Wisdom, Strength and Self-Discipline to Love

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them. – (2 Timothy 1:7, TLB)

 

As usual, this morning’s passage is appropriate and timely. We are not called to be fearful, but rather to be wise and strong. With so much mixed information running rampant right now, it is as if the media is attempting to isolate and instill fear in folks. Yes, there is reason to be cautious and use wisdom. Those who have compromised immune systems or are among the high-risk groups ought to be extra-vigilant and follow whatever guidelines they feel safest following; and those of us who are not, must respect and honor their need to use caution and care, yet the fear that drives massive hoarding, rather than loving others, is not a space that we are meant to live. Self-discipline is the space within us that expects the best, prepares for the worst, and extends a hand to those around us in need.

This morning, I am grateful for time over the weekend to love and enjoy being with people. Incredibly, my Viking, our best friends and I went to watch the Sea Wolves (our Seattle Rugby team) play on Saturday night. It is a somewhat small venue, yet the stands were packed. After the game, we went to go have dinner together, and the first place we attempted to go had a 30 to 40-minute wait, so we ended up going to another spot not far from there, that was far less crowded. It amazed me to see people out seeming to operate in life as usual on Saturday, and then on Sunday, to see the clear evidence of the concern in my own community. Church was much lighter than usual, (yet I know there are those who must stay home per their doctor’s recommendation, and still others who stayed home as they are fighting colds and the like), followed by a trip to the grocery store where we discovered a completely sold out toilet paper isle. May we ever seek the Lord and His Spirit, for in Him we need not fear. He grants us power, wisdom and self-discipline, and shows us how to love people best, even in the worst of times.

 

We’ve not been given, wp-15837552643821979517268994098331.jpg

A spirit of fear;

For God is with us,

He is always near.

In the Lord, there’s peace,

Strength, wisdom and love;

Power the Lord gives,

His grace from above.

All of these great things,

We’re given indeed;

To love people well,

Give as we’ve received.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not give us a Spirit of fear, but rather one of power, wisdom and self-discipline. Thank You that You give each person what they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families to stay safe and well. Forgive us for our fears and doubts, as the unknown can be a scary space. Teach us to trust You more, and to listen to Your leading as You guide us through uncharted waters. Show us how to love those around us well, as each of us have different needs in different circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You for wisdom, strength and self-discipline to love as You love us all. Amen.

 

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

 

May the God of all 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

Gifts in All

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, NIV)

Something from the Spirit can be seen in each person. The Spirit gives this to each one to help others. – (1 Corinthian 12:7, ERV)

Each believer has received a gift that manifests the Spirit’s power and presence. That gift is given for the good of the whole community. – (1 Corinthians 12:7, VOICE)

 

Currently, my pastor is in the middle of a series called, Naturally Supernatural. In this, he is unpacking the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Some of the most important points that he has made have had to do with the purpose of these gifts. First, the kingdom of God is accessed through the Spirit of God. Without Him, we cannot grow in our understanding. The gifts of the Spirit are given by grace to serve the body of Christ. They are intended to build others up, and must be used to demonstrate a heart of love. When wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, discernment, miracles, prophecy, languages of men and angels, and the interpretation of such, are utilized as God intended, the movement of God’s power in love, clears the way and brings breakthrough so that His words may be heard and received by hearts moved by the power of God’s amazing love made tangible. Another important point that was made, is that these gifts are distributed by God in His grace, not somehow earned nor manifested in some sort of hierarchy. Each gift is for the purpose of encouraging and building up the body, and not for the elevation of the recipient. Whatever we receive is intended to be utilized to serve and honor God, thus is nothing from us nor in our own wisdom or strength. May we be open to the Lord and the gifts He has for us, and ready to love others well, as we share what we have been given.

 

God births in us all, Gifts in All

Gifts of His power;

To build others up,

In love, empower.

To nourish the growth,

Of faith, hope and love;

As God moves through us,

Power from above.

Wisdom and knowledge,

Faith, healing and more;

Miracles of God,

Grow faith all the more.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts that You give to us to access, understand, serve and love more. Thank You that none are earned, but rather You freely give. Forgive us for neglecting to utilize what You give. Teach us to trust You more so that we would step out in faith and serve You by loving others well with all that You have placed in us. Show us how to love those around us, specifically and individually, so that they may understand Your goodness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love others with all that You have placed within us. Amen.

 

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

 

We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. – Romans 12:6a

United in Peace

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, ERV)

Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:3, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the celebration of life for my father-in-law with my husband, sister-in-law, her husband, and my brother-in-law. Incredibly, despite the eclectic collection of family brought together by loss, there was a sense of peace in the room, despite normal tensions between some of the various family members. Everyone seemed to set aside their differences for the sake of celebrating their eldest sibling/uncle. Stories were shared around tables, and much laughter filled the room. I think Donald would have been pleased to see smiling faces, rather than tears, and delighted at the distance that so many traveled to gather in his honor. The sentiment that Mark, his brother and I walked away with, was gratitude. We were thankful for the opportunity to see the aunts, uncles and cousins all together in one place, and to have had a positive and peaceful gathering together with family.

 

Each chance that we get,

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6/7 of the remaining siblings in top photo. Their children in photo below.

Rise up and choose peace;

Preserve what God gives,

Allow grace release.

A spirit of peace,

Invites others in;

Broadens your circle,

It’s how grace begins.

Go forth in God’s grace,

Sow always, His peace;

Let God’s love be known,

For it shall not cease.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace that grants us peace in places it seems unlikely. Thank You for empowering us with Your Spirit to extend peace wherever we go. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected our role as purveyors of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to go before us, walk beside us, and dwell within us in peace. Show us how to love those around us in ways that promote Your peace wherever we go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rise up and share Your peace wherever we go. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

The Mighty Power Within

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. – (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. – (Ephesians 6:10, TLB)

Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. – (Ephesians 6:10, VOICE)

 

Though I am an individual who has been granted a generous portion of strength, it is not unflappable, and I am very aware of my own limitations. Human strength cannot be sustained 24/7 for weeks and weeks on end. Supernatural intervention is required, if we are to rise up and answer the call to do and be more than our humanity will allow. This space of being constantly dependent on Christ is an ongoing battle. I want to be enough, do enough, and have enough to spare, yet when I revert to attempting to power through, there is never enough on my own. However, when I lean into the Lord and depend on Him, He is enough, and I am able to navigate the raging waters around me as if they were still. Christ within me, is enough; yet it must come from Him and not from me. There is a delicate balance between self and spirit, and it requires patience and wisdom and waiting to discover the difference. Christ directs our steps and strengthens us for each next step we need to take. Self runs ahead and becomes weary, before there is even a plain path on which to tread.

Mom’s speech therapist accepted a different position, leaving the current in-home company that her therapies are through, without a speech therapist. This means that she has to switch in-home care companies entirely, as her insurance will only work with one company at a time. The loss of one, results in the loss of many, including: her wonderful physical therapist, occupational therapist, and in-home nursing care team. Progress under the current team has been phenomenal, so we are praying and trusting that the new organization is equally empowering for mom’s remarkable rehabilitation and recovery. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength as He is our Source of power that moves mountains and marks milestones in mom’s healing.

 

Be strong in the Lord, Strong Heart

For He is our rock;

All strength comes from Him,

To rise up and walk.

Keep moving in faith,

Ever pressing on;

Answering His call,

When our strength is gone.

It is in that space,

Where our own strength ends;

That we discover,

On Whom to depend.

Forever faithful,

God will never leave;

His strength unending,

To Him, we must cleave.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that strength comes from You. Thank You that when we recognize that our own strength is gone, Yours is at the ready to carry us on. Forgive us for attempting to muscle our way through life’s trials, as we are not strong enough on our own. Teach us to trust and depend on You, for You have already placed Your strength within us through Your Spirit. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens, encourages and builds up hearts that are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to be our strength, always. Amen.

 

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

 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Love is a Safe Shelter

(Love) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, NIV)

Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, ERV)

Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:7, TPT)

 

God always knows what I need to hear, when I need to hear it. Part of the His design when He made me, includes a strong “mama bear” protective nature, a heart that clings closely to the hope I have in Him, and a spirit that does not understand the concept of quitting. That being said, the last eight hours seem to have stolen my ability to always protect. Though I know that ultimately, protection is in His hands, I want to do everything that I can to keep my loved ones safe at all times – physically, spiritually and emotionally. At 1:45 am, I heard a sound in the monitor that was frighteningly unfamiliar. Mom was making a sort of moaning sound that did not sound like she was sleeping. I bolted upright in bed and dashed across the hall into her room. My fear was realized as I saw her sitting on the floor, beside her bed, looking frightened and a bit dazed. Sitting beside her, I began checking for injury and looking for signs of need for emergency care. Thankfully, it appeared that she had, out of a lifelong habit of rising to use the restroom as needed, simply gone to stand up out of bed, and her legs did not support her standing for long. Before leaving acute care, we had practiced how to get up from the floor, if ever we were in such a position. Though it did not go quite as smoothly as one might hope, we managed, and all is well. Once mom was securely back in bed, with the exit side of her bed blocked better, I returned to my room and checked my phone to be sure my sister had made it home safely. In addition to her text, there was one from my boys’ dad, letting me know that they had not been treated kindly by some of their music people after their spring concert, when everyone gathered at Red Robin. I know that there is nothing that I could have possibly done to protect or prevent these things, however, the protector in me, dies a little when such things transpire. My heart hurts for my mom, as she struggles to regain movement and independence, and for my boys, who are wonderful, loving and sensitive young men, who deserve only kindness, yet are subject to the cruelty of this world. I have to remember that the love that always protects, is His, not mine. God is a far better protector that me. Though only a fool would mess with my people in front of me, I have to trust, hope and persevere, as God is greater and He always protects.

 

Love is the always,08021808042583917494678544150.jpg

That keeps things aligned;

Trust, hope, protection,

All in God’s design.

Life is a faith walk,

Where we have to choose;

To trust in the Lord,

No matter our view.

Sometimes what we see,

Seems dismal at best;

Trials and valleys,

Life’s endurance tests.

No matter what comes,

Keep trusting the One;

Who grants all we need,

‘til each day is done.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You always protect; You are always trustworthy, You are and will always be our hope; and in You, we will always have all that we need to persevere. Forgive us for our frustration when we cannot protect our loved ones from all the ills of this world; for it is broken and fallen and fallible. Thank You that You are not. Teach us to trust You more so that we would cling to You and depend on You in all things and at all times, not just for ourselves but for those we love as well. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You, hope in You, persevere in Your strength, and protect in love, allowing Your love to lead our every step. Amen.

 

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

 

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” – Psalm 91:2

 

 

The Source of Self-Discipline

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to put His power into practice. There was an internal battle based on what I observed, and “Mama Bear Mode” kicked into high gear. I was infuriated without knowing the full extent of the circumstances surrounding what I saw, and it took every ounce of love and self-control to hold it together. Though I did not take it out on anyone, it took at least a half an hour for me to settle down internally, and let go of the anger I was holding. Love took over, and lifted me up so that I could move forward and focus on the tasks that were set before me. The Spirit of God is faithful to meet us when we are willing to ask and allow Him to move. My hope is that the next time I find myself so upset, that I stop, breathe, and give it to God immediately. May we look to the Lord to be our strength, the One who loves us through our lack and helps us exercise self-control when our instinct wants to do otherwise.

 

We need not have fear, The Mirror of the Heart

For that which we face;

As God’s always near,

Ready with His grace.

Grace to bring us calm,

And keep in control;

To choose His great love,

That we’re meant to hold.

When life overwhelms,

He’s faithful to hear;

Each request we make,

Answered with Him near.

All praise to the Lord,

Whose love never ends;

Embraces with grace,

In power, He sends.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your power, love and self-discipline that You grant to those who seek You. Forgive us when we allow our circumstances to overwhelm us, rather than placing them in Your hands. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would slow down and seek Your help in all things and at all times. Show us how to love those around us in a way that brings peace, power and calm in the midst of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we go forth in Your power, love and self-control. Amen.

 

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

 

You are the God who performs miracles; You display Your power among the peoples. – Psalm 77:14

Willful Obedience

Just as Jesus was coming out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.” – (Mark 1:10-11, NIV) 

But as Jesus was coming out of the waters, He looked up and saw the sky split open. The Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove, and a voice echoed in the heavens. “You are My Son, My beloved One, and I am very pleased with You.” – (Mark 1:10-11, VOICE) 

 

In an act of obedience, Jesus went out to His cousin, John, in the desert, and asked to be baptized. At first John was reluctant, as he knew that God was doing something incredible through Jesus, and did not feel worthy to baptize Him. After a brief exchange, John agreed, and as he did, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God made His presence known, and proclaimed from above, who Jesus was and how He felt about Him. The obedience of both Jesus and John opened the way for God to make Jesus’ significance known. I can only imagine the awe and wonder that took place in those who were nearby. Not only did they witness His willful act of obedience, but they saw the Spirit of God descend upon Jesus, as they heard the voice of God. Though we are not the Son of God, we are His children. When we choose to willfully obey, we make room for others to see His power and goodness at work in and through us. Our charge is to love God and love people. As we do, His heart is made known to those around us, whether they realize it is Him or not. May we ever seek the Lord and walk in willful obedience, so that He may make Himself known to those around us. 

 

The power of God, willful obedience

A choice to obey; 

God makes His heart known, 

When we walk His way. 

As children of God, 

We each have the call; 

To seek the Lord’s strength, 

And show love to all. 

May we one day hear, 

A similar claim; 

That God’s pleased with us, 

As we’ve walked His way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You empower us to do all that You say. Forgive us for the times that we have ignored or delayed in walking out the things that You call us to do. Teach us to trust You more, so that we love others as we are loved by You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that expresses Your loving kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk in willful obedience to all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

And walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2

Faith is an Action Word

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. – (James 2:26, NLT) 

A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith – faith that does nothing is dead. – (James 2:26, ERV) 

Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse. – (James 2:26, VOICE) 

 

Faith is a verb. It is an action word that requires something of us to exist. Our decisions to step out beyond ourselves and do the things that God calls us to, are those that define and breathe life into faith. Just as we have no life without breath, faith has not formed without follow through. Faith grows as we continue to move forward in the direction to which we are called. Each new step fortifies our faith and makes it tangible. May we move forward in faith, ever trusting in God, who grants all that we need, so that our faith will grow and His faithfulness show, in all that we say and do. 

 

Lord, lead us forward,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

To trust and obey; 

So faith may take root, 

You do what You say. 

The things that You ask, 

Require we choose faith; 

A trust that steps out, 

Certain of God’s grace. 

As we choose to trust, 

Allow faith to rise; 

We see You move, Lord, 

Before our own eyes. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that faith is not a mere idea nor theory, but rather it is an intentional action as we move forward, trusting that You are who You say You are, and that You will do what You say You will do. Forgive us for the times that our faith has faltered and we have stayed stagnant when You call us to move. Teach us to trust You more, ever leading us to take steps in the direction You call us to move. Show us how to love those around us in a way that inspires faith. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be people of faith-filled action. Amen.

 

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

 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6

Provision of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV) 

I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way that the world does. So don’t be troubled. Don’t be afraid. – (John 14:27, ERV) 

I leave the gift of peace with you – My peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but My perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts – instead, be courageous! – (John 14:27, TPT) 

 

Jesus came to us, lived, loved, taught, modeled and performed miracles to show us His love and peace that last forever. When He returned to the Father, He sent His Spirit to be our peace, present in all things and at all times. God’s peace conquers fear and concern, and grants courage and strength where there seemingly should be none. The peace He left is present always, we need only seek Him to be made aware of what is already there. May we ever seek the Lord to be our peace, no matter what stands before us, for He is greater than all. 

 

Provision of peace, Provision of Peace

The Lord God, He gives; 

To all who choose seek, 

Among us, He lives. 

Peace comes in knowing, 

The strength of our Source; 

The power of love, 

Infallible force. 

All trust we can give, 

To our God, Most High; 

He answers in love, 

Every heart cry. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make peace possible, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You for Your presence that provides perfect peace. Forgive us for allowing our circumstances or surroundings to steal our peace, when You are ever-present to provide. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You when chaos seems to surround us, and praise You when we are aware of Your nearness that is providing our peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that extends Your peace to places of unrest, as You alone help us to love best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in all things and at all times to be our Provider of Your perfect peace. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Understanding Leads to Gratitude

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47,49, NIV) 

Mary said, “With all my heart I glorify the Lord! In the depths of who I am I rejoice in God my Savior, because the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His Name.” – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, CEB) 

And Mary sang this song: “My soul is ecstatic, overflowing with praises to God! My spirit bursts with joy over my life-giving God! The Mighty One has worked a mighty miracle for me; holy is His Name. – (Luke 1:46-47, 49, TPT) 

 

As I continue to read through and take in the story of Jesus’ arrival, I am moved by the willingness and awareness that Mary had, as the miracle of Christ was coming into existence through her humility and faith. She stands in continuous awe at the wonder unfolding in her life, and gives God praise for who He is and what He is doing. “Her humble perspective forms the basis of her gratitude. The exemplary character of Mary grows out of her understanding of God’s character.” – (The IVP New Testament Commentary) Mary’s example demonstrates how we ought to view both ourselves and our Mighty God. She recognized that though God owed her nothing, He had chosen her. Consequently, Mary knew that God ought to have all – her heart, soul, mind and strength, because He is the One who is holy and deserving of all praise. May we also recognize the holiness of God, the great things that He has done, and as a result, offer all of our praise. 

 

Let all that I am,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Offer the Lord praise; 

For who our God is, 

And all of His ways. 

My heart cannot help, 

But give thanks to Him; 

For all He has done, 

Brought light where life’s dim. 

May my very soul, 

All that’s within me; 

Honor God always, 

As His love sets free. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our Mighty God who does wonderful things and the One alone who deserves all of our gratitude. Forgive us for not recognizing and honoring You for who You are and all that You do. Teach us how to recognize the everyday wonder that You place in our path and the people whom You provide as blessings in our lives. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects our gratitude and awe at who You are and how You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You with all that we are for who You are and all that You do. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. – Colossians 3:16