Living Love

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, NIV)

That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us. If we love each other, God’s love has reached its goal – it is made perfect in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, ERV)

My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us – perfect love! – (1 John 4:11-12, MSG)

God’s love is made evident as we choose to love one another. His love is perfect and complete. The more we seek Him to lead us in love, the better we reflect His heart to the world and show those around us who He is. Though none of us are perfect in love, we are all loved perfectly by God. As we embrace His goodness and grace, we are better equipped to love others well. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His perfect love, and then go and love those around us in the same way.

God’s love is made clear,

As we choose to love;

It chases off fear,

All grace from above.

His love is perfect,

He loves perfectly;

With loving kindness,

He sets our hearts free.

Set free from the things,

That keep us from love;

And shows us the way,

That we each are loved.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your love is perfect and Your heart for us is to reflect Your love to the world. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen nor reflected Your love to those around us. Teach us to embrace the goodness and grace that You lavishly give so that we too, may love as You intended us to love. Show us new ways to love those around us well, so that Your heart would be made evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love each other with Your love that lives in us. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Love Deeply

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. – (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)

The more we love one another, the more willing we are to give grace when others are not at their best. Incredibly, when we choose to love, the recipient wants to do and be better too. Many times I have been on the receiving end of love that I did not deserve, and each time, it compelled me to love more deeply and forgive more freely, for this is how Jesus loves us all. As we march forward into the holiday season, may we be intentional to love each other deeply. We know not the burden that others are carrying, so as we interact with those around us, may we give grace and extend love to all. 

To love steadily,

Is to look past faults;

Ever giving good,

Through word, deed and thoughts.

For grace upon grace,

Is what we’ve received;

God’s loving kindness,

Brought us to believe.

Let’s rise with purpose,

Give grace and forgive;

Love without limits,

And choose freely give.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that while we were yet sinners, You loved. Thank You that Your love is not dependent on our behavior, performance, or goodness. Thank You that You love us because we are Yours. Thank You that You call us to do the same for those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have not given grace and not chosen to love. Show us how to love in every circumstance. Make a way for Your heart to be made evident to all. Lead us in Your unending love and overwhelming grace to treat those around us as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love others so deeply that we are ever willing to forgive their faults, just as You have forgiven us. Amen.

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

Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. – Colossians 3:14

Let Love Continue

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. – (Hebrews 13:1, NIV)

Continue loving each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. – (Hebrews 13:1, ERV)

Let love continue among you. – (Hebrews 13:1, VOICE)

We are called and commanded to love one another like family. I know not all families show and express love as God intended, but it seems that God places us among those who can become family. I am beyond blessed to have a sister and mom who love well. Their love for me and one another is unconditional, and loyalty is a bond that cannot be broken. If in our broken humanity we are able to love and be loved well, how much more ought we extend the same to those in our communities. The more we choose to love, the greater the opportunity for God’s love to be made known, and His light to shine in places lacking light. Yesterday, I had to have a punch biopsy done on my upper lip. The result included a few stitches and a lovely bandage situation in said location. Though a bit self-conscious about it when I walked into the gym to coach my high school gymnasts, I was met with nothing but love and concern. Their kindness reminded me that God is always good, and that He has me in the hollow of His hands. The biggest challenge now is that I can’t smile without pulling on the stitches, and I am surrounded by people who make me smile by being themselves. God’s goodness is evident all around us, and the more we choose to love our brothers and sisters (the people whom God places in our lives), the more His love continues to spread and His light shines ever brighter. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we may love well, all whom He has placed upon our path.

The love of the Lord,

Is given to us;

So we too may love,

Just like Lord Jesus.

His love is gracious,

Gentle and it’s kind;

Without conditions,

He has us in mind.

With this sort of love,

That’s meant for others;

To reach out, to give,

Sisters and brothers.

Help us ever seek,

So that we shall find;

Overflowing love,

To share with mankind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love those around us like family. Thank You for the beautiful blessing I have in both my family by blood, and those whom You have purposefully placed in my life. Forgive me for the times that I have not loved as You intended. Teach me to trust You more, so that all that I do and all that I say is a reflection of Your gracious and generous love. Lead me to love those around me in ways that make Your heart abundantly clear. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love those around us as brothers and sisters. Amen.

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

Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I entrust my life. – Psalm 143:8

Light Through Love

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

It is the person who loves brother and sister who dwells in God’s light and doesn’t block the light from others. – (1 John 2:10, MSG)

When we choose to love as God loves us, light and life pour out of us. Where there is light, there is a clear path. In the same way that God shines His light upon us and shows us how to love, we become reflections of His light to others so that they too, see what is good. To love our sisters and brothers is a choice, and one that only transpires well when we rely on God to lead us. May we seek the Lord to lead us to love those around us as He loves, and depend on Him to shine His light through us to the world.

When we choose to love,

God’s light truly shines;

The darkness must flee,

For goodness defines.

It defines what’s good,

What’s lovely and pure;

How light is let in,

And hope is assured.

Lead us in Your love,

For one another;

Flood Your light within,

To shine on others.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we choose to love our sisters and brothers as You intended, Your light leads the way to what is good. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love and allowed darkness in. Teach us to depend on You to lead us in the light of Your love. Show us how to be Your light and love to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love one another as You love, and rely on You to shine Your light on and through us. Amen.

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

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. – Psalm 119:105

Graciousness Made Known

Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. – (Philippians 4:5, HCSB)

Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. – (Philippians 4:5, ERV)

Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. – (Philippians 4:5, VOICE)

Graciousness, gentleness and kindness are all things that God gives to us in abundance. His grace grants us a new sunrise each day, air to breathe, and everything good in our lives. God’s gentleness is the still small voice that speaks to our hearts, and reminds us of which way we are to go, who we are in Him, and how to choose to love. Extending kindness, especially when it is not “deserved”, is a demonstration of God’s graciousness made tangible through us. Each time we both extend and experience these things, we are gaining glimpses of just how near the Lord is to us. His presence provides as we choose to abide. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He loves, so that our gentleness and kindness help others to see God’s own heart.

Let God’s gentleness,

Truly take the lead;

His kindness made clear,

For love’s what we need.

The heart of the Lord,

Is most clearly shown;

Through His loving grace,

That’s ever made known.

Help us, Lord Jesus,

To love graciously;

So others may know,

All good that’s from Thee.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us Your kindness, gentleness and grace through Your overwhelming and eternal love. Thank You that You pour so much into us, that we can share generously out of the overflow within. Forgive us for the times that Your gentleness and grace have been absent from how we operate. Teach us to seek You to lead us in all things and at all times, so that Your goodness and grace are clearly shown. Direct us to love those around us like You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to fill us with more of You so that Your graciousness is made evident through all that we say and do. Amen.

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

One who loves with a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. – Proverbs 22:11

United in Peace

For He is our peace, who made both groups one and tore down the dividing wall of hostility. – (Ephesians 2:14, HCSB)

Christ is the reason we are now at peace. He made us Jews and you who are not Jews one people. We were separated by a wall of hate that stood between us, but Christ broke down that wall. – (Ephesians 2:14, ERV)

He is the embodiment of our peace, sent once and for all to take down the great barrier of hatred and hostility that has divided us so that we can be one. – (Ephesians 2:14, VOICE)

If God can unite two groups who were separated and against each other for many generations, He can bring peace in a home, a neighborhood, a classroom or a school. This is a great reminder that God is able to do surpassingly more than we could hope or imagine as we seek and trust in Him. For me, this is the hope that I am holding onto, as I have a class that ends each day with a combination of kids that make it feel like a combat zone. At the close of each school day, it feels as though I have barely survived a horrendous hurricane, and I long for the opportunity to walk away. If I were independently wealthy, I would walk away and never look back. Clearly this is not a solution, but the struggle that is endured each day is bringing me to a breaking point. Something has to give. I trust that God can do far more than I can imagine, yet I am struggling to see what could possibly be done in the here and now. Each day, I embrace the new, and try to move forward with positivity and grace, but the grit within me is waning. If God can bring two warring groups of people together as one, I know He is able to bring calm and peace to a classroom. May we ever seek the Lord to break down barriers of hostility, and bring His peace that surpasses understanding.

The embodiment,

Of God’s perfect peace;

Is what is needed,

Abundant release.

For He who calms storms,

With only His words;

Can calm great chaos,

His peace is transferred.

Lord, bring Your goodness,

Flood me with Your grace;

Show me the answer,

As I seek Your face.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the God of perfect peace. Thank You that You can unite groups of people who once were at odds with one another. Thank You that You are greater than anything that we must face. Forgive us for struggling to believe there is a solution when we are in the midst of the fire. Show us the power of Your peaceful presence. Teach us to be promoters of Your peace as we continually choose to love as You love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, the Prince of Peace. Be glorified O God, as we earnestly seek You for solutions to that which leaves us feeling hopeless. Amen.

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

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. – Isaiah 26:3

Live in Light

Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. – (1 John 2:10, NIV)

Those who love their brothers and sisters live in the light, and there is nothing in them that will make them do wrong. – (1 John 2:10, ERV)

Anyone who loves his brother or sister lives in the light and will not trip because his conscience is clear. – (1 John 2:10, VOICE)

The more we choose to love, the more we are living in the light that God has called us into. As we are in the light, we are able to see clearly the ways in which we are meant to go. However, if we turn from the light and do not love, we stumble and fall, and do the wrong that we never intended to do. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we love well and ever remain with a clear conscience in the light that He provides.

To love each other,

Is to live in light;

With a clear conscience,

In Him we delight.

With His light we see,

The ways we’re to go;

To care for others,

And make His love known.

Keep looking to God,

And His loving light;

Seek walk in His ways,

And choose to do right.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love our brothers and sisters as You do. Thank You that Your loving light illuminates that way that we are meant to love. Thank You that as we do, we walk in Your light and You keep our path clear. Forgive us for choosing anything that is not love, for it is in such spaces that we stumble and fall. Teach us to look to You to lead us in the light of Your love in all things. Show us how to love those around us well, so that we may shine Your light before those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love our brothers and sisters best. Amen.

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

As people understand Your word, it brings light to their lives… – Psalm 119:130a

In Freedom Choose Love

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. – (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love. – (Galatians 5:13, MSG)

Brothers and sisters, God has called you to freedom! Hear the call, and do not spoil this gift by using your liberty to engage in what your flesh desires; instead, use it to serve each other as Jesus taught through love. – (Galatians 5:13, VOICE)

God has given each of us a free will. His intention has always been for us to be free to choose. The love of God draws us unto Him, yet we always have a choice as to whether to accept or reject it. When we follow our own path with little care or concern for others, we are gratifying the flesh and not choosing love. However, when we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, we are opting to walk in His way and using our freedom to love as Jesus loved. Incredibly, as we select a life that follows after Him, we become free from the weight of being stuck in our own selfishness, and discover the joy that awaits as we choose to walk the path that He prepares for us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us, as we freely choose to love and serve one another as we are called to do.

Brothers and sisters,

We all have been called;

In freedom to choose,

To love one and all.

For as we choose love,

Selfishness will fade;

True freedom and joy,

Are found in His ways.

So, let us look up,

Select the Lord’s best;

Love one another,

As grace is expressed.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have created us each with a free will. Thank You that with our freedom, we can choose to follow after You and select a life of loving as You first loved us. Forgive us for the times that we have chosen to stay stuck in our sinful patterns instead of choosing to follow after You. Teach us to freely choose to love and serve one another, for in doing so, we come to know the joy that is found in opting to utilize our freedom for good. Show us how to love and serve those around us in ways that make Your heart evident to all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love and serve with the freedom that we are granted in You. Amen.

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

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Truth in Love Brings Growth

But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ. – (Ephesians 4:15, HCSB)

No, we will speak the truth with love. We will grow to be like Christ in every way. He is the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, ERV)

Instead, by truth spoken in love, we are to grow in every way into Him – the Anointed One, the head. – (Ephesians 4:15, VOICE)

We are called to speak the truth in love. As we do, we grow more like Jesus. He modeled love in all things, and we have been created to do the same. This growth is a lifelong process, for we are constantly in a battle between acting and reacting in our broken human nature, and responding in love as we are called to do. We must not grow weary in doing good, for it is always worthwhile, and can have a lasting impact that goes far beyond what we might see or understand. There have been countless times in my own life when dear ones have spoken the truth in love to me, and because it was delivered in love, what was said had a lasting positive impact. Such words can change a moment, a day, a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime. Our intentional decision to choose love has the power to grow not only ourselves, but those around us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in all that we say and do, and give Him room to grow us in the ways He intended from the start.

Speak the truth in love,

For it is our call;

To grow more like Christ,

As we choose love all.

Lord, show us the way,

To love like You do;

Do all things in love,

So Your heart shines through.

Grow us in Your strength,

To do what is right;

As Your love leads us,

To walk in Your light.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to speak the truth in love and to grow more like You as we do. Thank You that this is not something that we do on our own, but rather, as we seek You and listen to Your leading, You show us how and You transform us to more clearly reflect Your heart to the world. Forgive us for every word that we have spoken that was not in truth and love. Show us how to do all things in Your love. Lead us to love those around us with our words and actions so that Your love is clearly shown. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak the truth in love and to grow ever more like You. Amen.

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

Brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good. – 2 Thessalonians 3:13

Pray for Problematic People

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. – (Matthew 5:44, HCSB)

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. – (Matthew 5:44, ERV)

But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you. – (Matthew 5:44, CEB)

When Jesus was teaching His disciples on the mountaintop, He gave them specific instructions about how they were to love. Incredibly, Jesus modeled this sort of love in everything that He said and did. Even when He was hanging on the cross, He prayed for God to forgive the ones who put Him there. If Jesus can pray for those who persecuted Him and ultimately put Him to death, we can pray for those who treat us badly, irritate us, mess with us, or just plain annoy us with their behavior. As a middle school teacher, I am provided the opportunity to do this daily. Some students are still struggling to behave in a way that is conducive to teaching and learning. Each day I pray for my students and for the day on my way to school, and most days, I am challenged to love within the first five minutes of my first period class. Though exhausting, and often exasperating, I know that I continue to be called to pray and choose to love. May we ever seek the Lord to strengthen and equip us to love and pray for those who are the most difficult.

Lord, help us to love,

To seek You and pray;

For strength and courage,

Each and ev’ry day.

Grant us Your wisdom,

The words we need hear;

To love people well,

And trust You are near.

Lead us in Your love,

To pray and to give;

Grace, hope and Your love,

Each day that we live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and pray for all people. Thank You that you modeled this perfectly, for You continued to love and pray for those who persecuted You and crucified You. Forgive us for the times that we act as though we are exempt from this command because somehow people’s unkindness justifies us to do the same. Teach us how to love best and give us the words to pray for all who are difficult to love. Lead us each new day to pray and to trust in Your provision for the wisdom and strength to love well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You in prayer and trust Your provision to love all. Amen.

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

The Lord of Hosts says this: Make fair decisions. Show faithful love and compassion to one another. – Zechariah 7:9