Intentional Obedience

Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – (Romans 13:10, NIV)

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 we truly seek to love as we have been designed, we discover that true love makes it impossible to harm another. However, love is a choice. Each of us have been designed with a free will, and we have to be intentional to choose to love. Love is not selective, but rather it is all-encompassing and inclusive. Love may look different for different people, but it always seeks the best for others. Incredibly, as we seek the Lord to lead us in love, He shows us how we are meant to love through each word that we say and everything that we do. As we love as God intended, we are keeping in line with all that He asks of us. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love so that we may care for one another as we were designed to do.

To love like the Lord,

Requires a choice;

To treat each other,

With God’s heart and voice.

As we seek to love,

All those whom we meet;

God’s heart is made known,

And love is complete.

Yet still, we must choose,

Love purposefully;

Such obedience,

Sets broken hearts free.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called us and designed us to love each other. Thank You that as we do, we are following what You ask of us. Forgive us for every time that we have neglected to choose love. Teach us to see the opportunities all around us to love as You love us. Show us how to love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we are intentional to seek You to show us how to love all those around us as we have been called and created to love. Amen.

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

For great is His love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord. – Psalm 117:2

Seeking Solitude for Strength

When Jesus heard what had happened, He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. – (Matthew 14:13a, NIV)

When Jesus heard what happened to John, He left in a boat. He went alone to a place where no one lived. – (Matthew 14:13a, ERV)

When Jesus got the news, He slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by Himself. – (Matthew 14:13a, MSG)

This passage in Matthew 14 is an account of when John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) was beheaded by Herod and Jesus had just received news of it. Jesus, in His grief, sought some solitary space to grieve. However, soon after His retreat, crowds of people caught wind of His whereabouts and followed Him. Though Jesus was likely attempting to process and pray, when He saw the large crowd of people in need, “…He had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (vs. 14)

Jesus was the Son of God, yet on earth, He was also fully man. The grief, suffering, sorrow, and struggles that we all experience, He experienced too. Much like us, He desired room to grieve and pray. That being said, in His perfect love, Jesus recognized the needs in front of Him and set aside His own desires, in order to help. How do we navigate spaces of suffering, sorrow, and struggle like Jesus? He sought the Father, and then He saw the need before Him. Only Jesus is able to provide what we need to do both – to navigate our own trials and simultaneously reach out to those around us who are in need. We cannot allow the challenges of life to keep us from loving people the way we were created to love. Incredibly, when we do choose to look and reach out, the weight of our own burdens become lighter. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in love and compassion, so that we may walk out our purpose, even when the road is rough.

Lord, teach us to pray,

To ever seek You;

Please lead us in love,

Grant us hope anew.

When challenges come,

For they always do;

Give us compassion,

To keep loving true.

It is by Your strength,

That we are made new;

Equipped to answer,

How we’re called by You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example that Jesus set before us to remind us that even in our darkness, we are called and equipped to be Your light. Forgive us for staying in our space of withdrawal when struggles come, rather than turning to You, then continuing to look forward. Teach us to trust You completely, for You bring comfort and compassion to the weariest of souls, and empower us to love all the more. Lead us to love those around us in ways that soothe the struggles and calm the chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to pick us up, dust us off, and keep moving forward into all that You have created us for. Amen.

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

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

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

Ask for Answers

Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. – (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV)

Call to Me, and I will answer you. I will tell you of great things, things beyond what you can imagine, things you could never have known. – (Jeremiah 33:3, VOICE)

Call to Me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. – (Jeremiah 33:3, MSG)

 

I am not sure if it is the result of rest and a better night’s sleep, the reality of how short the time remaining in Wenatchee truly is, or if it is the enormity of my own gratitude for the safety and improving health of my loved ones. I know that is not everyone’s story, and I know that there are far too many grieving today in the wake of unnecessary tragedies across our nation. Though I know not the solution, God does. What I do know, is that we are called to love. Not just our family, friends and neighbors, but everyone. If we choose love, then perhaps we will recognize the hurt in others before it becomes too late. The call is daunting for sure, but if we choose kindness with one person at a time, it is far more manageable. Perhaps it is a matter of asking God to show us His heart for people. He sees and knows the heart. There is always a reason for words and actions that bring harm, and maybe, just maybe, the change we long to see in the world begins with us. In my own present circumstances, when I grow weary and frustrated, I ask God to show me what I need to know to be patient and kind. Usually, what comes the fastest, is the reminder of what it would be like for me if I suddenly lost my ability to do all of the things that I loved most, and had to rely on someone else for everything. The quick heart-check softens the edges of exhaustion quickly, and my love and resolve are renewed. May we continue to call on the Lord and ask Him for help, for He is faithful to show us what we need to know to navigate each day well.

As for mom, yesterday was a good day. Sleep wasn’t great, but we were able to rally anyway. After breakfast, showering, and some physical and occupational therapy exercises, mom determined that she was up for an outing. With a face-filling grin, my response was, “as you wish.” Driving along, following her directions, led us to the east side of town. A bit further along, she declared that she wanted to go to Macy’s. I was both pleased and shocked, as she has avoided stores, and really could use a few things that fit better. We ventured into the store and began looking around. She found a few things she liked downstairs, held them, and we took the elevator upstairs to search for an item or two more. The experience upstairs went well, and the fitting room had ample space for mom’s chair and the two of us so that she could actually try items on. Mom successfully found a few things that she really liked, and we headed to the checkout. It was such an encouragement to watch mom realize that she was okay getting out and participating in “normal” life again. From there, we of course went through Dutch Bros and then grabbed lunch at the Taco Time drive thru. All of the activity was a bit wearying, but mom did well and stayed up until bedtime. She did nod a little when we watched a movie in the afternoon, but had no desire to go lay down to rest. Hmmm… Wonder where I got that trait from?  Despite the hesitations and reservations about the unknowns that are yet to come for mom, I think the opportunity for her to part-take in and realize how much more she is able to do, are all part of what God is showing her to continue to prepare her heart for this next season.

May we ever seek the Lord, who is faithful to answer, to show us the things that we do not know or understand on our own.

 

O Lord God of love, fb_img_15572013665455142348901490916085.jpg

May we ever seek;

Your heart to show us,

Truth, when all seems bleak.

Out of the darkness,

Your love light can shine;

Transforming ashes,

To beauty, divine.

Show us the unknown,

The things we can’t grasp;

So we may love well,

Honor all You ask.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show us the things that we do not know when we ask You. Thank You that You give us wisdom and insight so that we may love the way that we have been created to love. Forgive us for neglecting to seek You in the spaces where we lack understanding. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would always ask You for wisdom and guidance and insight. Above all, show us how to love those around us well. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You for understanding, as You already have the answers we need ask. 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