Will to Walk in Love

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, NIV) 

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV) 

Love is defined by our obedience to His commands. This is the same command you have known about from the very beginning: you must live by it. – (2 John 1:6, VOICE) 

 

There are days that choosing love is extraordinarily difficult, particularly when what is received feels miles away from loving. When this occurs, it takes a decision of the will to walk in obedience to His command. Love is not about a feeling, but rather it is a choice to love others as we are loved by God. Love is patient and kind, and does not have qualifications as to whether or not patience and kindness are extended. In fact, it is often the seemingly least deserving that need to observe love in action the most. The negative behaviors that come our way, seldom have anything to do with us, and have everything to do with individual circumstances or what took place prior to our interaction. Walking in obedience is not an easy road, but choosing to live a life of love is never for naught. Even when we do not see the impact of choosing love, we may be at peace in knowing that we have chosen well, and have operated in accordance to His will. May we ever seek the Lord and His strength, as He fills us with His love to extend to others as we navigate each new day. 

 

To love is a choice, Tether Our Hearts

An act of our will; 

Commanded by God, 

Our role to fulfill. 

For we are all called, 

To love as a choice; 

With actions and words, 

His grace to employ. 

So, let us choose love, 

In each circumstance; 

For as we do so, 

Love gets to advance. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us when we are so unlovable, and give us grace when we are completely undeserving. Thank You that You call us to give the very things that we have received to those around us, even when it is difficult. Thank You that You do not ask anything of us that You are not willing to empower us to do. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen to extend love, as we allowed our own egos, agendas or hurts to get in the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would get out of the way and give You room to move in and through us in love. Show us how to love those around us best, especially those who are the most challenging to love in the moment. Grant us Your patience and kindness and the ability to see others through Your lens of love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You to lead us in love in all things and at all times. Amen.

 

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

 

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. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Appropriated Praise

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV) 

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV) 

Thank God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits. – (Psalm 136:1, MSG) 

 

This tends to feel like an extraordinarily long week, as we all adjust to being back at work and school after having had a several-day stretch of a break. Between the cold, dark, drizzly days to the extra meetings that have taken place, or the pursuit of personal fitness goals that have increased my running mileage, by the end of each day, I have found myself thoroughly exhausted. Through it all, God deserves my gratitude. Because of His faithfulness, I am gainfully employed, working at a job that I have loved for more than twenty years. His grace grants us seasons that nourish the earth, and make us appreciate warmer weather all the more. Finally, His goodness has granted me a body that is strong and healthy and able to work harder and be pushed farther to attain new milestones in my own personal pursuit of wellness. May we ever thank God for His goodness and love, as His faithfulness lasts forever and He is worthy of all of our praise. 

 

Give thanks to the Lord, fb_img_15434953364791225849349188341322.jpg

When all’s going well; 

And still give Him thanks, 

When things aren’t so swell. 

Even in darkness, 

God’s love light does shine; 

It is up to us, 

Allow Him headline. 

All praise to the Lord, 

For all of our days; 

His hope, grace and help, 

Love that lights our way. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and full of love for us, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that Your love lasts forever. Forgive us for our lack of gratitude when we are weary of all that weighs us down. Teach us to give You praise, no matter how we feel, as You are the reason we have life and breath and hope, both now and forever. Show us how to love those around us practically, so that Your goodness, faithfulness and love are made tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise all of our days. Amen.

 

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

 

Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. – 1 Chronicles 29:13

 

 

Ever Seeking Peace

Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. – (1 Peter 3:11, NLT)

Stop doing what is wrong, and do good. Look for peace, and do all you can to help people live peacefully. – (1 Peter 3:11, ERV)

Say nothing evil or hurtful; snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. – (1 Peter 3:11, MSG)

 

We are called to walk away from doing wrong, and to turn to God and do the good for which we have been designed. At times this requires a searching for peace within ourselves, in order to love and live well. When we find the peace of God and do what we can to share His peace with those around us, God is glorified and the peace that surpasses all understanding, is made evident. May we turn away from evil and do good, ever seeking the peace that the Lord provides.

 

Retreat from evil, Filled Each Morning

Choose turn to do good;

As God intended,

Let’s walk as we should.

Ever seeking peace,

So that we in turn;

Share peace with others,

For His peace is learned.

It comes from within,

Despite circumstance;

For God is greater,

And peace is His plan.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we turn and walk away from the things that we know we ought to avoid, we discover the good that You intended all along. Thank You that as we pursue You, Your peace is present, no matter what surrounds us. Thank You that as we know Your peace, we are able to share it with those around us. Forgive us for not listening to Your leading to guide us away from that which we ought not be near, and toward the good to which You are calling. Teach us to hear Your voice and obey all that You ask, so that we do the good to which we are called, and live in Your peace that surpasses all understanding. Show us love those around us in a way that promotes Your peace through the good we choose. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we turn away from the that which steals our peace, and turn toward You and do good, ever running after the perfect peace that You provide. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

 

 

Our Words Are Heard

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

The Anointed One did not enter into handcrafted sacred spaces – imperfect copies of heavenly originals – but into heaven itself, where He stands in the presence of God on our behalf. – (Hebrews 9:24, VOICE)

When we pray, be it a praise, a petition, a confession or a cry for help, our words make way to the very throne room of God. Because Jesus came and made way for us once and for all, we can approach His throne of grace, knowing that He hears and is moving on our behalf. I am so thankful that there is no go-between, nor series of rituals or requirements necessary to come to Christ whenever we need. So often I find myself offering up a quick prayer, unaware of the power and majesty present in the gift of grace to freely speak to the Creator of the Universe with the closeness of a loving father and faithful friend. May we appreciate in awe, the blessed gift granted through Christ, that endows unto us the opportunity to come before God for help, knowing that Christ is for us, moving on our behalf.

 

We need not worry,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The way has been made;

Free to approach God,

The price has been paid.

Christ went before us,

And sees us with love;

So now without fear,

We seek God above.

Let us not forget,

This grace we have found;

All thanks be to God,

Who makes love abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to approach Your throne of grace. Thank You that You hear every word uttered, both in our hearts and with our voices. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our need, or have neglected to give You gratitude for Your unending faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and give You thanks for all that You have done, are doing, and shall do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know of Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

 

 

Cling to Christ

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. – (1 Timothy 1:19, NLT)

Continue to trust in God and do what you know is right. Some people have not done this, and their faith is now in ruins. – (1 Timothy 1:19, ERV)

Cling tightly to your faith in Christ and always keep your conscience clear, doing what you know is right. For some people have disobeyed their consciences and have deliberately done what they knew was wrong. It isn’t surprising that soon they lost their faith in Christ after defying God like that. – (1 Timothy 1:19, TLB)

 

To cling tightly to our faith in Christ, we must walk in His way and do His will. This is made possible through trust and keeping our own conscience clear. One of the greatest obstacles to doing right is the tendency to hold onto unforgiveness. If we do not forgive others, God does not forgive us. When we harbor bitterness toward others, there is no love to give. Our charge is to release offenses to Him and choose to forgive. That does not mean that we neglect nor ignore harm, but rather allow vindication to be His. When there is a grievance that demands intervention – be it the law, a pastor, a leader, parent or person who can intervene, then we ought to access the appropriate channels to allow the authority over them to determine what is just. For us, we need to seek the Lord to reach a space where we release the wrong and pray for their ultimate good. With offenses, much of the time there is no intent to cause harm. Rather, it is the “offender” caught up in their own “stuff”, completely unaware that they have caused some sort of turmoil in the recipient. A great way to combat being easily offended is to assume positive intent. Often a mere glimpse of what is going on leads to ugly assumptions, rather than recognition that there is far more to the story, and nothing that is done in our direction is intended for harm.  May we be unoffendable with the small stuff, and quick to seek understanding when it is something that we struggle to release. Let us depend on the Lord for wisdom and strength so that we forgive as we have been forgiven.

 

Let us above all, The Favor of Forgiveness

Cling to Christ, our Lord;

Trust in His wisdom,

And grace He affords.

For we are each called,

To love and forgive;

Depend on the Lord,

And strength that He gives.

Just as we forgive,

God will forgive us;

Let’s lavish with grace,

Granted by Jesus.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to cling to You and Your word. Thank You that You will lead us and guide us in all things, if only we willingly seek You. Thank You that You call us to keep short accounts, as releasing offenses prevents barriers from being built – both in our heart and between us and others. Forgive us for the times that we have not clung to our faith and have allowed the words or actions of others to offend us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would assume positive intent when it is small, and wisdom to know what do when it is something that causes harm. Show us how to love and forgive those around us, so that they too may come to understand Your glorious grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we cling to our faith and keep our conscience clear by coming before You with all things first. Amen.

 

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

I desire to do Your will, my God; Your law is within my heart. – Psalm 40:8

The Peace in Letting Go

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret – it leads only to evil. – (Psalm 37:8, NIV)

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, NLT)

Stop your anger! Turn off your wrath. Don’t fret and worry – it only leads to harm. – (Psalm 37:8, TLB)

 

Anger, wrath and rage ultimately bring the most harm to the holder. They have a way of rotting us from the inside out, and lead us to decisions that go against the good that we know we ought to do. Fret and worry are much the same. Each of these responses to external things, create an internal reaction that ruins the resolve within us. This verse does not say, “Never be angry.” Rather, it is a call to not sit and dwell in that space, allowing rage to rise. There is a time for righteous anger, yet how we respond to it matters most. Our charge is not to retaliate nor vindicate, (for this is why there are laws and authorities in place) alternatively, we are to set it in God’s hands. Of course, this is more easily said than done, yet with intention, it is worthwhile. Peace takes root where the anger or worry attempted reign. May we recognize our own responses as they occur and give all anger and worry to Him who brings peace in the most tumultuous spaces.

 

Stop being angry, Set Down Our Stones

Leave wrath in the dust;

Let go of worry,

Turn to God in trust.

For vengeance is His,

So too, are good plans;

As we trust in Him,

His grace lends a hand.

A hand that gives love,

When we’re lacking peace;

Comfort in worry,

What we need’s released.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to let go of anger, wrath, rage and worry. Thank You that though there is a time for righteous anger, we are not meant to sit and hold it in our hearts and hands. Thank You that as we release these things to You, You replace them with Your comfort and peace. Forgive us for holding anger or worry. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would place all things in Your hands. Show us how to love those around us who are holding anger or worry in such a way, that they may discover the freedom of letting go. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our anger and worry to You, and allow Your comfort and peace to take their place in our hearts. Amen.

 

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

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34

Goodness Found in Faith

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, NIV)

Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that He is real and that He rewards those who sincerely try to find Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, ERV)

And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that He is real and that He rewards the faith of those who give all their passion and strength into seeking Him. – (Hebrews 11:6, TPT)

 

Faith is like a muscle, we all are inherently born with the propensity to have it, yet unless it is exercised, it atrophies and becomes weak. However, as we exercise our faith, it grows stronger. What may begin as a faint fleck of faith, has the capacity to develop and be transformed into something monumental that moves mountains and paves paths where there previously seemed to be no way. God is faithful to meet us where we are as we seek Him, our part is to look to Him, as He is already looking to us. The Lord is not pushy, He is patient and loving and kind. He will only enter in if invited, so our portion is to seek, ask and believe. May we ever pursue a life of opportunities to grow our faith further in Him, for God is faithful and will make His goodness known as we seek and trust in Him.

 

Let us trust the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

For that’s how faith grows;

And it is by faith,

That God’s goodness shows.

He’s faithful to hear,

Each word that we pray;

By His loving grace,

He’ll show us the way.

The way to new life,

Where faith overcomes;

No mountain too high,

To block God’s outcome.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to exercise our faith in You, You grow and strengthen that which is in us to move past all that lies before us. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked the faith to seek You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are mightier than all that stands before us. Show us how to love those around us in a way that blesses hearts and renews hope. May many find faith in You forever. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and ever move forward in faith, trusting that You will grow that which is within us to move all that is before us. Amen.

 

 

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

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1

As Seed Are Sown

Then He told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – (Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)

 

Last Sunday, our pastor spoke on this particular parable. As he unpacked the meaning, he suggested the notion that perhaps it was not illustrating four different types of hearers of the word, but instead, it represents each of us at different stages of our relationship with God, or in different areas of our lives. There are indeed times when we are so closed off that words spoken, simply fall to the ground as if they had never been said. The second sort of soil, that which was shallow and rocky, mirrors our hearts when we hear the words, want to do well, but do nothing to invest to allow what we hear to take root. It is our desire for gratification without dedication, and it does not bring growth to fruition. When we are not rooted, the storms that come can destroy us. Seed among thorns is when the word of God is competing with the weight of the world that we attempt to bear. Worries will choke out all that is good if we do not allow God to be the gardener who prunes and pulls out that which does not belong in our lives. Finally, the seed that is sown on good soil is the word of God that we allow to enter our heart and act upon it. It is an ongoing investment in relationship with God and a choice to be intentional to spend time in His word, in worship and in prayer. As we know Him more, we more clearly reflect His heart to those around us. When others see His heart through us, that is when they too, desire to know the One who loves us so. May we ever seek the Lord to soften the soil of our heart and keep the rocks and worries that become barriers far from us, so that we may learn and grow and love others as we are loved by Him.

 

Let seed that are sown, How Faith Grows

Land on fertile soil;

Soften my heart, Lord,

Let not Your seed spoil.

For Your words are life,

Your love shows the way;

As we seek You more,

We trust and obey.

All time spent with You,

Helps us better know;

The gift of Your grace,

You grant us to grow.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You tend to our heart as we seek You and spend time with You. Forgive us for the times that we have been hard-hearted, shallow, or allowed the worries of the world to reign rather than You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are greater than anything that we face. Help us to prioritize our time to invest in knowing You more and loving those around us well. Show us how to love all whom we encounter in a way that ultimately points their hearts to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as You tend to the soil of our hearts, and nurture growth as we allow You to water and care for the things that You so intentionally plant within us to nourish those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

You pour rain on the plowed fields; You soak the fields with water. You make the ground soft with rain, and You make the young plants grow. – Psalm 65:10

Weighing the Why

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. Don’t be interested only in your own life, but care about the lives of others too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, ERV)

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. – (Philippians 2:3-4, NLT)

 

I am so thankful that God is gentle as He comes alongside us to remind us of what matters most. This past weekend, I was wrestling with a decision that I thought I had already made. After much prayer and a loving and supportive ear from my Viking, I discovered that I was meant to navigate a different direction than I had determined I would go. Weighing the “why” brought me to a place of peace with the decision that is best for my family. Because I had unconditional support, I had not previously given much consideration to the choice I thought I had already made. It was the gentle prompting in my heart that led me to wrestle with my “why”, and ultimately choose differently.  May we ever seek our Savior to lead and guide us in our every decision, allowing Him room to show us the way that is best for others and not just ourselves.

 

Let each decision, Weighing the Why

Be unto the Lord;

Set aside all pride,

And seek the Adored.

For all that we do,

Impacts more than us;

We need consider,

Others and adjust.

God, help us be wise,

And allow You room;

To show us what’s best,

So Your love may bloom.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us and lead us in the ways that are best for all. Thank You that You come alongside us and guide us when we determine to go a direction that You do not intend for us to go. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that lead us to make decisions that are less than the very best You have for us. Teach us to hold our plans loosely, so that we are willing to allow You to interrupt and reroute us as we go. Show us how to love those around us in a way that considers their best interest in all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your wisdom and grace to lead us in the ways we are meant to go to best love, support and encourage those around us. Amen.

 

 

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

 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4 & 7

Chaos Becomes Calm

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, NIV)

God, You give true peace to people who depend on You, to those who trust in You. – (Isaiah 26:3, ERV)

You will keep the peace, a perfect peace, for all who trust in You, for those who dedicate their hearts and minds to You. – (Isaiah 26:3, VOICE)

 

The perfect peace that comes from God as we depend and trust in Him, is a supernatural calm that supersedes the chaos that surrounds us. In a space where it makes no logical sense to know peace because of turmoil, yet somehow, deep within, we hold fast to the hope that we know, His peace becomes present. It does not mean that difficulties disappear, yet it is the way to know peace even when trials and troubles come our way, for God is faithful forever to all who trust in Him. May we ever choose to dedicate our hearts and minds to He who brings peace in His presence.

 

In Your perfect peace,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

O God, You shall keep;

All who place their trust,

And earnestly seek.

Dependence on You,

Leads to perfect peace;

Chaos becomes calm,

As our hearts release.

Sometimes You silence,

The storms that surround;

But more often still,

It’s internal sounds.

You speak loving truth,

Our hearts need to hear;

Make Your presence known,

For You’re ever near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we trust and depend on You, You are our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness and lack of faith when storms begin to stir. Teach us to trust You more when the battles rage – both inside and out. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace in places that are tumultuous and bring calm into chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to be our peace forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The Lord will turn His face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:26