Hope Provides Peace and Joy

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, HCSB)

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, ERV)

I pray that God, the source of all hope, will infuse your lives with an abundance of joy and peace in the midst of your faith so that your hope will overflow through the power of the Holy Spirit. – (Romans 15:13, VOICE)

One of the best things about weddings and funerals is the opportunity to see and connect with those whom one has not seen in a long time. Yesterday, that held true for me as I attended a funeral. Though relatively brief interactions, I was blessed to see and greet a former teacher and colleague, a classmate and teammate, and a long-time friend with whom my path crosses regularly and randomly. There is something about being in the presence of those one has known that brings joy and peace. For those of us who hope in Christ, there is the comfort that we will see one another again; be it sooner, later, and ultimately into eternity. Goodbyes are merely “see you laters”. May God, the source of all hope, bless you with joy and peace as His love overflows in and through you.

The God of all hope,

Fills our hearts with peace;

For where there is hope,

Faith and love increase.

May we choose to trust,

And never let go;

God, our Provider,

From Whom all good flows.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You are our Source;

Peace, joy and comfort,

As we run our course.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Provider of every good and perfect gift. Thank You that You grant us hope, fill us with Your peace, and provide us with joy and goodness that overflows to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to navigate on our own. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for You are where hope and help come from. Show us how to love those around us in ways that pass on Your goodness and kindness and grow faith and hope in each heart. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with hope in You, and praise You for the peace and joy that follow. Amen.

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

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

Quick to Listen

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, and slow to speak, and slow to anger. – (James 1:19, HCSB)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. – (James 1:19, VOICE)

Imagine the conflicts that would be avoided if only we all followed these directions. When we are quick to listen, we hear the heart, hope and experience of the one before us, and it provides an opportunity to understand where another is coming from. Additionally, if we pause, listen and process before we respond, we are far more likely to speak out of love and not become frustrated or angry. Our charge is to be patient and not allow anger to fly out of control. God is faithful to provide the strength and self-control necessary to listen first and respond well. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intently and be slow to speak, so that anger is kept in check and our words and deeds are led by His love.

Help us to listen,

So we truly hear;

The heart of others,

All those who are near.

Show us to slow down,

To be slow to speak;

So ev’ry response,

Is kind and in peace.

Lord, help our anger,

Be under control;

So love is what leads,

And grace is our goal.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You listen to us with love every time we speak. Thank You that You respond to us in love and do not easily anger. Forgive us for the times that we have not slowed down enough to truly hear those around us, or have listened only to respond, rather than to truly hear. Please check our hearts when anger rises so that we would slow down and place all in Your hands to lead us. Show us how to listen in love well so that those around us may see Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to listen well and do all things in love and with self-control. Amen.

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

I call on You, God, because You will answer me; listen closely to me; hear what I say. – Psalm 17:6

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9

Forgive and Love

All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, HCSB)

Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, ERV)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, MSG)

Being kind and compassionate takes practice and dependence on God. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are doing or what we need to accomplish or where we need to go, that we forget that everyone around us is doing the same, and we know not what is going on in their world. From the slow or distracted driver in front of us, to the person who has parked their cart in the center of the aisle, we are called to be kind and gentle. I have been both the giver and the recipient of both types of responses – frustration and anger, and those of gentleness and kindness. The difference a kind, gentle or loving response makes, especially on difficult days, compels me to seek God to help me do likewise. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities to practice. I have not “arrived”, but I continue to seek God for strength and compassion so that I might respond as Jesus responds to us. May we ever seek the Lord and His love for one another so that all anger and frustration are kept in check, and His love leads us in all that we say and do.

Let go of anger,

All malice and rage;

Instead, choose kindness,

Lovingly engage.

As Christ has loved us,

We need love others;

Extend care and grace,

To sisters, brothers.

Each has a story,

That we do not know;

Our kindness offered,

Is how love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to release anger and ugliness and equip us to give love, kindness and gentleness as You do for us. Forgive us for our anger, frustration and impatience that comes when we focus on ourselves. Teach us to be otherly with all those around us. Give us compassion and love to extend to all. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to be the people that You have called and created us to be. Amen.

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

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:13

Tangible Love for the Common Good

Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. – (Hebrews 13:16, HCSB)

And don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with others, because sacrifices like these are very pleasing to God. – (Hebrews 13:16, ERV)

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice” – that take place in the kitchen and workplace and on the streets. – (Hebrews 13:16, MSG)

God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. He supplies us with all that we need. Our purpose is to love God and love people. To truly love requires actions, not mere words. His love and care for us is made evident when we see, feel and understand how He cares for the smallest details in our lives. A thoughtful gesture, a kind word, a helping hand – all provide evidence of God’s goodness made tangible. So many times God uses people to demonstrate the abundance of His goodness and love for us. I cannot even count the times that I have been blessed, encouraged or built up through the loving kindness of others in exactly the way that I needed. God’s hand and heart were evident, and His love for me, overwhelming. Each one of us has the opportunity to demonstrate His love every day. When we choose to be led by His love, we see spaces that need light and life and love and are able to reach out and do something tangible for another. May we seek the Lord in prayer and listen to His leading, so that we may be His ambassadors of love throughout each new day.

Let us not neglect,

To love and do good;

To choose be aware,

How love’s understood.

For it is not words,

That show love alone;

But rather actions,

That make His love known.

Encouraging words,

A tangible touch;

A need that is met,

Truly means so much.

Lord, show us the needs,

Where we can reach out;

So we might love well,

Show what love’s about.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give abundantly in love. Forgive us for the times that we have taken anything for granted and have neglected to work for the common good. Teach us to look for opportunities to bless and give and love well. Show us how to love each person that we encounter, whether it is through meeting a need, giving a helping hand, or extending words of encouragement that are intentional and specific. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to offer worship unto You through the things we do in love. Amen.

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

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – Ephesians 4:2

Each Day a Gift

Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. – (Psalm 90:12, HCSB)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

Not one of us knows the number of days that we have, so it is important to make the most of each new day that we are given. As we seek the Lord and His goodness, grace and wisdom, we gain an eternal perspective on all that we say and do. Each of us has the opportunity to be a blessing and encouragement to everyone we meet, if only we pursue the Lord to lead us well. As we receive and accept His direction and correction, we better reflect the light of His lavish love. May we ever seek the Lord for wisdom, understanding that each new day that we are given is a gift that we have been granted to use for His glory.

Teach us, Lord Jesus,

To number our days;

In awe, pursue You,

And all of Your ways.

Grant us Your wisdom,

To live and love well;

To love and lift up,

So words and deeds tell.

Tell of Your glory,

Your goodness and grace;

The blessings made known,

As we seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though not one of us knows the number of days that we have been given, each of us can seek You to lead us and guide us to use each new day well. Forgive us for the times that we have operated in our own way, neglecting to extend the love and grace that You have so generously and graciously granted to us. Teach us to build up and encourage everyone we encounter, for Your light can shine through us wherever we go. Lead us in Your love so that all those around us see Your heart through our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your lavish love each new day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

This is what I command you: Love one another. – John 15:17

Make Time

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

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

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

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

Lowly beginning,

Most humble His birth;

Quite unexpected,

How God came to earth.

Born in a stable,

With livestock around;

Shepherds and wise men,

Sought Him and were found.

Angelic visits,

A star overhead;

Goodness and wisdom,

Is how they were led.

The baby, He grew,

In wisdom and grace;

He gave and suffered,

To open the way.

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

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

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

Give Thanks in Word and Deed

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, HCSB)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Let every activity of your lives and every word that comes from your lips be drenched with the beauty of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One. And bring your constant praise to God the Father because of what Christ has done for you! – (Colossians 3:17, TPT)

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone did EVERYTHING unto Jesus? Love would lead and kindness would be everywhere. Whenever we do things unto God and give thanks to Him, He is glorified as His goodness is honored and His love is made known in a tangible way. We all are a work in progress, yet the more that we seek to let the Lord’s love lead, the more we become accustomed to doing things as His ambassadors of goodness and grace. Love leads when we seek to do things the way that Christ intended. Today, as we gather and give thanks, it is the perfect opportunity to seek the Lord to lead us in every conversation and activity that we participate in, so that God may be made known and glorified through our purposeful and intentional love. May God be glorified as we gather and give thanks.

O Lord, flood our hearts,

With goodness and grace;

Lead us in Your love,

Throughout all our days.

God, as we gather,

Show us what to do;

To love in all things,

Choose to honor You.

May Your heart be known,

In all that we do;

Lead us with Your love,

So Your heart shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You love in all that we say and do. Forgive us for all that we’ve said or done that has not represented You well. Continue to show us and grow us to walk in Your ways and to love as You do. Teach us to turn to You to be our Supply for words and actions. Lead us to love those around us well, so that they may come to understand the goodness and grace that are found as we follow Your ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to honor You with our every word and deed. 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. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

Grow Our Love

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment. – (Philippians 1:9, HCSB)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi was full of encouragement. I find this particular verse encouraging this morning, as each new day we have the opportunity for our love to grow so that we might have knowledge and understanding in all things. We all need discernment to love as God loves us. May we ever seek the Lord and pray that He continues to grow us in knowledge and discernment so that we will love well.

The Lord is faithful,

Each time that we seek;

His love and wisdom,

Granted where we’re weak.

Love that increases,

Learns to understand;

Knowledge and insight,

All part of His plan.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

Each morning anew;

To love others well,

May Your heart shine through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our love and understanding is not something that we can grow on our own. Thank You that the more we seek You and know Your heart for us, the greater You grow our capacity to love and understand those around us. Forgive us for our impatience with the process, as our limited understanding can be a barrier to loving well. Teach us to seek You in all things so that we may continue to grow in our understanding, insight, and capacity to love. Show us how to love those around us well, in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to ever grow us in our capacity to love like You. Amen.

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

But in speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – Ephesians 4:15

A New Thing

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. – (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

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 has been none. – (Isaiah 43:19, VOICE)

This feels like life right now. After nearly a year and a half of my children being home and isolated, each of the twins will begin a new job today. One will be working at Lowes, and the other at Kohls. The opportunity for each to get out in the community and begin working feels like new life is coming. Where there was isolation, there will now be interactions. Where there was little, there is now opportunity for more. There is something so good as we enter adulthood and begin to earn our own wages and can contribute to expenses. Though both kids have been wise with their money, they were relying on gifts they had been given for graduation, Christmas and birthdays to supply the things that they needed (and parents of course). Beginning today, they will be able to save for school and have spending money of their own. Even more importantly, they will be out in the community and engaging with people again. I know both are nervous, yet I am certain that they will each thrive in the new.

The Lord is faithful,

He brings us the new;

Forward momentum,

Shows us what to do.

New life and blessings,

When all has seemed dim;

He makes a new way,

When we let Him in.

Choose trust in the Lord,

His promises true;

Quenches the thirsty,

And safely leads through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You provide a way where there seemed to be no way, and You bring new life where all seemed lost. Thank You that our hope is secure in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your promises when tough seasons are long. Teach us to trust You in all things, for You are always faithful. Show us how to love those around us in ways that give light and life and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to make all things new and to lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Amen.

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

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 1:20