Effort to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, HCSB)

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

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

If we all sought God to grow His blessings in us, we would abound in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and strengthens us to rise up in these blessings He instills in us. It is up to us to pursue God and grant Him access to our heart, soul and mind so that we become more of who He has made us to be. This is not a one-time thing, but rather a life-long process. The people I know who best exemplify these things are those who continually and faithfully pursue the Lord each new day. May we ever go to God each new day that we draw breath to lead and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

The Lord is faithful,

To refine each heart;

That earnestly seeks,

His grace He imparts.

True faith will rise up,

As His goodness grows;

Knowledge imparted,

Love grants self-control.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Let Love lead the way,

Choose answer the call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You refine and grow us to be more like You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Teach us to ever pursue Your heart to extend to the world. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your heart may be made tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and change us to be more like You each new day. Amen.

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

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Nothing Without Love

If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, HCSB)

I may speak in different languages, whether human or even angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and may I have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, ERV)

What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts. – (1 Corinthians 13:1-3, VOICE)

No matter what good we do or say, it is meaningless if love is not our reason. God calls and commands us to love. All words and gestures are lost if love is not the motivation. In order to love in all things, we must be equipped and filled. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is a practical application of actions without love. When we become depleted without refreshment, all that we say and do becomes out of obligation rather than motivated by love. Obligation is exhausting. In reality, we all have obligations, yet when we are filled and equipped with love, we are able to fulfill what is required with love and intention rather than frustration. May we begin each day by seeking our Savior so that we may be refreshed, renewed and made ready to love in all things.

Empty are all things,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography<3

If love is not there;

For only with love,

Can we show we care.

May all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be done fueled by love,

So God’s heart shines through.

Help us be people,

After Your own heart;

Lead us in Your love,

As each new day starts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the most excellent way is love. Thank You that You call and equip us to love. Forgive us for the things we have said and done that were not motivated and equipped with Your love. Teach us to rely on You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to do all things in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You each new day to lead us well so that all that we say and do is done in love. Amen.

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

Three things will last forever – faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Sing of His Strength

But I will sing of Your strength and will joyfully proclaim Your faithful love in the morning. For You have been a stronghold for me, a refuge in my day of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, HCSB)

But I will sing about Your strength. I will rejoice in Your love every morning. You have been my place of safety, the place I can run to when troubles come. – (Psalm 59:16, ERV)

But me? I will sing of Your strength. I will awake with the sun to sing of Your loving mercy because in my most troubled hour, You defended me. You were my shelter. – (Psalm 59:16, VOICE)

This verse is a well-timed reminder, as I had a late night and very little sleep. Though I am exhausted, I know God will provide the strength that I need, for His faithful love greeted me with a new day. He is my place of rest and my refuge at all times and through every circumstance. My heart sings knowing that God will go before me and remain with me throughout each day. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and our song, and run to Him to be our refuge throughout all our days.

O Lord, I will sing,

Of strength You provide;

Ever You meet us,

With arms open wide.

Arms to embrace us,

Provide strength we need;

To navigate all,

The grace to succeed.

Hope to persevere,

When life becomes tough;

Goodness and kindness,

Your love is enough.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You are our reason to sing as we rise each new day. Thank You are our shelter and safety in times of trouble. Forgive us for trying to power through without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You, for You provide all that we need to press on. Lead us to love those around us in practical ways that demonstrate the hope and help that is found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praise to You, and give You glory for who You are and how You love. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. – Psalm 118:14

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

Called to Compassion

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV)

Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. – (Romans 12:15, TPT)

If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE)

We are called to be compassionate and to have empathy for one another. This is natural with those with whom we are closest, but it requires an intentional decision to love enough to invest in the hearts of others. When we do, we understand and care about what transpires in the lives of those around us. A love that is true is one that celebrates with others when good comes their way, and mourns alongside them when losses are experienced. Such love not only asks how others are doing, but is prepared to receive honest answers through active and intentional listening. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in compassion and empathy for those around us, so that we may truly love as we are called to love by God.

To love as God loves,

Requires intent;

To seek understand,

Purposeful time spent.

Called to compassion,

To walk alongside;

Love for the hurting,

With arms open wide.

And when there’s reason,

To rise and rejoice;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In praise, lift each voice.

Through ev’ry season,

Choose to truly love;

For that’s how others,

Know they are thought of.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to compassion and empathy for those around us. Thank You that You showed us through Your Son, what such love looks like. Jesus rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and wept with those in mourning. Forgive us for the times that we either ignored an opportunity to love well, or sought to help without truly responding in love. Show us how to celebrate with those who celebrate and to mourn with those who are grieving. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart for those around us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

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

Blessed to Love

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

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

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

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

Grow us, Lord Jesus,

In each of these things;

So we may love more,

Please tune our heart strings.

Goodness and knowledge,

And true self-control;

Faithful devotion,

Teach us to love well.

May perseverance,

Help us to press on;

Devoted and kind,

‘Til our days are gone.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

In all that we do;

Let our lives reflect,

A love just like You.

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

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

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

What is Really Wanted

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, NIV)

Now, Israelites, listen! What does the Lord your God really want from you? The Lord your God wants you to respect Him and do what He says. He wants you to love Him and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, ERV)

So now Israel, what do you think God expects from you? Just this: Live in His presence in holy reverence, follow the road He sets out for you, love Him, serve God, your God, with everything you have in you. – (Deuteronomy 10:12, MSG)

Though these were things asked of Israel as they were in the desert, preparing to move toward the promised land, these are still the same things that God asks of us today. To love and respect the Lord and to serve Him, is the gist of what Jesus told us the commands of God meant. We are called to love God and love people. If we truly love, we will respect, honor, and serve with all that we are. This applies to every aspect of our lives. To love God means to love His creation as well. Everyone we see, and all those whom we encounter, are created and loved by God. As we love God wholeheartedly and seek to do His will, He grows in us the desire to love others as He loves us. May we ever pursue the Lord and His path for our lives, so that we learn to love Him and all people as He intended.

Long gone are the days,

Of Levitical law;

Instead we’re to love,

And of God, stand in awe.

For God has made us,

To give and receive love;

And walk in His ways,

Choose seek the Lord above.

For the more we seek,

We forever shall find;

The ways we’re to walk,

And the grace to be kind.

Lord, help us rise up,

To love all others well;

You are the reason,

That in love we may dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan and purpose for us has always been to be in a loving relationship with You and all those around us. Thank You that You show us and lead us in the love we are meant to give. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and deeds have not aligned with loving You and loving those whom You have placed on our path. Teach us to love, honor and serve You with our whole heart, so that we may grow in love and grace to love well, all those around us. Show us how to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our heart, soul, and mind into loving You and all those whom we meet. Amen.

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

Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. – Mark 12:30-31

So Much More

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – (Luke 3:16, NIV)

John’s answer to this was, “I baptize you in water, but there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” – (Luke 3:16, ERV)

But John made it clear by telling them, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. He is supreme. In fact, I’m not worthy of even being His slave. I can only baptize you in this river, but He will baptize you into the Spirit of holiness and into His raging fire.” – (Luke 3:16, TPT)

As we have begun to march our way through December, I have decided to join in and read the corresponding chapter of Luke each day, leading to Christmas eve. This morning, as I read through Luke 3, verse sixteen stood out to me as a reminder of how we ought to view the season. In this season of Advent, the waiting for “The Arrival”, there is a powerful opportunity to look back on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Even before Jesus began His ministry, there were indicators along the way that pointed out just how powerful and significant Jesus would be. John, the cousin of Jesus, had been raised up to faithfully follow God, and grew in wisdom and boldness as he faithfully taught and baptized all who were ready to hear and follow after God. Despite his following, John always pointed people to look forward to Jesus and the mighty power He would hold. In the same way, we ought to fix our eyes on Jesus, as He came to us as a baby, but returned to heaven as our Eternal King. May we marvel at God’s goodness this season, as He sent His Son to save us so that we might know the power of His Spirit within and among us.

The good we see now,

Is merely a glimpse;

Of what is to come,

That yet to exist.

Our hope, heavenward,

Where light and love dwell;

Let our hearts choose Him,

As we’re loved so well.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to dwell among us and show us the love and power, goodness and hope that is found in You. Forgive us for losing sight of the reason for the season. Teach us to look at the entire picture, not just the snapshot of a baby in a manger. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and study Your word to better grasp the goodness held in life with You. Amen.

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

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. – John 16:13

Light My Path

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – (Psalm 119:105, NIV)

Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. – (Psalm 119:105, ERV)

Truth’s shining light guides me in my choices and decisions; the revelation of Your word makes my pathway clear. – (Psalm 119:105, TPT)

The more that we spend time in God’s word, the brighter the light within us, and the clearer His path for us becomes. God is ready and willing to guide our every step on the path He has set before us, however, we must seek Him and spend time in His word to clearly know the ways we are meant to go. Often, what we see seems good through our own lens, yet through His, there may be reason and purpose that we are called in a different direction. For me, His wisdom and grace make all the difference as I run my own race. When I am in tune with Him and His will, I am acutely aware of His nearness and have peace on the path I am taking. It does not mean that the way is always smooth or simple, but it does mean that I am aware of His presence, even when the terrain becomes more than I can navigate with my own skill set. He is good, and He lead and equips us where He calls us. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for He is the lamp that guides our steps and the light that illuminates which way we are to go.

O Lord, we seek You,

And study Your word;

For Your voice is clear,

As Your truth is heard.

Please show us the ways,

You want us to go;

Lead us in the truth,

So Your light may show.

Illuminate well,

The paths we’re to take;

Equip and lead us,

Keep love wide awake.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time in Your word, You show us the ways we are meant to go. Thank You that even when the road is rough or the terrain is beyond what we can navigate on our own, You are with us and equip us so that we may continue in the direction You are leading. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear or doubt to keep us from moving forward where You are leading. Teach us to trust and seek You for clear direction. Show us how to love those around us well, so that Your light shines before all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word to gain clear direction for our every step. Amen.

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Gratitude, Prayerfulness and Joy

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV)

Always be full of joy. Never stop praying. Whatever happens, always be thankful. This is how God wants you to live in Christ Jesus. – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ERV)

Celebrate always, pray constantly, and give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in. (This is God’s will for all of you in Jesus the Anointed.) – (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, VOICE)

 

Gratitude, prayerfulness and joy, all come from a heart invested in relationship with Christ. Each of these things are not dependent on our circumstances, but rather are a result of our awareness of God in our lives. Joy is that deep-rooted hope that is held in the heart that bursts forth, even when life is hard, circumstances are maddening, or things just are not going the way that we had planned. To pray continually, is to be in ongoing communion with our Creator. In the same way that we readily have conversation with our spouse, friends, children and the like; we too, ought to be continually having conversations with Christ. When things are difficult; ask Him for help. When things are good; we ought to rejoice and praise Him for His provision and blessing. To give thanks in all circumstances is not a gratitude for what is happening, but rather for Who is walking beside us as we navigate whatever comes our way. Over the last year, I have had some incredibly difficult circumstances to navigate, yet by God’s grace, there has been joy, gratitude, and grace, as I have clung to Christ and He has carried the worst of the weight, when I could carry no more. I certainly do not have this down perfectly; for I am flawed and fallible and an ongoing work in progress, as Jesus gives me grace and grows me as I pursue His best for my life. May we be full of joy and thankfulness as we continue to prayerfully pursue our Provider.

 

With hearts full of praise,

May we choose rejoice;

No matter what comes,

With thanks, lift our voice.

For God’s always good,

Even when life’s not;

Keep seeking in prayer,

When blessed and distraught.

All thanks be to God,

Source of grace and joy;

Provider of hope,

Let praise be employed.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that joy is found in hope in You. Thank You that we can pray anytime and anywhere, for You hear our heart as we direct our thoughts to You. Thank You that there is always reason to give You thanks, regardless of our circumstances. Forgive us for confusing circumstantial happiness with true and lasting joy. Teach us to pray continually, ever seeking and praising You; for You love us and lead us through all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may find lasting joy in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in the hope we know, and praise You for who You are and how we can freely come before You in prayer. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure. – Psalm 16:9