Love Made Perfect

This 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)

So, my loved ones, if God loved us so sacrificially, surely we should love one another. No one has ever seen God with human eyes; but if we love one another, God truly lives in us. Consequently God’s love has accomplished its mission among us. – (1 John 4:11-12, VOICE)

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)

The more we love one another, the better those around us come to understand the love of God. Perfect love is God’s love being made visible through our decision to love. Love is a choice, and each time we choose to love, we are choosing to show the world what God intended all along. However, if we talk about God or His love but do not show it through our interactions, then we are just making noise and are keeping the love of God hidden. If fact, it does more damage if we do not choose to show love, for to some, we might be the only example of who God is in their lives. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us may come to understand God’s goodness and grace as His love is demonstrated through all that we say and do.

The love of the Lord,

Is beyond compare;

It is by His grace,

That we all can share.

Share of His goodness,

And love others well;

Ever choose to love,

As in Him we dwell.

For when we know love,

We give it away;

It never runs out,

It’s made new each day.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that because You first loved us, we too, are called to love one another. Thank You that this is not something we have to do on our own, but rather You equip and empower us to love as You love. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love as You call us to love. Teach us to trust You to lead us and fill us, so that we may ever be Your hands, heart and voice to those around us. Show us how to love each person we encounter as You would. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to lead us in love. 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

The Spirit We Are Given

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. – (2 TImothy 1:7, HCSB)

The Spirit God gave us does not make us afraid. His Spirit is a source of power and love and self-control. – (2 Timothy 1:7, ERV)

You see, God did not give us a cowardly spirit but a powerful, loving, and disciplined spirit. – (2 Timothy 1:7, VOICE)

No matter what lies before us, we need not fear. God with us grants us power, love and sound judgment to navigate whatever comes our way. He is faithful to meet us each time we call on Him, and He equips us to persevere. May we ever rise up in His provision of endurance to keep walking forward in His loving grace, to do all that we are called to do.

Fear not, beloved,

For God is with us;

With power, sound mind,

And unending love.

No matter what comes,

That which lies ahead.

God will equip us,

In love, we are led.

Take courage, dear friends,

For this brand new day;

God will be with us,

He’ll show us the way.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not give us a spirit of fear, but rather You grant us power, love and a sound mind in every situation and circumstance. Forgive us for not seeking You to be our strength and stability from the onset of our storms. Teach us to earnestly seek You in all things. Lead us to love those around us as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust in You to grant us Your power, love and stability, and to chase away our fear. Amen.

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

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Love in the Knowing

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – (1 John 4:7-8, HCSB)

Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become God’s child. And so everyone who loves knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – (1 John 4:7-8, ERV)

My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. – (1 John 4:7-8, VOICE)

To love people is an extension of knowing and loving God. Without Him, we know not love, yet with God, we learn to love as He first loved us. Real love comes from God alone, and as we reach out and love others, we make God’s love tangible to those around us. May we seek the Lord to lead us in His love, and reach out to extend the same to those around us. Let love be the motivation that leads us in all that we say and do.

To love each other,

 A gift from the Lord;

The more we know Him,

The more is outpoured.

Choose seek the Lord first,

To receive and give;

Abundant His grace,

Each day that we live.

Lord, help us love well,

As we’re made to do;

May the love we give,

Point straight back to You.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are love, and as we know You, we are filled to overflowing so that we might love too. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You to lead us in love. Teach us to turn to You in trust, for You are faithful to show us how to love in every situation and circumstance. Show us how to love each person we encounter in a way that makes Your heart tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love all as You first loved us. Amen.

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

We love because He first loved us. – 1 John 4:19

The Process of Perfect Love

Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and His love is perfected in us. – (1 John 4:11-12, HCSB)

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 changes our hearts and transforms our minds so that we too, might love as He loves. As humans, we are subject to sin and falling short, so the process of being transformed is one that requires an entire lifetime. That being said, it is a process that is well worth the while. When we allow God’s love to reconstruct our hearts and minds to more clearly reflect His own, we have the opportunity to show God’s love to all those around us. In this space of loving as God loves us, we can become His representatives of what love ought to be. The challenge is that when we do not choose to act in love, we are responding as the world does, and discrediting the heart of God for others. I say that not to bring shame, but rather to encourage each of us to seek to love God and love people (His creation) as He loves us. We all fall short, but what we do with our shortcomings makes all the difference. Are we quick to apologize and make amends, or do we ignore and let things go that can create a divide? The more I seek the Lord, the more I see opportunities all around me to show evidence of His love. Love is patient and kind, it rejoices in the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It does not envy, is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love never ends and has set before us the way to love well. (see 1 Corinthians 13) May we ever seek the Lord to lead us in His love so that those around us might experience for themselves the goodness of God.

The love of the Lord,

Is greatest of all;

For it lifts us up,

Each time that we fall.

It brushes us off,

And fills us again;

Overwhelms with good,

As each day begins.

Press in, keep seeking,

For God’s always found;

Perfect love won’t fail,

Hope in Him is sound.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are loving and kind, and that You fill and equip us to love like You as we seek You and depend on You. Forgive us for our shortcomings and failures when we did not choose love. Lead us in Your kindness so that we may love as You love each of us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your perfect love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and love those around us as You intended. 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

Because Love…

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. – (1 John 4:7, HCSB)

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from you to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him. – (1 John 4:7, TPT)

My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. – (1 John 4:7, VOICE)

We are called and created to love one another. Because God first loved us, when we seek Him and invite Him to rule and reign in our lives, we are equipped and empowered to love those around us. It is up to us to choose to seek Him and allow God to work in and through us so that we may love those around us well. As we grow in our knowledge of God and His perfect love, our desire to love as He does increases. May we ever seek the Lord to grow us and lead us in love, so that we may love one another as God intended.

When God’s our Father,

We learn to love well;

The best example,

Equips us to tell.

Tell of His goodness,

Give lavishly, grace;

Love one another,

The whole human race.

As we seek the Lord,

He transforms our hearts;

Leads us to love well,

Shows us where to start.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You not only call us to love, but You grow us and equip us to love like You as we earnestly seek You. Forgive us for our lack of seeking, or for neglecting to allow You to lead us in love. Teach us to embrace Your goodness and grace so that we may share it with all those around us. Show us how to love each person we encounter as You do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continually pour out to others from the abundance that You have poured into us. 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

Listen in Love

`My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, TPT)

Can you imagine if we all actually followed this charge? Misunderstandings would be quickly cleared up, and kindness would reign. When we choose to truly listen to understand rather than to respond, and take our time to respond carefully in love, anger dissipates. A heart that is quick to willingly listen in love has the opportunity to slow down and think before speaking.  As we do this, anger does not flair up but rather only rises in spaces that are calling for our attention to change or remove. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen intentionally and to respond slowly with His wisdom.

Brothers and sisters,

Let’s all do our part;

To listen in love,

And speak from the heart.

Be slow to anger,

Choose listen, be wise;

Allow the Lord’s love,

Let kindness arise.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first and be slow to speak. I imagine that is part of the reason that we have two ears and only one mouth. Thank You that You grant us the patience, wisdom and love to listen first and speak next after truly hearing one another. Forgive us for the times that we have given rise to anger and have spoken without listening.

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

God, hear my prayer; listen to the words of my mouth. – Psalm 54:2

Tend Well the Temple

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, NIV)

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, MSG)

Beloved ones, with promises like these, and because of our deepest respect and worship of God, we must remove everything that contaminates body and spirit, and continue to complete the development of holiness within us. – (2 Corinthians 7:1, TPT)

It is the love and faithfulness of God that ought to compel us to treat our minds and bodies and His temple. When we love God and invite Him into our lives, He is present with each thing that we take in, be it exposure, what we eat, and how we care for what we have been given. That reminder alone inspires me to care well for my body and to use caution with the things to which I choose to expose my heart and mind. God has made me a very visual creature, so I know that I cannot watch anything that I don’t want to live over and over again. Rather than a filter, my mind is more like a recorder that can get stuck on repeat when exposed to graphic violence and gore. Because of this, I will not and cannot watch violent shows, games, etc. Rather, I am intentional to begin each day with Him and focusing on His word, so that my heart and mind are equipped with His goodness and love. We are all a work in progress. It is an ongoing labor of love throughout our lives, not just a quick fix for the here and now. The healthier and stronger our bodies and minds are, the better equipped we are to walk out our purpose. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to tend well the temples that we have been given.

Lord, help us to care,

For body and mind;

Tend well the temple,

For Your love is kind.

Inspire us to move,

Be healthy and strong;

Cautious exposure,

Throughout each day long.

Show us what is good,

To listen in love;

So we are ready,

To serve You above.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You dwell within us when we invite You. Thank You that You call us to tend our temples well, so that we are best equipped to honor, love and serve You. Forgive us for the times that we either neglect to care for our bodies, or expose our minds and hearts to things that do not glorify You. Teach us to ever seek to honor You through the care of our body and mind. Show us how to love those around us as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we learn to tend the temple we have been given in a way that honors You. Amen.

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

And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit who lives in you. – Romans 8:11

The Power of Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. – (Proverbs 16:24, NIV)

Kind words are like honey; they are easy to accept and good for your health. – (Proverbs 16:24, ERV)

Gracious speech is like clover honey – good taste to the soul, quick energy for the body. – (Proverbs 16:24, MSG)

Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits. – (Proverbs 16:24, TPT)

The power held in the words we speak is incredible. When we speak with kindness and grace, souls can be soothed and health improved. As my son continues on his road to healing, it is amazing to hear the strength returning to his voice. Family and dear friends have been in communication with him, and I can hear in his voice the benefit of kind encouraging words spoken or sent to him. For me, I have experienced tremendous kindness and grace from those around me, and I am certain it is one of the ways that God supplies His strength. May we ever speak gracious, kind and life-giving words to those around us, for there is power present when we speak sweet words of life.

Each word that we speak,

Can be used for good;

For grace and kindness,

Blessings understood.

Sweetness to the soul,

Goodness for the health;

A gift of kind words,

Give love that is felt.

May we mind our words,

Deliver them well;

The good that they bring,

Space of peace to dwell.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift and power present in the words we speak. Thank You that when we communicate with goodness and grace, You bless the hearer beyond what we realize. Forgive us for the times that we have not used our words well. Teach us to ever communicate in ways that extend Your goodness and kindness. Show us how to love those around us with encouraging, life-giving words. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to speak life to all. 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

Let Us Listen First

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends; Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

This requires an ongoing decision to be intentional to listen, and truly seek to understand. If we merely listen to respond rather than comprehend what is being spoken, anger has room to rise up, instead of compassion and kindness. Yes, there are times that what is being spoken is not beneficial for anyone. Even then, how we respond makes all the difference. Righteous anger allows us to appropriately respond in love and in truth. The ego, on the other hand, causes responses that only further fan the flames. May we ever seek the Lord to lead us to listen well, so that when we choose to speak, our words are full of life and love and grace.

Lord, help us to seek,

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To listen and learn;

Use our ears and heart,

For gracious return.

Let not our voices,

Respond without thought;

Help us understand,

And love as we ought.

For if truth be told,

Wisdom can be found;

In hearts that listen,

As Your grace abounds.

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to lead with listening to those around us. Forgive us for the times that we have spoken without truly hearing, or allowed anger to rise and taint our words or actions. Teach us how to rely on You to show us how to listen to understand, speak in love, and allow anger to help us bring change through Your goodness and grace. Lead us in Your love with all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we ever pursue You to grow us more like You. Amen.

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

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. – Proverbs 1:5

All Thanks to God

I thank my God every time I remember you. – (Philippians 1:3, NIV) 

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. – (Philippians 1:3, MSG) 

My prayers for you are full of praise to God as I give Him thanks for you with great joy! – (Philippians 1:3, TPT) 

This captures my heart for each of my family and friends. As I think of each person who has poured into my life through their love, support and kindness, I become overwhelmed with gratitude. On Saturday, as my love and I spent the day with my mom, my heart was full of thanks as we witnessed all that God has done to orchestrate the details so that mom could move back home. My sister too, has been an integral part of her return, as she is an amazing details person, and a human resources super star. It has taken tremendous teamwork to make this dream work, and get mom home safely. Dear friends, who are more like family, have also been instrumental in her move. The smile on mom’s face and the joy in her voice when we speak, remind us anew that she is where she belongs. Additionally, the gal whom Meg found to help mom out during the day with errands, cleaning, appointments and the like, is a phenomenal fit. God is so good, and we cannot help but give Him thanks and praise. 

All thanks be to God, 

For blessings He gives; 

Through loving people, 

Who love as we live. 

For kindness given, 

With no strings attached; 

Love that’s invested, 

Goodness that’s unmatched. 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible blessing that You give us through the people whom You place in our lives. Thank You for the ways that You make Your love tangible through the people around us. Thank You for the gift of family and friends. Forgive us for taking the blessings for granted, and not thanking and praising You enough. Teach us to remember who blesses us with goodness and grace best. Show us how to extend love as You do to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You for all those whom You have placed in our lives in love. Amen. 

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

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. – 1 Corinthians 15:57