The Message Is Love

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

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

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

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

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

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

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

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

Direction and Refreshment

Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. – (Isaiah 43:19, HCSB)

I am doing something new! Now you will grow like a new plant. Surely you know this is true. I will even make a road in the desert, and rivers will flow through that dry land. – (Isaiah 43:19, ERV)

Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; waters will flow where there had been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

After nearly two years of lockdown because of Covid, it does feel like God is doing something new as mandates are lifted and people are beginning to venture out. At school, it feels as if kids are caught between what they have known for the last two years, and that which they have been hoping for throughout the duration. It is a process to regain some sort of normality, yet the glimpses already are so very good. The way through the desert is the ability to get out and go, without restrictions, and for me, the rivers to dry land is seeing smiles and expression where there was only a mask for so many months. There is a sort of return to humanity, where I think it was too often forgotten, when the weight of words and actions were not fully witnessed. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us out of the wilderness and teach us to drink from the flowing waters of His goodness and grace.

Closely, help us watch,

As You make things new;

Your goodness poured out,

And mercies made new.

Lead us in Your love,

With kindness and grace;

Teach us to trust You,

Throughout all our days.

The way through deserts,

Water in dry land;

Goodness tangible,

Help hearts understand.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

As You make things new;

Help us see blessings,

Embraced in the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make ways in the wilderness and bring water to dry land. Thank You that You grant us direction and refreshment. Forgive us for our weariness when the wilderness seems unending. Teach us to depend on and hope in You. Lead us to love those around us in ways that provide help and hope where it is lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your loving ways that lead and provide for us all. Amen.

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

Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace. – Psalm 85:10

Provision

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

(We pray) that God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

This morning, as I was reading my devotions, my phone began buzzing beside me. When I realized what was happening, I quickly slid the bar to access the video chat that was coming in. My dear friend was calling from Burundi. She knows that I am an early riser, so I will happily chat in the wee hours of the morning when it is well into the afternoon there. Anyway, seeing the joy on her and her husband’s faces after more than fourteen months apart, waiting, showed me a tangible example of just how prayers such as Colossians 1:11 apply. The two of them have been surrounded and covered in prayer, and have been patiently enduring the wait, and continuing to communicate, trust and wait with joy. Because of Covid, the spousal visa that should have taken a week or two, has taken well over a year. They have reached the home stretch of the wait, but have to continue to endure until the interview appointment is scheduled and done. Thankfully, the visa has been approved, and it is just one more step before they are at long last together for good. May we ever lift each other up in prayer, for strength, endurance, patience and joy. God is good, and His love endures through all things.

Patient endurance,

A gift from the Lord;

Joy in the waiting,

All grace God affords.

When we turn to Him,

His love leads us through;

Strength to press forward,

Into what is new.

All thanks be to God,

For goodness and joy;

May we turn to Him,

As love He employs.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and keep us in Your loving care as we face challenges and endure hardships that require seasons of waiting. Thank You that You provide joy, despite our circumstances. Forgive us for our impatience and lack of faith when seasons seem far longer than anticipated. Teach us to trust and give thanks to You, for even in our challenges, You are near to love, strengthen and equip us with all that we need. Show us how to love those around us with joy and grace, so that Your goodness may be evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your provision in all situations and circumstances. Amen.

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

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Matthew 6:33

What Love is Meant to Be

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, HCSB)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

When we love those around us, we are walking in obedience to all that God commands. It is love that leads us along the path that the Lord has placed before us and shows us the way to navigate well. The more that we seek the Lord and receive all that He has to offer, the better equipped we are to love each person we meet. Choosing to extend kindness, is love. Believing the best in others is love. Forgiving and not holding a grudge, is love. Caring well for those around us is love. There are countless ways that we can extend love to those around us, and make God’s love tangible in places that it has been hidden. May we ever depend on the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may walk in obedience to the greatest command and show those around us what love is all about.

Love is meant to be,

Evidence of God;

Not jaded, hurtful,

Some Hallmark facade.

True love is goodness,

Kind and faithful too;

Always forgiving,

Each day it’s made new.

Patient, generous,

Full of hope each day;

In Christ, there’s enough,

To love the Lord’s way.

For as we choose love,

We do as we should;

We love others well,

And show God is good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we love You and love those around us well, we are walking in obedience to all that You command. Forgive us for each time that we have fallen short and not loved as You call us to do. Teach us how to lead with love in all that we say and do. Show us how to express Your love best to those around us, so that they might recognize Your heart in our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love our neighbors as You intended. Amen.

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

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

Working All For Good

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. – (Romans 8:28, NIV)

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. These are the people God chose, because that was His plan. – (Romans 8:28, ERV)

We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. – (Romans 8:28, VOICE)

It is critical to both know and trust this is true in our lives, especially in times of uncertainty or when anxiety begins to rise. I do not know what I will be walking into in the coming school year, as I will again be teaching a new grade and new curriculum. With ever-changing conditions and circumstances, on top of new material, I am again in a space of feeling like a brand new teacher, despite my previous twenty-four years in my career thus far. New can be exciting, but it also makes me anxious, as I want to know what I am doing so that I can do the best possible job of helping kids learn and grow. On my end, I am doing all that I can to prepare, and have to trust that God has me in this space for this time for a purpose. He uses things for good, so I have to trust that I have something to offer and He has something good in store for me. May we ever lean into the Lord and place our trust and confidence in Him, for He is able to bring good and beauty out of spaces of uncertainty.

In everything,

God can create good;

Sunshine after storms,

Grace not understood.

His love never ends,

And His mercy, new;

Each day as we rise,

He’ll show us what’s true.

In love, He will lead,

Show us steps to take;

Heal and build us up,

Despite our mistakes.

So, trust in the Lord,

He’ll use all for good;

As He shows us new,

Where only He could.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You work all things out for the good of those who love You. Thank You that You can take circumstances and situations that seem dismal or difficult, and turn them into something amazing and beautiful. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as we enter the new and unknown. Remind us of Your presence anew each day, and show us clearly how to walk in Your way. Teach us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the hope, help and peace that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and trust You to work all things out for good. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your Name may rejoice in You. – Psalm 5:11

All Made Possible

Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, NIV)

Lord God, with Your great power You made the earth and the sky. There is nothing too hard for You to do. – (Jeremiah 32:17, ERV)

Eternal Lord, with Your outstretched arm and Your enormous power You created the heavens and the earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. – (Jeremiah 32:17, VOICE)

No matter how difficult things may appear in the natural, there is no obstacle too great or any situation that is impossible for God. The very same God who created all that is seen, (and unseen) is capable of helping us in and through all things. There are days when a task before me seems impossible, yet in His strength, things beyond me are completed. He gives strength when we are weary, hope in the midst of despair, joy when laughter feels far from us, and peace that surpasses all understanding. Additionally, He cares about the little things too. I am ever in awe of the strength I find to push up another hill, step into more new, and rest in His presence in spaces of uncertainty. May we ever remember the power found in the Lord, and call on Him to be our help, hope and strength in all things.

The Almighty God,

Photo by kinkate on Pexels.com

Creator of all;

Can do anything,

As to Him we call.

The impossible,

Is not so for Him;

Whatever He says,

Will be ushered in.

The God that we serve,

Is always enough;

He loves us through all,

And makes smooth the rough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are God and we are not. Thank You that nothing is too difficult for You. Thank You that You meet us where we are and strengthen us to press forward to all that is yet to be. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things seem impossible through our own eyes. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are ever-present to be our help, strength and hope. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and encourage, in the same way that You strengthen and encourage us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and for all that You make possible in You. Amen. 

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

For no word from God will ever fail. – Luke 1:37

Make Me Strong

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, NIV)

May the Lord make His people strong. May the Lord bless His people with peace. – (Psalm 29:11, ERV)

God makes His people strong. God gives His people peace. – (Psalm 29:11, MSG)

I am so grateful for this. Today is the first high school gymnastics meet in which I will be coaching as the appointed interim head coach. It is both an honor and a blessing, but it is also an entirely new role, much different than fulfilling the role of head coach in middle school. This will be a long day, yet I know that God will be faithful to provide the strength that is needed to navigate this new. Additionally, His peace is already present, despite the nervousness in the unknown. More than anything, my heart is filled with gratitude for God’s nearness and faithfulness as He walks beside me and leads me in the new. May we ever turn to the Lord in trust, for He is faithful to provide the peace and strength required to continue to move forward in the direction that we have been called.

O God, make me strong,

When I’m feeling weak;

Grant wisdom and peace,

As my heart does seek.

Whatever I do,

Each step that I take;

Please lead me in grace,

In You, make me brave.

Brave to step into,

All that I’ve been called;

Strength to lead like You,

May peace be installed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and peace as we seek You in all things. Thank You for the blessings of new opportunities. Thank You that You provide places for us to grow in the things we enjoy. Forgive us for attempting to do things in our own strength, rather than turning to You to lead us as You intended. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You are our supply of strength and our place of peace. Show us how to love and encourage those around us in ways that extend strength and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence that provides peace, and the strength You supply to sustain us. Amen.

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Grow Us in Grace

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly, everything is new! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, ERV)

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, TPT)

For the last few years, I have taken time to seek God and ask Him for a word for the coming year. Last year, the word that was placed on my heart was “new”. Though the “new” that we all experienced was nothing like any of us might have imagined, there certainly was a recurring category of “new”. We entered a new season as the world shut down and life as we knew it changed. In the midst of it all, much new had to be learned. For me, a brand new way of doing my job accompanied the new season of the twins graduating from high school, and the addition of two new fur babies to our family. Though there has been struggle with the new, God’s grace was all the more. It seems that we each have the opportunity to become new as we navigate the challenges that come our way. Each obstacle provides room for us to seek the Lord and pursue the new He is growing in us as we are faithful to continue looking forward to all that lies before us. This process of becoming “new”, has brought me to the word that God has given me for 2021. The word that kept crashing around in my heart and mind is “grace”. In order to continue to move forward in all that I have been called, His grace will be required. There needs to be an ongoing growth in grace – both in the giving and receiving of “the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.(dictionary.com definition of grace) I don’t know about you, but I will absolutely welcome the freely given favor and love of God, and know that I am called to do the same for those around me. Grace is a gift; not something that needs to be earned. May we actively seek to both give and receive the grace of God, so that we may ever grow in grace and love, according to God’s good and perfect will.

May we grow in grace,

As He makes us new;

Receive all He gives,

So we might give too.

To grow in goodness,

We need know His ways;

Make willing our hearts,

To trust God always.

Though sometimes the new,

Is not what we dreamed;

His grace is enough,

To make all redeemed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make all things new and You grow us in Your lavish grace. Forgive us for our resistance to the new and our stubbornness that neglects to give and receive the grace You intended. Teach us how to grow in grace so that we may love as You call us to love. Lead us to love others in ways that are full of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You are growing in us to navigate this new year. Amen.

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

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever! Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18

Grace, Love and Fellowship

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, NIV) 

I pray that you will enjoy the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. – (2 Corinthians 13:13, ERV) 

May the grace of the Lord Jesus the Anointed, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit remain with you all. – (2 Corinthians 13:14, VOICE) 

Grace, love and fellowship – who doesn’t need these? I love that Paul ended each of his letters in similar fashion, expressing his desire for God’s best to be granted to all. Right now, in this space of so much uncertainty and disruption from the norm, I am forever grateful for each of these three things that are freely given by God. Every day, I am abundantly aware of my need for grace. With so much new and such long days, I do not always react or respond in the way that I ought to. His grace picks me up and dusts me off, and His love encourages me to press on. As for the fellowship, it is amazing that no matter how I feel, I know that I am never truly alone. The promised presence of God sustains and covers me. May we ever seek the Lord, for His grace and love are poured out upon those who seek Him, and His presence is promised always. 

Wherever you are, 

In all that you do; 

May blessings pour out, 

As you seek the truth. 

It is in that space, 

Grace and love are found; 

God’s peaceful presence, 

Comes close and surrounds. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that exhortation of Paul to people everywhere is the same heart that You have for us all. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us the grace of Jesus, the love of God, and the nearness and presence of Your Holy Spirit. Forgive us for neglecting to recognize all that You provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may receive all that You offer. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways, so that Your grace, love and nearness may be made known through our very being. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the grace, love and fellowship that You lovingly provide. 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

Promised Presence

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. – (Isaiah 46:4, NIV) 

And I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you. I made you, and I will carry you to safety. – (Isaiah 46:4, ERV) 

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you. When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak, and your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have. I will carry you and save you. – (Isaiah 46:4, VOICE) 

God’s promises are not just for today, but they remain forever. His promise to sustain and carry us is true throughout our entire life. I have known God’s faithfulness to carry and sustain me – from childhood to adulthood, and now as I move ever closer to the white hairs of years flying by. It is good to be reminded of His ongoing faithfulness, especially when in the midst of so much new and uncertain. God’s faithfulness and ability to sustain and carry us is not dependent on our circumstances, nor the status of the world around us. Even on days where what lies before us seems insurmountable, He is faithful to see us through. Today, I am placing all in His hands, and trusting Him to lead, strengthen and carry me through all that awaits. The Lord is good, and He is worthy of our trust. May we choose to seek Him and place all in His hands. 

The Lord is faithful, 

For all of our days; 

From when we are young, 

Today, and always. 

He calms all our fears, 

When we are afraid; 

And grants us His strength, 

When ours goes away. 

He is our safety, 

In uncertainty; 

Our help and our hope, 

To eternity. 

So, trust in the Lord, 

Choose rely on Him; 

He’ll help us press on, 

Even when hope’s dim. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, as You sustain, strengthen, and carry us throughout our whole life. Thank You that Your promises are true in both our youth and into our older years. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears with the things that seem too much. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your faithfulness tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You, all the days of our lives. 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