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

Walk in Love

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, HCSB)

And loving means living the way He commanded us to live. And God’s command is this: that you live a life of love. You heard this command from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, ERV)

This love means living in obedience to whatever God commands us. For to walk in love toward one another is the unifying commandment we’ve heard from the beginning. – (2 John 1:6, TPT)

Always, it comes down to choosing to love. We are called to love God and love people, when we do these things, we cannot help but be living a life that honors His commands. What He asks of us has not and does not change. The way in which we love might change, but the underlying expectation is all about choosing to love as He loves us. God’s love is sacrificial and has no expectations in return. He loves us because we are His creation. In the same way, we ought to love one another because every person we meet was intentionally created by God, with a plan and a purpose. Not everyone is living and walking out the plan that was prepared for them, yet each person is still the intentional and loved creation of God. May we ever seek the Lord to help us see others through His eyes, and choose to love in all that we say and do. We need His guidance and strength to live out a life of love.

To live out God’s love,

We each have been called;

To love each other,

With grace and resolve.

To love is a choice,

That we must each make;

It is when we do,

That God is obeyed.

Each person designed,

To love and be loved;

Reflecting the light,

Of the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are called and created to love. Thank You that each time we are intentional to choose love, we are walking in obedience to Your commands. Forgive us for the times that we have withheld love, somehow thinking that another is not deserving. For none of us deserve Your love, yet You surround us and overwhelm us with Your goodness and grace that make Your great love abundantly clear to all who pause and observe how You move in, through and around us. Teach us to seek You to lead us in love the way that You intended. Show us how to love well, each person whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love well so that we might walk in obedience to all You ask of us. Amen.

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

Pursue the greater gifts, and let me tell you of a more excellent way – love. – 1 Corinthians 12:31

Teach Us to Love

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, HCSB)

Love doesn’t hurt others. So loving is the same as obeying all the law. – (Romans 13:10, ERV)

Love makes it impossible to harm another, so love fulfills all that the law requires. – (Romans 13:10, TPT)

If our focus and priority is to love, then we cannot help but fulfill what the law requires. Where there is love, there is no room for hurting others. As we choose to love those around us, God transforms our hearts and minds to see people as He sees them. Each person is God’s creation, His poema, His perfect work of art. Unfortunately, we are battling our own broken humanity. Our perception becomes clouded by unmet expectations. It is only when we let go of expectations and simply choose to love, that we begin to see others through God’s lens. Incredibly, the more we love, the more others rise up and seek to do the same. It is like the whole pass it on movement, yet it is fueled, equipped and empowered by God rather than ourselves. Acts of kindness matter and are ways to show His love, yet it is through consistently choosing to love in word, thought and deed that we are actually doing as God asks of us and therefore fulfilling His commands. May we ever seek the Lord to show us and grow us in His great love for all.

When we choose to love,

As we’re asked to do;

The law is fulfilled,

As goodness shines through.

For only by love,

Can God’s heart be shown;

Kindness extended,

Makes God’s goodness known.

O Lord, help us love,

Purely as You do;

Seeing each other,

With hearts that love true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love one another like You. Thank You that as we do, we are upholding and fulfilling the law. Thank You that You intentionally created all of us with a plan and a purpose. Thank You that You place us in one another’s lives to challenge, encourage and grow in Your love. Forgive us for neglecting to love as You intended for us to love. Teach us to pursue Your heart and loving kindness for all so that we might love like You. Show us how to love all those around us, especially those that are difficult to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us to love completely and without reservation. 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 love one another.” – John 13:34

He Leads in Love

This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, NIV)

The Lord, the Savior, the Holy One of Israel, says, “I am the Lord your God. I teach you for your own good. I lead you in the way you should go.” – (Isaiah 48:17, ERV)

The Eternal One, who rescued you, the Holy One of Israel declares, “I am the Eternal One your God. I have given you instruction for living well and right, leading you in how you should be and do.” – (Isaiah 48:17, VOICE)

God is faithful to lead us and instruct us in the ways in which we are meant to go, if only we are willing to seek Him and listen to Him. Sometimes, when we are uncertain about which way to go, He makes clear the path we are to take; other times, He places the decision in our hands and promises to be with us. Recently, I was in just such a space, and felt that He was leaving the decision up to me, but assured me that He would be with me and protect me, either direction I chose. Though I ended up going the direction that was not my first choice, I truly feel that God has been with me, has protected me, and will continue to do so. What I have learned time and time again, is that God is good and loves us well. May we ever seek and depend on Him, listen to His leading, and trust that He holds us in His strong and loving hands.

The Lord is so good,

He’s faithful and true;

As we choose seek Him,

He will lead us through.

Through things uncertain,

Each choice that we make;

The Lord is with us,

On each path we take.

God, grant us wisdom,

By faith, help us choose;

What we’re called to do,

With trust, lead us through.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You for answers, You show us the way we are meant to go, or You give us a choice that You assure us You will be present, whichever way we go. Forgive us for our fears and frustrations when decisions before us seem dismal. Thank You that You work in and through all things. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen to Your leading and ever choose to love. Show us how to love those around us best, so that they too, may know Your peace and faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and trust You in all things and at all times. Amen.

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

You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

Created for Good

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things He had already planned for us to do. – (Ephesians 2:10, ERV)

We have become His poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny He has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! – (Ephesians 2:10, TPT)

God is so good and gracious to us. His plans are so much better than our plans, and when we walk them out, we discover the depth and breadth of His love for us and for those around us. Good works do not have to be grandiose gestures or actions, but are found in simple everyday decisions. Each time we choose to love, to do what is best for another, we are doing the good work that God is calling us all to do. Sometimes, the good works are found in the things that we do, and sometimes it is the decision to forgive and let go of things we cannot control or change. The amazing thing is that God works all things out for good when we submit them to Him. His grace is enough, and His love never ends. Because of His great love and good works for us, we can reach out and follow in His footsteps to love well. No, we will not always get it right, and our frustrations and emotions will get the best of us, however, each time we choose to listen and move forward in the good to which we are called, He will use it for His glory. May we ever praise God for all the good that He has given us, and rely on Him to lead us in the good works that He has prepared for us each new day.

We’re each born a verse,

Our life, the poem;

That shows God’s goodness,

As His love’s made known.

Every good work,

Each time we choose love;

The Lord brings goodness,

Our help from above.

Before we were born,

Purpose was in mind;

To do His good works,

To love and be kind.

As each new day comes,

Lord, help us to choose;

To do the good things,

That show Your love’s true.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your handiwork, created to do good works. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to bring the good that You intended. Show us how to rely on You to lead us in love, so that we may choose to do the good that You planned in advance for us to do. Teach us to love those around us in tangible ways, so that You can clearly see the evidence of Your great love for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your face to lead us in Your ways, so that we may do the good works that You created us to do. Amen.

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

And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. – Ephesians 2:22

Wisdom Chooses Opportunities to Love

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. – (Colossians 4:5, NIV)

Be wise in the way you act with those who are not believers. Use your time in the best way you can. – (Colossians 4:5, ERV)

Be wise when you engage with those outside the faith community; make the most of every moment and every encounter. – (Colossians 4:5, VOICE)

If there is no difference between believers and those who do not, what is the possible appeal in following Christ? We are called to love God and love people. If we seek to do these things with all of our heart, our actions will be a reflection of our Father’s love. However, if we allow the things of the world to suck us in, and allow popular culture to shape our views, rather than our Redeemer, we are not making the most of our opportunities to love as Christ loves us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we go forth loving others as God intended. God grants wisdom and grace so that we may love like Christ throughout all our days, if only we turn to Him to lead us.

May wisdom and grace,

Be what’s clearly seen;

As we seek to love,

And know what God means.

Each interaction,

Let it be quite clear;

that love is our charge,

To all who are near.

May each moment count,

Let love be expressed;

Through grace and kindness,

For the Lord leads best.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You, You lovingly grant us wisdom and grace to love others the way that You intended. Thank You that You call us to love those around us in the same way that You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love like You. Teach us to seek You and trust You to lead us well, as Your love is perfect and You grace cleanses and covers us, setting us free from our own ideas of how to love. Show us, O God, how to love all as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to make the most of every opportunity to choose to love. Amen.

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

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Intentional In Love

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:34-35, NIV)

“I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other just as I loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” – (John 13:34-35, ERV)

“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.” – (John 13:34-35, MSG)

It seems only appropriate that the verse of the day has to do with love on Valentine’s Day. In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called “Friendship Day”. I love that idea, as the love we have for those around us does not have to be romantic love. Friends, family, acquaintances and beloved ones are all among those with whom our love is meant to be shared. To love as we are loved by God is to lift up, encourage, bless, honor and strengthen those around us without any expectation of return. We are meant to choose to love out of the overflow that we have freely been given. May we be intentional in our obedience to God’s commands to love so that all may see Him through us.

Let’s love each other,

As the Lord loves us;

Freely outpouring,

As done by Jesus.

When we choose to love,

With grace, each other;

God’s love’s clearly shown,

One to another.

May we celebrate,

All that we’re given;

Generously give,

Each day we live in.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your generous and overwhelming love. Thank You that You call and command us to love those around us. Thank You that as we do, people see You and the goodness of Your love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as we should. Teach us to seek You and receive all that You offer so that we may love like You. Show us how to love those around us best. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional to love well. Amen.

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

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. – Psalm 13:5

Choose to Love

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, NIV)

Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, ERV)

Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. – (1 Corinthians 13:6-7, TPT)

This is a beautiful reminder of what matters. Honesty, truth, trust, hope and perseverance are things that exemplify love. When we choose to love one another, we extend each of these things to each other. I appreciate the idea of love being a safe shelter, as loving and being loved well provides security and a sense of safety. Additionally, to love is a choice. God designed each of us for love, but we must choose to live according to our design. In order to love like the Lord, we need to know and trust Him. As we do, we become acutely aware of His love for us, and desire to share what we have been given. May we ever seek the Lord and receive His love so that we may go forth and love others in the same way.

To love is to choose,

To speak truth always;

Rejoice in the good,

Found in each new day.

Love always protects,

Provides a safe space;

Where hope’s always found,

As is loving grace.

Love never will quit,

When the going’s rough;

Chooses persevere,

It’s always enough.

May we learn to love,

As we were designed;

Let the Lord’s love lead,

And always be kind.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us the way that You call us to love. Thank You that You do not ask of us, anything that You don’t already give. Forgive us for the times that we have failed to love as You call us to love. Teach us to receive all that You are offering so that we learn to love like You. Show us how to love others with honesty, trust, hope and a determination that never quits. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn 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