Acutely Aware of Good

I will praise You with an upright heart as I learn Your righteous laws. – (Psalm 119:7, NIV) 

The more I understand how fair Your laws are, the more sincerely I will praise You. – (Psalm 119:7, ERV) 

With a pure heart, I will give thanks to You when I hear about Your just and fair rulings. – (Psalm 119:7, VOICE) 

Every time I get out in nature, I become acutely aware of God’s goodness and grace. Everything He asks of us is wrapped up in love – our call is to love Him and love people. If we do that, we are following His law with an upright heart. Incredibly, He loved us first; so much so, that He created beauty all around us and in us, simply to show us His love. This weekend, my family is blessed with time to get away to the woods and enjoy time together. Yesterday afternoon, my love and I took Thor, our nearly five-month-old lab puppy for a little hike around and down to a lake. It was the first time that he has been to a lake, and I don’t think his tail stopped wagging the entire time he waded in the water. Last evening, before we retired for the night, Thor met Raven, a four-month-old female lab, and the two of them were completely smitten with one another. I guess where I am going with this, is that pups love purely. Thor loves being outdoors in His creation, and loves people and other pups with a relentless, unwavering love. Observing the world through his eyes grants me an even deeper appreciation for God and His goodness to us all. May we ever seek the Lord to understand more deeply, the overwhelming passion with which He loves us all. Let our hearts praise Him with every breath and step that we take; for He is so very good. 

May each heart give praise, 

All thanks unto You; 

For justice and love, 

As Your ways are true. 

You call us to love, 

Yourself and others; 

Relentlessly shown, 

Sisters and brothers. 

All of creation, 

Demonstrates His love; 

If we look around, 

And praise Him above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and gracious, and that which You ask of us is right and fair. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts or deeds have not reflected the love You call us to give. Teach us to love with an upright heart, and to give You praise throughout all of our days. Show us how to love You and those around us the way that You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for Your goodness and love forever. Amen. 

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

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. – Romans 1:20

Immersed in Grace

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky. – (Philippians 2:14-15, NIV) 

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. – (Philippians 2:14-15, MSG) 

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. For then you will be seen as innocent, faultless, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture. For you will appear among them as shining lights in the universe. – (Philippians 2:14-15, TPT) 

It seems that this is particularly timely, as there is much grumbling and arguing going on everywhere. With the limitations set in place as we crawl forward in stages of reopening, there is complaining and arguing on both sides. The crazy thing is that everyone is ultimately desiring the same thing; as life in a lockdown of sorts, has grown exhausting. We cannot please all people, all of the time. However, we can live cheerfully, without complaining, to keep division at bay. I don’t know about you, but I would certainly prefer to be thought of as a light or a breath of fresh air, rather than one who bickers and causes division. Yes, there is a time and a place to take a stand, yet there are small, simple things that we can all do to be without blame and bring light and life to those around us. Wear the mask, give people grace, check in on loved ones and the lonely, and be kind and generous in all things. Each of us has the power within us to live as light, as we intentionally seek and follow what God asks of us. In all things, if we are prioritizing loving God and loving people, we cannot help but be cheerful and kind, shining His light before all those around us. No, none of us will get it right all the time, but we can choose to not complain or argue over things that eternally, will not matter. May we ever seek the Lord and His grace, so that we can live as light and grace before all, without grumbling or arguing. 

Choose not to grumble, 

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Argue or complain; 

Instead, love purely, 

Lift high, Jesus’ Name. 

Let words and actions, 

Be immersed in grace; 

Choose love like Jesus, 

Throughout all our days. 

For as we choose love, 

Give grace and refrain; 

We reflect God’s light, 

And honor His Name. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us what it is to love like You. Forgive us for our complaining or arguing over things that have no eternal value. Show us how to be light and a breath of fresh air to all, despite the turmoil and ugliness that transpires all around us. Show us how to love as You call us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to walk blamelessly and lovingly. Amen. 

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

And this brings praise to God because of His wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely. He gave us that grace in Christ, the One He loves. – Ephesians 1:6

Blot Out Barriers to Love

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 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)

 

Selfishness and pride are both barriers to love. To love others as we are called to love, we have to take a genuine interest in people and care about their lives. As we set aside self and allow our focus to becomeotherly, pride is dispelled and love flows freely. This is not to say that goals are not good, but rather we ought to look to discover how we are best able to help others succeed in their goals as we work toward that which we too are pursuing. May we worry less about what we can attain or achieve on our own, and instead set our sights on how we might love others well.

 

Lord, help us to keep, Blot Out Barriers to Love

Aware of others;

May our hearts know well,

Sisters and brothers.

Remove within us,

Pride and selfishness;

And teach us to love,

With true tenderness.

Show our hearts the way,

To love and invest;

To put others first,

And support them best.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love others in the same way that You love us. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride that prevent us from investing in the lives of those around us. Teach us how to place others above ourselves in a way that encourages and values people, without losing our own sense of purpose in the process. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we set aside the parts of ourselves that withhold or withdraw, and move forward with open hearts and arms, set to support and serve. 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. – 1 Corinthians 13:4