Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Joy in Hope

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – (Romans 12:12, NIV)

Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time. – (Romans 12:12, ERV)

Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times. – (Romans 12:12, TPT)

There is always joy when we are aware of hope. Hope anchors our hearts and helps us remember our reasons to give thanks. It is in that posture of praise that we are able to find joy. Additionally, hope grants us patience when troubles come our way. Even when we cannot see a solution, God is working on our behalf. Lastly, we have the privilege of communing with the living God. He hears our every prayer, and shows us His love and His presence each time we seek Him. May we ever invest in seeking the Lord, for He is our source of joy, hope, patience and perseverance. 

May hope be present,

No matter what comes;

Joy’s in the journey,

Not in the outcome.

Our God is faithful,

His strength overcomes;

Our times of trouble,

‘Til each day is done.

For we are all called,

To commune with Him;

Pray in His presence,

Allow His love in.

Let us hold to hope,

That God alone gives;

Be strengthened in Him,

As long as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can always find joy, for You are our reason to have hope. Thank You that You strengthen us in times of trouble, and You meet us as we seek time with You. Forgive us for allowing circumstances to steal our joy. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may find joy in our hope that comes from You. Continue to show us how to seek You and spend time in Your presence. Lead us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your presence, help, hope and joy that You grant all who seek You. Amen.

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

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

Blessed to Love

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, TPT)

By faith, we can grow in goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, devotion to God, kindness, mercy and love. Each of these attributes are in existence to help us love as we were called to love. To love God and love people, we need all of these things. Our faith directs and draws us in to seek the Lord. As we do, we grow in goodness and understanding, and are equipped with strength, self-control and patient endurance. With these things, our devotion and kindness grows, and love more easily flows from us. Everyday, I need a fresh supply of each of these. God is faithful to meet us each time we earnestly seek Him. Though we are flawed and fall short, we can continue to be devoted to the One who grows good things within us. As we grow, our lives pour out the overflow to all of those around us. My hope is that each day, there is less of me and more of Him. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more and more, so that we may love as we were designed to love.

Grow us, Lord Jesus,

In each of these things;

So we may love more,

Please tune our heart strings.

Goodness and knowledge,

And true self-control;

Faithful devotion,

Teach us to love well.

May perseverance,

Help us to press on;

Devoted and kind,

‘Til our days are gone.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In all that we do;

Let our lives reflect,

A love just like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are forever willing to grow, refine and empower us to love more like You. Forgive us for the times that we are reactive, rather than seeking You to lead us well. Teach us how to pursue You each day, so that we may grow more like You. Show us how to love as You love, with kindness, gentleness, mercy and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow our hearts more like Yours so that we may love as You intended. Amen.

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

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – James 1:17

Trust Completely

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

Trust the Lord completely, and don’t depend on your own knowledge. With every step you take, think about what He wants, and He will help you go the right way. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, ERV)

Trust the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go. – (Proverbs 3:5-6, TPT)

Well, my suspicions were confirmed, and not only did I break my toe, but I broke it in two places. For me, this is a space where I find myself having to choose trust over and over again, as my hope and goal of running a marathon in June seems to have an enormous obstacle in the way. That being said, I know that God can do the miraculous, and I will continue to trust in Him. In a few short weeks, my friend and I were able to build up mileage from a couple of miles, to confidently running nine. If this healing process takes four weeks, we will still have more than two and a half months to build to the distance necessary to accomplish the goal. However, that is merely my human understanding, not His. Each day, I will choose again to seek and listen to His leading. I know not how this healing process will all  go, but I do know that God will be with me and will direct my steps. He knows the desires of my heart and will lead me in the way I am meant to go. My prayer is that recovery will be quick and I will be back to running in no time, yet even so, I will trust in Him. My deadlines and timelines are not His, and I will allow Him to lead. May we ever seek the Lord in all things and at all times, for He will be with us and lead us wherever we go.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what comes;

For He paves the way,

To what’s to become.

Lean not on what’s known,

But rather, seek Him;

He directs our path,

Through where things seem grim.

He can make a way,

Where it seems there’s none;

Our strength and our hope,

The most Holy One.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can trust in You through all things. Thank You that You lead us and guide us on paths You make clear. Forgive us for our frustration and fears when obstacles seem insurmountable or our path becomes unclear. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, knowing that You have the very best for us in mind. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they gain strength and perseverance to press forward to where You are leading. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You with all our heart and depend not on our limited understanding, but rather rely on You to lead us well. Amen.

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

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – Psalm 33:4

No Separation From Love

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, NIV)

Can anything separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble or problems or persecution separate us from His love? If we have no food or clothes or face danger or even death, will that separate us from His love? But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown His love for us. – (Romans 8:35, 37, ERV)

Who could ever separate us from the endless love of God’s Anointed One? Absolutely no one! For nothing in the universe has the power to diminish His love toward us. Troubles, pressures, and problems are unable to come between us and heaven’s love. What about persecutions, deprivations, dangers, and death threats? No, for they are all impotent to hinder omnipotent love. Yet even in the midst of all these things, we triumph over them all, for God has made us to be more than conquerors, and His demonstrated love is our glorious victory over everything! – (Romans 8:35, 37, TPT)

This is our reminder of just how powerful the love of God truly is. There is NOTHING that can separate us from His love. When we go through struggles and trials and hardships of every kind, He is with us, loving us through. In our weakness, God is our strength. In our heartache, He is our comfort. No matter what we face or what comes our way, God will be present and loving us through. Often, it is difficult to recognize, yet if we open our eyes and our heart, His loving presence becomes clear. Beyond God’s presence, He grants us His wisdom and strength so that we may see victory, even when all seems to point to defeat. May we ever hold onto the promises of God’s word, and trust in He who is greater than every trial that we face; for in His love, we are able to navigate every struggle that happens upon our path.

There’s nothing on earth,

That ever can come;

Between the Lord’s love,

The battle’s been won.

He already knows,

The giants we’ll face;

In love, He will give,

Love, peace, strength and grace.

So, let us rise up,

Choose to trust in Him;

His love leads the way,

Strength granted within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing in all of creation that can ever separate us from Your love. Thank You that no matter what struggle or hardship or trial we face, You are present to help and love us through. Forgive us for the times that we doubt the depth of Your love or are blinded by what lies before us instead of looking up to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and goodness in spaces of struggle. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in the tremendous power of Your unending love to lead us through all that comes our way. Amen.

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

May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. – 2 Thessalonians 3:5

Grow Us O God

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. – (1 Peter 1:5-7, TPT)

This passage reminds us that there is always room to grow. Because we have access to the word of God and the Spirit of God, His goodness, kindness and love are ever calling us to more of Him. The more of God that we know and understand, the greater our likeness in His attributes. He is faithful, good, the Source of all wisdom and understanding, patient, devoted, kind and loving to all. We too, are created to live likewise. May we ever seek the Lord to continue to grow more like Him, so that His love and accessible attributes are made evident in us.

Because we are blessed,

Let’s add what we bring;

More than just patience,

All enduring things.

Let goodness rise up,

And wisdom be found;

Grant us self-control,

Devotion that’s sound.

Grow in us kindness,

For all those we meet;

Let love ever lead,

Hands, heart and feet.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to grow in Your ways. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You to grow more like You. Teach us to turn to You and depend on You to transform our hearts and minds to clearly display Your love for all those around us. Show us how to love with patience, endurance, kindness, wisdom and goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to grow more and more like You, so that we may love as we are called to do. Amen.

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

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. – Psalm 34:10

Learn, Love and Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, NIV) 

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness, add love. If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. – (2 Peter 1:5-8, ERV) 

When we desire time with God, our effort and pursuit of what He wants for us, increases. The better we know the Lord and His will for our lives, the more eager we are to grow and more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness and love, are all things that show the world where our priorities lie. May we ever seek to walk more closely with our Savior, so that we more clearly reflect His heart to all those around, and produce good as we are called to do. 

Oh Lord, make my heart, 

Reflect clearly, Yours; 

Let all that I do, 

Open up love’s doors. 

Grant me Your patience, 

Wisdom and goodness; 

Love, perseverance, 

Faith and Your kindness. 

Teach me devotion, 

All these, unto You; 

So Your heart is seen, 

Through a life lived true. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to walk in Your will and love as You love. Forgive us for our lack of dedication to seeking and following after You. Teach us to seek You to grow in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. Lead us to love all those around us according to Your perfect plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to learn, love and grow. Amen. 

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

I’ve known all along from the evidence of Your words that You meant them to last forever. – Psalm 119:152

Perfect Does Not Mean Easy

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, NIV) 

God’s way is perfect. The Lord’s promise always proves true. He protects those who trust in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, ERV) 

Everything God does is perfect; the promise of the Eternal rings true; He stands as a shield for all who hide in Him. – (Psalm 18:30, VOICE) 

God’s perfection does not equate to easy or smooth. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts, our thoughts. Perfect, is seeing things to completion; making flawless or faultless. Often the road to completion requires navigating rough terrain, as God‘s perfect plan requires strengthening, perseverance, or some other sort of growth to teach us and prepare us for other obstacles we will have to overcome. His promises are true, as He will never leave us nor forsake us. Always, no matter how things appear, God is present to help guide us in the way we are meant to go. The more we trust Him, the greater our awareness becomes of His protection and provision. May we choose to trust in the Lord in all things, for He is faithful to His word, and He protects and provides perfectly as we walk in the way that He leads. 

The only perfect, 

Is God’s faithful plan; 

His road that leads us, 

To hear, understand. 

All that He’s promised, 

He’s faithful to do; 

As He stays present, 

And carries us through. 

Our refuge and strength, 

To whom we can run; 

Faithful forever, 

The Most Holy One. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your ways are perfect and Your promises are true. Thank You that we can run to You to be our shelter and safe space. Thank You that Your perfection makes up for where we are lacking. Forgive us for the times that we have doubted You or avoided running to You. Teach us that we can trust You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us with relentless faith, allowing those around us to see You in us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust the perfection of Your promises, and seek You in all things. Amen. 

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

As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. – 2 Samuel 22:31

Wonderfully Made

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful; I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV) 

You formed the way I think and feel. You put me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was. – (Psalm 139:13-14, ERV) 

You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank You, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything You do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly You know me, Lord! – (Psalm 139:13-14, TPT) 

Every human on the planet has been created intentionally, and knit together beautifully. I am struggling to figure out where humanity determined that one variation or race or people group is less than or superior to another. What is worse, is that the sin that entered in and tainted the perspective of people, one to another, has been perpetuated throughout history. As a member of Christ’s body, it is my responsibility to identify the places within my own heart where bias, prejudice and the like are hidden, so that I may repent and see all people through the Lord’s lens. Additionally, I must not shy away from the ache that this has caused in my sisters and brothers around me. To be and do better, I must actively seek to listen and understand, so that genuine change may occur. If I truly believe that all people have been intentionally and beautifully made, then I must further pursue how to admonish, defend and support every person around me. Because prejudice and discrimination have taken place for centuries, it is meant to be a lifelong process of pursuing change and bringing restoration to all. It begins within our own hearts, but must continue in our neighborhoods, communities, our nation, and our world. Daily, I am gutted as the stories of people’s own experiences as people of color, are being shared. White privilege is real, as I have not had to be fearful or exercise extreme caution in how I navigated my days because of the amount of melanin in my skin. We must listen and learn. I want to be an agent of change in the world, and this must begin with me. Though I cannot control the actions and reactions of others, I can be intentional to listen and read and learn and speak up when I see anyone being treated as less than intentionally and beautifully made. May we seek the Lord for wisdom and perseverance, as we listen, learn and become a better version of who we have been called to be. 

Each human on earth, 

Purposefully made; 

Hand-crafted by Christ, 

In various shades. 

Unique in design, 

Such intricacy; 

Each one fully known, 

Beyond what is seen. 

Lord, give us all eyes, 

That we truly see; 

Equal in value, 

Planned diversity. 

Bring restoration, 

True community; 

Everyone known, 

In love, unity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that everyone has been intentionally and beautifully made. Thank You that You are a creative God, that has made us beautifully diverse and wonderfully unique. Thank You that You call us to appreciate and celebrate the unique beauty and design that You have intentionally made. Forgive us for the times that we have marginalized another person or people group through ignorance or silence. Teach us to be and do better. Help us to view all people through Your lens, and with Your heart to love. Show us how to best love every individual we meet. May we support, encourage and love one another, as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we repent and rise up to truly be the body of Christ. 

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

To Demonstrate Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – (John 13:34, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

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The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9