Walk in Love

And this is love: that we walk according to His commands. This is the command as you have heard it from the beginning: you must walk in love. – (2 John 1:6, HCSB)

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)

This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, TPT)

Always, it comes down to choosing to love. We are called to love God and love people, when we do these things, we cannot help but be living a life that honors His commands. What He asks of us has not and does not change. The way in which we love might change, but the underlying expectation is all about choosing to love as He loves us. God’s love is sacrificial and has no expectations in return. He loves us because we are His creation. In the same way, we ought to love one another because every person we meet was intentionally created by God, with a plan and a purpose. Not everyone is living and walking out the plan that was prepared for them, yet each person is still the intentional and loved creation of God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us see others through His eyes, and choose to love in all that we say and do. We need His guidance and strength to live out a life of love.

To live out God’s love,

We each have been called;

To love each other,

With grace and resolve.

To love is a choice,

That we must each make;

It is when we do,

That God is obeyed.

Each person designed,

To love and be loved;

Reflecting the light,

Of the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called and created to love. Thank You that each time we are intentional to choose love, we are walking in obedience to Your commands. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love, somehow thinking that another is not deserving. For none of us deserve Your love, yet You surround us and overwhelm us with Your goodness and grace that make Your great love abundantly clear to all who pause and observe how You move in, through and around us. Teach us to seek You to lead us in love the way that You intended. Show us how to love well, each person whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well so that we might walk in obedience to all You ask of us. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

Sing Praise

Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord, shout triumphantly to the Rock of our salvation! Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. – (Psalm 95:1-2, HCSB)

Come let us sing praise to the Lord! Let us shout praises to the Rock who saves us. Come and worship Him with songs of thanks. Let us sing happy songs of praise to Him. – (Psalm 95:1-2, ERV)

Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saves us! Let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns! – (Psalm 95:1-2, MSG)

No matter what is going on, God is always worthy of our praise. He holds us up through hard times and rejoices with us during seasons of blessing. The Lord is our Provider, Protector, and Prince of Peace. We are always welcomed into His presence. It is in His presence that one cannot help but give thanks, for it is in that space that we recognize the goodness of God. May we ever come before the Lord with thanks, for He is always good.

Sing praise to the Lord,

Our Rock and our King;

The Savior of all,

Our reason to sing.

For God alone saves,

Brings hope and new life;

Holds us through heartache,

The Ender of strife.

Always we’re welcome,

To seek, enter in;

 For His peace prevails,

And new life begins.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are welcomed to enter Your presence as we are. Thank You that as we do, You bless us with the perfect peace found in Your presence, and the grace and forgiveness our hearts need. In You, we have reason to praise and worship You with all that we are. Forgive us for our lack of seeking. Teach us to ever pursue time with You, for it is in that space that we become increasingly aware of Your goodness and how deeply You love. Show us how to love those around us in the same way, so that they too may understand the overwhelming kindness of Your grace and the abundant blessing of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come before You with thanks and praise and sing of Your goodness for all of our days. Amen.

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

Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works! – 1 Chronicles 16:9

Rejoice in the Rain

…Rejoice in the Lord your God, for He has given you the autumn rains because He is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, NIV)

…Be joyful in the Lord your God. He is good and will give you rain. He will send the early rains and the late rains as before. – (Joel 2:23, ERV)

…Shout with joy and happiness in the Eternal, your God; the drought is over; He has sent the early autumn rain as a sign of His faithfulness. He has poured down heavy rain, autumn and spring as before. – (Joel 2:23, VOICE)

After a blustery weekend, it is good to be reminded that the rains are actually evidence of God’s faithfulness. I know in our area, the rains were needed as our reservoirs have dropped quite low after an unusually warm and dry summer. Though I prefer sunny days, it is good to see the grass turning green again as the leaves show off their lovely fall transformation. So often what we need is not necessarily what we think we want. However, God knows. He has His very best in mind for us. Often our circumstances, schedules and pauses are exactly what we need to grow and thrive as He intended. May we ever embrace the rains that come, and rejoice in the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father.

May we choose rejoice,

No matter what comes;

For after the rain,

Again comes the sun.

All has a purpose,

To nourish and grow;

God shows faithfulness,

Makes His goodness known.

In rainy seasons,

Choose soak in His love;

He replenishes,

Leads our hearts above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You bring various seasons to nourish and soften the soil of our hearts. Thank You that all can be used for good as we place it in Your hands. Forgive us for our frustration and grumbling with the seemingly dreary days. Show us the beauty that comes from the darker days. Lead us to love those around us well, so that the goodness of Your love is evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise Your for the growth and new life that comes from the rainy days and for the strength and new growth that You place in us. Amen.

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

Rejoice always. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16

Hope is Reborn

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – (Matthew 5:4, NIV)

Great blessings belong to those who are sad now. God will comfort them. – (Matthew 5:4, ERV)

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. – (Matthew 5:4, MSG)

Grief is in the forefront of my mind this morning, as I received news of a friend’s great loss. I never know what to say in the space of such suffering, as I know the despair and devastation created by loss, and we each respond differently in the depths of our own pain. For me, reminders of God’s goodness and ability to comfort, along with the recognition and recall that Jesus grieved in loss as well, seem to help my heart in such spaces. The shortest, yet most powerfully significant verse that I know in such a space is, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus weeping in the face of loss with His dear friends is a reminder to us that we are not meant to “keep it all together” or “be strong” when we face grief. It is good and necessary to grieve so that our hearts can heal. God takes the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together in such a wondrous way that beauty springs forth from our ashes. Incredibly, what I have found after a period of mourning, is that God brings along opportunities for me to offer comfort to others walking through something similar, and great hope as I can see so clearly how I was held through the pain. My hope and prayer this morning is that those in the midst of loss can find comfort and peace in the arms of the One who is able to heal us, and feel the freedom to grieve however it is needed so that release and relief may come.

When tragedy strikes,

Or great loss is known;

God be our comfort,

As Your love is shown.

Teach our hearts to grieve,

In spaces of loss;

So healing can come,

Let’s look to the cross.

For in such anguish,

You bore all our pain;

So that we might know,

That joy comes again.

For after the grave,

You breathed life anew;

Our forever hope,

That proves Your love’s true.

A time for weeping,

To grieve and to mourn;

So joy may return,

And hope is reborn.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have known and experienced loss and devastation, and You too, wept. Thank You that because You have lived it, You can relate to our suffering and bring comfort and healing and hope. Forgive us for our fears and doubts when all that we can feel is loss. Teach us to turn to You in our despair, for Your arms are big enough to hold our every heaviness. Show us how to love, support, encourage and walk beside those around us in their seasons of loss. May comfort be found and Your heart made known in new and tangible ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God as we give You room and freedom to bring beauty from our ashes and hope from our despair. Amen.

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

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Unknown Open Doors

“Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

“…Pray to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you important secrets. You have never heard these things before.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, ERV)

“Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

Though this passage is a message that God gave to Jeremiah while he was shackled and guarded in captivity, the message remains true for us, no matter our circumstances. God is the God of all wisdom, understanding and insight. Though Jeremiah and his people were in a dismal situation, God spoke promises of what was yet to come. His plans and purposes for the people did not end in captivity, but rather in being rebuilt and free. In the same way, God has a plan and purpose for us. No matter what we have been through, are going through, or face in the future, God will grant us wisdom and understanding to navigate each step, and to walk forward into the hope He has for us all. May we ever call on the Lord to lead us well, for He is faithful to teach us and reveal to us that which we need to know to keep moving forward into all that is yet to come.

Choose call on the Lord,

Photo by Harrison Haines on Pexels.com

He’s faithful to tell;

The wonderful things,

That help us live well.

God in His wisdom,

Reveals unto us;

Unsearchable things,

He hears our requests.

No matter what is,

In Christ, there is more;

Through love He reveals,

Unknown open doors.

In struggle, seek Him,

In strength, give Him praise;

Pursue His wisdom,

To walk out each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You reveal new wisdom and insight that grant us hope and equip us for all that comes our way. Forgive us for allowing our present circumstances to limit our faith. Teach us to turn to You and pray, for You are faithful to show us what we need to know to keep moving forward in the direction You have called us. Lead us to love those around us well, so that Your goodness and grace are evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we call on You and trust You to give us wisdom and insight as to how to continue in the direction You have called us. Amen.

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

Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. – Jeremiah 29:12

Let It Go

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. – (Colossians 3:13, ERV)

Put up with one another. Forgive. Pardon any offenses against one another, as the Lord has pardoned you, because you should act in kind. – (Colossians 3:13, VOICE)

This verse is a powerful reminder of grace and mercy. Because we have been forgiven, we need to do likewise. Grudges harm the holder far more than the offender. Bearing the burden of unforgiveness creates a weight that none of us were intended to carry. When we lay it down, let go and allow God to be God, we are set free from the internal angst and are able to press forward in all that we are called and created to do. May we look to the Lord to fill us with His grace and forgiveness so that we may go forth and extend the same to those around us.

Lay down your burdens,

Choose let go, forgive;

Release the anger,

And let God’s love live.

As we’re forgiven,

May we do the same;

As image bearers,

Let’s honor His Name.

Grace and God’s mercy,

Extended to us;

May we do likewise,

Just like Lord Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You forgive us each time we seek You. Thank You that You call us and equip us to do the same. Thank You that we are meant to forgive one another and not hold onto hurts and frustrations. Forgive us for the times that we have struggled to place all in Your hands. Thank You that Your grace and mercy for us has granted us life and peace and hope. Show us how to forgive in the same way, so that others may come to know the power of peace in Your presence as mercy is extended and grace is granted. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we forgive because we have been forgiven. Amen.

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

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

Tenderness Tapers Tempers

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

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)

A tender answer turns away rage, but a prickly reply spikes anger. – (Proverbs 15:1, VOICE)

This is always a good reminder, as opportunities to gently reply are abundant, particularly when we want to respond in hurt or anger. No truer words have been penned, as when we respond in anger or with harsh or sarcastic words, it only inflames the situation. However, when we pause, take a deep breath, and respond with kindness and gentleness, there is a softening in the exchange that could have gone terribly wrong. We never know what has led to an interaction that begins poorly, yet we can control how we reply. Each time that I have caught myself and checked my heart to answer as I am called to do, I see tangible evidence of God’s love working on my behalf, as tension lessens and calm comes. It seems that one of the most difficult spaces to respond gently is on the road. There is something in many of us that rises up when other drivers make foolish maneuvers. Years ago, I had a great friend who would yell out, “Bless you, in Jesus’ Name! Or Jesus loves you!” whenever another driver would cut him off or jeopardize his safety. It may seem silly, but every time, it has the power to transform the mindset of anger and frustration, and causes a pause that allows for the brain to catch up to the heart to adjust enough to recognize that we all make mistakes and grace goes a long way. This mindset really is transformative in all situations and circumstances. Though it may not be opportune to always yell out a blessing, it is always useful and beneficial to pause and seek to see others through God’s lens. As we do, grace is abundant and good is given. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to respond gently, and to grant a heart check when we are determined to do otherwise.

A tender reply,

Brings grace where it’s not;

Defuses the fire,

When tempers are hot.

An unkind response,

Only provokes rage;

Yet true gentleness,

Shows others the way.

The way to give love,

Despite what we feel;

God’s kindness breathes life,

Makes His goodness real.

Lord, help us rise up,

Seek to always love;

To respond like You,

Our Father above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to respond gently, despite what we are given. Thank You that gentleness brings a calm where rage was rising. Forgive us for the times that we have responded in anger rather than with grace. Teach us to rely on You to show us how to respond with tenderness. Show us how to love those around us, even when love is far from what we desire to extend. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the gentleness and grace that You have waiting no matter the condition in which they come to You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to respond to others with tenderness and grace, extending Your love and kindness to the seemingly least deserving. Amen.

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

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. – Proverbs 10:12

Called to Compassion

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. – (Romans 12:15, NIV)

Celebrate with those who celebrate, and weep with those who grieve. – (Romans 12:15, TPT)

If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. – (Romans 12:15, VOICE)

We are called to be compassionate and to have empathy for one another. This is natural with those with whom we are closest, but it requires an intentional decision to love enough to invest in the hearts of others. When we do, we understand and care about what transpires in the lives of those around us. A love that is true is one that celebrates with others when good comes their way, and mourns alongside them when losses are experienced. Such love not only asks how others are doing, but is prepared to receive honest answers through active and intentional listening. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us in compassion and empathy for those around us, so that we may truly love as we are called to love by God.

To love as God loves,

Requires intent;

To seek understand,

Purposeful time spent.

Called to compassion,

To walk alongside;

Love for the hurting,

With arms open wide.

And when there’s reason,

To rise and rejoice;

Shoulder to shoulder,

In praise, lift each voice.

Through ev’ry season,

Choose to truly love;

For that’s how others,

Know they are thought of.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to compassion and empathy for those around us. Thank You that You showed us through Your Son, what such love looks like. Jesus rejoiced with those who rejoiced, and wept with those in mourning. Forgive us for the times that we either ignored an opportunity to love well, or sought to help without truly responding in love. Show us how to celebrate with those who celebrate and to mourn with those who are grieving. Lead us to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your heart for those around us so that we may love like You. 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

Two Ears and Only One Mouth

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

As always, this is a timely reminder. Yesterday, my husband received the video footage that was submitted to animal control by kind citizens who had caught horrendous footage of the abuse of our dog by the trainers in whom we had entrusted him. My initial reaction to the entire situation was both anger and sorrow. I was enraged at the betrayal of our trust by the trainers, and absolutely gutted knowing what my poor puppy had endured. God was very specific with me in how I ought to respond to the whole situation, and by placing all of my focus on the care of Thor, I was able to release the anger and love on my pup. The news that my husband had the video in his possession brought my initial reaction back to the surface. Knowing that I was not called to allow my anger to get the best of me, I had to work through it all over again. Sometimes, what we listen to is not beneficial. However, remembering to be slow to speak will always serve us well. Once words have left our lips, we cannot take them back. I know that there is righteous anger, yet it is still not something that I am meant to hold. Feeling and acting are two very different things. What we feel cannot dictate what we do. There are times that we simply must trust that justice will be served and place our attention on caring well for the wounded. Even now, as Thor sits beside me as I try to write, his continuous reaching out with his paws reminds me to focus on loving and caring well for him. May we ever seek the Lord to help us to listen first, be slow to speak, and to keep our anger in check. He is faithful to help us walk in His way and do His will as we earnestly seek Him.

Lord, help us to lead,

With listening ears;

A heart set to love,

As we choose to hear.

Then help us to tame,

Our tongues in replies;

Grant wisdom with words,

As grace You supply.

And as for anger,

Let’s give it to You;

As we choose to seek,

We’re shown what to do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You see and You know all things. Thank You for giving us two ears and only one mouth. Help us to use them accordingly. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to listen, speak without weighing our words, and allow anger to flow instead of placing all in Your hands. Teach us to be quick to listen and slow to speak, and to slow our roll when anger rises. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes all feel valued and heard. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to truly listen, slow to speak, and slow to allow anger find a foothold. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – Psalm 105:4

Strength for the Weary

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – (Isaiah 41:10, NIV)

Don’t worry – I am with you. Don’t be afraid – I am your God. I will make you strong and help you. I will support you with my right hand that brings victory. – (Isaiah 41:10, ERV)

So don’t be afraid. I am here, with you; don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, help you. I am here with My right hand to make right and to hold you up. – (Isaiah 41:10, VOICE)

For whatever reason, I have not slept well for the last few nights. Last night, I woke from a disturbing dream and felt very unsettled. Typically when that occurs, I try to clear my mind and go back to sleep. This time, all I could do was pray. Pray for protection, for peace, and for a covering over my family and friends. I know that God is always with me, and that I need not be afraid or anxious. It is He who strengthens and upholds us, and is faithful to be found each time we choose to seek Him. Yesterday, despite exhaustion, I was granted the strength and energy to accomplish all that was needed. Today, I will trust Him for the same. May we ever seek our Savior to help, strengthen and support us, for in Him, we have no reason to fear.

Choose not to worry,

And be not afraid;

The Lord is present,

He will make a way.

Faithful forever,

God grants what we need;

He knows and He sees,

Gives strength to succeed.

Hope for the weary,

Strength when ours is gone;

Peace in His presence,

So we may press on.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grant us strength when we are weary and burdened. Thank You that we need not fear. Thank You that You see and know our needs. Thank You that as we seek You, You meet us and lead us in Your strength. Forgive us for staying stuck, even in the moment, as You are always available for us to seek You. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to be with us and to meet our needs. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer strength, help and support where it is needed. Show us how to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set fears at Your feet and rely on You to be present to help in all things. 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