Perfect Love

“If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, TPT)

“Even you who are bad know how to give good things to your children. So surely your heavenly Father knows how to give the Holy Spirit to the people who ask Him.” – (Luke 11:13, ERV)

Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask! – (Luke 11:13, VOICE)

This is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, despite our flaws, failures and shortcomings. Whether a parent to children or fur babies, we all know how to give good gifts to those in our care, despite being broken and sinful. How much more does God, who is perfect in all His ways, know how to give us all that He has to offer when we seek Him? The Holy Spirit is God’s presence within us. If God is for us, who can be against us? God’s Spirit within us will lead us, guide us, protect us and help us as we earnestly seek Him. May we always remember the depth and power of our Heavenly Father’s love, so that we may ever seek Him.

Despite all our flaws,

The Lord’s ever near;

Ready to help us,

Making His way clear.

Just as a parent,

Knows how to love well;

Our perfect Father,

Will in us, come dwell.

It is in nearness,

That we’re led and known;

Grace overflowing,

As His love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You bless us with the ultimate gift as we ask. Thank You that Your presence is the greatest provider ever known. Thank You that by Your Spirit, You lead us, guide us, bless and protect us, as we place our heart in Your hands. Forgive us for forgetting how exceedingly powerful Your love is, and lead us to love likewise. Show us how to give good gifts to all, so that each who crosses our path may witness glimpses of You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with Your Spirit, so that Your path will be made clear in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

The Knowing in Stillness

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…” – (Psalm 46:10, NIV)

God says, “Stop fighting and know that I am God…” – (Psalm 46:10, ERV)

Surrender your anxiety. Be still and realize that I am God… – (Psalm 46:10, TPT)

I love that each of these translations use a different phrase prior to pointing out that God is God. We are called to be still, to stop fighting, and to surrender our anxiety to Him. These things do not transpire automatically, rather they are actions with intention. To be still, we must stop what we are doing and find a space of quiet rest. In the midst of fighting or anxiety, being still is typically the last thing we want to do. God’s ways are not our ways, yet He sees and knows what we need. It is in that space of slowing down and releasing what burdens us, that we recognize God in the midst of all that we are going through. In the same way that we often miss things if we are driving by a space because we are moving too quickly, and then suddenly notice if we are walking by at a leisurely pace, so it is also with the goodness of God. We realize the depth and breadth of who God is and how He loves best when we slow down, are intentionally still, and sit in the stillness of knowing that God is God and He is for us. May we all be intentional to find time and space to be still, for in that stillness peace comes and love abounds.

Just stop and be still,

Give all to the Lord;

Burdens and unrest,

Peace is our reward.

In stillness we’re shown,

The power of God;

And how great His love,

So deep and so broad.

Choose to surrender,

All things unto Him;

Faithful to meet us,

As we let Him in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to surrender, lay our burdens and anxieties down, and simply be still. Thank You that we can trust in You and Your faithful love, no matter what state we find ourselves in. Forgive us for the times we don’t slow down and continue to try to carry what was never meant to be ours. Teach us to trust You more and to seek You in intentional stillness, for that is where we find You best. Show us how to love those around us in ways that help them discover still spaces to lay down what they need not carry. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be still and surrender all that we are and all that we are going through to You and Your love. Amen.

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

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Let It Go

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, NIV)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. – (Colossians 3:13, VOICE)

This verse is a powerful reminder of grace and mercy. Because we have been forgiven, we need to do likewise. Grudges harm the holder far more than the offender. Bearing the burden of unforgiveness creates a weight that none of us were intended to carry. When we lay it down, let go and allow God to be God, we are set free from the internal angst and are able to press forward in all that we are called and created to do. May we look to the Lord to fill us with His grace and forgiveness so that we may go forth and extend the same to those around us.

Lay down your burdens,

Choose let go, forgive;

Release the anger,

And let God’s love live.

As we’re forgiven,

May we do the same;

As image bearers,

Let’s honor His Name.

Grace and God’s mercy,

Extended to us;

May we do likewise,

Just like Lord Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us each time we seek You. Thank You that You call us and equip us to do the same. Thank You that we are meant to forgive one another and not hold onto hurts and frustrations. Forgive us for the times that we have struggled to place all in Your hands. Thank You that Your grace and mercy for us has granted us life and peace and hope. Show us how to forgive in the same way, so that others may come to know the power of peace in Your presence as mercy is extended and grace is granted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forgive because we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17

Joy in Knowing

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

Joy is not meant to be dependent on our circumstances, but rather in whom we place our trust. No matter what comes our way, there is still joy in knowing God and trusting in the truth of His promises. His goodness is not dependent on what is taking place, but rather He is good, because He is God. Our salvation alone is reason to rejoice. The hope that is found in knowing God brings joy even when our circumstances are difficult. I imagine many of us can think of moments that we were abundantly aware of joy in Him, despite all that has taken place in the last year plus of the pandemic. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and is evidence as we journey with Jesus. May we ever rejoice in the Lord, our Giver of joy, as we water the soil to grow deep roots in Him and allow His hands to prune and produce good fruit as we place our hope in Him.

No matter what comes,

There’s joy to be found;

It’s not a feeling,

But fruit that is sound.

True joy’s from within,

Found in knowing Christ;

Praise and thanks go forth,

As in trust, we rise.

So, let us rejoice,

Give thanks to the King;

Our true Source of joy,

Through love that He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to rejoice in You, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, something that You nourish and grow in our lives as we trust and invest in You. Forgive us for limiting joy based on our happiness with our circumstances. Teach us to find joy in You, no matter what is taking place around us. Show us how to love everyone in a way that encourages joy on the journey, no matter how rocky the road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and rejoice in You, for Your goodness and love make joy rise within. Amen.

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

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – Psalm 90:14

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

Tenderness Tapers Tempers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Sunrise to Sunset

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the Name of the Lord is to be praised. – (Psalm 113:3, NIV)

From sunrise-brilliance to sunset-beauty, lift up His praise from dawn to dusk! – (Psalm 113:3, TPT)

At every time and in every place – from the moment the sun rises to the moment the sun sets – may the Name of the Eternal be high in the hearts of His people. – (Psalm 113:3, VOICE)

As one who typically rises before the sun, I am blessed with the daily reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of God as I watch darkness become light. There is a holiness in the witnessing of the sunrise and sunset, for it is a mighty example of God’s creativity and handiwork in action. In the same way that God is faithful to cause the sun to rise and set each day, He too, is faithful to love and be near us. It is because of His great faithfulness that God deserves all of our praise. Every breath, each new day dawning, we are granted reminders of His goodness and faithfulness. May we ever recognize how great God is and give Him all of our praise.

Every new day,

At dawn’s early light;

God shows His power,

Colors to delight.

Just as He’s faithful,

With the rising sun;

His presence promised,

‘Til each day is done.

Wherever we are,

From east to the west;

God will be with us,

As He loves us best.

So, rise up and praise,

The God of all grace;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are with us from sunrise to sunset, and that You will be with us wherever we go. Forgive us for faltering faith. Teach us to recognize You goodness and grace that is all around us, so that we forever praise You as we should. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and presence abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You from the rising to the setting of the sun for how You love and all You have done. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5

Trust Over Fear

In God, whose word I praise – in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, NIV)

I trust God, so I am not afraid of what people can do to me! I praise God for His promise to me. – (Psalm 56:4, ERV)

In God – whose word I praise – in God I place my trust. I shall not let fear come in, for what can measly men do to me? – (Psalm 56:4, VOICE)

As we enjoy the blessing of a bonus long weekend, my heart cannot help but give gratitude for the brave men and women who served our country with a trust like this. This weekend, may we remember those who stood firm in the face of fear, knowing that they had a purpose to protect their friends, family and the nation they loved and paid the ultimate price. Though people can take a life on earth, they cannot deter the eternal destination of those who trust in God. Our time here is but the blink of an eye in comparison to forever. May we truly place our trust in God, and not allow fear to overwhelm us. For God has promised to be present and is preparing a place for all who trust in Him. 

May we ever choose trust,

In God, whom we praise;

For He’s always faithful,

Forever; always.

Help us not permit fear,

To stand in our way;

Please grant us Your courage,

To do as You say.

Help us to choose honor,

Those whom have served well;

Paid the ultimate price,

Before their time, fell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You showed us what it is to sacrifice for others. Thank You for the men and women who have sacrificed and paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Forgive us for allowing any to be forgotten, for You love all with a love that laid down Your life in our place. Teach us to trust in You and be not afraid, for You are with us, always. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that they come to know the faithfulness found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and fend off fear, knowing You are with us always. Help us to remember and honor all who sacrificed so that we might be free. Amen.

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

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. – Psalm 46:1

Called to Compassion

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV)

Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. – (Romans 12:15, TPT)

If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE)

We are called to be compassionate and to have empathy for one another. This is natural with those with whom we are closest, but it requires an intentional decision to love enough to invest in the hearts of others. When we do, we understand and care about what transpires in the lives of those around us. A love that is true is one that celebrates with others when good comes their way, and mourns alongside them when losses are experienced. Such love not only asks how others are doing, but is prepared to receive honest answers through active and intentional listening. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in compassion and empathy for those around us, so that we may truly love as we are called to love by God.

To love as God loves,

Requires intent;

To seek understand,

Purposeful time spent.

Called to compassion,

To walk alongside;

Love for the hurting,

With arms open wide.

And when there’s reason,

To rise and rejoice;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In praise, lift each voice.

Through ev’ry season,

Choose to truly love;

For that’s how others,

Know they are thought of.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to compassion and empathy for those around us. Thank You that You showed us through Your Son, what such love looks like. Jesus rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and wept with those in mourning. Forgive us for the times that we either ignored an opportunity to love well, or sought to help without truly responding in love. Show us how to celebrate with those who celebrate and to mourn with those who are grieving. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart for those around us so that we may love like You. 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