Unity Through Love

Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say. That there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, VOICE)

It seems that what we are called to do is the very opposite of what popular culture is trying to instill in us. Everywhere I look, there are calls for division rather than unity. Instead of working to agree on the main things, and agreeing to disagree on lesser things, people are pitted against one another without conversation or seeking to understand. This space of agreeing with one another provides a place for unity. It must start within our households, then our churches, and then expand to communities at large. Our charge and our call is to love God and love one another. If we are earnestly seeking the Lord to lead us to do both, unity will follow. There is no room for hate and dissent if love is what leads. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might be joined together in common purpose as we love one another.

To live united,

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Is God’s own great plan;

He leads us in love,

Helps us understand.

For where we seek Him,

He will show the way;

To rise together,

United in faith.

For where there is faith,

There too should be love;

United purpose,

From the Lord above.

Turn off the tv,

And choose stop the scroll;

Seek the Lord to love,

As goodness unfolds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan for us is to be united, not divided. Thank You that it is by Your love that we can find common ground and choose to agree to love. Forgive us for the times that we have found ourselves caught up in the dissent. Please redirect our hearts to focus on love. Show us how to be united instead of divided. Lead us to love on purpose with purpose, so that we may become united with those around us. Teach us to love those around us with different views and perspectives in a way that unites us together by choosing to love first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love You and those around us in ways that bring unity.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

Stand Firm

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

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

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

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

Stand firm in the Lord,

And how He’s made you;

Each heart has purpose,

To show His love’s true.

From the small gestures,

That are done in love;

To great sacrifice,

All show God above.

So, keep reaching out,

Allow love to lead;

Kindness speaks volumes,

As does meeting needs.

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

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

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

Pleasing Wherever We Go

Therefore, whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, HCSB)

Our only goal is to always please the Lord, whether we are living here in this body or there with Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, ERV)

Ultimately it does not matter whether we are here or gone; our purpose stays fixed, and that is to please Him. – (2 Corinthians 5:9, VOICE)

In this passage, Paul’s letter is for instruction in life and beyond, yet it is also fitting to follow wherever we are. Do we love people near and far; when home or away? It is our charge to be light and life and love to all people everywhere. We are blessed to be traveling with our besties who do an incredible job of loving people well. Wherever we go, they are remembered for their love and kindness to all. To be pleasing to God, we ought to seek to do just that at all times and in all circumstances. May we ever follow after the Lord and the example He set through His Son, and go forth and love people well so that all that we do might be pleasing to Him.

May we ever seek,

To honor God well;

Choose love each other,

So what we do tells.

Tells of His goodness,

Exemplifies grace;

Makes the Lord’s love known,

As we love His way.

Full of acceptance,

Extension of kind;

Blessings we outpour,

With others in mind.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Help us to honor,

With hearts that are true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to honor You wherever we go. Thank You that when we choose to love and extend kindness, we are representing Your heart to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not, and show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Lead us in Your love as we go about our day, and show us opportunities to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we seek to live and love as You intended. Amen.

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

But whoever loves God is known by God. – 1 Corinthians 8:3

Higher Thoughts and Ways

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – (Isaiah 55:8-9, HCSB)

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 55:8-9, 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 55:8-9, VOICE)

Though there are times that I wish God’s thoughts were the same as my own, He always has the best for us according to His will. He sees what we do not, there is purpose in all that we experience, and He knows the ultimate outcome. Sometimes, we are blessed in seeing and knowing why things have gone a certain way, yet other times, we have to wait and trust. No matter how things go in the here and now, we have hope in knowing that today is but the blink of an eye in comparison to eternity with Him. May we trust in the One who holds us all in the hollow of His hands, for He is good and has our best in mind.

The thoughts of the Lord,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Are greater than mine;

For He knows what’s best,

His plans are divine.

When things don’t make sense,

We are called to trust;

He purposes good,

He made us from dust.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To trust in Your ways;

For love, hope and life,

Come from You, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your thoughts and ways are far greater than ours. Thank You that You saw the outcome long before we even breathed our first breath. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when things simply do not make sense. Teach us to trust in the spaces of uncertainty and grant us Your strength to know that You have a purpose and a plan for all things. Show us how to love those around us through every season that we walk through. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and Your ways throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Teach Us to Love

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accept one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, HCSB)

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

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

This is how we are called to love one another. Love is a choice that has to be made again and again. Humility and gentleness take the time to truly listen and seek to understand. Patience propels us to persevere, to accept each other with love, especially those who are more difficult to love. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities each day to practice doing just this. The kids who act out the worst are typically the ones who need patient and loving acceptance the most. Some days are easier than others, and most days are exhausting. That being said, God does not call us to an easy life, but to one of purpose that is rooted and established in love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip and empower us with His love, so that we may go forth each new day in humility, quiet patience, gentleness and generous love.

Lord, teach us to love,

As You love us all;

Lavished with Your grace,

You hear all who call.

Call on Your goodness,

Seek patience and peace;

Accept each other,

Frustrations released.

Equip us to love,

The challenging ones;

May goodness and grace,

Point hearts to the Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to love as You intended. Forgive us for every time that we lose sight of what You are calling us to, and we allow our emotions or frustrations to dictate how we respond to one another. Lead us to seek and depend on You for strength, help and hope as we navigate each new day. Show us how to love as You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love you and depend on You to show us how to love best. Amen.

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

But when we obey God’s teachings, His love is truly working in us. This is how we know that we are living in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Made New

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. – (2 Corinthians 5:17, HCSB)

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)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! – (2 Corinthians 5:17, VOICE)

The first day of a new year is a time that many reflect on what has passed and set goals to focus upon in the coming year. That being said, resolutions tend to fizzle after a few weeks, and frustration and disappointment typically transpire. However, if we set our sights on Christ and all that He has in store for us, each new thing is something to embrace. It does not require a change in the calendar, but rather a change of heart. When we are planted and rooted in our Redeemer, we become new in Him. Jesus gives us new life and new hope each new morning. Just as most of us are more than ready to move past 2021 and anticipate 2022 with hope, we can release old habits, ideas and mindsets that were not of Christ, and cling to Him and all that He is ready to reveal to us. In Him, we are a work in progress that is becoming more and more of whom He has created us to be. May we ever embrace the forgiveness and grace that Jesus offers, and cling to the new He is doing in all who earnestly seek Him.

When we are in Christ,

Beautiful new lies ahead, if only we trust in His direction.

In love we’re made new;

The old fades away,

As He leads us through.

Through all the heartache,

Frustration and fear;

Into the future,

He has for us here.

A hope and future,

That changes our heart;

To be more like His,

Each day a fresh start.

Rise and be ready,

To follow in love;

All that He’s asking,

Trust in Him above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek and trust in You, the old fades away and new we become. Thank You that each day is a fresh start and an opportunity for You to make us more like You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen and follow what You are asking. Teach us to hold fast to You and Your promises, for in You there is hope, goodness, light and life as You love us perfectly. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to make us new each day that we are given, so that we may shine Your light into the world. 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

Amazing Adoption

When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. – (Galatians 4:4-5, HCSB)

But when the right time came, God sent His Son, who was born from a woman and lived under the law. God did this so that He could buy the freedom of those who were under the law. God’s purpose was to make us His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, ERV)

But when the time of fulfillment had come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Yet all of this was so that He would redeem and set free those held hostage to the law so that we would receive our freedom and a full legal adoption as His children. – (Galatians 4:4-5, TPT)

God sent His Son to us in the same way that each of us arrived. Jesus was born of a woman, grew up as a human, and was subject to the same sort of trials and triumphs that we all have as a part of the human experience. However, Jesus did so without sin. He was subject to temptation as we are, yet He navigated all in accordance to the Father. Because He did, He was able to be the perfect and pure sacrifice for all so that we could come before the Father and be accepted and embraced as His own. Adoption is a beautiful grafting of a person not born into a family as one of their own. Once adopted, the law sees that individual as an equal member of the family into which they have been adopted. Beautifully, I have two dear friends who were adopted as infants, and were raised in wonderful, loving homes. Incredibly, they have also been fully accepted and embraced into their biological family as well as adults. It is through these tangible examples that my heart is best able to grasp the beauty and love that is held in the process of adoption. I am overwhelmed in knowing that the God of the entire universe calls me His own. To be the daughter of the ultimate Father is a blessing that goes beyond my understanding. Though I have done nothing to earn such a blessing, that is not how adoption works. We are received and loved for who we are, however and whenever we come to Him. May we take time to ponder the powerful love that would come from heaven to earth to make the way for each of us to become daughters and sons of the living God.

When heaven came down,

Through God’s only Son;

He showed us the way,

That battles are won.

He grew as a man,

Tempted in all ways;

Yet was without sin,

For all of His days.

He made plain the path,

Through love’s sacrifice;

For our adoption,

Into paradise.

Thank You Lord Jesus,

For making the way;

So we might be heirs,

To hope each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son in such a way that He would understand all of our trials and triumphs as He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice so that we might be called Your own. Thank You that as we come to You and receive all that You offer, we are adopted as Your children. Forgive us for not receiving all that You offer and for the times that we have not represented Your family well. Teach us and grow us so that we may more clearly reflect Your likeness to the world. Lead us to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the privilege of being called Your sons and daughters that receive an inheritance into Your kingdom forever. Amen.

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

“I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:18

Hope in Hard Spaces

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

“I say this because I know the plans that I have for you.” This message is from the Lord. “I have good plans for you. I don’t plan to hurt you. I plan to give you hope and a good future.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, ERV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope – never forget that.” – (Jeremiah 29:11, VOICE)

Even though this verse is committed to memory and planted securely in my heart, there is something to be said about seeing it in print and bringing it to the surface of my heart and mind. God’s timing is perfect. He knows what we need, and when we need it most. I have not been in a good space the last few weeks, in particular, the last few days, as I am struggling with believing my purpose is found in the classroom. After more than a year and a half away from a “normal” classroom routine, kids are struggling to “do school” and I am challenged more than ever before to figure out how to help kids learn and grow when they choose distraction and avoidance rather than to try. I knew I was meant to be a teacher from a very early age. Clearly God purposed and prepared me for the position, yet after twenty-five years, I have been questioning everything. His plans for me are good, and include a future and a hope. On the roughest days, I have to remember and trust Him for the truth of His promises. May we ever seek the Lord, who has good plans for us all, and has a future and a hope that He is preparing for each of us.

Each life with a plan,

Purpose to fulfill;

Crafted with intent,

With strengths and with skills.

Let not obstacles,

Deter His intent;

For challenges come,

And strength’s heaven sent.

When things go awry,

Choose trust in what’s true;

Fresh hope, a future,

Are waiting for you.

Help us rise in faith,

To trust in what’s true;

Better is coming,

O Lord, bring it soon.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our hope and our future. Thank You that You have created each of us with a plan and with purpose. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we become overwhelmed with the here and now. Teach us to lean into You to be our strength and our anchor through every storm. Show us how to love those around us well so that they may recognize the hope and future that lies before them is good. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for creating us each with a plan and purpose, and for being our hope both now and forevermore. Amen.

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

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Fear is a Liar

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, NIV)

Fear can be a trap, but if you trust in the Lord, you will be safe. – (Proverbs 29:25, ERV)

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. – (Proverbs 29:25, MSG)

Fear is a liar. It creeps in and tells us that we are not enough, and that we will never accomplish what we have been called and created to do. When we choose to trust in the Lord, we discover peace, provision and safety. The things that once brought fear can become sources of joy. In Him, we need not be afraid, but rather we can move confidently forward in all that He calls us to do and become. May we choose to listen to the voice of truth, and allow Him to show us how to overcome fears and persevere.

Choose let not the fear,

Of people and things;

Keep us from doing,

What is our calling.

Instead trust the Lord,

Who arms and protects;

Equips success,

As He knows what’s best.

Rise up in freedom,

Choose His strength and song;

Keep pressing forward,

In Christ, carry on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we need not fear people and their opinions, but rather we need to trust in You. Thank You that we have been created and called with purpose. Forgive us for allowing the opinions of others to give fear a foothold. Show us how to listen to Your voice and trust in the truth of Your word. Teach us to love those around us in a way that encourages trust and chases away fear so that all might persevere. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize the truth of who You are and silence the fears that are not founded in truth. Amen.

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

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? – Psalm 118:6

His Handiwork

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

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

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

If we actually saw others and ourselves as God’s poetry, imagine the lines and stanzas that would become reality. He intentionally created each of us with a plan and a purpose, but also He gave us a free will. All were created to love God and love people in a unique way with specific gifts and talents that were hand-crafted and intentionally designed within us. It is up to us to explore, discover and develop what has been given and how to best utilize all for His glory. It sounds like a lofty call, but the root of it all is to love Him and love those around us. As we do, we naturally utilize what we have and who we are, to do just that. May we ever seek the Lord and His lavish love to lead us each day in the direction to which He is calling, and to equip us to love as He loves.

Each person a line,

Encounters a verse;

When His love abounds,

Great poems emerge.

May we seek the Lord,

To show us the way;

Live out our purpose,

As we rise each day.

Lead us in love, Lord,

All glory to You;

As we walk Your path,

And love as You do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that each of us are Your handiwork, created with a plan and a purpose. Forgive us for the times that we stray from the path You have set before us, or choose not to be who You have created us to become. Teach us to trust Your leading so that we might love as You intended. Show us how to love those around us best and to become the people that we were created to be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out our days as Your handiwork that sees others as the same. Amen.

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

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that He has chosen you. – 1 Thessalonians 1:4