give grace to others.

Show us what to do,

So Your love is shown;

Keep darkness from us,

And make Your heart known.

May all that we do,

And all that we say;

Lead others to love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another as You love each of us. Thank You that You show us what it is to love through those who have gone before us, and those who surround us. Forgive us for the times that our words or actions have displayed anything other than Your love and grace. Teach us how to love our sisters and brothers as You call us to love. Show us how to be light and life and love in such a way, that hearts are turned to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we pursue a life of loving You and loving those around us. Amen.

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

It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You loved them. – Psalm 44:3

Pray for ALL People

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. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives – lives full of devotion to God and respect for Him. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, ERV)

The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, MSG)

Most of all, I’m writing to encourage you to pray with gratitude to God. Pray for all men(people) with all forms of prayers and requests as you intercede with intense passion. And pray for every political leader and representative, so that we would be able to live tranquil, undisturbed lives, as we worship the awe-inspiring God with pure hearts. – (1 Timothy 2:1-2, TPT)

This is certainly a season that being reminded of the importance to pray for our nation, state, and local leaders is imperative. As our nation waits in anticipation, our prayers for our leaders, impending leaders, and one another, is essential. More than anything, our prayers need to be for peace and pure hearts. No matter the outcome, God is greater than our circumstances. Our ability to love one another remains, regardless of who sits in a leadership position. We need those who lead to do so with wisdom, grace, and kindness toward all people, and we need to celebrate and lift each other up, despite our differences. I know not what the future holds, but I do know to Whom I will ultimately look for guidance, grace and peace. My ability to be loving and kind is not determined by the government nor those in positions of authority. Finally, may we all pray for leaders everywhere, and for each other, so that we may live tranquil lives with the freedom to worship and be inspired with pure hearts and pure motives.

O Lord, help us pray,

For all those who lead;

Grant them Your wisdom,

And bring us Your peace.

Show us Your mercy,

Lead us by Your grace;

Make goodness present,

Throughout all our days.

Teach us to trust You,

For all’s in Your hands;

Teach us to worship,

As You heal our land.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority in our land. Thank You that despite what we see, You have a plan and a purpose in all things. Thank You that You can use even the worst of circumstances to bring Your good. Forgive us for allowing what we see to determine whether or not we pray and lift others up. Remind us anew to pray for those in positions of leadership and authority. Show us how to love and lift others up, especially in this season of uncertainty. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as You are our Prince of Peace who loves without limits and holds us all in Your hands. Be glorified O God, as we lift leaders up and pray for Your will to be done. Amen.

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

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

With Every Word

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

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. – (Colossians 4:6, MSG) 

Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith. – (Colossians 4:6, TPT) 

This is an ongoing existence that I am ever pursuing. I want my every word to be kind and to bring out the best in others. Grace, truth and clarity come from God. If I wish to communicate the way God intended, I must invest time and energy into know Him and His word. It does not magically happen overnight, but rather is a lifelong pursuit. My prayer is that my words would bring out the best in others, and that I would extend respect, kindness and wisdom to those with whom I interact. May the way we use our words be an extension of our faith. 

Lord, please let my words, 

Be seasoned with grace; 

May clarity come, 

As I seek Your ways. 

Let kindness and truth, 

Encouraging good; 

Be spoken in love, 

Make grace understood. 

Lead me in Your love, 

With all that I say; 

Grant me Your wisdom, 

To ever speak grace. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your words for us are wise and kind, full of grace, and You bring out the best in us; always. Forgive us for the times that our words lacked grace or kindness. Teach us to choose our words wisely, so that we may be kind and wise and full of Your love in all that we say. Show us how to love those around us with our words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You anew each day to raise us up as ambassadors of Your goodness and grace through every word that we say. Amen. 

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

No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. – Deuteronomy 30:14