Forgiven by Jesus

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, NIV)

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

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, MSG)

All of us, by our very nature, are prone to sin. Consequently, we all deserve death as a consequence for our poor decisions. Thankfully, in order to have such a sentence, there must be a judge. In Christ Jesus, we are no longer judged guilty. Every sin has been wiped away as Jesus already bore the consequence on the cross. His Holy Spirit breathes life into the spaces that should have been dead and supplies what we need to walk in His way and do His will. Through Jesus, we no longer have hundreds of laws to remember and follow closely, but rather, His new command is to love God and love one another. If we truly do these things, we are choosing life in Him and making His love known. May we ever embrace the goodness and grace that Jesus gives so that we may walk in His way and do His will throughout all our days.

No longer condemned,

In Christ we are free;

To live and choose love,

As it’s meant to be.

The guilt that we bear,

In Him is removed;

Forgiven in love,

That’s constantly proved.

No more under laws,

That lead us to death;

Set free from the weight,

Through life-giving breath.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no more condemnation when we come into a relationship with You. Thank You that You give us light and life, help and hope, as Your presence provides peace and promise to all who receive You as Lord of our lives. Forgive us for every word and deed that has not demonstrated love for You or for Your created. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in Your love in all things. Show us how to live free from the weight of our sin and to walk boldly in Your perfect love. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live and love boldly as You set us free to do. Amen.

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

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9

Freely Forgive

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – (Matthew 6:14-15, NIV)

Yes, if you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, then your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongs. But if you don’t forgive others, then your Father in heaven will not forgive the wrongs you do. – (Matthew 6:14-15, ERV)

In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. – (Matthew 6:14-15, MSG)

If we love God and love people, we will walk in God’s way and do His will. God’s will is that we forgive others just as He has forgiven us. Once we realize the magnitude of His mercy and grace, we ought to be compelled to extend the same to others. Our grudges create a divide between us and God. Not because He cannot get past them, but rather because we are unable. Forgiveness means that we willfully choose to let go of the anger and frustration brought on by the words or actions of another, and hand them over to God. This is an active and ongoing process that we must choose. As we do, God grants us the grace to release the grudge that we want to hold so that it no longer has a hold on us. To forgive does not mean we forget, but rather that we no longer hold the hurt and allow God to heal. Often, we must choose to forgive repeatedly for the same action, as the offense arouses anger each time it is recalled. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to continue to forgive others, so that we too, may continue to be forgiven.

We are commanded,

To choose to forgive;

As we’re forgiven,

A grace we must give.

For holding grudges,

Creates a divide;

Gets in the Lord’s way,

Of purpose inside.

Lord, help us let go,

Of hurts and offense;

Lead us in Your love,

And be our defense.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to forgive as You forgive us. Thank You that as we do, the weight is lifted, and we are able to walk as You intended. Forgive us for the times that we have been slow to forgive. Teach us to keep short accounts and to place all in Your capable hands. Show us how to love and forgive those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to help us forgive every offense. Amen.

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

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

There is No Hate in Love

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. – (1 John 4:20, NIV)

If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in His family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen Him. – (1 John 4:20, ERV)

If someone claims, “I love God,” but hates his brother or sister, then he is a liar. Anyone who does not love a brother or sister, whom he has seen, cannot possibly love God, whom he has never seen. – (1 John 4:20, VOICE)

We are called and created to love God and love each other. If we deny a part of this, then we deny all of it by our actions. Hate is not ours to hold for those whom God has placed in our lives. When hate enters the heart, it is blinded to love. Both cannot coexist within us. To love God and love the ones whom He has given us, requires us to invest our mind, heart and soul into learning how to love God and people. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love Him and love the people whom He places in our lives as He intended.

To truly love God,

We must heed the call;

To love each other,

Let hard feelings fall.

Each person on earth,

Was made with a plan;

With gifts and talents,

Strength and grace to stand.

Each of us unique,

Yet loved well by God;

So we need to love,

As we have been called.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love one another. Thank You that there is no room for hate in love. Forgive us for the times that we have harbored bitterness or hurts against our brothers and sisters. Teach us to turn to You in trust so that we forgive and keep choosing love. Show us what it means to love You and those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let go of grievances and go forth choosing to love. Amen.

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

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8

How Love is Made Known

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

God provides us the ultimate example of what love is and is not. We are commanded to love God and love people, and He both shows and tells us what it is to love. Patience and kindness should lead us in how we love. Jealousy, pride, unkindness, selfishness and a short temper do not help us show love. In our broken humanity, we all struggle with loving as God does in all things. All it takes is being stuck in Seattle traffic during rush hour to be reminded that we are ALL a work in progress. We have the opportunity to extend love everywhere we go and through everything we do. Imagine what the world would look like if we all sought the Lord to lead us in His love in all that we said and did? Each time that we extend patience and kindness, we are igniting a spark that can spread. For me, when I have been granted patience or kindness when I know I did not deserve it, it caused me to take pause and work to do the same in similar situations. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace to lead us in His incredible love in all things.

Lord, help us to love,

In all that we do;

Let each word and deed,

Reflect Your heart true.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Lead us to love well,

As You call us to.

Help us be gracious,

Wherever we go;

May Your heart shine through,

So love is made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You that You show us what love is and is not, so that we know what You are calling us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked patience or kindness, the times that we have been jealous or rude or proud. Teach us to trust and follow You so that we might extend Your heart to the world through our love. Show us how to be patient and kind in each circumstance we encounter. Help us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love in all that we say and do in every circumstance. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

To Know is To Love

But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, HCSB)

But whoever loves God is known by God. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, ERV)

But if someone loves God, it is certain that God has already known that one. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, VOICE)

To know God is to love God, and to be known by God is to be loved by Him. The more we know God, the more we want to know. Love pursues knowing more. God, in His wisdom and grace, knows all who seek Him and loves all who choose to belong to Him. I love that God uses healthy earthly relationships to give us glimpses of the fullness of His love and kindness. For example, in a marriage, when we realize that we love our spouse, we are drawn to know them more. Likewise, when we love another, we are known by them. This is true with close friendships and family bonds as well. If we can be known by the people we love, how much more can we be known by the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb? He knows the number of hairs on our head, and everything about us. The good, the bad and everything in between, yet He loves us still. May we ever pursue the Lord, who is love, so that we learn even more to love as He loves us.

As we choose love God,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

We soon come to know;

How well we are known,

Through the grace He shows.

Ever He meets us,

With mercy and grace;

He shows us kindness,

As we seek His face.

To know and love God,

Is the greatest gift;

He shows us His heart,

And how He uplifts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even before we knew You, we were loved and known by You. Thank You that as we seek You and come into a relationship with You, You show us that we are known and loved. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You call us to love. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we may love likewise. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that many may come to know You personally. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and ever seek to know You more. Amen.

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

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

All for Good

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, HCSB)

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)

This does not say that all things happen for good, or have been caused by God. However, God can bring good from even the worst of things if we allow Him room to move. For example, there is nothing good about sickness, disease, or injuries. The good is how God can use such things to grow our faith, show us His power, and lead us to something more than we imagined before. Additionally, He shows us He is good as He loves, supports, encourages and surrounds us. Love is made tangible, even in the midst of great struggle or suffering. Our circumstances are not always good, but God always is good. May we ever seek the Lord to show us who He is, even in the midst of challenges and difficulty; for He is faithful to be present for those who seek Him.

Because God is good,

He moves through all things;

Hope in our heartache,

Strength and peace He brings.

In love, He takes hold,

Of extended hands;

He lifts and He leads,

So we again stand.

Choose look to the Lord,

In each circumstance;

Watch how the Lord moves,

When given the chance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are able to work all things out for good for those who love and trust in You. Thank You that You are the same God that brings beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Thank You that You have shown Yourself faithful time and time again. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we cannot see past our circumstances. Teach us to look to You, for You grant us Your eyes to see the hope held beyond what we are seeing or experiencing right now. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too come to know and understand that You bring good, always. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to lead us, and trust the hope that we hold in You forever. Amen.

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

But You are near me, Lord, and all Your commands can be trusted. – Psalm 119:151

Simple to Love

This is what I command you: Love one another. – (John 15:17, HCSB)

This is My command: Love each other. – (John 15:17, ERV)

But remember the root command: Love one another. – (John 15:17, MSG)

Each year, the more I experience life, the more I recognize how critical it is for us to prioritize following God’s greatest commands: to love God and love one another. If what we do and say is fueled by His love, we are making a positive impact on the world, no matter how small. It is amazing how this lens changes our approach in what we say and do. In fact, it truly changes our perspective on everything. One example that is a part of my everyday routine is to take our dogs on long walks. Each morning I anticipate how God might use me (and them) to love others well. Incredibly, there is some sort of interaction or exchange with others along our route every time we go out. Sometimes, it is simply a warm smile and friendly hello, yet other times it is a sweet stop to chat with another and extend kindness. On our route, as we near home, there is an older gentleman in a wheelchair. What began as simply smiling and waving, has turned into a stop each time Michael is outside, so that we can check in and he can give pets to the pups. Michael is forty years and ten days my senior, and sits outside working on Suduko puzzles and gladly greets us with a warm smile and gratitude. It amazes me how God can take something so ordinary that we already do, and use it as an opportunity to show His love to those we encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us as we go, and may His love be made evident through our every word and deed. 

We are commanded,

To love each other;

As mothers, fathers,

Sisters and brothers.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

Our God is able,

To show His love true.

It is quite simple,

To choose to give love;

A smile and kind word,

Show hope from above.

May we make the choice,

To love each other;

In the little things,

It’s worth the bother.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love each other. Thank You that love looks different to everyone. Thank You that You can use a smile, a kind word, a friendly wave – all to be expressions of the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to love when we have been in a hurry, distracted, or “not in the mood.” Show us how to love in the little things, for it is the little things that lead to the enormity of how good and loving You are. Lead us to love those around us in ways that speak directly to the heart so that the recipient will feel and know how good You truly are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You as we choose to love each other well. Amen.

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

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Hope is Certain

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, NIV)

We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what He promised. – (Hebrews 10:23, ERV)

Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. – (Hebrews 10:23, VOICE)

Hope is certain when we understand the faithfulness of God. His faithfulness is not dependent on whether or not things go the way that we’d hoped, but rather that He remains with us, in and through all things. God’s promises are not for an easy life, but rather for one with Him present to help us live with purpose. Our purpose is not some big mysterious question mark, but is to love God and love people in all that we do. Some of the greatest examples of people who have held onto hope without wavering, were people who had to navigate the greatest obstacles, yet did so with a firm faith in He who is our hope. God has shown us again and again that we can trust Him to be present and to provide what we need to press on. May we ever hold fast to the hope we have in God, for He is trustworthy and is faithful to His promises forever.

Lord, help us hold fast,

To Your promises;

For You are faithful,

To all You have said.

Present in all things,

You supply our needs;

Flood our hearts with love,

For Your grace exceeds.

Love that’s unfailing,

Grace that knows no end;

Hope in forever,

And peace You extend.

All thanks be to God,

Our hope ever more;

Where goodness and love,

Are an open door.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and the One in whom we can place our hope. Thank You that Your love sustains us and Your goodness strengthens us to hold fast to hope in all things. Forgive us for the times that we have lost sight of the hope that is only found in You. Teach us to trust in You and to remember You are faithful to fulfill Your promises. Show us how to love, encourage, and extend hope to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to the hope we profess and trust in Your faithfulness always. Amen.

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

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

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Plans Purposed for Good

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, HCSB)

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)

No matter what we face or challenges that come our way, God will ultimately use it for good somehow. I know in my own life that this has proven true, again and again, even when it seemed that nothing good could ever come from it. Incredibly, often He takes us out of what we think we want and leads us to something far better than we could have hoped or imagined. Through the process He refines us and makes us more like Him. May we bring all before the Lord in faith, and trust that He will use all things for good because we love Him.

No matter what comes,

God can use it for good;

Beauty for ashes,

His true hope, understood.

The more we love Him,

The clearer we can see;

How all works for good,

Love moving tangibly.

So, choose to love God,

Ever trust in His plan;

Good will always come,

When we don’t understand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can use ALL things for good for those who love You, despite what we see or are experiencing in the here and now. Thank You that You bring beauty from ashes and hope from despair. Forgive us for the times that we have felt that we were forgotten or left on our own when things seem to lack hope. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for Your promises never return void, and You are faithful to use even our most difficult seasons to bring good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant hope and encouragement. May many come into a lasting, loving relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the good that You will bring from all that we walk through. Amen.

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

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