Grace Exemplified

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – (Psalm 73:26, NIV)

Maybe my mind and body will become weak, but God is my source of strength. He is mine forever! – (Psalm 73:26, ERV)

Lord, so many times I fail; I fall into disgrace. But when I trust in You, I have a strong and glorious presence protecting and anointing me. Forever You’re all I need! – (Psalm 73:26, TPT)

This beautifully describes the plight of people. Failure is a reality in our broken humanity. However, Asaph reminds us that despite our failings and shortcomings, God will be our Source of strength to protect and empower us all the days of our lives. As we choose to trust in the Lord, His presence becomes the strength of our heart and leads us to move forward as we are called. We cannot control exhaustion or illness, but we can seek Him to strengthen and heal us. When we fail and fall short, God is present to pick us up, dust us off, and take our hand to lead us back in the direction we were always meant to go. May we ever pursue the Lord and allow Him to be our strength, for He is what we need to navigate each day best.

The Lord knows I fail,

Grow weak and fall short;

Yet as I place trust,

He gives strength, support.

In love, He lifts up,

My head, hand and heart;

Forgives and restores,

Again grants fresh start.

Forever He’ll be,

Our Source and Supply;

The strength to rise up,

Grace exemplified.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we fail and fall short, You are ever near to forgive and strengthen us to get back up and try again. Thank You that Your loving kindness lasts forever. Forgive us for our failings, falters, and foolishness. Teach us to lean into You to lead and guide us in the ways that we ought to go. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and support to keep moving forward in the direction they are called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our source and our strength no matter what state we find ourselves in. Amen.

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

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Hold Our Heaviness

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to Me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” – (Matthew 11:28, TPT)

Life is heavy and wearying right now. More than ten months of shutdowns with the announcement that it has yet again, been extended. It is easy to allow our circumstances to dictate how we feel. The truth is, there is only one Source where we can find rest and hand over the weight of what currently is our reality. Jesus calls us and comforts us, if only we are willing to seek Him. No, it does not mean that our circumstances instantly change, but it does mean that our hearts and minds can find comfort and rest, despite our circumstances. Sometimes rest comes through being out in creation, while other times it is through intentional time that is set aside to seek Him. For me, both are necessary. We all need oasis in the midst of the seeming desert. God alone, provides this best. May we ever seek the Lord to grant us rest and refreshment, no matter what weight comes our way.

When weariness comes,

And the weight’s just too much;

Choose seek our Savior,

And His loving touch.

For rest truly comes,

As we seek God’s face;

His peace overwhelms,

Through His endless grace.

O Lord, we need You,

To show us the way;

Help us and guide us,

Hold us up each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to come to You when we are weary and the heaviness is too much. Thank You that You help us, hold us, and grant us rest in You. Forgive us for turning to anyone or anything else to find relief. Teach us to come before You in faith, for it is in that space, that we come to know peace and rest in You. Show us how to walk beside those around us in ways that strengthen, encourage, and demonstrate love in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us rest in our weariness and heaviness. Amen.

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

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12

Follow the Example of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

I so appreciate the Message translation of this passage. The reality that what God mostly does is love us, is incredible and undeserved. If we spend time with Him, He teaches and shows us what it is to live a life of love. Christ’s love is selfless, not selfish. He loved without expecting anything in return. We are called to do likewise. This kind of love is not natural for the human heart, however, the more we seek and spend time with the Lord, the more we learn to love like Him. In a world where so much adversity and animosity exist, we need to love all the more. Love is a decision, not a feeling. We must choose to love one another as we are loved by God. In order to do so, we must seek the Lord, know Him, and depend on Him to equip us to do exactly what we were created to do. May we ever lean into the Lord to show us what it is to love in every situation and circumstance.

As children of God,

May we seek to love;

All people, always,

Like the Lord above.

It is a free gift,

With no strings attached;

Yet it draws us in,

In thanks, we react.

Respond with kindness,

God’s grace, love and peace;

The more we choose love,

Enmity released.

The Lord’s love gave all,

We’re called to the same;

To extend His grace,

Instead of placed blame.

Lead us in love, Lord,

Show us love Your way;

Help us be better,

Each waking new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us – completely and extravagantly, despite what we deserved. Thank You that You call us to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose love. Show us how to love like You in all things and at all times. Instruct us as You grow our hearts to more closely reflect Your own. Use us as Your ambassadors of peace as we seek to love You and people well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You and seek to be a reflection of Your radiant love. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Release the Offense

“Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, NIV)

“Even if they do something wrong to you seven times in one day, but they say they are sorry each time, you should forgive them.” – (Luke 17:4, ERV)

“No matter how many times in one day your brother sins against you and says, ‘I’m sorry; I am changing; forgive me,’ you need to forgive him each and every time.” – (Luke 17:4, TPT)

Jesus set the standard as to how we are meant to interact with our sisters and brothers around us. We are called to forgive every time that someone recognizes their wrongs and apologizes. The reality is that we all fall short and need forgiveness and grace. For me, I know that I have far more grace for my children and spouse than I do for folks out and about. When one of my kids forgets to do what has been asked of them, and then apologizes, it becomes as if it has never happened; yet if someone cuts me off on the road and then waves an apology, it takes a moment to slow down and actually forgive, instead of being annoyed. Our intentional decision to forgive is not meant to be submission to abuse, rather it is for us to release the offense and move on so that we do not carry the weight of unforgiveness.There are enough burdens among us; grudges are far too weighty to hold. May we seek the Lord to grant us the grace to forgive, in the same way that He continually forgives us.

Count not offenses,

But rather, give grace;

Love one another,

Throughout each new day.

When there’s a sorry,

Let go, choose release;

Hold not the offense,

May our grace increase.

Lord, help us to love,

As You choose love us;

Let our response be,

Just like Yours, Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us how to live and love and forgive. Forgive us for not being quick to forgive when we ought to. Show us how to give the very same grace and forgiveness that we have been given by You. Lead us in love for all those around us so that each may know the overwhelming, never ending, power of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love and forgiveness for all. Amen.

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

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

To See Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – (Hebrews 11:1, NIV)

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrew 11:1, ERV)

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT)

Our confidence must be in Christ, for it is through Him that we have hope and see that which is unseen become reality. Hope is desperately needed for so many, as the next few weeks and months hold much uncertainty. We must find faith and seek the Lord, for He is the hope in which we can trust. May we trust in Him, who is our hope, and have faith in that which is yet unseen.

May we seek You, Lord,

In confident trust;

For all that’s unseen,

That You have for us.

Lead us to listen,

To seek and to look;

For our hope is found,

In You and Your book.

Please grant us Your eyes,

To see beyond now;

For there is much more,

Past our fear and doubt.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith brings hope into reality. Thank You that You are doing so much more than we can see or imagine. Forgive us for our fear and doubt. Teach us to see Your hope, even in the seemingly impossible situations. Show us how to love those around us in such a way, that they too may discover the faith in You that makes hope visible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You to show us how to place our hope in You, no matter what we see. Amen.

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

Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:5

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

Confident Hope

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) 

Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. – (Hebrews 11:1, ERV) 

Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. – (Hebrews 11:1, TPT) 

Everywhere I look, I see the need for hope. Faith in what we cannot yet see, provides hope for better. For many of us in education or impacted by education, hope is much needed. This ongoing space of unknown and unfamiliar territory makes the coming year a bit nerve-wracking. However, when our hope and assurance come from Christ, we can be confident that He will be with us, every step of the way. Though we know not what the coming year will hold, He knows. In hindsight, though the spring quarter of school was nothing like any of us would have hoped or imagined, good still was present in the crazy unknown that we could not see. For our family, it was the addition of a puppy, two seniors who graduated, and a season of navigating much time at home together. God has been good and faithful, reminding us all that He is present, despite how things appear. My faith and hope must be in Him, though I cannot see Him yet, as the evidence of His love, care and provision are ever near. May we all find faith in He who is our hope, despite what we cannot yet see. 

May we rise in faith, 

Holding fast to hope; 

In that yet unseen, 

God’s our safety rope. 

He is the anchor, 

That holds us secure; 

In the great unknown, 

His presence is clear. 

Always He loves us, 

God’s grace is made known; 

As He grows our faith, 

And hope’s made our own. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith grows our hope, even in the spaces where we cannot see better or different. Thank You that You are always working and moving on our behalf. Forgive us for our fearfulness when we cannot see different than what we are living in. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and our hope. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all may come to know the hope that is held through faith in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we follow You in faith, and trust You in the unseen. Amen. 

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

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9

Gentle Answers

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, NIV) 

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV) 

A gentle answer defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG) 

How can we answer gently defuse the anger that is ravaging our cities? I wish I had the perfect answer that would restore order and peace. However, I recognize that there is no simple answer nor quick fix. This morning, I came across a powerful message from a woman of color , Nicole Walters, who gave me far deeper insight into what is going on. What if the protesting that has turned violent by some comes from a long-standing space of grief? Grief for the way that the world perceives individuals, based solely on the color of their skin. What if, after a lifetime of both observing and living this reality, the one more thing brought an end to the quiet peaceful ways of seeking right where so much is wrong, and what we are witnessing is screaming for our attention? No longer can we stay silent. We must listen and learn. In the same way the colonists attempted to peacefully right the wrongs imposed by authorities subjecting the citizens to unfair taxes, by letter writing, petitioning, and the like, they hit a point of being ignored, unheard, for far too long, and The Boston Tea Party took place. Rather than continue to be taxed on tea, they snuck aboard the ship and threw that tea into the harbor. Fires were ablaze, and civil unrest rose up. Enough was enough. What is going on now, is not so different. Preventable tragedies and gross atrocities continue to take place against people of color, and enough is enough. No, looting is not the answer, yet it has certainly demanded our attention. Each one of us needs to look at our own lens, and recognize where cleaning needs to occur. Sometimes, the lack of clarity of our view, comes from an unintentional ignorance. The more we know, the better we can become at loving our neighbors, our brothers and sisters, the way that God intended. Love always protects. If we begin to listen and learn and answer gently, with the wisdom and grace that God provides, then perhaps the anger will be defused and peace may begin to be restored. This begins with me. I love deeply, and value everyone. That being said, I must be intentional to become more aware, and learn how to love better. This is not meant to be some sort of soap box post, but rather one of recognition and repentance for not knowing what I have not clearly known. As a woman who loves Jesus, a mother, a teacher, and a friend, change begins with me. There is always more to learn to do better and be better. My job demands that I listen and learn, evolve and grow – in each of my roles; for each position give me a unique voice and the ability to impact those around me. May we seek the Lord for wisdom as we are intentional to listen and learn, so that we may act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as we are called. 

O Lord, here am I, 

On true bended knees; 

Asking for wisdom, 

So I clearly see. 

Please open my eyes, 

To where I’ve been blind; 

Lead me to better, 

Show me Your design. 

Help me to act justly, 

To love with mercy; 

May I humbly walk, 

Promote equity. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You continue to grow us as we are willing to listen and learn. Thank You that You have created each of us with gifts and talents to share with and positively impact the world. Forgive us for our ignorance or places where we have not viewed the world through Your lens. Teach us to continue to intentionally learn and grow, so that we may more clearly reflect Your love and light unto the world. Show us how to love those around us best, so that all people feel valued, heard, and known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to listen and learn, so that we may always answer gently and help defuse anger with love. 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

The Way to Love Well

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Kindness and compassion, love and forgiveness, must be how we allow God to lead us in His grace, if we are to love as He loves us. Mother’s Day, or any other day that is intended to celebrate an individual – be it a birthday, anniversary, accomplishment or the like – is a perfect opportunity for these attributes to be extended, especially when what is hoped for is not realized. For example, my incredible husband is a total acts of service guy, his love language is to go above and beyond to do the little things that keep our home running smoothly, and does so without any sort of “honey do” list. In fact, he does things long before I even consider the need for them to be done, and if an issue arises, he fixes it barely after the concern has left my mouth. I, on the other hand, am all about quality time. My heart’s desire is to spend time with the people I love, doing fun things together. Being outdoors, playing games, hiking, walking, biking, going to the beach – you name it – anything together where all those present are engaged, and my heart is filled. As you can imagine, the two methods of expressing love do not always align. Saturday, I did have quality time with the family, and quality time with my love. Sunday, however, turned into a list of things that needed to be accomplished, and it felt as if Mother’s Day was all but forgotten. Now, encouraging words are a close second, and my boys did make a point to speak sweet and encouraging words of their appreciation to me as their mom. They were apologetic about not having a gift, and my genuine reply was about them being my greatest gift, and the two of them continuing to work hard and finish the school year strong would be the best gift they could give.  After a weird lull in the late afternoon, Mark and I spoke about hopes versus reality, and there was kindness, compassion, love and forgiveness extended on both sides by His grace. The evening was concluded with quality time, playing our favorite board game, as love and laughter filled the room, and my heart. We are still learning how to love one another best, and I am certain that it is a lifelong process. Thankfully, we are committed to learning and growing together, and depend on God to guide us in the process. Grace after grace after grace… May we all be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other in the same way that Christ forgives each of us, as we learn to love as we are loved by God.

 

Kindness, compassion, wp-15892063810227564207240281852178.jpg

Forgiveness and grace;

The way to love well,

As we run our race.

In the same way God,

Loves and He forgives;

We’re called do likewise,

To bless as we live.

Extend forgiveness,

Lavishly give grace;

Love as we are loved,

Wherever we’re placed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what it is to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving through the example of Your Son. Thank You that as we seek You, You equip us to be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend to others what you so freely give to us. Teach us to trust and rely on You more. Show us how to love others with kindness, compassion and forgiveness as You would have us love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we depend on You to love those around us well. Amen.

 

© 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

Six Trials and Three Denials to Good Friday

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” – (Luke 23:47, NIV)

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this man was a good man!” – (Luke 23:47, ERV)

When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” – (Luke 23:47, TPT)

 

Good Friday. There is seemingly much irony in the name, as nothing that Jesus endured that day was good at all. Six trials, three denials, multiple beatings, abuse, mocking, disregarding, false accusations, a crown of thorns, and hanging on a cross, bearing the sin and shame of the world, all before noon that day. And yet, the things that transpired during the six hours that Friday, as Jesus hung in agony on the cross, transformed the heart and mind of a Roman army officer, whom likely was eager to crucify Jesus, when the whole scene on the hill began. He watched as Jesus forgave the criminals accused on either side of Him; he heard as Jesus told his mother that His dear friend would be her son (to care for her and help provide, as was customary and necessary back then); the officer witnessed Jesus turning down a drink that would have taken the edge off of the pain, and he heard Jesus cry out and commit His spirit into the Lord’s hands. As the darkness surrounded the scene from noon to three, I imagine the magnitude of the man, Jesus, before him, began to really resonate clearly in the heart of the Roman captain. When Jesus took His final breath, other signs and wonders transpired too. That centurion’s heart was forever changed, as he recognized a fraction of the reality of what had just taken place, and that they had indeed crucified the righteous one. In all reality, we ought to have the same sort of life-changing aha moments at the foot of the cross, as we recognize that Jesus hung in our place to extend us His grace so that we might live. All of us, without Jesus, deserve death. We all are sinners in need of mercy and grace. Jesus came, lived and loved, died and rose again, so that we could indeed refer to that horrific, painful, agonizing Friday, as good. May we take time today to kneel at the foot of the cross and give thanks. For God is so good and full of grace that He loved us with His very life.

 

Lord, help us to see, Six Trials and Three Denials

The truth through fresh eyes;

The weight sacrificed,

Saves us from demise.

The burdens You bore,

Were meant to be ours;

Your love held You there,

Enduring the scars.

There are not the words,

To ever suffice;

To praise and give thanks,

For Your sacrifice.

Today I will choose,

To kneel at the cross;

Give all unto You,

Without You, I’m lost.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to bear the weight for us all. Thank You Jesus, for living in perfect love. Thank You for showing us what it means to endure all things in love, and why that wretched, awful, agonizing Friday was actually good. Forgive us for our lack of attention to the significance of what You did for us. Teach us to look back and recognize all that You endured on our behalf in love. Show us how to embrace the grace that You have freely given, so that we might go forth and love others as You love us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and praise You for the amazing good that came from that Friday so many years ago. Amen.

When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely He was the Son of God!” – Matthew 27:54