Called to Keep Forgiving

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, HCSB)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!” – (Matthew 18:21-22, TPT)

Forgiveness is a funny thing, as it is not as much for the offender as it is for the offended. To forgive is to release the weight and hurt of the offense, but it does not necessarily mean reconciliation. There are times when we must do everything possible to reconcile, yet there are other times when we need to walk away and trust God to lead us out of unhealthy situations and into peace, love and grace. It is in the space of seeking and trusting God that we discover the freedom that is found when we forgive. Holding onto hurt and anger keeps us bound up, whereas forgiveness sets us free from the weight of the wound. Healing happens when we give it to God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us forgive, just as He forgives us.

We’re called to forgive,

Again and again;

Release all to God,

Find freedom within.

Holding onto hurts,

Is what weighs hearts down;

Poison from within,

Thief of freedom found.

Lord, help us forgive,

Every offense;

Strength to move forward,

In each circumstance.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to walk in forgiveness rather than holding onto hurts. Thank You that You equip and empower us to forgive like You when we seek You to show us how. Forgive us for every hurt that we have held too long, and show us how to release all in Your hands. Lead us in Your loving freedom so that we may extend the same to those around us. Show us how to love best, and may Your goodness and love lead others to entrust You with the offenses that hold their hearts captive. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on Your leading to live a life of forgiveness and grace. Amen. 

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

For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You. – Psalm 86:5

To Overcome Temptation

And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen] – (Matthew 6:13, HCSB)

Don’t let us be tempted, but save us from the Evil One. – (Matthew 6:13, ERV)

Rescue us every time we face tribulation and set us free from evil. For you are the King who rules with power and glory forever. Amen. – (Matthew 6:13, TPT)

We are ALL subject to temptation and need God to help us every time temptation comes our way. This is especially challenging when in a group and what is going on is not in alignment with what one knows to be right for themselves. It takes courage to either speak up or walk away, so as to not get sucked into something we know is not right. I think the most difficult circumstances are when it is subtle, and not blaringly wrong, especially among those we know and care for. Choosing our words wisely and acting in alignment with what we believe, takes God’s strength, wisdom and courage. No one is beyond the reaches of temptation, for even Jesus was tempted – yet He who was in constant communion with the Father, did not sin. The more we invest our heart in He who is our help and our hope, the stronger we become to resist the sins that so easily entangle us. May we ever pursue the Father and His will for us, and seek His protection from all that tempts us to go astray.

Lord, show us the way,

To do what is right;

Despite temptations,

Keep us in Your light.

Teach us Your goodness,

Lead us to live well;

To walk in Your ways,

Fend off what’s from hell.

And when temptations,

Are subtle and small;

Grant us Your wisdom,

Help us to not fall.

For glory is Yours,

Now and forever;

Lead us and guide us,

In each endeavor.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the One to help us when temptations come our way. For give us for each time we neglect to depend on You and fall short. Lead us away from temptations and show us clearly what we are and are not to do. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they might more clearly see Your heart and love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to keep us from succumbing to temptations that come our way. Amen.

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

Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. – Matthew 26:41

To Run Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race that is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

Though this was written to the early church to encourage and guide believers, the message remains true today. One thing that stands out to me is the idea of being surrounded by people who are great examples of what it is to live a godly life. It takes intentional investment in people to be surrounded by those who help lead, guide and walk beside us in the way that God is calling us to live. Next, we have to let go of previous harm to move forward. It is an intentional decision to forgive and give it to God. To do so does not mean that we have to forget what we learned or jump back into harmful spaces, but rather we must release the burden of hurt, anger and grudges, and choose to forgive and place it all in His hands. Additionally, we must be intentional to walk away from that which leads us astray. As a runner, I love the analogy of life being a marathon. We do not want to do things along the course that will inhibit our ability to run well. The same is true in life. The things that lead us astray, move us off course, or weigh us down, do not help us run our race well. Labor-intensive running is not fun or beneficial, and often leads to injuries. God has already mapped out our course, our job is to keep running in the direction to which we have been called. Our pace is set by Him, and it is never too fast nor too slow. His timing is perfect. May we ever be intentional to surround ourselves with those who encourage us to run well, let go of that which leads us off course, and persevere on the path which God has placed before us.

Let’s surround ourselves,

With those who live well;

In life and in love,

As faithfulness tells.

Let go of past harm,

With purpose, forgive;

Give it to the Lord,

In freedom to live.

Stay clear of the things,

That lead us astray;

And follow the course,

God grants us each day.

Let’s each run our race,

Stay true to the course;

God’s set before us,

Our Strength and our Source.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and equip us to run the race that You have set before us. Thank You that You instruct us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and can help pace us to stay strong. Thank You too, for showing us to throw aside all that weighs us down or leads us off course. Forgive us for allowing the things of this life to distract us or steer us off course. Teach us to surround ourselves with those who are running well and to keep our eyes on the course You have set before us. Show us how to be an encouragement to others and to love all well so that they too will be encouraged to continue to run the race You designed for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we each rely on You to lead us to run our own race well. Amen.

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

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. – Proverbs 4:12

Forego Foolish Debates

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. – (Titus 3:9, NIV)

Stay away from those who have foolish arguments, who talk about useless family histories, or who make trouble and fight about what the Law of Moses teaches. These things are useless and will not help anyone. – (Titus 3:9, ERV)

Listen, don’t get trapped in brainless debates; avoid competition over family trees or pedigrees; stay away from fights and disagreements over the law. They are a waste of your time. – (Titus 3:9, VOICE)

Currently, this could be stated as “do not engage in social media debates and arguments, as nothing good ever comes from them.” The problem with social media is that people hide behind a screen. Words fly into chat boxes and reply lines with little regard for how the words could be interpreted. Without voice and body language, an enormous piece of intent is absent. It is far too easy to misconstrue what is written, and take offense when no harm was intended. Additionally, filters seem to be removed, as there is no visual reception of how a reader interprets what is typed in a box. Yes, communicating and sharing ideas is important, yet it seems to go far better when it is a face-to-face exchange. There is time for pause, real listening, and thoughtful reply. May we seek the Lord to guide us in the conversations we ought to have, and those which do nothing to benefit either person.

Fall not in the trap,

Of foolish debates;

Love is our purpose,

Not words that berate.

God show us the way,

To listen to learn;

And build new bridges,

Help us to discern.

Please fill up our hearts,

With purpose to love;

So kindness will lead,

Through grace from above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your patience and kindness is timeless, and that Your word is true and applicable today. Forgive us for the times that we have engaged in useless arguments or debates, rather than chosen to love. Teach us when to walk away and when to engage in a loving and productive manner. Show us how to love first, rather than worry about being right or making our thoughts or opinions known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to avoid foolish controversies and arguments, and instead live a life that is ruled by love. 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

Judge Not

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead. Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. – (Romans 14:13, NIV)

So we should stop judging each other. Let’s decide not to do anything that will cause a problem for a brother or sister or hurt their faith. – (Romans 14:13, ERV)

Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. – (Romans 14:13, MSG)

Our culture has become one that is very quick to judge, rather than seeking to understand. We all have been created with a free will. Each person has the choice to make their own decisions and determine their own actions. Our individual charge is to not do things that cause others to stumble or walk away from the path on which they were placed. If we each sought to understand one another, rather than judging, imagine the communities that would be built. I am blessed to be immersed in small communities where there is a seeking to understand. Different views and beliefs are celebrated, not judged. Even in my own home there are varied beliefs, and though at times, debates get heated, at the end of the day, there is love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the best decisions for ourselves, and trust that those around us are more than capable of doing the same. Lord, lead us in love.

Judge not each other,

Seek to understand;

The right path for me,

Is not where all land.

God is creative,

For each, there’s a plan;

Individual,

He’ll guide by His hand.

Don’t deter others,

For each must decide;

The way they will walk,

In whom they’ll abide.

No matter choices,

That others choose make;

Our call is to love,

Help mend each heartbreak.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us not to judge, but rather to love. Thank You that as we ask, You are faithful to show us what we are to do, and what we should not. Forgive us for thinking we have a place determining how others ought to follow where You are leading. Teach us not to judge, but rather to seek to understand and to love. Lead us to love those around us always, no matter how different they seem in how they navigate life. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to choose love over judgment, and pursue Your leading to keep from getting others off track. Amen.

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

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. – Matthew 7:7

Came to Save

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. – (John 3:17, NIV) 

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, ERV) 

God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! – (John 3:17, TPT) 

I am so thankful that Jesus came to save, rather than to condemn. Though our sins warrant condemnation, His mercy and grace extend love and offer new life instead. In the same way that we have been given forgiveness and grace, we are meant to go forth and do likewise. We have been rescued from the darkness we were bound in, and as God’s own, we are meant to be bearers of light who shine His love everywhere we go. Our lives ought to demonstrate what it is to walk in redemption – full of gratitude and grace, as we recognize that there is nothing, we could ever do to repay the goodness we have been shown through Christ’s love. This revelation of God’s goodness compels us to navigate each day in the fullness of His love. May we go forth in God’s love and love others in the same way that we are loved by God. 

God sent His own Son, 

But not to condemn; 

Instead to set free, 

Grace that overwhelms. 

Though judgment’s deserved, 

He gives us His grace; 

Forgiven and free, 

As we seek His face. 

May we, in freedom, 

Go forth, do the same; 

Love as we are loved, 

Honor Jesus’ Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son, not to condemn us, but to save us. Thank You Jesus, for showing us what sacrificial love is. Thank You for loving us to life, so that we might go forth and love others. Forgive us for the places that we judge or condemn rather than seek to love. Teach us to trust You more, for You provide wisdom, strength and grace to know when to stay and when to walk away from situations where we should or should not remain. Show us how to love those around us best, so that Your heart may be made known clearly through love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your overwhelming sacrifice to save us. Amen. 

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

To Him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. – Psalm 136:4

To Build Up and Encourage

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NIV)

So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ERV)

So support one another. Keep building each other up as you have been doing. – (1 Thessalonians 5:11, VOICE)

 

Though I know not their heart after God, it is as if each one of my mom’s in-home care team has chosen to live this verse out as their life’s ambition. It takes a special sort of person to do in-home care, as I imagine one is never sure what they will encounter when they approach a home for the very first time. Each and every one of the care providers who has entered mom’s home has been an incredible source of encouragement for mom. Their positivity about mom’s progress thus far, and their excitement and motivation to walk this road of healing beside her, is faith-building as she continues to do the difficult work each day. Yesterday, as I asked mom if there was anything she would like to do or anyone she wished to see, she actually took me up on the offer for the first time and named the names of three of her dearest friends. I immediately sent out messages to them, and they responded promptly with enthusiasm. My heart lightened too, as I sat with the four of them and enjoyed the familiar banter among dear sister-friends. The sharing of life together was a needed boost for all of them, and each seemed to walk away encouraged and built up. After the ladies had been visiting for a while, mom’s in-home nurses arrived to do their check-in. They encouraged the girls to keep visiting while they checked in with me about particulars, and made sure to let all of them know how wonderful such visits were for mom and her rehabilitation and recovery. Pathways and progress multiply in the familiar, and in the last 24-48 hours, I have noticed a significant increase in the strength of her voice.

Beyond just yesterday, there has been an outpouring of encouragement and support for not only mom, but for my sister and me as we walk this road to recovery together. Mom’s living room and kitchen are lined with cards that have been sent over the last month by family and friends, far and near. Dear ones have been taking my boys to school in the mornings, and I know the same has been true for my sister when she is here as well. Our communities have rallied around us and covered us in prayer. We have been built up and encouraged, and are encouraged to do likewise. May we ever reach out and support one another; for we were indeed created to be in a community.

 

Build up each other,

img_2019-06-05_06-47-096960588294766447506.jpg

A sweet photo of mom and some of her besties from last year. ❤

Encourage, reach out;

Help one another,

It’s what love’s about.

For God created,

People to all need;

Sense of belonging,

A community.

Family and friends,

The gifts whom God gives;

To walk alongside,

To thrive as we live.

Let’s choose encourage,

Love well and build up;

Bless one another,

Fill up empty cups.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to encourage and build each other up. Thank You that You place people in our lives that do so when we need it the most. Forgive us for the missed opportunities to offer a word of encouragement or to come alongside another who needed a boost. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen to Your leading and encourage and build others up in the same way that You encourage and build us up. Show us how to love those around us in a way that strengthens and builds up where they are depleted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the encouragement that we have received and seek Your heart to extend the same to others around us. Amen.

 

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

 

You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. – Psalm 10:17

To Run Our Race Well

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – (Hebrews 12:1, NIV)

We have all these great people around us as examples. Their lives tell us what faith means. So we, too, should run the race hat is before us and never quit. We should remove from our lives anything that would slow us down and the sin that so often makes us fall. – (Hebrews 12:1, ERV)

As for us, we have all these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. – (Hebrews 12:1, TPT)

 

Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In order to run well, a runner needs to be rid of all of the “extras” that would weigh them down. Just as a runner does not run a marathon with a backpack, nor with extra weight, we too need to rid ourselves of the burden of holding hurts and the sin that trips us up. The things that help most, both in running and in life, are those things we carry in our heart. Perseverance is possible when we know the end goal. In a marathon, though 26.2 miles may sound like forever, there is an end point. Likewise, in life, our time on this rock that spins around the sun, is not the end, but rather the time granted to learn and grow, share and know, the blessed hope that is held in our heavenly eternity. It is far easier to “run” with passion when one is well-trained. Ongoing training teaches our hearts to persevere. May we look to the examples of those who have gone before us and run life’s race well, so that we too, may be encouraged to rid ourselves of anything that hinders us from moving forward in Christ with passion and determination, so that we may run our own race well.

 

Release the burdens, img_2019-04-03_04-26-166398438284953483236.jpg

That weigh the heart down;

Past hurts, temptation,

The trip-ups we’ve found.

Look to examples,

Of those who’ve run well;

Trust the Lord’s leading,

In Him, we’ll excel.

Our race isn’t won,

At a turbo pace;

Instead, with purpose,

We run our own race.

For Christ shall strengthen,

All those who choose seek;

Grant perseverance,

When we’re feeling weak.

In hope, keep running,

Our God, He provides;

All that is needed,

To eternal prize.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. Thank You that You provide all that we need to run our own race well. Thank You that You provide our ultimate race plan, so that we may run well. Forgive us for holding that which weighs us down, or for allowing sin to entangle us. Teach us to walk away from that which trips us up, and to lay down the weight we are not meant to carry. Show us how to love and encourage those around us to run with perseverance, the race to which they have been called. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us what weight needs be let go, and how to avoid that which entangles so that we may run with perseverance all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint. – Isaiah 40:31

 

 

Walking in Love

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, NIV)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, ERV)

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent – it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs. – (2 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

 

Love is a choice that we have to make, day in and day out. It is not dependent on feelings or actions done for or against us, but rather a decision to love others as we are loved by God. He is patient and kind with us. God is not easily angered by our short-comings, and He does not keep a record of our wrongs. When we ask for forgiveness, it is done. If we are to act in the same way, we must have an “otherly” outlook. Choosing to be patient and kind, even when we aren’t feeling it, is being intentional to love. We are not meant to envy others, but rather to celebrate their blessings beside them. Everything good that comes our way is a blessing bestowed upon us, not something to boast about. If we keep score when others hurt us, we are not walking in forgiveness. Yes, we must be wise and not remain in circumstances where there is intentional repeated offense against us, but neither are we to keep stewing on hurts. Our charge is to love and forgive, in the same way we are loved and forgiven by Christ. May we ever look to the Lord to lift us up, so that we may choose to love others in the same way that we are loved by Him.

 

Keep not a record,

dsc058528996383540018694592.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Of others offense;

Instead choose to love,

When love makes no sense.

For the love of God,

Is patient and kind;

We are not worthy,

Of His love defined.

Love’s not dependent,

On what we choose do;

A beautiful gift,

Where He makes us new.

Called to do likewise,

To love anyway;

Forgive grievances,

Choose love each new day.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are a work in progress. Thank You that You love us through our highs and lows, good and bad, and You teach us to do the same. Forgive us for the times that we have been rude or proud, impatient or unkind, or held onto an offense against us that You intended for us to release. Show us how to walk in love, in all things and at all times. Grant us wisdom to know when to stay and when to walk away. Teach us to trust You more, as You are love defined. Lead us to love those around us with kindness, faithfulness and forgiveness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love others in the same way that You so faithfully love each of us. Amen.

 

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

 

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

Lord, Grant Me Patience

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – (Ephesians 4:2, NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. – (Ephesians 4:2, ERV)

With tender humility and quiet patience, always demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward one another, especially toward those who may try your patience. – (Ephesians 4:2, TPT)

 

Daily, we are granted the opportunity to set the standard contained in this verse into practice. Our charge to be humble, patient, gentle, accepting and loving toward those around us, is meant to be carried out in every component of our lives. For me, it means being intentional in choosing my words carefully, and extending grace and gentleness, even when I would rather unleash my momentary thoughts aloud. It can be especially trying when those around us choose poorly, again and again. Our charge is to patiently persist, whether it is in gentle correction, redirection, or simply taking time to listen to the one in front of us who may be challenging our desire to be kind. Between teaching middle schoolers, raising teens, sharing space with my Viking, and navigating way out in the community, there are plenty of moments where I am afforded a turn to put these things into practice. When I am purposeful to put these things into practice, I am able to walk away from situations and circumstances that were trying with the comfort of knowing that I chose well. However, when my patience is pushed to the point where there is not a nerve left and I respond in a less-than-loving way, I end up feeling awful and discover need to make amends, even when my response was seemingly justified. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us, so that we may walk in tender humility and quiet patience, containing the capacity to demonstrate gentleness and generous love toward those around us, particularly those who try our endurance.

 

Lord, grant me patience, willful obedience

Where patience runs thin;

Help me to choose love,

Again and again.

Show me Your great strength,

So I will be kind;

Humble and gentle,

With Your love in mind.

Help me see others,

As You want me to;

Ever choosing love,

To guide my way through.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You don’t already do. Thank You that You are willing to strengthen and equip us to walk in humility, extending patience and gentleness through Your love. Forgive us for the times that our response to those around us has lacked patience, gentleness, humility or love. Show us how to love those around us in a way that gives mercy and grace, just as we have been given by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we rely on You to help us walk in humility, extending patience, gentleness and acceptance in love. Amen.

 

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

 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12