Fend Off Sin and Do Good

Turn away from evil and do what is good; seek peace and pursue it. – (Psalm 34:14, HCSB)

Stop doing anything evil, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (Psalm 34:14, ERV)

Turn your back on sin; do something good. Embrace peace – don’t let it get away! – (Psalm 34:14, MSG)

Sometimes doing good is walking away from a fight that is tempting, and choosing to only engage when kindness can be extended. Our charge is to seek peace, not get sucked into petty disputes. The best way to do this is to pursue God and His will. Often, when I begin to get angry or frustrated with someone, God stops me in my tracks and I find myself asking Him to show me His heart for them. What I have discovered each time that I have done so, there is a softening in me toward the other. Usually, I discover that the very behavior that got under my skin, was motivated by their own hurts. Does it make it right? No, but it does provide compassion and the capacity to respond gently with goodness and kindness. This is a lifelong process to pursue, not a one-and-done in a tough space. May we ever seek the Lord to help us stop doing the things we ought not do, and do the good that He calls us into. In the process, may we find His peace and embrace it.

Turn from temptation,

To do what’s not right;

Demean or put down,

Jump into a fight.

Instead, seek the Lord,

Allow Him to lead;

Choose extend the good,

That His word decrees.

Embrace the Lord’s peace,

As it enters in;

For as we listen,

We fend away sin.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, loving and a promoter of peace. Thank You that as we seek You, You give us Your heart for others and help us turn away from the sin that so easily entangles us. Forgive us for allowing our pride to get the better of us so that we walk into a war that need not be waged. Show us Your heart for those around us so that we might see them through Your eyes. Lead us to extend goodness and kindness to those around us as we embrace Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we walk away from the sin that attempts to creep in, and lead us to embrace Your peace as we seek You to do the good that we have been called to do. Amen.

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

If your brother or sister in God’s family does something wrong, go and tell them what they did wrong. Do this when you are alone with them. If they listen to you, then you have helped them to be your brother or sister again. – Matthew 18:15

Faithful Love Follows

But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. – (Psalm 103:17-18, HCSB)

But the Lord has always loved His followers, and He will continue to love them forever and ever! He will be good to all their descendants, to those who are faithful to His agreement and who remember to obey His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, ERV)

But the unfailing love of the Eternal is always and eternal for those who reverently run after Him. He extends His justice on and on to future generations, to those who will keep His bond of love and remember to walk in the guidance of His commands. – (Psalm 103:17-18, VOICE)

My maternal grandmother was the epitome of a person who was faithful to follow after God, and she loved and prayed for us all. Her kind and loving ways were an example to each of us, and I can see the fruit of her faithfulness to our family. Though not all of the grandchildren choose to follow after God, I can see His hand in all of our lives, for He has protected and provided for us all. My hope is that I might grow in grace and follow in her footsteps. Grandchildren are not on the radar anytime soon, yet I pray for and love our kids as I have been loved and prayed for. God is faithful, and I can see the fruit of my own mom’s faithful prayers in her grandchildren. Each has been protected and held, despite the challenges that life provides. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to follow Him whole-heartedly, and to faithfully love and pray for our children and their children to follow. 

The Lord is faithful,

Gram and some of her great-grandkids.

To those who seek Him;

His presence assured,

As He is asked in.

His love – unfailing,

For He remains near;

To those who ask Him,

His presence is clear.

The Lord’s faithfulness,

Carries on and on;

To those who seek Him,

His love is shown strong.

May we continue,

To love and lift up;

Our kids and their kids,

So faith is built up.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are faithful to those who seek You, and to their descendants that follow. Thank You that You show us what it looks like to faithfully follow You through our parents and grandparents. Forgive us for the times that we have not set the example that You intended. Teach us to pursue You whole-heartedly and to lift up and love well our children and their children to come. Show us how to love as You love, so that Your heart may be made tangible to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to seek You and pursue a life of loving those around us as You do. Amen.

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

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

Revelation of Love

God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, HCSB)

This is how God showed His love to us: He sent His only Son into the world to give us life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, ERV)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

God sent His Son so that we might understand His love and find life everlasting in Him. If we look around, the evidence of His goodness and love are all around us. Because His Son took all of our sin and shame upon His shoulders, we can walk in the goodness of His love and grace and go forth and love likewise. Time with family and friends, puppy snuggles, warmth and love and light are all reminders of God’s love that gives all and withholds nothing. May we ever seek the Lord to remind us anew of the incredible gift of His love that knows no end.

The love of the Lord,

Is our greatest gift;

Lavish sacrifice,

Our hearts to uplift.

Willingly given,

His life for our own;

So we could know Him,

He’s where love is shown.

Look all around us,

His goodness is clear;

Evidence of love,

Is always so near.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have shown us the greatest love ever given through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Your Son. Because You gave, we can know life and love in You. Forgive us for losing sight of Your love all around us. Teach us to see Your heart for us and those around us at all times. Show us how to extend Your goodness and grace to everyone we meet. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we recognize Your love all around us and extend the same to all. Amen.

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

God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. – Psalm 36:7

What Love is Meant to Be

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, HCSB)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Does love hurt anyone? Absolutely not. In fact, love achieves everything the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, VOICE)

When we love those around us, we are walking in obedience to all that God commands. It is love that leads us along the path that the Lord has placed before us and shows us the way to navigate well. The more that we seek the Lord and receive all that He has to offer, the better equipped we are to love each person we meet. Choosing to extend kindness, is love. Believing the best in others is love. Forgiving and not holding a grudge, is love. Caring well for those around us is love. There are countless ways that we can extend love to those around us, and make God’s love tangible in places that it has been hidden. May we ever depend on the Lord to lead us in love, so that we may walk in obedience to the greatest command and show those around us what love is all about.

Love is meant to be,

Evidence of God;

Not jaded, hurtful,

Some Hallmark facade.

True love is goodness,

Kind and faithful too;

Always forgiving,

Each day it’s made new.

Patient, generous,

Full of hope each day;

In Christ, there’s enough,

To love the Lord’s way.

For as we choose love,

We do as we should;

We love others well,

And show God is good.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we love You and love those around us well, we are walking in obedience to all that You command. Forgive us for each time that we have fallen short and not loved as You call us to do. Teach us how to lead with love in all that we say and do. Show us how to express Your love best to those around us, so that they might recognize Your heart in our every word and deed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love our neighbors as You intended. Amen.

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

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to 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

Grow Us in Grace

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – (2 Peter 3:18, HCSB)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory be to Him, now and forever! Amen. – (2 Peter 3:18, ERV)

But continue to grow and increase in God’s grace and intimacy with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May He receive all the glory both now and until the day eternity begins. Amen! – (2 Peter 3:18, TPT)

As we grow in grace and understanding of who God is and how He loves, we cannot help but be transformed to reflect His heart to the world. For this and so much more, all glory belongs to Him both now and forever, as He continues to grow and transform us until the day we meet Him face-to-face. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and deepen our understanding of Him and His perfect love so that we may love well and give Him glory with all that we say and do.

Grow us Lord Jesus,

In Your love and grace;

Grant us Your wisdom,

To walk in Your ways.

Let all that we say,

And all that we do;

Be drenched in Your love,

Give glory to You.

Lead us each morning,

In wisdom to seek;

Your heart for others,

And strength when we’re weak.

Transform our thinking,

So that all we choose;

Is loving and kind,

And shows Your heart true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow us in our capacity to love and increase our understanding so that we may more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for acting and reacting in our own broken humanity rather than through the lens of Your love. Teach us to trust You and to slow down and seek You to lead us and guide us in all that we say and do. Show us how to love well, all those around us each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to grow us and transform us so that we may love like You. Amen.

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

Indeed, we have all received grace after grace in His fullness. – John 1:16

To Live and Love Well

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. – (Philippians 1:9, NIV)

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love. – (Philippians 1:9, ERV)

My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight. – (Philippians 1:9, TLB)

Though this is from Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi, the message still resonates today. It is my prayer for myself and all those around me that our love will grow to overflowing, and that we would ever pursue knowledge and insight. God is gracious, and His love abounds more and more as He grants us insight and understanding of how deep and how wide His love is and how He has hand-crafted us to love well. Additionally, as we seek to know and understand more, He shows us more of who He is and how to care well for those around us. May we ever pursue the heart of God so that our love continues to grow as our understanding and insight expands.

May our love abound,

As we seek to grow;

Knowledge and insight,

To make His love known.

It’s through our pursuit,

That we come to know;

The depths of God’s love,

Then it overflows.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

And help us learn well,

The light of Your truth.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Paul’s prayer and exhortation to the Philippians is still relevant and applicable today. Thank You that as we seek You to lead us in love and grow our understanding and insight, You are faithful to show us more and more. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love and learn as You intended. Show us how to ever pursue Your heart and wisdom so that we may love out of the overflow that comes from knowing You. Teach us to love those around us with the same heart that You have for all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as Your love is made tangible. Be glorified O God, as we pursue Your heart of love and Your wisdom and insight so that we may live and love well. 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

Pause, Ponder and Praise

God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, NIV)

Christ had no sin, but God made Him become sin so that in Christ we could be right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, ERV)

How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on Him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. – (2 Corinthians 5:21, MSG)

As we enter this most holy week, in preparation for Easter, it is good to consider what Christ did for us in order for all to have the opportunity to be right with God. Jesus left heaven, was born as a baby, grew up in an ordinary place, and began touching and changing lives when His time had come. For more than three years, He lived, loved, taught, encouraged, healed, touched, and transformed the lives of those whom He encountered. Though Jesus knew what stood before Him as He made His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, He loved so much that He continued. His fate was to bear the weight of the world on His shoulders, as He hung on the cross that dismal Friday. Jesus’ decision to die in our place, made the way for us to be forgiven and set free to be in the very presence of God. Gone are the days of sacrifice and atonement for our sin because of that one decision to take it all. Sin, shame and sorrow were surrendered on the cross, so that we might experience forgiveness, blessing and joy. Though we all fall short, as we choose to pursue a life after God, we are forgiven and led forward into a life everlasting. Pondering all that Christ went through on my behalf, intensifies my desire to live a life that is pleasing unto Him. May we ever make time to reflect on the goodness of God, and give praise for the way that has been made for us to be right before Him.

Sinless was Jesus,

Hanging on the cross;

Done on our behalf,

Aware of the cost.

To become the sin,

All that we have done;

He felt the anguish,

The Most Holy One.

Willing He chose death,

To offer new life;

Hope for all people,

An ending to strife.

Earnestly seek Him,

Pursue Him with praise;

He loves forever,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You loved so much that You sent Your one and only Son. Thank You Jesus, that You lived and loved and led a life that was without sin. Thank You that You took our sin upon Yourself so that we could come into relationship with You. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder and praise You for all that You have done to may the way for us to be in Your presence forever. Teach us to recognize Your goodness and Your nearness. Show us how to love in such a way that Your heart may be made known to the world. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we take pause to ponder all that You have done and praise You for who You are. Amen.

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

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is mankind that You are mindful of them, human beings that You care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

The Blessing of Confessing

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, NIV)

But if we confess our sins, God will forgive us. We can trust God to do this. He always does what is right. He will make us clean from all the wrong things we have done. – (1 John 1:9, ERV)

But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9, TPT)

Confessing our sins is meant to be freeing and cleansing. Too often, we get caught up in presenting our laundry list of requests before God, and perhaps praising Him for who He is, but neglect the part of pausing to reflect on places where our thoughts, words or deeds were not pleasing to the Lord. This is not meant to be a space of shame, but rather of recognition of our wrongs and an active, intentional awareness of how we can do and be better, not in our own strength, but with the forgiveness and freedom that our Heavenly Father brings as we ask.  Incredibly, as we ask, He answers. God is faithful to forgive each time we ask, but it is our responsibility to request that He show us where we have fallen short. We all do, as we are all a work in progress. I am so thankful that though there is a long way to go, I am closer than I was before. May we ever come before Christ and confess our sins, for it is in this space that we are set free from the shame and guilt, and turned back to the One who leads us in the ways that He intended.     

O Lord, unto You,

We bring You our shame;

Ugly shortcomings,

Our spaces of blame.

In love, You shine light,

That removes the dark;

Turning hearts around,

Repentant trademark.

As we choose confess,

In love, we’re set free;

Propelled to better,

Intentionally.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You will show us our sin so that we may confess and be cleansed. Thank You that You receive us, cleanse us, and point us on the path that follows after You. Please forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented Your heart well. Teach us to keep short accounts with You so that we may do and be better. Show us how to love with mercy and grace, granting glimpses of Your heart to all who come our way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we confess our sin before You and follow Your leading to love as we were created to do. Amen.

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

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:23-24

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