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

Hope in the Waiting

It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. – (Luke 23:54-56, NIV)

It was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin. The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb. Inside they saw where he put Jesus’ body. Then they left to prepare some sweet-smelling spices to put on the body. On the Sabbath day they rested, as commanded in the Law of Moses. – (Luke 23:54-56, ERV)

It was Preparation Day – the day before the holy Sabbath – and it was about to begin at sundown. The women who had accompanied Jesus from the beginning in Galilee now came, took note of where the tomb was and how His body had been prepared, then left to prepare spices and ointments for His proper burial. They ceased their work on the Sabbath so they could rest as the Hebrew Scriptures required. – (Luke 23:54-56, VOICE)

When I ponder the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I imagine a sense of mourning and anticipation. The women who had been with Jesus from the beginning, had just witnessed the death of their Savior. Rather than running off in their sorrow, they waited and watched to see what they might do next to honor Him. In anticipation, they followed Joseph, the upright man from the Council, who had gone to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so that he might properly place Jesus in a tomb. When the ladies knew where Jesus was laid, they went home to prepare spices to give the Savior a proper burial. However, as soon as the sun went down it was the Sabbath, and the time of rest and waiting began. It is in that space of rest, that I cannot help but imagine what it all was like. Grief, anticipation, remembering… The women had walked beside Jesus and lived and learned what a sinless life could be, only to see it cut short by the cross. Despite their anguish, they arrived at the conclusion that there was purpose for them to fulfill. Preparation Day was full of preparing for so much more than they could have ever imagined. Today, this day between the crucifixion and the resurrection, we have time to purposefully ponder all that Jesus did for us. Our sin and shame were buried with Him in that tomb, waiting to burst forth with new life, intended for all. May we look to the cross with thanksgiving for all that was placed upon Him, and look ahead with anticipation, to all that tomorrow brings. New life and eternal hope are ours to behold, if only we seek the Savior.

His death on the cross,

And all they had seen;

Lost, seeking purpose,

What did it all mean?

The women in wait,

Watched, followed to see;

Where was their Savior,

What might the Lord need?

Laid in a new tomb,

His location known;

Christ’s body broken,

Somber and alone.

A day to prepare,

To honor the Lord;

They did what they knew,

All time would afford.

Then came the waiting,

Such sorrow unknown;

Grief and a purpose,

Their hope felt postponed.

Soon to discover,

All hope was not lost;

The Savior would rise,

From death on that cross.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to make the way for new life in us. Jesus, thank You that though we lose sight of hope in the waiting, it is simply a time to pause and anticipate the new that is coming. Forgive us for forgetting the power You have. The very One who defeated death is always working on our behalf, and will never leave us nor forsake us. Teach us to trust You more, even in the spaces that seem like we are waiting in darkness. Show us how to love those around us in such a way that hope may rise, even in the darkest tombs in our hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for how You endured the cross for our sake, and praise You for the power in You that overcame death to rise again. Amen.

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

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. – Psalm 27:14

Seek His Strength

Finally, be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

To end my letter I tell you, be strong in the Lord and in His great power. – (Ephesians 6:10, ERV)

Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force of His explosive power flowing in and through you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TPT)

Paul’s encouragement to the church of Ephesus is still an encouragement for us today. We are not meant to be strong on our own, but rather by the strength He provides through His presence, both in and through us. Strength on our own is not sustainable, yet in Him, we are able to endure and overcome all things. This does not mean that all will be easy, but it does mean God will be present to supply what we need when we need it most. May we ever look to the Lord to be our strength, recognizing that His mighty power provides what is required to press on.

Let’s look to the Lord,

For He is the place;

We are granted strength,

To run well our race.

Power that endures,

Through the toughest days;

A love that surrounds,

And grace that remains.

The Lord is the One,

On whom to depend;

To rise, overcome,

As strength He extends.

So, look to the Lord,

For all that we need;

Seek His strength, not ours,

In Him we succeed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Source of strength as we learn to depend on You. Thank You that Your power is present and made evident in our weakness. Forgive us for the times that we attempt to power through on our own, rather than seeking our true Source of strength. Teach us to turn in trust to You, as You supply all we need. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength and hope and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our Source of strength in all things and at all times. 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

Sing in the Strength He Supplies

But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – (Psalm 59:16, NIV)

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)

There are days when this resonates a little more clearly than others. Each morning as I rise before the sun, I am intentional to seek and spend time with our Savior. Small things can distract my attention, and I have to choose to focus on Him and time in His word. As I do, He is faithful to show me His loving kindness anew, and there is not a day that I seek Him that I do not find Him. I cannot even begin to count the numerous times that He has been my place of safety and my defender when troubles have come. In all things, He remains faithful to be present and pour out His goodness and love. It does not mean that all is easy and without obstacles, rather in those obstacles I have a guide to lead me through. For this, and so many other things, I have reason to hold songs of praise in my heart, celebrating His strength when I had none, and His presence when I felt alone. May we ever remember who is our source of strength and mercy and goodness, as we call on Christ to be our place of safety in every storm.

O Lord each new day,

May I rise and sing;

Of goodness and strength,

The hope that You bring.

Teach me to see You,

With each rising sun;

Give thanks unto You,

Our strong Holy One.

Thank You for safety,

That is held in You;

For Your sweet presence,

That carries us through.

Help songs to rise up,

Flood my mind and heart;

With praise unto You,

Gratitude impart.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our reason to sing, as You are our source of strength and our space of safety. Forgive us for not giving praise where praise is due, and for forgetting how powerful Your presence is to strengthen and uphold us. Teach us to trust in You through every season. Show us how to love those around us in ways that supply strength and hope and resolve. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we find shelter in the safety of Your love and sing praise to You for each new day we are granted. 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

Making Our Days Matter

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – (Psalm 90:12, NIV)

Teach us how short our lives are so that we can become wise. – (Psalm 90:12, ERV)

Help us to remember that our days are numbered, and help us to interpret our lives correctly. Set Your wisdom deeply in our hearts so that we may accept Your correction. – (Psalm 90:12, TPT)

A common thread among us is that I think we are all far more aware that our days are numbered. There is nothing quite like a pandemic to remind us that none of us are immune to the reaches of the affects, as I know few folks who do not at least know someone impacted by COVID19. We have the opportunity to respond to the realization that none of us are guaranteed a long life on earth, so how we spend our days matters. In order to use the time we are given well, we need God’s wisdom. He is faithful to grow us and show us more and more of His love and grace, as we choose to follow after Him. The Lord is faithful to direct and correct, if we are willing to pursue Him and respond to His promptings. I desire to live each day with intention, and am acutely aware of my need for God’s intervention to do so. May we ever recognize that we are not promised tomorrow, so that we might live each day with wisdom and grace, according to God’s good and perfect plan.

O Lord, I thank You,

For each day thus far;

As Your love and grace,

Meet us where we are.

Grant us Your wisdom,

Help us to live well;

Let each brand new day,

Be love’s show and tell.

May each day we rise,

Be seen as a gift;

Each moment a chance,

For spirits to lift.

Lord, show me Your heart,

In each circumstance;

Make me wise with love,

To live out Your plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have good plans for each of us. Thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and You grant us wisdom to navigate our days well. Forgive us for the times that we take our days for granted. Teach us how to live with intention, each new day that we draw breath. Show us how to live and love with wisdom and grace, so that all might seek Your welcome embrace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for each new day, and seek You to live it out with wisdom, love and grace. Amen.

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

How many are Your works, Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. – Psalm 104:24

Hard Hearts Made New

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, NIV)

Then Jesus said to him, “I promise you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” – (Luke 23:43, ERV)

Jesus responded, “I promise you – this very day you will enter paradise with Me.” – (Luke 23:43, TPT)

The response of Jesus to the criminal beside Him who was repentant, reminds us how great His grace truly is. Though He himself was hanging from the cross in agony, Jesus still heard the call of a repentant soul, and let it be known that the promise for all who turn away from their sinful ways and turn to God, remained true, even as they were living out their last breaths of life. No matter how far from God someone may appear, their salvation could be but a few breaths away. God works in mysterious ways. If He can touch the heart of a hardened criminal as he is having his death sentence carried out, God can do the same for anyone. We celebrate Christ’s arrival at Christmas, but this season ought to remind us why He came. Jesus came to bring forgiveness, peace, hope, love and joy to all who are willing to receive. May we fix our eyes on the greatest gift ever given, and celebrate as we walk in forgiveness, extending peace, love, hope and joy to all those around us.

The promise through Christ,

Was given for all;

So love might be known,

Through us, great and small.

For nothing we do,

That’s done with great love;

Goes without notice,

By the Lord above.

The Lord takes our gifts,

In love, multiplies;

The impact they have,

His grace maximized.

Lord, help us to rise,

With purpose each day;

Let our love spread hope,

Lead us in Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your one and only Son to save us. Thank You that You receive us as we call on Your Name and recognize our desperate need for You. Forgive us for frustration and lack of faith when things seem impossible through our own eyes and understanding. Thank You that You are so much greater than we realize. Teach us to trust in You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in ways that grant peace, hope, love and joy to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look at Your birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension in awe and wonder and gratitude. Amen.

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

But with You there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve You. – Psalm 130:4

Purposed for Community

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, NIV) 

Each one of us has one body, and that body has many parts. These parts don’t all do the same thing. In the same way, we are many people, but in Christ we are all one body. We are the parts of that body, and each part belongs to all the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, ERV) 

In the human body there are many parts and organs, each with a unique function. And so it is in the body of Christ. For though we are many, we’ve all been mingled into one body in Christ. This means that we are all vitally joined to one another, with each contributing to the others. – (Romans 12:4-5, TPT) 

I love how God granted wisdom to those who recorded the letters of the Bible in ways that were relateable and applicable throughout the ages. For me, these verses apply to so many areas in life; any organization or group that we fall into, requires just such thinking for success. What I mean is simply that we all have different gifts, strengths, talents, and more to contribute, yet it is when we work together as a whole, good things occur. In a family unit, when each of us do our best with the strengths and gifts that we have been given, with the intent of contributing to the family as a whole, things are accomplished and peace and love prevail. In the school setting, this holds true as well, as each person who enters campus has a function to contribute to both the process and the progress of the purpose being carried out. From administrators to counselors, teachers to security officers, custodians to librarians, support staff to specialists, students and parents alike – all can either help or hinder the functionality of a school. In the same way that I listed the various roles of the body that makes up a school community, so too, does the Bible speak of the various roles and functions of those who join together as a church community, with the common purpose of loving God and loving people well.  

As I prepare for day one of back-to-school training, I am considering my own role and function, and what I might be able to contribute to the whole. For me, I live, love and fulfill my role best, when I am investing in growing – body, heart, soul and mind. Growth only occurs when we are intentional to invest our time into learning and placing what we learn into action. This is true for physical training, academic advancement, and living and loving in ways that not only contribute to the whole, but that spur others on to do the same. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and grow us in Him, so that we may contribute to our communities with purpose, and see the great value in each of those around us as they do the same. 

We all have a role, 

That we’re to fulfill; 

Wherever we are, 

There’s room for growth still. 

God made us to grow, 

To improve, to thrive; 

To love each other, 

Do more than survive. 

In order to thrive, 

We need each other; 

Mother and father, 

Sister and brother. 

So, let us each rise, 

And purpose to grow; 

Body, mind and heart, 

Let God’s best be shown. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You created us to thrive in community. Thank You that You designed each of us with a role and purpose in each “group” to which we belong – be it church, family, neighborhood, city and more. Forgive us for the times that we have remained stagnant, or have not sought to grow and contribute in the ways in which we have been created to do, as well as for the times that we placed some sort of hierarchy on those around us and the roles that they fulfill. Not one is more important than the other; for all are needed to function and fulfill their purpose best. Show us how to learn and grow, value and live out the very best that You have for our communities. Lead us to love one another in such a way, that each member feels valued and encouraged to do their best and invest in ongoing growth. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest, value, and contribute to each body that we are blessed to be considered a member. Amen. 

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

Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other. – Psalm 85:10

Blessed in Wonder

The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy. – (Psalm 65:8, NIV)

People all around the world are amazed at the wonderful things You do. You make all people, east and west, sing with joy. – (Psalm 65:8, ERV)

O God, to the farthest corners of the planet people will stand in awe, startled and stunned by your signs and wonders. Sunrise brilliance and sunset beauty both take turns singing their songs of joy to You. – (Psalm 65:8, TPT)

 

I am in awe as I take in all of the blessed new associated with our sweet new fur baby addition to our family. There is fresh wonder to watch a puppy discover all things new, as he explores the world around him. Thor is a little love, and a reminder that joy is present and new every morning. We are newbies with such a young puppy, so crate training on night one was a bust. I caved after a few minutes of agonizing cries, and moved to lie on the floor beside him, where I could talk to Thor and place a hand on him to calm him. It worked until I attempted to quietly and slowly crawl away from the crate and back onto the bed. The cries began again, all the louder and more agonizing, so I scooped him up and brought him into bed with us. Thor snuggled right in, and was sound asleep within minutes. He only woke twice in the night to go outside, so for us, it felt reasonably successful. This morning, he has eaten, played outside, run around inside, explored, and followed both Mark and I all around the house, even navigating the stairs. We are beyond grateful for our new little blessing, and feel a renewed sense joy in this season. God is so good, and there are wonders all around us to remind us of our reasons to sing for joy. May we pause and take notice of the good all around us, and give thanks to He who is so very good.

 

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May we know and see;

The blessings made new,

Each day, faithfully.

Such joy, the Lord brings,

As we seek His face;

Peace, hope and His love,

Never ending grace.

With fresh eyes to see,

His wonders anew;

May we give our praise,

And thanks unto You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wonders and blessings that are new every morning. Thank You that in You, we find joy in every season. Forgive us for not taking time to give You praise for all of the blessings You provide. Teach us to rise with hearts of praise, and to close each day with gratitude for the good given. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may be ever aware of Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe of the wonders all around us, and give You glory for all of Your goodness. Amen.

 

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

 

He is the one you praise; He is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. – Deuteronomy 10:21

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.

 

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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

Always Love

It (love) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God is love. This perfect sort of love comes from Him alone. We are flawed and frail and fallen; He is good, gracious and merciful. When we seek the Lord first, He deposits these things within us, and grants us the capacity to protect, trust, hope, and persevere in love. In our broken humanity, we will never be flawless in our delivery. However, God is. When we choose to love God and love people as we are called and designed to do, we become better equipped to protect, trust, hope and persevere, as His love leads us in every area of our life that we grant Him access. The more we give God room, the more we become aware of the hope, security, and overcoming, lasting love that is found in Christ. May we ever seek the Lord with our whole heart, so that we too, may love in a way that creates a safe place of shelter, that never stops believing the best for others, never takes failure as defeat, and never gives up.

 

Our space of shelter, Life by Love Defined

When weary and worn;

He grants strength to move,

In Christ, hope’s reborn.

The One we can trust,

Protection in love;

He never gives up,

Our Help from above.

Even through the times,

When we can’t shake fear;

His presence surrounds,

To rise, persevere.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we begin to understand the power of love. Thank You that Your love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Thank You that the more we walk with You, the better we are able to love as You love us. Forgive us for the times that we have been lacking in our love. Continue to teach us how to love like You. Show us practical and tangible ways to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we always trust and hope in You, as You protect us and provide for us, all that we need through Your overwhelming and unending love. 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