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

From Heavenly Throne

Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. – (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)

So, Christ can save those who come to God through Him. Christ can do this forever, because He always lives and is ready to help people when they come before God. – (Hebrews 7:25, ERV)

From such a vantage, He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God. – (Hebrews 7:25, VOICE)

 

We have a Savior, seated in heaven at the right hand of God, who continually contends for all who seek Him. His sacrifice covers our iniquities, and His love restores us to righteousness before the Father. On our own, we are sinners, destined to die. With Jesus, we are redeemed and made right with God, and granted the promise of eternal life with Him. This gift is freely given, and we need only to receive. As we do, our hearts are changed and our minds renewed, so that we may walk in the freedom that God’s favor and forgiveness provide. Without the weight of our former sin, we are empowered to forge forward in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the grace He freely gives, so that we too, may extend His loving kindness to all.

 

On heavenly throne, The Hope of the World

Jesus does reside;

To contend for us,

And make all things right.

He covers our sin,

Our shame and our doubt;

Restores and renews,

His love is devout.

This love we’re given,

So abundantly;

Is so we too give,

And set others free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for Your life, death, resurrection and ascension to take Your rightful throne in heaven where You contend for us before the Father. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of Your sacrifice, or for not receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive Your goodness and grace, and in turn, extend the same to all those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and grace, and offer the same to all those around us, by Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God. – Luke 22:69

A Silent Saturday

Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. – (Mark 15:44-46, NIV)

 

After the devastation of the cross, a faithful few prepared Jesus’ body and buried Him in a tomb. By sun up, it would be the Sabbath, and no one would be going anywhere or doing anything. The disciples and other followers of Jesus likely spent the day in mourning. Meanwhile, the chief priests and the Pharisees were not at all at ease. They went to Pilate because they recalled the words of Jesus, and clearly had concerns about what might transpire in the coming days.

 

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So, give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” – (Matthew 27:63-64, NIV)

 

Consequently, Pilate ordered his guards to make the tomb secure and to stand guard at the tomb. That Saturday, all seemed to be silent. Jewish law kept mourners from moving about and doing much of anything, and I imagine that each of the faithful followers of Jesus retreated to their own homes and pondered all that had transpired in the previous twenty-four hours. It is as if the world stopped spinning, and all were stuck in a silent space of grief and disbelief. For me, knowing the whole story, I am in a space between awe and agony at the weight of all that Jesus bore on my behalf, and the anticipation of celebration, knowing that He conquered death and rose again the very next day.  Today is a space of waiting. Silent reflection and appreciation are what flood my heart and mind. I mourn my own sinfulness, yet overflow with gratitude for the salvation that is granted because He bore it all for me. May we each find our own quiet moments to reflect on the magnitude of what our Maker did for us all as we stay in this space of sacred silence.

 

This day of waiting, A SIlent Saturday

Sabbath long ago;

The Savior, buried,

Seemed hope’s final blow.

The world lay silent,

The Savior was dead;

Where were they to go,

What could have been said?

Silent reflection,

Such grief on that day;

What could have been done,

Unrealized grace.

O painful waiting,

To go to the tomb;

Observe in anguish,

Savior’s seeming doom.

The stillness gave way,

For we know the end;

Death could not hold Him,

As He rose again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored unto You. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin upon Yourself; for we are the ones deserving sanctions of suffering, not You. Forgive us for not fully embracing the weight of what You have done for us, or for questioning whether or not Your sacrifice truly covered it all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the mercy and grace provided at the cross, and demonstrate our gratitude by living a life that ever seeks Your will. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes the promise that joy comes in the morning no matter how dark the night appears, evident. May many come to embrace the grace that You made possible through Your death and resurrection on this holy weekend so long ago. Be glorified O God, as we set our hearts in silent reflection over all that You did to make us acceptable in Your sight. Amen.

 

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

 

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. – John 16:22

All for All

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. – (Romans 3:23, ERV)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. – (Romans 3:23, TPT)

 

This passage is a reminder that we ALL are in need of God’s mercy and grace. From the greatest saint to the most horrendous criminal – ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. We all need the Savior. Without Him, we would never be acceptable in the eyes of God, and would be doomed for all eternity. However, Jesus came and took our place so that we could be seen as righteous before God. Because of His sacrifice, all who believe and receive the incredible gift He offers, are welcomed into His glory. It does not mean that we have a free pass to live a life ruled by sin, but rather as we follow the Lord and seek to do His will, we can find forgiveness and grace when we mess up. Just as a parent loves their child and corrects and redirects them, so too does God with us when we commit our lives to Him. May we ever seek the Lord and His goodness and grace, trusting His leading and welcome embrace.

 

All people fall short, stone of grace

Have succumbed to sin;

Chose go our own way,

Not letting God in.

Because we all sin,

We all are in need;

Of the grace of God,

To go where He leads.

So, rise up in faith,

Believe and receive;

The Lord’s gift of grace,

He knows what we need.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your amazing grace that meets all who come to You seeking. Forgive us, for we are all sinners in need of Your grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and at all times, trusting You to lead, guide and equip us to walk in Your way and do Your will. Show us how to love those around us, extending Your goodness and grace to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in faith, trusting You to forgive us and lead us in the ways we are meant to go. Amen.

 

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

 

But everyone who believes in this raised-up Jesus is declared good and right and whole before God. – Acts 13:39, MSG

Mercy Like Our Maker

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” – (Matthew 1:20, NIV) 

Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else – rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. – (Matthew 1:20, VOICE) 

 

Much like Mary, Joseph found himself in a difficult situation. Normally, the law would lead Joseph to bring public disgrace and likely death upon Mary, yet even before the appearance of the angel of the Lord, he had determined to walk away quietly. However, his plans were transformed when a messenger of God appeared to him to announce the truth of what had happened to his fiancé. His faith held fast to what was spoken, and he willingly walked a likely trying road, as he moved forward with the plans to wed a woman whom few knew or understood the truth about her visible unexpected condition. Joseph chose to obey, and became the earthly father to the Son of God. Though our willing obedience will not lead to parenting the Prince of Peace, we never know the lasting impact our decision to do the things that the Lord asks of us may have. Our extension of mercy and grace when it is not deserved can be utilized by God to change hearts and transform communities. May we seek the Lord to be our strength and our guide, so that we may walk in His ways and love others as He intends us to love. 

 

When actions deserve, No Room for Them

Seeming punishment; 

We ought to ask God, 

What is His intent. 

For often what’s seen, 

Mere part of the whole; 

Wisdom is needed, 

To serve well, our role. 

God’s mercy and grace, 

Made the way for us; 

To love as He loves, 

Just like Lord Jesus. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us the willing hearts of those before us who have extended mercy and grace, when it was seemingly undeserved. Thank You that what we see is not always the whole story. Forgive us for the times that we have not extended mercy and grace, and simply acted on what we observed. Teach us to slow down and seek You, so that we will know best how to love and honor You in all that we say and do. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends mercy and grace, and seeks to listen and understand first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to love others as You first loved us. Amen.

 

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

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

Do As We Want Done

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV)

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and the Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG)

This is what our Scriptures come to teach: in everything, in every circumstance, do to others as you would have them do to you. – (Matthew 7:12, VOICE)

 

When I am angry, frustrated or fed-up, I tend to still speak as calmly and as kindly as possible. Students are often baffled by this phenomenon, as they recognize that their behaviors and choices might warrant a different response. I think that I give what I would like to see returned, and that the truth of God’s word has deep roots that have a way of reeling in my response so that I reply much more gently than I would have done otherwise. This is not to say that I have perfected this method of interacting with others, yet it is a priority to try to choose love, even when what is given is far from it. On most occasions, kindness disarms the heat others are holding when it is extended, despite their own anger that is spewing out. In my own moments of frustration, the times that I have been met with loving kindness, those were the very examples that squelched the flame and left me looking at the real reason my circumstance was upsetting. May we seek the Lord and His loving kindness to fill us up, so that we may go forth and give to others what we would like given to us.

 

In all that we do, Do As We Want Done

Let love lead the way;

Choose give to others,

At home, work and play.

For we are all called,

Do as we want done;

How we treat others,

Leads to battles won.

For goodness given,

Squelches anger’s heat;

Love that’s extended,

Brings hatred’s defeat.

So, choose to love well,

Do as we want done;

This is obeying,

Scripture’s rule-of-thumb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You treat us with loving kindness; always. Thank You that You call us to do for others what we would like done unto us. Forgive us for not responding in a way that we would want to receive. Teach us to trust You more, so that we give to others what we would like to be given, regardless of what we think they deserve. Thank You that You give us mercy and grace, though we are not deserving. Help us to do the same. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we desire to be loved. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we do unto others what we would want done unto us, in everything and every circumstance. Amen.

 

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

 

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21