To Love One Another

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Galatians 5:14, NIV)

The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Galatians 5:14, ERV)

For all the law can be summarized in one grand statement: “Demonstrate love to your neighbor, even as you care for and love yourself.” – (Galatians 5:14, TPT)

“Love your neighbor as yourself” is a loaded statement. If we truly love our neighbors as we desire to be loved, then we are on the right track. We are not always great at loving as God intended, for we forget or lose sight of the things that define love. In 1 Corinthians 13, love is defined through telling us what love is, and what it is not. Love is patient, kind, protective, trusting, trustworthy, hopeful and perseveres. Love does not envy, boast, dishonor, anger easily, hold grudges, celebrate evil, and is not selfish. When we are patient with those around us, we are showing love. As we choose to extend kindness to others, we are living out love. Protecting those around us who cannot protect themselves is love. Choosing to assume positive intent and being trustworthy are also ways we can show love. Each time we extend hope and choose to persevere, despite obstacles, love is being made tangible to those around us. Will we get this right every time we interact with those around us? No, but the more we choose to operate in love the more we are loving our neighbors as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in a life of choosing to love well.

To love is to see,

What others might need;

Helping, equipping,

So each may succeed.

To love each other,

As Christ has loved us;

Through choices we make,

Chance to show Jesus.

Lord, help us to show,

What love truly means;

As we love others,

Help Your heart be seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only command us to love each other, but You show us what it means to do so. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not displayed the love that You call us to give. Help us to seek and rely on You to lead us to love well. Show us how to love each person we encounter where they are at. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love others as You intended. 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

Time to Notice

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

In today’s fast-paced society, I think it is far too easy for people to lose sight of the blessings and beauty that are all around us. When our eyes divert to “things” or agendas, we become blind to that which truly matters. However, when we set our hearts and minds on loving well and being grateful, there is suddenly no denying the goodness of God. This morning, as I write, our two dogs remind me of the intentional love God placed in creation. In the still and silent morning, sweet snuggles remind my heart of just how good God is. He loves us so much that He created creatures that love without hesitation, and desire nothing more than to be in our presence. Soon, the two doggos and I will get outside and walk, and the scenery that we will witness again points to His glory. May we ever seek to love and give thanks, so that our eyes and hearts will be open to the tangible evidence of God all around us.

Though all is not seen,

The heart truly knows;

The goodness of God,

As creation shows.

Beautiful landscapes,

And those whom we love;

Sweet, loving creatures,

The gifts from above.

Take time to notice,

In wonder and awe;

The goodness of God,

Blessings He foresaw.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is evidence of Your existence all around us. Thank You for the beauty and blessing that You placed in creation for all of us to enjoy. Forgive us for losing sight of the intention of all that Your hands have made. Teach us to appreciate and care for all of creation well. Show us how to love all those around us and to be good stewards of all that You have created. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize Your goodness and love through all that You’ve created and through the love You have deposited in us to give away. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for all that Your hands have made and seek You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

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

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Peace and Gratitude

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

 

Peace and gratitude go hand in hand. There are days I wake with a heart full of thanks, and it is on such mornings, that I am most aware of the peace of God, present with me. This morning, was one of those mornings. Despite a restless night’s sleep, I woke with thanks on my heart. The first thought I had was, “Thank You, Jesus, that it is Friday and that You have provided all that was needed to navigate this week!” As I made my way upstairs, my heart felt lighter and my mind clearer, as I prepare for the day ahead. I know not what lies before me today, in fact, I am not even certain as to what the day’s schedule will look like, as we have advisory and an event this afternoon. However, I do know that God will go before me, remain with me, and provide His peace, so for that, I can truly give Him thanks. Perhaps also, there was residual gratitude remaining for time spent together with the body. Mark and I met with our small group for the final time for the season last evening, and reminisced with gratitude as we drove home, for the great group of people with whom we had been placed. Peace has been present each time we have met, as all of us had something to offer to the whole. God is good and He will guide our hearts with His peace as we earnestly seek Him. May we ever give Him thanks.

 

Let the peace of God, For God and His Grace

Come rule in our hearts;

For as one body,

It’s where true peace starts.

Allow peace to reign,

Your heart and your mind;

God’s grace to impart,

As our lives align.

In everything,

Live out gratitude;

For as we give thanks,

Our hearts are renewed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your peace permeates every facet of our lives when we seek You and depend on You. Thank You that You place us in a body to build us up and strengthen our resolve. Thank You that we never run out of reasons to give You thanks. Forgive us for the times that our priorities go awry and we lose sight of Your peace. Teach us to trust and depend on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your perfect peace in places where peace feels absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the body in which we are placed, and praise for Your perfect peace that You provide when we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

The God of Hope

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

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)

Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super-abundance until you radiate with hope! – (Romans 15:13, TPT)

 

God’s hope fills us with joy and peace, and empowers us to trust in Him. As our trust grows, hope flows from us, and becomes a beacon in our lives. This process is ongoing, and there is always room to grow. Though I trust God, I certainly find myself in moments where I lose sight of His peace and have to take pause to remember what matters eternally. Yesterday at school, this was my reality for a few minutes. Just as my students had left my classroom and I was beginning to settle in and make preparations during my planning period, one of my colleagues entered my room and handed me a sub folder for a class. I took pause, in frustration asked, “Are you kidding me, right now?” And then proceeded to process the fact that I was losing my planning with no notification. At first, I was completely stressed about how I would get everything done, but then stopped and settled into trust, recognizing that I could utilize my lunchtime to do the planning I still needed to do. Peace arrived, the moment I slowed down and chose trust. The lack of notice was an oversight on the part of very busy, lovely humans, and grace is the only thing warranted in such circumstances. All worked out and the planning required was completed, reminding me, yet again to trust and keep my hope in He who gives me strength. May we ever hope in God, our ever-trustworthy place of peace.

Mom is continuing to push along on her road to recovery. Yesterday, my brother-in-love posted the best photo of my sister and mom that I have seen in a long while. Mom was actually at the island helping Megan prepare dinner! This is huge for so many reasons; mom standing and balancing, engaging in what she used to love to do, and recognizing that she is able to do exceedingly more than she may have thought possible. My prayer is that His peace would continue to flood their home as trust and hope grow greater still.

 

May the God of hope, fb_img_15711398132665000935021918141.jpg

Fill you with all joy;

May peace be present,

As hope is employed.

May His hope rise up,

Flood each heart and mind;

To overflowing,

As God’s love is kind.

Let God empower,

Your mind and your heart;

Hope overflowing,

Where peace and joy start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your peace and joy that come and fill us with all hope as we trust in You. Thank You that hope rises and overflows. Forgive us for the times that we take our eyes off of You and lose sight of where trust belongs. Teach us the power found in trusting You, so that we would not waiver in our faith. Show us how to love those around us in a way that spreads Your peace and joy, where by hope overflows where it is needed the most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your hands and hold fast to the hope we know in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. – Psalm 9:10

Orchestrated Overcoming

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

 

It is beyond my understanding how God takes the most difficult or heart-breaking of seasons, events, or circumstances, and uses them to launch us into something far greater than we would have ever thought possible. Not one hurt nor heartache is overlooked, and He leads us through to so much more than we would have envisioned for ourselves. When we choose God and listen to His leading, we find His grace, comfort and love through the trials, and discover the hardest of roads lead to the most beautiful of destinations. It is easy to lose sight of hope in the midst of despair, yet as we cling to Christ, love lights the way through the darkness, and His hand leads and guides us to something new. His new is light, life and love. Dreams are imagined and beauty comes from the ashes we thought would never end. May we ever hold fast to hope in God, as He uses all things for our good as we trust in Him.

 

All things in our lives,

Smiling fields

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Can be used for good;

When given to God,

His love, understood.

Beauty from ashes,

His hope from despair;

God shows us the good,

As His love repairs.

What once overwhelmed,

Darkness that has passed;

Seasons of struggle,

Lead to hope that lasts.

So, let us choose trust,

Find hope in His Name;

For there’s so much more,

Love changes the game.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for good, as we trust in You. Thank You that You alone, can bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You for the incredible outcomes of so many spaces we thought would be the end of us. Forgive us for our fears and doubts during seasons of difficulty. Teach us to trust You more, as we look to You to be our hope and help as we navigate to the new that awaits us on the other side. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends help in the now and hope for all that is yet to come. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust and rely on You, even when we see no possible way for good to come from what we are walking through. Amen.

 

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

 

…”to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” – Isaiah 61:3

The Source of Strength and Courage

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, NIV)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

“This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

 

God’s presence is our protection from fear and discouragement. Knowing His nearness fends off fear and encourages hearts with His strength. His presence is promised wherever we go. In the same way that a small child is comforted and emboldened knowing that a parent is near, we too, in similar fashion, may find peace, comfort and strength as we are aware of our Heavenly Father’s presence. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and courage, as He is faithful to meet us and make His presence known.

 

We are commanded, Compassion in Confrontations

Be strong in the Lord;

Do not be afraid,

As love is outpoured.

Ever He is near,

His presence assured;

Where we are lacking,

His strength is secured.

Rise up, be fearless,

In faith choose press on;

God faithfully leads,

Strength when ours is gone.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to lead, strengthen and encourage us always, and You never leave us or forsake us. Thank You that we need not fear nor be discouraged, as You hold us in Your hands. Forgive us for our fearfulness and losing heart, as we lose sight of the truth of how powerful You truly are. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will find strength and courage in knowing Your nearness, even when we cannot feel You near nor see how You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers strength and courage when it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust Your faithful presence and provision, no matter what comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – 2 Samuel 22:33

Each One a Part

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, NIV)

All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, ERV)

Now here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TLB)

You are the body of the Anointed One, and each one of you is a unique and vital part of it. – (1 Corinthians 12:27, TPT)

 

In this busy season, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that each of us have a purpose for which we were uniquely designed. As we walk out our days doing the things which we are called and created to do, we are being part of the bigger body of Christ, that would not function as it were meant to if we did not do our part. Though our part may seem insignificant, it is vital to the big picture. Just as a person becomes acutely aware of the absence of the use of a finger due to an injury (though a seemingly small part of the body), we too are noticed if we are not present or able to function as we were designed, regardless of the size of the body to which we belong. May we each remember that we are part of the body of Christ, uniquely designed with a purpose and a place that is needed to help the body function as it is intended.

 

The body of Christ, Love Made Known

Is both vast and wide;

Each person crafted,

With purpose inside.

We’re called to go forth,

And live out our days;

Living our purpose,

As this brings God praise.

And as we do this,

We become as one;

The body of Christ,

Familial union.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and create us to be part of Your body. Thank You that You do not expect us to navigate this life on our own, but rather You surround us by people who have different strengths and giftings so that we can be stronger together in You. Thank You that we are designed to do life together. Forgive us for thinking that we have to do things on our own, or that we do not have anything to offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our best self to all that we do, and trust that who You have created us to be is exactly the part of the body that we are meant to bring each day to the community where we are planted. Show us how to love well the people who surround us. Help us to encourage and build up the body as You build up and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the part for which we have each been uniquely created and called. Amen.

 

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

 

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Let Gratitude Grow

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NLT)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let’s serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, CEB)

 

Because of the hope that we have found in Christ, gratitude should ever be in the forefront of our hearts and minds. As we give God praise, let us worship with awe and respect for the One who holds our lives in His hands. When we serve, may it be in surrender to our Savior. With every word and deed, may our lives express gratitude to He who gives us life and breath and hope for all that is yet to come.

 

Let’s ever give thanks, Love that Grows

For all that’s to come;

Unshakable hope,

In the Holy One.

May our hearts worship,

Let’s ever give praise;

To God, who’s faithful,

For all of our days.

Let us not lose sight,

Of Who truly reigns;

May reverence lead,

As we lift His Name.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness and the hope we have in You forever. Forgive us for not worshiping or giving Your proper reverence for who You are, as You are our reason for life and breath and being. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and recognize Your hand in all things, and give You praise for who You are for all of our days. Show us how to love those around us in a way that is pleasing and honoring to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and give You all of our worship and praise for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Giving Grace and Peace

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. – (Ephesians 1:2, NLT)

 

Though the words are simple, they are not always easy to receive. For the peace of God goes far beyond silence or stillness, and is a space within our hearts and minds where we find that we are in a state of being free from distractions or anxiousness; untroubled; content – despite what surrounds us. Grace that God gives is the freely given, unmerited favor and love of the Lord. As the seasons change, and life seems to be in a space of reawakening, all of us could use more of God’s grace and peace. As I glance ahead at my calendar for the next several weeks, I am acutely aware of just how near I need the Lord. Much of the busy is good, but when life becomes so scheduled, it does not take much to become overwhelmed and lose sight of His grace. When our sightline becomes askew, the peace of God is far more difficult to find. May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with us as we navigate the new of this next season.

 

May God, our Father,When the Sun Shines In

And Jesus, His Son;

Grant us grace and peace,

So His will be done.

As we know favor,

The love that God gives;

We find that we’re free,

To rise up and live.

Live in the power,

Strength, hope, love and grace;

That God intended,

To run well our race.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give Your grace and peace to those who seek You. Thank You that Your grace is freely given, and that You love and favor us as Your children because we are Yours. Thank You that You give us Your perfect peace, despite that which surrounds us, when we choose to come before You. Forgive us for spiraling in our spaces of chaos, rather than reaching out to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek Your peace and grace in all things. Show us how to be Your hands and heart to those around us, so that we love in such a way as to offer Your grace and peace to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as Your grace and peace go forth from our hands and hearts to the world. Amen.

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

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16