May Love Unite Us

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with His comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt His tender affection and mercy. So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity – with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. – (Philippians 2:1-2, TPT)

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Philippi is still applicable and relevant to us today. If we know and understand the love, comfort, mercy and kindness that God has shown us, then we ought to go and do likewise. As we do, we are united in purpose. It does not mean we have to see the world through the same lens, nor have the same opinion about things, rather, it is a matter of us choosing to love one another as the priority. When we do, we discover unity and harmony in the relationships around us. Such things bring joy to all. May we ever look to the Lord and recognize His overwhelming kindness, love and mercy, so that we too, can choose to love as we are loved by Christ.

Choose be encouraged,

By mercy and grace;

Let love overflow,

From seeking His face.

For all that is good,

Comes down from above;

Love, mercy and grace,

Because God is love.

Love that’s unending,

Kindness that’s made new;

Fresh each new morning,

May all know the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your love, kindness and grace as we trust in You and seek You face. Forgive us for the times that we have not given out of the overflow of all that You have given us. Teach us to trust You more to lead us to love like You. Show us how in each situation and circumstance that we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love and encourage best, so that love may unite us all. Amen.

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. – Colossians 2:2

To Love Each Other

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is My command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

No matter which translation of the Bible we read, the command remains the same; we are called to love each other in the same way that Christ loves us. Jesus loved perfectly, for there was no sin within Him. Though we are sinful and broken, we too, can learn to love like Him. Throughout scriptures, we are instructed as to what it means to love. Paul, in his letters to the Corinthians, explained what love is and what it is not. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) True love, the sort of love God intended, is patient, kind, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and does not give up. When we invest in our walk with Christ, He grows in us an ability to love like Him. Incredibly, we become more patient and kind. God strengthens us to continue to love, even when it is difficult, and shows us how to trust more. The more we love, the more we want to protect others as well. I know that none of this is common knowledge, but I think it is important to be reminded of what real love ought to look like, especially now that so many are reengaging in life after a long shutdown. May we ever seek the Lord, who in His very existence is love, to learn and grow in loving those around us as He intended.

For God so loved us,

That He sent His Son;

To show us true love,

That leaves sin undone.

All our misgivings,

Mistakes and wrong ways;

Are fully removed,

By mercy and grace.

God gives us patience,

Shows us to be kind;

To protect others,

And keep love in mind.

His perseverance,

Shows us what to do;

To trust and to hope,

To show His love true.

In everything,

May love be our choice;

One heart, one body,

One love and one voice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that calls each of us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as You intended. Teach us to invest our time in relationship with You so that You can show us more completely, what it is to love like You. Show us each day how we can extend love to those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love one another as we are all called to do. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a



Praise for Provision

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NIV)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. He is the God of my father, and I will exalt Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

When we know the Lord as our Savior, we become acutely aware of His strength and worthiness of all of our praise. He provides as we abide in Him, no matter what our situation or circumstances. This morning, I am reminded anew of my reasons to praise Him. Though we do not have air-conditioning in the midst of a heatwave, we have a basement that stays comfortably cool. Additionally, our current weather is not a common occurrence. In some parts of the world, this is typical, and air-conditioning is not an option. There is reason to be grateful for a normally temperate climate, and for spaces of reprieve to escape the heat. May we ever sing praise to God, for He is our strength and defense, our refuge and our salvation.

My strength and my song,

Evidence of the crazy temperatures…

Belong to the Lord;

It’s His salvation,

Through love He affords.

His mercy and grace,

Forgive and set free;

Raise head, hands and heart,

To rise up and be.

He provides the strength,

Gives place to belong;

Protects, empowers,

His love makes us strong.

Strong in conviction,

Equipped well to love;

Let’s sing unto Him,

The Lord up above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our salvation, and the reason we can sing songs of praise. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things are out of sorts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing songs of praise to You, our strength and our defense that saves. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Forgiveness Brings Freedom

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 kindness. – (Colossians 3:13, VOICE)

When we are certain of our identity in Christ, we become far less offendable. We recognize all that we have been forgiven by God, and find it easier to forgive others. Our forgiveness is not to say that the wrongs against us were somehow right, but rather it is so that we do not hold the weight of the offense and allow it to poison us. God calls us to forgive so that we can experience the fullness of Him. Grudges and offenses held get in the way of realizing all the good that God has intended for us. The more we let go of the offenses and wrongs, the more we recognize God’s goodness and grace for us. It does not mean that we forget or place ourselves in harm’s way, rather it is an intentional choice to take away the power that was once held in an offender’s hands. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in forgiveness, in the same way that He has forgiven, so that we may operate in His kindness to all.

Let go of anger,

The weight of offense;

Release the grudges,

For God’s our defense.

The choice to forgive,

Unchains what is bound;

Our hearts find freedom,

His grace is profound.

As God forgives us,

May we do the same;

Find His perfect peace,

As His love’s proclaimed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have forgiven us and You call and equip us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we hold onto the heaviness of hurts and offenses rather than laying them at Your feet. Teach us to release all to You so that we may walk in the freedom of Your mercy and grace. Show us how to love like You, so that we may be quick to forgive and lavish in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for the overwhelming outpouring of forgiveness that You grant to us, and for the freedom we find when we do the same. 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

Doing Right Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, RSV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. As God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, TPT)

You see, it is God’s will that by doing what is right and good you should hush the gabbing ignorance of the foolish. Live as those who are free and not as those who use their freedom as a pretext for evil, but live as God’s servants. – (1 Peter 2:15-16, VOICE)

The old adage, “actions speak louder than words” holds true, and is affirmed in this passage. When we live right and pursue a life of following God’s will, foolishness is silenced, and love wins. As followers of Christ, we are called to freely choose to live and love like Christ. Jesus modeled what it is to love deeply, and His ongoing example is what silenced the scoffers and nay-sayers of the times. He did not repay evil for evil, but rather extended mercy and grace and made love and light visible for all who were near. We have the freedom to choose how to live. It is up to us to choose well. Our charge is to live in the light, which eliminates darkness and illuminates love. May we ever seek to serve and honor God with our every word and deed, and may foolish ignorance be silenced as love and grace are granted to all.

By doing what’s right,

And walking in grace;

Ugly ignorance,

By love is replaced.

Though we all are free,

May we wisely choose;

To serve only God,

Let Him shape our views.

It’s only through love,

And choosing to serve;

That others see Christ,

Goodness is preserved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that living and loving freely in Your goodness and grace is what demonstrates the good that comes from seeking Your face. Forgive us for using our freedom of choice to misrepresent or be destructive with voice. Teach us to follow after You and Your heart for others in everything we do. Show us how to love those around us with all that we do as we seek after You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to do what is right and love with our every word and deed. Amen.

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

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

Listen and Do

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV) 

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV) 

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life. – (James 1:22, TPT) 

The word of God is alive and active. As we hear His words, we ought to be both challenged and encouraged, as we are meant to learn and do, not just passively listen and agree it is true. I love the imagery of allowing “His Word to become like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives”. The idea of living it out, is how we navigate life as His poem, His handiwork and masterpiece, through loving as we are called to love. We are not merely called to listen to His Word, but rather we are meant to hear, internalize and act upon all that He is teaching us as we go. May we all go beyond mere listening, and choose to take God’s words to heart and set them in motion in our lives. 

We are meant for more, 

Than hearing God’s word; 

We’re meant to respond, 

Act on what is heard. 

For we’ve each been called, 

He knows us by name; 

He’ll love us to life, 

So our lives proclaim. 

Proclaim His goodness, 

All mercy and grace; 

Let His love be known, 

Throughout all our days. 

 Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only hear Your Word, but to set it into actions that clearly reflect Your love and light to the world. Forgive us for the times that Your words have been heard but not applied. Teach us to listen, learn and set what You are speaking to us in motion. Show us how to apply Your Word to how we love those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen, learn and apply Your Word to how we live out each day. Amen. 

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

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. – Psalm 106:3

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

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54

Generous and Active Love

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – (Psalm 86:5, NIV)

My Lord, You are good and merciful. You love all those who call to You for help. – (Psalm 86:5, ERV)

O Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; Your loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You. – (Psalm 86:5, VOICE)

 

On mornings like this, it is so good to open up my reading for the day and be reminded of who God is and how generously and actively He loves. Love, as God intended, is not a feeling, but it is alive and active. Love forgives, extends goodness, is loyal and generous to all. I am amazed at how quickly He reminds me of His love when I find myself in a space in need of grace. This week has been extraordinarily long, as it is the final week of the semester. Add to that the last meet of the regular season for high school gymnastics and preparations required for the start of middle school season, as well as the ongoing post-season for high school, and I have felt a bit flooded. Kids in classes have been extra stirred up, and the pressure to make certain final submissions of projects are completed, only added to the angst. After practice yesterday afternoon, followed by a run in the pouring rain, I was so grateful to be showered in goodness and grace with a brief dinner escape with my love. The opportunity to connect and catch up after the crazy that the week contained, reminded me of God’s goodness and mercy for me. He provides what we need, when we need it most, and He holds our hearts in His hands, if we are willing to grant Him permission. Each time we call on Him for help, it is an affirmation of our trust in Christ. He hears and knows, and is ready to meet us with His love that is alive and active, ever moving on our behalf. May we call on Christ in faith, trusting in His goodness and grace; for He is good and His love endures forever.

 

The Lord is so good, Generous and Active Love

Abounding in love;

A heart set to give,

All who seek above.

He’s mercy and grace,

Ready to forgive;

Those who call on Him,

Know love as they live.

Faithful forever,

God’s goodness abounds;

Seek Him to find Him,

Where new life is found.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You show us what love means through Your example. Thank You that as we call on You, we come to know Your goodness, forgiveness, help and love that floods our hearts and lives as we seek You. Forgive us for not turning to You in trust when we grow weary or are at our wits end. Teach us to call out to You, for You are faithful forever. Show us how to love those around us with the same generosity and grace that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and recognize the abounding love that surrounds us as we seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

The Throne of Grace

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So let us step boldly to the throne of grace, where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most. – (Hebrews 4:16, VOICE)

 

This is a timely reminder this morning, as I find myself on the brink of burnout. It is easy to remember to approach God on His throne of grace to petition on behalf of those around me, but I don’t think that I go before God often enough for the mercy and grace that I truly need. Don’t get me wrong, I pray for strength to get through the day and patience to persevere; but really boldly stepping into His throne room to rest and refresh and meet my own deepest needs – seldom, to rarely, at best. Perhaps it is a matter of looking for ways to keep a Sabbath. Rest is not my forte, and to do so would require serious intentionality. To find grace and mercy and help when we need it most, looks different for each person. For me, I feel closest to our Creator when I am outside in the beauty that He has made. When my body is moving, my mind and heart are able to find rest. For others, rest is a matter of being still. What does appear to be clear is that I need to make time to be intentionally in a space where my heart and mind are fixed on God, just being present (without studying, writing, or any sort of specific doing), so that His mercy, grace and help may be made tangibly known. May we each be intentional to step boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may find mercy and grace and help when we need it most.

 

Go to the throne room, Made With Purpose

Seek God and His grace;

Rest in His presence,

Receive His embrace.

For as we choose rest,

Let our minds be still;

God’s goodness and help,

Floods as mercy fills.

Choose set aside time,

By grace, enter in;

Be refreshed in love,

It’s where peace begins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us with an everlasting love. Thank You that You made the way through Your Son, so that we can come before Your throne and be in Your presence, and You grant us mercy and grace and the help we are needing. Thank You that You are greater than every challenge we face, and that You provide Your help and presence, with mercy and grace. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time just being present with You. Teach us how to rest in You. Show us what it means to find rest and refreshment in Your throne room. Lead us to love those around us in a way that encourages, strengthens and refreshes where weariness is setting in. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and are forever grateful that we can come into Your presence and receive mercy and grace and help. Amen.

 

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

 

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – Psalm 62:5