Sacrificial Love

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. – (John 15:13, HCSB)

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – (John 15:13, NIV)

There is no greater way to love than to give your life for your friends. – (John 15:13, VOICE)

Today is a day that many of us are given off as a day to appreciate and celebrate the sacrifices that those who have served or are still serving have made to protect the freedoms that we all know and love. Each person who has served, has willingly given up the comforts and conveniences of home to go and serve to protect our country. Whether foreign or domestic, by land, air or sea, our service members have set their own lives aside to protect ours. This willing sacrifice to serve is a reflection of the love that Jesus has for us. May we take time to honor and appreciate these men and women who have served, and give God the glory for hearts that are willing to serve and protect us all.

No greater a love,

Than one that lays down;

Their own life for ours,

So peace may be found.

Safety, protection,

Willingly they’ve served;

Placed lives on the line,

A love undeserved.

May we choose give thanks,

Appreciate those;

For the sacrifice,

And freedoms we know.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the men and women who have chosen to serve and protect the freedoms we know and appreciate. Thank You that their sacrifice reflects the sort of love that You have for us all, as You paid the ultimate price for our security forever in You. Forgive us for taking our freedoms for granted. Teach us to honor and respect those who have given on our behalf, and give You praise for hearts that willingly serve. Show us how to love like You, so that we might truly reflect the goodness and depth of Your great love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for Your ultimate sacrifice, and honor those who have sacrificed for the security of our nation. Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

Sight to the Seeking

I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the work of His vast strength. – (Ephesians 1:18-19, HCSB)

I pray that God will open your minds to see His truth. Then you will know the hope that He has chosen us to have. You will know that the blessings God has promised His holy people are rich and glorious. And you will know that God’s power is very great for us who believe. – (Ephesians 1:18-19, ERV)

Open the eyes of their hearts, and let the light of Your truth flood in. Shine Your light on the hope You are calling them to embrace. Reveal to them the glorious riches You are preparing as their inheritance. Let them see the full extent of Your power that is at work in those of us who believe, and may it be done according to Your might and power. – (Ephesians 1:18-19, VOICE)

Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus applies to all of us still today. The more our eyes are opened to see His truth, the more we understand the hope we have in Him. His power goes beyond what our minds can conceive, and His blessings are ever-present through His nearness and His mighty love. This is not only in the here and now, but also in the hope of what is to come throughout eternity with Him. God has granted each of us a free will. For those who choose to believe and receive all that He offers, all of these things are given unto us – open eyes to the light of truth, hope that holds us up, power that will work in us, and the blessings beheld in His presence with us. May we ever seek the Lord to open the eyes of our heart, so that we may understand and embrace who He is and how He loves.

May eyes be opened,

To the light of truth;

To God’s great power,

That will see us through.

To see the blessings,

Of love and of grace;

His endless power,

The Ancient of Days.

Hope that is made known,

As we understand;

His loving kindness,

And eternal plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You open the eyes of our hearts to come to know and understand who You are and how You love. Thank You that Your power is greater than anything that stands against us, and Your goodness outweighs the struggles we face. Thank You that not only do we get to behold the blessings found in You in the here and now, but we hold fast to the hope that is held in all of eternity in Your presence. Forgive us for forgetting that what we face here is temporary, and the hope we hold is what lasts forever. Teach us how to keep an eternal perspective on all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness, power and blessings evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek You to grow us in understanding of who You are and how You love us all. Amen.

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

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Matthew 6:33

Seeking What is Right

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, HCSB)

“All things are allowed,” you say. But not all things are good. “All things are allowed.” But some things don’t help anyone. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, ERV)

There’s a slogan often quoted on matters like this: “All things are permitted.” Yes, but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permitted,” they say. Yes, but not all things build up and strengthen others in the body. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, VOICE)

Just because something is allowed, does not mean it has benefit for all. There are things that are good for one, yet not so good for another. It is between each individual and God to know what is helpful and builds us up. We were created with a free will. When we choose God and live for Him, He leads us and guides us in our decisions and helps us determine what is good for us, personally. It is not our place to judge one another, each of us is responsible to answer for our own decisions. Instead of judging or worrying about what people do or do not do (within the bounds of what is legal), we ought to mind our own business and seek the Lord to lead us in all that we say and do. May we ever seek the Lord who gives us freedom, and ask Him to lead us in all that is good, helpful, and builds others up.

God gives us free will,

Allows us to choose;

What we say and do,

Perspective and views.

Yet, when we seek Him,

He shows us what’s best;

For us in our lives,

When to work, to rest.

It is by His love,

Wisdom and foresight;

That He’ll lead us on,

As we seek what’s right.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each uniquely created by You. Thank You that we have different strengths, talents and challenges. Thank You that You lead us individually; personally, according to what is best for each unique person. Forgive us for judging others for the choices they make, for we know not what is helpful and beneficial to them. Teach us to place our trust in You, and to seek You to lead us to what is good and helpful and beneficial. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead each of us in what is Your best, and to allow others the same freedom. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Hope Overflowing

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

When we know and understand the hope that God alone provides, joy and peace are present and hope grows and overflows from us. Hope is not dependent on our circumstances, but rather is present despite them. We all experience mountains and valleys in our lives, and with God, we can still know peace and joy in the midst of the most difficult seasons. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith and trust in Him so that our hope overflows and His joy and peace are ever present.

May the God of hope,

Fill you with all joy;

Peace that comes from faith,

As love is employed.

Hope overflowing,

Is how the Lord gives;

As we trust in Him,

To lead us to live.

Live in His presence,

Where hope’s always found;

Goodness and His grace,

In Him do abound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all hope is found in You. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time in Your presence, You fill us more and more with Your joy and peace as hope overflows from the abundance You grow within us. Forgive us for thinking joy and peace are dependent on our circumstances. Thank You that they are dependent on You alone. Thank You that You provide peace and joy through all things and at all times, despite our circumstances. Teach us to trust and depend on You to be our hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your joy, peace, and hope overflow to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You because You are our hope, and the place where we find joy and peace are present, always. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – Psalm 33:22

Look to the Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, HCSB)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Eliab is tall and handsome, but don’t judge by things like that. God doesn’t look at what people see. People judge by what is on the outside, but the Lord looks at the heart. Eliab is not the right man.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, ERV)

But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” – (1 Samuel 16:7, MSG)

This passage is from when God called Samuel to go and anoint the one who was to succeed Saul as king. To the ordinary observer, David’s older brothers seemed to be far more appropriate candidates. However, God saw so much more. In David, God saw a man after His own heart. David had the heart of a warrior and a worshiper – both of which God used while David grew and learned the faithfulness of God as he faced a giant with a sling and a stone, and later led a nation as he sang and danced praising God for His faithfulness. Incredibly, what this shows us is that we never know who God is raising up for great things. Our task is to love and encourage all, and to look past appearances and instead see the heart. I know in relationships, the people I am most drawn to have beautiful hearts. The more I get to know them, the more I see who they are radiating through, and recognize what draws others in. As a teacher, this is critical. We never know who the next leaders, doctors, pastors, educators, community advocates, parents and more are in the ones seated in our classrooms. Each has been created with a purpose, and it is our job to help strengthen the heart so that they can see their own potential and pursue all that God has for them. May we ever seek the Lord to give us His eyes to see, so that we may encourage those around us in the strengths that they have been given, and glorify God for His goodness.

Look not at the face,

But rather the heart;

The true character,

Where seeing must start.

For we never know,

All that God has planned;

Purpose He has placed,

In women and men.

A mere shepherd boy,

Was anointed king;

Despite appearance,

Beyond what was seen.

God looks at our hearts,

The strengths found within;

His plan and purpose,

Waiting to begin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see beyond what others see. Thank You that You look to the heart to lead us into all that You have for us. Forgive us for selling others short based on what we see. Teach us to look through Your lens so that we see the potential and promise in everyone we meet. Lead us to love those around us in ways that encourage and strengthen each in the gifts and talents You have placed in them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, and trust in You to lead them to walk out their purpose. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to help us see others as You do. Amen.

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

The One who chose you will do that for you. You can trust Him. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Sing of His Strength

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, HCSB)

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)

This verse is a well-timed reminder, as I had a late night and very little sleep. Though I am exhausted, I know God will provide the strength that I need, for His faithful love greeted me with a new day. He is my place of rest and my refuge at all times and through every circumstance. My heart sings knowing that God will go before me and remain with me throughout each day. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and our song, and run to Him to be our refuge throughout all our days.

O Lord, I will sing,

Of strength You provide;

Ever You meet us,

With arms open wide.

Arms to embrace us,

Provide strength we need;

To navigate all,

The grace to succeed.

Hope to persevere,

When life becomes tough;

Goodness and kindness,

Your love is enough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You are our reason to sing as we rise each new day. Thank You are our shelter and safety in times of trouble. Forgive us for trying to power through without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You provide all that we need to press on. Lead us to love those around us in practical ways that demonstrate the hope and help that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You, and give You glory for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. – Psalm 118:14

Peace to Pass On

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:7, HCSB)

And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:7, ERV)

Then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. – (Philippians 4:7, TPT)

This verse is a reminder to us all that God is the place where peace is found. When we seek and rely on Him, we discover that Christ will guard our hearts and minds from the chaos that surrounds us so that we still know and experience peace within. As we navigate and operate in His peace, we encourage those around us to experience the same. May we ever seek the Lord and His peace, for it protects and provides what we need, no matter what surrounds us.

The peace of the Lord,

Is like no one else;

To know Christ alone,

Is to find oneself.

Past understanding,

Love that grants us peace;

That fills up our hearts,

And will never cease.

For God is the rock,

To whom we can cling;

Everything good,

Is what His grace brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace guards our hearts and minds and keeps us pressing on. Thank You that You fill us to overflowing so that we may share Your goodness and grace that grant peace. Forgive us for taking our eyes off of You when the storms seem too strong. Teach us to trust You more, for You can bring peace in chaos with mere words. Show us how to be still and know that You are God. Lead us to love those around us well, and may Your peace be present and shared with all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, for You are our peace in and through all. 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

Give Us Grace

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, HCSB)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with the virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

Because we are His created, we are all dearly loved. We cannot be holy on our own, yet because of Jesus, He sees us as holy through the lens of His Son. As a result of God’s great love for us, we too ought to seek to love in the same way. To do so, we must be compassionate to others, show kindness to all, be gentle and humble, and patiently unoffendable. In order to live like this, we need to understand and know the depth and breadth of God’s love for us so that we may extend the same to those around us as it overflows. God knows our human limitations. He provides where we are lacking, and grants us wisdom and grace to keep pursuing to live life as He intended. May we all embrace the grace that lies before us in a welcomed long weekend, and may the Lord strengthen us and grant us the rest we need to continue to keep loving others as we are called to love.

O Lord, give us grace,

To love others well;

Compassionately,

May our kindness tell.

Tell of Your mercy,

Show people Your grace;

Be not offended,

Choose love anyway.

Seek understanding,

Be humble and kind;

Love one another,

With heart, soul and mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that we are created to love as You love. Thank You that this is not something that we are expected to do in our own strength, for surely we would fail miserably if that were so. Thank You that You supply the strength, grace, kindness and love that we need to live as Your beloved children. Forgive us for all of the times that we have moved in our own strength and fallen short. Thank You that Your mercies are new every morning and Your faithful love knows no end. Teach us to live and love as You do. Show us how to have heartfelt compassion that gives grace, mercy, kindness, gentleness, and patience that is not offendable. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they come to understand the power of Your great love. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to lead us to love well. Amen. 

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

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14

Choose the Good

So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. – (Galatians 6:9, HCSB)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued from doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

Choosing to do what we know we are called to do will make a difference. Sometimes, it is far more slowly than we would like, but I imagine in the wait, we are being taught to persevere. Ongoing, repeated faithfulness will reap a reward. Over time, it breaks down barriers and brings something good where light was missing. The more we invest in Christ and walking in His will, the more we witness Him working on our behalf. I am thankful that there is a weekend at the close of a work week, as it provides opportunity to rest and recharge, as Christ replenishes our resolve to press on in all that we have been called to do. May we ever seek the Lord to empower us to press on in doing good, for He is our reward and works on our behalf.

Lord, grant us the strength,

To keep doing good;

Because of Your love,

We know that we should.

Not in our own strength,

But Lord, it’s with Yours;

That love will lead us,

In grace, open doors.

Show us Your kindness,

Fill us with Your grace;

Lead us to choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to do good. Forgive us for the times that we either try to muscle our way through things on our own, or choose not to do good when we know we need to do so. Teach us to lean into You for strength and encouragement so that we may do the good that You designed us to do. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in the grace of Your unending love. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him! – Psalm 34:8

Held Up in Heaviness

I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, NIV)

I will change their sadness into happiness. I will comfort my people, making them happy instead of sad. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, ERV)

I’ll convert their weeping into laughter, lavishing comfort, invading their grief with joy. – (Jeremiah 31:13b, MSG)

This is a promise to hold when grief is great. Today, many will gather to celebrate a life well lived that ended way too soon. My heart is heavy for each life that she touched, for to know her, was to love her. I am hopeful that as we gather, the beauty of her life will bring joy and laughter that soothes the tears. The greatest comfort that I cling to in our loss, is knowing that she is home with Jesus. May God continue to bring gladness from the spaces of mourning, and comfort and joy in the throes of sorrow.

In sorrowful space,

May God’s love shine in;

Filling heavy hearts,

With joy, once again.

He is our comfort,

In spaces of grief;

His love surrounds us,

And grants us relief.

Lord, take the heavy,

Replace it with joy;

Blessings in knowing,

Hope that You employ.

God, lift up our eyes,

To truly see You;

Our help and our hope,

Your love leads us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hold us up in our heaviness and bring us comfort in our grief. Thank You that You can bring joy in the midst of mourning, and hope in the heart of great loss. Forgive us for trying to carry the weight on our own rather than placing our hearts and our heaviness into Your loving hands. Teach us to lean into You in our losses, and to see the joy that You are placing before us. Show us how to love well, so that Your hope and heart are made known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to bring gladness from our mourning and comfort and joy where sorrow is weighty. Amen.

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

Now comfort me with Your faithful love, as You promised. – Psalm 119:76 (ERV)