May Love Unite Us

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. – (Philippians 2:1-2, NIV)

Think about what we have in Christ: the encouragement He has brought us, the comfort of His love, our sharing in His Spirit, and the mercy and kindness He has shown us. If you enjoy these blessings, then do what will make my joy complete: Agree with each other, and show your love for each other. Be united in your goals and in the way you think. – (Philippians 2:1-2, ERV)

Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with His comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt His tender affection and mercy. So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity – with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy. – (Philippians 2:1-2, TPT)

Paul’s exhortation to the church of Philippi is still applicable and relevant to us today. If we know and understand the love, comfort, mercy and kindness that God has shown us, then we ought to go and do likewise. As we do, we are united in purpose. It does not mean we have to see the world through the same lens, nor have the same opinion about things, rather, it is a matter of us choosing to love one another as the priority. When we do, we discover unity and harmony in the relationships around us. Such things bring joy to all. May we ever look to the Lord and recognize His overwhelming kindness, love and mercy, so that we too, can choose to love as we are loved by Christ.

Choose be encouraged,

By mercy and grace;

Let love overflow,

From seeking His face.

For all that is good,

Comes down from above;

Love, mercy and grace,

Because God is love.

Love that’s unending,

Kindness that’s made new;

Fresh each new morning,

May all know the truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You flood our hearts with Your love, kindness and grace as we trust in You and seek You face. Forgive us for the times that we have not given out of the overflow of all that You have given us. Teach us to trust You more to lead us to love like You. Show us how in each situation and circumstance that we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love and encourage best, so that love may unite us all. Amen.

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ. – Colossians 2:2

Our Quiet Retreat

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

You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for Your Word to renew me. – (Psalm 119:114, MSG)

You’re my place of quiet retreat, and Your wraparound presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in Your Word! – (Psalm 119:114, TPT)

A place of quiet retreat is essential to start my day well. Any place that we intentionally choose to be in His presence can become a quiet retreat. At home, I am able to find a quiet retreat in the early morning on our couch in the living room. When I am away from home, the early morning hours still seem to be the best space for me to find quiet retreat and spend time in His Word. It is through time in His Word that hope is renewed and I again feel surrounded by His presence. In this crazy world, holding onto the promised hope and truth of His Word is everything. There are countless verses that remind us of His love, protection, peace, plans, and promises that grant us hope to hold. May we ever find a quiet retreat in God’s presence as we invest time in His Word, allowing the truth to settle into the spaces within us that need to be reminded again of the goodness of God.

In a quiet space,

My heart finds retreat;

Reminders of truth,

With each new heartbeat.

My refuge and shield,

Where true hope is found;

Place in Your presence,

As all grace abounds.

Your Word is the lamp,

That shows us the way;

Through our time with You,

Peace and presence stay.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our quiet space of retreat and Your Word reminds us of who You are and how You love. Thank You that You surround us with Your presence and fill us with Your peace. Forgive us for allowing life to wear us down, rather than pursue spaces of Your refreshing presence. Show us how to find spaces of peace in Your presence where we can be reminded of the truth of Your Word that grants us all hope. Lead us to love those around us in ways that provide safety and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek spaces of quiet retreat to spend time in Your Word as You surround us with Your 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

Everything Good

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. – (James 1:17, NIV)

Everything good comes from God. Every perfect gift is from Him. These good gifts come down from the Father who made all the lights in the sky. But God never changes like the shadows from those lights. He is always the same. – (James 1:17, ERV)

Every gift God freely gives us is good and perfect, streaming down from the Father of lights, Who shines from the heavens with no hidden shadow or darkness and is never subject to change. – (James 1:17, TPT)

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder of this very truth. God gives us good gifts. I was blessed with time to run in the morning with my long-time running bestie to start my day after walking the pups, then was able to spend much of the day with one of my dearest friends, who is for all practical purposes, family. Though we seldom find time to get together, each time we do, we pick up where we left off. Like the goodness of God, the goodness of friendship does not change. Additionally, time with my family during a family dinner out, was yet another gift from above. Our typically quiet evening meal was disrupted, and laughter and stories exchanged. For me, that in and of itself was a gift, as dining with four big guys is usually focused on consuming what is in front of them, not on conversation with those around them. Friends and family from near and far took time out of their day to send greetings and kind wishes as I celebrated a milestone birthday. I am so grateful for the good and perfect gifts that God has granted. He knows our heart and how to bless us best. May we ever seek the Lord and trust in Him, for He is good and His love never fails.

The Lord is so good,

His love never fails;

No matter what comes,

His love will prevail.

Goodness and mercy,

Throughout all our days;

His faithful blessings,

Show goodness and grace.

Each day is a gift,

Treasure to embrace;

Surrounded by love,

And washed by His grace.

All thanks be to God,

His love never ends;

Each time that we seek,

Sweet answers He sends.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thank You for placing people in our lives that show us Your goodness and grace. Forgive us for taking anything for granted, for everything good comes from You and is deserving of our gratitude. Teach us to trust in Your goodness, always. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known in tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for who You are and how You love us perfectly. 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

The Depth of His Grace

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, NIV)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until He completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. – (Philippians 1:6, ERV)

I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this gracious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! – (Philippians 1:6, TPT)

I am so thankful for the truth of God’s word. No matter where we are in life or what chapter of our journey we are on, God is not finished with us yet. Not one of us ever “arrives”, but rather He is ever growing and refining us so that we may more clearly reflect Him to those around us. There is much comfort in this. The more I age, the more I find myself acutely aware of the areas that I need God to grow me more. Yes, I can see how far He has brought me, yet I know there is so much more in Him. May we ever seek the Lord and submit our all unto Him, for He will continue every good thing that He has begun in us until the day we meet Him face-to-face.

The God of all grace,

Continues in love;

To transform our hearts,

Reflect our Beloved.

The work is not done,

‘Til we breathe our last;

Teaching us much more,

Healing from the past.

And then on that day,

When we see His face;

We’ll come understand,

The depth of His grace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the good work You have begun in all of us. Thank You that You are not finished refining and transforming us until the day You appear. Thank You that Your grace is greater than our every shortcoming. Forgive us for our faults and failures. Teach us to trust You and submit all in Your hands. Show us how to love all those around us in the same way that You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and give You all of our gratitude that You are not finished with us yet. Amen.

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

Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. – John 1:16

Reliable and Right

For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does. – (Psalm 33:4, NIV)

The Lord’s word is true, and He is faithful in everything He does. – (Psalm 33:4, ERV)

For God’s Word is something to sing about! He is true to His promises, His word can be trusted, and everything He does is reliable and right. – (Psalm 33:4, TPT)

As many of us have extra time off to celebrate our nation’s independence, it is indeed right and appropriate to celebrate the promises that God has fulfilled and those that are yet to come. He is faithful in all things, and His ways are right and true. Though this Independence Day looks far different than so many celebrated in years gone by, it is still an opportunity to spend time with family and give thanks for the goodness of God. May we enjoy the blessings of family and friends, and look forward with anticipation for all that God has in store.

The goodness of God,

Is shown in His word;

Faithful forever,

In all seen and heard.

It’s the truth to trust,

What He says, He’ll do;

Let our hearts give thanks,

Praise God for the truth.

Celebrate goodness,

Give thanks for His love;

Trust His promises,

What God says, He does.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your word is true and that You are faithful to all of Your promises. Forgive us for our doubts when Your timing does not align with our own. Teach us to trust in Your truth, for Your promises are yes and amen in Your perfect timing. Show us how to love those around us in ways that provide evidence of Your unending goodness and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and trust Your word in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

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. – Jeremiah 6:17

Rest Replenished in Hope

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NIV)

God, the One and only – I’ll wait as long as He says. Everything I hope for comes from Him, so why not? – (Psalm 62:5, MSG)

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope in only Him. – (Psalm 62:5, VOICE)

As an educator during a pandemic, this has been the truth I have come to know even more than ever before. It is in Christ that I find rest and hope, even on the days that our circumstances felt hopeless. Yesterday was our final day of live and Zoom instruction, and today is an asynchronous day that provides time to tie up loose ends, and work to complete final grading. Tomorrow, we report for one final day to aid in the collection of materials being returned, and to close up our classrooms for the summer. Friday will be the final day of gymnastics, utilized for returning all of our equipment to storage until next year’s season begins. I am beyond grateful for the summer season that provides rest. Though there is a variety of training and such scheduled throughout the time off, there is still time to truly take pause, recognize the goodness of God, and really rest. The beautiful thing about the rest that God provides, is that He does not need vacation nor weekends to make it so. We simply must quiet our soul before Him, for He is our hope and our Provider of rest. God is faithful, and He does what He says He will do. May we quiet our souls before Him and wait on the rest that comes from Him, the One in whom we hold our hope.

My soul does find rest,

In the Lord alone;

As my heart seeks Him,

His love is made known.

The space where hope’s held,

When we seek the Lord;

Is flooded with love,

As goodness is shown.

Trust in His goodness,

Hold hope in His grace;

He’s true to His word,

When we seek His face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your loving kindness and faithfulness that provide us hope and rest as we seek You. Thank You for moments and seasons of rest. Forgive us for lumbering on in exhaustion, rather than slowing down to see Your true provision of rest. Teach us to turn to You in trust, and wait quietly before You, resting in Your presence. Show us how to come alongside those around us in ways that offer relief and evidence of Your overwhelming love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You and praise You for Your blessed provision of real rest. Amen.

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

In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. – Psalm 25:1

Judge Not

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, NIV)

“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. If you judge others, you will be judged the same way you judge them. God will treat you the same way you treat others.” – (Matthew 7:1-2, ERV)

Jesus: If you judge other people, then you will find that you, too, are being judged. Indeed, you will be judged by the very standards to which you hold other people. – (Matthew 7:1-2, VOICE)

Now, more than ever, this is a relevant reminder. There is so much judging and finger-pointing going on over the various issues currently in existence, that it seems no solution is possible. However, that is not the truth. When we listen to learn, rather than to judge, there is opportunity for both sides to recognize how much more they have in common than they differ. Every human has a story and a history that has shaped their beliefs. Until we understand who a person is and what has shaped them, we cannot possibly comprehend the reason for the decisions they make. If we instead focus on seeking to do what is right, and truly listen to others, we will feel less inclined to judge and more inspired to love. We are all a work in progress. Imagine how much more progress all of us would make if we no longer worried about being judged and instead were able to focus on choosing to love… May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love, not judgement, and then follow all that He asks of us.

 

Let’s choose not to judge,

What’s not fully known;

Instead, let’s seek love,

As the Lord has shown.

No one is perfect,

Without fault or sin;

So none are equipped,

To judge what’s within.

Rather let us love,

Choose listen and learn;

Identify strengths,

What’s given’s returned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You first loved us. Thank You that Jesus did not come into the world to judge us, but rather to save us. Forgive us for every time that we have made a judgement about another, rather than sought to understand. Teach us to listen in love. Show us how to love when we struggle with the words, actions or decisions of others. Remind us again that You love us all, despite our shortcomings. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to love and extend grace, not judgement. Amen.

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

God sent His Son into the world. He did not send Him to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. – John 3:17

Joy in Knowing

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, NIV)

But I will still be glad in the Lord and rejoice in God my Savior. – (Habakkuk 3:18, ERV)

Then I will still rejoice in the Eternal! I will rejoice in the God who saves me! – (Habakkuk 3:18, VOICE)

Joy is not meant to be dependent on our circumstances, but rather in whom we place our trust. No matter what comes our way, there is still joy in knowing God and trusting in the truth of His promises. His goodness is not dependent on what is taking place, but rather He is good, because He is God. Our salvation alone is reason to rejoice. The hope that is found in knowing God brings joy even when our circumstances are difficult. I imagine many of us can think of moments that we were abundantly aware of joy in Him, despite all that has taken place in the last year plus of the pandemic. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and is evidence as we journey with Jesus. May we ever rejoice in the Lord, our Giver of joy, as we water the soil to grow deep roots in Him and allow His hands to prune and produce good fruit as we place our hope in Him.

No matter what comes,

There’s joy to be found;

It’s not a feeling,

But fruit that is sound.

True joy’s from within,

Found in knowing Christ;

Praise and thanks go forth,

As in trust, we rise.

So, let us rejoice,

Give thanks to the King;

Our true Source of joy,

Through love that He brings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have reason to rejoice in You, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, something that You nourish and grow in our lives as we trust and invest in You. Forgive us for limiting joy based on our happiness with our circumstances. Teach us to find joy in You, no matter what is taking place around us. Show us how to love everyone in a way that encourages joy on the journey, no matter how rocky the road. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You and rejoice in You, for Your goodness and love make joy rise within. Amen.

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

Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. – Psalm 90:14

Good Silences Foolishness

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. – (1 Peter 2:15, NIV)

When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants. – (1 Peter 2:15, ERV)

For it is God’s will for you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. – (1 Peter 2:15, TPT)

Our charge is not to argue and dispute matters on social media, but rather it is to be an example by doing good. The reality is that actions speak louder than words. It is only when upright actions are repeated over time, that one’s reputation speaks for itself. God calls us to do good. If we are loving Him and loving those around us, what weight would foolish words hold? For me, when I know a person’s heart and character and they are continually doing good, no one has a valid voice if they speak ill of them. Character speaks volumes. The more that we seek after God’s own heart and ever work to do good wherever we go, the less anyone has to say against us. May we ever seek the Lord and His perfect will, so that we may do good and silence things spoken in spite.

Actions speak louder,

Than mere spoken words;

Steeped in God’s goodness,

The truth may be heard.

For foolish speaking,

Lacks a valid voice;

When good’s being done,

Acts in love, our choice.

So, let us choose good,

In all that we do;

Let love light the way,

As goodness shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to do good. Thank You that as we follow You and navigate life through love, foolish talk and ignorant speech is silenced. Forgive us for our foolishness and lack of love. Teach us to seek to do good in all things at all times. Show us how to love in such a way that Your good silences all that is not laden in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to do the good that You call us to do. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Faithful Foundations

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, NIV)

Your kingdom is built on truth and justice. Love and faithfulness are servants before Your throne. – (Psalm 89:14, ERV)

Your glorious throne rests on a foundation of righteousness and just verdicts. Grace and truth are the attendants who go before You. – (Psalm 89:14, TPT)

God is all about righteousness and justice, as love and faithfulness are wherever God is invited. The struggle in this is that too many place their own spin on the truth and what is right and just becomes skewed. Grace and truth accompany God, and are evident in those who earnestly seek Him. Though in our human condition we will never get it all right on our own, with Christ, we can be refined and raised up to more clearly reflect the foundation that He intended all along. May we ever pursue the Lord and His heart so that we may walk humbly, do justly, and love mercy as we were meant to do.

The kingdom of God,

Is loving and just;

Righteousness shall lead,

In truth among us.

The challenge in this,

We must choose pursue;

The Lord’s very best,

In all that we do.

Let righteousness lead,

So justice may reign;

In truth persevere,

And love shall remain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are righteous and just, and that You are loving and faithful always. Forgive us for the times that our decisions, words or actions lacked alignment with Yours. Teach us to walk humbly in pursuit of You and Your heart for all, to act justly in all things and at all times, and to love mercy in the same way that You love and extend mercy to us. Lead us 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 ever seek You to refine our hearts to more clearly reflect Yours. 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