Make Time

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB)

This will happen when the special child is born. God will give us a son who will be responsible for leading the people. His name will be “Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Father Who Lives Forever, Prince of Peace.” – (Isaiah 9:6, ERV)

A child has been born for us; a son has been given to us. The responsibility of complete dominion will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be: The Wonderful One! The Extraordinary Strategist! The Mighty God! The Father of Eternity! The Prince of Peace! – (Isaiah 9:6, TPT)

The promise of the arrival of Jesus was foretold long before it came to pass. However, when He arrived, people were surprised that He arrived in such humble beginnings and as He grew, He did not lead as people expected. Jesus was humble and kind, loving and full of grace, with no interest in being seated on an earthly throne. Instead, Jesus came to save us and make the way for us to be in a right relationship with the Father. His life, death, resurrection and ascension created the opportunity for us to be forgiven and made new, so we can come before the throne of God and understand Him as our Wonderful Counselor, Powerful God, Eternal Father, and our Prince of Peace. As the Christmas season unfolds before us, may we recognize and celebrate the true reason for this most wonderful season, and give praise to the Holy Living God.

Lowly beginning,

Most humble His birth;

Quite unexpected,

How God came to earth.

Born in a stable,

With livestock around;

Shepherds and wise men,

Sought Him and were found.

Angelic visits,

A star overhead;

Goodness and wisdom,

Is how they were led.

The baby, He grew,

In wisdom and grace;

He gave and suffered,

To open the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and made the way for us to know You and understand the eternal hope we have in You. Forgive us for making You too small, for though You came as a baby, You did not stay that way. Thank You that You are our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and our Prince of Peace. Teach us to remember and trust in all that You are and how great Your love truly is. Show us how to love one another with the love that pours out from a heart that knows and understands the power of Your overwhelming kindness, goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to make time to celebrate and worship You, giving all thanks and praise for coming near to us and giving us hope that lasts forever. Amen.

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

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name Him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, HCSB)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, TPT)

Always, it comes down to choosing to love. We are called to love God and love people, when we do these things, we cannot help but be living a life that honors His commands. What He asks of us has not and does not change. The way in which we love might change, but the underlying expectation is all about choosing to love as He loves us. God’s love is sacrificial and has no expectations in return. He loves us because we are His creation. In the same way, we ought to love one another because every person we meet was intentionally created by God, with a plan and a purpose. Not everyone is living and walking out the plan that was prepared for them, yet each person is still the intentional and loved creation of God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us see others through His eyes, and choose to love in all that we say and do. We need His guidance and strength to live out a life of love.

To live out God’s love,

We each have been called;

To love each other,

With grace and resolve.

To love is a choice,

That we must each make;

It is when we do,

That God is obeyed.

Each person designed,

To love and be loved;

Reflecting the light,

Of the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called and created to love. Thank You that each time we are intentional to choose love, we are walking in obedience to Your commands. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love, somehow thinking that another is not deserving. For none of us deserve Your love, yet You surround us and overwhelm us with Your goodness and grace that make Your great love abundantly clear to all who pause and observe how You move in, through and around us. Teach us to seek You to lead us in love the way that You intended. Show us how to love well, each person whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well so that we might walk in obedience to all You ask of us. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

To Live and Love With Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. – (James 3:17, HCSB)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

In order to be the person that God has called and created me to be, I need His wisdom. I desire to be pure, peaceful, gentle and easy to please, and I long to do good for others without favoritism or hypocrisy. This does not naturally flow from humans on our own, but rather these traits grow in us when we seek the Lord and His wisdom. May we ever invest our hearts, minds and lives into knowing and growing in the Lord, so that we may live a life of love that bears good fruit.

The wisdom of God,

Bears beautiful fruit;

Pure, peaceful, loving,

Good soil grows deep roots.

Roots that are planted,

Secure in God’s love;

Seek to love others,

Like the Lord above.

Gentle with mercy,

Looking to do good;

Loving all others,

As God’s children should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us to seek You for wisdom, as Your wisdom teaches us to love as You do. Thank You that You are gentle, peace-loving and full of mercy, and that Your love extends to all who seek You no matter where we have come from or what we have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought Your wisdom to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You, for You alone know how to live and love best. Show us how to love wisely so that all those around us might come to know the power of Your loving kindness and the peace that is found in Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the wisdom to live and love in the ways You have called and created us to live. Amen.

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

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. – Ephesians 1:17

Power to Press On

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

God’s Spirit is the Provider of every good and perfect gift. The struggle, however, is when our circumstances make us question what we know is the truth. His power, love and sound judgment are greater than anything and everything that we face. He is good, even when our circumstances are not. Here, in the midst of struggle, we need His nearness and grace to remind us to rise up in all that He has placed within us so that we can be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us of all that He’s placed within us by His power and His grace so that we can navigate each new day in His power, love and self-discipline.

Fear is not from God,

For He is our strength;

Great Overcomer,

Who goes to great lengths.

No height is too high,

Nor depth that’s too low;

He comes as we call,

And makes His grace known.

Power to press on,

When we have no more;

Love and His wisdom,

The hope to endure.

Lord, please come closer,

Remind us again;

Of Your great goodness,

That ushers hope in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not given us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and self-control. Thank You that You begin where our strength ends, and You are present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of struggle. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You supply all that we need to continue moving forward in all that we are called to do and become. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too may be strengthened and encouraged in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and trust You to supply all that we need to press on. Amen.

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

Yet He saved them because of His Name, to make His power known. – Psalm 106:8

Speaking With Grace

Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NIV)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith. – (Colossians 4:6, TPT)

When the pressure feels great in every area of life, this is not the easiest thing to do. Grace is great, but there are moments and days that I have to refrain from speaking, as I know that what is churning in my heart and head is not gracious nor wise. This is a space where God’s grace is necessary to navigate well. On my own, I do not have the answers to much of anything. By His grace, words come when they are needed if I am tuned in and dependent on Him. This morning, I again turn in trust to the Lord to be the grace and truth and clarity that is a part of all that I say and do. May we ever seek Him to lead us and guide us with every word that leaves our lips.

Lord, grant me the words,

Of goodness and grace;

The words that bring life,

Throughout each new day.

When my heart’s heavy,

Please keep my mouth closed;

Let only kindness,

Words of love be told.

May Your heart be shown,

Through each word and deed;

As the light of grace,

And Your goodness lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to extend light and life through speaking with kindness and wisdom. Thank You that You willingly supply the words to speak when we are dependent on You. Forgive us for every thought, word and deed that was not gracious, loving or kind. Teach us to depend on You to provide the words when we are uncertain of what to say, and grant us wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent. Show us how to love those around us well, as we extend kindness, goodness and grace through our every word. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak the way You call us to communicate. Amen.

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

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – Psalm 19:14

Forego Foolish Debates

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. – (Titus 3:9, NIV)

Stay away from those who have foolish arguments, who talk about useless family histories, or who make trouble and fight about what the Law of Moses teaches. These things are useless and will not help anyone. – (Titus 3:9, ERV)

Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. – (Titus 3:9, VOICE)

Currently, this could be stated as “do not engage in social media debates and arguments, as nothing good ever comes from them.” The problem with social media is that people hide behind a screen. Words fly into chat boxes and reply lines with little regard for how the words could be interpreted. Without voice and body language, an enormous piece of intent is absent. It is far too easy to misconstrue what is written, and take offense when no harm was intended. Additionally, filters seem to be removed, as there is no visual reception of how a reader interprets what is typed in a box. Yes, communicating and sharing ideas is important, yet it seems to go far better when it is a face-to-face exchange. There is time for pause, real listening, and thoughtful reply. May we seek the Lord to guide us in the conversations we ought to have, and those which do nothing to benefit either person.

Fall not in the trap,

Of foolish debates;

Love is our purpose,

Not words that berate.

God show us the way,

To listen to learn;

And build new bridges,

Help us to discern.

Please fill up our hearts,

With purpose to love;

So kindness will lead,

Through grace from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your patience and kindness is timeless, and that Your word is true and applicable today. Forgive us for the times that we have engaged in useless arguments or debates, rather than chosen to love. Teach us when to walk away and when to engage in a loving and productive manner. Show us how to love first, rather than worry about being right or making our thoughts or opinions known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to avoid foolish controversies and arguments, and instead live a life that is ruled by love. Amen.

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

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

Extend Love

God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, NIV)

God is fair, and He will remember all the work you have done. He will remember that you showed your love to Him by helping His people and that you continue to help them. – (Hebrews 6:10, ERV)

For God, the Faithful One, is not unfair. How can He forget the beautiful work you have done for Him? He remembers the love you demonstrate as you continually serve His beloved ones for the glory of His Name. – (Hebrews 6:10, TPT)

We are called to love God and love people. God, in His great love, remembers the love, kindness and help that we extend to those around us. When we love people well, it is an extension of our love for Him. Throughout this entire pandemic, there has not been a lack of need for help. Help can be expressed in the form of reaching out to a neighbor in need, checking in on those who are isolated, and extending patience and kindness to all. We know not the story that those around us are walking in. If we choose to meet each person we encounter with kindness and grace, we are loving as we have been called to love. God sees and knows our heart and is willing to make it more like His. Our charge is to seek and depend on Him, for it is in that space of reliance that we are transformed to love, help and extend grace in the same way that He does for us. May we ever pursue the heart of God to love those around us well, for He sees and remembers a heart that is faithful to love.

The God of justice,

He sees and is pleased;

When we extend love,

Perpetuate peace.

Kindness and goodness,

With love and God’s grace;

A faithful service,

To walk in His ways.

So, rise up in love,

In all of our ways;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God who sees and knows our hearts. Thank You that You are willing to transform us to more clearly reflect You if only we walk in Your ways and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to live and love as You intended. Teach us to see the need around us and to act on it. Show us how to love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love, help and extend grace to all those around us. Amen.

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

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

Called to Be Kind

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

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

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

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

Let kindness and grace,

Help us choose forgive;

To love as God loves,

Each day that we live.

For it is by grace,

That the Lord does save;

Imagine the world,

If we gave the same.

We’ve been created,

To love like the Lord;

So His heart is seen,

As good is outpoured.

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

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

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

Faithful Answers

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

Now happily home…

When we ask the Lord, He answers. Friday evening, we were in communication with the trainers who were caring for our dogs during their board and train program. By the end of the back and forth conversation, I could not shake the gnawing feeling that had formed in my gut. As I prayed and sought the Lord, I knew that we needed to bring our dogs home the next day as we were scheduled for a private lesson to work on what the dogs had been doing throughout their training thus far. Yesterday, after having run an errand, we returned home to take care of some projects around the house, prior to heading to our meet up location at a park. Out of the blue, I received a phone call that I would never have expected. An animal control officer contacted me to let me know that there was a case involving our pup, Thor. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed me as I listened to the officer unpack what had transpired. A kind citizen had called animal control and submitted video footage of Thor being continually mistreated and harmed for somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. The officer let me know that the initial officer who took the case had to hand it over to him, as she could not watch the footage due to the horror it portrayed. By this time, I was shaking and could not fathom the sort of people who would do such things. Prior to leaving for the park, we messaged the trainers and asked that they please bring our dogs belongings with them. Upon arrival at the park, we restlessly watched and waited. I knew that I was not to even speak to the trainers, for God had prepared me to focus only on my dogs, and have my husband speak to them. Thankfully, the kind animal control officer arrived prior to our pups, so we were able to speak more with him about what had taken place and what would happen next. He remained with us when the trainers arrived, and I immediately went to the back door of the car and took Thor’s leash to get him out. He joyfully came to me, and could not get away from the car fast enough. Once my husband had Tali, our other precious pup, he calmly took our belongings to load in the car, and then matter-of-factly informed the trainers that they would be granting us a full refund and covering the vet bill we would incur as our next stop was to be a wellness check with our vet for both dogs, to be certain there were no lasting injuries, or, we would be seeing them in civil court. With looks of fear and horror, they simply shook their heads in the recognition that we knew what had taken place. Thankfully, both pups were uninjured, but both had lost a dramatic amount of weight. Thor was down ten pounds, and Tali, six, after nine days in their “care”. Both horrified and tremendously grateful, we brought our babies home and have been loving them ever since. Though this has been a traumatic ordeal, I can see God’s faithfulness, protection and provision, despite the evil intent of the trainers. From the good citizen who reported and submitted what they saw, to the animal control officer who went out of his way to help us and be certain that our dogs were safely returned to our care, God was with us as He provided and protected, and showed us the way to deal with this horrific situation. Both pups are happily home, and have returned to their normal sweet and mischievous ways. God is good, and He is forever faithful to answer as we ask and seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer our cries. Thank You that You open doors that we knock upon, and make Your heart and plan evident as we ask. Thank You for returning our fur babies safely. Forgive us for the fear and anger that arose as we discovered what had taken place. Continue to teach us how to trust You more, as You are always with us and working on our behalf. Show us how to love all those around us, even when we think others are undeserving of love. Please work in the hearts of the trainers so that they may come to understand Your love and kindness that heals hurts and changes hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to ask, seek and knock all of our days. Amen.

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

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

To Recognize What is Real

But when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:49-50, NIV)

But the followers saw Jesus walking on the water. They thought He was a ghost, and they started screaming. It scared them all to see Him. But He spoke to them and said, “Don’t worry! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:49-50, ERV)

When they all saw Him walking on the waves, they thought He was a ghost and screamed out in terror. But He said to them at once, “Don’t yield to fear. Have courage. It’s really me – I Am!” – (Mark 6:49-50, TPT)

Whenever I read the miraculous accounts of the things that Jesus did, I try to imagine what it might have been like to be present. In this story, I envision being part of the crew that is struggling to row to the other side of the lake after the sun has set. The wind is blowing against them, and they  are rowing with all their might. Suddenly, in the midst of the wind and waves, they see Jesus walking on the water. Such an image does not make sense, as they had left ahead of Jesus, while He had remained behind on the shore. I likely would have been rubbing my eyes and straining to see if what I was viewing was real. Likening the scene to seeing a ghost, is relatable. Fear clearly gripped the disciples, as they could not process what they were seeing. Jesus, in His loving and patient ways, let the disciples know who He was and that they need not fear. Despite all that had been witnessed, it took Jesus himself to speak and remind them of who He was and what that empowered Him to do to calm the fear that had risen in their hearts. May we ever remember who calms our storms and brings peace and comfort whenever we turn and listen to Him.

When waves are crashing,

And we feel alone;

Recall the power,

That through Him is shown.

He’ll walk on water,

And tell us His Name;

Bring peace where we are,

And love us the same.

We need never fear,

Despite what we see;

For He is present,

For you and for me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You are present to help us and grant us Your perfect peace. Forgive us for how quickly we forget Your incredible faithfulness and provision when trials come our way. Teach us to remember Your goodness and faithfulness that is eternal, so that we would ever place our trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness both practically and tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for You in the wind and waves and trust You in spaces where You are difficult to see. Amen.

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

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7