A Work In Progress

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, NIV)

Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, ERV)

To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. – (2 Peter 1:5-7, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Each of these strengths to which we are called to grow, are not things that we can just decide we want to possess, and then all of a sudden, they are present, but rather it is an ongoing pursuit to grow in each. It requires intentional seeking of the Lord, and navigating the path we are on in His way. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, patience, devotion, kindness and love are all things that grow in us as we follow after God and choose to do His will. These things grow over time. Often, the most growth transpires in the most tumultuous or frustrating times. For example, patience tends to grow most when we find ourselves in a season of waiting. We have to practice patience to become patient. I don’t know about you, but I know that my patience is circumstantial in strength. Though I am quite patient with students in my classroom, I often discover my patience is lacking when I am stuck behind a slow driver or a slow shopper. I have to take deep breaths and remind myself that people go at the pace that they are comfortable and feel safe. It is, however, trying when it is well under the speed limit or it bottlenecks the isle. Thankfully, we have new opportunities to grow in each of these things every single day. It is up to us to lean on the Lord to lead us, or to simply react to life around us. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us to be more like Him, and may His goodness, kindness, knowledge, self-control, patience and devotion be made evident through our love.

Lord, in Your kindness,

Grow us in Your love;

May our lives reflect,

Your heart from above.

With wisdom and grace,

Teach us self-control;

Add to our knowledge,

As love is our goal.

Grace us with patience,

Throughout each new day;

So love is poured out,

As we walk Your way.

Grow our devotion,

To You and others;

So care is made clear,

To sisters, brothers.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to never stop growing and becoming the person who You have created us to be. Thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have been impatient, unkind, or lacked self-control. Teach us to do and be better each time that we fall short. Lead us in Your overwhelming love, so that each of these attributes become evident in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your heart known. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us more and more like You. Amen.

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

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

Where Love is Evident

The earth is filled with Your love, Lord; teach me Your decrees. – (Psalm 119:64, NIV)

Lord, Your faithful love fills the earth. Teach me Your laws. – (Psalm 119:64, ERV)

Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by Your counsel. – (Psalm 119:64, MSG)

Though there are many places and spaces where it feels as though there is no love to be found, it takes but a moment to slow down and truly look and see all the good that God has placed around us. It is knowing the goodness of His love that compels me to want to learn and grow each day to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. We all are a work in progress, yet as we pursue Him and recognize the love that He has for us all, one cannot help but to desire to do likewise. May we ever seek the Lord to recognize the goodness of His love, and seek after Him to show us how to live according to His counsel.

The love of the Lord,

Is beyond compare;

His goodness and grace,

Are found ev’rywhere.

Each time we seek Him,

The Lord will be found;

Present, He helps us,

His kindness is sound.

It is God’s great love,

That leads us to seek;

To walk in His ways,

Follow His decrees.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is evident everywhere. Thank You that it is Your kindness that compels us to walk in Your way and do Your will. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love or avoided the things that You were calling us to do. Teach us to trust You and to listen to Your leading so that we may truly walk in the light of Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the grace that You give and recognize the overwhelming love all around us that leads us to desire to do likewise. Amen.

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

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

Walking the Way of Love

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV)

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, MSG)

Some days, walking the way of love is far more difficult than others. There are moments in the craziness of my days that I am unsure of what love ought to look like. This is where we need Jesus more than ever. We need His eyes to see and His heart to love when we cannot even process the things unfolding before us. Yesterday, an insane incident in one of my classes left me so stunned that all I could do was ask if kids were okay after I had the disrupter step outside. I am very aware of my need for God to lead me in His love in everything I say and do, for I am not equipped on my own to navigate all that comes my way. May we ever seek the Lord and His lavish love, so that we may navigate our days in the light of His love.

Lord, teach us to love,

In all things like You;

Extravagantly,

So Your heart shines through.

For love is given,

Not so that we get;

But rather to show,

All that’s to come yet.

As we choose draw near,

Train us in Your ways;

Make Your love made known,

Throughout each new day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are an ongoing work in progress. Thank You that You continue to grow us and transform us to better reflect Your love to those around us. Forgive us for our frustrations and expectations of others. Teach us to see others through Your lens, as we recognize the need for love all around us. Show us how to love those whom You place on our path as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever seek You to continue to teach us to love like You. Amen.

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

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love. – 2 John 1:6

Desire and Strength to Do Good

For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose. – (Philippians 2:13, HCSB)

Yes, it is God who is working in you. He helps you want to do what pleases Him, and He gives you the power to do it. – (Philippians 2:13, ERV)

God is energizing you so that you will desire to do what always pleases Him. – (Philippians 2:13, VOICE)

When we seek the Lord and invest our hearts and lives in knowing Him more, He empowers us to both want to do His will and He grants us what we need to follow through. We are all a work in progress and the process transpires throughout our lifetime. The more we walk with Him, the more aware we become of what He wants for us, and the greater our desire to do what He wants us to do. Despite our own shortcomings and weaknesses, His power provides as we abide, and we are granted all that we need to move forward in His strength for His purposes. May we ever seek the Lord and give Him room to move in our hearts and lives so that we have the desire and the strength to do what He is calling us to do.

Ever seek the Lord,

Photo by Nitin Arya on Pexels.com

His strength and His will;

For He is faithful,

With love to fulfill.

He grants us power,

To keep pressing on;

Desire for good,

His love makes us strong.

He shows us His ways,

As we choose to ask;

Equips us with strength,

To complete each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and spend time with You, You grant us the desire and strength to rise up and do Your will. Thank You that it is not something that we can try to be and do better, but rather we seek more and more of You, and the outcome is a heart that longs to be who You call us to be. Forgive us for our stubbornness and independence that keep us from relying on You to be our source and supply. Teach us to trust in You, for You are faithful to lead us, guide us, and equip us for each new day. Show us how to love those around us as You do, so that You love fuels all to pursue the life that You have for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us, guide us, and strengthen us to do Your will throughout all of our days. Amen.

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

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

Supply to the Seeking

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – (Matthew 6:33, HCSB)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. – (Matthew 6:33, MSG)

When God is our priority each day, and we seek Him to lead us in what we say and do, He takes care of us. He provides as we abide. Yes, we have to do our part by taking action, but He supplies what we need in ways that go beyond human understanding. It is not something we earn, but rather as we seek Him, He shows us which way to go, and grants us what we need to get there. This holds true in every area of our lives if we allow Him room to be God of all. This is an ongoing process, as we are ever a work in progress and have limitless capacity to keep learning and growing. May we ever seek the Lord and steep our lives in His reality, His initiative and His provisions, for He is faithful to meet us with every step we take.

Choose seek first the Lord,

And all of His good;

He’s faithful always,

His love understood.

We need not worry,

Forever He’s near;

To lead and help us,

Each prayer He hears.

Keep moving forward,

In all that He asks;

He grants what’s needed,

For each step, each task.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and Your ways, You meet us, lead us, and provide all that we need. Thank You that You are faithful forever, even when we cannot see how You are moving on our behalf. Thank You that we can look back and see just how incredibly faithful You have always been. Forgive us for our fears and lack of faith when the road before us is rough. Teach us to trust in You and to look to You to lead us. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too are able to see Your faithful love that meets us anew each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You first each day, and trust You to lead us well in the ways that You want us to go. Amen.

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

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

Respond Gently

A gentle answer turns away anger, but a harsh word stirs up wrath. – (Proverbs 15:1, HCSB)

A gentle answer makes anger disappear, but a rough answer makes it grow. – (Proverbs 15:1, ERV)

A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire. – (Proverbs 15:1, MSG)

This is a game-changer in every area of our lives if we abide by it. When someone who is enraged is responded to gently, it seems to flip a switch and bring them back to reality. We tend to match the way that others are speaking to us, so if we are yelling or speaking out in anger and then have someone answer us gently, it is as if the steam that had been built up, is suddenly released, and the press of the fury has fled. I know this to be true in both my home and in my classroom. The challenge is to remember to keep calm and speak with kindness, even when chaos seems inevitable. This is not something we can just do, but rather as we seek God to equip us, He floods us with His peace, and grants us gentle words, even when we desire to do otherwise. We are all a work in progress, and not one of us has this entirely mastered, yet the more we practice, the more natural it becomes. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in grace so that we may always have a gentle response to bring calm to the chaos around us.

A gentle response,

Makes wrath disappear;

It calms the chaos,

And soothes away fear.

For God is our peace,

Ever He is near;

He grants us the words,

To make His love clear.

Help us keep seeking,

To respond like You;

Make grace abundant,

So Your love shines through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love as You love. Thank You that Jesus showed us over and over again how to respond gently and to love deeply. Forgive us for the times that we have answered anger with anger instead of responding with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to trust You to provide the sort of peaceful response that brings calm and promotes peace for all. Show us how to love others with how we respond in all situations and circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to respond gently when someone around us is riled up. Amen.

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

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. – Ephesians 4:2-3

How Love is Made Known

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

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. – (1 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. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

God provides us the ultimate example of what love is and is not. We are commanded to love God and love people, and He both shows and tells us what it is to love. Patience and kindness should lead us in how we love. Jealousy, pride, unkindness, selfishness and a short temper do not help us show love. In our broken humanity, we all struggle with loving as God does in all things. All it takes is being stuck in Seattle traffic during rush hour to be reminded that we are ALL a work in progress. We have the opportunity to extend love everywhere we go and through everything we do. Imagine what the world would look like if we all sought the Lord to lead us in His love in all that we said and did? Each time that we extend patience and kindness, we are igniting a spark that can spread. For me, when I have been granted patience or kindness when I know I did not deserve it, it caused me to take pause and work to do the same in similar situations. May we ever seek the Lord in His goodness and grace to lead us in His incredible love in all things.

Lord, help us to love,

In all that we do;

Let each word and deed,

Reflect Your heart true.

Grant us Your patience,

And Your kindness too;

Lead us to love well,

As You call us to.

Help us be gracious,

Wherever we go;

May Your heart shine through,

So love is made known.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love. Thank You that You show us what love is and is not, so that we know what You are calling us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked patience or kindness, the times that we have been jealous or rude or proud. Teach us to trust and follow You so that we might extend Your heart to the world through our love. Show us how to be patient and kind in each circumstance we encounter. Help us to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love in all that we say and do in every circumstance. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Ongoing Transformation

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

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

 This verse is such a wonderful reminder that we are ALL a work in progress. Not one of us has “arrived”; we all can continue to be transformed more and more by the goodness of God and His unending grace, if only we are willing to seek and trust in Him. The process is different for everyone, and what we see is not the whole story. We all have challenges and triumphs, detours and direct routes as we navigate this life with the intent to grow more like Jesus. I love that the Lord will not stop in the middle, but rather will continue to work in us and through us as we depend on Him. Though I am certain I have passed the midpoint in this life, I am well aware of the work that still needs to be done. There is always more to learn, and always more patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and more to gain. It is only through looking back that we can see how far we have come. For some, change is subtle, as the external has mostly always been a pleasant demeanor, however, the work in the heart is what transforms the mind to think and respond in love in all circumstances. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us more in His love, and recognize that we are all a work in progress and in desperate need of His love and grace.

Confidently trust,

The work is not done;

A lifelong process,

As we seek the Son.

Each day we choose Him,

His love is our guide;

To give as He gives,

With arms open wide.

Lead us in Your love,

To care as You do;

Let Your goodness show,

As we follow You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are all a work in progress and that Your work in us will not stop until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that none of us “arrive” and are somehow without room to grow. Forgive us for our expectations and frustrations with others, for You are working in and through all of us. Teach us to trust in You in all things, for growth happens as we seek You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we encourage one another to grow more like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to keep transforming our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect Your goodness and love throughout each day that we draw breath. Amen.

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

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2

Not Finished Yet

I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 1:6, HCSB)

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 am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. – (Philippians 1:6, VOICE)

We are all a work in progress. Not one of us “arrives” at some point in our lives, but rather as we seek the Lord, He continues to transform our hearts to more clearly reflect His own. The great work He does in us is an ongoing process that we must be willing to pursue, for it is by His grace that we can live and love through a life that extends His heart to others. In our broken humanity, we all fall short, yet it is Christ who picks us up, dusts us off, and encourages and strengthens us to press on. May we ever seek the Lord to lead and guide us in His love, so that He may continue the good work that He has begun in each of us. 

Lord, please continue,

What’s begun in us;

Love’s transformation,

Power of Jesus.

For as we seek Him,

He shows us the way;

To love as He loves,

A bit more each day.

Such love’s a process,

That grows and refines;

Power of Jesus,

To change hearts and minds.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that the work You began in us will continue until the day that we see You face-to-face. Thank You that You are not finished with us yet. Forgive us for failing to press in when You are calling us to so much more. Teach us to trust and continually pursue You and all that You have for us. Show us how to love You and love people in the way that You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they witness the depth, power and goodness of Your unending love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us and transform us to love as You do. Amen.

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

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Lead Us to Love Well

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, NLT)

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs, – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, HCSB)

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. – (1 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. – (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, VOICE)

I so appreciate how clearly 1 Corinthians walks us through what love is, and what it is not. God’s love is perfect and people are not. We are broken and fall short, yet we have guidance to lead us to love well. When we pause to look around, we can see evidence of God’s love everywhere. There are those who exemplify this very sort of love beautifully. Two examples that God set before me include my grandmother and my own mom. Both of these women have always exemplified patience and kindness, were/are not easily upset, and did/do not keep record of wrongs. Arrogance was/has no part of who they were/are, and each has always considered others before themselves. Their modeling has continually compelled me to seek the Lord to lead me in love. We are all a work in progress, yet the more we seek the Lord to lead and empower us, the more readily we love well. May we ever seek the One who is love so that we too, may love as He intended.

Love’s patient and kind,

Mom and Gram ❤

Forgiving with grace;

God’s heart to extend,

Throughout all our days.

Love does not envy,

Not full of itself;

Love seeks ways to bless,

To reach out and help.

Love’s not conceited,

It’s humble and kind;

Keeping no records,

Leaves the past behind.

True love looks forward,

Chooses to endure;

Knows love is what lasts,

Faith and hope assured.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are Love, and that You show us what love is and what it is not. Thank You that we all have been created with the capacity to love and be loved. Forgive us for the times that we have not been patient or kind, when we have been envious or proud, when we’ve acted improperly, been selfish, or held a grudge. Teach us to love as You do, for Your love lasts forever. Lead us to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well. Amen.

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

This is what I command you: Love one another. – John 15:17