Wonderfully Made

I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – (Psalm 139:14, NIV)

I praise You because You made me in such a wonderful way. I know how amazing that was! – (Psalm 139:14, ERV)

I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul. – (Psalm 139:14, VOICE)

This is an important reminder for us all. Not one of us was an accident; for all are intentionally created. Each person has been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are all hand-crafted with gifts and talents that are unique to our design. All that God has created is good. What we do with His creation is up to us, yet the more we recognize the wonder of His works, the more we value all that His hands have made. Perhaps we would all be a bit gentler with one another if we viewed each other as His handiwork, rather than categorized by beliefs, affiliation, geography, socioeconomic status, and so on. ALL are created with purpose, and ALL must be valued. May we seek the Lord to see others through His lens, so that we value each intentional detail in those around us, and celebrate the wonderful way each human has been made.

My heart will give thanks,

For all You have made;

Each with a purpose,

Gifts to celebrate.

Help my eyes to see,

The beauty that lies;

Within ev’ry soul,

Value realized.

O God, You are good,

All made by Your hands;

May we choose cherish,

Each life You have planned.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have wonderfully and intentionally made all of us. Thank You that You have uniquely designed every human on the planet with purpose. Forgive us for allowing differences to warp our view. Teach us to recognize and value the gift of every individual we meet. Show us how to love in a way that values and celebrates the gifts that You have given in all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to give us Your heart and Your eyes to view the gifts to celebrate in all whom You have created. Amen.

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

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Time to Treasure

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. – (Luke 12:34, MSG)

Your treasure will be stored in the heavens, and since your treasure is there, your heart will be lodged there as well. – (Luke 12:34, VOICE)

Our treasure is what we place value upon and where we spend our time, talent, and resources. Throughout the last year, I have spent more time at home than ever before. This whole pandemic situation has been a catalyst to investing more into my family, home and community. It has required intentional focus to navigate life at home with three people and two dogs that are always present. I have always treasured the stillness of early mornings, so my time alone with God has not changed nor been compromised. My kids choose to be present and help out with the puppies as they navigate their own way through college online. As for the pups, who could help but invest time and resources into loving them well? It is not all easy, but it is indeed worthwhile. May we treasure the gifts that God has given, and prioritize praising Him for His goodness and grace. May we pursue the Lord and His best for us, ever placing our treasure in Him.

These treasured moments,

God glimpses through time;

Intentional acts,

of love being kind.

For as we value,

God’s gifts here on earth;

We discover peace,

And to Him, our worth.

Value exceeding,

All that we have known;

A promised future,

Of glories unknown.

May we spend our gifts,

Time talents and trust;

Investing in things,

That don’t turn to dust.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us what we are meant to treasure. Thank You that loving You and loving those around us is the greatest investment we could ever make. Forgive us for the times that we have squandered our time, talent and resources on things that will not last. Teach us to prioritize and be intentional. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we use our time, talents and resources to love and to honor You. Amen.

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

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34

It’s All About Love

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, NIV)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

If we love God and love people in a way that truly honors and obeys His commands, ALL people will feel valued, seen, heard and known. Sadly, everywhere I look, I see evidence that we are far from this. It is devastating to hear reports of people’s brilliance being overlooked, or of individuals being treated harshly or in a way that is in no way warranted. If I read too much, or look too hard, the heaviness is overwhelming. That being said, what can one human do? The answer is Jesus. If I seek Him to lead me in love, I can be part of the change I long to see. My role is to recognize, listen to, celebrate, encourage, educate, empower, value and honor the next generation. At times, this whole remote teaching gig makes it feel like an impossible task. The kiddos whom I never “see,” I struggle to get to know. Each opportunity I have, I attempt to encourage and care well for each faceless black box, and recognize that I have no idea what their environment is truly like. My hope is that kindness and encouragement will help them feel valued, and that at the end of the day, each is aware that someone cares. Lord, help us to love You and love one another as You intended.

Lord, will You lead us,

To love as You do;

Care for each other,

Let Your light shine through.

Help us be vessels,

Afloat in Your love;

May kindness give hope,

Care that You’re proud of.

Show us the spaces,

For encouragement;

Teach us to listen,

Hear discouragement.

Lead us all in love,

So kindness may reign;

May all voices be heard,

And Your love made plain.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love each other. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to truly love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted or spoken in ways that demonstrate Your love to those around us. Teach us to do and be better. Help us to recognize, value, encourage and love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and those around us as You first loved us. Amen.

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

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. – Psalm 103:8

To Treasure What Matters Most

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

“Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also.” – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

If we focus on loving God and loving people, our treasure will be found in doing just that. Our treasure is our time, talent and resources. When we invest what we have and who we are into that which God is calling us to, our lives become fully invested. This can be a tricky road to navigate, for when we truly look around and open our eyes and hearts, the need can become overwhelming. God does not ask us to solve the world’s woes alone. Rather, He calls us to love one person at a time, as our paths cross. If we treasure our time and remember that others are a gift from Him, we end up loving God and those around us as He intended. 

Currently, many of us are in a season of great loss; loss of loved ones, loss of security, loss of normalcy, and more. In the last two days of conferencing, I have met with a grieving family, and heard devastating news of another family’s loss, whose daughter I had in class. Additionally, a very dear family friend is in his final hours. My heart grieves for each family, and I am reminded of how fleeting life can be. As we recognize that our days are limited, we are reminded who holds each day in His hands. When all that I am begins the day seeking God, I am better equipped to remember the gift that each day holds in Him and in time with those whom He has given me. May we ever treasure what matters most, and seek to love as we are loved by God.

May our hearts treasure,

That which matters most;

God and all people,

As we keep each close.

Each near in our hearts,

Let us lift and pray;

Value each other,

And love in God’s way.

For God so loves us,

That to us, He gave;

Love, light and freedom,

Grace to walk His way.

Lord, help us to bring,

Each prayer and concern;

Teach us to love well,

As we grow and learn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our greatest treasures are found in You and those whom You place in our lives. Thank You that You show us and grow us so that we may love like You. Forgive us for allowing our hearts to hoard the treasure You intended for others. Show us how and where to invest our time, talent and resources. Help us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize where true hope is found. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to treasure what matters most. Amen.

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

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21

Where Treasure Lies

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – (Luke 12:34, NIV)

Your heart will be where your treasure is. – (Luke 12:34, ERV)

Where you deposit your treasure, that is where your thoughts will turn to – and your heart will long to be there also. – (Luke 12:34, TPT)

 

My heart, as I have discovered more deeply than ever before, is for God and people. Each morning, my priority continues to be to seek the Lord and spend time in His word to set the tone for the day. What I miss most in this time of “stay at home”, is the ability to get out and be with people whom I enjoy most. I think many of us took for granted, and we are now finding out, how much we truly treasure the luxury of navigating a “normal” day among a vast array of individuals. My time with my husband and children has been really good, and I am grateful for the time together that would likely not have occurred otherwise; yet I struggle with the sedentary staying in place, when I am accustomed to walking about campus before school, during my planning, at lunch, and when the school day closes. Each walk about would result in friendly exchanges with different staff members and students, that I value and enjoyed each day. Now, I am often seated in silence for hours at a time, as I attempt to navigate the new, eagerly waiting for the next collaborative Zoom meeting, so that I will see and work together with my friends and colleagues. My boys are present in my work space with me until their work for the day is complete, then they disappear to do their own thing, while the other two members of our household are essential workers, and spend their days away from home. All this to say, though I was intentional most of the time to say hello or at least smile and wave to people as I passed by, I imagine that I will treasure the freedom to do so all the more when the stay at home orders are lifted. In the meantime, I will look for ways to reach out and connect with people as they come to mind, and continue to lean on the Lord for strength and sanity. May we all place our treasure in the gifts of people whom God has given us, and in the Giver Himself.

 

May we seek treasure, Love Made Known

Things of the most worth;

Not things, but people,

Greatest gifts on earth.

Love God and people,

The greatest command;

Purpose intended,

What the Lord had planned.

For what we value,

Where our hearts are found;

Let’s choose what matters,

So good may abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us where our treasures lie, as we look at what has our time, attention and affection. Thank You that You treasure people first, and show us how to do the same. Forgive us for the times that our priorities get out of order, and we set aside what matters most. Teach us to seek You first in all things, so that we may live and love according to Your perfect plan. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your goodness and grace tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first so that we may love You and love those around us in the same way that You love us. Amen.

 

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

 

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

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

To Demonstrate Love

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

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you.” – (John 13:34, ERV)

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in the same ways.” – (John 13:34, VOICE)

 

Love one another, on this day, where people are intentional to express their love and appreciation for others, there is the perfect opportunity for loving one another as we are called and commanded to do. In this particular passage, Jesus had just washed the feet of His disciples, and was sharing a last meal with them, prior to His betrayal that took Him to the cross. Jesus was giving charge to His disciples, as He knew the road that lay before Him, and wanted the faithful followers to be prepared to persevere. When Jesus told the disciples to love as He had loved them, they understood the enormity of the love that they were being called to give. First hand, they had been the recipients of the care, provision, healing, help, patience, kindness, faithfulness, honesty, hopefulness, perseverance and protection that His love provided. Jesus knew the task was impossible in their own strength, yet with His help, they could do all things. We are no different today. The command to love each other deeply and fully, remains. Our Source of strength to love anyway, even when those we know we are called to love seem unlovable, is Christ. He empowers us to love as He loves. Sometimes love is simply a kind word or an encouraging smile. Other times, love reaches out and goes beyond what is comfortable, to be certain that those around us know that they are valued and worthy of love.

One of the best examples of this that I can think of is Jesus at the well, speaking to the Samaritan woman. He crossed cultural divides and racial relations to reach out and impact the heart of a hurting soul. The very act of speaking to her in the first place, violated all sorts of barriers that normally were in place between Jews and Samaritans, much less men and women. Because Jesus loved, He spoke truth in love, and her heart was forever changed. What had been a space of sin and shame, became her testimony to tell of who Jesus was and how He knew about her before she said a word. That woman at the well went from being an outcast, to knowing that she was loved, valued and known. That is our purpose in love. May we seek the Lord and His strength, so that we too may acknowledge those around us in ways that help them feel valued, loved and known.

 

We are commanded,

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The loves of my life. Photos courtesy of Dee Jones, Open Door Photography

To go forth in love;

Value each other,

Like the Lord above.

Love grants us value,

Helps us know we’re known;

When unseen is seen,

God’s true love is shown.

Let us seek His strength,

So love leads the way;

May we follow Him,

And love well each day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that this is not something done flippantly, but rather it is intentionally and specifically, as there are countless examples of love in Your word, and directions as to what love is and how to love well. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love those around us well. Teach us to seek Your strength, even when we are struggling with our own trials and frustrations. Thank You that often the antidote for difficulty is to reach out and give love, support and encouragement to others, in spite of ourselves. Grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You and show us how to love those around us best. You know each need and what will bless and encourage the most. Show us, I pray. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to love one another. Amen.

 

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

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. – Deuteronomy 7:9

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

Faith is Expressed Through Love

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. – (Galatians 5:6, NIV)

When someone belongs to Christ Jesus, it is not important if they are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith – the kind of faith that works through love. – (Galatians 5:6, ERV)

When you’re placed into the Anointed One and joined to Him, circumcision and religious obligations can benefit you nothing. All that matters now is living in the faith that is activated and brought to perfection by love. – (Galatians 5:6, TPT)

 

God is not interested in whether or not we follow religious rituals, but rather He wants our hearts. Faith is the expression of our trust in action, made evident by the attestation of our love. As we love consistently and lavishly, God’s heart is made known. May we ever seek our Savior to express our faith through love in action, so that His love may be made evident to all.

 

Lord, help Your children, Love that Grows

Grow faith in our hearts;

Perfected by love,

By grace, set apart.

Lead us each day, Lord,

To love with our lives;

Set faith in action,

Your heart realized.

Our walking in faith,

Makes God’s heart more clear;

As we love like Christ,

People feel Him near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible love that You have for us all. Thank You that faith is not about religious rituals, but rather it is about relationship. Thank You that our faith grows as we walk forward in love. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love, or have somehow thought we needed to do certain things to earn love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive the love that You freely give, and in turn, love others in the same way. Show us how to love those around us in a way that builds faith and extends grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your abundant love and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Love is Truth in Action

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. – (1 John 3:18, NLT) 

My children, our love should not be only words and talk. No, our love must be real. We must show our love by the things we do. – (1 John 3:18, ERV) 

My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. – (1 John 3:18, VOICE) 

 

Love is so much more than words. Though words can build up and encourage, the tangible evidence of love in action tends to last far longer than something that is simply spoken. Despite the tremendous value I hold in both spoken and written words, I find myself overwhelmingly assured of the truth of love spoken when everyday actions align. It is in the small and simple faithful gestures done in love, that truth is demonstrated over time. We can say whatever we wish, but if our actions do not align, the words are meaningless. However, when we choose love, again and again, through the things that we say and do, the recipients of our words and deeds cannot help but begin to believe the truth that they are loved. May we reach out and love others with the things that we do, just as God so graciously and generously loves each of us, so that all may know that love is not just an idea, but rather a reality intended for us all. 

 

May the Lord’s great love,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Lead all that we do; 

So that our actions, 

Display loving truth. 

Though our words matter, 

Our deeds speak much more; 

For our follow through, 

Shows love’s open door. 

Let us choose to act, 

In word and in deed; 

Do all things with love, 

So God’s love’s received. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to a life of love – not just with our words, but with everything that we do. Thank You that You have shown us what it is to live a life of love through Your Son. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to do anything that was less than loving. Teach us to trust You more, so that our words and deeds would be an extension of Your heart and hands to those around us. Show us how to love those around us with our very lives, making Your love tangible to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your love and grace to love others with our every word and deed. Amen.

 

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

 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – John 15:12