Unity Through Love

Now I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say. That there be no divisions among you, and that you be united with the same understanding and the same conviction. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, HCSB)

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV)

My brothers and sisters, I urge you by the name of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come together in agreement. Do not allow anything or anyone to create division among you. Instead, be restored, completely fastened together with one mind and shared judgment. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, VOICE)

It seems that what we are called to do is the very opposite of what popular culture is trying to instill in us. Everywhere I look, there are calls for division rather than unity. Instead of working to agree on the main things, and agreeing to disagree on lesser things, people are pitted against one another without conversation or seeking to understand. This space of agreeing with one another provides a place for unity. It must start within our households, then our churches, and then expand to communities at large. Our charge and our call is to love God and love one another. If we are earnestly seeking the Lord to lead us to do both, unity will follow. There is no room for hate and dissent if love is what leads. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we might be joined together in common purpose as we love one another.

To live united,

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Is God’s own great plan;

He leads us in love,

Helps us understand.

For where we seek Him,

He will show the way;

To rise together,

United in faith.

For where there is faith,

There too should be love;

United purpose,

From the Lord above.

Turn off the tv,

And choose stop the scroll;

Seek the Lord to love,

As goodness unfolds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your plan for us is to be united, not divided. Thank You that it is by Your love that we can find common ground and choose to agree to love. Forgive us for the times that we have found ourselves caught up in the dissent. Please redirect our hearts to focus on love. Show us how to be united instead of divided. Lead us to love on purpose with purpose, so that we may become united with those around us. Teach us to love those around us with different views and perspectives in a way that unites us together by choosing to love first. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love You and those around us in ways that bring unity.

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

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

Moms Model Love

Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person. – (Colossians 4:6, HCSB)

When you talk, you should always be kind and wise. Then you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should. – (Colossians 4:6, ERV)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response to everyone. – (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

This is the epitome of my mom and her mom before her; gracious, kind and wise. No human ever always has the right answer, but I think great moms come awfully close. These two women, as well as some incredible mother-like figures in my life, have modeled God’s love with the way that they speak with grace, kindness and love. It has never been unkind, but the truth is ever spoken in love. At times, the truth was to correct or redirect, but always with my best interest in mind. I am forever grateful for the gift of mothers in my life, and today, it seems only fitting to celebrate and honor them. May we ever give thanks to God for the gift of moms and mother-figures that He grants unto us, and seek Him to lead us in their likeness.

Let conversations,

Be filled with God’s grace;

Kind and with wisdom,

In every place.

For His love’s made known,

Through how we choose speak;

Actions and kindness,

Ever let us seek.

Seek to be loving,

Through every word;

Good spoken in love,

It’s how love is heard.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of mothers and mother-figures who model Your love with words, actions and their very existence. Thank You for the blessings in my own life that have come through my mother, grandmother, youth leaders, church mommas, and incredibly wise and wonderful friends throughout the years. Forgive us for the times that we have not followed the example set before us and have spoken with a lack of love. Lead us to always speak with love, kindness and grace. May Your words lead the searching to see Your face and enter into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek You to ever lead us in Your love with every word we speak and all that we do. Amen.

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

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

Faith is Essential

Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, HCSB)

Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, ERV)

Without faith no one can please God because the one coming to God must believe He exists, and He rewards those who come seeking. – (Hebrews 11:6, VOICE)

None of us can please God on our own, yet when we trust in Jesus and all that He has done for us, our faith grows and God knows. When we seek, we find, for God is faithful to reveal Himself to us in tangible ways when we pursue Him. Our reward is the assurance that He is with us now and that we will be in His presence forever. His presence brings peace, and His love equips and empowers us to love likewise. May we ever seek the Lord in faith, trusting that He is who He says He is, for He is faithful forever to all who follow after Him.

Faith is essential,

To trust in the Lord;

Belief in unseen,

All grace He affords.

Though God is not seen,

His love’s tangible;

He makes His heart known,

Understandable.

He brings unto us,

His heart that’s made known;

Through those around us,

God’s goodness is shown.

A snuggly pup,

The smile of a friend;

Encouraging words,

God’s love knows no end.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that finding faith is easy, as You place evidence of Your goodness and love all around us. Thank You that You are pleased when we trust in You. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters, and we question Your goodness because of what we see. Teach us to trust You more, and grant us Your eyes to see beyond what is directly in front of us. Continue to show us Your love made tangible through those You have placed around us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your love is evident and faith in You rises. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to lead us in love and grow our faith greater each day. Amen. 

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

I always remember Your faithful love. I depend on Your faithfulness. – Psalm 26:3

Strength, Endurance, Patience and Joy

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy. – (Colossians 1:11, HCSB)

God will strengthen you with His own great power, so that you will be patient and not give up when troubles come. Then you will be happy. – (Colossians 1:11, ERV)

Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. – (Colossians 1:11, VOICE)

Strength, endurance, patience and joy are exactly what I need to navigate my days. God knows what we need and is faithful to provide as we seek Him. In all things, He is good, so our reason for joy to remain, even when things are difficult, is firmly established. May we ever seek our Savior to lead us and guide us, as He strengthens us with His power, and provides the patience and endurance we need to navigate our days with joy.

O Lord, be our strength,

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In all that we do;

Patient endurance,

To see each day through.

Be our Source of joy,

For hope is in You;

Lead us in Your love,

Make each day brand new.

Grant us Your resolve,

To keep keeping on;

With love unending,

In You, we are strong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You strengthen us and lead us in Your love. Thank You that patience and endurance come from You, and true joy is found in the hope we hold in You. Forgive us for the times that we have not turned to You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times, for You are always faithful. Lead us to love like You, so that we might encourage those around us and share joy in all things. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and thank You for Your faithfulness to meet us where we are and provide what we need. Amen.

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

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

Set Free

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. – (Romans 8:1-2, HCSB)

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free. It made you free from the law that brings sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, ERV)

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. – (Romans 8:1-2, VOICE) 

No matter what we have done or where we have been or what poor decisions we have made in the past, when we invite Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, He covers all of our shame and sin, and sets us free from the punishment that our sins deserve. His forgiveness brings freedom and compels us to live out the life of love that God intended all along. May we embrace the grace that God freely has given us through Jesus, and seek Him to lead us to love as He created us to do.

No condemnation,

For those who choose Christ;

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Blessed Redeemer,

His love paid the price.

The price for our sin,

And cleansed us from shame;

Grace freely given,

When we call His Name.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Give grace and goodness,

Through love that is true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that there is no condemnation in You, for You sent Jesus to bear the burden of all of our sin and shame. Thank You Jesus, for Your overwhelming sacrifice on our behalf, and for the place You have taken to ever contend for us as we seek You. Forgive us for the times that we do not receive what You freely offer, or we neglect to walk in the love that You given. Teach us to seek You to be our strength in all things, so that we might love like You. Show us how to love those around us well, and point each person we encounter to the goodness and grace that is offered as we seek Your face. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your forgiveness and ongoing goodness, and seek You to lead us in Your love. Amen.

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

They cried to You and were set free; they trusted in You and were not disgraced. – Psalm 22:5

Seek First the Faithful One

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

See first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given to you too. – (Matthew 6:33, VOICE)

Despite how things appear, God is faithful to supply what we need to get through each new day as we seek Him. For months, it feels as if I have been going nonstop. There were small breaks on the weekends, but never a whole day to slow down and rest. Today, I will have an unexpected day off from work, as one of my kiddos needs me to drive him to an appointment out of town, and there is a terrific substitute available to cover. I anticipate the provision of a day today will be more than enough to carry me through tomorrow, as it will be the last day before spring break. Each morning I begin my day seeking God, and lifting up the cares and worries of the day ahead. His faithfulness never fails me and His mercies are new every morning. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace, for He is faithful to provide all that we need.

The Lord is so good,

Ever He is kind;

Faithful to provide,

He has us in mind.

God knows what we need,

And as we choose seek;

He hears and helps us,

Grants strength when we’re weak.

For in our pursuit,

Following the Lord;

He’s our provider,

All grace He affords.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful as we seek You. Thank You that You see and hear and know what we need, and in love, You supply all in just the right time. Forgive us for struggling to trust Your timing, for You always have a purpose and a plan, despite what we see. Teach us to trust Your goodness and faithfulness in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may tangible see Your provision and faithful love for them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

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

Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Not Finished Yet

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

The Message Is Love

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. – (1 John 3:11, HCSB)

This is the teaching you have heard from the beginning: We must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, ERV)

The central truth – the one you have heard since the beginning of your faith – is that we must love one another. – (1 John 3:11, VOICE)

The foundation of our faith is meant to be to love God and love people. If we do these things, everything we say, every action and decision we make, ought to be led by love. This is both our charge and our challenge, as human brokenness and frailty can cloud our vision and divert our hearts from love. This is a lifelong process, yet every day is a new opportunity to seek Him to love well. Each day is a fresh start, with direction and appointments to love others as we are loved by God. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may love one another as He intended.

God’s own foundation,

For what we’re to do;

To love each other,

With His love that’s true.

If left on our own,

We’d fail terribly;

Yet with the Lord’s grace,

We gain eyes to see.

To see each other,

As the Lord intends;

Brothers and sisters,

Meant to love as friends.

Show us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

So each day love’s new.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the foundation of our faith is all about love. Thank You that You first loved us, though we were unworthy. Thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to do, and that You are willing to equip and empower us to love like You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking You when we feel irritated or depleted. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times, so that we may see others through Your lens of love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come to know the goodness of Your love and grace and choose to live a life in pursuit of You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to live out Your love throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Lead Me to Water

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – (Psalm 23:1-3, HCSB)

The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that He is good. – (Psalm 23:1-3, ERV)

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. – (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)

God is so good. He leads us to quiet spaces to rest and be refreshed. He renews our strength and leads us in the ways that we are meant to go. The challenge is to actually seek Him and allow Him to lead us. It is easy to get caught up in the endless cycle of busyness, and neglect to seek God to lead us in the day-to-day. When we pursue the Lord to lead us, we gain wisdom and strength to do the things that we are meant to do, and understand what we need to let go of, step away from, or wait for the right timing to do. He is good, and He knows what we need far better than we do. May we ever trust the Lord and His leading to move forward in His wisdom and strength, for with Him, we find rest and refreshment and all that we need in His goodness and love.

Lord, I will seek You,

With each brand new day;

To lead and guide me,

To walk in Your way.

Lead me to water,

To rest, be refreshed;

Empowered in love,

To do what is best.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For Your faithfulness;

To strengthen and lead,

Remind us we’re blessed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are always good. Thank You that You lead us to spaces to rest and find refreshment in You. Forgive us for getting caught up in the cycle of busy, rather than seeking You for wisdom to know what we should and should not take on throughout each day. Lead us in Your wisdom and grace. Teach us to love well, all those whom we encounter throughout our day so that they too, might know the refreshment found in Your lavish love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom and rest to be refreshed and ready to do all that You have for us. Amen.

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

For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your Name. – Psalm 31:3

Show Me

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my concerns. See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way. – (Psalm 139:23-24, HCSB)

God, examine me and know my mind. Test me and know all my worries. Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right. – (Psalm 139:23-24, ERV)

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for Yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life. – (Psalm 139:23-24, MSG)

The crazy thing is that God already knows our hearts better than we know ourselves. When we seek Him and grant Him access to all that we are and all that we think, do and say, He shows us what is good and what is not. Asking the Lord to show us where we need to make changes and where we are headed in the right direction. God’s ways are higher than ours and lead us to life everlasting in Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the direction that He is calling us to go, and to correct and redirect us when we get off course.

O Lord, know my heart,

And test all my ways;

Lead me in Your love,

Throughout all my days.

Please show me the things,

That need to be changed;

Make my heart like Yours,

So love’s what remains.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us where we are at, but do not leave us there. Thank You that You lead, correct and direct us as we seek You. Forgive us for our thoughts, words and deeds that do not align with Yours. Teach us to walk in Your way in all that we think, say and do. Show us how to love all those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to walk in Your way and do Your will in all things. Amen.

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

“I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them.” – Luke 6:47