Unlikely Allies

While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of Him!” – (Matthew 27:19, HCSB)

While Pilate was sitting there in the place for judging, his wife sent a message to him. It said, “Don’t do anything with that man. He is not guilty. Last night I had a dream about Him and it troubled me very much.” – (Matthew 27:19, ERV)

While court was still in session, Pilate’s wife sent him a message. “Don’t get mixed up in judging this noble man. I’ve just been through a long and troubled night because of a dream about Him.” – (Matthew 27:19, MSG)

I have read the account of all that Jesus endured on His way to the cross countless times. For whatever reason, what stood out to me this morning is that the most unlikely of people seemed to be in His corner. After enduring two trials and three denials, I imagine it felt like no one was for Him. Both Pilate and his wife spoke on His behalf, recognizing and declaring His innocence. Though Pilate eventually gave into the chaos of the crowd, he had spoken out about Jesus and had declared that He had done nothing worthy of death. These things make me wonder what life was like for them after Jesus had died, risen and ascended. My heart hopes that because they had been in His presence and had witnessed the heart, humility and grace that Jesus displayed, that their lives were forever changed. This morning, my prayer is that all those around us will see Jesus in us and be drawn into His goodness and grace.

Unlikely allies,

A judge and his wife;

Knew what really was,

And fought for His life.

Yet despite their words,

That which had to be;

The life of Jesus,

For you and for me.

There was not a way,

To bypass the cross;

He was not willing,

For us to be lost.

The joy of it all,

Arrived the third day;

Death couldn’t hold Him,

For He is the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is alive and active, and that You show us new things each time we are intentional to invest time in Your word. Thank You that You use unlikely people to show us more of You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder or for rushing ahead when You always have something for us to learn. Teach us to be intentional in our seeking and listening. Show us more of You in everyday and unexpected places. Lead us to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your goodness and grace and penetrate the hardest of hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pause, ponder, and praise You for all that You have done in our lives. Amen.

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

By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. – John 13:35

Effort to Grow

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, HCSB)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

If we all sought God to grow His blessings in us, we would abound in faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love. He is faithful to meet us as we seek Him, and strengthens us to rise up in these blessings He instills in us. It is up to us to pursue God and grant Him access to our heart, soul and mind so that we become more of who He has made us to be. This is not a one-time thing, but rather a life-long process. The people I know who best exemplify these things are those who continually and faithfully pursue the Lord each new day. May we ever go to God each new day that we draw breath to lead and refine us so that we more clearly reflect His heart to the world.

The Lord is faithful,

To refine each heart;

That earnestly seeks,

His grace He imparts.

True faith will rise up,

As His goodness grows;

Knowledge imparted,

Love grants self-control.

Patience, devotion,

And kindness to all;

Let Love lead the way,

Choose answer the call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we pursue You, You refine and grow us to be more like You. Forgive us for not seeking You in all things and at all times. Teach us to ever pursue Your heart to extend to the world. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your heart may be made tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow and change us to be more like You each new day. Amen.

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

So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. – 1 Corinthians 3:7

A New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, NIV)

When anyone is in Christ, it is a whole new world. The old things are gone; suddenly everything is new! All this is from God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, ERV)

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone – and see – a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God… – (2 Corinthians 5:17-18, VOICE)

When we give our hearts to God, He makes us new in Him. Beauty replaces ashes and hope rises from our spaces of despair; in Christ, all is made new. This does not mean that the struggles and trials disappear, but it means that we come to know that we never need to navigate them alone. We discover that even in the midst of darkness, we have the Light that cannot be extinguished. The Holy Spirit equips us with peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness, love, self-control and joy. All of these things and more, grant us hope to persevere and pursue a life lived in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the new He places within us, so that we might live and love as the new creation that God has made way for us to be.

United with Christ,

Our lives become new;

Hope everlasting,

Through love that is true.

In Christ, hope rises,

For He is our peace;

The Light in darkness,

Where goodness won’t cease.

He brings us beauty,

Where ashes once stood;

Hope out of heartache,

In Him there is good.

Good that delights us,

That brings what we lack;

Presence unending,

Love never held back.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we are a new creation. Thank You that You forgive us, redeem us, and make us new in the light of Your love. Forgive us for not seeking or for not embracing all that we have in You when we invest our hearts and lives in You. Teach us to trust and seek You in all things, for You are our hope and our help in all things. Lead us to love those around us as You do. Show us how to share Your hope, light and love with everyone we meet through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the new we become in You. Amen.

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

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

Because Love…

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. – (1 John 4:7, HCSB)

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him. – (1 John 4:7, TPT)

My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. – (1 John 4:7, VOICE)

We are called and created to love one another. Because God first loved us, when we seek Him and invite Him to rule and reign in our lives, we are equipped and empowered to love those around us. It is up to us to choose to seek Him and allow God to work in and through us so that we may love those around us well. As we grow in our knowledge of God and His perfect love, our desire to love as He does increases. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and lead us in love, so that we may love one another as God intended.

When God’s our Father,

We learn to love well;

The best example,

Equips us to tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Give lavishly, grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

As we seek the Lord,

He transforms our hearts;

Leads us to love well,

Shows us where to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love, but You grow us and equip us to love like You as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking, or for neglecting to allow You to lead us in love. Teach us to embrace Your goodness and grace so that we may share it with all those around us. Show us how to love each person we encounter as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually pour out to others from the abundance that You have poured into us. Amen.

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

This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

Compelled to Love

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us – not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy… – (Titus 3:4-5a, HCSB)

But then the kindness and love of God our Savior was made known. He saved us because of His mercy, not because of any good things we did. – (TItus 3:4-5a, ERV)

When the extraordinary compassion of God our Savior and His overpowering love suddenly appeared in person, as the brightness of a dawning day, He came to save us. Not because of any virtuous deed that we have done but only because of His extravagant mercy. – (Titus 3:4-5, TPT)

I am so thankful that the goodness of God is dependent on His goodness and love and not reliant on my ability to somehow earn it by doing enough good. It is His compassion and kindness that compel us to love one another, rather than something that we have done that earns our way into His good graces. His mercy is new every morning, and today I am again embracing the kindness and love He offers freely so that I might love as He loves. May we ever seek our Savior and His great love, for it is a gift He gives to all who earnestly seek Him.

The kindness of God,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is freely made known;

Not because of us,

We are called His own.

His love’s unending,

And His mercy shown;

Simply in seeking,

Our heart finds its home.

For in Him there’s peace,

Presence full of love;

Compassion and grace,

Goodness from above.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

For mercy anew;

Love overwhelming,

That leads us in truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your loving kindness and mercy are given freely, not dependent on what we have or have not done. Thank You that it is Your love and Your grace that compel us to do what You call us to do. Forgive us for thinking we can somehow earn Your favor, or acting as if we have to do enough or be enough to receive all that You lovingly and freely give. Teach us to trust in the truth of Your abundant and unending love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive what You freely offer and seek You to lead us in love. Amen.

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

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

The Throne of Grace

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. – (Hebrews 4:16, HCSB)

With Jesus as our high priest, we can feel free to come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we receive mercy and kindness to help us when we need it. – (Hebrews 4:16, ERV)

So now we draw near freely and boldly to where grace is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness. – (Hebrews 4 :16, TPT)

By Friday, I feel like I have finally reached the doorway to the throne of grace, as a break is at long last, in reach. However, I know that I can approach God anytime, for He is willing and ready to provide all that we need whenever we ask. It is interesting how much more we become aware of our need for God in times of difficulty and trials. He is good, and His mercy, kindness and help are always available to the seeking. This morning, as I prepare for the day, I again approach God to supply all that I need to navigate well. Each day is new, as are His mercies each morning. May we be intentional to come before the throne of grace to receive all that we need to persevere.

We have a high priest,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

Who is ever near;

His heart is for us,

His grace is made clear.

He grants us His strength,

When we have no more;

He leads us to peace,

Through His open door.

Show us, dear Jesus,

Your mercy anew;

Grant us peace and strength,

To live and love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have an open invitation to approach Your throne of grace to receive all that we need. Thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You supply all that is needed as we come to You. Forgive us for thinking that we have to navigate on our own, or somehow power through things that are not ours to walk through alone. Teach us to seek and rely on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You so that we may extend mercy and grace where it is needed most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to come before You to be our strength and supply. Amen.

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

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace from His fullness. – John 1:16

Abound

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, 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. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. – (Philippians 1:9, TPT)

I think we all need a bit more love and insight right now. This has been the longest season, and I can’t imagine where I would be without love. God is good, and He lovingly grants us knowledge and understanding so that we can love well. God places people in our lives who show us glimpses of His love for us. My husband, my best friend, my family and my friends all play an integral role in reminding me of the depth and breadth of God’s love for us all. Each of them encourage, challenge, and help me grow in my understanding and insight as to just how good God is and how intentionally He created us to love. May we ever keep seeking and praying for our love to abound more and more, and to continue to grow in our understanding and insight.

Hand-crafted by Christ,

Intentionally;

All made to love well,

As He helps us see.

Wisdom and insight,

Are granted to us;

So we might choose love,

As given to us.

In good times and bad,

God’s love is made clear;

In seeking, we find,

How good and how near.

Choose love each other,

No matter what comes;

With patience and grace,

Help each to become.

Become what God planned,

Live life with intent;

Choose love others well,

It’s a life well spent.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You grant us wisdom and understanding as our love ever increases through You. Forgive us for not seeking or for neglecting to love as You intended. Teach us to listen and love as You do. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made clear to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us anew with Your love and to grant us understanding and knowledge in how to navigate each day best. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You. – Psalm 86:5

Given to the Seeking

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

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)

So above all, constantly seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. – (Matthew 6:33, TPT)

When we pursue the heart and will of God for our lives, He provides all that we need. In times that I have worried about a lack, God has provided. In seasons that I have had more than enough, He has shown me how to utilize the abundance for blessing. God is faithful to meet us where we are and provide all we need as we seek to walk in His will. Though in this passage Jesus was speaking about physical needs being met, He is faithful to meet our spiritual and emotional needs as well. The Lord supplies strength when we are weary, hope when we feel lost, and peace when chaos seems to reign. It is in the seeking that we truly find, and in the pursuit of doing right by God that we discover all that we need is faithfully provided. May we ever seek the Lord and His will for our lives, for it is in our pursuit of His path that we find there He is present to help and supply what we need.

In seeking the Lord,

Is where we shall find;

God’s ways are perfect,

And His love is kind.

He makes clear a path,

For us to move on;

Grants us what we need,

And makes our hearts strong.

Each need that we have,

Is seen and is known;

By grace the Lord gives,

As His love is shown.

Strength when we’re weary,

Supply in our lack;

Peace in our chaos,

Hope to stay on track.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You supply all that we need as we faithfully seek You and Your will for our lives. Thank You that You show us the ways in which we are meant to go, and You remain present to help and uphold us. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed fear a foothold based solely on what we could see, rather than trust You and all that You do in the unseen. Teach us to trust You more, as we discover the abundant and unending faithfulness that is forever found in You. Show us how to lavishly love those around us, so each may be encouraged and built up. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue Your heart and will for how we walk out each day. Amen.

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

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – Luke 11:9-10

Live Out Love

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – (1 John 4:16, NIV)

So we know the love that God has for us, and we trust that love. God is love. Everyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them. – (1 John 4:16, ERV)

We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. – (1 John 4:16, TPT)

Once a person truly experiences the love that God has for us, there is an innate desire to know and understand more. The more we seek, the more we find. As we do, we learn to live in God’s love as He dwells in us, and cannot help but live out the same love that we have been given. The challenge is that we must trust Him to truly love like Him. When we doubt His love or lack trust, we are inhibited in our capacity to love. May we ever seek the Lord and His great love, and choose to trust and live in the love that He so lavishly provides.

To know the Lord’s love,

Our greatest blessing;

Faithful and lavish,

Worth seeking, pressing.

For each time we seek,

God’s love shall be found;

Grace unimagined,

And hope that is sound.

May we choose pursue,

The love that He gives;

So we love likewise,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we come to know and rely on Your love, we are equipped and empowered to love likewise. Forgive us for the times that we have not pursued or have lacked Your love for others. Teach us to trust and rely on You so that we may love one another like You. Show us how to love everyone whom we encounter in a way that makes Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and receive the love You have for us so that we too, may love well. Amen.

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

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind. – Psalm 107:8

Hope Nourishes Joy

But may all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; may those who long for Your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” – (Psalm 40:16, NIV)

But may those who come to You be happy and rejoice. May those who love being saved by You always be able to say, “Praise the Lord!” – (Psalm 40:16, ERV)

But may all who look for You discover true joy and happiness in You; may those who cherish how You save them always say, “O Eternal One, You are great and are first in our hearts.” – (Psalm 40:16, VOICE)

The rejoicing and gladness comes from the seeking and finding. Each time we seek the Lord, He is faithful to be found. He waits for us, patiently, and is faithful to help restore the joy that gets stolen by our circumstances, or hidden by our hurts. Joy is not dependent on that which is going on around us, but rather it is planted deep within us as we learn and lean into the Lord. It is in the recognition that we are not alone and that we have a faithful friend and father to walk beside us and lead us until He calls us home. Joy is rooted in hope, and hope is held as we choose to trust in Him. In this seemingly never-ending season of Covid and of national and international crisis, there is still joy because God is our hope. May we seek the Lord new every morning, and praise Him for the joy that He places in our hearts.

Choose cherish the Lord,

He’s where joy is found;

It’s all about hope,

In Christ, it abounds.

Give Him the sorrow,

The stress and the fear;

Allow the Lord in,

He always is near.

Let us discover,

Our hope held in Him;

That’s where joy rises,

Shines out from within.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are where our hope is held, and that because of the hope we have in You, joy rises within us. Thank You that joy is not dependent on our circumstances nor station in life, but rather is held in knowing how deeply we are loved by You. Forgive us for losing sight of the hope we have in You. Teach us to lean into You, no matter what comes. Show us how to allow the joy within us to rise up and overflow as we love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we place our hope in You, for You bring us joy and are the one deserving all of our praise. Amen.

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

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your word. – Psalm 119:114