Peace to Anxious Spaces

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – (Psalm 139:23, NIV)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. – (Psalm 139:23, ERV)

God, I invite Your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. – (Psalm 139:23, TPT)

This is a good reminder, especially during seasons that seem to spark anxiety. Normally, I would have written something about the eagerness for the first day of school. However, yesterday, all I could do was read and pray, as I was anxious to walk into the unknown after nearly eighteen months. Yes, I had returned to hybrid school in the spring, but there were only a handful of kids in class at any given time, so the idea of full classrooms and the chaos of the “normal” start of the school year was weighty. God knows our needs and meets us where we are. Despite a bit of a bumpy morning, the day went well. Kids were excited to be back at school, and the vast majority were fantastic about masks and social distancing. I know for many, there was much anxiety about the unknown. Two-thirds of the student body had never before set foot on campus. My classes are primarily eighth graders, so most had been away since their sixth grade year that was cut short and flipped upside down. God knows each heart and what it needs. When we slow down and quiet our hearts, He whispers the words that bring peace. I can’t pretend to understand why we are in the midst of a pandemic that is still our reality, but I can trust that He has placed us all together for this season. May we ever give God the reins and ask Him to search our hearts, for He is the One who uncovers and soothes our anxiousness and brings peace to places of uneasiness.

O God, bring us peace,

In space of unrest;

You know well each heart,

And how to love best.

Lead us in Your love,

With goodness and grace;

Teach us to love well,

So peace finds a place.

A place in our schools,

Each classroom and hall;

Let kindness give room,

To one and to all.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are with us and that You know our every anxious thought. Thank You that You hear and answer us every time we call on You. Forgive us for holding on to anxious thoughts and not giving You room to bring Your peace. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, even when things don’t make sense. Show us how to love well and bring peace to all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You our cares and trust Your love to lead us in Your goodness and peace. 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

Value Each Other

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV)

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. Amen.

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

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

True Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. – (Proverbs 31:30, NIV)

Charm can be misleading, and beauty is vain and so quickly fades, but this virtuous woman lives in the wonder, awe, and fear of the Lord. She will be praised throughout eternity. – (Proverbs 31:30, TPT)

Charm can be deceptive and physical beauty will not last, but a woman who reveres the Eternal should be praised above all others. – (Proverbs 31:30, VOICE)

God wants our hearts, not our appearance nor charisma. Incredibly, the most beautiful and charming people I know are those who have a heart after God’s own. Media tends to place the most value on beauty and charm, yet God looks at the heart. Our most important investments are the ones that last. Loving God and loving people well is what teaches us to live in wonder and awe of the Lord. It requires our dependence on Him to live as He calls us to live. Fear of the Lord is not a space of terror, but rather is a healthy respect that recognizes who God is and the capacity of His power. When we allow God to be God, we begin to live and move and interact the way that we were designed to do. In this context, being praised means being approved. The most critical message in this verse is that we are approved by God when we focus on relationships rather than appearances. May we ever seek the Lord in awe and wonder, depending on Him to grow us in how we live and love.

May we ever aim,

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. The feathers of birds form a heart. Vector illustration hand drawn.

To love like the Lord;

Beauty from within,

As grace is outpoured.

With respect and awe,

Let love for God lead;

In all that we do,

Each word and each deed.

The God of all grace,

In love, does approve;

When we seek to love,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to focus on what lasts. Thank You that true beauty comes from within, not from the exterior. Thank You that we are approved by You as we earnestly seek to walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to be swayed by the world’s definition of beauty rather than Yours. Teach us to have beautiful hearts that love and respect You and all those around us. Show us how to love people best as we invest our heart into learning how to love as we were created to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the beauty all around us, but more importantly, for the beauty created within us all to honor You and love well. Amen.

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

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:18

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

To Be Peacemakers

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. – (Matthew 5:9, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who work to bring peace. God will call them sons and daughters. – (Matthew 5:9, ERV)

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. – (Matthew 5:9, MSG)

In a culture where arguing and fighting seem to be the norm, how can we work to bring peace? To me, the most logical way is to love. If we are focused on loving those around us, we will truly listen and learn how to love best. When we are intentional to love, it is impossible to fight. I know many people who think differently and view the world differently than me, yet we are able to listen to one another as we allow love to lead. When love leads, peace is found. It is in that space of peace that we are best able to recognize that God has placed us among family and loves us all as His own. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may be peacemakers wherever we go.

The Lord calls us all,

To care like He does;

Be bringers of peace,

And givers of love.

As we choose invest,

By faith, live out love;

We represent well,

Our Father above.

So, let us invest,

In listening well;

Help us all to learn,

Through peace, Your love tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to be bringers of peace in places where it is absent. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to listen and love in a way that helps create community. Forgive us for the times that we have opted to argue rather than listen and learn. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that we can be bringers of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to be peacemakers as Your sons and daughters. 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

Came to Save

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

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, ERV) 

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT) 

I am so thankful that Jesus came to save, rather than to condemn. Though our sins warrant condemnation, His mercy and grace extend love and offer new life instead. In the same way that we have been given forgiveness and grace, we are meant to go forth and do likewise. We have been rescued from the darkness we were bound in, and as God’s own, we are meant to be bearers of light who shine His love everywhere we go. Our lives ought to demonstrate what it is to walk in redemption – full of gratitude and grace, as we recognize that there is nothing, we could ever do to repay the goodness we have been shown through Christ’s love. This revelation of God’s goodness compels us to navigate each day in the fullness of His love. May we go forth in God’s love and love others in the same way that we are loved by God. 

God sent His own Son, 

But not to condemn; 

Instead to set free, 

Grace that overwhelms. 

Though judgment’s deserved, 

He gives us His grace; 

Forgiven and free, 

As we seek His face. 

May we, in freedom, 

Go forth, do the same; 

Love as we are loved, 

Honor Jesus’ Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You Jesus, for showing us what sacrificial love is. Thank You for loving us to life, so that we might go forth and love others. Forgive us for the places that we judge or condemn rather than seek to love. Teach us to trust You more, for You provide wisdom, strength and grace to know when to stay and when to walk away from situations where we should or should not remain. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made known clearly through love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming sacrifice to save us. Amen. 

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

To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:4

All in Love

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TPT)

 

It is amazing how much better life goes when love is the motivation behind every word and deed. Though there are times that love feels like the farthest thing from what we want to extend, it is a choice. Last night, my Viking and I landed in Reno, shortly before midnight. His brother and the love of his life greeted us at the airport and handed off one of their vehicles, so that we would not have to rent one. They are early risers, so not only was the sacrifice of a vehicle an act of love, but the decision to stay up late and abandon opportunity for a full night’s sleep, also demonstrated a clear choice of love in action. When we arrived at our accommodations for the night, a lovely occasion to choose to speak and act in love, presented itself. Exhausted, the Viking and I quickly checked in and received our room keys. Upon arrival at our door, we soon discovered that the key cards did not work in the door to which they were assigned. Frustrated, we walked the quarter-mile back to the office with our things, with a less-than-loving attitude, only to communicate kindly to the gentleman who apologetically reprogrammed our room keys and sent us back to our room. Sadly, the keys still would not work. With even more aggravation, combined with the lack of sleep, I was not sure how it would go, as we walked back, yet again, to the office to remedy the situation. This time, Mark simply asked if we could please be placed in a different room, as it appeared that there was a problem with the lock on the other room’s door. The concierge obliged willingly, and we thanked him and were on our way. Sometimes love is found in what we choose to not say as well. We are grateful for the blessing of time with family, and the opportunity to love and be loved well. May we all seek our Heavenly Father for His strength and grace, so that we may go forth in love in every word and deed.

 

To love is a choice, 09061920511312738643123803600.jpg

We have all our days;

In word, thought and deed,

At work, home and play.

Each time that we choose,

To love and be kind;

We show the Lord’s heart,

For all of mankind.

Lord, help us to love,

To choose love like You;

Prefer each other,

Let Your light shine through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You that You do not call us to anything that You are not also willing to equip and empower us to do. Thank You that You loved us first. Thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit that dwells in us and reminds us what it is to love in each circumstance we encounter. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen poorly and have not spoken or acted in love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Show us how to love those around us in ways that communicate love to them best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and love You, so that we may in turn love others too. 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. – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Provision of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way that the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

 

Jesus came to us, lived, loved, taught, modeled and performed miracles to show us His love and peace that last forever. When He returned to the Father, He sent His Spirit to be our peace, present in all things and at all times. God’s peace conquers fear and concern, and grants courage and strength where there seemingly should be none. The peace He left is present always, we need only seek Him to be made aware of what is already there. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what stands before us, for He is greater than all. 

 

Provision of peace, Provision of Peace

The Lord God, He gives; 

To all who choose seek, 

Among us, He lives. 

Peace comes in knowing, 

The strength of our Source; 

The power of love, 

Infallible force. 

All trust we can give, 

To our God, Most High; 

He answers in love, 

Every heart cry. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make peace possible, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You for Your presence that provides perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances or surroundings to steal our peace, when You are ever-present to provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You when chaos seems to surround us, and praise You when we are aware of Your nearness that is providing our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to places of unrest, as You alone help us to love best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times to be our Provider of Your perfect peace. 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

Show the Love

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT)

My children, our love should not only be words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

 

If ever there has been a time in our nation to show love with action and in truth, the time is now. Between the natural disasters and devastation that have taken place to the racial tension that is being highlighted through the actions of our top paid athletes, people desperately need to know that there is hope and that they are loved. To look at the big picture before us seems insurmountable. How on earth do we go about meeting the needs of so many impacted by fires and floods? How can we honor our dedicated police officers and military personnel who serve, and work to see change in the discrepancies of how people of color are treated by the few law enforcement officers that are not acting with honor? There is no easy answer, nor can any one person do everything. However, we all can do something. Each of us can demonstrate truth as we choose to love. Words are lost in the wind if they are not backed up by action. Rather, if we are consistently demonstrating the love of God to all as we are called, imagine the change that the world would see. May we let our love be shown in truth by our actions, rather than merely spoken in words.

 

Our love should not be, Show the Love

Just words that we say;

Instead, let us show,

With actions each day.

It’s truth over time,

That truly will show;

The great love of God,

So others might know.

Love not just with words,

But back them with deeds;

Show truth over time,

As true love meets needs.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your love with actions, again and again. Thank You that You call us to do the same. Father, You see and know the need in our nation – please show us how to love best, so that hearts may be healed and truth may be made tangible by Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for speaking rather than listening, and for our inaction when we need to move to demonstrate Your love through tangible movement. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and do whatever You ask to love with our lives. Show us how to love others with the things that we do, so that they might see Your heart in our actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do not merely say that we love each other, but we show the that we do through our actions in truth. Amen.

 

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

 

I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and power. – Daniel 2:23