Live a Life of Love

Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, HCSB)

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 up 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)

We are not merely called and commanded to love; we are given the ultimate example and are equipped to love like Christ. Just like a good parent, God shows us over and over again what it is to love. His love is not self-seeking, but rather, it is sacrificial, expecting nothing in return. Incredibly, when we choose to love God and people as we are created to love, we discover the depth and goodness of His love for us. He fills us so that we can live a life of love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, and freely extend the same to those around us.

Because we’re God kids,

We’re called to choose love;

Extravagantly,

Like the Lord above.

He shows us the way,

To love as He does;

Sacrificially,

He selflessly loves.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To love as You do;

To give love away,

And choose to love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show and equip us to love as You love. Thank You that You call us to make Your love evident to everyone around us. Forgive us for the times that we have either not chosen love, or have loved with the intent of getting something in return. Teach us to love as You do, trusting that You will be our portion and place of peace. Show us how to love those around us as You do, in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

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

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

Be Light

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, NIV)

In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. – (Matthew 5:16, ERV)

You are that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illuminate creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. – (Matthew 5:16, VOICE)

What we do and say matters. When we choose to do all things in love, we are living out the light the Christ has placed within us. As we live and love well, the heart of Jesus is made known and His love is clearly shown. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that His heart may be made evident through all that we say and do.

The light within us,

Has been made to shine;

So all that we do,

Points to the Divine.

Every good deed,

Should point back to God;

So others may see,

His love goes beyond.

Beyond what we know,

Abundance exceeds;

Imagination,

In Him we are free.

So, choose shine His light,

With each word and deed;

Make His goodness known,

For His love sets free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to bring Your light into the world. Thank You that as we follow after You and depend on You, You provide opportunities for us to do things that make Your love evident. Forgive us for the things we have said and done that have hidden Your light where it was meant to shine. Show us how to live out Your love in all that we say and do. Teach us to love those around us with Your radiant light. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to be Your light wherever we go. Amen.

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

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. – Matthew 5:14

Love and Acceptance Unite Us in Peace

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, HCSB)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient and accept each other with love. You are joined together with peace through the Spirit. Do all you can to continue as you are, letting peace hold you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, ERV)

Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Make every effort to preserve the unity the Spirit has already created, with peace binding you together. – (Ephesians 4:2-3, VOICE)

As I have been pondering these verses this morning, I did a quick search on humility. The best explanation I found was by C.S. Lewis, as he stated, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but it is thinking of yourself less.” If we raise our eyes and look around us, we are able to see others and how we might love as God intended. Gentleness comes alongside another without pushiness or demands, but rather it is simply seeing a need and quietly doing what we can without making a big deal out of it. Patience and acceptance with love is meeting people where they are, as they are, and choosing to love. As we do these things, God’s peace is present and we are able to be united in love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in humility, gentleness and patience, so that we might accept one another in love and be united together in His perfect peace.

O Lord, please show us,

To look out and see;

Those all around us,

To love patiently.

Grant us Your goodness,

And gentleness too;

Patience and kindness,

To show Your heart true.

Lead us to accept,

Each other in love;

In peace, unite us,

By Your grace above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be humble, gentle and patient with each other. Thank You that as we do these things, we become united together and Your peace reigns. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked humility, gentleness or patience. Teach us to trust in You to lead and guide us in Your love for each other. Show us how to care for one another well so that Your love is evident through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love in ways that promote unity and make Your peace evident. Amen.

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

Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. – Romans 13:8

Answer Gently

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 a timely reminder as the end of the school year draws ever nearer, and exhaustion is at an all-time high. Patience wanes when weariness is prevalent, and it is important to remember what matters. I have both seen and experienced the truth of this proverb, as I have both calmed and been calmed when a gentle response has been given in a moment of anger. Similarly, I have been both the provider and the recipient of a rough answer, and such is never well-received. If we are truly choosing love, our response to people must align. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to respond gently in love, so that anger dissipates and kindness reigns.

Tender the answer,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

That turns away wrath;

Kindness defuses,

As good we enact.

Gentle responses,

Lead us to calm down;

Extending God’s love,

To those all around.

Lead us, Lord Jesus,

To gently respond;

Take a breath, listen,

In love, correspond.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your faithfulness as we choose to respond gently to tempers inflamed. Thank You that the fruit of the Spirit are the things that keep relationships intact and communication open. Thank You that You call us to be gentle and kind, for each time we have received these things in a moment of anger or frustration, the fury melted away and calm came forth. Forgive us for the times that we return anger with anger. Teach us to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to Your leading – for Your response in loving, patient and kind, and brings peace in the midst of frustration or fury. Show us how to love one another in all situations and circumstances so that we would answer each other gently and in love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us always answer gently and with love so that Your heart may be clearly seen. Amen.

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

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23a

Think About Each Other

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, HCSB)

We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. – (Hebrews 10:24, ERV)

Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds. – (Hebrews 10:24, VOICE)

If we take our eyes off of ourselves and take a look around us, it is easy to see the need for love, kindness and good deeds all around us. I know for me, when I am the recipient of such, I am inspired to go and do likewise. The status quo gets disrupted in the very best way, I am compelled to do differently. May we each be concerned about those around us – our family, our friends, our colleagues, and each individual we encounter in a day, to look for ways to encourage and make the day a bit brighter. Sometimes, it is as simple as extending a smile or kind word. Lord, help us to be ever listening to Your leading so that we might encourage each other and make Your goodness known.

Lord, help us to look,

Fill one another’s cup.

To see all around;

The need of others,

Let Your good be found.

Show us through Your eyes,

How each person’s seen;

Lead us in Your love,

Be encouraging.

Bring the good to mind,

That will bless, build up;

The goodness and love,

That will fill each cup.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to care well for one another. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this for us. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated care, concern and encouragement in countless ways. From touching the untouchable, to feeding those who were hungry, You lived and loved in practical and tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we neglect to follow Your leading. Teach us to trust in You and to listen in every situation and circumstance. Show us Your heart for each person we encounter and lead us to love and encourage as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look for ways to love, encourage and do good for those around us. 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

Courage for the Calling

“Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, HCSB)

“Remember, I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – (Joshua 1:9, ERV)

This is My command: be strong and courageous. Never be afraid or discouraged because I am your God, the Eternal One, and I will remain with you wherever you go. – (Joshua 1:9, VOICE)

God did not mean that fear never comes our way, but rather that when He calls us to things that seem beyond our own abilities, He will be with us and we need not fear. Yesterday, I lost my planning period because a teacher was absent and no substitute had accepted the job. When I found out I had to cover that particular class, my heart was filled with dread. The last time I covered that class, it was a nightmare. This time, as I walked in, I discovered that the majority of the students are either in my second semester art classes or are gymnasts. Suddenly, what I had feared was far from reality. I knew the majority of students by name, and their response to me was kind and pleasant. Because I knew them and they knew me, the interactions were entirely different. The path had been prepared for me. For some, it might be a little thing, but for me, it was a reminder that God has me. May we ever trust in Him and seek the Lord for all that we need, for we need not fear, as He will be with us, always.

No matter what comes,

The Lord will be near;

He grants us His strength,

To overcome fear.

Despite what we think,

God will make a way;

For us to press on,

Embrace each new day.

All thanks be to God,

Our strength, hope and grace;

To navigate well,

All that comes our way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You know our need and You strengthen and equip us for all that You call us to do. Thank You that You care about the little things too. Forgive us for our fear or dread when we walk into what we think we know. Teach us to trust You, for You can do wondrous things that we would never anticipate. Show us how to love all those around us well, so that they too, might be strengthened and encouraged in all that they do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your presence and know that You are greater than all that we face. Amen.

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

Each one helps the other, and says to another, “Take courage!” – Isaiah 41:6

Seek His Leading

Nothing that goes into a person from outside can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. – (Mark 7:15, HCSB)

There is nothing people can put in their mouth that will make them wrong. People are made wrong by what comes from inside them. – (Mark 7:15, ERV)

It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart. – (Mark 7:15, NLT)

We all have to make our own choices about what we allow our hearts and minds to consume, however, what we take in and that which is around us is not what defiles us, but rather it is what comes from our heart and escapes through our mouths, attitudes and actions, that becomes sinful when we choose to act or speak from a space that ought to be given to God. To keep our hearts and minds in the right position with God, it requires intentional time with Him. God is faithful to lead us and guide us in the ways in which we are meant to go, and He shows us what is good. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in our every word, thought and deed, so that we may be blameless before Him by His amazing grace.

Lord, lead us in love,

In all that we do;

Make our hearts like Yours,

With love, ever new.

Let not surroundings,

Taint what is within;

Lead us in Your ways,

Keep us far from sin.

It’s only by grace,

Found as we seek You;

That ugliness goes,

And our hearts love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live in Your love and extend the same to those around us. Thank You that what we take in, the things that surround us, do not make us impure before You, but rather what we think, say or do that does not align with You. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not represented the goodness of Your love and grace. Teach us to immerse ourselves in time with You, so that we live out Your love and rid ourselves of what defiles us from the inside out. Show us how to love all those around us in ways that make Your goodness and love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in Your love in every word thought and deed that we live out. Amen.

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

This God, our God forever and ever – He will always lead us. – Psalm 48:14

To Intercede

And (if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, HCSB)

And if My people who are called by My name become humble and pray, and look for Me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, ERV)

And (if) My people (who are known by My name) humbly pray, follow My commandments, and abandon any actions or thoughts that might lead to further sinning, then I shall hear their prayers from My house in heaven, I shall forgive their sins, and I shall save their land from the disasters. – (2 Chronicles 7:14, VOICE)

Not only are we called to be in community, but we are asked to pray for one another as well. When we are intentional to pray for those around us, we are interceding on their behalf. This can be individually, for a group, a city, state, nation or the world. Incredibly, because of Jesus, there is no specific way nor are there fancy words we need to say to intercede. God hears every utterance, petition and thought lifted to Him by those who earnestly seek Him. Right now, there is much need for intercession. The needs that surround us are many, and there is much longing for God to bring healing, health, hope and wholeness to all. May we ever seek the Lord and humbly pray, turning away from our sinful ways, and trust that God will be faithful to forgive and bring help as only He can do.

Called and commanded,

To seek God and pray;

To lift up others,

Ask Him show the way.

The way for healing,

For help and true hope;

Provision and peace,

Through Him we can cope.

Lead us Lord Jesus,

Humbly, to choose seek;

To pray for others,

When all seems quite bleak.

By faith, help us trust,

All that You will bring;

Hope, help and healing,

Our reasons to sing.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to intercede for those around us, both locally and globally. Thank You that when we slow down and look at what is going on, we notice places where Your presence is desperately needed. Forgive us for neglecting to turn to You to pray when we see needs that we don’t know how to meet. Teach us to turn to You in trust and ask for Your help and healing for our families, communities, nations and beyond. Show us how to help practically as well, so that we may be vessels that demonstrate the depth and breadth of Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to intercede for those around us. Amen.

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

All humanity will come to You, the One who hears prayer. – Psalm 65:2

Quiet Rest

“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. – (Matthew 11:28, HCSB)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

Sometimes, it feels as if we are blissfully unaware of just how weary and burdened we have become. There is nothing like a good winter snowstorm to bring a sort of quiet rest that would not have otherwise been present. Though I have a four-wheel drive vehicle and loads of experience driving in the snow, I still find that I am spending far more time at home than I normally would be. It is almost as though messy roads and peaceful settings provide a sort of permission to just be still. I know for many that is not necessarily so, as my husband is one who needs to be at work to help keep all of the emergency and snow-clearing vehicles running, and emergency service personnel do not get a break in inclement weather, but for me and many that I know, it is a space to slow down and find rest. Even in the busiest seasons, when we seek our Savior, He provides the help, strength and rest that we need to persevere. May we look to the Lord and seek Him first, for He is the One that bears the burdens that are too much for us, and grants us rest when we need it the most.

Jesus says to come,

To weary and worn;

He wants to grant rest,

Bring calm in the storm.

We need to seek Him,

And trust in His grace;

For He’s our comfort,

And most peaceful place.

Just as snow softens,

And silences things;

The love of the Lord,

Helps everything.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us unto Yourself to find rest from our weariness. Thank You that as we call on You, You carry what was not meant for us, and provide rest so that we can press on. Forgive us for not seeking You in our spaces of weariness. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You help us and strengthen us, and show us what is not ours to carry. Show us how to love those around us well, so that all might see Your light and love through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to find rest and equip us to love best. Amen.

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

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. – Psalm 23:2

Readily and Cheerfully

Do everything without grumbling or arguing. – (Philippians 2:14, NIV)

Do everything readily and cheerfully – no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! – (Philippians 2:14, MSG)

Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. – (Philippians 2:14, TPT)

When I first read this, I wanted to post it in my classroom. If only it were so easy… After further consideration, I realize that there are plenty of things that I grumble about. Though it may not be done audibly, my heart is not always cheerful about things that I need to do. I am not an arguer, but in a sense, when I grumble in my heart, I am arguing with what I know I need to do. God knows my heart, and both my praises and my grumbling are heard by Him. Thankfully, He is a loving Father who listens and reminds my heart of reasons to be grateful. With that in mind, it challenges me to seek to do everything readily and cheerfully, without grumbling as I go. In order for this to transpire, I must lean into Him and hold His word in my heart. It is not something I can do in my own strength, but with His help and His heart, my attitude can be transformed when it goes awry. May we ever seek Him to lead us to live a life that is free from complaining and division among us.

O Lord, help my heart,

Always joy, never complaints…

Be patient and true;

Show me how to live,

Cheerfully for You.

Please renew my mind,

Take angst from my heart;

Help me to choose love,

With joy, do my part.

Even in mundane,

The frustrating tasks;

Fill my heart with thanks,

To do as You ask.

For all that You ask,

Is for greater good;

With joy, help me do,

All things as You would.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that You call us to do things without complaining or arguing. Thank You that You hear the frustration that our hearts hold, and show us reasons to praise rather that dwell on how things are right now. Forgive us for our complaining and bickering, as neither do anything to glorify You. Show us how to choose love in everything that we do, so that we glorify You. You know the weariness in our hearts from the length of this crazy, world-altering season. Lead us to lean into You so that we may love one another as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to cheerfully do what You ask, without complaining or arguing. Amen.

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

I will praise You, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever. – Psalm 86:12