Choose the Good

So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. – (Galatians 6:9, HCSB)

We must not get tired of doing good. We will receive our harvest of eternal life at the right time. We must not give up. – (Galatians 6:9, ERV)

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued from doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. – (Galatians 6:9, MSG)

Choosing to do what we know we are called to do will make a difference. Sometimes, it is far more slowly than we would like, but I imagine in the wait, we are being taught to persevere. Ongoing, repeated faithfulness will reap a reward. Over time, it breaks down barriers and brings something good where light was missing. The more we invest in Christ and walking in His will, the more we witness Him working on our behalf. I am thankful that there is a weekend at the close of a work week, as it provides opportunity to rest and recharge, as Christ replenishes our resolve to press on in all that we have been called to do. May we ever seek the Lord to empower us to press on in doing good, for He is our reward and works on our behalf.

Lord, grant us the strength,

To keep doing good;

Because of Your love,

We know that we should.

Not in our own strength,

But Lord, it’s with Yours;

That love will lead us,

In grace, open doors.

Show us Your kindness,

Fill us with Your grace;

Lead us to choose love,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to do good. Forgive us for the times that we either try to muscle our way through things on our own, or choose not to do good when we know we need to do so. Teach us to lean into You for strength and encouragement so that we may do the good that You designed us to do. Show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to do good in the grace of Your unending love. Amen.

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

Taste and see that the Lord is good. How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him! – Psalm 34:8

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

Peace At All Times

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33, NIV)

“I have told you these things so that you can have peace in Me. In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world!” – (John 16:33, ERV)

“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!” – (John 16:33, TPT)

Jesus came so that we would know His peace, no matter what troubles come our way. We are not guaranteed a trouble-free life, rather, we are promised that He who is our peace will be present, always. The last few years have provided their fair share of trouble. Despite the trials that have come our way, God has shown us His peace, grace and love in tangible ways. All that we go through, Jesus has already experienced. Heartache, loss, frustration, anger, despair – He has been there. Because He knows, He is able to be our peace in the storms. Jesus took it all to the cross, buried it in the grave, and rose so that we would know His hope and peace, no matter what comes our way. God affords us courage when the giants stand before us, for He has already overcome them all. May we turn to Christ in all things, as He is our mighty Prince of Peace.

Though troubles will come,

One thing remains true;

The God of all peace,

Is for me and you.

His grace is enough,

To weather the storms;

He says, “Peace, be still,”

As His love informs.

So, trust in the Lord,

For His peace is true;

Present for us all,

And strength He renews.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we will face and endure troubles and trials, we can know Your perfect peace in the midst of all. Thank You that Your peace is not dependent on our storms, but rather our storms are in desperate need of Your peace. Forgive us for seeking peace anywhere other than through You. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace to those around us. Lead us in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your perfect peace that is ever available when we seek Your presence. Amen.

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

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” – Numbers 6:24-26

So Much More

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – (Luke 3:16, NIV)

John’s answer to this was, “I baptize you in water, but there is someone coming later who is able to do more than I can. I am not good enough to be the slave who unties His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” – (Luke 3:16, ERV)

But John made it clear by telling them, “There is one coming who is mightier than I. He is supreme. In fact, I’m not worthy of even being His slave. I can only baptize you in this river, but He will baptize you into the Spirit of holiness and into His raging fire.” – (Luke 3:16, TPT)

As we have begun to march our way through December, I have decided to join in and read the corresponding chapter of Luke each day, leading to Christmas eve. This morning, as I read through Luke 3, verse sixteen stood out to me as a reminder of how we ought to view the season. In this season of Advent, the waiting for “The Arrival”, there is a powerful opportunity to look back on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Even before Jesus began His ministry, there were indicators along the way that pointed out just how powerful and significant Jesus would be. John, the cousin of Jesus, had been raised up to faithfully follow God, and grew in wisdom and boldness as he faithfully taught and baptized all who were ready to hear and follow after God. Despite his following, John always pointed people to look forward to Jesus and the mighty power He would hold. In the same way, we ought to fix our eyes on Jesus, as He came to us as a baby, but returned to heaven as our Eternal King. May we marvel at God’s goodness this season, as He sent His Son to save us so that we might know the power of His Spirit within and among us.

The good we see now,

Is merely a glimpse;

Of what is to come,

That yet to exist.

Our hope, heavenward,

Where light and love dwell;

Let our hearts choose Him,

As we’re loved so well.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to dwell among us and show us the love and power, goodness and hope that is found in You. Forgive us for losing sight of the reason for the season. Teach us to look at the entire picture, not just the snapshot of a baby in a manger. Show us how to love those around us in practical and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and study Your word to better grasp the goodness held in life with You. Amen.

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

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. – John 16:13

Receive to be Rooted

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. – (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV)

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)

In the same way you received Jesus our Lord and Messiah by faith, continue your journey of faith, progressing further into your union with Him! Your spiritual roots go deeply into His life as you are continually infused with strength, encouraged in every way. For you are established in the faith you have absorbed and enriched your devotion to Him! – (Colossians 2:6-7, TPT)

When we choose Christ, we must continue to live in Him. This transpires as we seek Him, depend on Him, and allow Him to be our life and strength. We grow stronger in faith and understanding, which leads us to continually give Him thanks. In this season of intentional gratitude, may we ever recognize all that God has done, and allow our lives to overflow with our thanks to Him through living lives of love.

Just as we received,

Jesus Christ as Lord;

May we continue,

By grace He affords.

As we choose press on,

Our faith further grows;

We are established,

While love overflows.

Through goodness and grace,

May our roots grow deep;

Rooted in His love,

Strengthened as we seek.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we receive all that You freely offer, You strengthen and grow our faith. Thank You that in You, we have countless reasons to give thanks. Forgive us for losing sight of an eternal perspective, as our eyes get diverted by the troubles of the times. Teach us to fix our eyes on You, the Author and perfecter of our faith. Show us how to seek You to lead us in love and strengthen us to live out Your love with all whom we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek, receive, trust and grow in Your goodness and love. Amen.

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

…And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:17-18

Wisdom in Seeking

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – (James 3:13, NIV) 

Are there any among you who are really wise and understanding? Then you should show your wisdom by living right. You should do what is good with humility. A wise person does not boast. – (James 3:13, ERV) 

Who in your community is understanding and wise? Let his/her example, which is marked by wisdom and gentleness, blaze a trail for others. – (James 3:13, VOICE) 

Thankfully, I am blessed to be surrounded by some very wise folks. Their example of wisdom, understanding, gentleness and humility, encourage and challenge me to do and be better. Though I know wonderful examples, the ultimate example is Jesus. He walked in wisdom, humility and gentleness, ever reaching out to do good for those He encountered. He helped, He healed, He encouraged, He taught, He loved, He touched, He cared, and He provided – to name a few. If all of us were to seek Him to equip us to follow His example, our lives would be reflections of His. May we ever seek the Lord to be our strength and teacher, so that we may grow in wisdom and understanding, and humbly and gently walk out our days in His love. 

The gift of wisdom, 

Grows greater with time; 

As we seek to love, 

Keep others in mind. 

A sweet gentleness, 

With humility; 

Extends His goodness, 

Lord, let love lead me. 

Show us Your goodness, 

Lead us in Your grace; 

Grant us Your wisdom, 

As we run our race. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You grant us Your wisdom and grace. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You. Teach us to seek You to grow in wisdom and gentleness, so that we may humbly love as You love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grant us wisdom so that we might do good in humility and gentleness. Amen. 

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

Teach us to number our days so that we may truly live and achieve wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

Speaking the Truth in Love

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

But instead we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth. All our direction and ministries will flow from Christ and lead us deeper into Him, the anointed Head of His body, the church. – (Ephesians 4:15, TPT)  

 

This is such a critical element to growing together as a body. It is not merely speaking the truth, but speaking the truth in love. There is a dramatic difference. Truth in love seeks to help, heal, correct, and make better, every situation and circumstance with ultimate good as the goal. The intent should never be to harm, but rather be to help grow in likeness to Christ. Additionally, we must be careful with our own walk, before we become concerned with the decisions of those around us. Of course, we can care, but in order to be a loving bearer of truth, we must be living out the truth we speak, daily. To speak truth anywhere, there first must be trust. Trust only comes through invested time in relationship. If we are to grow and become mature as a body of believers, we have to be willing to break down barriers, get to know and trust one another, so that we are able to grow together. As we do, speaking the truth in love becomes a “normal” practice, in the same way it does between dear friends, healthy spouses, and various other relationships that are built on trust. May we seek the Lord to grow and mature us in our trusting relationships with Him and those around us, so that we may always speak the truth in love, in the same way that He speaks to us.

 

May truth be spoken,Speak the Truth in Love

Ever wrapped in love;

With intent to grow,

Heart like God above.

For when there is trust,

There’s a heart to hear;

What will lead to good,

As love removes fear.

To grow together,

In trust and God’s good;

Let love lead in truth,

To do as we should.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us what it is to speak the truth in love. Jesus came and taught, loved, corrected, redirected, and showed us what it is to walk in Your way and grow together as a body. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without love or without truth; the absence of either is not the way You intended for us to grow. Teach us to trust and rely on You to show us how to build and establish relationships that are full of trust, so that there is safety to always speak the truth in love. Show us how to love those around us in word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people, ever seeking to speak the truth in love for Your glory. Amen.

 

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

 

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Prioritizing Peace and People

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

So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. – (Romans 14:19, MSG)

So then, make it your top priority to live a life of peace with harmony in your relationships, eagerly seeking to strengthen and encourage one another. – (Romans 14:19, TPT)

 

On one hand, if I observe what is going on in our neighborhood, our schools, our community, our church, our city and beyond, I see much effort being set forth to encourage and strengthen one another. Cheerful greetings to neighbors when out for fresh air, kind words of encouragement for essential workers around town, breakfast and lunch provision for all students in our area, groceries provided by local churches and businesses to families in need, and an outpouring of support for the medical and emergency services community – these all are beautiful efforts to get along and help one another. However, if I turn on the news, I am bombarded with stories seemingly intent on division. Yes, it is important to remain informed, but perhaps small doses are best to avoid being zapped of our resolve to remain invested in doing good. No act of kindness is ever wasted. Though we may not see the results, we never know the impact a generous gesture, kind word, or simply a smile can have on a person. As so many of us are in positions of having to learn an entirely new way of doing our jobs, there are others that are grieving the loss of theirs, and still others who are essential and continue reporting to work as usual, though nothing is usual, all while kids attempt to do remote learning, parents attempt to monitor, help and teach, and everyone needs kindness and encouragement in the process. If we can get along and be at peace in the process, each will be able to successfully navigate their own new. Support and encouragement are beneficial to all, so perhaps we can each be extra generous with kindness in this season. May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification, so all may rise better than when we began.

 

In kindness reach out, wp-15876457419175102346464464401560.jpg

Encourage, lift up;

A blessing of peace,

Fills everyone’s cup.

No act of kindness,

Is ever for naught;

For love and goodness,

Sometimes need be taught.

Taught through our actions,

Not just spoken words;

It requires motion,

For love is a verb.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the ultimate provider of peace and encouragement in our lives. Thank You that as we seek You, You show us how to find peace in our relationships and how to best encourage and lift up those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to do the things that lead to or maintain peace, or have stayed silent when we were meant to encourage. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would pursue peace through You, and ever look for opportunities to encourage and strengthen those around us. Show us how to love others best, so that they may know Your perfect peace through encouragement and edification. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make every effort to get along with others and to encourage and lift each other up. 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

Clear the Temple

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” He said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer’, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.” – (Matthew 21:12-13, NIV)

Jesus went into the Temple area. He threw out all those who were selling and buying things there. He turned the tables that belonged to those who were exchanging different kinds of money. And He turned over benches of those who were selling doves. Jesus said to them, “The Scriptures say, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer’. But you are changing it into a ‘hiding place for thieves.” – (Matthew 21:12-13, ERV)

 

My focus this week is to take a deeper look at the series of events that took place leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus. On the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus left Bethany, cursed a fig tree, cleansed the temple, healed and taught in the temple (as God intended), left the city, and returned back to Bethany where He stayed the night. The portion of scripture that stood out to me, was the passage where Jesus, in His righteousness, cleared out of the temple, that which did not belong. He did not just clear out what did not belong, but went on and loved, touched, taught and healed, according to what did belong in His Temple. Jesus did not simply say how things needed to be, but rather He modeled it through every aspect of His life. The way that Jesus cleansed the temple demonstrated His authority and His passion for His Father’s house, and the way that He restored the space to what it was intended through His loving people well, reminds us of the kindness of God. May we take time this week to clear the temple of our hearts and rid ourselves of anything that does not belong, and allow the Lord to restore us with His loving kindness and grace that reaches out and loves as He so passionately loves each of us.

 

Within all our hearts, Restore to Me the Joy

There’s things to be cleared;

Misguided beliefs,

Irrational fears.

We have a Savior,

In love, who comes near;

He’ll wash away waste,

Make our value clear.

As we know our worth,

We love differently;

No longer hindered,

Able to be free.

Free to love greatly,

As God first loved us;

Love with abandon,

Just like our Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose the difficult road because of Your great love for us. Thank You that You cleared the temple of what did not belong, and replaced it with what did. Forgive us for allowing anything into the temple of our hearts that does not belong. Show us how to clear the chaos and crud that does not align with Your design, and teach us to seek You to fill our hearts with things of You. Lead us to love those around us in the same way that You love – lavishly, tangibly, and without qualifications. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we clear the temple within, and praise You for the incredible sacrifice You made on our behalf. Amen

 

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

 

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. – Mark 11:15-16

Steadfast Solitude

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. – (Luke 4:42a, NIV)

The next day Jesus went to a place to be alone. – (Luke 4:42a, ERV)

Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place. – (Luke 4:42a, NLT)

 

The fourth chapter of Luke begins with Jesus being led through the wilderness on His own, where He was tempted by the devil after forty days of fasting. Each time Jesus is tempted, He refutes the temptation with the truth of God’s word. The next portion of chapter four speaks of the various synagogues where Jesus spoke and taught and healed. By the time we reach verse forty-two, it only makes sense that Jesus would get away to pray and recharge, as people were constantly seeking to be in His presence. If Jesus, who is God in flesh, prioritized making time and finding space to be alone and pray, shouldn’t we? As an educator, coach, mom and a wife, I love hard, yet often feel spent by the end of the day. For me, creating space early each morning to rise, refresh and reset with my Redeemer, makes all of the difference. My day begins new, as I am recharged and reminded of what matters most before I actually encounter other humans. I know early mornings are not for everyone, but time and space to reset with God, ought to be. He is always available and willing to meet us where we are, and leads us to become more of who He has created us to become. His love fills us and His light shines through us, if only we choose to find time and space to be in His presence. May we be intentional to find solitude with God, so that we may reset and be refreshed, ever becoming more of who He has created us to be, so that we might love Him and love people well.

 

A time to reset, Hope in Discouragement

In the Lord’s presence;

Sets our hearts and minds,

With grace and reverence.

To be at our best,

We need solitude;

Time alone with God,

Align attitudes.

May we choose find time,

And create a space;

Be in God’s presence,

So we show His grace.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus showed us that it ought to be a priority to seek time alone with You. Thank You that as we do, You meet us where we are and change us from the inside out. Thank You that Your heart for us is full of love and grace, and You fill us so that we may extend the same to those around us as we see Your face. Forgive us for not being intentional to seek time with You. Help us to discover the value of intentional solitude in Your presence. Show us how to love those around us in ways that clearly demonstrate Your goodness and grace, tangibly. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look to You anew this morning, and praise You for Your faithfulness to meet us each time we seek. Amen.

 

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

 

But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29