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

Live Out Love

Do everything in love. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, NIV)

Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, TPT)

Let love prevail in your life, words, and actions. – (1 Corinthians 16:14, VOICE)

Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all allowed love and kindness to be the motivation behind all that we do? Though we cannot change the entire world’s perspective, we can live out love right here and now in our own households, workplaces, and communities. Each time we let love prevail in what we say and do, we are allowing others to see glimpses of the love of God. It is a joy to be around those who operate accordingly, and a motivation to do likewise. The more we choose love, the more we truly see and hear one another. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love in all that we say and do, so that love prevails in our lives.

Lead us in love, Lord,

In all that we do;

May our words and deeds,

Point straight back to You.

Your love and kindness,

Forever prove true;

Unending goodness,

Shows us what to do.

Help us to listen,

To follow Your lead;

So all’s done in love,

Each word, thought, and deed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to live Your love in all that we say and do. Thank You that You sent Your Son to model this perfectly for all. Forgive us for every word and action that has not conveyed love. Teach us to trust and follow Your leading, so that we may demonstrate love in all that we say and do. Show us to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they experience the goodness and fullness of Your loving kindness extended to us all. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to live out Your love in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:13

Value Each Other

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

In whatever you do, don’t let selfishness or pride be your guide. Be humble, and honor others more than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, ERV)

Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. – (Philippians 2:3, TPT)

In theory, this is easy to do. However, in practical everyday practices, it is not always as easy as it seems. Our words may express humility and the building up of those around us, but do our actions match? Do we consider others first, or do we do what we want, and then check in on those around us? I know there is a delicate balance in this, yet the most important space is our heart condition. If we are seeking the Lord for guidance, it is He who will lead us in the ways we should go. When we simply go with what feels good to us, often our own selfishness or pride is what guides us. For me, it all boils down to love. Is my intent in what I am doing to love those around me, or am I simply doing what I want to do? As my intentions and actions align with God’s love, selfishness fades and the intentional decision to honor those around me increases. We all are a work in progress. Each day is a new start, and a new opportunity to love as God intended. May we ever seek the Lord and His abundant love, so that we may love one another selflessly and with humility, lifting others up and doing that which demonstrates the very love that God has for all of us.

Let not selfishness,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography. ❤

Control what we do;

For as we choose love,

God’s goodness shines through.

Consider others,

With each word and deed;

Is love our motive?

Will our choice meet needs?

The Lord has called us,

To love selflessly;

Encourage others,

Let the Lord’s love lead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love us. Thank You that You want us to consider others in all that we say and do, rather than only thinking of ourselves and what we want. Forgive us for every word and deed that was not motivated by love for You and one another. Teach us to lean into You to lead us in love that is true. Show us how to prefer one another with our every word and action. Lead us in Your love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love best, and to set aside our own selfishness and pride. Amen.

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

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. – Romans 12:10

To Owe Only Love

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. – (Romans 13:8, NIV)

You should owe nothing to anyone, except that you will always owe love to each other. The person who loves others has done all that the law commands. – (Romans 13:8, ERV)

Don’t owe anything to anyone, except your outstanding debt to continually love one another, for the one who learns to love has fulfilled every requirement of the law. – (Romans 13:8, TPT)

God gives us guidance in His word to live well. We ought not borrow what we cannot repay, yet we need to love as if we will never run out. If we let love determine our every direction, we will be in line with the law; for love is patient and kind, forgiving and gracious, and does not do harm. When we allow love to determine our steps, we will always move in the correct direction. This applies in every aspect of our lives. From our friends and families, to our jobs, to child raising, to caring for pets, to interacting with others as we are out and about – if we allow love to lead us, we live as God intended. May we seek the Lord to give us wisdom so that we do not owe anything to anyone, except to love as He calls and equips us to love.

Choose not to borrow,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

What can’t be repaid;

Except for God’s love,

Which shows us the way.

The way to rise up,

And love each other;

To do as we’re called,

Love sisters, brothers.

For it is through love,

That we do what’s right;

Fulfilling the law,

Unto God, delight.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You lead us to not owe anything to anyone except love. Thank You that Your love never runs out and that You will always provide what we need to love like You as we seek You to lead and guide us. Forgive us for the times that we have taken more than we can give back or have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to turn to You to lead us in love. Show us how to love all those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we leave no debts outstanding and always seek to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a

Release the Wrongs

“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – (Leviticus 19:18, NIV)

“Forget about the wrong things people do to you. Don’t try to get even. Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – (Leviticus 19:18, ERV)

“Do not seek revenge or hold a grudge against any of your people. Instead, love your neighbor as you love yourself, for I am the Eternal One.” – (Leviticus 19:18, VOICE)

Holding a grudge is bearing a weight that we are not meant to carry, and revenge is stooping to the level of the offender. Our peace comes when we choose to let go and love rather than hold onto offenses. I know this is more easily said than done, yet it is worthwhile to seek the Lord and His strength to do exactly this. That being said, it does not mean that we are to stay in toxic or abusive relationships or situations, but we are to release the need for revenge and holding the hurt. In the same ways that we would want to be forgiven, we ought to also forgive. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and to release that which is not our weight to carry.

Release all the wrongs,

That are done to you;

Forgive and choose love,

As we’re called to do.

For bearing a grudge,

Or seeking revenge;

Puts us in the wrong,

Without love to lend.

O Lord please help us,

Place hurts in Your hands;

And flood us with love,

To walk out Your plans.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You instruct us to not hold grudges or seek revenge. Thank You that as we seek You, You grant us the strength to release all into Your hands. Forgive us for the grudges we have held or the revenge we have sought. Teach us to choose love every time. Show us how to love those around us, especially those who have brought hurt or harm. May Your love be evident and many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to love like You and release what is not ours to hold. Amen.

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

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Freedom to Forgive

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, NIV)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, ERV)

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.” – (Matthew 18:21-22, MSG)

Forgiveness is a strange thing, as we have been forgiven much, yet at times, we struggle to forgive the most minor of offenses. Not one of us is perfect, and we all fall short. This is the space that we must remember when we are hurt or offended by another. In the same way that God pours out His abundant forgiveness and grace, we too, ought to do the same. The crazy thing about unforgiveness is that it hurts the holder of the offense, not the offender. Often, the one who has hurt or offended is not even aware that they have done harm. It is our responsibility to either let it go, or speak with the offender in love and let them know that their words or actions have done harm. That being said, we must do so with forgiveness already in place, regardless of the reception of our communication. Most times, awareness brings repentance and mends are made quickly. However, if the offender stands behind their word or deed, we are still called to forgive. We are not meant to subject ourselves to a vicious cycle of harm, but rather we are not to cling to that which we cannot change. God forgives us each time that we ask, yet He lets us know that if we hold unforgiveness, He will respond to our requests in the same way. I don’t know about you, but I am fully aware of my shortcomings and desperately need His forgiveness and grace. If I need forgiveness and grace, so too, do all those whom I encounter. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to forgive and give grace, even when we would rather hold onto the offense. Freedom to love well is birthed in us as we choose to walk in forgiveness.

O Lord, help us choose,

Forgive and give grace;

As You’ve done for us,

Throughout all our days.

Soften our hearts, Lord,

So love might come first;

Teach us to let go,

To bless not to curse.

May love lead the way,

In all that we do;

Teach us to forgive,

And choose love like You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not limit the number of times that You forgive us when we fail and fall short. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do likewise to all those around us as we depend on You. Forgive us for holding onto offenses. Please teach us to release all into Your hands so that we may give goodness and grace in place of our anger, hurt or frustration. Show us how to love like You, at all times and in all circumstances. May many come into a lasting relationship with You as they recognize the power held in Your loving kindness for us all. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us to forgive as You do. Amen.

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

Forgive our sins, just as we have forgiven those who did wrong to us. – Matthew 6:12

Loving God Includes Loving People

And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. – (1 John 4:21, NIV)

God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters. – (1 John 4:21, ERV)

The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. – (1 John 4:21, MSG)

God does not mince words. There is no lack of clarity in His command. If we love God, we must love people too. Loving people requires that we have what is best for them in mind; that we pray for love and peace for all. Of course there are those whom we must love from afar, as attempts to navigate a healthful relationship have been exhausted and we are not meant to be a doormat or subject to abuse. However, even with those who have ill intent toward us, we can pray for their well-being and for God’s love to penetrate their hearts and minds. In order to love people as God intended, we must grow in our love and knowledge of who God is and understand how He loves. God’s love is extravagant and merciful; it is sacrificial and forgiving. We are only able to love because He first loved us. The Lord loved us when we were broken and far from Him, and He loves us as we seek and listen to Him. 

When I think about loving in the same way that we love our brothers and sisters, it reminds me of the power that is placed in such love. I know that I would do anything and everything humanly possible to help and bless my own sister, for both her joys and sorrows are shared by me because of love. Our charge is to love all those around us in the same way. 

Considering the current state of the nation, with so much division and strife, how can we choose to love well? I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that love is a choice. It is an ongoing, ever-growing, intentional decision to be kind and desire the very best for those around us. Barriers break down when we choose to love. We must learn to listen to understand and choose to love, even when it is seemingly impossible. Sometimes, love is not saying what we desire to say, as our words are to “prove” a point, rather than to edify those around us. May we seek our Savior to show us how to love Him and love all people in the way He intended.

We are commanded,

Sister love from the start. ❤

To walk well in love;

Love God and people,

Trust grace from above.

As we choose love God,

Sisters and brothers;

We give the Lord room,

Work with each other.

Lord, help us to choose,

Your heart and Your way;

Let Your love lead us,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love. Thank You that as we seek You and place our heart in Your hands, You transform us to more clearly reflect the love You have for all. Forgive us for the times that our words, thoughts and actions have grieved Your heart. Teach us to love You and love all people well. Show us how we are meant to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and pursue a life that demonstrates love to all those around us. Amen.

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

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39

To Love Our Neighbors

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, NIV)

The man answered, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ Also, ‘Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Luke 10:27, ERV)

The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’” – (Luke 10:27, TPT)

In this chapter of Luke, Jesus was having a discussion with a religious scholar who was trying to trap Jesus with his questions. The verse listed above is the scholar’s response to Jesus’ question that He asked in response to the man’s initial inquiry about what must be done to inherit eternal life. Jesus had asked him what was written in the Law, and then the man quoted verse 27. The scholar then went on to ask, “…who is my neighbor?” I imagine that Jesus’ response shook him to the core. Jesus went on to tell the parable of the good Samaritan. The story is about a man who was attacked by robbers and left for dead. A priest passed by, saw the wounded, but continued on down the road. Next, a Levite, who was one much like the scholar to whom Jesus was speaking, did the same as the priest. Finally, a Samaritan (who was loathed by the scholar and his kind) came upon the injured man and not only helped him, but bandaged his wounds and took him into town on his own donkey. Upon arrival, the Samaritan took him to an inn and paid for his lodging so that the man might rest and recover. Jesus then asked the scholar which of the three had been a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers. He who had questioned Jesus, recognized that the one who had been a neighbor to the wounded man was the Samaritan who had been merciful. Jesus then told the scholar to go and do likewise.

The point in all this is for self-reflection. How can we love God and love our neighbors as we are called to love? What does it look like when we love with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind? We cannot be all things to all people, but we can begin to love our neighbors well, one at a time. Where are there needs? It is not difficult to find them if we move about with open eyes and hearts. May we ever seek the Lord to show us how to love those around us in ways that truly reflect His heart.

Love God and people,

To this we are called;

Each as our neighbor,

Next door and beyond.

To all those we meet,

We’re meant to show love;

To help and uplift,

With grace from above.

When we see a need,

Let’s do what we can;

Choose love like the Lord,

And live out His plan.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us and show us how to love You and love those around us. Thank You that neighbor is not just about people who live nearby, but rather is anyone with whom we cross paths. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, so that we may be filled with compassion and grace that seeks to serve and love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as we love the way we were created to love. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for strength and wisdom as to how to love best, all whom we encounter. 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

The Blessing of Benevolent Love

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, NIV)

Most important of all, love each other deeply, because love makes you willing to forgive many sins. – (1 Peter 4:8, ERV)

Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults. – (1 Peter 4:8, VOICE)

If we are loving deeply, steadily and unselfishly, we have no room to keep bringing up past mistakes or a laundry list of wrongs. Though there are spaces to use wisdom as far as what we are willing to subject ourselves to, typically, we simply need to get to a space of forgiving and choosing love again. When we forgive in love, our own hearts are released from the weight of whatever went wrong. Even if there are no possible reparations for a relationship, forgiveness is a way to choose love that will release one’s own heart from the heaviness. May we seek the Lord to fill our hearts to overflowing, so that we may love one another steadily and unselfishly, ever seeking to bring out the best in one another.

Lord, lead us in love,

Without selfishness;

May we love deeply,

Like You, relentless.

Grant us eyes to see,

In love, each other;

Forgive and choose love,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us forgive wrongs,

Release all to You;

Make love evident,

In all that we do.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another deeply; with steadiness and selflessness. Thank You that as we do, Your love covers over faults and failings. Forgive us for our selfishness that holds onto hurts. Teach us to give all to You, so that we may know Your freedom found in love. Show us how to love those around us completely, so that may know Your love without conditions. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to love steadily and unselfishly. 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

Love Conquers All

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, 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; that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, ERV) 

I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all – becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ. – (Philippians 1:9-10, TPT) 

Right now, this seems to be all that I know to do; pray and love. Between my job that now has me staring at a computer screen for 8-10 hours a day, and a dog, who like me, has to get out and move every single day, I have had to order my days so that they begin with screenless movement. I love deeply, and am struggling watching dear friends on both sides of the political divide blast the other with blanket statements about people who stand in opposition to their own convictions. With everything that is in me, I cannot engage. There is nothing in my entire being that desires to participate in the sort of name-calling that was problematic on an elementary school playground. With love, there would be listening and seeking to understand. I must choose what is important and focus on that which matters most. The only thing that I know to do right now is to pray, and to seek to love well. My hope and prayer is that at the end of the day, love will lead us home. Christ loved the sinners and the saints, the righteous and the unrighteous. He chose love and mercy, kindness and compassion. Yes, there were times that He cleared the temple courts and called out the crooked ways in the self-righteous, yet even so, He loved. From the tax collectors who extorted funds from His people, to the very hands that hung Him on the cross, Christ’s love forgave and offered help and hope and new life to all who were willing to receive. If Christ is our example, how can we choose differently? We must be intentional to choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in the most excellent way; for love conquers all.  

Lord, help us to love, 

In each circumstance; 

Forgive and be kind, 

So love may advance. 

Let not our theories, 

Opinions, beliefs; 

Keep us from loving, 

Offering relief. 

For what matters most, 

Is how we choose love; 

Mirror God’s own heart, 

Seeking Christ above. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and loving and full of grace. Thank You that You are merciful, and that You call us to live like You. Forgive us for every word and deed that does not demonstrate Your love. Show us how to love those around us as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love like You. Amen. 

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

The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of His unfailing love. – Psalm 33:5