Purposefully Produced

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. – (Galatians 5:22-23, ERV)

The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this. – (Galatians 5:22-23, VOICE)

I so appreciate that these things – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control – are all things the Holy Spirit produces in us, rather than us having to somehow will these things into existence in our lives. Rather than pursuing fruit, we are to pursue the One who grow such things within us as we follow Him. Every morning is new and He deposits fresh fruit within us as we give Him room. The more we allow God access to our hearts and lives, the more evidence of His fruit is produced within us. May we ever seek our Savior, for He grows and produces in us, good things.

The goodness of God,

Is grown from within;

Planted and rooted,

To overcome sin.

The fruit from the Lord,

Everything good;

To share with others,

His love understood.

So, seek Him each day,

All good is made new;

The fruit He’s planted,

Signs of His love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that every good thing comes from You. Thank You that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control all come from You. Thank You that as we seek and depend on You, You grow these things within us. Forgive us for the times that we have not given You access to the spaces within us that need tending or pruning. Teach us how to open our hearts and lives to You so that You can transform us to bear good fruit and reflect Your love to the world around us. Show us how to love like You in everything we do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow good fruit within us to share with those around us. Amen.

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Sweet Solitude

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed. – (Mark 1:35, NIV)

The next morning Jesus woke up very early. He left the house while it was still dark and went to a place where He could be alone and pray. – (Mark 1:35, ERV)

Early in the morning, Jesus got up, left the house while it was still dark outside, and went to a deserted place to pray. – (Mark 1:35, VOICE)

Though I wake early every morning, before sunrise, to spend time with the Lord and do my devotions, I seldom find the solitude that I seek. Between two energetic dogs and a variety of household distractions, I must be very intentional to find the solitary time and space that I need to start my day well. Jesus modeled what we ought to do to spend time with the Father in prayer. It makes me wonder if Jesus was naturally an early riser too, or if He struggled to rise early, but did so anyway. Passages like this remind me that Jesus was God in the flesh, yet He had the same sort of challenges that we do. He had to leave the house before daylight to find a solitary space to pray and focus on time with the Father. I know there is no set time that we are meant to seek the Lord, however, for me, early morning works best. Because the nature of my job is busy and ever-changing, it makes all the difference for me to begin my day with Jesus, as my heart is set right and I am reminded anew, of the importance of choosing to love in all that I say and do. When I seek Him, I am equipped to love as He loves. This is an ongoing, lifelong process, as there is a perpetual battle between God in us and the world around us. We are constantly pulled in two different directions and need Jesus to choose the way that is best. May we ever seek the Savior in prayer, for as we do, He shows us how to live and love as He intended, and He equips and empowers us to be His hands and heart to those around us.

To choose seek the Lord,

Intentionally;

Equips, empowers,

To live purposely.

The love and goodness,

That comes from the Lord;

Is freely given,

Yet often ignored.

We must choose to seek,

Spend time in His word;

Prayerfully listen,

And His way is heard.

Help us, Lord Jesus,

To ever seek You;

To lead and guide us,

In all that we do.

Dear Jesus, thank You that You modeled how to spend intentional time with the Father. Thank You that we can get away from distractions to be with You alone, when we make an intentional decision to seek You and set all else aside. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed the distractions around us to interfere with time in Your presence. Teach us to continue to seek You in solitude to learn and grow as we pray, listen, worship, and spend time in Your Word. Teach us each day to listen and follow Your heart in all that we say and do. Lead us to love those around us as You designed us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside time each day to be in Your presence, pray, and listen to Your leading. Transform us, O God, so that we clearly reflect Your love. 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

The Port of Peace

He stilled the storm to a murmur, and the waves of the sea were hushed. They rejoiced when the waves grew quiet. Then He guided them to the harbor they longed for. – (Psalm 107:29-30, HCSB)

He stopped the storm and calmed the waves. The sailors were happy that the sea became calm, and He led them safely to where they wanted to go. – (Psalm 107:29-30, ERV)

He commanded the storm to calm down, and it became still. A hush came over the waves of the sea, the sailors were delighted at the quiet, and He guided them to their port. – (Psalm 107:29-30, VOICE)

I feel like this is a perfect parallel to the end of the school year. The chaos and craziness of teaching through a pandemic, as the waves roared around us, are being silenced. At 10:30 today, teachers will be rejoicing as calm comes and we make our way into the peaceful harbor of summer. In the same way that educators have been carried through this crazy school year, God carries us through our most tumultuous storms. Challenge, heartache, illness, loss, and places we are lacking, God meets us where we are and walks beside us to the other side. There were days early on in the school year that I questioned my profession and purpose. Somehow, a way was made and things did improve. I have much hope that next year will be far better than this one. Kids will have become acclimated to being back at school, and two grade levels of students will have had a full school year on campus as they return. May we ever seek our Savior who is the calmer of the storms, and the One who is our safe harbor in whom we can delight.

With merely a word,

The storms had to cease;

Into safe harbor,

As calm is released.

Both throughout the storm,

And when the calm comes;

God will be with us,

The most Holy One.

Our anchor that holds,

No matter the waves;

Our Guide to safety,

Throughout all our days.

Now the safe harbor,

Is plainly in sight;

May we give Him praise,

Our strength and delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You can calm our chaos with merely a word, and lead us to safe harbor when the storms rage around us. Thank You that You strengthen and support us, and lead us through to places of peace. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when the storms last longer than we think they should. Teach us to ever trust in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide safe harbor and extend Your perfect peace, even when storms rage around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our anchor and our Guide throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety. – Psalm 4:8