To Cultivate Good Fruit

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, HCSB)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

As we nourish our spirits with the goodness of God’s word and spend time seeking Him to teach us and grow us, He cultivates this sort of fruit within us. We discover love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faith and gentleness, and our self-control rises up. Though people decide they are opposed to following Christ, I have never met anyone who was opposed to being on the receiving end of the fruit that Christ within us produces. Perhaps the opposition that people feel stems from those who claim to follow Christ, yet do not spend time with Him and give God room to transform them more into His likeness. If none of the Spirit’s fruit is evident, then the soil of the heart is parched and unable to produce the good fruit. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through our time with Him, that the soil of our heart is nourished and good fruit is produced to share with those around us.

Lord, help us seek You,

With ev’ry new day;

And grow within us,

Fruit that shows Your way.

Water and nourish,

The soil of our hearts;

As You produce fruit,

Your ways You impart.

Let Your love and joy,

Peace and patience too;

Kindness and goodness,

And faith that is true.

May Your gentleness,

And great self-control;

Show others Your heart,

As You we extol.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the fruit of Your Spirit is not something that we have to try to grow on our own, but rather is something that You plant within us and cultivate as we continue to come before You to listen and learn. Forgive us for thinking that we can just try to be better and do better, and that somehow, the fruit of Your Spirit will rise up within us. Show us what it is to give You our whole heart so that You can transform us into who You created us to become. Lead us to love as You do, in ways that make Your fruit evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow Your fruit well within us, so that we can extend Your nourishment to those around us. Amen.

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

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

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

The Reality of Faith

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV)

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Life requires faith. We have faith that the sun will rise and tomorrow will come, yet we have not seen either yet. Faith in God and the hope that we will join Him in heaven when our days on earth are done, are made tangible as we observe all that His hands have made, and witness the glimpses of heaven that we get in the here and now. When I think of all of the beauty of creation and the unique design of every human and creature that lives, I have faith that there is indeed a Creator. There is nothing that can convince me that all that exists came from some cosmic explosion. Incredibly, the word of God tells us that no eye has seen and no mind can fathom the beauty that awaits us in paradise. I am a visual person and have viewed some overwhelming beauty here on earth. Everywhere I go, I witness whispers of the goodness and creativity of God. Though I cannot see Him, I know that He is. I do not have to understand all things for them to be real. This is where faith comes in. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow our faith in Him, and to further our assurance that there is so much more that is yet to come.

Faith is the fuel,

Beautiful Belizean sunrise.

Of what we believe;

Hope that is certain,

Beyond what we see.

The goodness of God,

Creativity;

Beauty surrounds us,

Intentionally.

May we keep seeking,

Choose trust in the Lord;

Ever He’s faithful,

To show us His more.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You. Thank You that the evidence of Your loving hand is everywhere. Forgive us for the times that our faith wavers because the mountains ahead of us seem unsurpassable. Teach us to trust You for each next step, for no obstacle is ever overcome without moving forward in faith. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love, goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever grow our faith with Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

The Giver of Good Gifts

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. – (James 1:17, HCSB)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. – (James 1:17, VOICE)

God is ALWAYS good. Everything good comes from Him. Though life and circumstances are not always what we might hope for, God is who and what remains good. He does not change and we can trust in His unending faithfulness. I love that James is referring to God as the Father of lights. He is our light in the darkness, and He illuminates good in spaces where it is seemingly absent. May we turn to God, the Father of lights, to see all of the good and perfect gifts that He has for all who trust in Him. 

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

The Father of lights;

Our Light in darkness,

In whom we delight.

Each good gift given,

That we have received;

From God, our Father,

Who knows all our needs.

Help us Lord Jesus,

Ever be aware;

Of Your sweet presence,

And how much You care.

In our dark spaces,

You bring us Your light;

Love, grace and laughter,

Our hope and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Father of lights, and that in You, there are no shadows. Thank You that every good gift comes from You. Forgive us for the times that we are blind to Your light or unable to recognize the good gifts that You are providing. Teach us to trust in You and be ever aware of Your nearness and love. Show us how to love one another and share the good gifts that You provide to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You, the Father of lights, and the giver of every good gift. Amen.

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

So if you, who are sinful, know how to give your children good gifts, how much more so does your Father in heaven, who is perfect, know how to give great gifts to His children! – Matthew 7:11

Resolve to Press On

I love You, Lord, my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, HCSB)

I love You, Lord! You are my strength. – (Psalm 18:1, ERV)

I love You, God – You make me strong. – (Psalm 18:1, MSG)

This past long weekend is exactly what I needed to rest and recharge. I am not typically good at rest and relaxation, but rainy weather, a cozy fireplace in our travel trailer, and hours of cribbage and binge watching a funny new series on Netflix with my favorite, provided a much-needed relaxing weekend. Thankfully, the weather did improve, and we walked and rode the scooters and explored. Upon returning home yesterday morning, a long dog walk with our very happy puppies and laundry were gladly accomplished. The evening included the new Top Gun movie and dinner with our besties, and the young man who served us was a former student who has grown up well. All of these blessings have been life-giving, and I feel strengthened and equipped to navigate the final thirteen days of school that remain. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength, and give Him praise for how He loves us so well.

Give thanks to the Lord,

For goodness and grace;

For He is our strength,

Throughout all our days.

Rest when we’re weary,

Resolve to press on;

Hope for the future,

His love carries on.

May we give Him praise,

For strength, life and love;

Provided each day,

By the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider of all that we need. Thank You that You are love, and that You strengthen and renew us as we seek You. Forgive us for trying to power through when we are called to rest, or for neglecting to seek You to be our strength. Teach us to praise You and rely on You to lead us in all things, and to show us when to press on and when to rest. Lead us to love those around us in ways that are encouraging, loving and life-giving. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and thank You for encouraging and strengthening us as only You can. 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

Set Free

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. – (Romans 8:1-2, HCSB)

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, ERV)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE) 

No matter what we have done or where we have been or what poor decisions we have made in the past, when we invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, He covers all of our shame and sin, and sets us free from the punishment that our sins deserve. His forgiveness brings freedom and compels us to live out the life of love that God intended all along. May we embrace the grace that God freely has given us through Jesus, and seek Him to lead us to love as He created us to do.

No condemnation,

For those who choose Christ;

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Blessed Redeemer,

His love paid the price.

The price for our sin,

And cleansed us from shame;

Grace freely given,

When we call His Name.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Give grace and goodness,

Through love that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation in You, for You sent Jesus to bear the burden of all of our sin and shame. Thank You Jesus, for Your overwhelming sacrifice on our behalf, and for the place You have taken to ever contend for us as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we do not receive what You freely offer, or we neglect to walk in the love that You given. Teach us to seek You to be our strength in all things, so that we might love like You. Show us how to love those around us well, and point each person we encounter to the goodness and grace that is offered as we seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your forgiveness and ongoing goodness, and seek You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. – Psalm 22:5

Let Love Lead

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.” – (Luke 11:28, HCSB)

But Jesus said, “The people who hear the teachings of God and obey it – they are the ones who have God’s blessing.” – (Luke 11:28, ERV)

Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!” – (Luke 11:28, MSG)

The more we know the word of God, the better we know Jesus. Knowing Him is our greatest blessing, for it is in Him and through Him that we experience life and love and peace. For me, the more I understand God’s heart for us, the better I see others through His lens. Patience grows as peace is known. As we continue to draw closer to Easter, may we further seek to hear and understand all that Jesus endured for our sake so that we might have life everlasting in Him. 

Listen to the Lord,

For His words are true;

Examples of love,

That teach what to do.

He shows us the way,

To love people well;

Forgiveness and grace,

His example tells.

Rise up in goodness,

Let Love lead the way;

To give to others,

His kindness and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to live and love as You intended. Thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or have neglected to do what You ask of us. Show us how to live and love as You created us for. Teach us to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn from Your word that instructs us to love as You do. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Hope That Will Not Disappoint

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. – (Romans 5:5, HCSB)

And this hope will never disappoint us. We know this because God has poured out His love to fill our hearts through the Holy Spirit He gave us. – (Romans 5:5, ERV)

And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love. – (Romans 5:5, VOICE)

The hope of God is what we have to hold onto. Over the past few months, I have learned of several friends from my formative years who have had difficult diagnoses that require lengthy treatment and follow ups. Each has some sort of cancer that has necessitated surgery and chemotherapy in the many months to come. Incredibly, each of these precious people have a strong faith that includes hope in He who is our Healer. Looking at the clouds and ocean this morning, the image I captured seems to provide a visual of what is going on. If you look only at the horizon, a storm is evident and the rain in the distance appears to be coming down. However, if you look up, the light is glowing above, around and from behind the clouds. To me, this is the perfect picture of hope. We traverse life’s storms, yet what is above us, behind us and surrounding us is full of life and light and hope. God is good, even in the midst of the awful, and is present to help and uphold us. May we ever turn to the Lord and trust in Him, for He will never fail to satisfy our deepest need as He overwhelms us with His love.

O Lord hold our heart,

When storms come our way;

Flood us with Your love,

True hope that will stay.

Provide what’s needed,

For those in the fight;

Strengthen, surround them,

With Your loving light.

Grace in the process,

As You hold us up;

Love overflowing,

As You fill our cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that hope in You never disappoints, for Your love is poured out to fill us, surround us, and hold us up in the hollow of Your hands. Forgive us for our fears when we see and hear diagnoses that seem discouraging. Thank You that You are bigger than anything and everything that comes against us. Please hold each of these dear ones in the hollow of Your hands, and bring miraculous healing as only You can. Strengthen and encourage each with the power of Your great love. Show us how to love those in the fight well, and practical ways to encourage and lift up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they witness the power of Your great love and care for all. Be glorified O God, as we trust and hope in You, even when storms rage around us. Amen. 

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

Be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Pleasing Wherever We Go

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, HCSB)

Our only goal is to always please the Lord, whether we are living here in this body or there with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, ERV)

Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, VOICE)

In this passage, Paul’s letter is for instruction in life and beyond, yet it is also fitting to follow wherever we are. Do we love people near and far; when home or away? It is our charge to be light and life and love to all people everywhere. We are blessed to be traveling with our besties who do an incredible job of loving people well. Wherever we go, they are remembered for their love and kindness to all. To be pleasing to God, we ought to seek to do just that at all times and in all circumstances. May we ever follow after the Lord and the example He set through His Son, and go forth and love people well so that all that we do might be pleasing to Him.

May we ever seek,

To honor God well;

Choose love each other,

So what we do tells.

Tells of His goodness,

Exemplifies grace;

Makes the Lord’s love known,

As we love His way.

Full of acceptance,

Extension of kind;

Blessings we outpour,

With others in mind.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Help us to honor,

With hearts that are true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to honor You wherever we go. Thank You that when we choose to love and extend kindness, we are representing Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Lead us in Your love as we go about our day, and show us opportunities to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek to live and love as You intended. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Move With Compassion

“Lord,” they said to Him, “open our eyes!” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and they followed Him. – (Matthew 20:33-34, HCSB)

They answered, “Lord, we want to be able to see.” Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. He touched their eyes, and immediately they were able to see. Then they became followers of Jesus. – (Matthew 20:33-34, ERV)

They said, “Master, we want our eyes opened. We want to see!” Deeply moved, Jesus touched their eyes. They had their sight back that very instant, and joined the procession. – (Matthew 20:33-34, MSG)

Jesus modeled a life of kindness and compassion. When two blind men called out to Him, He heard their cry, listened to their request, and then healed them. Though we do not have the ability to reach out and heal people, we can look upon others with compassion and do what we can with what we have. Sometimes, the need is simply to be heard. A kind, listening heart can change a person’s day for the better. So often, something as simple as a smile, a nod of encouragement, or words that extend life through goodness and grace, reset or realign a heart that was not in a good space. May we ever seek the Lord to meet our needs, and call on Him as we recognize that He is able to do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine.

O Lord, You are good,

Beyond what we see;

Your light, life and hope,

Provide what we need.

All praise unto You,

For love that is more;

It supplies for all,

You open new doors.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your love and grace;

Full of compassion,

As we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the power of Your love, compassion and kindness as we seek You. Thank You that You are faithful forever. Forgive us for forgetting the depth of Your love and compassion for us as we seek You. Teach us to trust in Your faithfulness, and show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to all whom we encounter. Help us to remember the power that compassion has as we extend to others what You have given to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Answer me, Lord, for Your faithful love is good; in keeping with Your great compassion, turn to me. – Psalm 69:16