To Look for Ways to Love

Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor. – (Romans 12:10, HCSB)

Love each other in a way that makes you feel close like brothers and sisters. And give each other more honor than you give yourself. – (Romans 12:10, ERV)

Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. – (Romans 12:10, VOICE)

If we live and love like brothers and sisters, we look out for one another, take care of each other, and extend help where it is needed. Honoring and prioritizing others is to take our eyes off the mirror and look out the window. We must look to actually see how to love, honor and treat others with respect in a way that is a blessing. Something that I have learned is that if I look for ways to bless, honor and show love to those around me, I end up feeling blessed just knowing that a simple gesture encouraged or lifted another up. Yesterday was a rough Monday. Kids were off, and the pollen was pulsating through my sinus cavity. Thankfully, a long, hilly, sunny dog walk after a less than stellar school day set my heart back in the right space to look outward rather than within. This morning, God has granted fresh resolve, and has again given me the reminder to look for ways to love. It looks different for everyone, yet acts of kindness are always good for morale. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to love as He intended, and may we be willing to follow His heart with our every word and deed.

Choose love each other,

Like true family;

With care and kindness,

Protect and seek see.

Look for the spaces,

Depleted or down;

Encourage, extend,

Let kindness be found.

For we are all called,

Sisters and brothers;

To choose to love well,

Care for each other.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love and honor each other like family. Thank You that Jesus showed us what that can look like as He loved, served, helped and gave hope to those who were lacking. Forgive us for the times that we withdraw and cannot see past our own circumstances. Teach us to look up and out, so that we may find ways to bless, encourage and build others up, as we honor each other in love. Lead us to see and act upon spaces that we can bless and encourage those around us. Show us how to love those we encounter throughout our day in ways that make Your heart known. 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 family, and to honor each as You do. Amen.

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

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:12

At Peace With Each Other

Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus. – (Romans 15:5, HCSB)

All patience and encouragement come from God. And I pray that God will help you all agree with each other, as Christ Jesus wants. – (Romans 15:5, ERV)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. – (Romans 15:5, NIV)

God provides the endurance and encouragement that we need to live in harmony with each other. He does not tell us to suck it up or figure it out, but rather He modeled for us what it is to live in harmony with one another through His Son, and then God supplies what we need to do the same. It is not easy, nor does it always come naturally, but continually seeking God to show us how to live in harmony with each other is worthwhile. Peace, patience, goodness and kindness find their way in when we earnestly seek the Lord. May we ever go to God to provide what we need so that we may live in harmony with those around us.

O Lord, please lead us,

In Your love and grace;

Provide what we need,

Throughout ev’ry day.

Grant us endurance,

When the days seem long;

Your encouragement,

So we can be strong.

Strong in Your mercy,

Full of love and grace;

At peace with others,

Your love leads the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us patience, encouragement and endurance to live out our days in harmony with one another. Thank You that each day is new, and yesterday’s shortcomings do not determine today’s peace. Forgive us for our lack of seeking, or for holding onto things that divide rather than unite us. Teach us to follow Your example and to rely on You to provide what we need to be at peace with one another. Show us how to love and encourage one another in such a way that we find common ground and mutual respect for each other. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to supply all that we need to live in harmony with one another. Amen.

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

The Lord gives His people strength; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Prioritize Love

He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. – (Matthew 22:37-39, HCSB)

Jesus answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, ERV)

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: Love others as well as you love yourself.” – (Matthew 22:37-39, MSG)

When we get back to making the main things the main things, and we choose to prioritize loving God and loving people, our lives begin to more clearly reflect what God intended all along. If we invest in our relationship with God and those around us, His grace covers us and His love surrounds us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that we might love one another as He loves us.

Lord, help us to love,

With all that we are;

First You, then others,

Both those near and far.

Lead us and guide us,

So that we love well;

May our words and deeds,

Of Your goodness tell.

Grant us Your patience,

Kindness and Your grace;

To truly listen,

And walk in Your ways.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to love You and love those around us. Thank You that as we do so, we are walking in obedience to all that You ask of us. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to operate in love. Teach us how to live in the light of Your love in all that we say and do. Show us how to love You and those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek Your strength to love You and love those around us as You love all of us. Amen.

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

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” – John 13:34

Forgive and Love

All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, HCSB)

Never be bitter, angry, or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other. Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, ERV)

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. – (Ephesians 4:31-32, MSG)

Being kind and compassionate takes practice and dependence on God. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are doing or what we need to accomplish or where we need to go, that we forget that everyone around us is doing the same, and we know not what is going on in their world. From the slow or distracted driver in front of us, to the person who has parked their cart in the center of the aisle, we are called to be kind and gentle. I have been both the giver and the recipient of both types of responses – frustration and anger, and those of gentleness and kindness. The difference a kind, gentle or loving response makes, especially on difficult days, compels me to seek God to help me do likewise. As a middle school teacher, I am provided plenty of opportunities to practice. I have not “arrived”, but I continue to seek God for strength and compassion so that I might respond as Jesus responds to us. May we ever seek the Lord and His love for one another so that all anger and frustration are kept in check, and His love leads us in all that we say and do.

Let go of anger,

All malice and rage;

Instead, choose kindness,

Lovingly engage.

As Christ has loved us,

We need love others;

Extend care and grace,

To sisters, brothers.

Each has a story,

That we do not know;

Our kindness offered,

Is how love is shown.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to release anger and ugliness and equip us to give love, kindness and gentleness as You do for us. Forgive us for our anger, frustration and impatience that comes when we focus on ourselves. Teach us to be otherly with all those around us. Give us compassion and love to extend to all. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that demonstrates Your heart for them. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek and depend on You to be the people that You have called and created us to be. Amen.

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

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. – John 15:13

To Love Each Other

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, NIV)

This is what I command you: Love each other as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, ERV)

So this is My command: Love each other deeply, as much as I have loved you. – (John 15:12, TPT)

No matter which translation of the Bible we read, the command remains the same; we are called to love each other in the same way that Christ loves us. Jesus loved perfectly, for there was no sin within Him. Though we are sinful and broken, we too, can learn to love like Him. Throughout scriptures, we are instructed as to what it means to love. Paul, in his letters to the Corinthians, explained what love is and what it is not. “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) True love, the sort of love God intended, is patient, kind, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful and does not give up. When we invest in our walk with Christ, He grows in us an ability to love like Him. Incredibly, we become more patient and kind. God strengthens us to continue to love, even when it is difficult, and shows us how to trust more. The more we love, the more we want to protect others as well. I know that none of this is common knowledge, but I think it is important to be reminded of what real love ought to look like, especially now that so many are reengaging in life after a long shutdown. May we ever seek the Lord, who in His very existence is love, to learn and grow in loving those around us as He intended.

For God so loved us,

That He sent His Son;

To show us true love,

That leaves sin undone.

All our misgivings,

Mistakes and wrong ways;

Are fully removed,

By mercy and grace.

God gives us patience,

Shows us to be kind;

To protect others,

And keep love in mind.

His perseverance,

Shows us what to do;

To trust and to hope,

To show His love true.

In everything,

May love be our choice;

One heart, one body,

One love and one voice.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and love that calls each of us to love like You. Forgive us for the times that we have not chosen love as You intended. Teach us to invest our time in relationship with You so that You can show us more completely, what it is to love like You. Show us each day how we can extend love to those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to help us love one another as we are all called to do. Amen.

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

Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:8a



Radiance of His Nature

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, NIV)

The Son shows the glory of God. He is a perfect copy of God’s nature, and He holds everything together by His powerful command. The Son made people clean from their sins. Then He sat down at the right side of God, the Great One in heaven. – (Hebrews 1:3, ERV)

The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature – His mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of His spoken word. He accomplished for us the complete cleansing of sins, and then took His seat on the highest throne at the right hand of the majestic One. – (Hebrews 1:3, TPT)

Though no one has ever seen God, numerous people spent time in the presence of His Son, and witnessed His power and His very being. Jesus lived out a perfect life so that He could be the ultimate sacrifice, once and for all. After His death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus took His place at the right hand of the Father to continue to move on our behalf, as He provided His Holy Spirit for all who invite Him in. The more we pursue the path that He has placed before us, the more our hearts begin to mirror His. May we ever seek the Lord and be intentional to invest our time into growing in our understanding of Him, so that we may more clearly reflect His radiance to the world.

God’s great radiance,

What’s holy and true;

Shown to all the world,

Through Christ who makes new.

His power, perfect,

Held up in His hands;

Seated on His throne,

With purpose and plan.

Cleansed by His mercy,

Made new in His love;

May we ever seek,

Christ the Lord above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us who You are and how You love. Thank You Jesus, that You demonstrated what love truly is. Forgive us for neglecting our relationship with You, as You are the way to live and love in a way that reflects Your heart to the world. Teach us to trust You and follow after You with all that we are. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we see You through the Savior, Your Son, and ever seek to be a clear reflection of Your love to the world. Amen.

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

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. – Colossians 3:1

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

The Calm to Our Storms

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!” – (Matthew 8:27, NIV)

The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at His command!” – (Matthew 8:27, MSG)

The disciples were astonished by this miracle and said to one another, “Who is this Man? Even the wind and waves obey His Word.” – (Matthew 8:27, TPT)

Verse twenty-seven is the disciples’ response after experiencing a harrowing event. A storm had come on them suddenly, in the middle of the lake, and the waves were so wide and wild, that they feared the boat might sink. They went to Jesus, whom they found asleep, and woke Him with their worry and fear. Jesus asked them why they were afraid, then stood and spoke, commanding the wind and waves to be still. In an instant, calm came over the water. Verse twenty-seven is the disciples response to the wonder they had just witnessed. Though they had been listening to Jesus teach, and had watched as He healed, their awe and wonder multiplied as they observed the power present as Jesus calmed a raging storm with His words. The very same Jesus who healed, taught, touched, and silenced storms back then, is available and present for us still. He hears our cries and listens in love as we call on His Name. Sometimes, He silences the storm around us, yet other times, He settles the storm within us. He is our peace and hope that we can cling to, no matter the size of the storm we face. May we ever call on His Name and trust in His presence, for He is our peace, our comfort, our help and our hope forever.

Lord, please remind us,

To call upon You;

No matter the storm,

Your love sees us through.

Sometimes You silence,

The storm that surrounds;

Yet then other times,

Peace within abounds.

Whatever may come,

The thing we must hear;

Is You’ve promised us,

You’ll always be near.

Show us Your goodness,

Lead us by Your grace;

Teach us to seek You,

Throughout all our days.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You still silence the storms. Thank You for the times that You have brought peace to the storm surrounding us, and thank You for the times that You have silenced the storm within us. Forgive us for being surprised by Your power and goodness, and for the times that we doubt You. Teach us to trust You in all things and at all times; for You are always good. Show us how to love those around us through the storms, and what to do to pass along Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we surrender the storms around us and within us, trusting in Your faithful promised presence. Amen.

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

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

Do for Others

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, NIV) 

Do for others what you would want them to do for you. This is the meaning of the Law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets. – (Matthew 7:12, ERV) 

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior. Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get. – (Matthew 7:12, MSG) 

This biblical directive, which is also known as the “Golden Rule” in non-church circles, is the very minimum that we ought to do as humans. To stop and think about how we would want to be spoken to, treated, and the like, ought to drive how we operate in our daily lives. Incredibly, the saying, “You get what you give,” holds true more often than not. For example, when out for a run, or taking my dog for a walk, I make a point to smile and say hello to every person that I pass. What I find, is that the same is returned to me, and a pleasant exchange has taken place, that required very little effort. A heart that listens, kindness, compassion and a willingness to draw near, are all things that I would want to be given. These things are reminders of what I must do for others, as I imagine that most have a similar desire to be heard and treated with kindness and compassion. This is a lifelong process, as we ever learn and grow and discover more of what it means to love well, and it is one that is required for community to exist. May we ever seek the Lord to show us more of how to love and treat one another the way that He intended, so that His love may be evident in us. 

Do unto others, 

As you would have done; 

In love and kindness, 

As each day’s begun. 

Let what you would like, 

Receive from others; 

Direct ev’ry step, 

Sisters and brothers. 

Choose compassion, 

Willingly draw near; 

Give goodness and love, 

With grace, lend an ear. 

In everything, 

Do as you’d have done; 

For mercy and love, 

Unite us as one. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You command us to do unto others as we would like done unto us. Thank You that because You first loved us, we may reach out and love one another. Forgive us for the times that we have not loved, spoken or moved in the way that we should. Teach us to see others through Your eyes, and give us Your heart to love well. Show us how to love, respect and do unto others, as we would want in return. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us how to love one another best. Amen. 

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

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11

Weathering the Waves

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, NIV)

A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides of the boat, and it was almost full of water. Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with His head on a pillow. The followers went and woke Him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!” Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be Still!” Then the wind stopped and the lake became calm. – (Mark 4:37-39, ERV)

A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused Him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to You that we’re going down?” Awake now, He told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. – (Mark 4:37-39, MSG)

 

Though I have both read and heard the passage about Jesus calming the storm numerous times, yesterday’s message by my pastor, brought new revelation that is extraordinarily timely. The disciples were primarily a group of experienced fishermen. They had spent their years and earned their livelihood fishing on this particular body of water, so none of them were new to sudden storms. What stood out about this one was that no longer was it a storm surrounding them, but it was actually bringing water into the boat. Fear entered when the storm on the outside, began impacting the inside. As the waves began to fill the boat, they recognized their desperate need for a Savior. In their state of terror, they questioned Christ’s concern for them, as they feared their own demise. Jesus demonstrated His authority and power as He spoke to the storm, telling the wind and the waves to “Be still!”  We are no different. Often, we neglect to pray about things that are “out there, but when they come close, or affect us directly, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the storm. The beautiful thing is that Jesus will still respond to us in the same way that He did to His disciples. 

1) In the midst of the storm, we need to seek Jesus. 

2) As we do, our prayers have the power to calm the storm. 

3) In the midst of the storm, we need to anchor ourselves to God’s love. 

Jesus has the power to not only calm the storm around us, but He calms the chaos within us as well. Sometimes, they are simultaneous, yet other times we will be brought to a space of His relentless grace, simply to be at peace in knowing that He is in the boat with us. Our boat will not sink when He is aboard. May we hold fast to the Anchor who is our hope, and remember Who is in the boat with us through the storms.

 

When the storm surrounds, wp-15849697395664983915925030867878.jpg

Take pause, choose to pray;

Fend off fearfulness,

Christ shows us the way.

Even when the waves,

Break over our boat;

If God is with us,

He’ll keep us afloat.

It takes but a word,

An act of God’s will;

Peace will be present,

And waters made still.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what storms surround us, or even the waves that make way into our boat, You remain with us. Thank You that all power and authority are Yours, and that in You, we have access to be anchored in Your love and calmed in the storm. Forgive us for our fearfulness when the waves crash too close to our own boats. Teach us to come to You in both the calm and in the storm, remembering it is You to whom we need to anchor ourselves to stay afloat. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too may find hope and peace and strength to weather the storms that come their way. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we anchor ourselves to Your love each day, as You keep us safe and secure through every wave that comes our way. Amen.

 

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

 

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure… – Hebrews 6:19a