Created for Good

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 had 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)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

United By Love

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

Now may God, the Source of great endurance and comfort, grant you with unity among yourselves, which flows from your relationship with Jesus, the Anointed One. – (Romans 15:5, TPT)

I pray that our God, who calls you and gives you perseverance and encouragement, will join all of you together to share one mind according to Jesus the Anointed. – (Romans 15:5, VOICE)

To have the same attitude of mind toward others that Christ has for us, is to love and accept all. In our acceptance, we are called to give comfort and encouragement, which lead to unity among us. When we are encouraged and united, we have a greater capacity to persevere. Extending such love toward one another is not always natural, however, when we rely on Christ, rather than ourselves, it more easily flows from the heart. The more we invest in time with the Lord, the more we grow like Him in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness, so that we may extend the same to all those around us.

As we persevere,

In seeking the Lord;

His strength grows in us,

And love is outpoured.

It is in that love,

That we can reach out;

Encourage, unite,

Follow the Lord’s route.

His path leads to peace,

For love makes a way;

To rise together,

Let us not delay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give endurance and encouragement and the same heart toward others as You have for us. Thank You that Your love can unite us. Forgive us for the times that we have not lived and loved as You intended. Teach us to seek You to strengthen and fill us so that we may love others in the same way that You love us. Show us how to love each person that crosses our path in a way that extends encouragement and resolve and leads to unity within our communities. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love as we are loved by You. Amen.

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

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

A Call to Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves received from God. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Father who is full of mercy, the God of all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble so that when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, ERV)

All praises belong to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For He is the Father of tender mercy and the God of endless comfort. He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us. – (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, TPT)

When I think about this encouragement, what comes to mind is that of my dear friends and family, those who are the most comforting are the ones who have endured the most. Though I would never wish for the challenges, trouble and suffering that each have endured, I am able to see clearly the way in which God uses their experiences in each of their lives. I know this is due to their willingness to seek and receive from God, as it is by the comfort they have received that each is able to extend such godly comfort to others. In the spaces where I have experienced God’s comfort the most, are the same circumstances where I feel most compassionate towards others going through similar situations. There is something powerful in our own experience, as it grants us empathy for those walking through something we too have traversed. Our compassion is not an accident. It is intended that we reach out and extend the very same comfort and love that we received to those who are in need now. May we ever seek the Lord to open our eyes to the need around us, and reach out with comfort and compassion as He has done for us.

God, in His mercy,

Brings comfort to us;

Compassion, kindness,

Perspective adjusts.

For where we’ve suffered,

Comfort’s been made known;

Goodness and mercy,

God’s love clearly shown.

Through experience,

We can choose the same;

To reach out in love,

Compassionate aim.

We’ve been created,

To love and be loved;

To help each other,

Like the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in the midst of our struggles and trials, You provide Your comfort and care. Thank You that You have designed us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed our circumstances to drag us down, rather than looking for the goodness that You provide and the comfort that comes as we seek You. Teach us to reach out to those around us to extend Your comfort. Show us how to love well, so that all whom we encounter would see and understand Your comfort through our kindness and compassion. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the comfort that You give, and seek You to teach us to do the same. Amen.

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

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Kindness Over Customary

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, NIV)

“You need to go and learn what this Scripture means: ‘I don’t want animal sacrifices; I want you to show kindness to people.’ I did not come to invite good people. I came to invite sinners.” – (Matthew 9:13, ERV)

“Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” – (Matthew 9:13, MSG)

This passage is Jesus’ response to the Pharisees after they questioned Him about His dining with Matthew, the tax collector and the fellow “sinners” that had been invited. In their pseudo piety, they saw the tax collectors and sinners as those who were beneath them and unworthy of the teacher’s time. Jesus, in His wisdom, pointed out that it is the sick who need medical attention; in the same way, sinners need salvation. The Pharisees were already well versed in scriptures and the laws, yet they saw following them as routine and religion, not as love, grace, mercy and sacrifice. Their priorities were all out of place. Time with Jesus was not meant to be an exclusive club or gathering, but rather He prioritized His time for those who were hungry to know more. We are no different today. Often, we get caught in the trap of thinking that if we do enough, or study enough, or pray enough in the four walls of our sanctuaries, we will have somehow arrived. The reality is that we are all called to do as Jesus did. We are charged with going forth in love. This means actively loving those around us; reaching out to those who need hope and help. It looks different for each of us, but the common threads are love, mercy, grace, goodness and kindness. Though we cannot make a difference for everyone, we can have a positive impact on the people whom we encounter;one person at a time. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile or an encouraging word, whereas other times there may be more action required. God is faithful to meet us and show us how to love each person we encounter with His heart. It is up to us to seek Him and trust Him to lead and guide us in the ways that He has for us to love. May we ever seek the Lord to equip us to go forth and love well, in the same way that Jesus chose to reach out, include, serve, honor and love.

For sinners He came,

To seek and to save;

Jesus led with love,

As we should today.

Love is inclusive,

It seeks to meet needs;

Love chooses reach out,

The hungry it feeds.

Sick and the hurting,

Those who’ve lost their way;

Are those Jesus loved,

And pursued each day.

He willingly left,

The flock for the one;

To lovingly lead,

Those who’d come undone.

For it’s through Jesus,

We each come to find;

A loving Savior,

Who has us in mind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be merciful and kind. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were sinners. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to reach out in love, or think somehow that we are good in our comfortable safety circle. Teach us to reach out beyond our four walls to love all those we meet. Show us how to love the lost and the broken in ways that point their hearts to the truth of Your love and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love, with all people at all times. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Called to Peace and Praise

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV)

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV)

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT)

We are where we are, on purpose, for a purpose. The community where we reside and the circles we find ourselves in, are intentionally selected so that we may be ambassadors of peace. As we allow Christ to rule our hearts, we are guided by His peace. For this, and for so much more, we have every reason to give thanks. This season comes at the perfect time, as gratitude brings peace and reminds us of the blessing of the body of people that surround us. God is good, even when life is hard. His peace is present every time we submit our hearts to His, and gratitude cannot help but well up and overflow to those around us. May we seek the Lord and His peace, so that we may share His goodness with all those around us. For God and all of the countless blessings He has given us, let us ever be thankful.

Lord, we surrender,

Our hearts unto You;

Bring peace to us all,

As grace makes us new.

May our lives give thanks,

For all that You are;

Present and peaceful,

Hope’s true open door.

Help us to reach out,

With thanks and with grace;

To love others well,

As we give You praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and give our lives to You, You fill us with Your peace. Thank You that You call us to love well as members of one body. Forgive us for anything that gets in the way of giving thanks and promoting Your perfect peace. Teach us to trust and rely on You to lead us in love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that bring Your peace where it has been absent. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for our perfect peace in You. Amen.

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

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His Name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:4-5

Humbly Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV) 

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV) 

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. – (Philippians 2:3-4, TPT) 

There is so much packed in these two very timely verses. We are in a season in this nation where so often, pride dictates what is said and done. Humility and the interests of others are often neglected, and care and concern for one another seems all but gone. Witnessing the whole cycle leaves me feeling depleted and wanting to withdraw. Sadly, that is not demonstrating care for others either. I find myself having to seek God and dig deep to reach beyond these four walls. Time invested in Him and spending time out in His creation, are two of the best ways that I seem to find the strength and desire to see and reach out beyond my own little world. Even at home this holds true. It is a space of seeking His balance in all things. For example, it is a huge challenge to have to sit and stare at a computer screen for more than eight hours a day for work, and then devote another stretch of time for the writing and publishing portion of this. Grace is abundant, and I have had to let my own expectations go. God is just as happy with me and for me on the days that I take my dog for a walk outdoors while recognizing Him in all things, as He is when I begin my day as I am accustomed. This sort of balance in the taxing existence that is remote education, is absolutely necessary if I am to give my best to my students and their families as we navigate each new day. I have in no way arrived at some perfect balance, nor do I have all the answers. However, I notice that whichever I choose to do to begin my day, has the capacity to set my heart on what is best for others and how I can truly love. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to humbly honor one another and to care about each other’s lives. 

O Lord, please help us, 

To turn unto You; 

Aligning our hearts, 

To choose to love true. 

May we seek Your strength, 

In humility; 

To honor others, 

Let Your love be seen. 

Show us the balance, 

In how best to be; 

To love each other, 

May goodness increase. 

Dear Heavenly Father, we are a selfish and broken people, desperately in need of a Savior. Thank You that You not only tell us in Your word, but You have shown us how to live and love through the life of Jesus. Forgive us for the times that we allow our pride or selfish ambition to keep us from living and loving like You. Teach us how to be humble and kind, ever placing care on those around us, rather than just ourselves. Show us how to love others as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us Your heart and Your eyes for everyone we meet. Amen. 

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

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

His Wisdom

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible is it for us to understand His decisions and His ways! – (Romans 11:33, NLT)

Yes, God’s riches are very great! His wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain what God decides. No one can understand His ways. – (Romans 11:33, ERV)

Who could ever wrap their minds around the riches of God, the depth of His wisdom, and the marvel of His perfect knowledge? Who could ever explain the wonder of His decisions or search out the mysterious way He carries out His plans? – (Romans 11:33, TPT)

 

This is arguably one of the strangest seasons in modern history. Neither our parents, nor grandparents, experienced quite a time such as the one we are living in right now. For many of us, our grandparents lived through the depression, WWII, Vietnam, Polio, and the like, but nothing that ever brought the entire world to a screeching halt, in the same way that this current pandemic has done. Many are left wondering why. Why would this happen? If God is good and just and kind, why allow so many to suffer? This is the space where it is impossible for us to understand the mysterious ways of God. He can bring beauty from something that has caused so much destruction, and good, from something seemingly so horrid. I know not what all of His plans entail, but I do see evidence of the good, all around me. People are intentional to reach out to one another. They are creative and innovative to find ways to help people feel celebrated and loved when they achieve milestones or have birthdays, and there is much philanthropy in the hearts of the community, as so many needs are being met through both individuals and various organizations that have popped up in response to known needs. The “church” is not limited to a building to thrive, and healthy churches are staying connected, holding services online, and reaching out to serve their communities in practical and tangible ways. Though I long for the freedom to travel, especially to go and see my mom, I am grateful that we live in the era we do, where we have access to one another, more than we ever have before. Communication is at the touch of a button, and there are countless methods we can use to stay connected with one another. God is good, and His wisdom supersedes that of humanity. Our plans are not His, nor our ways, His; and trusting Him is what we need most to navigate this season. May we seek the Lord in His wisdom, for He is able to provide all that we need to persevere through the wait.

 

The riches of God, Ongoing Peace

Are beyond compare;

His wisdom, kindness,

And limitless care.

Though we cannot know,

Why all things occur;

From all can come good,

For God’s love is sure.

In seasons of loss,

In love, He provides;

All that is needed,

As we choose abide.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all wisdom and knowledge and provision come from You. Thank You that though we do not understand the reason why things happen as they do, You love us through them. Forgive us for our fears, frustrations and doubts. Teach us to trust You; always. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as trust in Your wisdom in every circumstance. Amen.

 

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

 

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding. – Job 37:5

Prioritizing Peace and People

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. – (Romans 14:19, NIV)

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

On one hand, if I observe what is going on in our neighborhood, our schools, our community, our church, our city and beyond, I see much effort being set forth to encourage and strengthen one another. Cheerful greetings to neighbors when out for fresh air, kind words of encouragement for essential workers around town, breakfast and lunch provision for all students in our area, groceries provided by local churches and businesses to families in need, and an outpouring of support for the medical and emergency services community – these all are beautiful efforts to get along and help one another. However, if I turn on the news, I am bombarded with stories seemingly intent on division. Yes, it is important to remain informed, but perhaps small doses are best to avoid being zapped of our resolve to remain invested in doing good. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Though we may not see the results, we never know the impact a generous gesture, kind word, or simply a smile can have on a person. As so many of us are in positions of having to learn an entirely new way of doing our jobs, there are others that are grieving the loss of theirs, and still others who are essential and continue reporting to work as usual, though nothing is usual, all while kids attempt to do remote learning, parents attempt to monitor, help and teach, and everyone needs kindness and encouragement in the process. If we can get along and be at peace in the process, each will be able to successfully navigate their own new. Support and encouragement are beneficial to all, so perhaps we can each be extra generous with kindness in this season. May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, so all may rise better than when we began.

 

In kindness reach out, wp-15876457419175102346464464401560.jpg

Encourage, lift up;

A blessing of peace,

Fills everyone’s cup.

No act of kindness,

Is ever for naught;

For love and goodness,

Sometimes need be taught.

Taught through our actions,

Not just spoken words;

It requires motion,

For love is a verb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate provider of peace and encouragement in our lives. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to find peace in our relationships and how to best encourage and lift up those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the things that lead to or maintain peace, or have stayed silent when we were meant to encourage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue peace through You, and ever look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen those around us. Show us how to love others best, so that they may know Your perfect peace through encouragement and edification. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to get along with others and to encourage and lift each other up. 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