Stand Firm

So my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, ERV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stand firmly planted – be unshakable – do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. – (1 Corinthians 15:58, VOICE)

We are called to stand firm and be strong in who God has called us to be, and in what He calls us to do. No matter how seen or behind the scenes it is, God will use what we offer in love. Everything matters, from the smallest act of kindness to the greatest sacrifice, all is used for good when the heart behind it is for God. May we ever stay firmly planted in the good that God calls us to do, and trust that He is working, even when we cannot see the evidence of an impact. 

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called and created us to love. Thank You that we are all uniquely designed with different talents and gifts to share. Thank You that every act of kindness matters. Forgive us for thinking that our choice to love does not matter and for the times that we have neglected to act in love. Teach us to stand firm in You at all times and in every circumstance. Lead us to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand firm in Your love and Your purposes for us. Amen.

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

Be careful. Hold firmly to your faith. Have courage and be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Let Love Lead

He said, “Even more, those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed.” – (Luke 11:28, HCSB)

But Jesus said, “The people who hear the teachings of God and obey it – they are the ones who have God’s blessing.” – (Luke 11:28, ERV)

Jesus commented, “Even more blessed are those who hear God’s Word and guard it with their lives!” – (Luke 11:28, MSG)

The more we know the word of God, the better we know Jesus. Knowing Him is our greatest blessing, for it is in Him and through Him that we experience life and love and peace. For me, the more I understand God’s heart for us, the better I see others through His lens. Patience grows as peace is known. As we continue to draw closer to Easter, may we further seek to hear and understand all that Jesus endured for our sake so that we might have life everlasting in Him. 

Listen to the Lord,

For His words are true;

Examples of love,

That teach what to do.

He shows us the way,

To love people well;

Forgiveness and grace,

His example tells.

Rise up in goodness,

Let Love lead the way;

To give to others,

His kindness and grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to live and love as You intended. Thank You that Your word is the lamp unto our feet and the light unto our path. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You, or have neglected to do what You ask of us. Show us how to live and love as You created us for. Teach us 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 seek to listen and learn from Your word that instructs us to love as You do. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

To See Goodness

Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him! – (Psalm 34:8, HCSB)

Give the Lord a chance to show you how good He is. Great blessings belong to those who depend on Him! – (Psalm 34:8, ERV)

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him. – (Psalm 34:8, MSG)

This weekend has been one that has filled me up, as there is something to be said about seeing smiling faces everywhere we go, and the joy found in running with friends, running errands, and getting together with friends that is life-giving. After nearly two years of not seeing the faces of people out in public, it was wonderful to see smiles and expressions when communicating with others. Additionally, we were able to get together with friends we had not seen in two years and share a meal together. I know for some it causes nervousness or anxiety, but for me, it feels like a place of peace, for the opportunity to gather, to communicate clearly and to see expression as people speak is a joy that I will never take for granted again. I am eagerly anticipating teaching and coaching today, as it will be the first time that I have ever seen more than eyes when communicating with many of my students and colleagues. It is a choice, so I know not everyone will be comfortable removing masks, yet to see even a few smiles returned will be amazing. No matter what people choose, God is good and His blessings abound as we depend on Him. May we seek the Lord and open our eyes, for He continually shows us His goodness as we turn our attention to Him.

Show us Your goodness,

O Lord, as we seek;

Let Your love be known,

May Your kindness speak.

For blessings await,

As we go to Him;

Surrounded by grace,

That cannot be dimmed.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In goodness and grace;

May we give You thanks,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and open our eyes to the world around us, we can see the abundant blessings that You have for us all. Forgive us for the times that we have been unaware or have neglected to recognize the blessings that You have bestowed upon us. Teach us to seek You and give You praise for all that You have done and continue to do. Lead us to love those around us well, and help us to provide peace through purposeful kindness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as seek You in all things and give You praise for the abundant blessings that are all around us. 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. – Psalm 106:1

Beauty Within

Your beauty should not consist of outward things like elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold ornaments or fine clothes. Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, HCSB)

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from inside you – the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. That beauty will never disappear. It is worth very much to God. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, ERV)

Don’t focus on decorating your exterior by doing your hair or putting on fancy jewelry or wearing fashionable clothes; let your adornment be what’s inside – the real you, the lasting beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit, in which God delights. – (1 Peter 3:3-4, VOICE)

It is what is inside that determines a person’s beauty, not the way that the exterior is decorated. The things that God deems beautiful are characteristics that grow as we invest our hearts and minds in knowing more of Him. The better we know the Lord, the more beautiful our hearts become. A gentle spirit that is full of grace rises up in us to be shared with those around us. The most beautiful people that I have ever known had hearts that were loving and kind, gentle and full of grace. Their beauty was not determined by the outside, but rather by the love their heart could not help but share. Incredibly, the interior seems to glow outward, making the whole human beautiful. May we ever seek the Lord to adorn our hearts with His character – love, grace, gentleness and peace, for it is such things that make us beautiful in His eyes.

May beauty and grace,

Be what’s in our hearts;

Characteristics,

In love God imparts.

For when we give grace,

God’s love is made clear;

Good overwhelming,

As gentle comes near.

Lord, help us focus,

On that which will last;

Beautiful spirits,

That show that love lasts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that true beauty comes from within. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek You to grow our heart more like Yours, or have placed our focus on the exterior, rather than on what truly lasts. Teach us to always seek and invest our hearts and time in You, so that we may more clearly reflect who You are to the world. Lead us in Your gentleness and grace to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to increase the beauty within, and lead us to love as You love each of us. Amen.

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

By His breath the heavens gained their beauty… – Job 26:13a

Love Grows Faith

We must always thank God for you, brothers. This is right, since your faith is flourishing and the love each one of you has for one another is increasing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, HCSB)

We thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do, because you give us good reason to be thankful: Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is growing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, VOICE)

My faith expands in spaces where I see people loving each other well. Despite the challenges and difficulties that this long season has brought, I am in awe of how God places people together. At school, I see the weariness in the faces of my colleagues that mirrors my own, yet I both witness and experience a group of people that looks out for each other and purposefully checks in and encourages one another. This mutual care is the same sort of love that grows faith within, for it reminds us of God’s goodness all around us. May we ever be intentional to love and care for those whom God has placed around us, and give Him thanks for the countless reasons He has given us to be thankful.

For loving kindness,

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

For goodness and grace;

All thanks to the Lord,

For His faithful ways.

People have been placed,

Intentionally;

To love and be loved,

With care, graciously.

Lord help us rise up,

Choose love and care well;

These are the choices,

That of God’s love tells.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people that You have placed in our lives that love well. Thank You that the kindness and care of others grows our faith as You make Your heart known. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to reach out where You were nudging us to, and for the times that we have failed to recognize the good all around us. Teach us to see others through Your lens of love and with Your capacity to care well. Show us how to love one another in ways that grow our faith in You and Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love like You and give You thanks in all things. Amen.

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

For Your faithful love is before my eyes, and I live by Your truth. – Psalm 26:3

Together in Peace

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, NIV)

So all of you should live together in peace. Try to understand each other. Love each other like brothers and sisters. Be kind and humble. – (1 Peter 3:8, ERV)

Now, this is the goal: to live in harmony with one another and demonstrate affectionate love, sympathy, and kindness toward other believers. Let humility describe who you are as you dearly love one another. – (1 Peter 3:8, TPT)

Imagine what our nation would be like if we all attempted to live this way. It has to start small, and then spread outward. I love that the directive is not simply given and then just dropped. There is a clear explanation of how to make it happen. To live together in peace, we must first try to understand each other. As we actively seek to do so, we are loving each other as sisters and brothers. Additionally, kindness and humility break down barriers and remove walls that keep harmony out. Though it is a seemingly monumental task, if we begin in our own homes, our workspaces, and as we engage in our communities, we are contributing to peace, rather than dissent. May we ever seek the Lord for strength and perseverance to seek to understand one another in love, with kindness and humility, so that we may love as was intended and live in harmony with one another.

We’re all called to peace,

The result of love;

True understanding,

That’s graced from above.

When we are humble,

And choose to be kind;

Anger is diffused,

And love is aligned.

Lord, help us to seek,

To love each other;

Bring peace among us,

As sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in peace with one another. Thank You that You do not simply call or command it, but rather You give us clear and practical ways to bring harmony into our communities. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate out of love. Teach us how to ever seek to understand, so that we may humbly extend kindness and treat all as beloved sisters and brothers. Show us how to love one another well, as clearly You created us for community. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love to live in peace with each other. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Created for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 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

A Fine Line Between Fearlessness and Foolishness

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

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

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TPT)

There is a fine line between fearlessness and foolishness. We need the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us to know the difference. As we seek the Lord and listen to His leading, we grow in understanding of what His power, love and self-discipline do for us. When we realize the power of Christ within us, we discover that fear has no place to set up camp. Fear may creep in at times, but His Spirit in us will not allow fear to remain. How then, do we use the power, love and self-control that God grants us to best love people? As a peacemaker, it is easy to default to silence, while the idea of conflict brings fear. However, if we look in God’s word to the example of Christ, He was not afraid to speak truth and stand firm. His actions were in love and with self-discipline, while He was fully aware of the power within Him. This is where dependence on Christ is a must. We need His Spirit within us to identify His will, not our own, and to move in His power and love with self-control. May we ever seek the Lord to keep fear at bay, and rely on His power, love and self-discipline to lead us to love like Him.

God’s not created,

Us to live in fear;

His power and love,

Forever are near.

We need only seek,

For our hearts to find;

He’s always with us,

Heart, body and mind.

His love gives us strength,

To conquer our fear;

His love evident,

As His grace appears.

Power in weakness,

Love where it seems lack;

Self-discipline too,

God helps as we ask.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not created us to be afraid. Thank You that You infuse us with Your power, love and self-discipline as we seek You. Forgive us for our fearfulness and for the times that we have neglected to seek You. Show us how to turn to You in all things and at all times. Teach us to rely on Your Spirit within us to grant us the power, love and self-control that we need to navigate our days as You intended. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, and give You praise for all You provide by Your love. Amen.

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

The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8