The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Represent in Love

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, NIV)

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, ERV)

Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, MSG)

This is and has been a charge that has felt seemingly absent over the last year and a half on social media. People who love God and love people, have been blasting one another over various “hot topics”, rather than listening to understand in love. The challenge in this is that we all have opinions that rise up, yet if we profess Jesus is Lord, we cannot name call and demean those around us for what they think. That is not love. Yes, we can have civilized conversations face-to-face, but yelling, name-calling, and demeaning is not beneficial to anyone. All of us have opinions and positions on the various things that are going on in the world that bring about differing views, yet what we do with those opinions is on us. If we are to profess our faith in love, our every interaction must be led in love. I too, have opinions and reactions rise up, but have learned that I cannot simply react, but rather I must listen in love and seek the Lord to lead. Most often, that means that I must scroll past the “blasting” and only discuss my thoughts when I am able to listen in love and calmly share my concerns and ideas. It is a delicate balance to continue to learn how to live in such a way that we are honoring God in all that we do and say. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our conversations and exchanges of thoughts, ideas and opinions so that love is what is evident in all.

Love is the answer,

We’re each called to give;

In speech and actions,

Each day that we live.

No matter our thoughts,

To what’s going on;

If not led in love,

Validity’s gone.

What good is shouting,

Finger-pointing wrongs?

Instead, let’s listen,

Show that love belongs.

O Lord, we need You,

To lead us in love;

To follow Your heart,

Speak in peace and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to conduct ourselves in a manner that ever demonstrates Your goodness and love. Thank You that You call us to represent You with our words and deeds. Forgive us for our every word, thought and deed that has not demonstrated Your goodness, love and grace. Teach us to interact with one another in love, no matter how differently we view the world. Show us how to love greatly, and to choose to love in our every action, reaction and interaction with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in everything that we say and do so that we may represent who You intended us to become. Amen.

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

Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. – Psalm 17:7

Guided By Love

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give praise to your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, TPT)

This aligns with one of my favorite quotes: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi) Our charge is not to simply speak of our faith, but rather it is to live it out. If people see Christ in us through how we live and care for others, they will ask questions and provide opportunities for us to use words. However, if there is nothing that separates us from anyone else then anything we say will fall on deaf ears. This does not mean that we have to be perfect, or that we have to fear our human flaws, but rather it frees us to walk in God’s grace and choose to love big. When all that we do is guided and steeped in love, His light shines through us and is made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in His love so that we may shine brightly before all.

O Lord help Your light,

Shine brightly through us;

As we grow and learn,

To love like Jesus.

Let all that we do,

Be guided by love;

So others may know,

It’s from You, above.

Thank You for Your grace,

For the times we fail;

Love that leads us on,

So Your love prevails.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your son to show us what it is to lead a life of love. Thank You that as we invest in our relationship with You, You increase our capacity to love well and live out a life in You. Forgive us for our faults and failures, the words and actions that have been lacking Your love. Show us how to love all people in all circumstances, and to live a life according to Your loving plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives into knowing more of You so that we may be a reflection of Your love. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Good Words and Hard Work

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, NIV)

People get good things for the words they say, and they are rewarded for the work they do. – (Proverbs 12:14, ERV)

Well-spoken words bring satisfaction; well-done work has its own reward. – (Proverbs 12:14, MSG)

Yesterday was one of those days that words spoken brought life, and the reward of hard work was evident. Students were engaged in conversations with enthusiasm for our end-of-the-year project, and my gymnasts had a fantastic practice. New skills were achieved and fears were overcome. As I was preparing for a meet up to run, my Viking sent me a text that he wanted to do a date night. By the time we had gone to dinner, run into and visited with friends, returned home and walked the dogs, my heart was overflowing with the good things spoken and the reward of hard work that had filled my day. Even on the days that things don’t flow as smoothly, or the work seems to be in vain, I can speak good things and remember that there are days that simply knowing the hard work is being done brings its own reward. God is good, and He encourages us to speak blessings and work hard, for through each we witness Him moving in us, through us and for us. May we ever seek the Lord to fuel our hearts with His words, and strengthen us to do the work that we have been called to do.

Our words and actions,

Have power to give;

Goodness and blessings,

As each day we live.

May we speak kindness,

Let our words bring life;

For encouragement,

Ends internal strife.

Teach us to invest,

To work unto You;

Give our very best,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing of people You place around us who speak life and bring good things, and for the reward that is felt as we work as if unto You. Forgive us for the times that we have not spoken life to those around us, or have not worked with our heart invested in what we are doing. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our encouragement, for You speak life and love and strength to those who seek You. Show us how to speak good into those around us, and to work in a way that encourages others to invest as well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our lips to speak life and our hearts to fully invest in all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Let Love Increase

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NIV)

We pray that the Lord will make your love grow. We pray that He will give you more and more love for each other and for all people. We pray that you will love everyone in the same way we love you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, ERV)

And may the Lord increase your love until it overflows toward one another and for all people, just as our love overflows toward you. – (1 Thessalonians 3:12, TPT)

Paul, in his letters to the church of Thessalonica, gave instructions and encouragement. The exhortation to allow the Lord to grow our love for one another is powerful. If each of us sought the Lord to increase our love and the love of those around us to overflowing, imagine how communities would thrive. May we seek the Lord to grow the love in us and those around us, and may we allow Him to lead us in every interaction.

May our love increase,

More and more each day;

For one another,

At work and at play.

Let us seek the Lord,

To raise up in us;

Love everlasting,

Like the Lord Jesus.

Pursue the Lord’s love,

So we grow to give;

Love overflowing,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow Your love in us as we seek You. Help us to depend on You to grow Your love in us and in those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in spaces where it was needed most. Show us how to love like You and how to encourage those around us in the same. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the lavish love You give to us and those around us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Called to Be Kind

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

We are called to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to each other, in the same way that God is unto us. Our decision to extend grace and goodness to those around us speaks the heart of God without words. Kindness and compassion are more easily extended when we recognize both how much has been given to us by God, and the incredible weight that is removed when we are fully aware of the forgiveness and grace that we are afforded by and through God. I know that I need all of these things every single day. Each morning, I set my heart on the Lord and seek Him, yet throughout the day, challenges and obstacles come that require dependence on God to navigate with kindness and compassion, and the strength to choose to forgive. There is a constant battle between human nature and the divine. God is gracious and full of love, and will supply all that we need to walk in His way if we choose to depend on Him. May we ever seek our Savior, who forgives and loves us beyond what we can comprehend, and allow Him to lead us and guide us in His everlasting love.

Let kindness and grace,

Help us choose forgive;

To love as God loves,

Each day that we live.

For it is by grace,

That the Lord does save;

Imagine the world,

If we gave the same.

We’ve been created,

To love like the Lord;

So His heart is seen,

As good is outpoured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your goodness and grace, and You forgive us each time that we ask. Thank You that Your love changes our hearts and empowers us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have reacted rather than sought to respond like You. Teach us to slow down, breathe deep, and allow Your love to flow through us to all. Show us how to extend forgiveness, kindness and compassion to all, so that Your love may be evident through our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and depend on You to soften our hearts and lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Joy in Hope

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

There is always joy when we are aware of hope. Hope anchors our hearts and helps us remember our reasons to give thanks. It is in that posture of praise that we are able to find joy. Additionally, hope grants us patience when troubles come our way. Even when we cannot see a solution, God is working on our behalf. Lastly, we have the privilege of communing with the living God. He hears our every prayer, and shows us His love and His presence each time we seek Him. May we ever invest in seeking the Lord, for He is our source of joy, hope, patience and perseverance. 

May hope be present,

No matter what comes;

Joy’s in the journey,

Not in the outcome.

Our God is faithful,

His strength overcomes;

Our times of trouble,

‘Til each day is done.

For we are all called,

To commune with Him;

Pray in His presence,

Allow His love in.

Let us hold to hope,

That God alone gives;

Be strengthened in Him,

As long as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy, for You are our reason to have hope. Thank You that You strengthen us in times of trouble, and You meet us as we seek time with You. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may find joy in our hope that comes from You. Continue to show us how to seek You and spend time in Your presence. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence, help, hope and joy that You grant all who seek You. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Seek for Strength

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, NIV)

Depend on the Lord for strength. Always go to Him for help. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, ERV)

Always follow the Eternal, His strength and His face. – (1 Chronicles 16:11, VOICE)

Our own strength is limited, however, God’s is not. He is the One we are meant to look to for help and strength. The Lord provides where we are lacking, if only we seek Him. This morning, I am seeking Him anew, as I need His strength to navigate all the new in this coming week. Though I am looking forward with eager anticipation to having kids back in my classroom, there is the unknown element of how to make the who live and online teaching work simultaneously. God is good, and He will provide the patience and endurance that is needed, and the strength to continue moving forward. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, for He is our help and all that we need to navigate the road that lies ahead.

When my strength is gone,

I need never fear;

For the Lord provides,

And is ever near.

As I seek His face,

Resolve is made new;

With love and His grace,

His strength leads me through.

So, look to the Lord,

Ever seek His face;

For strength, hope and love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and seek Your face, and You strengthen us and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Forgive us for attempting to power through things rather than turning to You for help. Teach us to trust in You, so that we would place all in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face for strength in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

But You, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. – Psalm 22:19

Purposed To Love

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – (Luke 6:37, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. Don’t condemn others, and you will not be condemned. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” – (Luke 6:37, ERV)

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang.” – (Luke 6:37, MSG)

If Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but rather to save it, how much more ought we do our best to follow His example? We are told in the book of Luke how to follow Jesus’ example. What we give, is the very thing that we will be given in return. We celebrate Easter to remember that rather than being judged, Christ took our place and withstood the punishment we all deserve. He died, so we might live. Incredibly, in His power, He rose again and ascended to be seated at the right hand of the Father. In His goodness, Jesus loves, listens and moves on our behalf. There is nothing we have done to deserve His love, yet He loves anyway. It is our call to love in the same way. We cannot judge, condemn and harbor unforgiveness and simultaneously love. May we ever seek the Lord to learn how to love best, and turn to Him every time that we struggle with our opinions of others. To see people through Christ’s lens, is to see and understand the beauty in every being. God created because He loved, He sent His Son, because He loved, and Jesus took the punishment that we all deserved, again, because He loved.

Don’t judge nor condemn,

Or hold onto hurts;

Such things block the way,

From seeing true worth.

For how we choose give,

Will be given back;

Let love be our choice,

Give where there is lack.

Because of Jesus,

We each have been shown;

What God’s love looks like,

He has made it known.

Each word of kindness,

Every good deed;

All love we have felt,

God meeting our need.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to save the world, not to condemn it. Thank You Jesus, for demonstrating what love ought to be. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our hearts to entertain judgement, condemnation and unforgiveness. Teach us to love and embrace ALL people, recognizing the incredible creations that You have made. Every person on the planet was formed and planned with purpose. Show us how to better walk in love, so that all may experience Your goodness, kindness and grace in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek to grow in love and allow You to move and change our view of others to mirror Your own. Amen.

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

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save it through Him. – John 3:17

Release the Offense

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, NIV)

“Even if they do something wrong to you seven times in one day, but they say they are sorry each time, you should forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, ERV)

“No matter how many times in one day your brother sins against you and says, ‘I’m sorry; I am changing; forgive me,’ you need to forgive him each and every time.” – (Luke 17:4, TPT)

Jesus set the standard as to how we are meant to interact with our sisters and brothers around us. We are called to forgive every time that someone recognizes their wrongs and apologizes. The reality is that we all fall short and need forgiveness and grace. For me, I know that I have far more grace for my children and spouse than I do for folks out and about. When one of my kids forgets to do what has been asked of them, and then apologizes, it becomes as if it has never happened; yet if someone cuts me off on the road and then waves an apology, it takes a moment to slow down and actually forgive, instead of being annoyed. Our intentional decision to forgive is not meant to be submission to abuse, rather it is for us to release the offense and move on so that we do not carry the weight of unforgiveness.There are enough burdens among us; grudges are far too weighty to hold. May we seek the Lord to grant us the grace to forgive, in the same way that He continually forgives us.

Count not offenses,

But rather, give grace;

Love one another,

Throughout each new day.

When there’s a sorry,

Let go, choose release;

Hold not the offense,

May our grace increase.

Lord, help us to love,

As You choose love us;

Let our response be,

Just like Yours, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love and forgive. Forgive us for not being quick to forgive when we ought to. Show us how to give the very same grace and forgiveness that we have been given by You. Lead us in love for all those around us so that each may know the overwhelming, never ending, power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love and forgiveness for all. Amen.

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

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13