The Peace of Christ

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)

When we allow Christ’s peace to rule our hearts, each body that we are a member of is extended His peace and gratitude cannot help but rise up in such spaces. As we begin this week of Thanksgiving, may we be intentional to recognize our reasons for giving thanks, and may we allow God to guide us by His peace as we gather with friends and family, near and far. Lord, lead us in Your perfect peace and fill our hearts with thanks and praise for all that You are and all that You have done.

O Lord, guide our hearts,

By Your perfect peace;

Lead us in Your love,

All grace be released.

Show us our reasons,

To give thanks and praise;

For all the blessings,

That have come our way.

Family and friends,

Supply of our needs;

Your loving kindness,

And hope that exceeds.

More than imagined,

Or what we could dream;

Your mercy and grace,

Show us what love means.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lovingly guide our hearts and minds in Your perfect peace as we seek and depend on You. Thank You that You have called and created us for community, and You place us in the circles we are in for a purpose. Thank You for the gift of those whom You have placed around me, for even on the most difficult days I am encouraged and supported in love. Forgive us for allowing the struggles of this life to divert our eyes from the abundant blessings that surround us. Teach us to have Your eyes to see our surroundings and circumstances as You do, so that our hearts might overflow with gratitude for Your goodness and grace. Lead us to love those around us in such a way that others too, would recognize the overwhelming love and perfect peace that You alone provide. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our thanks and praise for Your goodness, kindness, and perfect peace. Amen.

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

And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

Intentionally Designed

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. – (Ephesians 2:10, HCSB)

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)

Just as a poet carefully selects words, lines and stanzas, so too did God intentionally design each of us with a plan and a purpose. Our charge is to live out our days being who He intended us to become. God created all of us with specific strengths, traits and talents that we can use to bless and love well the people whom He places in our lives. Yet, even so, the Creator of all has given us a free will. It is up to us to choose to do the good that we were designed to do. We are not robots nor minions; we are His creation that gets to choose to live out our purpose or do our own thing. I don’t know about you, but knowing that I am free to choose implores me to discover more of who He is and what He desires for me to do to be all that He has created me to become. May we ever seek the Lord and pursue His will for our lives so that we may become all that He has intended as we do the good He intended for us all.

We are His poem,

Photo by Ravi Kant on Pexels.com

Each stanza and line;

Designed with purpose,

With goodness in mind.

The gifts we’re given,

Were granted to bless;

To use for His good,

So love is expressed.

Help us to seek You,

So that we may know;

The plan and purpose,

That makes Your love known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have designed and created each of us with a plan and a purpose that is for good. Thank You that we have all been given strengths and talents that are unique to us, individually, that help show the goodness and depth of Your love for all. Forgive us for not seeking or for neglecting to do the good that we know we ought to do. Teach us to trust and depend on You more to rise up and thrive as the people You designed us to be. Show us how to love and do good to bless those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and grow us more and more into the poetry You have created us to be. Amen.

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

I call to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me. – Psalm 57:2

Power to Press On

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

God’s Spirit is the Provider of every good and perfect gift. The struggle, however, is when our circumstances make us question what we know is the truth. His power, love and sound judgment are greater than anything and everything that we face. He is good, even when our circumstances are not. Here, in the midst of struggle, we need His nearness and grace to remind us to rise up in all that He has placed within us so that we can be who He has created us to be. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us of all that He’s placed within us by His power and His grace so that we can navigate each new day in His power, love and self-discipline.

Fear is not from God,

For He is our strength;

Great Overcomer,

Who goes to great lengths.

No height is too high,

Nor depth that’s too low;

He comes as we call,

And makes His grace known.

Power to press on,

When we have no more;

Love and His wisdom,

The hope to endure.

Lord, please come closer,

Remind us again;

Of Your great goodness,

That ushers hope in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have not given us a spirit of fear, but rather one of power, love and self-control. Thank You that You begin where our strength ends, and You are present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations in the midst of struggle. Teach us to turn in trust to You, for You supply all that we need to continue moving forward in all that we are called to do and become. Show us how to love those around us well, so they too may be strengthened and encouraged in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and trust You to supply all that we need to press on. Amen.

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

Yet He saved them because of His Name, to make His power known. – Psalm 106:8

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

Represent in Love

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, NIV)

Just be sure you live as God’s people in a way that honors the Good News of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, ERV)

Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. – (Philippians 1:27a, MSG)

This is and has been a charge that has felt seemingly absent over the last year and a half on social media. People who love God and love people, have been blasting one another over various “hot topics”, rather than listening to understand in love. The challenge in this is that we all have opinions that rise up, yet if we profess Jesus is Lord, we cannot name call and demean those around us for what they think. That is not love. Yes, we can have civilized conversations face-to-face, but yelling, name-calling, and demeaning is not beneficial to anyone. All of us have opinions and positions on the various things that are going on in the world that bring about differing views, yet what we do with those opinions is on us. If we are to profess our faith in love, our every interaction must be led in love. I too, have opinions and reactions rise up, but have learned that I cannot simply react, but rather I must listen in love and seek the Lord to lead. Most often, that means that I must scroll past the “blasting” and only discuss my thoughts when I am able to listen in love and calmly share my concerns and ideas. It is a delicate balance to continue to learn how to live in such a way that we are honoring God in all that we do and say. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our conversations and exchanges of thoughts, ideas and opinions so that love is what is evident in all.

Love is the answer,

We’re each called to give;

In speech and actions,

Each day that we live.

No matter our thoughts,

To what’s going on;

If not led in love,

Validity’s gone.

What good is shouting,

Finger-pointing wrongs?

Instead, let’s listen,

Show that love belongs.

O Lord, we need You,

To lead us in love;

To follow Your heart,

Speak in peace and love.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to conduct ourselves in a manner that ever demonstrates Your goodness and love. Thank You that You call us to represent You with our words and deeds. Forgive us for our every word, thought and deed that has not demonstrated Your goodness, love and grace. Teach us to interact with one another in love, no matter how differently we view the world. Show us how to love greatly, and to choose to love in our every action, reaction and interaction with those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love in everything that we say and do so that we may represent who You intended us to become. Amen.

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

Show me the wonders of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. – Psalm 17:7

To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

To Clothe Ourselves Well

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves  with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – (Colossians 3:12, NIV)

God has chosen you and made you His holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle and patient. – (Colossians 3:12, ERV)

You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. – (Colossians 3:12, TPT)

Now is an especially important time to clothe ourselves well. As the heat rises, people’s patience runs out and frustration and anger rises. If we are clothed with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, we will be extending the same grace and mercy that God gives to us, to those around us. I don’t know about you, but whenever I am the recipient of compassion or kindness when my day is a bit off, my whole demeanor changes. I am reminded of the goodness of God and the beauty of all whom He has made. It restores a spring in my step and points my heart back to where true joy comes from. May we ever remember that we are chosen and loved by God, so we are to go out and love likewise.

May kindness rise up,

As in love we bask;

For God’s love equips,

To do as He asks.

We’re called to mercy,

Kindness, gentleness;

Have patience for all,

Through love is expressed.

May we let love lead,

As God loves us all;

Give as we’re given,

And answer His call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are loved and chosen by You to be called Your own. Thank You that as we embrace our status as Your children, whom You dearly love, we discover that we are equipped to love and give grace to all those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld kindness, run out of patience, or lacked compassion in spaces You called us to love. Teach us to depend on You to equip us to love as You love. Show us how to be patient, kind, gentle and gracious to all whom we encounter, so that they may gain glimpses of Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn to You to show us how to love like You. Amen.

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

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. – Galatians 3:26

Praise for Provision

The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. – (Exodus 15:2, NIV)

The Lord is my strength. He saves me, and I sing songs of praise to Him. He is my God, and I praise Him. He is the God of my ancestors, and I honor Him. – (Exodus 15:2, ERV)

The Eternal is my strength and my song, and He has come to save me; He is my God, and I will praise Him. He is the God of my father, and I will exalt Him. – (Exodus 15:2, VOICE)

When we know the Lord as our Savior, we become acutely aware of His strength and worthiness of all of our praise. He provides as we abide in Him, no matter what our situation or circumstances. This morning, I am reminded anew of my reasons to praise Him. Though we do not have air-conditioning in the midst of a heatwave, we have a basement that stays comfortably cool. Additionally, our current weather is not a common occurrence. In some parts of the world, this is typical, and air-conditioning is not an option. There is reason to be grateful for a normally temperate climate, and for spaces of reprieve to escape the heat. May we ever sing praise to God, for He is our strength and defense, our refuge and our salvation.

My strength and my song,

Evidence of the crazy temperatures…

Belong to the Lord;

It’s His salvation,

Through love He affords.

His mercy and grace,

Forgive and set free;

Raise head, hands and heart,

To rise up and be.

He provides the strength,

Gives place to belong;

Protects, empowers,

His love makes us strong.

Strong in conviction,

Equipped well to love;

Let’s sing unto Him,

The Lord up above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our strength and our salvation, and the reason we can sing songs of praise. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when things are out of sorts. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing songs of praise to You, our strength and our defense that saves. Amen.

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

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Tenderness Tapers Tempers

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

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Sunrise to Sunset

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the Name of the Lord is to be praised. – (Psalm 113:3, NIV)

From sunrise-brilliance to sunset-beauty, lift up His praise from dawn to dusk! – (Psalm 113:3, TPT)

At every time and in every place – from the moment the sun rises to the moment the sun sets – may the Name of the Eternal be high in the hearts of His people. – (Psalm 113:3, VOICE)

As one who typically rises before the sun, I am blessed with the daily reminder of the goodness and faithfulness of God as I watch darkness become light. There is a holiness in the witnessing of the sunrise and sunset, for it is a mighty example of God’s creativity and handiwork in action. In the same way that God is faithful to cause the sun to rise and set each day, He too, is faithful to love and be near us. It is because of His great faithfulness that God deserves all of our praise. Every breath, each new day dawning, we are granted reminders of His goodness and faithfulness. May we ever recognize how great God is and give Him all of our praise.

Every new day,

At dawn’s early light;

God shows His power,

Colors to delight.

Just as He’s faithful,

With the rising sun;

His presence promised,

‘Til each day is done.

Wherever we are,

From east to the west;

God will be with us,

As He loves us best.

So, rise up and praise,

The God of all grace;

Give thanks to the Lord,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful forever and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that You are with us from sunrise to sunset, and that You will be with us wherever we go. Forgive us for faltering faith. Teach us to recognize You goodness and grace that is all around us, so that we forever praise You as we should. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and presence abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You from the rising to the setting of the sun for how You love and all You have done. Amen.

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

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies. – Psalm 36:5