Grace that Guides Us

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV)

Here’s what I pray for you: Father, may their love grow more and more in wisdom and insight – so they will be able to examine and determine the best from everything else. And on the day of the Anointed One, the day of His judgment, let them stand pure and blameless. – (Philippians 1:9-10, VOICE)

Though these words were Paul’s to the church of Philippi, they are applicable and relevant for us still today. I don’t know about You, but I need my love through Him to grow more and more, and to have wisdom and insight to know what is best. Also, the only way that I will be blameless when I meet Him face-to-face is through His overwhelming mercy and grace that guides us in His love. God, in His eternal love, will lead us and guide us to know what is important and what is not. Yesterday, I knew that lifting up my day at school, especially the time with my last class of the day, was important. I had no idea what would unfold, but looking back, I can see how clearly God’s hand of protection was over my students and me, and that His grace was with me in a moment that I hope will never again be repeated in my career. A student snapped and went into a fit of rage; one that included throwing desks and stools across a crowded classroom. Thankfully, no one was injured and the episode lasted less than a minute before he stormed out of the room. Now, in the aftermath, I need God’s wisdom and insight to lead and guide me as I go today (and everyday). May we ever seek the Lord to grow His love in us more and more, and to flood our hearts and minds with His wisdom and insight so that we might navigate our days in a way that is blameless before Him.

Father of mercy,

My view as I arrived on campus a few mornings ago…

This is what I pray;

For wisdom, insight,

Your help each new day.

O God, grow in me,

Your love more and more;

So I might know best,

How to stand, endure.

Help me, Lord Jesus,

To listen to You;

For You lead and guide,

Show what’s best to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us in each new moment as we trust in You. Thank You that You grow us more and more in Your love and wisdom and insight as we seek You. Thank You that You consider us blameless before You because of the sacrifice of Your Son. Forgive us for leaving You out of the loop when troubles come our way. Teach us to trust in You to grant us Your wisdom and insight so that we will know which way to go in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to come before You to listen and learn, so that we may become more of who You created us to be. 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

To Cultivate Good Fruit

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

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)

As we nourish our spirits with the goodness of God’s word and spend time seeking Him to teach us and grow us, He cultivates this sort of fruit within us. We discover love and joy, peace and patience, kindness and goodness, faith and gentleness, and our self-control rises up. Though people decide they are opposed to following Christ, I have never met anyone who was opposed to being on the receiving end of the fruit that Christ within us produces. Perhaps the opposition that people feel stems from those who claim to follow Christ, yet do not spend time with Him and give God room to transform them more into His likeness. If none of the Spirit’s fruit is evident, then the soil of the heart is parched and unable to produce the good fruit. May we ever seek the Lord and spend time in His word, for it is through our time with Him, that the soil of our heart is nourished and good fruit is produced to share with those around us.

Lord, help us seek You,

With ev’ry new day;

And grow within us,

Fruit that shows Your way.

Water and nourish,

The soil of our hearts;

As You produce fruit,

Your ways You impart.

Let Your love and joy,

Peace and patience too;

Kindness and goodness,

And faith that is true.

May Your gentleness,

And great self-control;

Show others Your heart,

As You we extol.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the fruit of Your Spirit is not something that we have to try to grow on our own, but rather is something that You plant within us and cultivate as we continue to come before You to listen and learn. Forgive us for thinking that we can just try to be better and do better, and that somehow, the fruit of Your Spirit will rise up within us. Show us what it is to give You our whole heart so that You can transform us into who You created us to become. Lead us to love as You do, in ways that make Your fruit evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to continue to grow Your fruit well within us, so that we can extend Your nourishment to those around us. Amen.

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

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification. – Romans 14:19

Shifting Seasons

Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because He gives you the autumn rain for your vindication. He sends showers for you, both autumn and spring rain as before. – (Joel 2:23, HCSB)

So be happy, people of Zion. Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

People of Zion, shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring, as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

Living in the Pacific Northwest, these words resonate with me. Right now, we are enjoying a typically extended summer. Though summer did not begin until after the 4th of July, it usually continues until the close of September. That being said, the chill of fall is in the air in the mornings. For those of us who love summer, there is a bit of mourning as the seasons shift. This passage is a great reminder that the rain that though it will come, for it always does, is a gift from God. Seldom has our area had issues with water shortage. The rains that come truly are a gift, for they are what keep our area so green throughout the year. My takeaway is simply to recognize and appreciate the shift in seasons as a gift, for it is a reminder that God is faithful.

As autumn rains come,

For they always do;

Know that God’s faithful,

As His grace shines through.

The rains have purpose,

Blessings from above;

In season, water,

That shows us His love.

The lush of the green,

Ev’rywhere surrounds;

Reminders of God,

Where true hope is found.

So, let us give thanks,

As the seasons shift;

For God’s faithfulness,

As our praise we lift.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to supply what we need in every season. Thank You that You grant us rain in the fall and springtime to help things grow and thrive. Help us to remember that You do the same for our hearts as we seek You. Forgive us for begrudgingly trudging through seasonal shifts, for we would not fully appreciate the glory of summer without the gray, rainy days. Teach us to love those around us in ways that bring refreshment and new life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your faithful provision in each new season. Amen.

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

He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. – Psalm 104:19

Seeking What is Right

“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is helpful. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything builds up. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, HCSB)

“All things are allowed,” you say. But not all things are good. “All things are allowed.” But some things don’t help anyone. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, ERV)

There’s a slogan often quoted on matters like this: “All things are permitted.” Yes, but not all things are beneficial. “All things are permitted,” they say. Yes, but not all things build up and strengthen others in the body. – (1 Corinthians 10:23, VOICE)

Just because something is allowed, does not mean it has benefit for all. There are things that are good for one, yet not so good for another. It is between each individual and God to know what is helpful and builds us up. We were created with a free will. When we choose God and live for Him, He leads us and guides us in our decisions and helps us determine what is good for us, personally. It is not our place to judge one another, each of us is responsible to answer for our own decisions. Instead of judging or worrying about what people do or do not do (within the bounds of what is legal), we ought to mind our own business and seek the Lord to lead us in all that we say and do. May we ever seek the Lord who gives us freedom, and ask Him to lead us in all that is good, helpful, and builds others up.

God gives us free will,

Allows us to choose;

What we say and do,

Perspective and views.

Yet, when we seek Him,

He shows us what’s best;

For us in our lives,

When to work, to rest.

It is by His love,

Wisdom and foresight;

That He’ll lead us on,

As we seek what’s right.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each uniquely created by You. Thank You that we have different strengths, talents and challenges. Thank You that You lead us individually; personally, according to what is best for each unique person. Forgive us for judging others for the choices they make, for we know not what is helpful and beneficial to them. Teach us to place our trust in You, and to seek You to lead us to what is good and helpful and beneficial. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead each of us in what is Your best, and to allow others the same freedom. 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

To Know is To Love

But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, HCSB)

But whoever loves God is known by God. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, ERV)

But if someone loves God, it is certain that God has already known that one. – (1 Corinthians 8:3, VOICE)

To know God is to love God, and to be known by God is to be loved by Him. The more we know God, the more we want to know. Love pursues knowing more. God, in His wisdom and grace, knows all who seek Him and loves all who choose to belong to Him. I love that God uses healthy earthly relationships to give us glimpses of the fullness of His love and kindness. For example, in a marriage, when we realize that we love our spouse, we are drawn to know them more. Likewise, when we love another, we are known by them. This is true with close friendships and family bonds as well. If we can be known by the people we love, how much more can we be known by the One who knit us together in our mother’s womb? He knows the number of hairs on our head, and everything about us. The good, the bad and everything in between, yet He loves us still. May we ever pursue the Lord, who is love, so that we learn even more to love as He loves us.

As we choose love God,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

We soon come to know;

How well we are known,

Through the grace He shows.

Ever He meets us,

With mercy and grace;

He shows us kindness,

As we seek His face.

To know and love God,

Is the greatest gift;

He shows us His heart,

And how He uplifts.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that even before we knew You, we were loved and known by You. Thank You that as we seek You and come into a relationship with You, You show us that we are known and loved. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You call us to love. Teach us to lean into Your love so that we may love likewise. Show us how to love those around us as You intended, so that many may come to know You personally. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and ever seek to know You more. Amen.

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

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. – Psalm 16:11

You Hold My Hand

Yet I am always with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me up in glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, HCSB)

But I am always with You. You hold my hand. You lead me and give me good advice, and later You will lead me to glory. – (Psalm 73:23-24, ERV)

I’m still in Your presence, but You’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then You bless me. – (Psalm 73:23-24, MSG)

David’s words are a reminder to us that when we choose God, He is always with us and takes our hand to lead us. As He leads, He guides us in His wisdom and tenderness and makes the eternal hope we have in Him, evident. There is much peace knowing that God is with us and will guide and advise us whenever we seek Him. Ultimately, His leading will lead us into eternal glory with Him. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us, so that we may walk in His ways and become who He has created us to be.

The Lord is so good,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

He’s loving and kind;

He leads and guides us,

With His good in mind.

His hands to hold us,

As gently He leads;

His love to bless us,

As He meets our needs.

Ever God is near,

He’s present to lead;

His love knows no end,

His goodness exceeds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You meet us as we seek You, and in love, You take our hands and lead us in the ways that we are meant to go. Thank You that Your direction is to grow and bless us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored Your leading to do things our own way. Teach us to trust and listen to You in all things and at all times, for in doing so, we come to understand the hope and help that is found in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your loving kindness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we extend our hands to You and trust You to lead and counsel us as we walk out each new day. Amen.

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

He renews my life; He leads me along the right path for His name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3

Ever Growing Understanding

Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude. – (Colossians 2:6-7, HCSB)

You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following Him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from Him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God. – (Colossians 2:6-7, ERV)

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live Him. You’re deeply rooted in Him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. – (Colossians 2:6-7, MSG)

When we give our lives to Christ and invite Him to live in us, we need to continue to pursue an ever growing understanding of who He is and how He loves. As we do, His Spirit in us, shows us what is good and true and how to love as He loves us. The more we grow in our understanding, the more our gratitude grows until we can no longer contain it. May we ever seek to follow and grow in the Lord, ever giving thanks to He who gives us life and love, hope and help.

We are reminded,

To trust in the Lord;

Never stop learning,

To walk in accord.

He’ll lead and guide us,

In how we should go;

He blesses, keeps us,

As in Him we grow.

Insight increases,

And so does our praise;

Love everlasting,

The Ancient of Days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You increase our understanding of who You are and how You love. Thank You that as our insight grows, so too does our gratitude. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to seek, or have withheld the praise that rises up. Teach us to trust in You and give You all thanks and praise for the good all around us. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May it ever increase. Lord, lead many to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and praise You for Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

Pleasing Words and Thoughts

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, HCSB)

May my words and thoughts please You. Lord, You are my Rock – the One who rescues me. – (Psalm 19:14, ERV)

May the words that come out of my mouth and the musings of my heart meet with Your gracious approval, O Eternal, my Rock, O Eternal, my Redeemer. – (Psalm 19:14, VOICE)

Our thoughts and words matter to God. The musings of the heart are directly linked to what we take in. For me, this means that in order to keep my thoughts from wandering down a road I need not travel, I have to be cautious about what I consume. If I set my heart on God to begin each day, I am in a better position to choose my words and direct my thoughts wisely. However, if I listen to or watch something violent or full of angst, even if my words do not reflect what I have taken in, my thoughts struggle to turn away from the unpleasant. I know some folks have a filter that simply sifts out such stuff, but as a very visual individual, it is too difficult to not keep reliving what I do not want to relive. Everyone is different, but it is important to know how we can best keep our words and thoughts turned toward God, so that what we say, think and do is a reflection of His love. May we ever seek the Lord to help set our hearts on Him so that our words and the musings of our hearts will be pleasing to God.

O Lord, let Your love,

Lead my thoughts and words;

So goodness is stored,

And grace is what’s heard.

Keep my heart upheld,

In Your loving light;

By grace filter out,

All that is not right.

Show me through Your lens,

That which needs to go;

Flood me with Your thoughts,

So Your love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You show us what it is to meditate on Your love and share it with others through all that we do and say. Forgive us for every word and thought that has not been pleasing to You. Teach us how to clear our minds of that which does not build up, and to set our sights on You and Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help keep our words and thoughts on that which is pleasing to You. Amen.

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

May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. – Psalm 104:34

Protection as We Come and Go

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever. – (Psalm 121:8, HCSB)

The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever! – (Psalm 121:8, ERV)

He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always. – (Psalm 121:8, MSG)

It is good to be reminded that God will be with us with all of our comings and goings. I love to travel, as in enjoying different destinations, but I am not a fan of flying. This timely reminder is good, as this time tomorrow, we will be on a plane, in the air, traveling to spend time with family and friends in much warmer weather. God goes before us, beside us, and brings up the rear. He is present to keep us safe and remind us that He holds us in His hands. I need not be nervous, but rather I simply need to seek and trust in Him. Time away is a gift, as is a safe return. May we ever remember the Lord’s faithfulness to protect our coming and going, and trust Him to be with us, always.

Wherever we go,

Whatever we do;

The Lord will be near,

Take us safely through.

For He knows the time,

The days of our lives;

From start to finish,

Each one is designed.

Prepared with purpose,

Goodness and His grace;

So we may choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You go before us, remain with us, and watch behind us. Thank You that You are near wherever we go. Thank You that we can trust You to keep and protect us. Forgive us for our fearfulness and nerves when we are not in control of how we get where we are going. Teach us to trust in You to lead us in wisdom and grace. Show us how to love those around us well, wherever we are. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and remain with us wherever we go, each and every day we draw breath. Amen.

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

He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield. – Psalm 91:4

Rooted to Grow in Love

…I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. – (Ephesians 3:17b-19, HCSB)

…I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. – (Ephesians 3:17b-19, ERV)

…May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. – (Ephesians 3:17b-19, VOICE)

Though this is part of Paul’s letter to the church of Ephesus, it still remains relevant for us today. The more we understand the greatness of God’s love for us, the more we pursue Him and discover that we are flooded with the goodness of His presence and the fullness of His love for us all. As we seek Him, God reveals more and more of who He is and how He loves. May we ever keep seeking the Lord and lean into His love, so that we may be filled and pour out to all those around us.

May the love of God,

Be planted in us;

Rooted, established,

Through the Lord Jesus.

The gift of His love,

Beyond what is seen;

By grace it surrounds,

Shows us what love means.

Without conditions,

His love knows no end;

The height, depth and width,

Through all things extend.

In Him we are strong,

And truly loved well;

We’re filled and equipped,

To share and to tell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love goes beyond what we could ever hope or imagine. Thank You that the more we seek You, the more we begin to grasp the depth, height, and width of the endless reach and enormity of Your love. Forgive us for not recognizing Your nearness and for neglecting to extend the same love that we have been given. Teach us to trust and rely on You to fill us to overflowing so that we can go forth and love as You call us to love. Show us how to love and encourage everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to receive all that You have to offer, and reach out to extend the same goodness that You have given us to all those around us. Amen.

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

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – Ephesians 4:15