The Greatest Love Story

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – (John 3:16, HCSB)

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. – (John 3:16, ERV)

For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life. – (John 3:16, VOICE)

In this season of fixation on love, it seems only appropriate to recognize and celebrate the greatest love of all. God loved creation so much that He gave His Son to restore what had been lost, and to make the way for all who receive it, to have life everlasting with Him. We have all been hand-crafted, designed to love and be loved. The unique design placed within each of us grants us the capacity to love well. This love is not limited to romantic love, but rather it equips and empowers us to love all. From our parents, to siblings, to children, family, friends and a significant other, God gives us all that we need to love well. It is up to us to receive all that He offers so that we might truly know His love and then go and love likewise, all those whom He has placed in our lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love well, and give Him all praise for His loving ways each day that we draw breath.

The greatest love story,

That’s ever been told;

The gift of a Savior,

To have and to hold.

It is through the knowing,

Receiving of grace;

That we too can love well,

As we seek His face.

God places in our lives,

People we’re to love;

All whom He created,

Purposed from above.

So seek Him to love well,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

Receive all He gives;

In Christ we’re empowered,

To love as we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your One and only Son to make the way for us to be in a loving relationship with You and equipped to love others as You do. Thank You that Your love gives us hope and help, life and love that last forever. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You intended, and for when we neglect to receive what You freely and lovingly offer. Teach us to trust in Your everlasting goodness and grace as You continually show us Your loving ways. Lead us to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible gift of Your love and trust You to lead us to love all those around us well. Amen.

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

But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. – Psalm 5:11

Seek to Start Well

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own. – (Matthew 6:33-34, 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. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries. – (Matthew 6:33-34, ERV)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. – (Matthew 6:33-34, TPT)

Intentionally seeking God at the start of the day does make a difference. Doing so, helps set the heart and mind on what matters most so that everything else can be taken in stride. Yesterday, I had to get to work early to complete some extra planning for the day, and my morning devotional time was cut short. God is good and full of grace, yet I felt less resilient in the challenges that I encountered throughout the day. The love of the Lord is with us, but we need to be aware of it to function as He intended. May we be purposeful in our pursuit of His kingdom first so that we may do His will, and allow the worries for tomorrow to fall away and rest in His capable hands.

Choose to seek the Lord,

To start well each day;

Don’t let tomorrow,

Disrupt what’s today.

Each day we’re given,

A gift to live well;

With God beside us,

Of love, let us tell.

Not just with our words,

But may ev’ry deed;

Show of His kindness,

As we let Love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we set our hearts and minds on You and Your goodness and love, You provide all that we need to navigate each new day well. Forgive us for trying to operate in our own strength, or for neglecting to recognize our need for You each day. Teach us to turn to You in trust as we rise each morning, and to hold fast to Your goodness and grace as we go through our days. Show us how to love those around us as You call us to do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day and trust You to lead us in Your love. 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

Confidently Ask

Now this is the confidence we have before Him: Whenever we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. – (1 John 5:14, HCSB)

We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. – (1 John 5:14, ERV)

Since we have this confidence, we can also have great boldness before Him, for if we ask anything agreeable to His will, He will hear us. – (1 John 5:14, TPT)

Because of Jesus and His sacrifice that covers our sin, we can boldly come before God with our prayers and petitions. He sees and He hears and will move on our behalf when we ask things that are according to His will. His answers may look different than we would imagine, but He hears and provides an outcome that ultimately is for good. May we ever trust the Lord and seek Him with our every prayer, for He hears and cares when we come to Him with love as our motivation for all that we ask.

With great confidence,

Go to the Lord’s throne;

He hears what we ask,

As His grace is shown.

He tells us to ask,

For in love, He’ll hear;

Each faithful request,

As He remains near.

Near us with goodness,

Closeby with His grace;

With love, He surrounds,

Let us seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can be confident in the sacrifice of Your Son that covers us and provides the way for us to confidently and boldly come before You, and trust that You hear what we ask as our hearts align with Yours. Forgive us for the times that we have not asked, or have not trusted that You hear us when we do not see the answers we hope for or evidence that You are moving on our behalf. Show us how to trust in Your goodness and love, even when we do not see what we hope for. Lead us to love others as You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confidently seek You and trust in Your unfailing love to hear us and hold us. Amen.

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

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

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

Praise for the Peace that is Present

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, NIV) 

Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking. It is for peace that you were chosen to be together in one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, ERV) 

Let your heart be always guided by the peace of the Anointed One, who called you to peace as part of His one body. And always be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, TPT) 

There is nothing quite like time away as a family to refresh and renew one’s sense of gratitude and peace. I am beyond blessed to have been afforded time away with not only my immediate family (minus the bonus son who had to work 🙁), but with my sister and her family as well. There is something incredible that transpires when we escape together in nature, and have intentional time to just be together. This momma’s heart is overflowing with thanks, as I am enjoying time with my loved ones and was able to sink my toes in the sand and hear the sound of crashing waves before me. Added joy was watching our puppy’s delight at the exciting and new. Game night, adventures, and meals together, remind us of the call we have to His peace as His children. Though I am always thankful, for I know how truly blessed I am; I find my heart overflowing, as this quality time girl is being filled to the brim. May we allow the Lord to guide us by His peace as a body, and ever give thanks to He alone who is worthy. 

May our hearts allow, 

The Lord of all peace; 

To rule in our lives, 

Heaviness release. 

For He draws us near, 

To His heart of love; 

Fills us to the brim, 

Shows us He’s enough. 

All of creation, 

Reveals His great light; 

With our hearts open, 

In Him, we delight. 

All thanks be to God, 

For His love and grace; 

Overwhelming good, 

As we seek His face. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for family and time together. Thank You that You are our peace, and that You call us to be at peace with one another. Thank You that there are countless reasons to give You praise, always. Forgive us for allowing the weight of the world to get in the way of our gratitude. Teach us to take pause and recognize the beauty all around us, and the blessings that are ever-present. Show us how to love in such a way that we bless and extend peace to all of those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are forever thankful for Your goodness, blessings and present peace. Amen. 

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

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Renewed Resolve

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. – (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) 

But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired. – (Isaiah 40:31, ERV) 

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. – (Isaiah 40:31, MSG) 

We are in the midst of a long and heavy season. Staying home, not spending time with those we love outside of our immediate family, seeking to learn and grow, and trying to determine what is and is not safe and wise, all of these things and more, are exhausting. Thankfully, as we navigate each day as it arrives, we have a Savior who will renew our strength and resolve, and empower us to keep moving forward in faith. Our hope is not in any particular people, but rather it is in Christ alone. He is the One who leads us, loves us and shapes us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. May we ever place our hope in the Lord, for He is willing and able to renew our strength and grant us all that we need to keep moving in the direction to which we are called. 

Choose wait on the Lord, 

For He is our strength; 

Ever making new, 

His path we’re to take. 

God’s power and grace, 

Are granted to us; 

As we seek the face, 

of the Lord Jesus. 

So, spread wide our wings, 

And take to the air; 

His grace is enough, 

to love anywhere. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You renew and strengthen us for all that You are calling us into, so that we may keep moving forward. Thank You for Your love and grace that fill where we are lacking. Forgive us for not turning to You for strength in our weariness. Teach us to hope in You. Show us how to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You. Amen. 

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

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

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.

 

With awe and wonder, wp-15878260808505213991594021209802.jpg

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

The Gift of Grace

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – (Romans 3:23-24, NIV)

All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. They are made right with God by His grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ. – (Romans 3:23-24, ERV)

Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious ideal; yet now God declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. – (Romans 3:23-24, TLB)

 

God is so kind. He shows us in countless ways, just how deeply He loves us and has grace for us, despite all of our flaws. I am in awe of how God brings people together to make His heart for us tangible and visible. Right now, in this season, I am particularly attuned to my shortcomings. Though I am a bit of an introvert, I am a doer. I am a wanderlust who needs to explore and adventure; an artist who needs to create; a teacher who needs to teach, but is uncertain and nervous about the new platform, and an athlete who needs to move. Though most of these can sort of be satisfied at home, the draw of the first not being satisfied in what feels like months, is a bit wearing. Part of it is my desire to drive over the mountains to check on my mom. Normally, I would hop in the car and just go. Never mind that it is three hours each way, it matters not, as I have a vehicle that runs and a music to keep me singing all the way there and back again. However, under current circumstances, it is not really an option. Yes, I suppose I could drive to Wenatchee; but mom’s entire living community is on lockdown, so I would be unable to see her anyway. It would be worse to be that close and not see her…

All that to say that I gain glimpses of God’s grace and forgiveness through the love and kindness extended to me by my husband. He loves me through my frustrations and foolishness, as he encourages and comes alongside me in things we can do. If a spouse can love and encourage well, how much more can Jesus? So much more. Jesus took it all – our sin, frustrations, shortcomings, impatience, and the like – so that we could be redeemed and made right before God, if we choose to trust in Him. I don’t know about you, but I desperately need His grace. I try, I fail; I rise, I fall short; yet, each time He picks me up, dusts me off, and encourages me to keep moving forward as He supplies all that I need to press on. May we all receive the gift of grace that God freely offers, and be covered and declared forgiven in Him.

 

We all end up short, wp-15867846099767633447882872426065.jpg

Somehow, not enough;

Too little patience,

When going gets tough.

We try and we fall,

To rise up and be;

All that we ought to,

Wrecked humanity.

Yet, there is a way,

To rise and be more;

Give room for God’s grace,

To show what’s in store.

In His forgiveness,

Mercy and His grace;

We walk out His will,

As we seek His face.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way to restore relationship with You. Thank You that Your grace covers all of our sin and shame and restores us to good standing with You. Forgive us for the times that we have not freely received what You are offering. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You first, to lead us and guide us, all the days of our lives. Show us how to love those around us with the same goodness and grace that You extend to us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the redemption that we have been given through Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 1:3

Called to Be Light

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – (Matthew 5:14-15, NIV)

“You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lamp stand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house.” – (Matthew 5:14-15, ERV)

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine!” – (Matthew 5:14-15, MSG)

 

When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we discover that we are called and created to be His light in the world. The love that He deposits in us is meant to be shared as it illuminates through us. As we allow God room to move and transform, the more clearly His heart can be made known through our words, deeds and existence. Not one of us was created to live in isolation, but rather to be invested in a community where we can live and love in such a way, that His heart is shared and He is glorified through how we live. I imagine we all can think of examples of those who shine so brightly, that others cannot help but be drawn to the loving light that they exude wherever they go. May we walk so closely with God that His love within us, shines through us, as we live and love each day that we draw breath.

 

We’re called to be light,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To make God’s love known;

Through our words and deeds,

May His light be shown.

The more that we soak,

In God’s holy space;

The more we reflect,

His love and His grace.

Choose walk with the Lord,

Seek His face to shine;

Reach out and love well,

Intended design.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be Your light unto the world. Thank You that You do not desire for any of us to live hidden or in isolation, but to be present and illuminate Your love to those around us. Thank You that Your love within us is greater than the darkness around us. Forgive us for attempting to be hidden or to isolate ourselves when You call us to be invested and present. Teach us to trust the power of Your love to light our way. Show us how to love like You, so that we may shine brightly wherever we go and bless all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your light to shine through our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46