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

Called to Compassion

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV)

Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. – (Romans 12:15, TPT)

If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE)

We are called to be compassionate and to have empathy for one another. This is natural with those with whom we are closest, but it requires an intentional decision to love enough to invest in the hearts of others. When we do, we understand and care about what transpires in the lives of those around us. A love that is true is one that celebrates with others when good comes their way, and mourns alongside them when losses are experienced. Such love not only asks how others are doing, but is prepared to receive honest answers through active and intentional listening. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in compassion and empathy for those around us, so that we may truly love as we are called to love by God.

To love as God loves,

Requires intent;

To seek understand,

Purposeful time spent.

Called to compassion,

To walk alongside;

Love for the hurting,

With arms open wide.

And when there’s reason,

To rise and rejoice;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In praise, lift each voice.

Through ev’ry season,

Choose to truly love;

For that’s how others,

Know they are thought of.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to compassion and empathy for those around us. Thank You that You showed us through Your Son, what such love looks like. Jesus rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and wept with those in mourning. Forgive us for the times that we either ignored an opportunity to love well, or sought to help without truly responding in love. Show us how to celebrate with those who celebrate and to mourn with those who are grieving. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart for those around us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34

Navigating the Unknown

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NIV)

You don’t know where the wind blows. And you don’t know how a baby grows in its mother’s womb. In the same way, you don’t know what God will do – and He makes everything happen. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, ERV)

Just as you’ll never understand the mystery of life forming in a pregnant woman, so you’ll never understand the mystery at work in all that God does. – (Ecclesiastes 11:5, MSG)

God’s ways are not our ways, and His plans are not like ours. There are times that we cannot possibly see the purpose in what we go through, nor how the path we are on could lead to what He intended. Even so, God is good. His timing is not our own, and His ways are far higher. It is a matter of choosing to trust, even when we cannot see, for despite all things, He is good. The Lord cares about every detail of our lives. He knows how many hairs are on our heads, and the strengths and talents that He intentionally placed within us. Often, what we go through, provides the opportunity to discover strength we did not know was possible, and how to hold fast to hope. When I was young, I knew that I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, some of the class requirements steered me in a different direction. The one in particular, was a speech class. Rather than dig deep and suck it up, I chose to become an art major with an English minor. Graphic design was a delight, and I learned and grew in a variety of mediums. Once I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree, I found my way to Montana as a YWAMer (Youth With A Mission), and ended up spending the next three years in and out of Asia. Ironically, (or as God designed) I ended up having to do much public speaking during that season. God called me back home to go back to school and fulfill my teaching credentials. Upon graduation from my Master’s program, I was hired to teach World Geography at my own former middle school. God had prepared my heart to have a passion for learning about new cultures, after I had experienced so much in the years prior. Additionally, I was granted the gift of coaching gymnastics, which I had done during high school and college, both as a job and joyful passion. Throughout my career thus far, I have had the opportunity to teach art and English as well. I know not where each new experience will lead, but I know that I can trust God to be with me. May we ever embrace each new path we are called to take and trust that God will lead us through. He is good, and He knows the desires of our hearts and the plan and purpose intended for each of us, individually.

No one truly knows,

Where the Lord will lead;

He grants us His strength,

As His will we heed.

Detours and trials,

And paths still unknown;

Each with a purpose,

As His grace is shown.

Even in heartache,

We grow and we learn;

He loves us through all,

To Him may we turn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that though we cannot possibly know or understand all of Your ways, You are faithful to lead us and grow us through all. Thank You that as we depend on You, You use every experience for good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts in the spaces that we never thought we would be. Teach us to trust You completely, for Your plans are perfect. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, hope and peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love to lead us as we navigate each step that You bring us to take. Amen.

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

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. – Isaiah 26:12

Faithful Answers

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. – (Luke 11:10, NIV)

Yes, whoever continues to ask will receive. Whoever continues to look will find. And whoever continues to knock will have the door opened for them. – (Luke 11:10, ERV)

All who keep asking will receive, all who keep seeking will find, and doors will open to those who keep knocking. – (Luke 11:10, VOICE)

Now happily home…

When we ask the Lord, He answers. Friday evening, we were in communication with the trainers who were caring for our dogs during their board and train program. By the end of the back and forth conversation, I could not shake the gnawing feeling that had formed in my gut. As I prayed and sought the Lord, I knew that we needed to bring our dogs home the next day as we were scheduled for a private lesson to work on what the dogs had been doing throughout their training thus far. Yesterday, after having run an errand, we returned home to take care of some projects around the house, prior to heading to our meet up location at a park. Out of the blue, I received a phone call that I would never have expected. An animal control officer contacted me to let me know that there was a case involving our pup, Thor. Shock and disbelief overwhelmed me as I listened to the officer unpack what had transpired. A kind citizen had called animal control and submitted video footage of Thor being continually mistreated and harmed for somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes. The officer let me know that the initial officer who took the case had to hand it over to him, as she could not watch the footage due to the horror it portrayed. By this time, I was shaking and could not fathom the sort of people who would do such things. Prior to leaving for the park, we messaged the trainers and asked that they please bring our dogs belongings with them. Upon arrival at the park, we restlessly watched and waited. I knew that I was not to even speak to the trainers, for God had prepared me to focus only on my dogs, and have my husband speak to them. Thankfully, the kind animal control officer arrived prior to our pups, so we were able to speak more with him about what had taken place and what would happen next. He remained with us when the trainers arrived, and I immediately went to the back door of the car and took Thor’s leash to get him out. He joyfully came to me, and could not get away from the car fast enough. Once my husband had Tali, our other precious pup, he calmly took our belongings to load in the car, and then matter-of-factly informed the trainers that they would be granting us a full refund and covering the vet bill we would incur as our next stop was to be a wellness check with our vet for both dogs, to be certain there were no lasting injuries, or, we would be seeing them in civil court. With looks of fear and horror, they simply shook their heads in the recognition that we knew what had taken place. Thankfully, both pups were uninjured, but both had lost a dramatic amount of weight. Thor was down ten pounds, and Tali, six, after nine days in their “care”. Both horrified and tremendously grateful, we brought our babies home and have been loving them ever since. Though this has been a traumatic ordeal, I can see God’s faithfulness, protection and provision, despite the evil intent of the trainers. From the good citizen who reported and submitted what they saw, to the animal control officer who went out of his way to help us and be certain that our dogs were safely returned to our care, God was with us as He provided and protected, and showed us the way to deal with this horrific situation. Both pups are happily home, and have returned to their normal sweet and mischievous ways. God is good, and He is forever faithful to answer as we ask and seek Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You hear us and answer our cries. Thank You that You open doors that we knock upon, and make Your heart and plan evident as we ask. Thank You for returning our fur babies safely. Forgive us for the fear and anger that arose as we discovered what had taken place. Continue to teach us how to trust You more, as You are always with us and working on our behalf. Show us how to love all those around us, even when we think others are undeserving of love. Please work in the hearts of the trainers so that they may come to understand Your love and kindness that heals hurts and changes hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to ask, seek and knock all of our days. Amen.

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

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

Comfort, Encouragement and Hope

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV)

We pray that the Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father will comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. God loved us and gave us through His grace a wonderful hope and comfort that has no end. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, ERV)

Now may the Lord Jesus Christ and our Father God, who loved us and in His wonderful grace gave us eternal comfort and a beautiful hope that cannot fail, encourage your hearts and inspire you with strength to always do and speak what is good and beautiful in His eyes. – (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, TPT)

Because of the Lord’s great love, we are strengthened and encouraged to do and say what is good in God’s eyes. His eternal hope and encouragement are the very things that strengthen and inspire us to do and say that which honors God. As we do, His love is made evident and encouragement becomes known, for our words and deeds speak volumes. If we seek Him and pursue a life that reflects His love, the wonderful hope and comfort that we come to understand is passed on to those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to comfort and strengthen us in every word and deed, so that His love, hope and comfort may be shared with all whom we encounter.

May the God of hope,

Meet us each in love;

To strengthen, build up,

Inspire from above.

Such love brings comfort,

Sets hope in our heart;

Equips us to love,

Reach out, do our part.

We need only look,

And God’s love is found;

Ever He is near,

His goodness surrounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You love us, comfort us, encourage us and give us eternal hope. Forgive us for not always recognizing Your presence that grants us lasting hope and help. Teach us to turn to You in all things and at all times. Show us how to love like You, so that we may encourage, strengthen, comfort and build up all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust all in Your strong and capable hands. Amen.

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

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Persist in Prayer

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 15:28, NIV)

Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! You will get what you asked for.” And right then the woman’s daughter was healed. – (Matthew 15:28, ERV)

Jesus gave in. “Oh woman, your faith is something else. What you want is what you get!” Right then her daughter became well. – (Matthew 15:28, MSG)

This exchange between Jesus and a Canaanite woman is a great example of persistent faith. The woman’s daughter was suffering, and she knew that Jesus could heal her. Despite being a Canaanite (not God’s chosen people), the woman sought Jesus to heal her daughter. Jesus went back and forth with the woman about who is deserving, and she kept responding in a way that demonstrated her faith in His ability to heal. He recognized and admonished her for her trust in Him, and healed her daughter immediately. So often, I think we disqualify ourselves from His help, as we think that we are somehow unworthy of His touch if our request is not answered right away. What this shows us is that we need to keep asking, keep pursuing the help and healing we are hoping for, as often there is a wait that grows our faith. Perhaps the wait occurs to provide time for healing of our hearts, rather than just a quick fix. I cannot claim to truly understand why some healings are immediate, some are gradual, and some do not happen on this side of heaven. What I do know is that God is good. May we ever continue to seek Him to meet our needs, and praise Him for His goodness and love.

The heart of a mom,

That holds fast to hope;

Demonstrates great faith,

Grace granted to cope.

We must keep asking,

Choose trust and believe;

God’s loving kindness,

Is what we receive.

O Lord, please lead us,

Help us choose to pray;

Ever keep seeking,

For You are the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear our prayers and heal us in Your timing. Thank You that You listen to our persistent prayers. Forgive us for our frustration when answers don’t come as soon as we think they ought. Teach us to trust You and Your timing, and to contend for the help and healing that is needed. Show us how to love, encourage and lift up those around us with ongoing persistence. May many find healing and hope as they come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we continually trust and lean into You. Amen.

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

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

Loving God Includes Loving People

And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:21, NIV)

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:21, ERV)

The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. – (1 John 4:21, MSG)

God does not mince words. There is no lack of clarity in His command. If we love God, we must love people too. Loving people requires that we have what is best for them in mind; that we pray for love and peace for all. Of course there are those whom we must love from afar, as attempts to navigate a healthful relationship have been exhausted and we are not meant to be a doormat or subject to abuse. However, even with those who have ill intent toward us, we can pray for their well-being and for God’s love to penetrate their hearts and minds. In order to love people as God intended, we must grow in our love and knowledge of who God is and understand how He loves. God’s love is extravagant and merciful; it is sacrificial and forgiving. We are only able to love because He first loved us. The Lord loved us when we were broken and far from Him, and He loves us as we seek and listen to Him. 

When I think about loving in the same way that we love our brothers and sisters, it reminds me of the power that is placed in such love. I know that I would do anything and everything humanly possible to help and bless my own sister, for both her joys and sorrows are shared by me because of love. Our charge is to love all those around us in the same way. 

Considering the current state of the nation, with so much division and strife, how can we choose to love well? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that love is a choice. It is an ongoing, ever-growing, intentional decision to be kind and desire the very best for those around us. Barriers break down when we choose to love. We must learn to listen to understand and choose to love, even when it is seemingly impossible. Sometimes, love is not saying what we desire to say, as our words are to “prove” a point, rather than to edify those around us. May we seek our Savior to show us how to love Him and love all people in the way He intended.

We are commanded,

Sister love from the start. ❤

To walk well in love;

Love God and people,

Trust grace from above.

As we choose love God,

Sisters and brothers;

We give the Lord room,

Work with each other.

Lord, help us to choose,

Your heart and Your way;

Let Your love lead us,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we seek You and place our heart in Your hands, You transform us to more clearly reflect the love You have for all. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and actions have grieved Your heart. Teach us to love You and love all people well. Show us how we are meant to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and pursue a life that demonstrates love to all those around us. Amen.

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

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

To Truly Trust

She said to herself, “If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. – (Matthew 9:21-22, NIV)

She was thinking, “If I can touch His coat, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw the woman. He said, “Be happy, dear woman. You are made well because you believed.” Then the woman was healed. – (Matthew 9:21-22, ERV)

She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on His robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned – caught her at it. Then He reassured her. “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on. – (Matthew 9:21-22, MSG)

Every time I read passages about Jesus healing people, I take pause and wonder why we see it so seldom now. What I find remarkable is that it seems to occur most often when there is no other option for restoration. Years ago, when I was in India with Youth With a Mission, we would find ourselves in remote villages, surrounded by people who were hungry to know more about God. After sharing with the people through an interpreter, we would make ourselves available to pray for people. Often, we would have little idea what exactly we were praying for. Our only choice was to pray by faith, knowing that God knew their needs. In one of these instances, a father and his young daughter stood before two friends and myself, while the interpreter had a brief conversation with the father. He turned, told us to pray for the girl’s ears, and went on to the next person. Having little idea of how to pray, we lifted up our prayers, trusting that God would do what God does. A short time later, the interpreter returned. He began speaking with the father and daughter. At first, they were standing face to face, then he kept backing up and continued speaking with them. The three of us looked at him with puzzled expressions on our faces. He turned, looked at us with joy on his face, and told us that the girl had come completely deaf, and that God had restored her hearing. I imagine our jaws were just about touching the ground as we stood there in amazement. We had not done anything spectacular; we simply trusted and believed. The father and daughter had come believing that she would be restored, and she was. Throughout my time in Asia, there were several accounts of such healings. Sight was restored, limbs were healed, and various infirmities – gone. There was nothing that any of us could have done to make it so. It was God moving as He moves when His people pray and trust in Him. I know He still heals today; the challenging part is that we do not get to determine when or for whom. Sometimes God heals the physical need, yet other times He does a work in the heart.

 My own Mom suffered a stroke a year and a half ago. Myself and many others have prayed unceasingly for her complete and total restoration. Right now, she is far better than she was a year ago, yet we are still waiting and longing for the healing of her right arm, and continued healing of her right leg. She is able to walk with a cane and communicate well, and do most things independently. However, there are still things that require assistance. Our greatest gratitude is that she is still here with us. I know for all of us, God has used this season to challenge and grow us. In all things, may we seek and trust in Him for the healing that He holds for each of us.

Lord, teach us to trust,

In Your healing hands;

For You long to touch,

As love is Your plan.

Lead us to seek You,

Grant wisdom and faith;

Help us and hold us,

As we seek Your grace.

Show us Your power,

Bring healing each day;

Make our hearts anew,

As we walk Your way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You answer our faithful seeking. Thank You that though we don’t always understand why healing does not always happen this side of heaven, that You are always good. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when calamities come. Teach us to trust and rely on You as we walk forward in faith in the direction to which we are called. Show us how to love and support and pray for those who are in need of Your touch. Lead us to love well and pray faithfully. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as that is the space where hearts are healed and lives are changed. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You. Amen.

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

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6

Open My Eyes

Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your instruction. – (Psalm 119:18, NLT)

Open my eyes so that I can see all the wonderful things in Your teachings. – (Psalm 119:18, ERV)

Open my eyes to see the miracle wonders hidden in Your word. – (Psalm 119:18, TPT)

In order for our eyes to be opened, we must be intentional to spend time in His word. As we seek the Lord with purpose and in prayer, He reveals more and more of who He is and how He loves. The Lord gives wisdom that leads and guides us to walk in His way.

Lord, lead us to seek,

The truth in Your word;

Reveal unto us,

Beyond what we’ve heard.

Plant Your loving truth,

Deep within our hearts;

Help us see and know,

How to do our part.

Each is created,

With purposeful plan;

We must keep seeking,

So we understand.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to meet us and reveal more of Yourself, each time  we choose to earnestly seek You. Forgive us for the times that we neglect investing time with You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, as You are loving and kind, ever longing for us to draw near. Show us Your truth and instruct us as to how we might live and love well, so that our lives are an ongoing beacon of light and love to all those we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and spend time in Your word. May our every word and deed demonstrate the goodness of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. – Psalm 25:4

Take Joy

Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – (Psalm 37:4, NIV)

Depend on the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will help you. – (Psalm 37:4, ERV)

Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! – (Psalm 37:4, VOICE)

When we delight, depend on, and take great joy in the Lord, we desire what He desires, and we trust Him to help us walk into all that He has for us. All that we are and all that we long for become aligned with God as we earnestly seek Him. The more we understand who He is, the more deeply we delight in Him. God is good, and His love endures forever. As we seek and depend on Him, He shows us more and more of who He is and how He loves. Our desires become intertwined with loving Him and loving His creation. May we ever seek the Lord, in whom we can trust, depend and delight; for He helps us become who we have been created to be, and walk into the desires that align with His.

Take joy in the Lord,

In Him we can trust;

Our help and our hope,

The Savior is just.

When our hearts align,

As God’s very own;

Hopes and dreams fulfilled,

For His love is shown.

Be near us, Lord God,

As we seek to know;

Your heart for all things,

Your help so we grow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we delight in You, You show us more and more of who You are and how You love. Thank You that it is in this space of knowing, that we recognize the desires of our hearts coming to pass. Forgive us for our selfishness and our lack of seeking You. Teach us to not only seek, but to depend on and delight in You. Show us how to love as You love, so that all might know the goodness of Your grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take joy in You and all that You have in store for us. Amen.

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

Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His dwelling place. – 1 Chronicles 16:27