Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17

Redeemed to Love

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

For we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God. Yet through His powerful declaration of acquittal, God freely gives away His righteousness. His gift of love and favor now cascades over us, all because Jesus, the Anointed One, has liberated us from the guilt, punishment, and power of sin! – (Romans 3:23-24, TPT)

We all are broken and fall short. However, Jesus came so that we could be forgiven and free from all of our sin and shame, and find new life in Him. This is available for all people, for the hardened criminal and the good citizen alike; it is up to us to receive what He freely offers, and pursue a life following after Him. Today, this is my reminder to not allow anger or frustration a foothold, for the ones who did such such horrible things are received and forgiven if they repent and turn to God, in the same way it is available for you and me. If I am truly to have a heart like Christ, this indeed must be my hope for them. There are consequences for criminal behavior, as there should be, yet the heart can be forgiven and set free from all. Though I would be willing to guess that they do not know Jesus, I can pray that they would come to know Him. Eternal freedom is far more important than the temporary satisfaction of revenge or retaliation. The law is clear and there will be consequences for their actions, so my responsibility is to keep loving God and loving people, even when it means praying for those who inflicted harm on the defenseless. It is a process, daily, and at times, hourly; for I know what I must continue to do. May we ever seek the One who sets us free from our sin and shame, and allow Him to soften our hearts and love bigger than we ever thought possible.

O Lord help our hearts,

To forgive, set free;

Place all in Your hands,

Lord Jesus, help me.

A sin is a sin,

And I’m not the judge;

Help me to release,

A hold of a grudge.

For true forgiveness,

Sets our own hearts free;

So sins ugly grip,

No longer holds me.

For justice belongs,

To the Lord above;

True freedom is found,

Through grace, hope and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have made the way for all to know freedom and forgiveness in You. Thank You that none are disqualified from receiving redemption in You, regardless of our sin. Forgive us for our desire to retaliate and return evil for evil. Teach us to trust You and the laws that are established to take care of what is just. Show us how to love like You so that we would willingly pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You and discover the overwhelming mercy, goodness and love that You pour out upon all who receive what You offer and pursue eternity with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow You access to transform our hearts so that we may mirror You lavish love to the world. Amen.

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Higher Than Ours

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, NIV)

The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like yours. Your ways are not like Mine. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:7-8, ERV)

Eternal One: My intentions are not always yours, and I do not go about things as you do. My thoughts and My ways are above and beyond you, just as heaven is far from your reach here on earth. – (Isaiah 55:7-8, VOICE)

I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that this is true. So often, I think things should go one way, or situations ought to be resolved as I imagine, yet God, in His infinite wisdom, brings far more beauty than I could have ever imagined. This is where we are challenged to trust the process. It is a bit easier to do each time we witness His faithfulness in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. That being said, it is a seemingly lifelong process to recognize and remember that God’s ways are for our ultimate best, even when we cannot see how good is possible. May we ever remember that God knows the outcome long before we have even begun, and that He is for us, not against us. 

Our thoughts and our ways,

May be good and bold;

Yet God’s are greater,

Our future He holds.

When we cannot see,

How things could resolve;

God is on the move,

So fears ought dissolve.

Let us turn in trust,

To the Lord above;

For His ways are best,

All is done in love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and Your ways, higher than ours. Thank You that You see the end before we have even begun, and You are ever available to lead us and guide us in the ways we are meant to go. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears when things do not go the way we had planned or imagined. Teach us to trust the process and to remember that You hold us in the hollow of Your hands. Lead us to love one another in ways that strengthen, encourage and convey Your faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and Your ways, for they are always best in the end. Amen.

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

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

Faithful to Finish

The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV) 

The One who calls you by name is trustworthy and will thoroughly complete His work in you. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, TPT) 

For the God who calls you is faithful, and He can be trusted to make it so. – (1 Thessalonians 5:24, VOICE) 

God is faithful to His promises. What He calls us to, He sees us through. Often, the things that God calls us to do are far too difficult, or beyond our scope of capability. When God is with us and for us, the seemingly impossible becomes possible. He can do far more than we could ever ask or imagine when we trust in Him. A perfect example of this is the road my mom has been navigating for nearly the last year and a half. After a stroke that initially stole control of the entire right side of her body and her independence, mom is now back in her own home, able to do far more than she thought possible, only a year ago. God has faithfully provided all that is needed to make this a reality. He orchestrated the right people and circumstances for such a time as this. Mom has wonderful help each day to assist with the things that are too difficult with a stubborn right arm, and the freedom, confidence, strength and independence to do all that she is able on her own. I still believe that He is not finished either. God has even more in store for mom than she could hope or imagine. The healing she is walking in (literally and figuratively) now, is but a glimpse of all that He will still do. She has been called to things that He created her to do, and He is faithful to see her through. I eagerly watch in anticipation for all that lies ahead. May we ever trust in God to finish all He began, for He is faithful and worthy of our trust. 

For each one of us, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography.

Has been called by name; 

Created, chosen, 

And loved, all the same. 

To what we are called, 

God is faithful, true; 

Strengthened and equipped, 

To love and to do. 

Help us to trust You, 

Despite what we see; 

You, God, are able, 

To lift up, set free. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace, and for Your faithfulness forever. Thank You that what You call us to do, You see us through, as You are faithful to fulfill what You promise. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the road ahead seems impossible. Teach us to trust You more, for You are the God who makes all things possible in You. Show us how to love, encourage, support and lift up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be faithful to finish all that You have begun and called us to do. 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

Glory Where It Is Due

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness. – (Psalm 115:1, NIV) 

Lord, You should receive the honor, not us. The honor belongs to You because of Your faithful love and loyalty. – (Psalm 115:1, ERV) 

God, glorify Your Name! Yes, Your Name alone be glorified, not ours. For You are the one who loves us passionately, and You are faithful and true. – (Psalm 115:1, TPT) 

Everything good, everything that is praiseworthy, comes from God alone. We are His created and when we pursue a life lived to please and honor Him, He uses our willingness for good. Nothing that we say or do that is excellent or favorable come from us on our own, but rather is only possible because of God’s love and faithfulness. May we ever seek the Lord and His will, and give all glory to Him. 

All glory to God, 

We lift up Your Name; 

For Your worthiness, 

Deserves our acclaim. 

Glory and power, 

Alone, God, are Yours; 

All good that exists, 

Through love that endures. 

Teach us to seek You, 

To follow Your lead; 

To love as You do, 

So Your glory’s seen. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us in ways that can lead to incredible good. Thank You that all is because of You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to give glory to You, or live in such a way that Your good is not being made known. Show us how to live and love in such a way, that You are glorified for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we seek to do the good You intend for us to do, and give You the glory in all things that reflect who You are and how You love. Amen. 

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests. – Luke 2:14

Good To Be Near

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV) 

As for me, all I need is to be close to God. I have made the Lord God my place of safety. And, God, I will tell about all that You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, ERV) 

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, VOICE) 

Being close to God does not mean that our lives will be easy or void of pain, but rather it is the assurance that His presence will be with us as He strengthens and upholds us with His mighty hands. No matter what we are going through, God is who we can run to and know that in Him, we are safe. The Lord is faithful to protect us body, heart, mind and soul, if we seek Him to be our refuge. To be close to God requires time invested in Him. The more we read His word, pray, and worship Him, the closer we feel and the more aware of His nearness we become. Trust and fear cannot coexist, for if we fully trust, there is no room for fear. Too often, our circumstances lead us to “I trust God, but…” scenarios. If there is a “but”, there is not full trust. Thankfully, it is process and God is full of goodness and grace. So often, in the midst of fear, I find myself turning to the Lord for help, only to discover that the more I seek and give the fear to Him, the greater my faith in His ability to carry me becomes. He is always good, even in our most difficult seasons. Joy, peace and hope are all possible, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. Last year, as my sister, myself, and our families navigated how to best care for and aid mom in recovery, we found ourselves with His joy, His peace, and hope in Him for all that was yet to come. Sadly, in this COVID season, we are separated not only by distance, but also by strict rules that we must adhere to in order to maintain health and safety within mom’s community. It stinks, and we all have long since grown weary of it, yet each of us knows the refuge that He provides as we run to Him. God is good; always. May we ever seek the Lord to be our refuge and retreat, and be quick to share of His goodness and faithfulness forever. 

The goodness of God, 

Is readily shown; 

As we choose seek Him, 

His love is made known. 

For when we draw near, 

He is our refuge; 

Comfort and safety, 

Our Source of good news. 

Trust in His goodness, 

Give praise for His grace; 

Seek Him forever, 

And follow His ways. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and safety as we draw near to You. Thank You that Your goodness and love are ever-present and lavishly granted. Forgive us for not trusting You in spaces that feel uncertain. Teach us to draw near to You, for in Your presence we know Your goodness, strength and security. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too, may recognize Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize and pursue the goodness that is found in being close to You. Amen. 

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

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

So Much More

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV) 

With God’s power working in us, He can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. – (Ephesians 3:20-21, ERV) 

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for His miraculous power constantly energizes you. Now we offer up to God all the glorious praise that rises from every church in every generation through Jesus Christ – and all that will yet be manifest through time and eternity. Amen! – (Ephesians 3:20-21, TPT) 

There is so much to this passage. First, it is an incredible exhortation, reminding us of the infinite power that is found in Christ and His ability to work in and through us. The part of this that baffles me is that Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus from prison. He had seen and continued to know and experience the amazing power of God at work in and through both himself and fellow followers of Jesus. Additionally, as Paul recognized all that God was doing, and all that He would continue to do, He was intentional to point out where all praise is due. When Paul speaks of the church, he is referring to every body of believers. The church is not a building, but rather those who join together for the common purpose of loving God and loving people. Through the love of God, so much more than we could hope or imagine, becomes possible. 

In my life, after my first marriage ended, I did not think that sort of love was for me. My focus was on God and my boys, and that was all that mattered. Family and friends surrounded us, and God was faithful to be present and provide all that was needed and more. As I grew in a much deeper understanding of who He had created me to be, I did begin to hope, to dream, and to imagine what might be possible. Now, more than six years later, I am preparing to celebrate my second anniversary with the man that God knew I needed. In our nearly two years of marriage, we have had to navigate some crazy and difficult things; all of which God brought us through, by His strength – together. Each of us needed one another, as God had intended. Grace, support, encouragement and unconditional love have been tangible reminders of what God will do that extend far beyond what either of us could have hoped or imagined. That does not mean that it is all easy or smooth sailing, but we do have each other with God in the center, as He has shown us again and again how He works in and through us, and is worthy of all of our praise forever. 

No matter where you find yourself, God is faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine, especially in the midst of the difficult. May we ever lean into the Lord and give Him all of our praise, for He is faithful to strengthen, encourage, and carry us from start to finish in all situations. God can do infinitely more than we could hope or imagine, and that is reason to praise. 

The power of God, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Is beyond compare; 

He’s faithful always, 

Love He freely shares. 

A love that strengthens, 

When we’re feeling weak; 

Encourages hope, 

As all things feel bleak. 

Provision abounds, 

For He’s ever near; 

To carry us through, 

Heartaches and our fear. 

All glory to God, 

Let our lives give praise; 

To He who’s worthy, 

For all of our days. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our help and our hope, our strength and supply. Thank You that You are faithful to do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine as we depend on You. Forgive us for our lack of trust, as You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our trust and praise. Continue to teach us how incredibly faithful You are, as we seek You with our lives. Show us how to love those around in ways that encourage hopes and dreams in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all glory, honor and praise forever. Amen. 

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

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! – Hebrews 9:14

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

Made Possible

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” – (Mark 10:27, NIV)

Jesus looked at them and said, “That is something people cannot do, but God can. He can do anything.” – (Mark 10:27, ERV)

Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.” – (Mark 10:27, MSG)

 

I am so grateful to God, as there are many impossibilities that He makes possible, regularly. Today is no exception. For whatever reason, I struggled to sleep after our final regular season gymnastics meet last night. I tossed and turned and found myself with eyes open, seemingly as often as they were closed. That being said, I know that somehow, He will grant me all that I need to navigate this day. For one, it is an early release day, so I am granted a bit of reprieve as far as hours of formal instruction go today. It is somehow less daunting knowing that classes are 45 minutes each, rather than sixty. Additionally, the professional learning community that I am a part of is a fantastic group of colleagues, whom I call friends, and it is never a burden to spend time planning together, tired or not. Beyond that, practice this afternoon was cancelled to give the girls time to rest and catch up on homework, which will provide the same opportunity for me. A day that might have been a bit overwhelming, has been made manageable by His grace, already. He is good, and I know He will grant me what I need to navigate whatever comes my way, and I am giving Him praise for His faithful ways. May we look to the Lord in faith, trusting that He can do exceedingly more than we could ever hope or imagine, as we trust in Him.

 

The God of all grace, Made Possible

Makes all things that seem;

So impossible,

A reachable dream.

He moves in His strength,

Grants us what we lack;

Floods us with His love,

He does not hold back.

Choose trust in the Lord,

No matter what’s seen;

For God can do more,

Each need He’s foreseen.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One who makes all things possible in You. What seems impossible to us in our own strength, is achievable in You. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we rely on only what we can see. Teach us to trust You, for You move far beyond what we can observe with our eyes. Show us how to love those around us in ways that strengthen and extend grace, granting hope for impossibilities to be made possible in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You and all that You provide to help us navigate all that we are called to do. Amen.

 

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

 

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

Peace With All People

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, NIV)

Do the best you can to live in peace with everyone. – (Romans 12:18, ERV)

Don’t quarrel with anyone. Be at peace with everyone, just as much as possible. – (Romans 12:18, TLB)

 

Peace is a most pleasant space to dwell. As we release the right to retaliate in our own moments of hurt or frustration and give it to God, peace enters in. God calls us to react in the opposite spirit of those who come against us, as so often a simple extension of kindness in a person’s moment of ugly, can diffuse the heat that is driving the acting out, and bring change. The evidence of transformation is the peace that becomes present in the process. If we love as we are called to love, peace is one of the clear indicators that His Spirit is producing fruit in and through our lives. Peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, and self-control, all are grown and shown as we seek to love according to God’s call. May we do our best to live at peace with everyone, depending on Christ to equip us to love as He loves.

Mom is doing well. When we spoke last evening, much of our conversation was reminiscing about my boys, as they are now six days away from their eighteenth birthday. It was sweet to remember the series of events leading up to their arrival, and the weeks that followed. What amazed me, was that Mom wasn’t really word searching at all. She just spoke with joy and pride, as she remembered her grandsons. Mom is one of the people in my life who has modeled how to be at peace with everyone, in as much as it is possible. Wherever she goes, she is kind and people want to be near her. God’s goodness and grace shine from the inside out, and His light in her draws people in.

 

Let the peace of Christ,

Peace Through Understanding

Come and fill our hearts;

So we may go forth,

And know where to start.

As we come know peace,

We too can learn share;

A love that gives grace,

For He hears our prayers.

Wherever we can,

May we offer peace;

God’s love extended,

Gives unrest release.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live at peace with everyone. Thank You that You do not stop there, but rather You give us specific directives to bless and rejoice, give and to love, and to not repay evil nor take revenge. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about being right that doing right. Teach us to listen to Your leading in all things and at all times. Show us how to live at peace with everyone around us through living out a life of loving like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to show us how to live at peace with those around us. 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