A Life of Love

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – (1 John 3:18, NIV)

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV)

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE)

The old adage that actions speak louder than words is true. When we are shown love over and over again, we are secure and confident in that love far more than from those who speak love or about love, but do not have actions that align. Some of the best ways to show love are displayed through living out the fruit of the Spirit. Love is patient and kind, it is humble, it honors others, it looks out for others, it is gentle and forgiving. Love celebrates the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. (See 1 Corinthians 13) It is the people that surround me and show me these things that assure my heart that I am loved, seen and known. This weekend alone, I have had several friends reach out with messages and texts to check in and encourage me as I wait on a surgical date. It is the small acts of kindness, the reaching out that remind my heart of God’s goodness and love. May we ever seek to pattern our lives after Jesus, and may love be our true way of life. 

Lord, help us to make,

Love our way of life;

Kindness extended,

An end brought to strife.

Grant us Your patience,

So love’s what we choose;

For one another,

As Your love is proved.

Help us see the ways,

Where we can show love;

May our actions point,

To how Your heart loves.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us that love is an active way of living, not a theory or mere words. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions have not been in alignment with what we know love to be. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to truly love those around us. Lead us to live a life of love that chooses to reach out and make love tangible for those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to make love a way of life. Amen.

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

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

No Barrier

We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, HCSB)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

That hope is real and true, an anchor to steady our restless souls, a hope that leads us back behind the curtain to where God is (as the high priests did in the days when reconciliation flowed from the sacrifices in the temple). – (Hebrews 6:19, VOICE)

God is the hope that anchors our lives. He is strong and secure and keeps us safe. Typically, I pause there, as knowing that I have Christ as the anchor to steady me is of great comfort. However, this morning as I ponder further the second half of the verse, I am reminded that Jesus goes where we cannot; He sees what we cannot; and He is able to do the things that we are not equipped, empowered, or allowed to do. The curtain, in Old Testament times, was the separation between God and man. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil was torn in two and there no longer was a divide between us and God. Jesus made the way for us to fully access God, personally, rather than having to have a go-between that was only allowed in His holy presence once a year. We can seek and approach the Lord any time, for Jesus is the lens through which the Father sees us as holy and acceptable. This is not through anything that we have or have not done, but rather all because of Jesus. May we ever hold fast to Him who is the anchor of our hope, and the One who has removed the barrier that kept us separated from God.

Hope is the anchor,

That keeps us afloat;

No separation,

With Christ in our boat.

He’s our safe harbor,

Throughout each new storm;

Our hope and our help,

To keep keeping on.

No longer is there,

A limit for us;

All times and places,

Right there is Jesus.

Cling to the anchor,

The barrier’s gone;

In Christ there’s a way,

For He makes us strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the anchor of our hope, and that because of Jesus, there is no longer a barrier that separates us from You. Thank You Jesus, for making the way for us to have full access to God. Forgive us for being our own barrier. Teach us to trust in You, Lord, that Your sacrifice and Your grace are enough to steady us and grant us access to ever come before You. Show us how to love like there is no barrier standing in our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we hold fast to You, our anchor, and praise You for the ongoing access we have to come before You on Your throne, without fear or barrier to keep us from You. Amen.

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

You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take rest in safety. – Job 11:18

Lead Me To Level Ground

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, HCSB)

Show me what You want me to do. You are my God. Let Your good Spirit lead me over level ground. – (Psalm 143:10, ERV)

Teach me how to do Your will, for You are my God. Allow Your good Spirit to guide me on level ground, to guide me along Your path. – (Psalm 143:10, VOICE)

As I ponder this, what comes to mind is not necessarily the smoothest path, but rather one where my footing is secure. Level ground is the space on which our pace stays steady. When we seek the Lord to lead us and show us what to do, He leads us to His level ground. For me, this means that as I seek Him and trust Him, He will guide me to the spaces where I find my footing and am able to press on. Right now, I find myself needing this more than ever. Teaching a subject in a grade that I have never taught, and having extraordinarily full, high energy classes at the end of the day for the two periods that I teach something familiar, leads me to feel as if I am climbing a mountain by the close of the day. I need Him to be my strength and to guide me by His grace into the new and challenging, so that I may find my footing and move forward at an appropriate pace. God is good, and He is faithful to teach us as we seek Him. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to walk in His will and lead us along the path that He has prepared for us. 

O God, please show me,

To move in Your way;

By Your loving grace,

Lead me each new day.

Lord, teach me to walk,

On Your level ground;

With footing secure,

For Your way is sound.

Guide me by Your grace,

That’s made ever new;

Help me and lead me,

Show me what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that leads and strengthens us to spaces where our way is clear. Thank You that You can secure our steps, even when the road is rocky. Forgive us for our objections to obstacles, for they are often necessary to help us recognize and appreciate clear paths. Please show us which way to go, and grant us Your strength to step securely on the path that You place before us. Lead us in Your lavish love and grace, so that we may extend the same to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified  O God, as we seek You to lead us and find the way that You have set before us. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Joy and Rest

Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely. – (Psalm 16:9, HCSB)

So my heart and soul will be very happy. Even my body will live in safety. – (Psalm 16:9, ERV)

This is a good life – my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest. Who could want for more? – (Psalm 16:9, VOICE)

This feels like the reason for summer break for students and staff alike. Time away provides rest and reflection, and it seems that through this season of rest, hearts are made glad and joy is restored. I am so grateful that God provides what we need when we need it most. Not only has the school year come to a close, but my love has taken vacation time and we are enjoying the opportunity to take care of projects, spend time together, and relish the time we are able to spend with our besties, as they prepare to move out of state in six months. God is good, and my heart is glad. May we ever give thanks to the Lord who fills us with joy, keeps us safe, and provides much needed rest.

Lord, You are so good,

In You, there is rest;

Peace for the weary,

Your joy is the best.

It fills up our hearts,

Surrounds us with peace;

Reminds us again,

Your love will not cease.

You restore in us,

The things that seemed lost;

In safety renew,

Grace never exhausts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You are where we find joy, security and rest. Thank You that You provide what we need when we need it most. Thank You for seasons that grant us extra rest and refreshment. Forgive us for losing sight of where true joy is found when we are weary. Teach us to trust in You and recognize the joy that we have in You, no matter our circumstances. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide rest for the weary and extend the joy we have in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and grace that give us joy, rest and security. Amen.

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

When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy. – Psalm 94:19

Unseen Reality

Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, HCSB)

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

Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. – (Hebrews 11:1, VOICE)

Faith and hope are funny things, for we all have faith and hope in something. Some hope for a spouse, a job, a vacation or simply something more than they have known before. In Christ, we can have faith in a hope that is certain, and proof of what we cannot see. His love overwhelms and surrounds us and shows us that we can be certain in the reality that we do not yet see. Without faith, it is impossible to find hope, for we must trust in something to hope that there is more than what we now see. May we ever look to the Lord to grow our faith, it is through Him that we know hope and trust in the things unseen.

Lord, strengthen our faith,

In all that is true;

Let Your hope be known,

As we trust in You.

Please grant us Your peace,

In space of unrest;

Lead us and guide us,

To all that is best.

Make the things unseen,

Known reality;

For all that You are,

Hope that sets us free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we learn and grow in the goodness of Your love, faith rises and we become certain of our hope in You. Thank You that though we cannot see You, we can know You and be tangibly aware of Your presence. Forgive us for our fears and doubts and for relying on what is only seen right now. Teach us to trust You more, for You are our hope, help and future that is secure. Show us how to love those around us so that they too may know hope, even in that which is not seen. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grow our faith, for our hope is held in You forever. Amen.

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

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:18

The Anchor of Easter

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, NIV)

This hope is like an anchor for us. It is strong and sure and keeps us safe. It goes behind the curtain. – (Hebrews 6:19, ERV)

We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God Himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold. – (Hebrews 6:19, TPT)

The sanctuary curtain that used to separate people from the presence of God was torn in two when Jesus surrendered His last breath on the cross. What kept us from a true nearness to God was removed through the death and resurrection of Christ. This ability to draw near and be in a right relationship with God is the anchor for our soul. In this, we lay hold of the hope of both His presence now, and eternity that is yet to come. The only barrier that lies between us and God now, is us. It is up to us to receive all that the God of all creation is offering. This is what Easter is about; He came and removed the barrier between God and us, and provided hope that is firm and secure. Christ is our anchor through every storm, and where hope and love and life truly reside. May we look to the cross and remember the way that was made as Christ freely chose to take our place. Let us hold fast to the hope that is our anchor, no matter what storms cross our path.

The anchor is Christ,

Where true hope is found;

It’s firm and secure,

A love that’s renowned.

His love made the way,

Removing what stood;

Between us and God,

Mercy understood.

So, let us draw near,

With hearts full of praise;

Celebrate Easter,

Because Christ was raised.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You we have hope to anchor our soul, and the freedom to come before You without barriers. Thank You that You removed the curtain that stood between us and You receive us as we come, no matter what state our hearts are in. Forgive us for forgetting the security that we have in You, as You anchor our hearts to Yours and hold us close through life’s wind and waves. Teach us to embrace the grace You freely give, and cling to the hope that anchors our soul. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend hope, safety and trust in Your goodness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all praise and gratitude through our days, for You are Who we need to navigate this life well. 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

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

Faith Like Job

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth. – (Job 19:25, NIV)

I know that there is someone to defend me and that there is someone to defend me and that He lives! And in the end, He will stand here on earth and defend me. – (Job 19:25, ERV)

 

The unwavering faith of Job amazes me every time I am brought back to any portion of his story. Job lost his family, his friends, his wealth and his health, yet his faith remained unflappable. In the midst of all of his loss, his friends tell him all of the possible reasons why such devastation had befallen him, yet Job knew he had been faithful to God and clung to his faith in the truth that was securely planted within him. Incredibly, Job’s story does not end in his space of desolation, but rather in one of restoration, redemption and abundant blessing. God still works in the same powerful ways. When my marriage ended several years ago, I grieved the loss and did not think it would be possible to allow my heart to love again. I trusted God with me and my sons, and it was good. Little did I know, but God had so much more for me; for us. God brought me a partner and help mate, someone to be strong when I am not, yet one whom I can challenge to grow too. His timing could not have been better, as we have weathered some intense storms together. Separately, they may have sunk us, but together, with Christ as our anchor, we have remained steady and secure. There will always be trials in this broken world, but when we know and trust God, we have assurance that the difficult will not last forever. We know that our forever will be far better than anything we could begin to hope or imagine in the here and now, and with all this time at home, I’ll bet many of us can imagine some fairly fantastic settings and spaces. May we pursue the Lord and trust in Him, so that He may grow more deeply in us, an unwavering faith.

 

My Redeemer lives,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

I have certainty;

For in my own life,

He’s loved faithfully.

Not just in theory,

Or stories of old;

Through my own trials,

My hand He did hold.

Granted provision,

For every need;

At the darkest times,

His love took the lead.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are for us, even when it feels as if the world is against us. Thank You that our ultimate hope is eternity with You. Forgive us for forgetting the strength, hope and power that is present in You. Teach us to trust and rely on “God with us”, for You are always near. Show us how to love those around us best, so that we might encourage and strengthen them in hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your faithful presence and hold fast to the hope we know is found in You forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. – Psalm 89:8

The Second Day at the Tomb

The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, His disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that He has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So, they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. – (Matthew 27:62-66, NIV)

That day was the day called Preparation Day. The next day, the leading priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. They said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive He said, ‘I will rise from death in three days.’ So give the order for the tomb to be guarded well for three days. His followers might come and try to steal the body. Then they could tell everyone that He has risen from death. That lie will be even worse than what they said about Him before.” Pilate said, “Take some soldiers and go guard the tomb the best way you know.” So they all went to the tomb and made it safe from thieves. They did this by sealing the stone in the entrance and putting soldiers there to guard it. – (Matthew 27:62-66, ERV)

 

The somber silence of Saturday, was really not so silent at all. Behind the scenes, those who had accused, tried and crucified Jesus, were now scrambling to make certain that what He had foretold, would not in any way, appear to be the truth. It is almost comical to imagine the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate as they have their troubled exchanges, as all the while, the disciples are grieving their loss. Stealing the body was likely the furthest thing from their mind. Mary and Martha were waiting to attend to His body, to further treat it properly for burial, but taking His body from the tomb… Eww… What I love most of all about this short passage of scripture, is that Jesus’ accusers took such care to be certain the tomb was guarded and secure from the outside, yet could not control the miracle that was taking place on the inside. Can you imagine the shock and awe that was to come for the soldiers sent to guard the tomb? Soldiers who were to be wary of those who would come near the tomb, would suddenly find themselves face to face with an angel of the Lord, and then the risen Christ himself, less than twenty-four hours later. Jesus was not a liar nor a deceiver. He is the truth, the way and the life. All who choose come to Him, may know love and life everlasting in Him. Though Saturday was somewhat silent, Sunday was on its way!

 

The day in between,The Second Day at the Tomb

His death and new life;

Silence in waiting,

After sacrifice.

Scrambling soldiers,

Sent to take up guard;

They sealed Jesus’ tomb,

All passage was barred.

Pharisees fearful,

Of what Jesus said;

That after three days,

He’d no more be dead.

No sealing nor guards,

Could ever prevent;

Miracle coming,

Sunday’s big event!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us Your goodness, grace and power. Thank You that You demonstrated Your incredible love for us as You willingly went to the cross and died the death that should have been ours, so that we could be forgiven and know life in You. Thank You that the grave was not the end. Thank You that hope rises, and that Sunday is coming for all. Forgive us for allowing our sorrows and grief to feel hopeless and helpless in the tomb of our heart. Thank You that You do Your miraculous work from within, so how things appear do not matter in order for You to move. Show us how to love in ways that offer hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the hope that is ready to rise, each day, because of the third day at the tomb. Amen.

 

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

 

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Great Comfort in Knowing

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, NIV)

Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love – not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us – nothing in the whole created world – will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, ERV)

For I have every confidence that nothing – not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing – can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord. – (Romans 8:38-39, VOICE)

 

There is great comfort in knowing that there is nothing that surrounds us, comes against us, nor that we could go through, that can separate us from the love of God. His love is eternal and knows no limits. Whether we are having a wonderful day or a day that we would rather have remained in bed, God’s love for us is constant, consistent, and secure. Being loved when we are least lovable, demonstrates the true depth of love granted to us. It is not earned nor somehow rewarded, but rather freely given as the Creator loves His created. May we receive and recognize the remarkable love of our Redeemer, so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

 

O Lord, as I rise, wp-15820303444235351272726723109852.jpg

Make Your love so clear;

No matter what comes,

Show me that You’re near.

There’s no height nor depth,

That can keep away;

The goodness You give,

When to You, we pray.

Go before us Lord,

With Your love and light;

Be near and guide us,

To choose what is right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing that can separate us from Your love. Thank You that as we receive the love You offer, You equip us to go forth and love others in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have either not received what You freely give, or have withheld what we were meant to extend to those around us. Show us how to love one another well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your limitless love, and seek You to love others in the same way. Amen.

 

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

 

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. – Titus 3:4-5a