Living Love

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love is made evident as we choose to love one another. His love is perfect and complete. The more we seek Him to lead us in love, the better we reflect His heart to the world and show those around us who He is. Though none of us are perfect in love, we are all loved perfectly by God. As we embrace His goodness and grace, we are better equipped to love others well. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His perfect love, and then go and love those around us in the same way.

God’s love is made clear,

As we choose to love;

It chases off fear,

All grace from above.

His love is perfect,

He loves perfectly;

With loving kindness,

He sets our hearts free.

Set free from the things,

That keep us from love;

And shows us the way,

That we each are loved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is perfect and Your heart for us is to reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen nor reflected Your love to those around us. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You lavishly give so that we too, may love as You intended us to love. Show us new ways to love those around us well, so that Your heart would be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other with Your love that lives in us. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Protective Plumage

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

You can go to Him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies. You can trust Him to surround and protect you like a shield. – (Psalm 91:4, ERV)

Like a bird protecting its young, God will cover you with His feathers, will protect you under His great wings; His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you. – (Psalm 91:4, VOICE)

Feathers provide protection, warmth, and the structure to support flight. The imagery of being covered with God’s feathers is one that feels gentle and strong, supportive and freeing, as protection and warmth are things that make us feel secure enough to spread our wings and take flight. Being surrounded by His wings provides a safe, warm space where we can rest and take refuge in Him. In this season, as the busy and unexpected challenges arise, it is so good to know that we have a safe space where we are covered, protected, and supported so that we can keep moving forward. May we ever seek the Lord to cover us with His wings, as He surrounds us like a shield and teaches us to take flight.

We are protected,

Surrounded, kept warm;

A shield about us,

Through all of life’s storms.

Covered by strong wings,

To rest and delight;

Renewed and strengthened,

So we may take flight.

To soar each season,

We find ourselves in;

And rise in His strength,

Despite where we’ve been.

Lean into His wings,

Both gentle and strong;

Secure and stable,

By grace we belong.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cover us with Your strong and gentle wings, and You protect and encourage, through all that life brings. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when we lose sight of Your nearness. Teach us to lean into You and to rest in the hollow of Your wings. Show us how to love those around us with similar gentleness, protection and strength. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cover us with Your wings. Amen.

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

Keep me safe, my God, for in You I take refuge. – Psalm 16:1

Clean and New

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

God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. – (Psalm 51:10, ERV)

Create in me a clean heart, O God; restore within me a sense of being brand new. – (Psalm 51:10, VOICE)

As I gaze upon the freshly fallen snow, and the world looks clean and new, I am reminded that God does this for us each time we ask. He wipes away all of our guilt and shame, and provides a new start as we seek Him. Each time I fall short and am given a fresh start, I am compelled to do and be better. God is faithful to meet us each time we seek Him, and His heart is to ever give us a fresh start. May we ever seek the Lord to cleanse us and strengthen us so that we may clearly reflect His goodness and His love.

O God, cleanse my heart,

May it be made pure;

Strengthen my spirit,

As You remain near. 

Lead me in Your love,

May Your heart move mine;

To love others well,

And always be kind.

With each brand new day,

May I rest assured;

That You are with me,

In You I’m secure.

Ever Your faithful,

So we should be too;

Deepen my love, Lord,

So I love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You cleanse us and make us new, and You strengthen us for all that we are called to do. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, for You are faithful forever. Teach us how to trust You more, so that from the moment we rise to the close of our day, we operate in the lavish goodness of Your unending love. Show us how to love those around us well, and to forgive as we have been forgiven by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they come to know who You are and how You love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cleanse us and strengthen us by Your love so that we may love likewise. 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

Breathe New Life

This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: ”I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” – (Ezekiel 37:5–6, NIV)

This is what the Lord God says to you: “I will cause breath to come into you, and you will come to life! I will put sinew and muscles on you, and I will cover you with skin. Then I will put breath in you, and you will come back to life! Then you will know that I am the Lord.” – (Ezekiel 37:5-6, ERV)

God, the Master, told the dry bones, “Watch this: I’m bringing the breath of life to you and you’ll come to life. I’ll attach sinews to you, put meat on your bones, cover you with skin, and breathe life into you. You’ll come alive and you’ll realize that I am God!” – (Ezekiel 37:5-6, MSG)

If God can call an army of dead bones to life, He can bring life to the places in our lives that seem lifeless, hopeless, or simply beyond what we can handle on our own. As I await a surgery date and dread the process that looms ahead, I can trust that God will carry me through. The same God that breathed life into a valley of dry bones, knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knows the number of hairs on my head and can restore anything that is out of alignment. Sometimes, He moves miraculously, and other times, He utilizes modern medicine and people to perform that which was seemingly impossible a few decades ago. Despite my anxiousness for what lies before me, I know I can trust in Him to be with me, hold me up, and restore what is not as it should be. May we ever seek the Lord when we find ourselves in a seeming valley of dry bones, and trust in Him to do far more than we ever thought possible.

When in the valley,

That’s lifeless and dry;

God can breathe new life,

Hope we can’t deny.

He is light and life,

When things may seem dim;

He brings help and peace,

As we let Him in.

Keep seeking the Lord,

His love is for all;

Our great Provider,

Hears us when we call.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to listen to our every prayer, and that You can do exceedingly more than we could hope or imagine. Thank You that You are life and breath, hope and help, throughout all of our days. Forgive us for seeing only the dry and lifelessness in the valleys, rather than the opportunities for You to do something new and miraculous. Teach us how to trust and depend on You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we can be extensions of Your life and love, peace and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we watch for You to move in the places that seem overwhelmingly desolate. Amen.

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

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. – Genesis 2:7

A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

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)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Love Deeply

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

The more we love one another, the more willing we are to give grace when others are not at their best. Incredibly, when we choose to love, the recipient wants to do and be better too. Many times I have been on the receiving end of love that I did not deserve, and each time, it compelled me to love more deeply and forgive more freely, for this is how Jesus loves us all. As we march forward into the holiday season, may we be intentional to love each other deeply. We know not the burden that others are carrying, so as we interact with those around us, may we give grace and extend love to all. 

To love steadily,

Is to look past faults;

Ever giving good,

Through word, deed and thoughts.

For grace upon grace,

Is what we’ve received;

God’s loving kindness,

Brought us to believe.

Let’s rise with purpose,

Give grace and forgive;

Love without limits,

And choose freely give.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on our behavior, performance, or goodness. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not given grace and not chosen to love. Show us how to love in every circumstance. Make a way for Your heart to be made evident to all. Lead us in Your unending love and overwhelming grace to treat those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love others so deeply that we are ever willing to forgive their faults, just as You have forgiven us. Amen.

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

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Cannot Be Shaken

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. – (Hebrews 12:28, NIV)

So we should be thankful because we have a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And because we are thankful, we should worship God in a way that will please Him. We should do this with respect and fear. – (Hebrews 12:28, ERV)

Therefore, let us all be thankful that we are part of an unshakable Kingdom and offer to God worship that pleases Him and reflects the awe and reverence we have toward Him. – (Hebrews 12:28, VOICE)

This is the hope that we can hold forever, no matter what happens here, we have a home we are headed to that cannot be shaken. The very One who created the heavens and the earth, created us and made the way for us to have Him with us now, and spend eternity in His presence. Our gratitude to God ought to pour out through worship as we are intentional to reflect on who He is and how He loves. The way we live, the way we speak, and the way we treat people all can be ways that we worship God with our lives. Such worship reflects our awe and reverence for the King of kings. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to allow our lives to reflect His goodness and live out a lifestyle of worshiping Him. 

The Kingdom of God,

Goes beyond what’s seen;

Glory imagined,

Much more than a dream.

For He has prepared,

A place for us all;

Amidst His glory,

Where we are each called.

Come let us worship,

In awe we bow down;

Before our Maker,

In Whom hope is found.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that in You, we receive Your kingdom now and for all eternity. Your kingdom dwells in our hearts and grants us strength and hope in all things. Thank You that You are as near as our next breath. Forgive us for our fears and doubts as circumstances shake us. Teach us to put all of our trust in You, the only One who cannot be shaken. Show us how to love like You so that those around us come to know Your loving kindness and limitless power. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we worship You with all that we are in reverence and awe. Amen.

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

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. – Psalm 125:1

In All Things Praise

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – (Colossians 3:17, NIV)

Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus. – (Colossians 3:17, ERV)

Surely, no matter what you are doing (speaking, writing or working), do it all in the name of Jesus our Master, sending thanks through Him to God our Father. – (Colossians 3:17, VOICE)

This verse, paired with what I know and love about the Psalms, remind me that it is okay to struggle with and lament what is going on, yet we must ultimately fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. David was a man after God’s own heart, and he questioned, lamented and cried out to God, yet ever kept perspective on who God is and gave Him the thanks that belongs to God alone. Right now, I am still reeling a bit from the prognosis I received from the specialist on Wednesday. I am still grateful that the carcinoma was discovered sooner than later, yet I am very much dreading the process of the prescribed procedure. It is not the pain I fear, but rather my body’s reaction to the process. God is good, and He will supply all that I need, however, my humanity is not looking forward to any of it, and the specialist’s insistence that I be fast-tracked to have the surgery sooner than later, adds a bit of angst as well. This is the space that I can pause and remember God’s incredible faithfulness in my life thus far, and His kindness to provide a long weekend to process and prepare my heart before heading back into the work week. Additionally, there is just enough activity sprinkled in, that I will not have too much time to dwell on what lies ahead. There is time to rest, to spend time with my loved ones, to cuddle my dogs extra often, to coach my gymnasts as they are working on building routines, and to celebrate the retirement of one of our dearest friends. I am missing my mom and sister terribly this holiday weekend, but know that I can joyfully anticipate time together at Christmas. May we ever fix our eyes on Jesus, our Help and our Hope in all things, and give Him all of our praise for His faithfulness throughout all of our days.

O Lord, in all things,

Will You help me praise;

Your great faithfulness,

Throughout all my days.

Each day You are good,

Even when life’s not;

You share our burdens,

Each time that You’re sought.

Thank You for kindness,

For goodness and grace;

For hope and Your help,

On difficult days.

Thank You, Lord Jesus,

That You’re good always;

And Your faithfulness,

Is reason to praise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, loving and kind, and the Provider of all that we need each day. Thank You that no matter what lies ahead, we have You to walk beside us and to carry us when we can walk no further. Forgive us for our fears of the unknown, for You are known in all, even when what lies ahead is not. Teach us to trust You more each day, and lead us to live out each day trusting in Your unfailing love that never leaves us. Show us how to love, encourage and support those around us in ways that make Your love tangible and Your goodness evident. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to praise You throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:6

Peace and Gratitude

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 hearts fall under the rule of the Anointed’s peace (the peace you were called to as one body”, and be thankful. – (Colossians 3:15, VOICE)

We are called to be the body of Christ together in peace. When we allow gratitude to rule our thinking, Christ’s peace reigns in our hearts and we are empowered to peacefully be together as one. Peace among the body does not mean that we are all exactly alike, but it instead means that we appreciate and honor one another’s strengths and perspectives. May we ever seek the Lord with grateful hearts, and allow Him to lead us to be one body, united in purpose.

With grateful hearts,

We are called to peace;

To be the body,

Where love is released.

As we give God room,

To reign in our hearts;

Gratitude rises,

We’re shown how to start.

Honor each other,

Seek to understand;

Let thanks overflow,

Side by side, we stand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundant blessings that You pour out upon us as You have placed us in communities on purpose, with a purpose. Thank You that in You, there is peace, and that You show us how to function together in Your peace. Forgive us for allowing our egos to get in the way. Show us how to allow gratitude to rise and Your peace to permeate all that we say and do. Teach us how to love those around us in ways that unite us in purpose and bind us in Your perfect love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with grateful hearts and trust You to lead us to be the body in Your perfect peace. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1

To Live and Love With Wisdom

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. – (James 3:17, HCSB)

But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good for others. This wisdom is always fair and honest. – (James 3:17, ERV)

But the wisdom from above is always pure, filled with peace, considerate and teachable. It is filled with love and never displays prejudice or hypocrisy in any form. – (James 3:17, TPT)

In order to be the person that God has called and created me to be, I need His wisdom. I desire to be pure, peaceful, gentle and easy to please, and I long to do good for others without favoritism or hypocrisy. This does not naturally flow from humans on our own, but rather these traits grow in us when we seek the Lord and His wisdom. May we ever invest our hearts, minds and lives into knowing and growing in the Lord, so that we may live a life of love that bears good fruit.

The wisdom of God,

Bears beautiful fruit;

Pure, peaceful, loving,

Good soil grows deep roots.

Roots that are planted,

Secure in God’s love;

Seek to love others,

Like the Lord above.

Gentle with mercy,

Looking to do good;

Loving all others,

As God’s children should.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You teach us to seek You for wisdom, as Your wisdom teaches us to love as You do. Thank You that You are gentle, peace-loving and full of mercy, and that Your love extends to all who seek You no matter where we have come from or what we have done. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought Your wisdom to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You, for You alone know how to live and love best. Show us how to love wisely so that all those around us might come to know the power of Your loving kindness and the peace that is found in Your presence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for the wisdom to live and love in the ways You have called and created us to live. Amen.

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

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. – Ephesians 1:17