United in Love

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no division among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, NIV) 

Brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg all of you to agree with each other. You should not be divided into different groups. Be completely joined together again with the same kind of thinking and the same purpose. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, ERV) 

I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. – (1 Corinthians 1:10, MSG) 

This, this is my heart every single day, as I watch the ongoing debates on social media about the current state of our nation and our world. We are currently a nation divided. My heart breaks a little more each day, as I observe people whom I love and care for, deeply, arguing about the validity of our lockdowns, and questioning the severity of this virus. Is it reasonable to ask questions? Absolutely! Is it right to end up arguing in such a way that it becomes personal, rather than simply a discussion of information that exists? As far as I know, when people begin to bash one another for who they are, rather than civilly discuss, or agree to disagree, there is no love involved in the interaction. I do not have all of the answers, nor do I know what is best for the nation or the world, but I do know that we are called to love. Love does not name-call nor make horrible accusations of a person’s character, simply for having a different opinion. Love listens and learns and is willing to seek to understand the “why” behind each individual’s thought process. If our purpose is to love God and love people, how might we do that best, even others see things differently, or have opinions that delineate from our own, or from that which is most widely accepted? In as much as I can understand; love anyway. If our united purpose is love, then please, let us love well. Love takes the high road, turns the other cheek, and loves thy neighbor as thyself. Where can we love better? May we seek the Lord and His wisdom, so that we might get along, being considerate of one another, and cultivate lives intent on loving well. 

When differing views, 

Start to cause dissent; 

One has to question, 

What is the intent? 

If love’s our purpose, 

Then let us unite; 

Choose listen and learn, 

In love, take delight. 

Each of us crafted, 

Uniquely designed; 

Created to love, 

With purpose in mind. 

Brothers and sisters, 

Let us find a way; 

To love each other, 

And mind what we say. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are each created with the purpose to be united in love. Thank You that we are uniquely gifted and crafted, yet each have something significant to offer the whole. Forgive us for the times that we have allowed differing views, perspectives, or opinions to get in the way of unity. Teach us how to listen and learn from one another, be okay with not always seeing eye-to-eye, and above all, how to choose to love people first. Show us how to love those around us best. Help us know when to engage in conversations that can be productive, and when to remain silent and choose to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and seek You to lead us to be united in love with those around us. Amen.  

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

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ. – Colossians 2:2

Kind, Loving and Forgiving

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:32, NIV)

Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:32, ERV)

But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love. – (Ephesians 4:32, TPT)

 

Typically, I am quite even tempered, as I seldom get overly upset or worked up about things; usually, I choose to take a deep breath, and keep pressing forward. However, like anyone, I do have my breaking point. When I reach a space where no matter how hard I work, and how much I try, I still feel grossly inadequate, it is then that I begin to withdraw, and the sarcasm spews out as an ugly coping mechanism. Thankfully, my Viking is kind and compassionate to me. He sees me wherever I am, and grants grace and extends love, with some humor, in a way that helps pull me out of my place of frustration and back into a space of depending on God’s abundant grace. Somehow, I am blessed with tremendous friends that do the same as well. In this season of adjusting and adapting to staying at home and working remotely, we all need to be kind, compassionate and forgiving. It is easy to extend these things to others, but much more difficult to offer the same to ourselves. God, in His outrageous grace, sent His Son for us, so that we might truly know and understand the depth of His forgiveness and love. My hope is that as we set our sights toward Easter, we might look to the cross and recognize that the forgiveness and redemption extended to all is a gift that we are meant to embrace, and then extend to those around us. May we each look for ways to be loving and kind to one another; graciously forgiving each other in love, just as we have been loved and forgiven by God.

 

Kindness, compassion,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Extended in grace;

The Lord’s forgiveness,

New, every day.

We all are chosen,

To love the same way;

Give love and forgive,

God’s grace on display.

As we extend love,

God’s love and light’s shown;

Forgiveness and grace,

In kindness, made known.

So, keep reaching out,

Choose love and forgive;

In kindness grant grace,

Where hope truly lives.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are kind and compassionate toward us, forgiving us in love. Thank You that You call us and empower us to do the same. Thank You for the people whom You have placed in our lives who show us these things in tangible ways. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked compassion, kindness or forgiveness toward those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend the very things that You have so lavishly granted to us, to those around us. Show us how to best love those around us with kindness and compassion. Point out the places where we need to walk in forgiveness with one another. Grant us Your grace and strength to love like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be kind and compassionate, and forgive one another as You have forgiven us. 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

In Worrisome Space

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, NIV)

Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. – (1 Peter 5:7, ERV)

Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. – (1 Peter 5:7, TLB)

 

We are in a time that is full of uncertainty and unknowns. It is seemingly impossible to avoid “what if” scenarios, as a state of emergency has been declared by our governor, and the World Health Organization has deemed Covid-19 a pandemic. The weight and worry that I bear looks different than those who are living with compromised immune systems or are in households with young children or elderly, as their concerns are much more immediate and life-threatening. For others, it is more a matter of day-to-day living and the wonder as to how it will all work out. As an educator, there is much uncertainty as to when our schools will be closed, and for how long. In this space, my only real choice is to give all of my worries and uncertainties to God. He sees and knows, and He cares about all that concerns us. I know not why such a crazy crisis is taking place, yet I know it is an opportunity for people to rise up and love others well. Our charge is to love as we are loved. May we give all of our worries to God, because He cares for us, and depend on Him to lead and guide us as we navigate this rocky road of uncertainty.

 

In worrisome space, In Worrisome Space

Give all unto God;

The Lord cares for us,

Despite all our flaws.

He sees and He knows,

Our each anxious thought;

He’s present to help,

Each time He is sought.

Even when all things,

Impossible seem;

The Lord has a way,

To give grace, redeem.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You and cast all of our worries and cares upon You. Thank You that Your hands can hold them, and Your shoulders have already bore every burden we ever will bear. Thank You that You provide grace, goodness and love as we come to You. Forgive us for carrying weight and holding anxiety and concerns that we are not meant to hold in fear. Teach us to trust You and listen to wisdom, so that we would navigate in grace and love. Show us how to love well, all those around us, in tangible and meaningful ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all of our cares and concerns and trust You to lead us in wisdom and strength in the face of all of the unknown. Above all, help us to choose love in all that we say and do, every step of the way. Amen.

 

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

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. – Psalm 55:22

How We Love

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, NIV)

The light of God’s love shined within us when He sent His matchless Son into the world so that we might live through Him. – (1 John 4:9, TPT)

Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. – (1 John 4:9, VOICE)

 

We know love, because God first loved us. Jesus made the way for all who choose believe and receive, to access a love so great, that once it is known, it must be shared. The beauty of God’s love is that it is so all-encompassing that we are filled to overflowing and cannot help but give love as we have been given. Our challenge is to actually receive what is being extended. When we truly take the time to taste and see how good God is and how vast His love is for each one of us, it is impossible to not be overwhelmed with gratitude. It is in that space of grace, when we are fully aware, that we long to give that which we have been given. May we each take pause and allow God’s love to wash over us so that we may view others through His lens of love.

 

The love of the Lord,

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Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Is granted to us;

Ready to receive,

Through His Son, Jesus.

In Him there is life,

Grace and lasting love;

Floods both heart and mind,

As we trust above.

And as we receive,

We expand and grow;

Equipped to love well,

So grace overflows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to show us love and to equip us with the capacity to love others as we are loved by You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to choose to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we may view others through Your lens of love, and extend all of Your goodness and grace to each person we meet. Show us how to love those around us in ways that demonstrate Your light and love in ways that bless their hearts most. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You have to give so that we may go forth and love like You. Amen.

 

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

 

But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him. – 1 John 2:5

Love Fulfills the Law

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:9-10, NIV)

The law says, “You must not commit adultery, you must not murder anyone, you must not steal, you must not want what belongs to someone else.” All these commands and all other commands are really only one rule: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:9-10, ERV)

For the commandments, “Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet,” and every other commandment can be summed up in these words: “Love and value others the same way you love and value yourself.” Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:9-10, TPT)

 

This really sums up so much. Our charge, our call, our purpose, above all else, is to LOVE. If we truly love as God intended, we are obeying and honoring God, and showing the world what love really means. The “Golden Rule” is similarly based on this sort of love. To do unto others as we want done unto us, is the same as loving our neighbors as ourselves. Isn’t that what everyone ultimately desires? To love and be loved in return? It is no surprise that the longing within us aligns with the intent and purpose for which we were created. It is the most difficult to love when the recipient of our choice to love does not do the same in return. However, we are called to love anyway. Often, the repeated extension of kindness breaks down the barriers that are blocking another from receiving or giving love. Once they begin to see, know and understand that it is genuine, they become more willing to receive and return what is given. May we ever choose to love others as we desire to be loved; for this is what we are called and commanded to do.

 

Choose love each other, Ambassadors of Love

As we’d like love back;

For this is our charge,

To do as God asks.

All those whom we meet,

Are neighbors indeed;

Ready for kindness,

Love’s a human need.

Each time that we choose,

To give love away;

We’re following God,

For love is His way.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Thank You that You do not just command it, but You have shown us again and again what it is to love. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved as You would want us to love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would extend kindness, mercy and grace, even in the face of adversity and ugliness. Show us how to love all of those You have placed around us in ways that make Your heart tangible to them, individually. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love others as You call us to love. 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

Grateful for the Gifts

We ought to always thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV)

We thank God for you always. And that’s what we should do, because you give us good reason to be thankful: Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is growing. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, ERV)

Brothers and sisters, we cannot help but thank God for you, which is only appropriate because your faith is growing and expanding and because the love demonstrated by each and every one of you is overflowing for one another. – (2 Thessalonians 1:3, VOICE)

 

This morning, this is a sweet reminder to give thanks for the people whom God has placed in my life, who show me His love in tangible ways. Yesterday, I was at our league championship gymnastics meet from mid-morning until after eight in the evening. My best friend drove all the way to where the meet was located, only to have to turn around and go home, due to the cash-only entry fee. I did not realize that the admission was cash only to let her know, and she, much like myself and so many, does not make it a habit to carry cash. Despite the mishap, I was beyond blessed that the effort had been made, and am extremely grateful for the gift of a friend who loves in such a tangible way. She knows how much coaching and the meet mattered to me, and thus, made the time and extended the effort to be present to support me and the team. When we are loved well, we are further equipped to do the same for others. God, in His great love for us, surrounds us with those whom He intended, who have hearts that are growing in faith and overflowing in love, that bless and challenge us to do the same. May we ever thank God for those He has placed in our lives that grow our faith and love to overflowing.

 

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For He’s always good;

He grants us people,

Who love as they should.

They love with their time,

Heart, soul, mind and strength;

Increasing our faith,

Going to great lengths.

May we choose love too,

In ways that make clear;

The heart of the Lord,

And how He is near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the people that You place in our lives to show us more of Your love and care. Thank You that Your heart for us is made tangible through the kindness and care of those who love well. Thank You that we too, have the opportunity to love in the same way. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive all that You have to offer, so that Your love, kindness and grace, overflow through us. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You thanks for the sisters and brothers that we are blessed to know, and help us extend Your love to each of them as You call us to do. 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

Hope in Unfailing Love

May Your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in You. – (Psalm 33:22, NIV)

Yes, Lord, let Your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in You alone. – (Psalm 33:22, TLB)

Let Your love and steadfast kindness overshadow us continually, for we trust and wait upon You! – (Psalm 33:22, TPT)

 

It has been a painfully long week. Students have been struggling to choose well in a few of my classes, and yesterday seemed to be the crux that led to two ugly scenarios. The first resulted in a pair of students being removed from my classroom, despite multiple opportunities to make a change and choose well, followed by a horrendous fight that involved a student from another classroom who was let into my room during the final few minutes of the day. It was a shocking and horrible end to an otherwise reasonable day, and I was grateful for gymnastics practice after school with a great group of girls, that was to follow a quick debrief with my colleague in the classroom next door. Despite the events that left me questioning my sanity and career choice, I was aware of God’s unfailing love for me, as He always has a way of making it tangible. My fellow coaches, who are dear friends, were fabulous, kind and compassionate. Another friend and colleague who helps intervene with situations such as the two that took place during my day, intentionally made way to the gym to check-in with me and debrief. After practice, just prior to returning to my classroom to complete the paperwork for the fight, I received a text message from another friend on staff who had been in the office when the kids involved were brought in, and she was making sure that I was okay. Steadfast kindness is my reminder to continue to hope and trust in Him. Though I know not what the future holds, I trust that He has good plans, and that His kindness and love will not continue to keep me in such spaces of distress. He is good, and because He loves me well, I will continue to choose to love.

 

God’s unfailing love, Hope in Unfailing Love

The hope for our days;

Shows reasons to trust,

Faithfulness always.

No matter what comes,

The Lord’s always near;

He’s present to help,

Each request, He hears.

Choose wait on the Lord,

Place all hope in Him;

Kind, faithful, steadfast,

True love always wins.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good, faithful, kind and Your steadfast love never ends. Thank You that as we come to You and place our trust in You, You hear us and are present with us. Thank You that though bad things happen, You never leave us nor forsake us. Forgive us for our frustration with the brokenness of this world. Teach us to trust You and keep moving forward in love. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend what is needed most to hurting hearts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in Your unfailing love forever, and give You praise for Your presence that You make tangible. Amen.

 

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

 

Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of Your unfailing love. – Psalm 6:4

 

 

With Justice and Kindness

Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, NIV)

People who try hard to do good and be faithful will find life, goodness, and honor. – (Proverbs 21:21, ERV)

Whoever pursues justice and treats others with kindness discovers true life marked by integrity and respect. – (Proverbs 21:21, VOICE)

 

Good begets good, and you reap what you sow. This particular verse in Proverbs reminds us of the importance of doing what is right. The challenge is that the reward of goodness, honor and respect are not always evident when we pursue the path marked by a righteousness and love that is ever seeking to do good and be faithful in all things. We live in a broken world, surrounded by people who are hurting. Often, even when goodness, faithfulness and kindness are extended, hurting people hurt the people that they need the most. We need to love anyway. It does not mean that we need to be a doormat or allow things that should not be so to continue, but it does mean that our charge is to keep pursuing justice and treat others with kindness, each day that we draw breath. May we ever be a people who pursue righteousness and do good, so that all may come to know the goodness and love that God freely gives.

 

Justice and mercy, What Gift Shall I Give

Are love’s true pursuit;

Extending kindness,

Godly attribute.

For as we love well,

We make God’s grace known;

The same is returned,

This is how good’s grown.

God will empower,

Our hearts to choose love;

As to Him we turn,

And trust God above.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we pursue justice and kindness, You faithfully honor our seeking. Thank You that even when we cannot see or understand the impact of choosing to extend good to others, You use it for Your glory. Forgive us for our frustration with those who are hurting and behave poorly toward us or others. Please grant us wisdom and insight as to how to navigate best in love. Show us how to love all those around us well, especially those in need of kindness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pursue to live justly and extend kindness, everywhere we go. Amen.

 

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

 

Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until He comes and showers His righteousness on you. – Hosea 10:12

Justice and Mercy Mean More

This is what the Lord Almighty said: “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” – (Zechariah 7:9, NIV)

This is what the Lord All-Powerful said: “You must do what is right and fair. You must be kind and show mercy to each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, ERV)

Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other.” – (Zechariah 7:9, MSG)

 

The context of this verse takes us back to the time of King Darius, as Zechariah received a word from the Lord regarding the traditional season of mourning and fasting. God spoke to Zechariah about the heart behind what the people were doing, and let him know that He would far prefer the people extend true mercy and justice, rather than partaking in religious rituals for themselves. Things are no different today, as God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is after our hearts, desiring that we extend His love, mercy, compassion and justice to others in the same way that He so generously and unreservedly loves each of us. Yes, there are seasons for mourning and fasting, but it must be with a heart intent on seeking Him, rather than simply jumping through some sort of religious hoop. May we seek the Lord and His love, so that we may treat one another justly, love our neighbors, and be compassionate with one another in the same way that He is with us.

 

For we are all called, Justice and Mercy Mean More

In kindness, choose love;

Show mercy and grace,

As God does for us.

Treat others justly,

Be compassionate;

Love one another,

To kindness, commit.

What matters the most,

In all that we do;

Is our heart to love,

Honor God in truth.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call and command us to love one another. Thank You that throughout Your word You unpack what it means to love. Thank You that mercy, compassion and justice are all part of loving as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have lacked love in any of these areas. Teach us how to extend mercy, be compassionate, and to treat one another justly in all things and at all times. Show us how to love as You love, for You extend all these things and more, though we do not deserve them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love like You – extending mercy, choosing compassion, and treating one another justly, regardless of what we receive. Amen.

 

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

 

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

Love Because…

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – (1 John 4:11, NIV) 

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. – (1 John 4:11, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. – (1 John 4:11, MSG)

 

So far, this weekend has been exactly what Mark and I both needed. It is the first weekend in months that we have not had plans nor an agenda. Yesterday turned into a wonderful day of quality time catching up with friends. After my love and I took care of some errand and returned home, I was able to escape and get mani/pedis with my best friend. Between us, our work schedules have kept us from spending the time together that we would most enjoy, so an afternoon together was a great way to catch up. In the evening, Mark and I met up with one of my dearest friends from childhood (our bonus sister), along with her husband and son, and spent a wonderful evening together, sharing life and enjoying each other’s company. The love that God gives us to love one another was made evident throughout the day in each interaction. His love runs deep, and it is not limited by how often we see one another. His goodness and grace are abundant, and relationships long ago established, remain full of love by His grace. May we ever recognize the depth of love that God has for us, and extend the same to those with whom we interact.

 

May the love of God, Love Because

Move our hearts and minds;

To love as we’re loved,

With grace, choose be kind.

For each time we choose,

To love like the Lord;

His heart is made known,

As good is outpoured.

So, let us choose love,

Just as God loves us;

Grace to each other,

Through hope we express.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the depth and breadth of Your love that envelops us and empowers us to love. Thank You for the gift of friendships that exemplify the greatness of Your grace and goodness of Your love. Thank You that You place Your love for people within us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen not to extend all that You have given us to others. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would love those around us in the same way that we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive the incredible love that You give so that we can turn and extend the same to those around us. Amen.

 

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

 

And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22:39