Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, HCSB)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, TPT)

Always, it comes down to choosing to love. We are called to love God and love people, when we do these things, we cannot help but be living a life that honors His commands. What He asks of us has not and does not change. The way in which we love might change, but the underlying expectation is all about choosing to love as He loves us. God’s love is sacrificial and has no expectations in return. He loves us because we are His creation. In the same way, we ought to love one another because every person we meet was intentionally created by God, with a plan and a purpose. Not everyone is living and walking out the plan that was prepared for them, yet each person is still the intentional and loved creation of God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us see others through His eyes, and choose to love in all that we say and do. We need His guidance and strength to live out a life of love.

To live out God’s love,

We each have been called;

To love each other,

With grace and resolve.

To love is a choice,

That we must each make;

It is when we do,

That God is obeyed.

Each person designed,

To love and be loved;

Reflecting the light,

Of the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called and created to love. Thank You that each time we are intentional to choose love, we are walking in obedience to Your commands. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love, somehow thinking that another is not deserving. For none of us deserve Your love, yet You surround us and overwhelm us with Your goodness and grace that make Your great love abundantly clear to all who pause and observe how You move in, through and around us. Teach us to seek You to lead us in love the way that You intended. Show us how to love well, each person whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well so that we might walk in obedience to all You ask of us. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

By Faith

By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible. – (Hebrews 11:3, HCSB)

Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by His command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, ERV)

Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinated by the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen. – (Hebrews 11:3, TPT)

Currently, my love and I are in a connect group through church that is studying Hebrews. Last night as we met and discussed Hebrews 11, I was reminded again of the vastness of God. God, whom we cannot yet see, created all that we can see. His power, love, grace and goodness can be witnessed through all that is created that surrounds us. It is through the glimpses of God that we are given by people and creation around us, that we lay hold of faith in Him who we cannot see. The more that we learn to trust in the One whom we cannot see, the more tangible the invisible becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow our faith as we continue to pursue the path that He has placed us upon. Let His love be made evident through our trust and reliance in Him.

By faith we can see,

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The beauty and grace;

All that’s created,

Through God’s loving ways.

The sky, land and sea,

Show us God’s great love;

Purposeful design,

By Him up above.

The invisible,

Can somehow be seen;

Love made tangible,

Through things in between.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can see evidence of Your goodness and love everywhere we look. Thank You that these things, and so much more, cause faith to rise up in what cannot be seen. Forgive us for the times that we have forgotten how You can take even the smallest glimmer of faith and grow it into something great. Teach us to seek You and trust in You, for You grow our faith through our understanding and experiences of who You are and how You love. Show us how to love in such a way that though invisible, love may be made tangible to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to grow our faith, for it is by faith that mountains move and lives are changed. Amen.

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

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

Tangible Peace

May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, HCSB)

We pray that the Lord of peace will give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with you all. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, ERV)

May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you! – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, MSG)

Now, may the Lord himself, the Lord of peace, pour into you His peace in every circumstance and in every possible way. The Lord’s tangible presence be with you all. – (2 Thessalonians 3:16, TPT)

In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, this verse is a portion of his closing. His exhortation to them remains relevant and applicable to us today. I, for one, need God’s peace now more than ever. I am so thankful for His presence that provides peace, even when peace does not make sense. Getting along with others actively contributes to peace, and His presence makes it possible. As a visual and experiential learner, I so appreciate The Passions Translation that says, “the Lord’s tangible presence be with you all.” When God’s truth is made tangible, something that we can see, feel, experience and hold onto, it becomes a reality that we will not readily release. The more we invest in intentional time with Him, the more we understand and experience His peace. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace in every situation and circumstance, and may we rely on Him to help us be at peace with all of those around us.

O Lord, hear our prayer,

For Your perfect peace;

To ever be near,

And set hearts at ease.

Show us Your goodness,

Fill us with Your love;

Lead us to live well,

With grace from above.

Help us show others,

Your love and Your grace;

Your heart tangible,

In all things, always.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the same encouragement that was needed and granted so long ago, is still relevant and a blessing today. Thank You that You are the God of all peace, and You provide us paths to live accordingly. Forgive us for our frustrations and fears that disrupt the peace that You are offering. Show us how to lean into You in places that it is difficult to see and experience peace in the midst of seeming chaos. Lead us to love in a way that makes Your loving kindness tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love and be promoters of peace in places it is needed most. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

The Scent of Promise

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, NIV)

Our offering to God is to be the perfume of Christ that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, ERV)

In a turbulent world where people are either dying or being rescued, we are the sweet smell of the Anointed to God our Father. – (2 Corinthians 2:15, VOICE)

I love that God created us with powerful senses, and that with them, we have memories that can be recalled quickly with a whiff of a familiar smell. For example, I cannot inhale the scent of fresh fruit or baking pies without thinking fondly of my grandparents. For me, there are certain scents that immediately turn my heart to Him, as they draw me into a space of sensing His nearness. As a runner and a lover of being outdoors, every spring, (and sometimes again in the summer) I anticipate the sweet scent of English Laurels in bloom all around our area. It is a smell that immediately brings praise to my heart, for there is something about it that causes me to associate the scent with the aroma of Christ. Incredibly, it is our charge to carry His sweet scent of life wherever we go. To some, it will be received and appreciated, whereas by others, it will be shunned and rejected. Our charge is to keep choosing to love and extend kindness, for that is the sweet smell of our loving Father. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us well, so that we might be the sweet scent of Christ that offers light and life and hope in spaces where they are absent.

The sweet scent of Christ,

Is hope, love and peace;

It’s promised goodness,

That will never cease.

On our darkest days,

Still He’s ever near;

The scent of promise,

That drives away fear.

Lord, help us receive,

So that we may give;

Your sweet, pleasing scent,

Hope each day we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of our senses and how You use them to help us be more aware of You. Thank You that scents can be associated with good things, and that we too, can offer the pleasing scent of Your Son to the world. Forgive us for the times that our words and actions were not a sweet scent. Teach us to bring goodness and kindness to all that we say and do, so that Your sweet scent may ring true. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they may see Your heart through our words and actions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the sweet scent of Christ that is all around us, and seek You to help us to operate from the overflow of Your abundant goodness and grace. Amen.

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

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:7

Guided By Love

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

So don’t hide your light! Let it shine brightly before others, so that your commendable works will shine as light upon them, and then they will give praise to your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, TPT)

This aligns with one of my favorite quotes: “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.” (St. Francis of Assisi) Our charge is not to simply speak of our faith, but rather it is to live it out. If people see Christ in us through how we live and care for others, they will ask questions and provide opportunities for us to use words. However, if there is nothing that separates us from anyone else then anything we say will fall on deaf ears. This does not mean that we have to be perfect, or that we have to fear our human flaws, but rather it frees us to walk in God’s grace and choose to love big. When all that we do is guided and steeped in love, His light shines through us and is made known. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in His love so that we may shine brightly before all.

O Lord help Your light,

Shine brightly through us;

As we grow and learn,

To love like Jesus.

Let all that we do,

Be guided by love;

So others may know,

It’s from You, above.

Thank You for Your grace,

For the times we fail;

Love that leads us on,

So Your love prevails.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your son to show us what it is to lead a life of love. Thank You that as we invest in our relationship with You, You increase our capacity to love well and live out a life in You. Forgive us for our faults and failures, the words and actions that have been lacking Your love. Show us how to love all people in all circumstances, and to live a life according to Your loving plan. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we invest our hearts and lives into knowing more of You so that we may be a reflection of Your 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

Strength in the Struggle

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – (James 1:4, NIV)

If you let that patience work in you, the end result will be good. You will be mature and complete. You will be all that God wants you to be. – (James 1:4, ERV)

Let your patience show itself perfectly in what you do. Then you will be perfect and complete. You will have everything you need. – (James 1:4, ICB)

None of us enjoy trials or struggles, yet we all must go through them. When we are invested in our relationship with Christ, He uses each challenge that comes our way to strengthen and grow us to be more like Him. He does not cause the struggle, but allows it so that we may grow in maturity in our relationship with Him. As our patiences grows, His heart more clearly shows. It is on the other side of struggles and challenges that we can look back and see how far we have come. In the verses that precede verse four, we are called to consider such situations with joy, not because they are happy and fun, but rather because of what trials produce within us. Faith grows and perseverance manifests as we depend on God through each challenge. Not only does God show us who He is, but He demonstrates how He can work both in and through us to navigate the storms. May we ever lean into the Lord as we encounter every trial that life throws our way. For as we trust in Him, His strength, patience and perseverance are made evident through us.

In all that we do,

Let’s look to the Lord;

He is the anchor,

And where love’s outpoured.

It is through our trust,

That love and grace grow;

We’re made more like Him,

And patience is shown.

So, rise up in faith,

Turn in trust to Him;

Ever He’s faithful,

As we let love in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the joy in our trials is not the trial itself, (for they are never terribly fun) but rather joy comes in knowing the work that You are doing in and through us as we press on in faith. Thank You that You are faithful to strengthen and lead us through every storm, as You grow us to become a clearer reflection of You. Forgive us Lord, for the desire for things to always be easy. Teach us to trust the process, as the challenges are the spaces where the most growth occurs. Show us how to love those around us through all things, for often You make Your love and support tangible through others. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in our trials, and praise You for the patience and perseverance that are grown in us through Your faithfulness as we press on. Amen.

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

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. – Psalm 18:32

Navigating the Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Faithful Healer

Lord my God, I called to You for help, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, NIV)

Lord my God, I prayed to You, and You healed me. – (Psalm 30:2, ERV)

O Lord, my healing God, I cried out for a miracle and You healed me! – (Psalm 30:2, TPT)

God is a faithful healer, yet His timing is not our own. We are a society that is accustomed to fast food, fast service, and rapid response. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and we know not why some prayers are answered quickly, and others, by our own expectations, take too long. Even within my own household, answers vary. The entire family has been ill, and for most of us, it has been fairly short-lived. Yes, that in and of itself is an answered prayer, yet one of my kids is still dealing with symptoms that seem to linger. By now, he should be fever free and feeling fantastic, yet he is not. Fever and a cough seem to be holding on, and his sleep is a struggle too. Because we see that my son is still symptomatic does not mean that God is not healing him. For whatever reason, the healing is taking longer as sickness lingers. There has been enough relief for schoolwork to be completed and to hang out and be loved by the pups, we are not just waiting for all symptoms to pass and for full healing to happen. May we ever seek the Lord and call on Him to bring the healing that we need most, for He is faithful to meet us in our every need.

I called on the Lord,

And He heard my cry;

His answers will come,

God’s love won’t deny.

When answers seem slow,

We need to choose trust;

Faithfulness is sure,

He’s loving and just.

Keep calling on Him,

For His love is kind;

He heals by His grace,

As we seek, we’ll find.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our cries and bring healing through Your hands. Thank You that even when we don’t see what we are hoping for in our timing, You are moving beyond what we can see. Forgive us for our frustrations with delays in what we hope to see. Teach us how to trust and to continue to contend for Your full and complete healing whenever it is needed. Show us how to love and pray for those around us in faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to bring healing through Your hands. Amen.

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

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – Proverbs 16:24

Qualities Clearly Seen

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that the people are without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, NIV)

There are things about God that people cannot see – His eternal power and all that makes Him God. But since the beginning of the world, those things have been easy for people to understand. They are made clear in what God has made. So people have no excuse for the evil they do. – (Romans 1:20, ERV)

Opposition to truth cannot be excused on the basis of ignorance, because from the creation of the world, the invisible qualities of God’s nature have been made visible, such as His eternal power and transcendence. He has made His wonderful attributes easily perceived, for seeing the visible makes us understand the invisible. So then, this leaves everyone without excuse. – (Romans 1:20, TPT)

I am fortunate to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Any direction I drive, there is incredible evidence of God’s power and creativity. From the majestic mountains that surround the Puget Sound, to the towering Evergreen trees that line roads wherever I go, I cannot deny the power and majesty of all that His hands have created. The very same God who hand-crafted such beauty, formed everything and everyone that draws breath. To look in the face of others, is to witness the handiwork of God. Knowing that is the very beginning of walking the way that we are called to walk. If we see and recognize the beauty and value in all that God has made, we cannot help but want to love as He loves us. May we take pause and breathe in the goodness of all that God’s hands have made, and give thanks to the One who created it all. Let us look to Him to lead us to love well.

The truth is made plain,

Through all that we see;

All things formed by love,

Intentionally.

The powerful hands,

That made mountains rise;

Gave each creature life,

From earth to the skies.

Show us how to love,

Appropriately;

So Your love’s made known,

Through all that is seen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that all of creation sings of Your glory through its mere existence. Thank You that You are the same God who called mountains to rise and the very One who grants us life and breath and love. Forgive us for neglecting to notice the obvious evidence of Your power and love. Teach us to recognize the beauty in all whom we encounter, and show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for all that Your hands have made that clearly show us Your love and power that is present all around us. Amen. 

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

To Recognize What is Real

But when they saw Him walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified. Immediately He spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:49-50, NIV)

But the followers saw Jesus walking on the water. They thought He was a ghost, and they started screaming. It scared them all to see Him. But He spoke to them and said, “Don’t worry! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” – (Mark 6:49-50, ERV)

When they all saw Him walking on the waves, they thought He was a ghost and screamed out in terror. But He said to them at once, “Don’t yield to fear. Have courage. It’s really me – I Am!” – (Mark 6:49-50, TPT)

Whenever I read the miraculous accounts of the things that Jesus did, I try to imagine what it might have been like to be present. In this story, I envision being part of the crew that is struggling to row to the other side of the lake after the sun has set. The wind is blowing against them, and they  are rowing with all their might. Suddenly, in the midst of the wind and waves, they see Jesus walking on the water. Such an image does not make sense, as they had left ahead of Jesus, while He had remained behind on the shore. I likely would have been rubbing my eyes and straining to see if what I was viewing was real. Likening the scene to seeing a ghost, is relatable. Fear clearly gripped the disciples, as they could not process what they were seeing. Jesus, in His loving and patient ways, let the disciples know who He was and that they need not fear. Despite all that had been witnessed, it took Jesus himself to speak and remind them of who He was and what that empowered Him to do to calm the fear that had risen in their hearts. May we ever remember who calms our storms and brings peace and comfort whenever we turn and listen to Him.

When waves are crashing,

And we feel alone;

Recall the power,

That through Him is shown.

He’ll walk on water,

And tell us His Name;

Bring peace where we are,

And love us the same.

We need never fear,

Despite what we see;

For He is present,

For you and for me.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are patient and kind, and that You are present to help us and grant us Your perfect peace. Forgive us for how quickly we forget Your incredible faithfulness and provision when trials come our way. Teach us to remember Your goodness and faithfulness that is eternal, so that we would ever place our trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and faithfulness both practically and tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for You in the wind and waves and trust You in spaces where You are difficult to see. Amen.

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

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7